Pinterest Adventure Day 9

I’m working my way through this sampler quilt panel, so there are a number of different block styles with various colors that I wouldn’t necessarily put together myself, but in the end I think it will have a nice modern look to it.

I have to admit, I’m having mixed feelings about this quilt.  Too many starts and stops, and I’m regretting the light grey thread.  Before I started, I considered going with white or slightly off white, but I thought it might be too bright on the darker blocks.  However, after completing several blocks I’m now thinking I would have liked it better overall.  Live and learn!  That’s what practice is all about 🙂

I’m enjoying the ruler work but still find the most fun in the areas where I do free motion quilting.  Of course they don’t end up looking as precise, but that’s A-OK with me! Once this whole panel is finished, bound and washed, I think it’s going to surprise me.

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More to come on this one tomorrow!

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Pinterest Adventure Day 8

I’m currently working on a sampler panel designed by Natalia Bonner for longarm quilting practice.  I work on a sit down machine, but the fills are still workable.

There are lots of different shapes on this, so I’ll be able to use it to try out various things I’ve saved and when it’s all done, I’m hoping it will be a fun quilt overall with may different looking blocks.  The challenge was deciding on a thread color that would work everywhere so I wasn’t changing thread for every block, and I settled on a light grey which will blend in certain areas and stand out in others, but that will have to be OK 🙂  In the end I think I’ll be happier with a consistent look than numerous thread changes!

Both of these show a combination of ruler work and free motion quilting.  I’m not completely happy with the continuous lines in the pink triangles, which didn’t quite end up as I intended, but I did learn what I’d prefer to do next time!

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Pinterest Adventure Day 7

By now you’ll know that, as I admitted right at the start, there will be occasional lapses in this “daily” Pinterest adventure! LOL

I’m numbering the posts according to stitching days, not actual days, but since I got busy with a couple of other things at the end of the week (like finishing a quilt, visiting with a dear friend and trekking through IKEA, but I digress …) I decided to do some bonus stitching today and make up for lost time.  Not because I think you’ll be keeping track of my diligence or lack thereof, but because I want to stay as committed as possible to working through my pins.

I did do a lot of work on an actual quilt last week and I even used on it some of the fancy spiral feather fill design that I stitched out on day 5!  So while I haven’t posted a new Pinterest adventure project since then, I can at least pat myself on the back for putting that pin to good use on a bigger scale to fill the background of a whole quilt.  It worked tremendously 🙂  Remember, this adventure is flexible and adaptable!  Progress, not perfection …

Today I set out to do this kind of shell shape looking feather thing with pebbles mixed in. Bear in mind that, as always, a blending thread is best and I’ve used a darker thread so things show up on this one; I wasn’t enjoying myself so those pebbles aren’t my finest! LOL I just wanted to get it done fast to see how it worked out, and I certainly wouldn’t be charging anyone for this …

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I’m not fond of this design after all and I doubt I’ll use it in future, but I had to stitch it out just to see how I felt about it.  Sometimes you see something appealing but when you do it yourself it’s not fun, or at least not as much fun as other things, so it gets filed.  This one is getting filed!

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Along the edge I decided to try a popping triangle design that I’ve seen in borders.  I used the back and forth line stitching in a couple of different widths, and I like the one that’s closer together the best.  But this one will also be filed.  Never say never and all that but, for now, I’m not a big fan.  Again, not the most careful stitching; I was in get ‘er done mode.  Full disclosure: I was bored with this.

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I was in a happy place doing the tiles though!  I’ve tried this technique on a small scale for just one or two in the middle of a lot of other stitching, but I’m hoping to use it all over the background of a quilt in the very near future, so decided to spread it out and see a fuller effect.  I really like this one because it has a cool layered look to it, it’s much easier to do than it looks, and you can fill in the “tiles” with whatever fill design you wish, based on your own idea of fun 🙂  You can use different fillers as you go for a variety of textures, or make them all the same and let the layered frames be the dominating feature.

As I expected, this will become a go-to design for me.  Watch for it on an upcoming chevron quilt with LOTS of wide open background space! YAY!

