Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Currently at the Printer...

Coming in mid-January!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Scattered, Unproductive and Going in Circles

That would be my tag line for 2017. This time of year, people are posting their "word" for next year. Mine was clearly unproductive for 2017. Now, I may have taught several classes, wrote articles, made many nice samples and wrote 4 books, but when it comes to quilting, I have fallen over the cliff. More than anything, I just want to quilt.

I have had 2-3 show quilts completed each of the past 5 years. Some have been smaller, which makes them easier to complete. I did sort of fall into the trap for several years of thinking it was fun to make 70-80" sized quilts. Now, though, as these take longer to finish, there is nothing small waiting to be completed! DOH!

In the summer, I started this 40" whole cloth. It is pretty green silk and I have posted snippets of it previously. It was *supposed* to be my Paducah 2018 entry (due Dec 1). The quilting went well and on schedule in the summer until I just stopped. The black thread, which seemed like a brave and ambitious choice initially, became my demise in the end. I really should just finish it into a nice floor pillow. Yea, right.
In September, when I got a few of the client quilts behind me, I decided to remake the same design as the green silk whole cloth, except with a piece of peach silk and matching peach thread. In many ways this opportunity capitalized on the decisions made on the green quilt which I regretted. I did much of it the same, but got to change some things.
I was right on schedule with it's finishing. About November 1st, I was starting the binding. That's where it all went to hell in a hand basket. The finished binding was too wavy. It would need reblocking. To make it worse, somehow I nicked the back of the silk binding in a way that I'd have to replace the entire binding on about 1/4 of the quilt (ok, part of this was because it just could not lay flat. I have done more scalloped edges than I can count, but this damn serpentine edge was doing me in.  I was losing my patience. I was able to order another yard of the peach silk fabric, despite it being discontinued.
Sadly, I just lost steam and did not bother to enter it. I probably could have fudged the photo with 2-way tape on the floor well enough, but realistically, I still have to fix it, and I did not have that motivation inside me. Maybe next year!  See...the quilting really is pretty decent. I am just scattered, and feeling unproductive. It affects my mojo and how much effort I want to put into anything.
 Anybody remember these blocks?...Here's another of this year's hand-stitched projects. I also did a nice border but at some point thought it was simpler without it. I would create a border with colored thread in the quilting. The blue bias is all stitched down, BUT the damn crap needs fixing because the bottom is not quite symmetrical. Go figure... Somehow just naming it "Cocked a Little Sideways" did not seem kosher.
This quilt will be a relatively easy fix, and "could" be onto the frame this winter/spring. Whether it will or not is another story of motivation.

So this brings us to my most current project. Yes, with a trans-US trip next month, I thought I needed a hand-piecing project to fill my hours on planes and in airports. I really do need something to do sitting in my favorite purple chair each  night too besides snooze. The orange-peel design is one I have pondered making for years. Oddly, the gray fabrics as well as the lavender silks were bought for other designs that never got made. Who knew they were so pretty together?!? That is the glory of a bountiful stash.
One of the lavender silks came from some fabric I ordered for this quilt. It was custom dyed by Debra Linker, but it was just the wrong shade by no fault of her's. I conveniently left this quilt out of this year's list of failed attempts. It was afterall started in 2016. The lighter shades of purple silk also came from this quilt (they were underneath the large star appliques, not yet cut away). 
Oh wise Crystal Ball...will she finish this quilt this year?...
                                                 <>  sigh...

Back to the orange peel quilt...

It is typical when I am working on one part of the quilt to be designing other areas. This was initially conceived to have the center shown above, with large corner triangles with this type design appliqued.  I have even gone to the extent of starting to prepare the edges of the appliques - no small task considering there are nearly 500 pieces.

Then I started second guessing the time to hand applique all of this...you know the spiraling circle of quilt design doubt... I thought maybe I could use a similar concept, but have it not be quite so time consuming.  Narrow (7-8") borders might be faster than large corners, right?

