Saturday, June 29, 2013

High or Low?

When I started to collect fabrics for this quilt, I had something of a "let's see what happens" attitude. My goal with the quilt is for it to "sparkle," and my theory was that a lot of contrast in the quilt would do that.

So, is this block high contrast, or low contrast?

I think the star almost disappears, but there's still plenty of contrast in the fabrics themselves. Same with this one:

Cute, eh? High contrast or low, they're sure fun! 5 down, 20 to go.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Viceroy Butterfly Take Two

I last posted on this project in November, but the other day I think I saw a Viceroy on our patio, so that brought it to mind again. It is a little early in Toronto to see Monarchs, so I was standing there trying to remember what distinguishes a Viceroy from a Monarch. The difference is that a Viceroy has two rows of white dots around the edge, while a Monarch only has one. I couldn't remember before it flew away, but I did remember that the Viceroy has pointier wings, as you can see here, so I still think that's what it was. The design I'm using actually looks more like a Monarch:

This guy has been through hard times, but I think he is finally on the right track! After my last post I took out all the long and short stitch that was on the left side, so only the split stitch outline was left. Then it sat for months until today while I tried to think of a better approach.

I realized that to get better coverage I would have needed to stitch much more densely than I had been. The embroidery would have become very heavy, possibly fragile, and not what I wanted for a lap quilt. This week I was looking at my copy of Diana Lampe's Embroidered Pansies, and I was surprised to notice that all her pansies were thread painted with two strands of floss in the needle. Two strands! Shocking!

Why not use two strands here? I had been toying with the idea of filling the butterfly with closely worked rows of stem stitch, so that's what I did today, and that's what you see above. I am very pleased with the result! It is fast, easy, covers well, and still maintains the sheen of the thread. Stem stitch keeps most of the thread on the front of the work, which keeps the whole thing light. Plus with two strands I can start each row with a loop knot, which further reduces the bulk and speeds things along.

I am so relieved to have this sorted!

I am linking this post up to WIP Wednesday #96 at The Needle and Thread Network. Three posts in a row this week! I'm on a roll. :D

Related posts: If you haven't looked already, you can see the unsatisfactory long and short stitch in the November 2012 post, and the first post on the project in October 2012.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three Stars for Collector

After my whining about ironing and cutting in the heat yesterday, I remembered that I have a couple of projects that are already cut. Here are the first three Sawtooth Stars for my Collector Quilt:

I am always telling myself that I hate fussy-cutting, but I realized yesterday that can't be true, because I keep doing it!

There are a lot of scant seams in these blocks, because I didn't cut the backgrounds in the wisest way. I will have to trim out some of the dark colours in the seam allowances where they show through. Live and learn!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Butterfly Catchers

Every spring I used to worry that I was suddenly losing my eyesight, but now I know that it is just my allergies, and if I wait it out it will get better again! Today I was finally able to see well enough to put the finishing touches on the next section of my Août sampler:

These two are spending their August vacation catching butterflies!

While all my even weave projects have been on the shelf, I've been making good progress on the Lima Beans, which are stitched on 18 ct aida. I'm in the home stretch now, so I hope to show you that soon. The next section of the Summer Sampler is almost ready too.

Riviera Star, unfortunately, has ground to a halt. I still have to cut the fabric for the next section. That's always a hurdle, isn't it? The sewing is the fun part. But the weather forecast is for a hot and humid week, so I don't think I'll be ironing and cutting any time soon. More hand sewing to come!

In the meantime, here's Août so far:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Two More Sweet Hearts

Yesterday Sharon over at Lilabelle Lane posted her work so far on Best Friends Forever, a new Rosalie Quinlan stitchery and quilting pattern. I immediately loved it! I think this pattern is in my future.

But, it inspired me to get out the redwork project I do have, Sweet Hearts. Two more blocks are now finished:

That makes three of the nine done. As a tv-watching project, redwork makes a nice change from Texas Star, so maybe there will be one or two more soon. We'll see!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tinkering with Riviera Star

One of the problems with the Judy Niemeyer newsprint foundations is that there are really no "do-overs." Once they're sewn, there's no going back. That is doubly the case for me, because the limited-edition fabric I'm using sold out months ago, so I have to use what I've got.

Looking back at the Compass Star that will be in the centre of Riviera Star, you can see that the fabric around the edge has a greenish undertone:

The green tablecloth underneath makes it look better than it is. It was not the best choice to go with those yellow fabrics. Here was my original colourway:

There would have been more yellow beside that greenish fabric, and it would have been bad. Plus, Sue Garman posted a photo of another Prairie Star variation this month, which got me thinking again. Out came the coloured pencils:

Using a red fabric next to the greenish fabric will make it work again, and of these three variations, I think I'll go with the one on the left. I don't think I have enough red fabric to make the one on the right. The middle one is striking, and closest to my original plan, but now I worry that it will be a little boring close up and on the bed. The left one will have a bigger variety of fabrics, so there will be more to look at.

The final decision may be affected by how much fabric is left after I piece all the outer edges. But right now that's the direction I'm going. Lots to do!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Flying Geese

I am trying something new for me this month. I've decided to just work on one thing at a time! LOL. My quilt guild will have their next show in April, and I've decided that Riviera Star, which is based on Judy Niemeyer's Prairie Star foundations, will be my main entry. So I made a plan, and if I stick to it I'll have the top done by August.

Today I finished the eight Flying Geese units. Here they are laid out with the Melon Spike units I made previously:

I think it's looking promising. It certainly meets my dad's requirement to be "lively!" It's fun to play around with the pieces, too:

I've given myself two and a half weeks to sew the next group, which will combine with these units into square blocks. I've also changed my colourway a bit, which I'll tell you about tomorrow. Onwards!

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