I had a great week of dyeing last week and have lots of new things in the shop today.
I know that the pale neutrals aren't the most exciting fabrics in the world but it is the value changes that can make or break a quilt. This is a nice collection of light value fabrics in a wide variety of colors. Sometimes you just need a little to finish off your art quilt and these fat eights will give you a little bit of 10 light value fabrics.
I have a lot of Shades Pack options but I didn't have the grayed green that a customer recently needed. I've rectified that with this lovely soft mossy green that I'm calling Juniper.
It's been a while since I had time to dye some shibori pieces but I fixed that last week too. This photo is just a hint at the new colors. You can check them all out in the shop.
I worked on Rainbow Quilts all weekend.
This image will show you the very simple quilting that I'm doing on the king size quilt. It's all ruler work but you know that I love ruler work even more than free motion. The blocks are 6" square finished so I'm using a 6" circle ruler to make a half circle on all 4 sides of each block. Simple chevron lines in the outer triangles are helping me tame a little bit of stretching that happened in some of the black edge blocks.
I like how the grayed purple thread is working. Black would have been way to stark. Patty commented about the "magic" of grayed purple thread in Saturday's post comments. I think there are 2 magical colors of thread and those are grayed purple and a sage or mossy green. They seem to work with everything. It took me years to get up the nerve to use any sort of contrasting thread. I used to make sure my quilting disappeared but I felt this quilt really did need a little extra focus.
What I didn't need was a giant pin caught in the quilt. Last night I reached the halfway point and as I was quilting the next row I stitched over this pin. Fortunately I stitched over the shaft and not the pin head. It only took a few minutes to open the seam, get the pin out and restitch the seam but that seemed like a good place to stop for the night. I'm very please to have this half quilted.
I spent Friday and Saturday sewing with my Country School Quilters buddies and I got the second Rainbow Quilt top together. This one will be a large lap quilt. I had 20 blocks left plus a bag of scraps so I started a baby quilt with a 3" border made of 1" strips. I'll finish that and decide what to do with the scraps (placemats, scrappy blocks, give them away) next month.
If you want to make a Rainbow Quilt for yourself my free pattern is here. I used Stash Packs of fat eighths to make mine but this would also be a great scrap quilt from your stash.
I spent most of yesterday sewing with my quilt club, Country School Quilters. I'm working on putting all the leftover Rainbow Quilt blocks together into a twin size and baby quilt. Yes, I got a little carried away making those blocks!
My one goal for the evening was to get this quilt basted and ready to quilt.
That normally would be a quite simple task except that I picked this for the backing. It's a quilt back that I dyed (and then didn't use) for another project and it just happened to be big enough for this queen sized quilt. That was very convenient but it meant that I needed to center the quilt on the back.
If you want to know how I do this you can check out my Centering a Quilt Back Tutorial.
It's a lot of extra work and starts out with this kind of mess but it's all worth it in the end and after a couple of hours effort I had it done.
The quilting is going to be all ruler work and I might be able to start it tomorrow evening. I think I'm going to use this grayed purple thread. I want the quilting pattern to show but not be as stark as black thread would be. I'll quilt a little and see how I like it.
But first there's another sewing day at quilt club and I should be able to finish the other 2 Rainbow tops.
I didn't get my quilt basted last night because I was having too much fun sewing at my friend's house.I took my applique project and got one more blossom stitched so now my borders are 4.5% complete!
Today and tomorrow are sewing days with Country School quilters. I will get the leftover blocks Rainbow blocks sewn together for a top for a lap quilt. Maybe tonight I will get the quilt basted and I'll fire up the kiln again.
It seems I'm working on a little bit of everything this week which means that it's a very happy week with no complaints.
I was going to add the second shelf to the kiln yesterday to fire it but, fortunately I woke up yesterday morning with the clear realization that my plan would not work. The thermostat for the kiln would have been between the shelves and that would have screwed up the temperature for both shelves. Since I had the one shelf already loaded I ran a tack fuse cycle yesterday and hopefully can do the full fuse cycle this weekend.
Yesterday was dyeing day and I decided that it's been too long since I did shibori. It's a time intensive process but you can't beat the results.
I do 6 batches of shibori dye, 2 at a time and each batch takes about an hour. So while the dyes were working I ted up the last 7 of the beach towels that I'm dyeing for my family beach vacation. Tyeing it the tedious part so now I can get on to the fun...after I tie up some baby clothes and Tshirts. There's a tie dye session coming up really soon!
My goal for today is to get the king size Rainbow quilt loaded and basted. I'll be centering this on a quilt back so it's going to take some time and patience to get it loaded. I ordered the batting last Wednesday from Amazon and was told that I'd have if by Saturday. It didn't ship until Saturday and finally arrived Tuesday. I stretched it out on FloMo yesterday to let the batting relax a bit. I'm anxious to get this think done.
On a side note, it's taken me 45 minute to write the short post. There's all kinds of activity on the pond this morning and I've mostly been counting the turtles on "Turtle Beach" and watching a Heron hunt. The turtles have a special spot where they like to soak in the sun and the Heron has been particularly entertaining this morning. I even saw it catch a fish.