 

Coneflower Quilt

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I was inspired to make this quilt when I saw a picture on Pinterest of a large coneflower blossom appliquéd project that was attributed to Gillian Travis Textiles.  I’ve searched the actual site but I can’t seem to find it there, so I don’t know if hers was a whole quilt or just a mini with a blossom like the photo I saw.

However, while I’ve adapted the idea to my own style and quilt project, I do like to give credit when I can find the name of a person who has made whatever shows up in a Pinterest photo when I use it for inspiration.  She has many other lovely projects on her site that might also interest you.

The idea for the text print background behind the flower was also inspired by a photo but its whereabouts have long escaped me.  I can’t find it in anything I’ve saved, so I’m guessing I saw it in passing somewhere and stored it in my actual brain!

Coneflowers don’t grow anywhere near where I live, but years ago when I was doing a lot of stamping and card making, I had a large stamp from Stampin’ Up! called “Inspired by Nature” that included a coneflower and some large grasses.  I used it often because I enjoy working with natural looking flowers.  The cutesy ones are fun too, but my preference is for those that look closer to real ones.

I cut the petals by hand in a random fashion, one at a time, to get the shapes and the curves just the way I wanted them, and trimmed them here and there as I was placing them on the background until it looked like they went together well.

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I chose batiks for this project so I could get several natural color variations in each piece to enhance the look of the petals and the centre of the flower without having to do a lot of extra piecing.  Batiks don’t fray out the same way other fabrics do and, while I often like the effect of the frayed raw edges on scrappy appliqués quilts, for the style of this particular quilt the lack of fraying is a welcome feature.

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Thread painting is such a fun way to embellish appliqués with texture and detail, and my Magnifico thread from Superior Threads does a lovely job of this.

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When I got to quilting the background, I wanted to use a blending coloured thread so that only texture would be obvious.  I got the result I was looking for using So Fine 50 from Superior, but it was definitely a challenge to quilt with thread I could hardly see as I was moving around the quilt!  The light print was enough to hide my stitching lines from me so there were a two or three stop and pick out places, but thankfully they were each noticed as soon as they happened and only involved a few minutes of extra effort.

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There’s something dramatic about this large lone flower standing out against the soft background and although it was designed to be for sale upon completion, I’m enjoying having it hanging up on my design wall for the time being! I’m not a wall quilt person myself; I think they are lovely but I actually don’t hang a lot of any kind of art in my home, and my own quilts are for cuddling.  But I do appreciate how something like this can certainly add a special element to the right space.

Hmmm … now I have to figure out what to do with this one! LOL

 

My Pinterest Adventure 2018 – change of plans!

Since life is ever changing and we need to be flexible – a challenge for me but I’m getting better at it! – I’ve decided after much consideration that the quilting posts for My Pinterest Adventure are best suited for this website, rather than my personal blog, so I’m moving them over here.

I was going to just post a weekly update, but now you’ll get my regular posts about the pins I am putting into action.  If you’ve already checked out the first week’s digest here, there’s nothing new in this post, but if you missed the part telling you all about my adventure, what follows is a repost of the introduction so you know what’s happening along the first six stitching projects.  After today, I should have it all straightened out!  thanks for reading and for your patience 🙂

My Pinterest Adventure 2018

WE ALL DO IT: we save pins for everything from cooking to cleaning to painting to sewing to woodworking to health and so on.  And I’d be surprised if I’m the only one with a “miscellaneous” board just to hold all the pins that don’t quite fit on any of my other specific boards!  We organize our pins into categories to keep them where we hope we will find them later on and now Pinterest even offers the option of having subcategories under each board so we can be super anal about where we put all the wonderful ideas we find, either deliberately or randomly, while spending time on the internet.  It’s a great way to quickly save inspiring things we don’t want to forget about, much like the now nearly ancient practicing of “bookmarking” web sites until our lists were so long we couldn’t find anything anyway and it became faster just to “google it”.

Some of us clean off our boards once in a while, going back to review what we’ve saved and ditching the ideas that are either no longer appealing or, in our current mindset, more appropriately filed under THAT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN trash.

