Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Long Time, No See!


Remember those diamonds I made in March (here and here)? Well, this is what they are for. The last time I posted on this project was almost three years ago. Since then, it's been growing!

I have already written more than enough extensively on this project, and it went through many changes. But, the end is in sight and the plan has pretty much jelled. I started with these three cross stitch designs by Jim Shore:


They were stitched on raw linen aida instead of the perforated paper in the kit, and the plan was to stack them vertically and sew them into a long quilted banner. In 2012, the paper pieced borders were going very slowly, and the project got pushed aside.

Over a year ago I thought that a long, skinny banner didn't feel right to me. I decided to line them up horizontally instead, and add a couple of borders to make a wall quilt with some presence. The question was whether I had enough of the original fabrics:


The orange fabric was my main worry, because I knew I wanted it for My Country House too. Fortunately, I still had lots, and after searching high and low I was able to find all the other fabrics too.

So in January I easily finished up the last four of those green flying geese borders. My paper piecing is so much better now! I know it looked ok, but I have learned some things since then. The Quilt Show had a Carol Doak video available a year ago, which was very helpful. Also, the Judy Niemeyer instructions with Prairie Star had a surprising amount of good information, and improved my technique as well.

From the start the tricky part with this project was going to be joining the aida and the pieced sections. I used a narrow strip of dark green fabric to frame the cross stitch and transition to the quilt fabric. I carefully trimmed the aida and left a 4 thread seam allowance. Then I pinned the green strip to the front, and from the back I carefully (and slowly!) machine stitched four threads from the edge. Then I went back and stitched a second line three threads from the edge to anchor it:


By accident I found that if I lined up the pins along that fourth thread, it was easier to stay on course:


Then the last step was to trim the seam allowance down to one thread from the stitching:


So, it was a lot of slow, careful machine sewing, and I ended up taking a one month break in the middle, but I am happy with the result so far:


After I finished the hard part yesterday, I was excited to put it up on the wall and see how it looked with the second and third borders:


Why did that look wrong? It's just because I cut the light green second border oversized, I said to myself. Out came the tape measure. Argh! There's an extra diamond block in the top and bottom borders. How did I manage to make too many? I decided which two diamonds to eliminate and just pinned them under for now:


I'm going to applique some flowers in the light green second border. I spent the rest of the day yesterday auditioning fabrics and cutting out the appliques. That's when I really start to feel creative! After all that, I finally realized that the diamond side borders were wrong too! They should be one diamond longer, which accounts for the "extra" diamonds along the top and bottom. Argh again. That fix won't be quite so simple, and I'll have to juggle things around to keep it balanced.

But, the applique flowers are all figured out, so that will keep me busy for a while!

7 comments:

  1. The colours in thiis are terrific. I'm very impressed at the journey from the aida embroideries to this. I empathise with the error in length - could see myself doing that! Now I'm curious to see the addition of the flowers.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jillian! It really is colourful when you see it all together. Let's hope the flowers don't take forever too!

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  2. You have me completely discombobulated and confused as to why the border is oversized and which diamond is the extra. It looks pretty darned good to me! But that's exploration and creativity, and ain't it grand? Looking forward to seeing your resolution, because it will be just right.

    BTW: Love your cute little animals. I'm tempted to adopt them all!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, I really liked these Jim Shore designs too. I felt they deserved more than a 6" wood frame!

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  3. Well, what a good use of counted cross stitch pieces. You know I have a few myself. LOL. I have been itching to finish up some of them, but am sticking with the big hexie project for hand sewing for the time being.

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  4. This is a great combination of cross stitch with quilting. The bright colors of the quilt complement the cross stitch pieces beautifully. Nicely done.

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  5. I have loved seeing your work on those cs pieces! The borders look fantastic and I think like you that they look much better in the horizontal rather than vertical. It would have looked like they were sitting on top of each other lol

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Happy stitching!

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