Friday, 9 March 2018

Drop-Dead Gorgeous!

"Arcadia Avenue" is exactly that.
The colours sing against a dark background, and the blocks - well!   Intricate piecing pushes this quilt over the top!

My client requested a feathered wreath in each block, and I was certainly game!
It seemed like a smart way to enhance the quilt. Still custom, but less intensive than designing something different for every block.

The blocks are quite large (as you can see, below), so I needed a large-scale plan.

Hatching the Plan
  • Step one - make a bunch of small doodles to generate ideas.
  • Step two - draw the best ideas at actual size.
Pretty quickly I could see what I liked (and didn't like) for this quilt.

Executing the Plan

A stitched spine kept the inner and outer feathers of the wreath tidy. A chalked boundary helped keep the wreath nice and round.

I used an acrylic template as a stitch guide for the spine, and a somewhat more humble foam plate for chalking the boundary line. (...officially a tool once the pin was added for centering, right? Yep!)

The chalk line also acted as a pretend-spine for the outer ring of feathers, added to fill the remaining space in the block.

(You can see what I mean in the picture, below. Notice the wreath in the center, and the filler fronds around the outside edge.)

I was pleased with how great the feathers looked in every, single block!
(Everything is just a theory until the needle goes into the fabric!)

See what I mean?

Giant wishbones were used in the background between the blocks. Their straight lines provide a foil for the feathers, and they don't pull attention away from the stars of the show.

Generous (gigantic!) feathers flow along the top and bottom borders, and also appear in the skinny "filler" triangles along the sides of the quilt.

Here is what the top looked like before it was quilted - I was a little nervous about poking a million holes in this baby. (Ulp!)

But all's well that ends well!

Linking up with:
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Uh oh. Another Fiber Addiction???

I know. Eleventy-billion projects already on the go . . .
But, a wet felting workshop called my name . . . and I had to listen! (wouldn't you???)

After a test piece to learn the process, we had time to make a small composition.
I created a scene from my imagination, rolling, pulling, layering, and teasing fibers into place, excited to see what would happen next!

Composing with wool

Ohmygosh, I LOVED that part of the process!

After watering, agitating, and hardening, my little pile of fibers became a piece of felt!

My felted landscape

This process is so fast, compared to quilting! And equally engaging. I could be in trouble here. Ha!

Luckily, supplies are simple and readily available. It's the wool roving that would need to be gathered and hoarded. Which opens the door to collecting silk fibers and other embellishments. Oh, my!

I've started with ordering a book about combining wet felting and stitch . . . aaaaannnnd now I'm officially hooked! :-)

In the Studio

It's Youth Challenge time again!
My granddaughter has made her plan, and was able to pull most of the fabric she'll need from her own stash!

To keep things fair, her work will remain under wraps until after the viewer's choice vote in April. Suffice it to say, she will be a regular studio guest for the next few weeks - yay!

From brain to paper!

I've continued working small, trimming a whole lot of one-inch hst's. (more on this later)

Tiny trimming!

And, finally, a "before and after" of a pretty client quilt:

Client quilt, before quilting

And, after quilting - Fireworks panto

Linking up with:

Show off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Hear Me Roar!

Always accept a challenge. You never know what you can do until you stretch!

I've seen this Jungle Abstractions Lion beautifully quilted using a ton of ruler work, but that wasn't quite the right approach for this quilter.

So. I decided to create something to suit my crazy freehand style instead!
(And, hopefully speed up the process and keep the quilting affordable for my client, too!)

First I looked at some photos of real lions to observe their markings, ears, and manes.
Inspired, I decided to start with some "nostrils", "whiskers", and the spotty area between the nose and the mouth.

I kept the lines in the face fairly graphic and uniform so they would contrast with the flowing motif I had planned for the mane.

The contrast in style helped define the face so it wouldn't become visually "lost" in the composition.

And, Oh My Gosh! I love the mane!!!

The eyes didn't need expressive quilting - ditching secured the piecing without interfering with their built in "sparkle".

What to do with the dark shapes at the edge of the mane? Pretend they're "shadows" and repeat the zigzag motif used on the upper lip!

This quilt finished at about five feet, square.
(chair included for scale - not because it's beautiful! ha!)

Oh, and the backing is perfect!

Now for my favourite part - the BEFORE and AFTER shots!

Before Quilting:

After Quilting:

OH, and the quilt that waited and waited? Also finished!

Every ditch was stitched to give a crisp finish to the seams.

As its owner said - we make a great team! (I'm so happy she's pleased!)

ROAR! What a great start to my week!!!

Linking up with:
Main Crush Monday @ Cooking up Quilts
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt

Try, Learn & Grow!
Carole (also on Instagram under my blog name, Fresh off the Frame, in case you play there, too!)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Moon Glow

Moon Glow was made as a companion piece to Firefly Dance --- you could say it's a twig off the old tree! (har!)

