Tuesday 30 June 2015

June 2015 FMQ Challenge

Yah, I made it with only a few hours to spare until the end of the month.

This months' expert is Diane Gaudynski and I am following option 1 and 4.

To start off with I once again produced a drawing...took me a while until I was happy with it, but in the end I settled on this rather fanciful feather.
It got rather opulent on the sides which seems to almost overpower the stem, but in the end I had to stop drawing and just get on with it...

I traced the design on the silk with an air erasable marker using a light box. While I do follow my lines, people who use the air erasable marker would know that the lines become very faint very quickly. Combine that with the shiny silk and you hardly can see anything.

This is why the drawing is so important...I draw my plumes at a particular angle and at a particular shape, so even if I cannot see my lines a 100%, I can naturally complete the plumes the way I would have drawn them anyway. This was important for this piece as some of the lines faded to nothingness rather quickly. This also meant that I stitched out the whole piece in one go. Would have preferred to do this a bit more slowly, but was not sure how else I could mark the silk.

I used two cotton pieces for my batting...in retrospect, one would have been better, I think. The whole thing was just too thick and made the plumes rather stiff. I did try Cindy Needham's suggestion of using cotton and a thin wool layer, but wow...that requires another level of skill. Maybe I 'll try that another day. For now I just want to complete this pillow.

Almost done
Only the grids left to stitch out with the cathedral window design
Close up of the echoing...love the look of this!

 And here it is, the finished pillow, measuring 16 x16in approximately.
June 2015 FMQ Challenge

Stitched on Silk Dupioni using 100wt Invisafil thread. As you can see the colour of the silk looks slightly different in every photo as I have taken the pictures on different times in the day. The colour of the last photo probably comes closest. First time for me stitching on silk...I am impressed, to say the least.

Linking up to Quiltshopgal 2015 FMQ Challenge.


Wednesday 24 June 2015

WIP: FMQ on Silk

I am in the midst of working on my pillow for the June 2015 FMQ Challenge over at Quiltshopgal. Fat chance of finishing on time...unfortunately I was out of action for a week and a bit this month. However, so be it, my pillow will probably be a bit late.

I thought I present a bit of a sneak preview of my FMQ so far on this pillow. I am learning so much...haha, and making sooo many mistakes!
First of, I decided to use a double layer of cotton for extra puff...yep, definitely got extra puff but it is a lot harder to work with as it is just puffing out all over the place and any little mishaps are easier to see. I did not have a definite plan for the fillers however did marvel over Diane Gaudynski's echo filler pattern that I saw on her blog. No matter how hard I looked, just could not figure out how she actually does the echoing. In the end I thought...well, this is a challenge, so just challenge yourself and do it! Rather than trying to work out how somebody else does it, I thought about how I would approach this. Started out and followed a 'Divide and Conquer' approach, i.e sectioning off little areas and then filling it in with an echo, stopping in the middle. After the initial first ugly shapes, I quickly picked up on how to make them visually more appealing and kept going. Must say, absolutely loved doing this...even though it looks a bit crazy with the lines being no more than 1/8in apart. Found that it went rather quickly as well and the flattening effect is just out of this world. Brilliant! Actually prefer this to microstippling.

I am doing a bit of mix and match fillers on this piece to keep it interesting, so further down I started microstippling for some transition and then launched into some swirls...but you can see that the irregularities in the lines of the swirls show easily due to the puff I have in the piece thanks to the double layer. Definitely not one of my brighter ideas. I am stitching with a 100 wt Invisafil thread with a 60/8 needle (on the 6D Dynamic Freemotion setting  of the Pfaff QE 4.2). The silk is finicky to work with and frays a fair bit...as I was aware of this beforehand, I cut my piece way bigger to allow for that. Stitching on the silk is nice, but it is not as forgiving as cotton...I feel that the irregularities are much more obvious...mind you I have been looking at this the whole day while stitching.

I have got a lot more bulk to tame...hopefully this will turn out. So far I have been able to literally FMQ the bulk out to the sides and have not had any problems. We'll see.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced 


Sunday 21 June 2015

Warm Up

Preparing for the FMQ Pillow Challenge over at Quiltshopgal.

This is the Dupioni Silk that I managed to get via auction on Ebay. Nice soft green. The above sample was stitched with 100wt Invisafil thread in a matching colour on a cotton batting.

This is going to be interesting.


Thursday 18 June 2015

Long Saga- WIP: A Field Guide

Finally recovered from my cold with the help of some Antibiotics resulting in a Flu shot thanks to a very conscientious doctor...now I am back onto the longest WIP: A Field Study.

As you may have seen, I undid all of my stitching and started again. I stabilised the whole quilt by stitching in the ditch in every seam (painful plus!). That took a while but I have made it through it and the quilt is lying straight and flat and I feel back on track.

Funny, I have now started to FMQ part of the blocks with simple lines...this was my first idea before I got too impatient and wanted to finish it quickly with an allover design.

