Showing posts with label Rosalie Quinlan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rosalie Quinlan. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BFF Month 4.2 Stitching

Yesterday I was finally able to put the last few stitches into the second motif from Month 4 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever. It's been a frustrating time since my last post because I spent most of last week flat on my back after a stretch intended to make my back better made it much, much worse. I should know by now! No machine sewing to show, but at least I was able to do this hand stitching.

I tried a different stitch combination on the leafy border this time. Here's a (very dark) photo of the work in progress:

It looks like the middle of the night, doesn't it? Actually it's the reflection of the blue sky through my north facing window. This project has been a real trial to photograph...

But anyway, you can see that the pattern had the same rounded leaves that so far I've been backstitching. I did still backstitch the leaves in the centre for variety. For the leafy border I used a light green twisted chain stitch for the middle of the leaves, and a darker green regular chain stitch around it to preserve the feeling of the "line." It took a few tries to get right, but I'm very happy with it!

And, since it worked so well, I tried the same technique on the tulips at the sides:

I'm pretty sure I'll be doing this again.

I'm halfway through the next motif as well, but I'm keen to get back to my sewing machine now that my back is feeling better. And I'm finally getting organized on this project too. I'll try to post that one next!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Left or Right?

The other day I sat down to do the blanket stitch on this flower, and I suddenly thought that I'd been doing it wrong up until now! I've always stitched blanket stitch from left to right, I guess because I saw it that way somewhere. But I'm right handed, and I've been finding that stitching is generally easier when I go from right to left. It was! It's a much more natural way for me to hold the needle.

Do you ever struggle with a stitch, only to turn it in a different direction and have it all fall into place? It was an interesting experience.

Anyway, this is the first motif from Month 4 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever.

I managed to get some purples back in the mix this time, and I added the lazy daisies to try to minimize the "sliced eggs" look of the ovals. I think that stitching them in green helped too.

I'm starting to think that Best Friends "Forever" may be prophetic on this project! Maybe after this month is completed I'll put it aside in favour of this project with the Flight Patterns fabric that I showed you earlier in the year. I have an immediate use for that project, but not for BFF, so I may re-prioritize. Despite my best intentions, I've got new projects sprouting out all over again, and my sewing area is getting chaotic. Time to clean it up and make some choices!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

BFF Month 3 Finished

Here's the last motif for Month 3 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever. I am continuing to "Canadianize" the motifs where I can, so it seemed clear that the girl with the pigtails should be a redhead like Anne of Green Gables.

But I didn't know what to do with the character on the right. Shades of purple, perhaps? Then I remembered this illustration from Frances Tyrrell. If you look closely you can see one of the fairies in a very similar hat and tunic. Maybe it is a standard fairy outfit? Anyway, I went with green and I'm quite pleased with the result.

I also tried to do the flowers in light purple, but it made the piece too cold, and I wanted it to be sunny. So once again, there is no purple here. I'll try again in Month 4! Although, Month 3 was not completely purple-free:

Regular readers may have noticed that is it just three days since I said I would be packing this project away. But, after several days of doing nothing but Texas Star in the evenings, my hands were complaining. So I added BFF back in the mix so I don't strain one particular set of muscles. There will be one other change too -- the Trick or Treat baskets were not as "ready to start" as I thought. I may need more background fabric. So, I think I'll go back to Home Sweet Home, which at least is all blocked out, and the fabric choices are done.

The next post, though, will probably be some snowmen, because that's my plan for tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BFF Month 3.3 Stitching

Before I pack it away, here's the third motif from Month 3 of Best Friends Forever, all finished.

I experimented with a couched lattice in the centre of the motif. This was my first try at a lattice, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I'll be using it again in other projects!

The fourth motif is almost finished too, but I'm going to stick to my new plan and pack it away while I work on L'Herbier. I hope that knowing this one is so close to the finish will motivate me to keep on track with L'Herbier. Something else to look forward to!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Back to Best Friends Forever

After a long hiatus, I have been working on Best Friends Forever again for the past few days. It sure feels easy, after all the fiddly little bits on Sweet Hearts, and the heavy stitching on L'Herbier! Mainly, though, I was in the mood for the bright spring colours again.

These two motifs are from Month 3, and were already mostly done when I put it away last year. The next two have further to go, but who knows? Maybe I am on a roll. :D

Friday, December 6, 2013

BFF Month 2.4 Stitching

Without further ado, here's the final motif for Month 2 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever:

I am continuing with the Northern Cardinal colouration on all the birds, even though they don't all have crests. Northern Cardinals mate for life, and they are rarely far apart, so they feel appropriate for the best friends forever theme. Plus, they are one of the few species of birds that stay near our house all year. The others tend to fly south for the winter, or north for the summer.

I know the photo is dark again too. Yes, it's still very cloudy around here! I had to use the flash for the next photo:

The next steps for Month 2 will be to wash the whole thing again, cut the motifs apart, line them, and piece them into the blocks. Plus, Month 3 is already underway!

