Monday, July 29, 2013

More Shopping

I have been spreading the wealth all over recently -- a few fat quarters from here, a few fat quarters from there... every shop has its own speciality. Early last week I was in Newmarket at The Quilt Store to fill in the rest of my fabric palette for BFF, which I'll show soon. Then on Friday I went up to Quilter's Cupboard in Uxbridge because I needed some very light traditional-style blues for my Hourglass quilt. Here they are already washed and cut:

I did not want to buy fabric for the Hourglass quilt, but I ran out of lights before I used up all the darks. Plus, the whole thing had so much gold and brown that it was starting to feel syrupy, so I thought the light blue would perk it up. It looks nice with this old dusty pink floral I had:

The vast majority of the fabrics in this quilt are busy, high contrast fabrics, and I am starting to realize that these low contrast lights are going to end up being very important in the final assembly. Here's a variety of lights with the same dusty pink floral:

Isn't it interesting how the two, almost solid, blue fabrics stand out? Even though the middle one on the bottom is almost white:

It will be interesting to see how it all comes out in the end. Despite my best efforts to predict, I think it will still be a surprise! This batch brings the Hourglass Ticker up to 353, so I'm on a roll. :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Few Purples

I know there are many quilters who never met a purple fabric they didn't like, but somehow when I am at the store I never come home with anything purple. It is like a blind spot! The final straw was this week, when I was searching my embroidery floss stash for purple thread, and there were only two in the whole box! I want to use some purples in Best Friends Forever, so today I hit the store. My main purpose was just to buy floss, but of course I came home with fabric too:

This is all from Art of Fabric in Pickering, Ontario. Fortunately the owner is a big fan of purple!

I think these will be perfect. Now that they've had their "beauty shot," it's time to throw them in the wash!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Best Friends Forever

I mentioned a while ago how much I loved this hexagon stitchery quilt design, Best Friends Forever, by Australian designer Rosalie Quinlan. My first instalment arrived yesterday, and I have already started it!

This project has surpassed my expectations, which is really saying something, as they were pretty high! The pattern covers are nice enough:

But I was particularly impressed with the printed linen patterns:

I was worried that the linen would be too fine and sheer, but it is actually quite solid and has a nice weight. The overall piece is a good size, 17" x 21". The individual patterns will fit exactly on my 3.5" (7" across) hexagons that I bought for this project. It was a bit of a gamble to buy them before the pattern arrived, but it worked out perfectly! The pattern calls for a quilt-as-you-go technique, but I have a fancier, English Paper Piecing design in mind. You know I can never do a project as written!

These are the stitchery colours I've chosen so far:

You can see by the revisions on the card that I've already changed my mind about a couple of the colours. It is interesting how different they look stitched versus in the skein.

I also put away the stitching instructions early on. The pattern uses chain stitch on the heavier lines, which I haven't done before but really liked. I have used it on the bird below. Most of the rest calls for back stitch, which I don't much like. I will use it on the lettering, but on the tree and leaves I used my favourite, stem stitch. The flowers were supposed to be satin stitched, but I was thinking about blanket stitch pinwheels on another project, so I decided to try them for the petals here as well. I think they worked great, so I think they will be my standard for all the flowers. The flower centres are a ring of tiny chain stitches.

Because the pattern is quilt as you go, it calls for a lightweight fusible batting to be ironed on the backs of the stitcheries before stitching. When I can, I prefer to avoid fusibles, and I think it is going well without it. You can see the linen is wrinkly because I have been embroidering in hand, but there is no problem at all with the fabric puckering or pulling. It is really very nice linen, I am so pleased with it!

After working on my Sweet Hearts redwork for so long, which is on lightweight muslin and much more detailed, this project is a breath of fresh air! I sense an obsession coming on...

With this post I am checking in again with The Needle and Thread Network, and WIP Wednesday #99. I will have to see if I can do something special for #100 next week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hourglass Ticker

My Texas Star Ticker in the right sidebar has proven to be very motivating for me, so I've decided to add another one for my Hourglass quilt. Each hourglass unit will finish to 3" square, and I've decided to join them 16 at a time into 12" finished blocks. Here's my first one:

The pattern calls for the 3" units to be joined in long strips, and then the strips all sewn together. I think I will prefer to minimize the number of long seams I sew, so this is my plan instead. There will be 56 of the 12" blocks, and 896 of the 3" hourglass units.

I usually sew the hourglasses in batches of 32, so hopefully things will move along well now that I've recommitted to this project. Today I managed to sew one batch and one block without too much trouble, despite the summer heat. It is nice, mindless sewing, perfect for this weather!

(Edit - At the time of this post, the ticker started at 225 units. How far have I come now?)

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