Showing posts with label Butterflies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Butterflies. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

OMG, Butterflies en Provence!

It's time for the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up this month. Last month I was on the lookout for some butterflies, and I captured this one "in the wild."

You can see by the lint that this fabric spent a long time in my scrap bin! This stack of triangles is for foundation piecing in Wild & Goosey. The scrap bin is now almost empty! But the stack of triangles keeps growing as I add the leftovers from other projects.

Also this week, Bonnie Hunter revealed the final layout for her 2016 mystery quilt, En Provence. You can see it here, for the next few weeks. I love it! I especially like the circular effect with the purple in the big blocks. And I have to say, I was genuinely mystified. I thought I knew where it was going, and I was wrong!

But anyway, let me remind you of my flamingo-inspired colourway:

Bonnie's quilt has sixteen of those circle blocks, so for my simplified version I thought nine would work well. I am using pink where Bonnie used yellow, and I noticed that her yellow fabrics are quite light. I have that light pink flamingo blender, and I thought that would be perfect!

Argh, no, it is horrible! The light aqua adds nothing, and there are just too many flamingos. Does it look better with the green squares added? It does not. So many pretty fabrics, so terrible all together. Right from the start I had a feeling that it would be risky to change the values in the quilt. But, I ignored the doubts and forged ahead! I should know by now to listen to those niggling doubts.

So now I have quite a few pink flamingos to add to the stack of triangles for Wild & Goosey! What a useful project.

Looking closely at Bonnie's finished quilt, some of her greens (where I used aqua) are almost black. And they are extremely scrappy with a wide range of values, which gives a lot of interest. I needed something very grounding too. I considered dark pinks or reds, but then I thought, why not black? I have some bold black prints in my stash that could give that same range of interest that Bonnie has:

And look, there's that same butterfly fabric again! I haven't cut them yet, but I'm keen to see how they will work.

I also like that the larger pieces in this project will show off some of my larger scale, modern fabrics. Here are pinks I settled on:

They looked good in the sunlight there, didn't they?

By Monday I hope to have at least a block or two to share, and by the last link up in February I am determined to have the flimsy done. So that is my One Monthly Goal for January as well -- En Provence flimsy by the end of the month. Only nine blocks! Plus, pieced sashing and pieced border...

Right now I am still catching up on the clues I skipped. Here are my green hsts from clue #5:

And today I was cutting these fabrics for more Tri-Recs units from clue #4:

After considerable thought, I've also decided to go back and piece some of the all-white four patch units from clue #1. Those are next!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Brinton and Butterflies

Turquoise, green and hot pink butterflies!

It's time for the October Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up, and I've done nothing at all on my "official" butterfly project, Down in the Garden. I can't believe it will soon be two years since Ink Week (really Ink Fortnight), and I still haven't finished embroidering the blocks. Oh, the shame!

Yes, well, maybe I would have more finishes if I actually did feel shame.

This project, however, Brinton Hall, is steamrolling over everything else. Today I made the 60 3" hsts that I'll need for the second border. The fabrics were all chosen and rough cut over the summer. Today I just had to pair them, sew, and trim.

And a few of them even have butterflies! Out in the real world, I'm also seeing the Monarch butterflies steadily heading southwest along the lake shore again.

I was careful to make sure every hst was a unique combination of fabrics. It was a fun day!

They will finish at 3", and I will set them with 1" warm beige sashings. Leigh Latimore's design uses 1/2" sashings, but I feel like these strong prints need more room to breathe. Plus, the math worked out perfectly! That is always my sign to stop tweaking the design. :D

In fact, I have been redesigning, and tweaking, and redesigning again, this project since the beginning of the summer. I've changed it so many times that I lost track of the different counts. So I had more hst fabric cut than I needed. And, apparently my final design will only need 16 of the hexagon rosettes, even though I made 20!

But, the end is in sight, because I have simplified the final border by removing all the handwork. None of the handwork in Latimore's outer border is in the original Anna Brereton quilt, so that was an easy decision to make.