THE PLAN

Yesterday, after realizing how often I peruse my quilting board – subdivided of course into various specific project ideas – and imagine how lovely it would be to stitch out the awesome designs I’ve saved for “future” need – I was inspired to come up with a plan for myself.  I actually do WANT to try all the ideas I’ve saved there.  That’s why we save these things, right? 😉

I don’t buy into the New Year’s resolution thing.  I don’t find myself being successful at them for long periods of time and they set me up for disappointment in myself for not having achieved what I set out to do.  For some, they might work very well, but I find I’m better off acting on inspiration when it hits me, no matter what the date is, and trying to come up with a plan that excites me and doesn’t have me beating myself up at the end of it just because one part didn’t turn out.

So it might be the beginning of January, and this post and adventure might involve a plan to do something differently in order to achieve a goal of learning and stretching my brain and my skills further, and I might have put the year at the end of the title, but it is NOT a resolution! LOL

I want to stitch out a design from one of my free motion quilting pins each day so that I’m not just admiring them, but I’m actually USING them and will then continue to use them.  I’m not expecting that in the reality of life I’ll never miss a day.  I’m also not expecting myself to choose an intensely complicated one every day.  What I get done will depend on the day and my schedule, but I’ll be appreciating success each time I do it WITHOUT berating myself for any time that I don’t get it done.

I figure this will mean that I get through a whole bunch of my saved ideas this year and that’s my goal.  No specific numbers, no specific levels of difficulty (although most of my pins are for really cool and fancy stitching!) just productivity.  Let’s face it, I love free motion quilting and doing it every day is already pretty much a given, but working on new designs – especially those that appear to be intimidating –  isn’t always on the agenda when I’m comfortably quilting my current faves.

I’m not going to put limits on whether or not I’m still allowed to pin new ideas, even if I continue to save them at a higher rate than I use them.  I just want to USE them.  By the time I’ve done this even for just a few days in a row, I expect that my “go to” design list will begin to grow and grow and that’s what I’m aiming for because I want progress.  Not perfection, progress.

And because I tend to be anal about organization and list making and … well you get the idea … I decided to blog about this adventure not only for my sake, but thinking that perhaps others might find inspiration to do something like this for themselves as well.  I want to have a place to share what I’m doing and to give others a chance to jump on board and make the Pinterest Adventure their own, according to whatever will work for them.

SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS

There’s no competition here; we all like different things and we have varying skills.  There’s only one rule which is, of course, completely unenforceable but I feel the need to mention it anyway: no negative self-talk.  Whatever your favourite pinned ideas are – cooking, cleaning, woodworking, fitness, home decor, painting, crafting etc. – let’s share and encourage each other to use ideas we’ve already been inspired by and put them into action, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly.  And yes, feel free to share the Pinterest fails too!  Because even if what we try doesn’t turn out as we hoped, we still make progress by DOING it and not just looking at it 🙂

I’ll be posting photos of my chosen stitching design practice pieces here on my blog and I invite anyone who wishes to join in to share your own comments, ideas, and even photos in the comment section of my posts.  Please also feel free to share my Pinterest adventure idea and posts with others you think might be interested.  I’m sure there are already groups for this kind of thing – in fact I just found a whole web site called the Pinterest Project! – but I’m not much of a “joiner” so maybe there are others out there like me who just enjoy being part of something that inspires them along the way to doing things they want to do anyway.  When it comes to inspiration, there’s always room for more.

If you want to stick with me to see where this whole thing leads, remember to follow this blog using the option on the right side bar!

**IF YOU DON’T USE PINTEREST you can take this project over to your cookbook shelf, your stack of craft books and magazines, your internet bookmarks/favourites or any other “filing” system you have for ideas you love to save.

DAY ONE

Here is my first achievement:  I’ve been looking at these wide open spirals with dense quilting around them for so long and yesterday when I saw them again, I decided it was time to get moving, so I got my sketchbook out, figured out my stitching path, put some scrap fabric together, marked out my main curved line and I did it! I can’t believe how this little bit of action made me feel so successful.  Yes, there are a few things I will change when it’s an actual quilt, and that’s what practice is all about, but after stitching it out I feel very confident in adding this to my list of favourite design options!

