Showing posts with label El Camino SoCal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label El Camino SoCal. Show all posts

Friday, July 28, 2017

High Summer Stitching

Doesn't look like a lake, does it? That's Lake Ontario, looking southwest down the length of the lake from Bluffer's Park in Toronto. We've had some wonderful high summer weather this week, and I took my camera out for a drive.

Here are the Scarborough Bluffs, with lovely puffy white clouds (aka source material):

And the marina, with puffy clouds and shiny boats:

A good day! Some memories to re-visit when it's below freezing this winter.

Inside, I finally finished edge stitching the fusible applique blocks that I last shared in June, here and here. They are for my quilt "El Camino SoCal," based on the cover quilt from Nancy Rink's book El Camino Real. And even though summer is still in full swing, you can see that my sunny patch on the wall is getting narrower:

After considerable thought, I decided to top stitch the flowers as if they had individual petals. It was a lot easier to run straight and pivot, rather than inching around all the inside curves.

I want this quilt to have a bright, casual feel, so I just stitched the petals by eye.

I did the same thing on the smaller "forget-me-nots."

The yellow (and citron) centres are reverse applique, which is why the top stitching is only on the purple.

Here's the whole block stitched:

And the last block of the five I've done so far:

They remind me of poppies.

I think this block benefited quite a lot from the top stitching. It really helped to separate and define all the light coloured leaves.

And I'm still happy with my choice of dark red thread for all the edge stitching. It shows up well on every colour.

These blocks have been lying flat on my sewing table for two months, because I didn't want to fold them until they were stitched. I've had to move them every time I sew. Now I can finally put them away!

I feel like I'm at a bit of a crossroads now, and I'm not sure which project I'll pick up next. It's been nothing but this project and Technicolor Turkey for two months, so maybe it's time to give some love to some of my other projects!

And the next Ad Hoc Improv Quilters challenge is to use words in a quilt, which is right up my alley. You can read about it here. I have at least three wordy ideas that I've been sitting on, and I thought it would be easy to just pick one. But...I'm feeling the need to be more spontaneous. So we'll see what happens!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sunflower Block

With all the ups and downs I've had on this project, this is the block that kept me going. I love sunflowers. And I have to say, it's very satisfying to finally see them coming to life!

The block is fused, but not stitched. The project is my adaptation of Nancy Rink's "In Remembrance," from her book El Camino Real.

Rink's blocks finish at 14" x 18" (36 x 46 cm). I have enlarged mine to finish at 20" x 24" (51 x 61 cm). This changed the proportions of the block to make it relatively a little wider. But, since there is no full size layout in the book, you have to figure it out yourself anyway. So, I decided to make it work better for me.

About a year ago I started to needleturn this block in the original size, and I found my prepped middles in the box with my fabric:

 I didn't get very far, only one is sewn! But, I liked the colours, so I used the same fabric combinations for my enlarged, fused, version. I put these back in the box for now. Maybe I will make a pillow later.

Anyway, that's five of nine now fused. You may click here to see all the previous posts on this project. Now there are four more vase arrangements left to do. It is a heap of fun!

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

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wooly and White

I think it's going to be a long and rambling post today, so be warned!

I've finished one of my Little Wooly Baskets, Block 3:

I'm doing my own thing with the colours, so I went with my signature Black Eyed Susans for the large flowers, and sort of a rosehip or bittersweet thing for the berries. You can find links to all the patterns for this free design by Dawn Heese in my last post right here.

In the end, I stitched it down the same way as always, with a single strand of co-ordinating DMC floss. But I did try some other ways:

I like the look of dark blanket stitching when other people do it, so I gave it a try. But, it really looked out of place on my block. I don't think it fits with my lighter, brighter colour scheme. It might have worked better if I stitched everything that way, but I had already sewn down the basket body with the light thread. I also tried perle cotton a few different ways, but the only things that stuck were the little crosses on the berries.

The coloured wools for the flowers and leaves are all by Wooly Lady. A local store once had many of their pillow kits on sale for half price, and I bought a few! I really loved the bright hand-dyed colours and stylized natural designs. But, it turned out that I'm too allergic to wool to sew a large, all wool project like that. So, I use a little here and there for smaller projects like this. When the backgrounds are cotton, I'm usually ok.

The basket fabrics are from my old jackets. I threw the whole, wool, jackets in the washing machine so they would felt a little, hung them to dry, and then cut them apart. Considering that I only ever use small pieces, I probably have a lifetime supply of wool now!

This past week, though, I've had new projects springing out all over. I did no improv sewing this month. Instead, I spent two days planning and rough cutting pieced backgrounds for a new applique project:

The hearts are Post-It notes. Pretty and functional!

I've planned these down to the inch, and I hope the result will look completely random! So, not improv at all, I'm afraid. The backgrounds are from a few Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements collections, and the applique will be these fabrics that I got in September:

Painter's Canvas by Laura Gunn

Yes, it's the exact same colour scheme as the Wooly Baskets. I can't seem to let it go! But, I've been thinking about it for more than a year now, so I'm glad to get it started.

And that's not all! In January I spent a lot of time looking at all the patterns offered by Gay at Sentimental Stitches. She has lots of great applique patterns, but the ones that caught my eye were another free Block of the Month, the Vintage Blooms stitchery designs. You can find all the patterns for that right here.