I will make the pieced "square in a square" block, because that was in the original, and I think it is a good looking block! I am keen to get started on that, it should be a good challenge. Lots of quarter square triangles!

So, this has been 54 of the 60 hsts. I made them in sets of 10, but 9 fit so nicely on my rotating mat there.

Now, I really have to crack on with Something Fishy!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Projects

My big project this summer has been to get my 91 year old father to stop working, and more importantly, to stop driving before he killed someone. It has required heroic persistence and patience, but I am glad to say that we have succeeded! I think he has finally accepted that retirement is not that bad.

With all that going on, I have not done that much sewing this summer. Brinton Hall has made very good progress, and I'll show you that on Sunday. When I had machine time, I'd put together a block or two of Allietare. The bright Kaffe prints are really invigorating to work with:

I love the red blocks. I am less sure about the black star blocks:

I have been so tempted to sew a few together, just to see how the secondary pattern will come out. But I do want to lay out and balance the blocks properly when they're all done, so I've held off. I only have about 10 left, and then the fun will really start!

I am not sure now if I will do Bonnie Hunter's mystery again this year. I have a colour scheme in mind already, but I also have so many other projects that I really do want to finish, and some to start! So, we'll see.

My box of Kaffe fabrics has been getting a good work out with Brinton Hall. While the fabrics were out I also made one lonely butterfly for Down in the Garden:

This butterfly was going to be gold, and I had the wings fussy cut 18 months ago already. But, I lost one! The one thing that became crystal clear this summer is that I have too many things happening at the same time, and that is hurting my projects. I have made new resolutions --

  • Fewer current projects
  • No more BOMs
  • More original work

-- and we'll see how that pans out!

But in any case, this new pink butterfly matches the purple and pink/orange flowers in the block surprisingly well too:

And I still have all the wings for the second butterfly:

Then I can get back to some stitching and finish the block. I had a lot more stitching planned for this project, but I've changed my mind and decided to fill in with some extra pieced blocks instead. It's time to move on!

I bought a couple of those adult colouring books this summer, as part of my effort to get my Dad refocused on something positive. No luck! "Silly stuff," he said. He used to draw well, but maybe colour was never his strong suit. My Mom did this nice one, though:

It is totally different from how I would have done it, which is very interesting! And better, I think. I was very impressed with her turquoise and green roses. I have to see if I can use this colour scheme for a future project.

I coloured a couple too:


To me it seemed like a low-risk opportunity to try a more radical colour scheme. I've been obsessed with orange and green leaves lately. The one above is ok, but I like the second one better:

It seems like it could be a nice quilt, couldn't it? The round drawing is from Flower Mandalas by Thaneeya McArdle (New Design Originals, 2016), and the two square pages are from Magic of Flowers & Birds (Barron's).

There are two link ups on today. Please check out Ann and Cathy's Kaleidoscope of Butterflies right here. The brave Gwennie Medallion quilters are still at it too, right here. My medallion went to the basement at the end of June, and just came back up a couple of days ago. But, I've dealt with the road blocks on that one, and I hope to catch up over the next month. October 1 will be the final reveal, but I'll have updates before that.

Finally, for two days this summer we had a new lodger:

You can barely see the brown rabbit in the brown grass there. Hottest summer ever! This was right after a heavy rainfall, and the green comes back quickly. I was out checking the eavestroughs and foundations at the back of the house (still dry!). I turned around and he was right there, less than ten feet behind me. So still, he didn't even blink. Was he there the whole time? Hopefully he's moved somewhere safer now.

A week later I was taking the garbage out at dusk, and I noticed the neighbour had a new chimney. I looked again and there was not one, but two raccoons way up on the roof of the second level, with all four ears pointed straight at me! We are just grateful that they like the neighbours roof better than ours!

So, that is me mostly caught up now. As I said, Brinton Hall is well along and I'll post that on Sunday. I may need some advice...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tranquil - A Finish!

aka My Secret Purple
Guild Challenge Quilt
(with butterfly)

Well, it was down to the wire, but I finished it on time!

