Catching up and moving forward

Despite my lack of updates, I’ve actually been spending a lot of time on the quilt.  Here’s where it is:

IMG_0872I added the blue mitered border, made the side strips (although I see an error there which I’ll fix later) which are currently just sort of pinned on to keep them out of the way and also made a scrappy binding (not shown).

That said, I’ve spent so much time on this thing, it seems a crime to just fold it up and leave it on the couch.  Also, we have a fantastically soft couch blanket that my bf, Iowa, was crushed to learn was ‘leaving’ the couch.  As the words “when I finish this I’ll start on a quilt for our bed” left my mouth, I thought, why?  This thing looks great – it should be on our bed.

Which means it needs to get rectangular and bigger.  Ultimately it will be a slightly small double quilt.  I spent Friday night trying out ideas on paper for how to grow it and I think I’ve come up with ideas that will work enough that it won’t appear to be ‘tacked on’ but rather, ‘groovy.’  This weekend I’m working on the rectangularization which will be achieved by adding (to the top and bottom of the blue) 60″ X 6″ sections – a combination of blocks with some appliqué and embroidery in the corners.

I started working on this today.  I didn’t want to do a direct repeat of the original appliqué but I also wanted to keep the theme.  This is what I ended up with:

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I’m perhaps embarrassingly  proud of the border design – the first time I’ve made my own.  I drew many borders on paper and finally came up with this (inspired – I’m sure – by the embroidery books I looked at last night before bed – Sublime Stitching and Doodle Stitching).  I drew it onto quadrille paper so it would be straight enough and then used my window to draw it onto the fabric. Not bad, right?

That said, it is very hard to embroider.  I should have made the loops larger – they are so tight.  You can see looking at them that I was having a hard time.  At a distance, it is totally fine – whew!  Also, the stitching I’m using – stem stitch – is taking FOREVER.  I’ve embroidered since I was young but I sort of do it and then don’t do it for a long time, so I watched a stem stitch tutorial online and got to it and it just felt so weird and awkward.  At one point I sort of forgot myself and my hands just starting doing a different stem stitch, more of a backstitch stem stitch.  Aha,  I do a different stitch!  In any event, my way is much easier to me so I’m sticking with it even though It kills your thread.  I can always buy more of that.

3 more of these motifs to go, then to add the blocks.  I’ll post another update when it’s all on.

Catching Up, Part 5 – How fussy do you get?

I attached the on point square/applique strips tonight, hoping that – in context – this would give me more of a direction on the solid round.  I’m going to reevaluate at daylight.  As you can see, at 10p, the lighting in my apartment is not so good.

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Joining was tricky.  Some of the EPP sections are SO close to the edge, there was no way not to cut off the points when joining.  Bummer but overall, whatever.

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Also the directions didn’t suggest lining up the appliquéd parts with the 2″ squares but it would probably look better lined up.

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All that said, I’m thinking of living with these mistakes – good practice for this perfectionist and I also think it looks kind of cool.   There is so much going on in this quilt – – you have to sort of be looking to see these things.  And the errors give it a handmade authenticity, so there.  :-)

One more late night shot. Wow, bad lighting.  I’m beat.  Good night, all.

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Catching Up, Part…. *cue sound where car sputters and dies….*

Sadness.  I finally got to the quilting store today to get my extra solid light green fabric and they are out and have not even reordered it yet. They could get it for me in a ‘few weeks’.  The dilemma is,  me taking a break from a project for a few weeks can become over a year (historically) and I really want to finish this project.  I did check carefully for the solids that they had in stock that would work.  See circles below.  The green sad face is perhaps self-explanatory – that is what I WANTED AND CANNOT HAVE. *deep breath*

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I’m leaning toward the lavender, dark purple or darkest blue (part of EPP corner – can’t really see it but it’s circled).  The light blue and yellows are not really colors I like a lot.  They work in the quilt but I’m not sure I want to see more of them.  The medium aqua blue I adore but it just may be too intense.  On the flip side, the white could be too blah.  I’m going to spend a day or two mulling this over but this pretty much means I’m on hiatus for a week which I hate but I’m going to learn to adjust and concentrate on the third Century Trillogy book by Ken Follett (great book!).  Reading is Fundamental.  Right?

See you all in a bit. Hugs.

Catching Up, Part 4 – Whew!

