Wednesday, June 14, 2017

El Camino SoCal

And Not Wordless Either

I thought I was ready for my summer break, but, it turns out that I'm not. Last week I shared the start of this project, an adaptation of Nancy Rink's quilt In Remembrance, from her book El Camino Real.

I had a long list of challenges with this quilt, from how to make it to what to call it. "El Camino SoCal" is the best name I could come up with, a) to reference the book, and b) to capture the bright, flat, almost neon colours of the applique.

There has been a lot of private, offline hand wringing about how to approach this quilt. The first plan was to needleturn all the applique. But, it turned out that the Laura Gunn Painters' Canvas fabrics are pretty heavy for hand applique. So, I thought if I enlarged the pattern it would be easier to turn smooth curves. But, then I waffled about whether the quilt was for use, or for art. For art, it would be too big, and for use, it was going to be a lot of hand stitching for something that would have a reduced lifespan in the washing machine.

When I realized this year that I had to learn to fuse, this project suddenly transformed into something both feasible and practical. And I have to admit, fusible applique is probably a much better fit for me anyway. My favourite part of the process is the start -- designing or revising someone else's design, choosing the colours and fabrics and seeing how they work. A long slog once all the decisions are made is not something I enjoy.

So, as you see, two more blocks are already redesigned and fused. And, the first two are now stitched. I'm using the same straight stitch edging as my Aunt Millie project. This time I'm using 28 wt Aurifil cotton in dark red:

I had hoped that the heavier thread would make a heavier line, but honestly, I think I would get the same effect with 40 wt thread, and a more balanced stitch too.

I am quite happy, though, with the "exposed seams" look of the topstitching. You will laugh, but it reminds me of all the Issey Miyake designs that I used to love in the 1980s. Between the stitching and the neon colours, the 80s are strong in this quilt!

It is only for a few weeks a year that we get the setting sun shining up on the wall like this, so I am glad to take advantage of the light! It's nice when everything works out. :D


  1. good to see how this is coming along, liking the straight stitch you are using rather than a heavy satin stitch. I have recently tried an applique block (at last) using fusible but it has left the fabric very stiff not sure what I did wrong.

  2. I'm not laughing! I think it looks great and good for you for trying something new on those luscious background fabrics.

    I had a feeling you wouldn't be able to stay away! I'm glad you couldn't!

  3. this is lovely--exposed seams are perfect to soften those "flat" fabrics, i think. I did a woven quilt with all exposed seams by hand (yes, i am a nut job!!) and it is holding up just fine...hugs, Julierose

  4. I agree with Julierose; the raw edge softens the fabrics. That straight stitch is a good choice, too. I wish mine were as well placed. Guess I need to practice.
    Enjoy your summer.

  5. I like the red stitching on the appliqués and I like the brighter colors too. It is wonderful when everything works out!!! I'm really glad that you aren't on summer break just yet. Terry who is wearing a long sleeved turtleneck sweater because it is not summer here!

    1. Oh my goodness, Terry, when will it be warmer there? I may be changing my mind about a break this year. It may be that some continuity may be helpful. Thanks, Terry! I keep trying to put this project away, but so far, no luck!

    2. I like the edges. The design is spectacular - with the help of the sun! Great that you captured it - all the forces aligned like sunrise on stone circles!

    3. Thanks, Jillian! I actually think a lot of my motivation right now is to finish the blocks while the sun is still far enough north to photograph them this way. :D

  6. I like your decision to top stitch your fused appliqué. It compliments the style of the flowers and overall piece.

  7. The raw edge applique is perfect here! Love the soft colours but then the two hits of coral flowers.


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