Tranquil (42" x 49", 107 x 125 cm)
Back in January I showed you the crayon I got -- violet -- for my Guild's crayon challenge. The idea of the challenge was to use a range of values in the colour of your crayon, and for the crayon to be the predominant colour in the project. There was no limit on what kind of project you could make. My intention from the start was to make something that I like, even if it turned out not to be my favourite colour. I don't really mind purple, but I hardly ever buy it, so I went online for these purple batiks.

I searched through my photos for inspiration, and decided on this one of our lilac:

Sujata Shah's book Cultural Fusion Quilts arrived at around the same time. Her leaf-shaped blocks reminded me of the big leaf in this photo, so I used her pattern "Winter," in my colour scheme.

I followed the pattern almost exactly, and it went quickly. Sujata's technique is a fun, easy-going way to start curved piecing. It was after I made these blocks that I was inspired to make the curvy churn dash blocks I showed in February.

Sujata quilted her quilt with straight lines about 1" (2.5 cm) apart. For several years now I've been admiring all the closely straight-line quilted modern quilts out there, and I decided this would be a good time to try it. I bought 6 different variegated 28 wt Aurifil threads (alas no photo). My plan was to blend together the solids and batiks by artistically shading the different threads down through the piece.

Turquoise, purple and a little yellow at the top...

...and some greens and forest-y shades at the bottom:

The line spacing ranges from 1/8" to 3/8", and I used a long stitch (7 per inch) to keep the thread on top of the quilt as much as possible. The corrugated texture is wonderful, and in places the light weight batiks look smocked. I did plan to do it at home with my walking foot, but when time was getting shorter I went back to the long arm rental place. This 28 wt Auriful thread is not ideal for a long arm -- it broke three times and left a ton of lint behind. But, three hours rental is better than three weeks slog at home!

The most time consuming and picky thing was the binding. With all those straight quilting lines, the binding has to be straight too! I also used three fabrics to shade the binding light to dark, same as the quilt.

For the back, I was finally able to use this purple birdcage fabric that Connecting Threads sent me by mistake one time:

I thought I would never use it, but it is perfect for this! And now that it is in context, I really like it too.

This is my fifth finished quilt, and it feels like a good step forward. I had a plan, I stuck to the plan, everything I planned turned out as hoped, and I finished on time! So that is very satisfying. :D

And our lilac is in bloom again, which is good timing:

It's getting taller! Last year the butterflies loved it:

This year I haven't seen one butterfly yet, although now that I say that I'll probably see one later today. I think our cold snap in April threw the schedule off a little. Ann and Cathy's Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up spreads awareness of the issues facing butterflies and butterfly habitats, plus it is just fun, so you'll be able to check that out here, tomorrow (I hope!).

Plus, the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (AHIQ) link up is still on, so today I can do two for one!

Next up, I still have a ton of binding to sew, and then some more finishes to share! Although, I am dying to do some more piecing as well...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Butterflies

The Kaleidoscope of Butterflies continues this month, and I've been stitching all weekend to get my next butterfly block done.

I'm glad this link up came along! I've been feeling a paralyzing amount of angst about the fabric choices for this project. But, these stitched sections are all decided, so I can do them now, and worry about the rest later. And I have a feeling that once these are done, and I can put everything up on the wall together, it will be easy to see what's next. Or at least, easier.
This is Block 2 of Leanne Beasley's stitchery quilt, Down in the Garden:

There was a lot of stitching on this one! And most of it yellow and gold. I seem to be on a yellow theme right now. But, given that this is the scene outside today...

 ...I think it balances out. No real life butterflies here! A spring green needleturn butterfly will have to be enough for now:

For more kaleidoscopes and butterflies, check out the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up, right here.

Monday, February 1, 2016


I know it looks like I've done very little hand stitching since my summer break, but it's not true! It's just that most of my hand stitching time has gone into my English Paper Piecing project, Texas Star. I'll be glad to see the end of that one!

