Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shoulda Putta Ring On It

Hooray! Last night, my quilt was selected as one of the 8 quilts from our guild to be entered in the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge! We had awesome participation this year...there were SEVENTEEN quilts entered!

The theme of this challenge was REPETITIVE CONSEQUENCES. The quilt had to have a repeating design element that was 'changed' in some way...shape, size, color, orientation, etc. Size requirements allowed no single side to exceed 60" but the quilt had to measure 180" around the perimeter.

I have been working on this for months and was SO excited when I finally was able to sew on the label!

However, I later found out I wasn't finished after all! But more on that later...

First, I'll talk about the design process.

Last November at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, I found a couple of fabrics in Wendy Richardson's booth that were the starting point for my quilt. One is this fabric used for the binding, as well as another one with 'dots' on it that was eventually used across the top and botton. Then as I shopped, I continued to buy fabrics that would blend with these first two.

Also in Houston, I found a Balipop (from Hoffman) in the colorway 'Spumoni' that had MANY colors in it, and I loved the way it blended with my inspiration pieces. This was a collection of batik strips that were 2.5" wide and the width of the fabric...about 44". I folded these strips and arranged them as if blocks, playing with the placement until I liked the design.

But these are only 2.5" wide. I hated the idea of cutting these beautiful fabrics up even smaller. I wanted to find a design that allowed me to use these strips as larger pieces.

I wondered if adding black might be a good idea. I put some scraps on the pieces and liked the way the black made the colors 'pop'. So my plan was solidified!

I cut two pieces from each strip and sandwiched a narrow black strip between them. This became my basic block.

Then I rotated every other block 90 degrees. This made it look like the blocks were weaving over and under each other. Perfect! The over and under of weaving is a great example of repetitive consequences!

The Balipop had 40 strips in it, and I decided that wasn't enough...I wanted MORE blocks. so I went back to the stash of fabrics I had picked up in Houston...there was a bundle of golds from that would be perfect. Also, I went to my stash...finding a few batik scraps as well as a couple of hand-dyed pieces. This enabled me to 'grow' the quilt.

But it still needed a border. I found a piece locally that was just right. It wasn't what I went in looking for, but it ended up being better than what I thought I wanted! This batik had many colors in squiggles and circles, but was light overall.

I needed to press the seams in such a way as to NOT create bumps at the intersections. The seam allowances were pressed in opposite directions and opened at the block corners.

I added the border pieces, including a strip across the top and bottom of the original 'inspiration' fabric...the dots. This one was not included up the sides; it was supposed to be like wood frame at the top and bottom of a woven piece.

Just to continue the illusion of the weaving, I included strips of the black on the sides, curving from one row to the next.
These were not sewn down initially...just inserted into the seam between the border and the blocks.

I also inserted strips between the blocks and border at the top and bottom. At the top, I left gaps in the seam so that I could quilt the border that would be under the strips without having to dodge the strips.

I folded the black strips at the top downward to quilt the squiggly border, then inserted them into the seam gaps before quilting the top (dotted) border piece.

At the bottom the strips were just left hanging.

When it came to sewing on the binding, I had to spread it over a couple of days, because my hand began to throb! 180" inches may not seem like much, but wait until you try sewing that! Or maybe I am a wimp, because I don't do much hand sewing (or at least, I TRY not to !).

Well, a couple of days before this was to be turned in, I found out that I had NOT put enough info on my label. So rather than rip off the one I had already done, I made an additional label to cover the other one. For the guild presentation, we are supposed to cover our name anyway (so the voting will be 'blind') so this served that purpose also. Additionally, the quilt had to have a name, and I had just named mine the same as the challenge. So I created an different name and put the additonal info on this new label that is closed with a hook and eye.

The new label opens to reveal the name of our guild and the town we live in, as well as revealing the orignial label.

This is the back of the quilt. This batik fabric came from our local JoAnn store.

Ya know, it is so funny... Everyone who has seen this quilt comments on the rings. I put all this work into the design and construction, yet they love the rings! They were the easiest part!

The rings were also found at JoAnn Fabrics. I didn't paint them...they came this way. I just hand-sewed the black strips through the rings.

Here is a little of the quilting I did on this. I'll show more details in a future post...this one is getting quite long!