Monday, December 2, 2013

BFF Month 2.3 Stitching

Here's the apple tree from Month 2 of Best Friends Forever, all finished. I think I've already said it all about this one! I will admit, though, that the solid apples in padded satin stitch do look pretty nice. :)

You can see by the dark photo that after an early taste of crisp January sunshine and snow, we are back to our usual grey and rainy December weather here in Toronto!

The last motif for Month 2 is also almost done, but I ran out of the grey-brown thread, DMC 840, so I'll have to dash over to the store some time this week. It's annoying, because somehow when I stocked up on thread for this project, I forgot that one! Well, I guess I'm lucky to have the option of a nearby store, I know many don't. On I go!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

BFF Month 2.2 Stitching

Here, finally, is the next instalment of the Month 2 stitching on Best Friends Forever:

I did a lot of experimenting on the big hearts here before I hit upon a stitch that looked the way I wanted it to. I wanted a lot of texture so the hearts would stand out even though I was using a light colour.

When I'm "shopping" for a new stitch, I always come back to Country Bumpkin's A - Z of Embroidery Stitches, vols. 1 & 2:

These are probably the most used books on my bookshelf. They are spiral bound inside the cover, so they lie flat, and the detailed photographs are excellent.

Twisted chain stitch turned out to be perfect for this design. It works up quickly, and I found it to be very forgiving -- it creates a fairly straight line even when your stitches aren't! It's worked on both sides of the line...

...and can also be used for applique.

For the flowers I stuck with the stitches I've been using since Month 1:

The petals and leaves are done in back stitch with four strands of floss, the flower centres are tiny chain stitch, and the stems are stem stitch, naturally!

Regular readers may be wondering what happened to the apple tree from Month 2? After much procrastination it is now well under way! Here's another preview:

In the long run I think the padded satin stitch will prove to be a bad choice here, because I'm sure it will catch on something. But I'm committed now! Hopefully the whole tree will be done soon. ;)

In the mean time, happy stitching!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

BFF Setting

So, there's kind of a long story behind the idea for my setting for Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever stitcheries. Feel free to scroll to the end to see the final plan, and if you wonder how I came up with that idea, you can come back to the top and I'll tell you now. :-)

In the summer of 2012 I had two new English Paper Piecing projects in mind -- Texas Star, which is now well under way, and Botanic Roses. Botanic Roses was a reworking of this old UFO that I started almost ten years ago:

This quilt design was on the cover of an old issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting. Each block has 72 pieces! All are hand cut from templates and hand pieced. For me, the cutting was the worst part of that, but there was also a problem with the white-on-white background fabric, which was printed with gummy ink that was terrible for hand sewing. The quilt ground to a halt.

When I learned about English Paper Piecing, and I saw that you could buy these kite shapes precut, I wanted to revive the project, but with a more disciplined colour scheme. Botanic Roses was born. My idea was to interpret my favourite dishes as a quilt:

I thought this would be a good way to restrict the colour palette, but right from the start I had trouble showing all the detail in the rose. I just hated that clumsy hexagon in the middle of the block. I tried many variations:

I played with cutouts:

Finally I realized that the batik fabrics I bought for the project were too busy, and they would blend out all the tricky piecing, so that would just be a waste of time. The whole project went back on the shelf.

This summer, along came BFF, and I suddenly realized that the clumsy hexagon which gave me so much trouble on Botanic Roses, would be just right for the hexagon stitcheries:

It fits perfectly!

So, there you have it. Having seen the photos now, though, I am pretty sure that I will change the background from this pale green solid to something a little darker and with a slight pattern. I didn't want to detract from the blocks at all, but now I see that this doesn't do them justice. One of the threads I'm using is a cooler, jade green, and I'm thinking that may be a good background colour too. Now I have something to shop for again!

Ironically, some of the yellow fabrics that I bought for this quilt have the same gummy ink that set me back on the original version of this quilt almost ten years ago! I can't believe I made the same mistake again! Fortunately it is only here and there, so hopefully it will not be as bad.

And, Botanic Roses is still not dead, I have a new plan for that one too. But there is a fair bit to get done before that...

The Needle and Thread Network has not seen me in a while, so I am linking up with WIP Wednesday there. Happy stitching!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BFF Month 2.1 Stitching

With the Thanksgiving holiday last weekend, there has been very little stitching going on around here. Instead, I had a full week of Thanksgiving planning, shopping, cleaning, baking and cooking. So much production for one meal! But, I have realized that I think I enjoyed the meal a lot more than those who just sat down and ate it, lol. You appreciate the details more when you understand what was involved!

It's been a little challenging to get back to business as usual, but last night I did manage to finish the first motif for Month 2 of Best Friends Forever:

This is probably the least interesting motif in the Month 2 set, but at least it was fast. And I did manage to squeeze in one new element:

These little purple buds are just circles, but I stitched them in blanket stitch to give them a little more presence and tie them together with the flowers from last month.

The next motif will be the apple tree. I decided to try out the apples in padded satin stitch:

In the lower left corner you can see the remains of a failed attempt at this! But, I secured the thread so firmly that it is melded with the fabric. So, like it or not, I am now committed to satin stitch for the apples! But, I did find that the padding acts as a stabilizer and the fabric didn't pucker, so I think it will work out ok. Stay tuned!