I've been dying to get back to some embroidery, so when Ann (Fret Not Yourself) mentioned that she and Cathy (Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting) are doing a Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up this week, I immediately thought of this project, Down in the Garden by Leanne Beasley. (Click here to see all the posts on this project so far.) Last spring I finished the four birdhouse stitchery blocks, and the large centre panel is also stitched. Now I have the four watering can blocks to do. I finished the first one yesterday:

The big hold up on these has been the needleturn applique butterflies. You can see that I fussy cut the wings from a variety of Kaffe fabrics -- Roman Glass, Millefiore, and Paperweight. So that is a little trickier, but the main challenge has been the applique stitch. I want it to be invisible, and after some trial and error I settled on ladder stitch with 100 wt silk thread in light grey. I can't do more than one butterfly a day. And then I wonder if it's worth the effort, and that slows things down more. But, now that I look at it again, I do think it's worked well.

Once the applique is done, it's a relief to fill in the rest of the stitching:

In some light it seems to me that the Tsukineko ink that I used to paint in the design is starting to fade. I don't mind, because I do want the stitching to stand out. But as I write this, I'm thinking that maybe it's just the white fibres in the Kona PFD fabric that are starting to get fuzzy while I stitch. I will say the fabric is really holding up well to stitching. I don't use a hoop, and it hasn't puckered at all.

Who knows? If the butterfly link up continues, I may get the next three blocks done too! Two butterflies per block. In the meantime, you can see a whole variety of butterflies in the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies right here. Gotta love that name!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

DitG Pink Birdhouse

Here's the second birdhouse stitchery from Leanne Beasley's stitchery quilt, Down in the Garden. Now that it is summer it so nice to be able to take things out and photograph them in the sunshine. What a difference!

Although it is not this obvious in real life, you can see in the photo above that the green Pigma micron pen that I used to mark the stitching lines did run a bit when it was painted over with the pale yellow Tsukineko ink. I have read complaints that the blue Pigma pen tends to run as well. I assumed that there was some chemical in the Tsukineko ink that was to blame, but maybe it is just the blue Pigma ink that is unstable. Anyway, I don't mind it here, I think it adds to the atmosphere a bit.

The flowers are simple chain stitch lazy daisies with long anchoring stitches, and the buds are also short, round detached chain stitches.

I really like the curling vines on these birdhouses. It's a lot of flowers! But I made a push last night so I could get it in just under the wire for WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network. Why? Because this week will be Monika Kinner-Whalen's last week running it, and next week, I have agreed to take over! Yes, another Monica. I am excited, because I have a lot of ideas for it.

Out in the backyard, our young lilac is putting on its best show so far:

And, while I was out there taking photos, this butterfly came to visit:

Lucky shot! Except for the blog name (and resize), the photo is completely unedited. Don't you love that combination of lilac and sky blue?

Friday, May 1, 2015

DitG Tagore

In addition to the large embroidered blocks that anchor Leanne Beasley's stitchery quilt, Down in the Garden, there are little bits of stitching scattered all around it. I really like these little details that are stitched over printed fabric, so there are two layers of interest. The fabric is from Tamara Kate's 2013 collection, Flight Patterns.

I intended to use these medium dark blue flowers all over the quilt, but it turned out that they didn't work elsewhere, so this is the only place they remain:

The quote is from Indian writer and painter Rabindranath Tagore's Poems on Time. Wikipedia also has this nice piece of synchronicity, written exactly 100 years ago:
Who are you, reader, reading my poems a hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.
Open your doors and look abroad.
From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.
In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across an hundred years.
The Gardener, 1915.[165]

These butterfly sections will be scattered around the quilt, while the contrasting bee quote is featured in the large centre block. You haven't seen it since the end of Ink Week last fall, but it is now almost done. I just have a little of the lettering left. But, I also want to do it justice with some good photos, so it will need some sunshine as well. With luck, next week!

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.
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