Would have been good if I had thought about pressing the seams on those beige crosses away from themselves as I now have a nice line running through it. Well, live and learn...overall though I like it. It makes the surrounding squares puff up nicely which actually in itself could be a feature. I will wait and see to determine what exactly I will do with those squares. Maybe some swirls in there? Not sure.

Apart from this I have been drawing up my design for the next pillow challenge over at the Quiltshopgal...given that I was out of action for a while I am not sure whether I will be able to finish the pillow by the end of the month though. We shall see...if all goes well, I will have a pillow out of Dupioni Silk to show. Bit excited about that although am still not sure how to do the marking on the silk. We shall see...

Also need to get a move on writing up my pattern for the Stretched Star quilt and start on my next baby quilt and...and...and...the list goes on!

Until next time


Wednesday 10 June 2015

WIP: A Field Guide - Starting again

Yes, I started again...took all the quilting out

While I liked the pattern and texture , I really did not like it for this quilt. In addition, I had not stabilized the quilt at all, using an unfamiliar batting and I could literally feel how the quilt top shifted around while quilting. I started to have these areas of additional puff in odd spots and the seams were puffing out...

Well, took me a while to decide, but in the end I thought it would be a pity to waste the quilt.

I spent 3 days undoing the quilting...this gave me a lot of opportunity to look at my stitches in some detail. Must say, I stitched this design very well...no hovering on the spot with multiple stitches and the stitch length was actually very good. The clean up of the quilt top took another day, picking out all these little leftovers. Then I re-pressed the quilt and re-basted the whole lot. Given that this is good quality Moda fabric, the stitching lines are not overly visible and the whole thing came out looking good as new.

Unfortunately most of last week I sported a massive head cold, so no progress was made on anything, however I started to stabilize the quilt with my new Wonderfil Invisafil thread in a taupe colour in the last few days. This thread is really nice and will be my choice of thread from now on when I usually would have used Monofilament thread. Never quite liked the Monofilament thread, mainly because it has a shine to it and looks somewhat plastic like and is just so fiddly to sew with. The Invisafil blends in like a dream and is much easier to work with. Highly recommended.

Well, this is how far I got
Nice and flat

One row done

I am following Cindy Needham's advice, stitching down every stinking seam (ESS)...not one of my favourite things to do, but this one really needs it. Recently, Cindy Needham had addressed this issue on her blog which I was reading with interest because I usually skip that step because I am a naturally impatient quilter. I think from now on, I will study my basted quilt tops in a bit more detail and think about this beforehand...on some quilts with a nice sticky cotton batting you probably get away with just doing the overall design if you aim for a medium scale, however on others, like the one above with the wool batting, this just did not work. Lesson learnt.

Once this is done, I will do some FMQ on it. Very curious how all this will work out.


Wednesday 3 June 2015

FMQ Wednesday: Infinite Feather Template

The Infinite Feather Template has arrived (must say, the US postal system is just fantastic).

As I have talked about recently, I was exploring the net for some ready made feather shapes and then remembered this template. Was very curious about this as I have been drawing my feathers by hand most of the time, so have developed my own style of feathers, drawing them at a particular angle and usually at a particular size and shape. Wondered whether a template would be able to accommodate this.

I got this because I wanted to speed up the process of drawing but also to make my own motifs when I need them, in the size that I need them. While I could also use the computer (eg. EQ7 or a drawing program), I find it incredibly hard to end up with shapes that I am happy with...and usually it takes a really long time trying to draw with the mouse or adjusting shapes. Drawing by hand is easier for me, however sometimes, like in motifs, you want absolute consistency.

So I started playing...

Very easy to use and very handy. Also, need not have been concerned about the shape of the plumes. When trialling the meandering border design I chose several feather shapes that were closest to how I draw them and angled them in a way that comes closest to how I do them anyway, so looking at this I could have easily drawn this myself (however not quite as quickly and nicely rounded). You probably wonder why this is important to me...I have one feather border stencil that I bought some years ago,  however, somehow the plumes are angled and shaped in a way that is not how I would draw them, so when it comes to stitching it, it is almost like stitching against the grain...I never bought another feather stencil after that (except for a Full line stencil recently) and started to do my own feathers and have not looked back. This template will just speed up the process a bit. People often ask whether I draw my feathers first...sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, depending on what look I am after.  Usually, I draw portions of a border design and do some freehand...however the spine and corners are always marked! This template will be a very useful little helper in getting the general size and orientation happening and also will be handy if I wanted to do a very formalised and consistently shaped feather border.

Played some more
Practiced on the silk, this time using a white marker which I hardly could see because of the shine (what do people use to mark on silk, I wonder). Also measured the outside in inches and then divided the square in centimeters, hence the different size petals...could pretend it was meant to be that way, but it was actually supposed to look like the picture below.

Then drew up another motif...so handy! Started as a 5in motif but then added another plume making it bigger...endless possibilities really.


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