Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quilted Symphony, almost finished

Really?  It has only been 2 days since my last post?   I feel like its been a week or more!

Where did I leave off two days ago?  A reminder.

 To proceed, I had to chose colours to fill in the entire upper right section and part of the lower left section.  According to directions, both of these pieces were the same colour.  Well, this is what I originally decided on.

The two blue and orangy pieces, upper right and lower left, are the pieces to be added.  I was just auditioning another piece for the lower left corner, and that is why the darker brown piece was there.  I liked this but there was something missing that I just couldn't put my finger on.   The whole piece just lacked something, so I made another two pieces.

Instead of blue with bright orange additions, I decided to try something a bit darker.

The above sample just took the drama right out of the wall hanging completely; the whole wall hanging just lost something.  So then I wondered what it would look like if I made a third set, using the blue and a green, not making it but just putting some green fabric on my bright orange fabric in the corners.

Nope. Green didn't work either.   I kept switching fabrics over and over and finally I just put it away.  I showed the two sets to to some friends, (blue and bright orange and blue and the sort of browny orange fabric), both above.

We got to talking about both fabric and why neither seemed to do the job and then something hit me.  I loved the brightness that the blue and bright orange brought to the wall hanging, but, there was no movement in the piece.

Look at this photo again.
When we first look at the piece, our eyes are naturally drawn to the darkest area first which is down near the bottom and then our eyes stops there.  There is no trail of brown leading us up to the top of the wall hanging.  We are stuck at the bottom with the dark browns until slowly, our eyes are drawn to the bright orange colours.  But, there is no fluidity or movement in the piece.  It is sort of a jagged staccato movement.  And our brains don't like that.  It likes movement.  

You will notice that on either side of my centre blue and green piece, there are narrow bands that transition from a dark brown at the bottom to a pale green/yellow at the top.  Had I had them transition from a very dark brown to a medium dark brown, I might have gotten the movement I wanted.  When looking at the front cover of Gloria Loughman's book you can see how the dark shapes travel all over the piece, taking your eyes with them.  Movement.

My dilemma?   If you look at the photos again, the blue fabric and darker fabric, it does create movement, but it really dulls down the wall hanging and just doesn't make it exciting enough.

 I really liked the blue and bright orange pieces but how can I get movement from the bottom to the top?  Well, I tried adding little swirls here and there, little nobs of dark colour here and there, and finally, I just I tried something that I could live with, and this is the end result. So, this

 became this:


A bit much with the dots but it looks pretty good.  I can live with it and it does look much nicer in person.  I just need to add the final lower left corner, and two borders, a bit of quilting, and I am done.  I learned so much from this one piece!   I am ever so glad that I decided to do it.  This will forever be a huge learning piece for me.  I learn best by doing, and I learned alot about movement and how to create it in what I am trying to do.  Enough for now.

Somewhere in all of this, I decided it was necessary to make some quiches.  Ham, cheese, onion and red pepper.  They were great!  Still some in the freezer!

And of course, another walk in our most favourite, Cavendish National Park where we came across another visitor, or more likely, an inhabitant.

And yes, another weekend, another large 2 day storm.  This one sounds quite nasty as it might contain alot of freezing rain.  Sounds like it might be good stitching weather!

I should also have time to finish up a little experiment I've been working on.  Making my own "beads" for lack of better description.  So come back to see if I have them done!



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Quilted Symphony continued

Happy Valentine's day to all of you!

So, how is my Quilted Symphony going?  This is where I am now.

If you haven't noticed it, there is an odd piece of paper on the wall hanging saying "Do NOT Iron".  I don't want to give out too much information from the book, but you attach each new piece of the wall hanging to the previous piece by doing invisible stitching with clear monofilament.  I used YLI brand.  When using the clear monofilament, you need to use a smaller sewing machine needle and also a light weight thread for the bobbin.  I used a 40 weight beige thread.  

I will attach a photo of a section being added. 