I had hoped that this catch up post would show the entire front being done but alas, it is not nearly.  Busy times here so I’ll take what I can get.

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Embroidery is done!  Each satin stitch section took over 3 hours!  I’ve watched/listened to many podcasts and Bones episodes to get through these.  Wow, so time consuming but they are really beautiful so the hours have paid off.

My bf and I spent some time together auditioning various solids and both agreed that light green will be a good color for the hand quilted border that will surround all this.  That bottom center square is the shade.  Hopefully it’ll be a nice addition.  Will be shopping for that tomorrow.

Speaking of nice, this particular bouquet of fresh flowers (Iowa brings me flowers almost every week – he’s a catch, folks!) are so nice I took a photo.  The vase is new to me – my Mom gave it to me as she downsizes for an upcoming move.  Lovely, right?

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Happy Spring, folks!

Catching Up, Part 3

This weekend, I tackled the ‘on point’ squares so I could finish up week 4 “Applique”.  Here they are laid out but unattached (I have yet to fully complete week 2’s embroidery and I fear unwieldiness if I add these on before it’s done).

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In context:

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Getting colorful, right?  It leaves me a bit unsure how to proceed with the next round which is a solid. Do I stick with white or add another round of that deep blue? Or even lavender or green? Thankfully I have a few more days to figure this out as I’m only halfway done with the embroidery.

I did 4 of the gems this weekend.  They are uber-time consuming so it’ll be at least next weekend before they are finally done.  Still, they came out well enough.

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Also added in a few new fabrics for the on point squares – favorites that matched.  Why not?  Fish!
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And some leftover Mushmouth fabric (the lining fabric):

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In sum, I LOVED making the on point squares.  They are like magic.  The instructions were very clear – thankfully – because they were not intuitive to me at all.  I just followed along and, boom, they turned out great.  So pleased.  Fast and beautiful and flashy technique. I’ll definitely be doing this again.

More soon…

Catching Up, Part 2

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy your green.

Behold, the fruits of Sunday and last night.  As you can see, I still have to do some embroidery but at least the English paper piecing section is on.  My work is imperfect but close enough for jazz.  Me likey.

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Loving the colors. Really LOVE that bold robin’s egg blue – did not expect to like that so much (although to be fair it’s the color of my living room, albeit a darker shade of it).  I’m going to have to incorporate that more.

I also spent last night having a little fun.  I needed a creative escape so I started piecing together some scraps for part of the back.  The back will be a lot of big pieces but I wanted to use up some of the scraps and I love to improv.  Here’s where I am after a couple hours of play:

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It’ll look great in some real lighting. I took this at 10p so… Loving the colors.  Fun!  More soon.

Catching up, Part 1

The Handstitched Class quilt project is moving forward but to be honest, I am very behind the appointed schedule.  Life happened and thus I am now working to both move forward while also tying up the loose ends of prior lessons.  The past four lessons have covered reverse applique, applique, English paper piecing and embroidery.  I’ve done big bits of each assignment but ultimately I am stopped from starting the last lesson – hand quilting – because I have not finished the quilt front, much less piecing a back – ack!

So, I’m catching up.  Here’s what I accomplished this past Saturday.

This week’s lesson was all about applique.  She covered 3 techniques – I only had time to try the one we used for the quilt (hopefully I can try the others later – we’ll see!).  I’ve done some needle turn applique before but never fusible interfacing applique.  Talk about easy.  I love this technique and I immediately saw it as a way to fix my ripped up ‘upstate’ jeans without using those boring store bought patches.  So many possibilities with this technique!  Fun.

For the quilt, we were making several of the same block.  These blocks mimic the Reverse Applique feature block.

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As you can see, the fabric I chose for the blossom motif is a busy print.  The needlework edging doesn’t really pop in any way due to that – oh well.  I tried both deep blue floss and the lavender I ultimately went with.  I think it looks great albeit subtle.  Plus – bonus! – having it blend left room for learning how to do this and not having it look crazy neat all the time.  Always nice for a new technique.  Still, I did a pretty good job – close up:

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The next part of this assignment are some on point squares, sewn to present like diamonds.  I cut those fabrics (and also made the corner 4 point square blocks) but stopped there to jump back to an even earlier unfinished piece I hope to wrap up tonight.  More on that later.  For now, Saturday’s progress:

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More soon as Catch Up Week continues!