Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Jumble of Projects to show on this Mother's Day

As most bloggers will say, they are considerably busier than their blog posts will suggest.  I am no exception.  I am down to the 5 week buzzer (as in 5 weeks until school is out and the house is buzzing with 3 kids), and I am rapidly trying to fire through a list a mile long of things I am working on.  Some are my projects, while many are not.  Either way, if I don't get them done, they may not get finished until late August unless they are handwork.  I may have to selectively either sleep less or take 1-2 hours in the evening to quilt to stay caught up.  With warm and long days coming, I'm not sure that option sounds appealing though!

First things first...This is my 60" top.  It's fairly simple and is my first of such pieced quilts using silk Radiance.  The top is lovely in person, having a beautiful sheen.  It's far from perfect though, as matching points is harder with this slippery fabric.  I have 2 diamonds still to applique...I know, I know. no biggie, they will get done.
A couple weeks ago I started sketching the quilting plans for this quilt onto tracing paper.  I design quilting so many different ways -- sometimes I draw on the electronic pen tablet, sometimes I just sketch on copies of the quilt.  I was finding it difficult to get a sense of the actual scale of where I was going to be quilting, so this time I just sketched full scale.  The difficulty here, though, is obvious.  I have to transfer these to the quilt.
For simpler designs, I might make a cardboard/cardstock template of that spine, but this quilt has several areas that are of equal complexity, so something else is needed.  Also, I want decent symmetry when designs come together.  I do not possess a traditional light box, which many quilters have, because I generally don't trace designs.  For this quilt, I wanted to...maybe not down to each and every feather (a little non-uniformity is OK afterall), but the basic shapes should be in the same places.  I have subsequently converted my dining room table into a modified light-box by replacing the center leaf with a 24" slab of plexyglass.  There is a lamp beneath the table.  Voila!  The interfaced silk is not the easiest to see through, and the seam areas are nearly impossible (thank goodness this is simple), but it is going to suffice.  Hopefully I will be quilting on this if not tomorrow, then soon.  We'll see if today really is "Mother's Day"...if so, then tomorrow.  If not, then this week sometime.

I'll show a progress snippet of another of my projects before I show a few client pics.  I work on this at dance lessons, and in the evenings.  I have made creating hand-made quilt designs a science so that I can still have time for my own things!  Everything but the pointy star is stitched by hand.  This is just one corner - three more are in the works.  To create an added dimension, I am adding features of the silk radiance to this quilt.  The berries are in 3 shades of silk, as is the brown bias frame in the following picture.
I  have designed this quilt completely around a 1/2 yard piece of the floral Benartex Charlotte fabric.  I have had this 3-4years, and loved it, but just never knew what to do with it.  It is the inspiration for the color palate.  The rest will follow.  There will be more applique in an outer border through the taupe fabrics.  My goal is to have it done by November 1 so it can be quilted for next season, but that may well be crazy.
I have most certainly been busy with client quilts.  This most busy and colorful quilt was on the machine for a week or so, and then for another day this past week to add to what is below.  The Kaffe Fassett prints are bold and colorful, and pose a most obvious difficulty in creating a custom quilt that has quilting that really shows.  I won't show any more of this quilt right now, but you will see more in the future.
I have done yet a 3rd of these adorable owl baby quilts...I love it.  It is a small, manageable project that quilts up in about 5-6 hours (yes, I am slow!!).
 Since I don't buy any cutesy fabrics, I am always amused to see some of the most adorable stuff that is out there, like the backing for the owl quilt.  Is this not great?!
Finally, a few simpler quilts have made it into Mainely Quilts of Love edge-to-edge lap quilt using the Plush panto...
 The thread doesn't show significantly in the pictures, but it is a gray Glide and adds a nice shiny dimension.
And another...Becky's argyle quilt is for her young son.  It's made with shot cottons I believe, and backed with a sheet.  Yes, I realize many quilters run for the hills at the smell of a sheet backing, but seriously, I see them all the time and they cause no problems.  Just recommend to your clients to not go for the 3-400 thread count ones, and to prewash.  They are just fine.  This quilt is stitched with the pattern Razorgrass.  It's edgy and all boy.
The pattern is really dense.  It takes me nearly a half hour to make one pass of the quilt.  I used a soft blue Omni thread for this quilt since the Omni is a little more robust than some other threads, and I didn't think that her son really needed a thread with sheen like Glide.
I want to say something about these shot cotton fabrics.  I realize many quilters really love them.  I saw a show quilt done in them recently that is breath-taking.  But they are very thin fabrics, almost gauze-like.  I could see shadowing through two layers of this soft blue!  I, personally, might avoid such fabrics for a quilt that will get a good bit of use/abuse.  JMHO...I also subscribe to the belief that they are very pretty and luminescent, but they aren't immensely durable feeling.

That's what I have been up to.  How about you??!


regan said...

Awesome pics, Margaret! I can't wait to see more of that Kaffe quilt....your quilting on it is so fun! Taking that all-over grid-type pattern to a new level is awesome....that's where I fall short. I just can't picture what to do to break up the monotony of 500 same-as-the-last blocks! And the thought of trying different patterns in each just makes me crazy. So I'm loving that you tied several together with that swirl of feathers, with a fun burst of the center. This is awesome! I'm learning so much! Thanks a bunch!

And yeah, I'm the same with cutesy fabrics.....I never even look at them in the shops.....cuz that could turn into a whole other stash! Cripes! Then I'm sure I'd be divorced! LOL

Happy Mother's Day, and I hope you get to stitch! :o)

Susan Lawson said...

I can't wait to see more progress on the pink flowery quilt! :) I recently did a baby quilt and experienced tension issues throughout the whole d*** thing. The monofilament tension was great, then I switched to cotton quilters choice and I just couldn't get it right, I tried wonderfil and quilters choice in the bobbins, had eyelashes, or thread shredding....ideas?? is a tension device worth the $$$ ??

Carol from Panama said...

Margaret - I am still reeling from the sneek peek pics of my Kaffe quilt. I could hardly sleep last night and I went straight to my iPad soon as I got up this morning to drool over it yet again.

What a challenge - to be faced with 144 blocks all the same - with no fabric repeats! When you first saw it you must have thought good god - what in the world am I going to do with this thing - not a single quiet blank spot to show off the quilting.

You have created a masterpiece and I am thrilled beyond words - and I haven't even see the whole quilt yet :-)

I love all the projects you are working on - that silk quilt is stunning - you can see the lovely sheen in the pictures - it must be even more beautiful in person.