 I'm not so sure. But in my desire to NOT Christmas shop, I let myself believe that theory -- so far that I actually made up these 4 pieced corners between Saturday and today. They have 2 of the silks, which are very pretty in the light. After getting them done, I question having them placed so close to the orange peels. It might be too busy. Not sure if this is reality talking or my procrastinatory non-productive mind. After the applique is added, that gray border will not be nearly as calming as it is there.

So, I did what any non-sane fool would do...Go back to the drawing board, and move the parts and pieces around on the floor in search of a better plan.  My real goal is to identify the "plan" so I can actually start the appliqued borders.  This part of the job I really like to do!
I tried placing the crazy diamond pieced borders further from the center block. This layout has merit. Then, I found a small piece of perfectly colored lavender Grunge without a selvage, and thought - Gee, this might look great with a solid lavender triangle as I layed out below. There are only about 75 colors of Grunge; I'll probably only have to order 10 extra yards in order to find the "right" shade.  LOL!
This layout is WAY too simple though. It relies way too much on me not screwing up the quilting - ha ha! Then the thoughts of 2 semi-failed whole cloth quilts enter my mind.  Better figure out the piecing somehow! 

On the brighter side though, I will have one quilt finished this year for competition. This does already have a binding, and a dang good one too. It only took one try to get it on which is an added plus in my crazy book! I am adding some beading and embroidery, but it is otherwise finished. I absolutely loved designing and making this one, and hope that the process of "Problems in Purple" (all my quilts get sarcastic names during the making; most actually earn them) goes as smoothly. This design just developed easily, beginning with the log cabin blocks, then the appliqued border. 
Part of me knows I am overthinking the process, making this harder than it has to be. What would you do on the purple quilt ?...no, making a purple whole cloth is flat out of the question! LOL

Have a great pre-holiday week!

Friday, December 15, 2017

For those of you who post questions...

I happily answer any and ALL questions that are asked to me in comments.  This can only be done though IF you either leave an email address OR get rid of your "blogger-noreply" status by entering an email to Blogger.

Becky K. Google Madiera Monolon and you will get a link to the Madiera Store.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Lollipop Trees

Alas, this giant custom is done. I say that like it has been on my frame for weeks, but that's not entirely the real story. I loaded it yesterday, in an effort to get one big custom done before the holidays kick in...to lessen the backlog of harder, longer quilts just a little bit. My 2 month hiatus is nearing its end. It finally feels good to be getting back into the detail work I so love.

This is Lollipop trees by Kim McClean. It has an absolute ton of appliqued circles, and even more Kaffe Fassett very colorful fabrics! There is little background behind the applique, so it is anybody's guess why it takes so blasted long to quilt the background! This is a long job to quilt. Anybody that has done one will definitely agree with me.
It has a single layer of wool batting -- just enough to puff the appliques and show off the relief. 
 I outline (SID) each and every applique and the sashings initially with my standard Madiera Monolon thread. It is truly invisible. 6 to 7 years ago, I got the cone of this thread, and I am finally nearing the end of the cone...its a mere 15000m. To be safe, I ordered another last week.
 This client does beautiful applique. It is so securely stitched, that there would be no risk of it coming loose ever. She's a hard-core applique quilter.   My last quilt for her (I think) was a Ladies of the Sea!

Never the less, these appliques are huge and really need to receive some quilting on them.  It keeps them from sagging and wearing disproportionately, and just gives the many leaves and circles texture and character. This detailing was quilted with 2 colors of 40wt shiny thread. With all the colors in the fabrics, I decided to consolidate the color selection for showy threads would make it easier on the eyes.

The detail stitching is often a very-close double-line echo.  This is particularly effective on busy print because it creates more negative space - thereby making the quilting more visible.
The same concept is true for the background fillers.  This fill is stitched with 4 colors of 50wt So Fine thread, but each block is quilted identically. The threads coordinate with the background fabric colors. This thread has no shine and melts into the quilting in a more subtle way. 
Love this block with the birds...

The borders and sashings received a combination of diamond on point quilting with a filler, and straight lines.  Linear designs are more prone to showing through the prints and colors than something like feathers or another fill.
 Too many lollipops...
 And I will leave you with just one peek at the backside.
Have a good December 6th.