Monday, March 26, 2012

A Vogue Knitting success

I just finished this "Drape Neck Top" from last year's Vogue Knitting.

The gap in the front lower edging is intended. I thought it looked odd, but decided to knit the top as designed. It's growing on me.

Here's a closeup of the drape neck treatment the magazine named the design for, and the ribbon-lace effect that splits at the "v" and travels up to the shoulders.

I had to take a few shots to try to capture the drape of the fabric and design. The blue color is closer to those I took in the sunlight with heavy shadows.

I started this project in December, as a break after a solid month working on that large throw - after two sets of the lace on the throw, I allowed myself a few rows on this one. The back was completed by the time I finally got the throw done.

The yarn is 100% cotton - I think this will be very comfortable and cool to wear when the weather warms up.

With our early spring, those hot days of summer seem like they are very near.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Joyce has a new quilt!

Joyce's quilt is completed except for a label - I told Joyce if the quilt is going to get a name, she gets to pick it.

I shipped the quilt to her on Tuesday and she got it today. On Monday, I put an old sheet on the slope of the driveway where it had no tree shadows to get a better picture of the colors than I could get in the studio - the quilt is too large to hang from my quilt display rack.

And of course there have to be a few pictures to show the quilting. I had the most fun with the curved rays in the accent triangles, and the triangles on the border made from the custom dyed fabric, by Vicki Welsh.

My goal was to keep the quilting graphic, fairly open, and to enjoy it, which I did.

Finally, I'll include one last view of the quilt in Joyce and Don's house - with Noni, since you always have to have a cat in quilt photos.

What's your next quilting project going to be Joyce?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Greenest Quilt ever

This quilt is an international cooperation. It's a new quilt for Dorry's son Casey. Casey's aunt Kerry - Dorry's sister - made the top, choosing fabrics to remind Casey of his New Zealand heritage. New Zealand landscapes are known for their beautiful intense greens, and green is Casey's favorite color.

The photos were lit to show the quilting and so some of the non-green seems to be highlighted by the camera. Trust me, this quilt is Green Green Green!

We picked an all over New Zealand-based motif called Rotorua - the name evokes pleasant family memories. This close up shows the curls in the leaf shapes.

Kerry made the top, I quilted it and sent it to Dorry, who is putting the binding on. I hope Casey likes his Serene Green reminder of his other home, New Zealand.

I am not quilting for hire anymore, but Kerry thanked me for my labors on this quilt with a very special gift from New Zealand just for me! It came sealed up in plastic, but there was something about it that made Lu very interested.

and Lily likewise. The yarn contains Merino wool - something New Zealand is famous for - but also a good percentage of soft Possum fiber.

The postcard from Kerry in both photos shows the New Zealand possum. It's not related to our North American marsupial possum except by name, so this is a very special yarn in our hemisphere. Kerry sent me plenty enough to make a long sleeved sweater.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lida Rose

For once I have a name for a quilt! The original block had four pinwheels and my first quilt in this series was named for a song. So I chose to think about musical themes, with Four-Part Harmony for my inspiration and landed on the barbershop quartets in The Music Man. Dorry chose the June Bride theme for these challenges, and Meredith Wilson's lyrics to Lida Rose include "I'll pop the question" and "I can hear the chapel bell chime." The link is to a You Tube version with the Buffalo Bills doing the duet of Lida Rose with Shirley Jones singing "Will I Ever Tell You."

So here she is, ready for display.

This side angle permits you to see the quilting on the dark part of the pinwheels, contrasted with my solution to the mis-matched seams on the light part. I wanted to push it to the background, but I often like to use channel stitching for contrast. I used simple stipple meander to create a border for the channel stitching I enclosed in an echoed triangle.

Now I can relax and look forward to seeing what the rest of the group did.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spectacular color!

Vicki Welsh's custom hand dyed fabric for Joyce's quilt arrived yesterday and it is gorgeous! Today I finished getting the quilt ready to start machine quilting. Vicki's piece could not be more perfect with the color wash Joyce created with all the triangles of red, purple and blue -

I've taken a couple of shots from closer up for Joyce to admire the new borders -

Vicki died a three-yard length of fabric so no piecing of this border was required. She put blue on both ends, red in the center, and a couple of shades of purple between on both sides. Here's a shot from the perspective of the bluest part of Joyce's quilt-

Usually, our camera turns purples into a weird red color. This time, it seems it got carried away with the reds, intensifying them so they look pixilated in this photo.

One taken from the opposite corner - I sent Vicki some sample triangles from the red and blue parts of this quilt - she filled in with the purples.