You can above, the brown section is being added over the blue section.  I've pinned a half inch hem on the brown fabric, and then attached it with pins over the blue section.  I then run my sewing machine needle along the blue section, as close to the brown as possible using the hem stitch needle setting of my machine.  This is the result.

This is what the back looks like:

The straight stitching above appears on the blue fabric and the little zigzag to the left, is what hooks onto the brown and attaches it to the blue fabric.

Since the invisible or clear monofilament is made of plastic or similar material, if a hot iron is applied to it, the monofilament may melt or dissolve and with my very short attention span these days, I felt it was best to put a note to myself to not iron the wall hanging before I forgot.

Next I have to make two pieces to go on either side of what I have now.  What a dilemma!  I made the two pieces but wasn't sure I liked the colours I chose, so I did another set, using different colours.  I felt one was better than the other.  My husband felt differently, so I took the whole thing to some friends for their opinions.  Well, after much discussion we took a vote and the decision is in, so I hope to finish up the wall hanging tomorrow.   Oops, long walk in the park tomorrow on what is supposed to be a sunny day, with lunch afterwards.  Lots of photos too!  So maybe it will be finished Saturday!

No time to work on anything else!

And I hear that Sunday is bringing us another Nor'eastern again!  I love a good snow storm!

Enjoy your special day and talk to you soon!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Quilted Symphony continued

February is going crazy!   We've had nothing but storms and we are in day 2 of a real whopper of a storm, one that has crippled most of the U.S..  In our case, we didn't get as much snow as the U.S. did, but the winds are horrible and we are in day 2 of the winds, so about 35 hours worth now, at about 70 to 80 + kmph or 45 to 55 mph.  The snow is starting to drift bad.  Pretty much everyone has been confined to their homes as the roads are too bad to drive on.

The weather has left me lots of time to work on Quilted Symphony.  And time was certainly spent on it.  I'm sure I've said before that I learn easier and faster when I can learn by seeing rather than just by reading and doing.  Though I admit I also learn by making lots of mistakes  doing it the slow way.

In any case, I showed what I had done in my last post but here it is again as a refresher.
The green is added to the blue using a light weight fusible web.  After attaching the green, you had to stitch close to the edge to make sure it didn't fray or detach.  Here is a close up of my stitching. 
I always get a little nervous when posting about something I am doing from a pattern or book.  When are you stepping on toes and giving too much information?

The book isn't just an instructional book on how to make 4 different wall hangings.  It basically teaches you various methods of piecing together fabric, but most importantly, it teaches you how you can very easily make your own patterns and designs.  It offers 4 project, each one requiring a bit more detail  than the previous pattern and I love them all!   I admit I did ALOT of page flipping in reading what I had to do, how to do it and then how to continue.  The patterns are exciting though and I just love the pattern for the wall hanging with leaves shown in her book.  You can go here to see the book "Quilted Symphony" and also the leaf wall hanging I mentioned previously.

After making the main blue piece, I had to make a small piece on one side.  This is what it looks like with the smaller piece made and attached, completed.

I just grabbed up a batch of fat quarters and kept auditioning them next to the blue piece until I found something I liked.  I had to stitch around the blue circles ironed onto the orange fabric using free motion stitching!  HAHAHAHAHA...  you've seen my free motion stitching...   This is what I ended up with.

Yes, it's a mess!   So I carefully took the stitching out to see if the piece could be salvaged and thought I would try to do regular stitching around the circles and if worse came to worse, I was prepared to make another orange/yellow piece.  And it came out looking great!

And yes, all thread ends were pulled to the back and tied off before snipping them off.  

OMG!!   Then I had to make these side panels with a whole slew of fabrics that blended from dark to light.   If you only knew how many HOURS I spent on this part.  HOURS and DAYS I might add. 

 My big dilemma was that I was trying to use fabric that I had and hopefully just buy a few more fabrics ONLY if I needed them.  I was seriously lacking in the gradations needed to make this project work properly.  I want to make one of the more complex exercises in the book when I complete this project but will definitely buy ALL the fabrics I need for it.  Anyways, back to the drawing board.

