Sunday, April 24, 2016

Scrap Buster II: Winging It

New Blocks and Layout Ideas

Despite other commitments and projects, my scrap II is still in the works and pretty much on schedule. (The goal being 366 scrap blocks this year.)

Without too much cutting required, I managed to make 3 more sets of "winged" creature blocks from this particular collection of pre-cuts scraps.

This swarm of on-point dragonflies just emerged quite accidentally as I was trying to find another way to build a butterfly.

I call these "Kimono Butterflies". There are many images for similar blocks on-line, so I adapted the pattern as best I could to use up my pre-cut shapes.

With the few bits and pieces of left over appliqued 1" quarter circles, a small swarm of "buggy things" emerged.

Because there are so many pre-cut strips left over from the same project as the appliqued quarter circles, I just started sewing them together in sets of 3, knowing (well hoping), that the maths should work out. It has. Hurray! Many have now been cut into 9 patch blocks and there is a stack of them that could become corner stones, (as below), or may yet become blocks in their own right.

Below are a few more layout possibilities. With all of the blocks that this stash of scraps will yield, more then one quilt is likely, especially since these will become kid quilts.

The 9 patch blocks could be sewn together and become the focal point in one of the quilts.

Or they could be the corner stone with a solid coloured sashing joining them. The hand dyed blue fabric underneath happened to be handy for photographing. I will likely try it with a white sashing before I commit to a colour.

Or, if I really feel wild and crazy, I may just sash the blocks with more colour. I'll have to see where the spirit leads.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

New Project: Silk Whole Cloth Quilt

Butterflies, Shamrocks, Hummingbirds and Gardenias

Having undergone many rethinks, redraws and reworkings over the last 3 or 4 years, the shamrocks, hummingbirds, butterflies and gardenias have finally found a way to play together on this quilt. Back in 2013 I started experimenting with some ideas on the machine, but then the project got shelved for a few years.  Because the quilt is for both of us, I asked my husband to participate in the design layout. For the last few months it has passed back and forth from my table to his computer and finally, we have come up with something that we can both be happy with. The quilt is a silk whole cloth, 100" x 100" (20" drop on three sides), with the central design layout of 60" x 80" covering the mattress of a queen size bed and will be machine quilted. (More on the layout in a future post).

The inspiration for the design started with a ceramic butterfly that we have had since we were married. (A photo of it is in the link above). She's a bit of an awkward, asymmetrical little thing, so I took some liberties with my interpretation. I hope she doesn't mind too much!

Gridded vellum is great to work on because it can withstand a lot of erasing and redrawing. Below is a progression of the butterfly as it developed.

First take on an upper wing ....,

... and lower wing.

Final results on the wings.

Completed pencil drawn butterfly.

Below are the options of dupioni silks for this quilt. The main body of the quilt will be the teal"ish" colour of the little sample scrap on the top of the pile. This had to be ordered in at a local silk shop in town and has not yet arrived. From the other colours in the pile, I may choose one of the "coppery"/gold"ish" fabrics to applique tiny morsels of accent into the pattern. Verdict's not in on that one yet. Some of the fabric will be used as my practise pieces which, if successful, will be used as pillow coverings.

Next week, I hope to trace the butterfly onto one of these fabrics for a trial run of materials, battings and threads.

My completed drawing of the butterfly. As you can see, I still left her pretty asymmetrical.

Let the fraying begin!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cathedral Window Boutis: In Stitches

The second boutis "Cathedral Window" that I started back in February is well under way.

(To get the right lighting for photographing white on white is almost impossible, (very frustrating) so I have included two variations of the same photo, hoping that the pattern will be visible on at least one of them.)

Just as in machine quilting, when stitching boutis, the first step is to stabilize and secure the major design lines, working from the center out. So, starting at the center rose, all of the large arches and channels radiating from it were stitched first.

Black and white photo of the entire design.

Colour image of the same photo.

Next, I continued with the first inner row of half arches, working the short, middle bar towards the rosette, and then on to the smaller arch.

From there, each following segment in the circumference will be stitched sequentially.

Some of the most impressive antique boutis quilts that I saw in France were stitched only with "point arriere" (a tiny backstitch). When I first had the opportunity to see these stitches close-up, I was completely blown away by the perfection of the stitch, both front and back. The meticulous stitches were tiny and consistent and it was difficult to fathom that these stitches were in fact hand made, not machine stitched, but Madame Nicolle, the proprietor of the "Maison du Boutis" in Calvisson, France, assured me they were the real deal. With those quilts as my inspiration, I have decided to stitch the entire cathedral window, other then the rosettes, with the "point arriere". This stitch does slow down the process, but as with everything, practice will improve the speed and consistency, and I'm up for the challenge.

I'm using a Gutermann hand quilting cotton thread with a size 10 Bohin quilting between needle.

The front of the work, showing a close-up of the backstitch.

The back of the work, showing the underside of the backstitch.

For the time being, I'm stabilizing the rosettes with a running stitch. Once all other  stitching in the piece has been completed, I will work a "point de rosette" (a needle lace rosette) into each circle. This will be my first attempt at this delicate pattern, but while in France, I had the opportunity to learn to make this rosette from one of the women in the boutis group that I participated in. Hopefully the notes I made and the pics I took will help me remember her instructions. There will be practice runs first!

The very first knotted thread that I pulled into the work made a tear in the batiste. Nooooooo!!!! The fabric is more delicate then I had anticipated. Thank goodness I had decided on the "rosette". It will completely cover the damage.