It was extremely easy and fast to get this custom piece made! Just as a reminder, Vicki's hand dyes can be purchased from her Etsy shop.

(earlier blog posts of Joyce's quilt can be seen by clicking on the "Joyce's New Quilt" label at the end of this post)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pinwheels ready for quilting

My June Bride: Rehearsal Dinner Pinwheels are ready for quilting.

Cold weather, snow, and a kitty cat not quite up to his normal little self to worry about gave me a lot of time inside to do the piecing of the red and blue border. My outermost blue border is actually a dressmaking cotton, cut somewhat larger than necessary. Making the last border extra large gives built-in insurance against the quilting taking up some of the required size, though I'm using a batting with less loft than I usually do, so it should not be much of an issue.

It's a happy little quilt - I think I like this one a lot! Now I have to figure out my quilting plan. This is the first quilt I've made in a while that was not designed specifically to feature quilting. I'll probably still do something elaborate-- it will just be secondary to the piecing design.

Oh, and the vet did not find anything obviously troublesome with the kitty this morning - that's quite a relief!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pinwheel progress

I had decided I could only use fabric I have on hand to do these June Bride Challenges. For the Dresden Plate, I dyed some silk - but that's not cheating since I already had the silk and the dye.

I came up with several designs, but then I realized I had forgetten to include the pink batik, or I would color my design without using any challenge-required blue. Finally, I dug in the drawers and found a fabric with blue roses on pink, which pushed me to a traditional block design. After a glance at the calender reminding me I don't have unlimited time, I settled on an 8 inch block with the old pinwheels at the center of each. I fussy cut a stripe-patterned blue with pink fat quarter to give some interest where the four new blocks meet at the center.

The effect I was going for is called "transparency." In this case, I wanted to make it appear that the old fabrics are being looked at through a haze.

I did nothing to "correct" the piecing - until I put the block together that is now the upper right quadrant. This is the pinwheel I talked about in my last post. That block was extremely wavy and would have puckered and pleated in my quilting. For a quick fix, I released the original pinwheel's horizontal and vertical seams at the center, resewed the inner portion of the half-square triangle seams at about 1-16th of an inch, and released the original stitching on those as well. Finally, restitching the horizontal and vertical seams with a similar very small seam allowance lets the block lie flat. Some of the outer edges of these old blocks were also pieced on the very edges. Those tiny seam allowances would not hold together over time, but extensive quilting should stabilize them - I think I can do that! The funny thing about it -- that repaired pinwheel center came out a bit neater than the original hand-pieced ones.

After all those Civil War blocks, it seems odd to leave these wonky pinwheels with their seams not matching up with the new piecing, but I hope it adds to the charm of the piece. My aim was to give the original pinwheels a starring role, not have them hide in the "new" elements.

For the last two days, I've been hard at work on a series of borders that will bring this to the required 24 inches.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For my next Challenge

Next up will be another in Dorry's New from Old - "June Bride" series. The first was a Dresden plate - this time we each got a pinwheel block.

In the Longarm community, we often remind ourselves there is probably a good reason an old quilt was never finished. This block would be a good example of that rule of thumb. I forgot to take a photo before I separated the four segments - but you can plainly see why I took out some of the original seams. Well, first you might notice the points don't match at all, the use of the striped fabric is quirky, with two triangles having stripes going parallel to short sides, while another one has the stripes parallel to the long side, and on the last, the stripes are perpendicular to the long side. But those flaws are not fatal.

The real issue is visible at the lower left in the photo above. That muslin piece is all folded up and doesn't want to be flat at all. Wonky piecing of that magnitude cannot be quilted out. I thought I might take the blocks completely apart and re-piece them. It would be easy because they were hand-pieced, and the rules of the challenge don't preclude it; however, you can also see at the very edge, lower left, that the fabric is fraying like mad. The fraying really eats up practically all of the seam allowance. I pondered cutting the frayed pieces into smaller triangles and remaking the pinwheels, but, if I took them apart, I'd still be dealing with the nasty fraying issue the same as the original piecer. I made doll dresses back when I was in grade school with my mother's fabric remnants. One of those was a black and white woven fabric very much like this red and white one, and that dress fell apart at the seams. And taking it completely apart, well, that felt like it was not in the New from Old spirit of the challenge.

I'll talk about what I'm doing with this piecing question when I update with my progress.

Like the last challenge in this series (we don't know how many quilts Dorry has in store for us!) we were supposed to include blue in our finished piece ("...something borrowed, something blue.") Different from the last one however, she sent us a fat quarter we're supposed to use in the quilt.

Pink. PINK!!
Pink and BLUE!!!! I normally don't work in Pink and Blue by choice, so that's my real challenge!