Saturday, 30 October 2010

Can it really be less than four years?

I first started drawing my own feathers in 2007. This one is from my old blog 'Bird on a Wire' from the very first post. I used it in Old Gold, as a mirror image.
I urge you to try and draw your own feathers, it is so much more satisfying to 'own' your own quilts.

Why am I looking back today? No good reason really except my baby is starting her life as a fully fledged woman. She has a job and is moving to an apartment in London today. So today is an end of an era in my life and the beginning of one in hers. I'm very proud of how she has grasped life with both hands and knows how to enjoy it.
How I wished then to have a window to see her now.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sending me quietly insane.

Firstly blogger deciding to rotate this photo.  Why?
And secondly all those little circles, I love the effect but terminally boring now I'm on the 2nd quilt with them. In real life the effect is like the skin of a very large lizard, wonderful!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

How lucky am I?

A friend is downsizing everything and I gained this fabulous quilt frame. Now I have no intention of ever hand quilting at a frame, but if I can find an extra rail, this will be brilliant for basting. I'm so excited about this, just wish I had a quilt 'ready to go'!
Anyone know where in England I can get long wooden rails? Just the one...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Another strip quilt in progress

This is the other strip of the same Heide Stoll Weber fabric. I decided this one should be free form feathers (to find out how to do this get Patsy Thompson's first DVD on feathers) This feather is about 12" wide so this stretches my abilities on a domestic machine, I like to do each line without stopping and my hands just aren't in control over such a big distance. I have a very small disagreement with Patsy over variegated threads on this sort of feather. I just love the effect.

See how different the same threads are on different coloured backgrounds! Love it, love it.

And then the intensity it adds by adding a dense dark background. (Always click on the photos to get the full effects.)

George just needed to let me know that white quilts are made for cats to mess up. This is why I have a cheapie imported easily washable quilt on our bed.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

It's coming along

It's looking good. The thread is silver Isacord (non metallic) not white as it looks in the photo. I had planned to do it with a row of little circles like I did in Heide's one here, though it would show up more as the thread is a much higher contrast. (scroll to the bottom of that post to see it) and how to do it is here.  I think longarmers call them pebbles, mine are more like fine gravel. Though it is possibly a mistake, not in the effect but these little grains take time, loads and loads of it.

If you click on the photo you will see where I've drawn the feather on the fabric and how I've sewn completely elsewhere. I often do this as when I'm sewing I can see a better way to get nice curves. So why do I draw it all out only to ignore it? Well it gives me a frame work which I may or may not use but I can see the angle of the curves I've drawn and then make the final decision in thread.

The marks shall wash out and the threads will be buried and I'll be a very happy quilter.

I can't believe it has taken me over two years to go back to this format. It's about 12 or 15 inches by 60". I have thought of entering it into the Festival of Quilts though I think their new size restrictions might not allow for this shape. I will have to take a look at the entry forms.

And the quilt that started it all.
I'm amazed at how much my feathers have evolved since this quilt, When Heide Met Sally. I still like the subtlety of the background but I think the 'in your face' contrast of the current one is good too.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Not much done this week but I have started something new.

I always do a little practice piece to test out the threads with the tension and needles etc. On this little feather on the left I used a new thread. I think it's called Wondafil (or something like that, my PC is downstairs and the thread upstairs). It's a bobbin thread which comes in loads of colours. I have no plans to use this on top of my next work but I was told by the guy at their stand at the Festival of Quilts it would behave itself perfectly in the top. I've not had success before using these ultrafine threads in the top whilst quilting before (except the very expensive YLI silk) so I'm a very happy quilter.
This photo points out how different thicknesses of thread make so much difference to the quilting. The fine thread almost disappears and emphasises the loft between the stitches. The thicker thread (in this case, Isacord) emphasises the line of the stitch.
And this is one of the new projects. I'm doing two or three of these skinny quilts. Remember a couple of years ago when Heide Stoll Weber asked me to make one for her stand? Well this is the same format. And there is another quilt I made with one feather climbing up and around a large piece of her fabric. I loved it but it didn't win anything. And there was also the dark blue quilt with the white stitching, 'Flying High' which won the Wholecloth Award at the Scottish Quilt show. Then there was the Contemporary Strippy which was also successful. So I'm going back to play with these ideas but these will be more 'in your face' with high contrast, very heavy threads. So far so good. This one is a very traditional early feather, if somewhat elongated.

My Christmas Cactus, in bloom early, and to be totally contrary it normally blooms again for Easter. Wanda aka Exuberant Color has one which is normally out of sinc with Christmas as well. I think mine has beaten hers to it this year.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Does this freak you out?

Before I raise your blood pressure I'm sharing a little of autumn in my garden.

 Both of these were sold as Virginia Creeper. Obviously one of them isn't. I don't care, they both perform their socks off at this time of year.

I've been working on my wholecloth. This is how you saw it the other day. People always ask what I use to mark. You can find what I used here.

 Scroll down (and stay calm). Don't forget to click on the photos for the full effect.

I decided to play a little before I quilted in the backgrounds round the feathers. Above is what it looked like after I sprayed it gently with water and waited ten minutes. The ink has started to run.
Scroll down

 This is after half an hour. The inks in the pens start to run but in the constituent parts of the colours the company used to make the black. One pen ran out whilst I was marking it, it becomes quite obvious the colours in the pens were different, though when I used them for marking the ink looked the same from each.

 I think the effect is quite pretty, but not what I want. I keep thinking one day I might use this in a finished quilt. Would this worry you if it were yours?
Scroll down.

Breathe, this is it straight out of the washing machine after I quilted the background.

 Because I used a variegated thread (Aurifil), the lines of the feathers appear and disappear.
And a close up, it's just draped over the sofa and still wet. The full effect will show when it is dry.
I've realised a few of you thought I was scared, I wasn't I trust it to wash out. On Old Gold (the quilt touring the States with the World Quilt Show), the ink was ironed in and left for a couple of years and it still came out first time.