My finished quilt, 'SHOULDA PUTTA RING ON IT'.

And, yeah, that song has been stuck in my head a lot lately!!!

To see pictures of ALL 17 of the submitted quilts, visit my album.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Batik Class

Today, the temperature outside was wonderful...60 degrees! So what did I do? I spent the day INSIDE, in a batik class!

I didn't produce any masterpieces (that is an understatement!) but I had a good time.

In the green shirt to my right is the teacher, Phyllis Boger, holding my batik 'experiment'. I hesitate to call it an 'art piece' (LOL!) but it does have potential for use as a starting base for some future fiber art. I hate the large flowers, but the wax was on the just 'happened'.

I used a water-soluable resist (made by Pebo) with Pebo and Dynaflow paints on this silk piece. I think it is supposed to be hung in a window...there is a small metal 'frame' around the silk (about the size of coat-hanger wire) came that way, ready to paint.

I really didn't know what I was about to draw/paint when I started. We were given free-rein and I was uninspired. This is what resulted...a vine.
This one is cotton...and we used soy wax for the resist (as opposed to parafin/beeswax). The wax was applied with a Tjanting first time to use one, and it definitely takes practice to get it right! The soy was is supposed to come out much easier...and it did iron out fairly well,, although it left a greasy kind of shadow. I think the soy wax is actually supposed to wash out, though, so I am considering washing this piece, even though the colors may fade. Hey, it's an experiment! :)

If you want to see ALL the pictures I took in this class, check out my album.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Keep-it-together Scarf

In my stash, have a piece of burn-out velvet that I thought would make a nice scarf. I cut a piece across the width, folded it in half lengthwise, and stitched it up. Easy!

Well, when I wore it, it 'walked' all around my neck and just generally wouldn't stay in place. So when I found the instructions for the Keep-it-together Scarf, I thought that was just the ticket I needed!

I had been thumbing through some old magazines and found these instructions in the Holiday 2007 edition of SewStylish GIFTS to Make. Of course, I had to make a few changes...that is just my nature!

Cut two rectangles across the width.
Althought the instructions want you to make your pieces 9" wide, I wanted a slimmer scarf, so make mine 7". Later, when I had to sew inside a 7" circle, I could see why wider might be easier!

Next, I folded these rectangles in half lengthwise and marked a spot that was 5" from one end on both pieces. (The instructions had you mark 4.625", but I had selvedges to later remove, so I marked a bit farther.)

I sewed from the end to this mark...5"...on each of the strips. This is to creaste the 'eye' portion of the scarf.

These seam allowances were pressed open. Here again, you can understand how a WIDER scarf would be easier! It was a tight fit on my sleeve board.

One strip was turned right side out and slid inside the 'tube' of the other strip. Once the seams of each rectangle were aligned, I sewed around the end...this was a tight little circle to sew! Like making doll clothes...

Then I sewed the other two sides of the scarf, beginning each seam with the last stitch of the 'eye' seam and sewing to the other end of the scarf.

I decided I wanted my scarf a bit shorter than the full width of my fabric, so I measured and marked and cut off 2" before turning right side out.

Once the length was as desired, the end was sewn closed (don't forget to turn it right side out!).

When finished, this looks like a giant sewing needle (except with no sharp point)....long with an 'eye' at one end.
To wear, you drape the scarf around your neck and put your hand through the 'eye' to grab the other end and pull it through the eye.

Well, as luck would have it, when I put my scarf on to wear it, the nap of the velvet caused the 'eye' to creep UP the scarf, making it tighter and tighter around my neck...choking me!
So you know what I did...yep, I ripped it apart and recreated the 'eye' in the other end and closed the first that the nap would now make it creep the other direction...make it looser around my neck rather than tighter! This means I practically made this scarf TWICE! So much for a quick and easy project!
Ideally, perhaps I should have turned around ONE of the initial rectangles so that the nap of each ran in opposite directions...but I am not certain that would have keept it in place during wear! Overall, though, I think this scarf design is nice. It is especially good for when the width of the fabric is narrower (45"), such that the resulting scarf length is too skimpy to tie...because this way, there is no tie and there is only one long 'tail' hanging down!
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