Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free Motion Quilting: Star Struck

The FMQ on the twinkling star quilt is well under way. Here are a few photos of the work as it has progressed.

This first photo shows 2 of the 3 star blocks that I finally settled on. The top star with the double points is machine appliqued. Aside from being the easiest one to assemble, it best captures a "twinkling" star. It has become my favourite. The smaller star underneath it was paper pieced. It was more time consuming, but the points are nice and crisp and it is securely pieced, so it will be quite durable. However, the strong diagonal lines created in the paper piecing process presented quite a challenge when trying to incorporate those lines into the rest of the quilting design. Too late to change it now!

Although the double pointed machine appliqued block is the closest to a twinkling star, the yellow cotton that I used in the points, (shot cotton), is not meant for this type of machine applique. It's softness and pliability, which makes it perfect for hand applique, makes it much too weak to withstand a lot of dense machine work, so there is a problem of it fraying along the satin-stitched edges. I will have to re-applique, (by hand), many of the points before I can secure it further with the FMQ. Live and learn!
If you zoom in on the photo, you will see how the edges of the satin stitch are fraying. Ouch!

The 3rd star block is the smaller star below. I used it mainly as a link between the larger stars.

The photo below shows some of the free motion quilting that is happening. Here you can see how I used the machine appliqued double pointed star as a quilting template as well.

This is one of my warm-up/practice blocks, where I audition different techniques and designs before I commit them to the actual quilt.

I am quite enjoying this last stage of the process and am slowly making my way to the final stitch.

I'm linking to the The Needle and Thread Network

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hummingbird Applique Baby Quilt

Just on the other side of the window where I sit and sew is a hummingbird feeder. All year round, these graceful little birds entertain me with their lively dance and their energetic zeal for life. Aside from the reminder to take the time to enjoy the moment, these delicate creatures have provided me with plenty of inspiration for my quilting and boutis designs.

The inspiration for the image of this hummingbird comes from one of the many photos we have taken watching these birds just on the other side of the glass.. 

Back in November, when I was working on the star blocks for the baby quilt, (and the star blocks were not cooperating http://seamsfrench.blogspot.ca/2014/11/oh-my-stars.html  I pushed them aside for a day or so and started another baby quilt. This time, I would pay tribute to these little hummingbirds and make them the focal point of the quilt.

As I was stitching away on the star blocks, my attention was often drawn to a neatly wrapped bundle of shot cottons on the side table. I loved the colours, but they were just not right for the star quilt. They would however, be perfect for a simple little hummingbird. And so, with hummingbirds dancing outside the window, and with these beautiful little cottons enticing me, this applique quilt was born.

In the wake of the hummingbirds tail feathers is a dusting of hearts and stars.

Using this fabric, I have discovered that shot cottons are perfect for hand applique. The lightness of the fabric and the pliable weave makes for an easy, smooth needle turn applique. It was hand applique that drew me to quilting in the first place, and this little diversion has reminded me of how much I love hand work.

This is the bundle of fat quarters that distracted me from the task at hand. Admittedly, it was a happy distraction.

Reluctantly I have to admit that neither quilt was ready for the arrival of our little Miss, but both will be keeping her warm and cozy any day now.