Friday, March 30, 2012

Making the Spring Flowers Blocks

Here is a walk-through of making the blocks for the Spring Flowers quilt.

Sketch of the Spring Flowers paper-pieced block

Paper pieced pattern (reversed as usual in paper piecing)

Detail lines removed. Will hand-draw each section separately to create unique flowers with varying sizes and angles of stems and petals. Instead of looking cookie-cutter, the resulting flowers should have individual personalities.

Stem section. Electric Quilt-generated pattern printed on large tracing paper that was cut to 8.5" wide to fit in printer. Printer setting to Legal size.

Referring to "real" pattern, detail lines drawn by hand with ruler. Eyeballed, not trying to measure.

Two pattern pieces stacked on each other. Look closely to see two sets of lines.

Flower sections

Detail lines drawn

Two pattern pieces stacked to show variations

Drew 1/4" seam allowances where edges would be sewn together. Not too concerned with outside edges yet.

Measured each space to know what size to cut rectangles, always on the generous side. Excess can be trimmed during progress. I save this set for last so I don't lose my notes.

Back side of the first paper-pieced stem

From the right side. Will trim later.

Petal section 1

From the front

Petal section 2

Front side

Flower block sections - untrimmed

Measured and clipped where stem and petal section 1 will match up. Pencil points to the clip.

Pencil points to the clip on petal section 1

Stem and petal section 1 stitched together. Here's how it looks next to petal section 2.

Three sections sewn together (Folded petal section 2 in half, marked with a pin, matched that with point where stem and petal section 1 are joined, sewed.)

Here's an idea of how the trimmed flower block will look.

Spare pattern piece trimmed to 8.5" x 16.5". Will use template to trim flower blocks to size.

Oops. It's a little too long.

Trimmed off an inch, to new size of 8.5" x 15.5". That works. (Will have to adjust quilt border to make up for lost length.)

Template placed on flower block. Since I left the outside edges untrimmed I have plenty of wiggle room.

Using chalk tailor's to mark the corners of dark fabric. Typically I only mark the corners, not the whole long line. Then I use a long ruler to cut from corner to corner. If it's off a little I can cheat the pieces together.

On lighter fabrics I use pencil.

Flower block cut to size


All 12 flower blocks for the quilt. Look closely to see variations in stems and petals, as planned.

Next time you do a paper-pieced block, try drawing your own design lines. You will still have the crispness, with added variety and personality in the finished blocks.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday 3/28/2012

Center portion of blocks for Darrell quilt, for musician friend Darrell N.

Electric Quilt sketch

Block: guitar fabric goes in the center, musical symbols fabric is represented by tan/words.

Fabric collection for Darrell quilt. The tan with black has musical symbols on it. The light gray, yellow and orange (replaced with a dark yellow not shown here) fabrics are on standby. I may or may not use the standbys.

Squares of guitar fabric

Narrow borders attached to guitar squares

Yesterday I started actively working on Darrell, for musician friend Darrell N. It took a few days to settle on the collection of fabrics, but I like what I'm working with now. I should have the blocks completed sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Remember to Play - A Mixed Media Quilt

Remember to Play
Approx. 9" x 12"
Paper, fabric, embellishments - some found on-hand
Original design
Completed 3/4/2012

After reading a few mixed media quilt magazines, I decided to try my hand at a mixed media quilt. Follow along below to see how I made it.

Starting point: greeting card from the grocery store. Background fabric, backing, buttons, red/gold fabric were from my stash.

I cut a piece of background fabric without measuring. Then I cut the backing a little larger than the background.

This old lady still plays marbles. I found that fascinating.

I put a piece of scrap batting between the background and backing, then did a fancy stitching along the edge. I chose red thread so the stitching would stand out. Why not? I'm not worried about perfection here.

Edge stitching is done. It is enough to hold the edges together. I don't plan to bind.

Trimmed off the excess batting, then did some simple quilting - in red.

Here's how it looks from the back.

Taped the card in place.

I wanted some kind of saying. I decided on Remember to Play. "To" was nowhere on the greeing card, so I dug through my shred and found an ad with a "to" that was large, colorful and interesting.

Here is my saying.

Using glue to hold the paper words in place, I stitched the card and the words to the quilt. I used red for the card so it would stand out, and white for the words.

Here's a close-up of the stitching.

It needed a little something, so I found this red ribbon in my stash.

I cut a length of ribbon that looked good. One edge was kind of raggedy to begin with, so I frayed the other edge, too.

Red ribbon is topstitched. The piece looks pretty good. It only took a couple of hours to make.

After looking at the piece for a few days, it felt like it needed a little more embellishment. I found some marble-looking buttons and some red ones at the store, just as I was hoping.  Also, my friend Lena R. gave me a small treasure box full of beads and what-not. I chose some tiny black beads.

Trying out the beads and buttons. I like how the red ribbon looks.

It's hard to see, but the back side of the buttons have little indentations in them, kind of like golf balls, which makes them interesting and playful.

Not entirely happy with this layout.

I kind of like the buttons off to one side, but there's too much empty space next to them.

In the end, I liked the look of four buttons along the bottom. I used the plain side, by the way. I like how they are crooked, too - rather playful. It didn't take too long to sew on the beads and buttons - less than two hours, while I watched Celebrity Apprentice. I'm really glad I added those embellishments. The piece really feels finished now.

I enjoyed making this mixed media quilt. I had to quiet the perfectionist in me, and just let things be non-parallel, asymmetrical, crooked, frayed, etc. This was an art piece, and art doesn't have to neat and tidy. Also I told myself it was okay if the pieced failed, I would learn a lot, and that the next piece would be better. 

I will definitely try another soon. I've already bought a card!