Before basting the quilt I'm heading out to hang out with a couple of friends this afternoon and I'll be taking my applique to work on a bit.
it's one thing to takes classes and read tutorials but sometimes you need to just find things out on your own. Plus I'm not good at trusting the things I read. I like to test things just to make sure.
One thing I've read about fusing glass is that you can do layers in your kiln. M kiln is big enough for 2 shelves but I've always read that fusing with 2 glass on 2 slenves will not work.
Well, the beauty of working with glass is that it's kind of hard to ruin it. You can always fuse it again and again and again. That was all the insurance I needed to try adding a shelf to see if I could produce more from one kiln firing. As advertised, it sort of didn't work.
I was going for a full fuse look. That means that the layers would fuse flat. These magnets have 4 layers of glass if you count the red dot on top. These were on the top shelf.
These were under the shelf. What a difference! This result is called tack fusing and it looks fine. It has it's place but that wasn't what I was expecting. Everything under the shelf, even just a little bit was not full fused. It makes sense because so much of the heat comes from the elements in the top of the kiln. That means that I have to refire almost everything on the bottom shelf.
But just as I was about to reload the kiln I thought of my bubble plates. Those have a step where stringers tack fused to the glass before the full fuse to trap bubbles.
And why just do an experiment. Let's fill a whole shelf! These are the top and bottom layers of a 8" plate and a 5" plate. Now I'll start filling the top layer with the pieces that need to go through again.
I'll need to get a few more scrappy fish together too. I'm making these to do a mosaic backspash for my dye sink.
Aren't these cute? I made a plate for a friend a few years ago with these little skull murini bits. I'm used the leftovers to make some magnets.
I hope to be firing up the kiln again this weekend to see how my 2-shelf set up works out.
This week I've got 3 of your favorite gradients back in stock!
Meadow Sunrise has a beautiful Spring blue sky with just the hint of sunrise over a green meadow. Candace West made a beautiful quilt, learn and Grow with this gradient. She fussy cut the gradient to remove some of the green and let the flowers shine against the blue sky.
Sally Papin made this beautiful heron quilt using the Abundance gradient. Just one half yard of fabric and she was saved hours of stitching for a custom background.
Under the Sea is also back. It's the perfect backdrop for a fanciful under water scene or cut it up for a wide variety of blues and purples for your next project.
I've been itching to start a new symmetry project for months but kept putting myself off until I get a few other things done I'm feeling a little more caught up with other projects so this weekend I let myself get out the symmetry fabrics and start playing.
The first thing I want to do is to create another version of my Pleiades quilt. The end product of that quilt really surprised me. I was just experimenting with as simple a block as I could get and I was surprised with the movement I achieved. Every since I finished it I've wanted to do another with smaller blocks in a larger quilt. I'm going through every suitable fabric and cutting blades. I'll put them all on the design wall and see where it heads. I don't have a specific plan but I can see that one of these sets of blades is already going to come out.
But my main focus is going to be on blocks. I'm cutting Pleiades blades as I cut pieces for this block. I have no plan for a quilt. For now I'm just making blocks to get my mind back into gear for working on these quilts.
This method of quilting is not for the faint of heart. It's painstaking and you cut pieces one at a time. Of course, for me, that's nothing but pure joy. I have plenty of quilt tops waiting to be quilted so I don't really need any fast projects at the moment. This photo shows you the process that I go through. I cut 4 different fabrics to audition for the center edges. Want to guess what was the 4th and last choice? No surprise that after I did those I went back and picked a different fabric for the 4 corners. I still have to cut those out and sew the block together. This block "only" took 2 evenings to cut! I had my audiobook and sat in the floor with a pile of fabrics and auditioned and cut. It was glorious.
If you think you might be interested in trying something like this I highly recommend Paula Nadelstern's newest book, Fabricadabra. My Pleiades quilt is even in the book.
I'll share progress as I go along but don't expect it to come together fast. This is my new zen project.
One of my friends finish her last chemo treatment last week.I thought she needed fireworks to celebrate.
I made the starburst from the new Quilt Highlights thread that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I love the way I can draw it up into sort of a ric rac effect. The green that I bought will be great for leaf vines.
I feel like I was very busy yesterday but it included a meeting in the morning and a concert last night so I don't have a whole lot to show for my efforts yesterday.
Except for this one lonely pet bed. Quilting the veterans quilts creates a lot of fabric and batting bits that are too small to save and use. I collect them in a separate trash can. Sometimes I can donate them to a group that makes pet beds but occasionally I find from free decorator weight fabric and I make my own. The friend that went with me to the concert last night also volunteers at Richmond Animal League so I stitched up a quick one to take to her. This one isn't stuffed quite enough but for a shelter dog it will be better than a flimsy towel for a bed. I have a tutorial if you want to make some for yourself.
My big project today is to gather up my piles of donation items and deliver it all to the local thrift store and then wait for the UPS driver to bring the king sized batting that I ordered for the Rainbow Quilt. I have the back loaded and ready to go and want to get started on it this weekend.
I also want to do some glass, make a special postcard for a friend and maybe start a new symmetry project. What are your plans?
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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