And, today I have managed to link up again with all the Canadian blogs for WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network. There's lots to see this week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BFF Month 1.4 Stitching

Monday was a very productive day for me. In addition to finishing off the Lima Beans, I went on to put the last stitches in Month 1 of Best Friends Forever. There's nothing like an extra cup of coffee during the day!

Today I tried to get some photos in the morning sun before it went behind the trees:

The photo's still a little shady, but let's call it "atmospheric." Here's the whole month:

The next step is to cut them all out and start work on the setting, which will be English Paper Pieced. Right now, though, I've started to stitch Month 2. I've been thinking about the colours for a month now, so I'm keen to see how they will look, but I absolutely would not let myself start until Month 1 was done. Good plan, I think!

It's Wednesday, so I'm linking up again to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network. Onwards!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

BFF Month 1.3 Stitching

Here's the third stitchery motif for Month 1 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever:

The only issue I've had so far with these patterns has been the gummy ink that they are printed with. It is very hard to stitch through. My solution has been to pick a side of the line and stick with it. For the most part, I've found that stitching on the outside of any curves is best, because the thread has a tendency to roll inwards and cover the line.

I've been stitching all the half pinwheel flowers to the outside of the line as well, which makes them a bit larger. So far, though, I still think they are pretty cute!

The fourth (and last) motif for this month is the teapot. I am chain stitching almost the whole thing, so it has been slow going. I'm hoping it will be done next week, but no promises!

This week I am linking once again to WIP Wednesday (which starts late Tuesday, if you are wondering) at The Needle and Thread Network.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

BFF Month 1.2 Stitching

Here's the next finished motif from Month 1 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever. I have already shown this while it was in progress, where I discussed the flowers, leaves and bird. The lettering is back stitch, done with two strands of floss. By breaking the back stitch down into two steps, instead of just one step worked from the front, I have finally managed to get it to be fairly consistent.

I am happy with it, anyway! The third one, the umbrella, is not far behind. The teapot will need a few more days. Onwards!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BFF Month 1.1 Stitching Finished!

Here's my first completed stitchery for Rosalie Quinlan's BOM, Best Friends Forever:

If you are familiar with the pattern, you can see I have made some variations. I am sticking with my Northern Cardinal colouration for the birds. This time I was able to include the brown female as well as the red male. Aren't their coral beaks pretty?

I have also decided to keep those small leaves on the stems open, rather than closing them in with satin stitch. I like the feathery, ferny effect this gives them:

These were back stitched with four strands of floss to balance them with the stems.

For the flowers I stuck with the half pinwheel petals that I showed you previously. This is a crazy quilting stitch that would normally be used as a seam treatment. It is sewn continuously, so it goes quickly:

I also used blanket stitch pinwheels on the round flowers:

I tried at least four variations on this flower before I was happy with it. I am sorry I didn't take photos of the rejects, sometimes it is interesting to see what didn't work too.

Finally, I want to show how I handled all those little crosses. Wretched things! I don't think they add anything to the design, and they're a time consuming pain in the neck. I elected to stitch them all in a very light blue, DMC 828, and try to blend them out as much as possible:

You can see that I couched down the centre of each cross. I'm hoping that this will prevent them from snagging when the quilt is used. It also gave me a little more thread on the back to work with when I tied each and every one of them off. After a while I did get into a rhythm with them. Good thing, because it looks like they appear on almost all the motifs!

So, one down, 31 to go. Hopefully the rest of Month 1 won't be far behind! I'm linking this post up with WIP Wednesday #104 at The Needle and Thread Network. Check out some of the other great blogs there!

Friday, August 16, 2013

BFF Progress

I haven't posted in a while, because although I'm still stitching away, there doesn't seem to be much to show. But, I figured I better at least show what there is, if you know what I mean. Month 1 of Best Friends Forever is coming along:

While I'm working on one motif I'll have an idea for a colour or stitch on another motif, so I've been working on them all together. But for a while now all other stitching has come to a halt, because I've become obsessed with preparing the background setting, which is English paper pieced. I've basted 60 x 2" hexagons:

I know the photo looks like just three hexagons, because I didn't want to take everything out of the bags. Trust me, there are 60 there! For Texas Star I don't pre-baste anything, it is all basted and sewn in one step. A number of these units for BFF have to be pre-basted, and I've been surprised at how fun it is! So, in addition to the hexagons, I basted a further 32 x 6 green 2" hexagon kites:

Some of the green 2" hexagon kites have already been joined up with two more yellow kites each to make these triangle units:

I've been piecing Texas Star with Superior's Kimono, 100 wt silk thread, which is completely invisible and perfect for all the different coloured fabrics in that project. But it's a strain to use, and I've been piecing this project, BFF, with regular 50 wt cotton thread instead. There are fewer colours in this project so it is easy to match the thread to the fabric. It is SO much easier to use! I think that's part of the reason I've been doing so much of it lately.

Somehow I managed to precut too many of the green pieces, and not enough of the yellow pieces, so I'll have to scrounge some more yellow from my stash down the road. But I have plenty to keep me busy for a while yet!

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!
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