Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bits & Pieces


It's a good thing John doesn't feel the cold, because he'd be hard put to wrap himself up in this one.  He says he doesn't mind, because he doesn't see it as a quilt but as a work of art (bless him). 

This is the quilt top from the class I took at our new quilt shop - The Patchwork Cafe.  Lesson 2 was on Monday evening, and the last one for this project.  Next week I'll be doing another class - a Mariner's Compass table runner.

I've been a little aggravated the last couple of days, and today I was downright angry.  Now I have nothing in the world to be angry about - life is good!  It took me a while but I think I figured out the problem.  It's the quilt I've been working on!

I know about how colours can affect moods and all that, but I've never really taken much notice of the theory.  If there are changes, then they are pretty subtle and unnoticeable.  But take a look at this quilt, which I've spent the last couple of days working on................

 That's a pretty aggressive looking quilt!

Not only are the colours aggressive but the design is all sharp points and zig-zags, not a gentle curve to be found. The more I worked with this, the angrier I became, to the point where today I felt nauseous whenever I want near it.  I had considered adding some contrast colours to tone it down, or a plain dark border, but was instead defiant and went whole way -no place for the eye to rest, no relief from the 'in your face' attitude of this quilt.  I'm naming it KRAKATOA.

I'm considering quilting it in long curves from top to bottom, using a twin-needle and a combination of threads in yellow, orange, red and maybe a touch of green and blue.  I sort of want the quilting to look like flames consuming this piece.  I have no idea what I'll do with it when it's finished - even the cats stay away from it - no kidding. 

This is the group I go to each Wednesday (but not today as I was feeling rather unwell & anti-social)! We've started a blog of what we get up to.  Not much there yet as it's early days, but please drop by from time to time and take a look.  We'd love to hear what you have to say!

 Tangled Web Quilters  - click the link and say hello!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vol 2 - Project 7 - Card Trick - Stippling

For many hours over the last 3 days I've been stippling this quilt.  Although I am happy with the amount of practice I got, I did find that if I kept going without a break (sorry Helen, I did listen really), the work got messier the more tired I got.

I did however, achieve the look I wanted................

.................flattening out all the black areas really makes the colours and frames pop out.

I tried to keep to medium, small & micro stippling for different areas, but over the days it all sort of got mixed up.  The 2" black patches inside the frames got micro-stippled, the black strips inside the frames were stippled small and the rest - sashing seams & around the stenciled motifs, medium size stipple.

I know that stippling is 'old hat' and that creative filler patterns are now the trend.  I am new to this so stippling is new to me and I wanted to put some on my quilt.  I like the process and I like the finished look, so 'phff't to trends and I'll stick to stippling for a while.

Of course, things go wrong and yes, I had a couple of disasters!  The first one was fixable but the other ...!!!
I purchased a Supreme Slider to help with drag issues, which I taped down to the bed of my machine.  Yup - I managed to sew it to the back of the quilt.  I need to un-tape it whenever I change the bobbin (which was frequently), and I must have gotten slack in ensuring it was properly taped down before sewing............

It wasn't difficult to unpick, but it was a stressing moment when I discovered what had happened.

The other issue was worse and I don't know how to correct it.  After a bobbin change, I noticed the bobbin thread popping up to the top.  I loosened the tension till I was happy, then continued sewing.  I didn't check the back.............

The stitching is too small to unpick, but I'm concerned that leaving the loopy threads like that, the stitching will eventually unravel.  Besides, it looks awful!  Such a shame, it happened about 4 blocks from finishing and I'm really annoyed with myself.  I was stitching with loud music playing and didn't notice any change in sound from the machine which normally would have warned me all was not well.

I'll continue on with the trimming and binding meanwhile, and hope I can get some info on what to do with this mess!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vol 2 - Project 7 - Card Trick - Quilting, Classes and a NHP

Last week I finished the straight stitch quilting on Card Trick.  Stitch-in-the-ditch and linked squares in the blocks, which I did with the "sew 2 inches, pivot, sew 2 inches, pivot" method - 8 times per block - fairly tedious work.

For the triangles I selected a Fleur-de-lis design to do free-motion, but decided to hold off on doing these until I'd completed a free-motion class which was coming up.

The class was yesterday, run by local quilter, Helen Ducker.  A nice small group, we covered all the basics including setting up the machine, cleaning and thread tensions.  A bit of thread painting in a hoop was fun, and also spending time drawing the designs before attempting to stitch them.  Helen spent a lot of time emphasising speed control and favours the go-slow style of FM rather than the pedal to the metal full on style.

Helen at work

Well, what a difference!  My version of slow was very different to Helen's and all through the afternoon, Helen would mutter "slow down" at me.  Helen showed me how to use my ankle to control the speed of my machine, rather than the ball of my foot, as I had been doing.

I must say the improvement was immense! 

After the 6 hour class, I was inspired enough to finish the quilting on Card Trick and I'm really happy with the results.
FM Fleur-di-lis

Still not ready to stop, I decided to stipple in the black areas.  I chose to do this for several reasons - to flatten the background so the colours would 'pop' - to help cover up some poor seam sewing - and for more FM practice!
I still haven't had enough FM - I'll keep going with the stippling today.


During the week between quilting methods on Card Trick, I took a class at my LQS.  The Patchwork Cafe opened in my area last November, and they have been growing steadily since.  I signed up for a class or two in order to support the store and to meet local quilters.  The turnout was rather disappointing, there being only 2 students, but apparently the beginners classes are full!

The project was a French Braid, and although I really don't need a new project to work on right now, it was an interesting one to do and I learned quite a bit.

Yellow & orange are my 'current colours' and I pulled this lot from my stash.  The focus fabric I spotted at another LQS while looking for something else.  With this fabric added as separator bands and borders, the finished quilt should be eyecatching!  The next class is in a week, where I learn to put it all together.