It was commissioned as a Christmas gift by the couple who own Firefly Dance, so I couldn't share right away.
And then I plum forgot!

As with Firefly Dance, I pieced the background and then created the images by removing colour.

I started by laying out the basic composition.

Then I covered the areas where I wanted to keep the colour of the cloth and applied the discharge product.

I thought it would be fun to play with positive and negative images over the edge of the moon.
To accomplish that, I did the discharge in two steps.

Step one preserved colour in the moon (as shown above), and step two removed colour from the background.

I originally thought the piece would be square, but as it developed it grew in length to make room for a more interesting composition.

As is my preference, "sketchy stitching" around the images helped define them while keeping an organic feel.

A touch of foil added the "glow". It's difficult to capture glow with my phone, but this kind of shows it . . .

Moon Glow now resides at the other end of the country, where I hope its new owner finds it pleasing!

Linking Up With:
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Deadline Fail

Almost made it.
I thought entry for the National Juried Show closed at midnight on the 31st, but in fact it closed mid-afternoon.
Here's how close I was when I thought to double check the rules - only to discover that time was UP.

Well, drat. Missed it by the skin of my teeth.

Oh well.
I knew it would be nip and tuck when I impulsively decided to try for the deadline at the last minute, but hey, no regrets!

I'm signed up for an International Mini Exchange, and making this quilt helped me figure out a few things I can apply to the next one.

But in the meantime, I'm going to bask in a happy finish!

Here it is, BEFORE quilting:

And here it is AFTER quilting:

I ditched absolutely everything using invisible thread before quilting each area with matching thread.

You can see the density of the quilting on the back:

And best of all, it looks like THIS from the back when it's held up to the light!

Yep. I'm a nerd. These things make me happy. :-)

Mostly, I used the piecing to guide my needle, but a bit of chalk helped in the borders. As well as marking the spine, I marked the first three feathers in each section to keep me pointed in the right direction. I did NOT want to get turned around and have to rip stitches!

Did I mention that the corner stars finished at two inches? Some of the pieces are about the size of my fingernail!

The larger blocks finished at a whopping four inches - which actually DOES feel large in comparison!

One of the things I figured out = how to apply a skinny double-fold binding for a finish that's in proportion with the quilt.

>>>Trim the quilt to leave an eighth-of-an-inch seam allowance.

>>>Cut binding at 1.5 inches (fold and press as usual).

>>>Set up the sewing machine to stitch close to the edge without "falling off" the quilt!
  • I used my zigzag foot, and moved the needle all the way to the right.
    The foot gripped the quilt and helped feed it through evenly, and the needle position accomplished the eighth-inch seam allowance. (In case you were wondering!)
>>>Apply the binding, as usual.

The International Mini Exchange has a more stringent block size guideline than the NJS. A three-inch finish is the largest allowable for traditional quilts.

The whole concept behind a miniature quilt is to scale down what could be a full-sized design.

My mini finished at 18 inches.

I could successfully scale it up and make a king-sized quilt using this design. Each of the center stars would be made of six inch squares (instead of one inch), and the whole quilt would finish at 108 inches square. Perfect for a king bed!

So. This little quilt will hang in my studio instead of in the NJS, and that's okay.
My good friend Marsha pointed out that I'm well ahead of the game for next year. (Right??? Gotta love that positive spin!!)

Linking Up With:
TGIFF (Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday) @ Devoted Quilter
(because, TGIF, for reals!!)
Whoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
(again, Whoop Whoop for reals, people! So happy it's finished, after such an intense quilting marathon!)
Show off Saturday @ Sew Can She

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

"Do or Die!"

Our littlest grandchild seems to pick up every bug going around - - - which he then "generously" shares with us.
Last time we thought maybe it was the plague. ugh. (And the poor little monkey is sick again with something new.)

Anyway, for me it's meant slow going in the quilting department. The same quilt that was on the frame last week is still there, waiting for its big finish.

This is the "before" shot - it's actually about 3/4 finished in real life.

This was my view while recovering:

This book, suggested by Tracy, was perfect for taking my mind off my misery.

After a couple of books (well, three) my head became less muzzy, so back to the studio I went.

But not to the frame.

At the last minute, I decided to make a mini quilt to submit to a show. IF it's done in time.
The deadline is the 31st.
Of January.
I know.
What. was. I. thinking?

Little stars will finish at 2 inches, while the larger ones will finish at a whopping four!


Amazingly, it is pieced and I've started the quilting. Tomorrow it's do or die!
(If I don't make the deadline the idea of entering will die - not me I hope!)

Wish me good luck!
(and, please tell me I'm not the only nut to do these crazy, spontaneous projects!)

Linking up with:
Monday Making @ Love, Laugh, Quilt

Try, Learn, & Grow!