Challenge Piece – the home stretch and big reveal

This time I didn’t try to ice-dye fabric for the binding.  Instead I auditioned from my stash and picked out this batik.

river002Lesson Learned:

  • From now on, make binding wider than two inches!  This piece is quite thick in some places (the stretch corduroy) and then the sky is thinner since it’s one piece of ice-dyed cotton.

And here we have the finished piece!

I’m pleased that:

  • I experimented with the sky and the river fabric instead of persevering with something that wasn’t the best choice.
  • I tweaked the method taught in Ana Buzzalino’s workshop by ice dyeing the land and the sky in two separate sessions
  • I was brave enough to free motion quilt using my beloved Valdani variegated cottons
  • I got it finished in time for the retreat — need I add I was sewing on binding the day before it started!
  • This piece actually looks better from a distance.  This became apparent at the retreat when it was displayed in the dining room of the college.  At home the farthest I can get from my design wall is only about 12 feet.   If you have any ideas of how to show that in a photo online, speak up, don’t be shy!
  • My favorite fabric is the shiny, glittery strip towards the bottom below the darker strip.  This is one of Hoffman California’s Bliss Blenders and it overdyed stunningly, which was what I hoped would happen.

 

 

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Be sure your sins will find you out …

there, THAT got your attention, right?

Quilter’s and crafter’s sins I now realize I’m guilty of:

Not cutting across the width of the fabric (WOF).  Silly me, I thought it made sense that if you have half a yard of fabric and you need a strip that’s 8″ by 2″ you would cut parallel to the selvedge, leaving 40″ of fabric wide by 18″ long.

2010 was the year in which I had the light bulb moment and realized it just doesn’t work like that.   I needed WOF for trading at our Guild’s retreat, and I needed WOF in significant quantities to make pillowcases for the million pillowcase challenge.

Several times I pored through my entire stash only to realize what I had been doing all those years, it finally caught up to me!  This led to a change in my evil ways, a gargantuan stash busting project, and (surprise!) fabric shopping for half-metre and bigger cuts.  Although for 2011 one of my watchwords is use what you have.

Have also resolved to be more attentive to thread.  Valdani is my favourite, and I do use what I have!  Actually had to buy a second spool of Gem Symphony when Andrea Hamilton was quilting my Shattered Angles quilt.  I look on Valdani as chocolate minus the calories.

Cindy Scraba is another amazing Island lady.  Her knowledge of threads is astounding.  Trivia:  Egyptian cotton is in the process of being protected legally, just like champagne in France.   It is so superior and they need to protect it.

Cindy sells Superior thread and I’ve started tracking in the catalogue what I have in the different lines.  The catalogue is great because it tells you which thread to use in every situation.

At the Guild retreat, I won a sample set of Wonderfil threads.

And I still have threads from my grandmother’s store that go back to the forties — on wooden spools with names for the colours.  They live in a case designed and built by my grandfather.  I use them for basting and minor embellishments.  After all this time I don’t trust them for anything that has to stay together.  But back then thread colours had names, not numbers, like Apple Green, Mauve, Primrose.

 

Tote bag finished

Well, here is the little tote bag I was experimenting with.  It is variegated through and through to the point that I used Valdani thread in Graffiti for the topstitching around the top of the bag.  Valdani is one of my indulgences, every time I go to Satin Moon I gravitate to the display and drool, then figure that if I didn’t spend the money on thread I would blow it on chocolate!

This is the perfect size for wooden blocks, which came packaged in an environmentally friendly box that they exactly fit into if put in in the right order.  At bedtime when there’s a tidal pool of toy bits all over the floor and no one has the energy or patience, a bag is something that anyone, ANYONE! can put blocks into.

Having made one I can certainly see making more and experimenting.  And I’m further cannibalizing the assembled scrap fabric to replace a tired old cushion cover, just have to put a piece together that’s 20 by 45, and find something large and boring for the lining, and I’ll be off to the races!

My projects have sub-projects and in turn

the sub-projects have sub-sub-projects.  Here’s one of them:

silk0001It’s a small silk bookmark machine embroidered with Valdani threads, a new favourite must-have product for me, and padded with batting.  I made it to test out the Valdani threads on silk Dupioni and also to make sure that the “pillowslip” method of backing a quilted silk piece would actually work.

Inspiration comes ultimately from Lorna Moffat’s book Silk Unraveled.  I plan to post the sub-project soon (just have some hand sewing to do on it), and then the project itself in all its glory!

Last week I put in 32-1/2 hours, but unfortunately too much of that was in raging against the machine a.k.a. a rogue phone company that tried to slam us, and PayPal.  At times it became surreal, and the PayPal thing isn’t over yet.  At one point I realized it would be healthier to leave off the fight at least for a day or two in order to calm down.