 

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DAY 2

Welcome to Day 2 of my Pinterest Adventure! I learned not only to stitch out a new background filler, but also that trying to save time doesn’t always pay off.

I made the mistake of not drawing this on paper first (I advise my students to doodle lots before stitching to get comfortable with their design path, so this turned out to be a do as I say not as I do situation! haha)

It looked simple enough so I went ahead and put needle to fabric with a bit of an attitude.  However, trying to save time resulted in me not liking the result or enjoying the process.  I eventually got it to a place I was happy with but quickly concluded that I wasn’t ever going to use this design!

THEN I went back to the pinned photo to examine it more closely and discovered that I had been doing it the HARD way! LOL  Once I gave myself time to think it through properly I found the much more obvious path and it was a breeze to stitch.  Lesson learned.

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DAY 3

I got started early this morning!  The quilt in the photo I was working from had a white background with white thread – I drool over white on white! – and these border designs really popped.  I’m using up leftovers and random fabric pieces I’m no longer super fond of for my samples on this daily project, before I move into cutting up yardage, but that day will come, my friends, because I don’t have a very big scrap pile!

I know it’s only day three, but I’m having fun with this.  Aside from the satisfaction of actually stitching out designs I’ve been wanting to try, I’m finding that the things I’ve saved are proving to be much less difficult in practice than they appear to be in photos.

I am, however, beginning to wonder where and how I will store 365 samples of at least fat quarter size by the end of the year! LOL  But this personal challenge is adaptable, so if I actually get through all my saved free motion quilting pins (and more as I’m still saving new ideas) I can take a break and maybe switch this adventure over to one of my other boards with totally different projects … like maybe the housecleaning one … haha

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DAY 4

Today I went for a geometric design.

They aren’t my favourite thing to stitch – I’d much rather be doing swirls and feathers! –  but I love the effect they have on a quilt so I know I need to start adding more of these to my repertoire.  This was inspired by a pin that showed a huge area of composition style quilting – amazing results when you look at the whole cloth finish – which I will break down into chunks for practice on smaller pieces.

This is just one of the square sections from the middle of a lovely white quilt that is part of a set of ideas I began working on with my first composition quilt shown in my Etsy shop here: Modern Handmade Quilt

You can see from that quilt, especially if you view the back side photo, that I tend more towards curvy stitching patterns, and I want to start adding more of the geometrics with the other elements that I really enjoy doing.  Nonetheless, I managed to slip in a little swirl and some serpentine lines here 🙂  The un-quilted sections are meant to puff up from the background, and this would be more obvious in a photo if the whole thing were washed and dried.

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DAY 5

I love curly feathers!  I’ve done them before, but usually as a single motif / focal point in the midst of other designs. The pin I was inspired by today had the feathers built up around each other so the whole area was filled in with variations of the same motif.  It was really fun to stitch out and this will make a great background fill for the next quilt I make with wide open solid coloured space – my FAVOURITE!

I love the texture; I darkened up the photo a bit so the orange thread would show less and the texture would be more obvious.  Using a blending coloured thread is generally best, but as I use up random fabric pieces, I’m also cleaning out some thread!

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DAY 6

This cornflower applique quilt top has been on my design wall since before Christmas, as I didn’t want to fold it up over the holidays and then have creases that would be stiff due to the fusible web.

I decided to do the thread painting for today’s post, as it was inspired by a pin I saved, which led me to design a whole quilt around it.

I’m not going to point it out my grave oversight – you’ll either notice it right away, or not at all, it’s kind of a big one – but let’s just say I’m very disappointed I didn’t pay closer attention to what I was doing and I could almost cry now that it’s all done!

I would pick out the aforementioned stitching and do it the way I should have in the first place just to make it soooo much better, but when you stitch through stabilizer, those needle holes don’t disappear easily like they do when it’s just a regular quilt top layer and I’m afraid they would still be visible even after washing which would make the situation even more frustrating.

Therefore, I’ll have to live with this and each time I look at it I can remind myself that before I get busy happily layering thread, I better be darn sure I’m doing what I meant to do and not just winging it! LOL  For now, I’ll try to be satisfied that I completed another day’s stitching 🙂

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**UPDATE: I did end up picking out the stitching and doing it the way I wanted it in the first place.  I’m very glad I did 🙂  Can you see the difference?