I did this first, using the paper piecing method using parchment paper and guess what?

 I forgot to reverse my paper and didn't fit.  I'm not sure why, but when I realized that I did it wrong and I had t redo it, I decided to change the colours. 

And so I ended up with this.

I totally hated the way the colours transitioned so out it went and thought I would try again.  Since there were two curves to be done, one on each side of the center blue piece, I decided I would carefully make them both at the same time.  I slowly marked them out on the stabilizer, and clearly marked them and then started.  I got them both done, and yup, realized I did one the correct way, and the other one, I should have reversed it and didn't.  So I had to redo one side again.  WOW.  Learned alot of lessons on this one!

I have never worked with tear away stabilizer before and wasn't too crazy about the idea at all.  My big fear was that when I went to tear it away, it would drastically distort the fabric.  As you can see, it isn't the easiest of processes to remove the stabilizer but it wasn't at all a negative thing and it did not distort the fabric.

I figured out if you very carefully make a small hole in the stabilizer so you can grasp a small piece, and then while firmly grasping the fabric, gently pull the stabilizer so that it is tearing away at the stitching lines.  Once it tears at the stitching, it is easy to find a little opening at the stitching line to grasp another piece and just keep tearing off the little squares within the stitching lines.  It became easier to do once I started doing it.

This is what the wallhanging looks like at this point.

In addition to working on this piece, I have pulled out my TAST stitching from last year and was surprised to see I got only about 7 stitches done so started working on that.  I also worked on The Hedgerow Sampler and I confess I am also doing the pulled thread sampler/biscornu from Gitta's, on Kathrin's blog and have a good portion of the border done.  I've given you the link to Kathrin's blog that takes you to the beginning of the sampler/biscornu as the pattern is given over a number of weeks.

Well, it's still blowing and snowing but I checked the Island highway webcams and it is clearing up west so maybe the snow will finally stop here.  It appears from the forecasts that we will have to wait till tomorrow morning for the winds to die down.

I leave you with a few photos from a recent walk in Cavendish National Park earlier this past week along one of the trails.

May your days bring you much joy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snow Storm and links and nothing in particular

Well, another day, another snow storm.  We had the strangest weather all week.   We luckily had a gorgeous day Tuesday when I had to drive to Charlottetown to get my knees done.  I sure wish I had thought of bringing my camera with me.  We finished up in Charlottetown just as the sun rose and the morning shadows in the fields were breathtaking!

Wednesday brought snow, then freezing rain and then rain and then dreadfully strong winds so most of the snow was gone.  And then I went window shopping for a new sewing machine.  (why are they so expensive???????)  Then today's snow storm happens...  and it ain't over yet!

In any case, I got very little done this week.  Long story short, we needed a new electrical breaker panel and some wiring repairs so it was kind of nice sitting and relaxing and looking through old magazines that day since we had no electricity for about 3 or 4 hours. Generator came in handy a few times so thank God that is over and done with! (Can't flush the toilet when you need electricity to power the motor that brings water from your well!)  I know...   TMI

Since I don't have anything remarkable or even boring to show you, I thought at the very least, you might like this link on very old stitching patterns from the "Antique Pattern Library".  I love the Dillmont DMC books (books are in alphabetical order 2nd column from left I believe).  My Mother brought some of those books with her when she came to Canada in 1950.

This isn't stitching but I came across this blog and really want to try to make one of these roses.  Don't know where I will use it but it just looks so easy!
The blog is Heidi Bears.

And here is Kirsten Chursinoff who shares her stitching art.

Some photos from todays snow.
This was at 8 this morning looking out the front window.

 We then headed for a little drive west of Summerside and saw this:
Marsh pond on the south shore

The icy Northumberland Strait (that mound of ice is about 15 to 20 feet high):

And finally, sunrise yesterday morning!


Saw this on twitter..  a thought provoking video:

 When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't.

~ Thomas Edison