This is a very easy stitchery project that once again has a lot of scope for personalization. I spent a couple of days re-designing it in January, and then I managed to file away my drawings and get back to some existing projects. But, recent days have been very stressful here at Casa Monica, where we have been having a lot of trouble with my elderly father. So, a very easy, "low volume" project seemed like just the ticket.

My idea for Vintage Blooms was to try it in white work:

I've been admiring white work quilts all over lately, including Julia's here, and this one at Keepsake Quilting. I really like those low volume batiks!

For the white stitching to show up well, it has to be heavy. So, I enlarged the pattern to 130%, and I'm stitching with four strands of white DMC floss. The background is some of the Connecting Threads fabric I bought in the fall for Stars for a New Day. Now that I've redesigned that one too, I will have lots of the light fabric left over. I used it for a test run of the white stitching because it was handy, and it was so perfect that I'm going to use it for all 20 blocks.

They are fast to sew. A second one is almost done too:

Right now I'm thinking of using some pale colours in the setting for these blocks, so it won't be completely white and beige. Earlier this month I was hoping to avoid buying any more new fabric this year, but after the past two weeks here, I feel like I deserve it! So, I've ordered some of this, from the same Keepsake Quilting catalog, for the setting. I hope it will be light enough!

And, I will just gloss over the fat quarters I bought at one of my local quilt shops last week...

More neutrals! But hopefully, not another new project. :D

(Not yet, anyway.)

I have found that for me it works best to just buy for stash when I see fabric I like, and then start projects with mostly stash fabric. Often if I buy a few yards of one fabric for a specific project, I will change my mind about it before the order arrives! But then, another new idea will come along that is perfect too, just as Vintage Blooms will use my extra fabric from Stars for a New Day. It's all good.

My plan for Easter Sunday is to spend some quiet time on one or both of these hand stitching projects. Let's hope that materializes! And check out all the other Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts tomorrow too. Happy stitching!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What I Did This Summer

...And What I Didn't...

This foundation-pieced pine cone was designed by Cyrille Zellweger, who has an Etsy shop full of cute camping-themed paper piecing patterns. I bought several of them last fall...

...and promised myself that I would make them this summer. Full of enthusiasm, I started the pine cone right after my last post in June. I'd really enjoyed all the paper piecing I'd done previously, so I thought I would take it to the next level. My plan was to make the entire project with fabric by Art Gallery, which is really beautiful -- lightweight and with a high thread count. And it is great for paper piecing. The only problem... that they seem to have banned forest green from their production line. So that didn't work, but fortunately I still had a lot of my trusty Kaffe Aboriginal Dots in forest green left over from Sedona Star 1.0. I used that in the first photo above, and also in my second block:

You can also see that I used a medium scale modern print for the aqua sky. The colour in the pine cone photo is more accurate. It was an experiment, but I think it worked quite well.

But, even though they didn't take too long and all the problems were solved, I lost interest at that point. The thing I like best about paper piecing is the rhythm of sewing all those points. You can pre-cut your strips, and just sew -- light, dark, light, dark. When I looked at the rest of the blocks, I could see that every piece was a different size, and that templates would probably be needed, and it looked more like stop-and-go city driving than driving on the freeway. So I put it aside. I'm not saying I won't go back to it, but it wasn't the big summer project that I planned.

The big event in Toronto this summer was the Pan Am/Parapan Games. Although I didn't seek them out, the Games still found me. Near the end of the last week I was driving home from the grocery store, far from any of the venues, when I passed a couple of cyclists from Chile dressed from head to toe in their team colours. They caught up to me at a red light, and I could see that they were having a fantastic time, laughing and smiling from ear to ear. Toronto cyclists are not usually that happy, lol. It was like seeing a couple of flamingos among the pigeons, and a very nice moment.

It was also in July that I became very motivated to work on Texas Star again. Surprised me! After reading EPP guru Karen's blog for a while, I noticed that she sections her large quilts in rows, and then joins the wide rows at the end. My diamond section experiment was a total failure, but I decided to try Karen's approach. So far it's been a lot easier to manage, and I now have 245 of the stars joined up:

That's 99 more than last time, and there are just 88 left now. Isn't it funny how the numbers keep working out?

In my Summer Break post I thought I might work on Down in the Garden (DitG), Jacks and Cats, and Best Friends Forever (BFF) over the summer, but I've done very little on any of them. I think I need to pack DitG away for a while, because I've totally run out of steam on it. I may still pick up Jacks this fall. BFF is on hold until Texas Star is done, and I'll probably be happy to get back to it by then. I'm embarrassed to say that I still haven't bound those Homegrown placemats, but at least the potholders are done:

I really like them, actually, they're like fun little mini quilts.

And, over the next three Fridays I have three finished flimsies to show you, starting with Collector. I was hoping to bring that up to five, but I promised myself that I would make a big push to get some things quilted this fall, so that's a higher priority. But then again, after less than a week of catching up in Blogland, I was captured by the Ad Hoc Improv Quilter's link up that Ann and Kaja are starting. I knew immediately what I wanted to make for that! And then the next day this order of Laura Gunn's Painters Canvas, for a completely different project, arrived in the mail:

It is awesome, so you can understand how I am torn between too many options.

I know it seems like I am picking up right where I left off before the summer, but the long break from blogging was actually very helpful, and I will probably do it again next year. It gave me chance to step back and gain some perspective on all my projects. I'm tired of working on ideas that are three or four years old, or more, so I'm very motivated to clear out some old UFOs this fall, and get more current with my projects. We'll see how it shakes out!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...