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My Pinterest Adventure 2018 – week 1

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HAHA – I admit it, I’m kind of a Star Wars fan (and that’s an understatement!)  This quote relates well to my reasons for starting myself out on a challenge this year to make use of the pins I’ve been saving on my quilting board.

It’s so easy to click “save” whenever something appeals to me, and I do go and browse through my pins regularly for ideas and entertainment of sorts, but I decided that I really want to get going on stitching them out instead of just keeping them there for reference or for “one day”.

I’ve called it “My Pinterest Adventure” and I post my daily stitching project on my personal blog; I didn’t want to do it here because that would mean overwhelming my followers and customers with posts if I added those in addition to the bigger quilting projects I write about in detail 🙂

However, I did think that because this personal challenge involves quilting, some of you might also be interested in the stitching designs, so I’m going to do a post here every few days that’ll be sort of a digest with a week or so of stitching designs.  Today’s has six:

DAY 1 – The Plan (and a wide spiral chain)

DAY 2 – Leafy String

DAY 3 – Borders & Corners

DAY 4 – Geometric composition

DAY 5 – Curly Feather fill

DAY 6 – Cornflower applique

Do you have some saved pins that you just haven’t tried out yet?  It’s really a lot of fun to pick a new on each day and just do it!  Happy Quilting 🙂

Trapunto Cushion Cover

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I broke out the feathers die for my Accuquilt cutter to see how I liked it because it seemed like a good idea when I bought it!  I also went for a trapunto effect so the appliquéd feather plumes would pop more than usual.  Then I decided I would post pictures here so you could see what I did! (this is me editing a very long dissertation that sounded OK in my head but became excessively boring once I started typing and needed shortening up … you’re welcome).

I added fusible web to some colourful scraps before cutting out the feather plume shapes, then fused them to the cushion cover, quilted around them using one layer of cotton batting, trimmed away the excess from the back, and went over it all again with a colourful thread. Higher loft batting such as wool would give more pop and that’s probably what I’d use on a bigger quilt for a more dramatic effect.

From there I just sandwiched the front cover and quilted the background areas to pack down the batting.  Full disclosure:  I regret using stippling for this.  I rarely if ever use stippling anymore because there are just so many other designs I would rather do, but I admit I was in a hurry to get it done and see the results.  I would have liked it all better if I’d taken the time to do something else!  It was a try-out project so these things happen.

Regardless, you can see how the additional batting layer under just the feathers gave them extra pop.

This technique isn’t really difficult and you can get some cool results, so give it a try if you haven’t already 🙂

Canadiana

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These photos are soooo 2017 …

OK, I just realized I hadn’t posted my little Canadiana pouch and bucket set before Christmas as intended, and in order to keep myself on track, I leave photos on my computer desktop until I have done what I planned to do with them and today I’m cleaning things up.

I used the little quilted bucket idea (check that out in previous posts from December), adapted it to make a bigger one with sturdy foam stabilizer in it and then decided to make a zippered pouch to go along with the buckets just for something a little different than the other sets I made.

I love how the foam stabilizer allows the bigger bucket to keep its shape and stand tall – the pouch has it too – and everything goes together for the Canadiana lover!

Yes, there’s a tiny pleat in that bottom corner and that’s definitely not how I usually roll.  Am I worried about it after the fact? No.  Would I have taken it out if I’d noticed it right away? Yes.  And on we go … LOL

As for matching that darn plaid on the bottom – this was yet another piece of fabric that was not printed on grain and believe me I fought with it for longer than I care to admit – straightened, cut on lines, pulled some more – but it would only submit to a point and then I had to just say to heck with it, it’s on the bottom and Christmas is coming!!!

 

Just Quilting – Curly Feather

Happy New Year Everyone!

Just getting back to my studio with some projects in mind for the near future, but I had to stop and stitch out this curly feather because it was on my mind 🙂

Stay tuned for my first adventure of the new year – a great big flower appliqué quilt with thread painting.  Yes, I mean big.  Well, the flower is big, the quilt is a regular size …