Friday, 6 April 2018

Indian Elephant Has Arrived

It's been a long journey for such a small elephant, but along the way he's not only found some temple arches to walk through, but also some bling to adorn himself (that's the exuberant Orient, after all).  And finally, here he is.


You can read more about his journey here and here, I'll just tell about the quilting in this post. I usually prefer some sort of overall quilting pattern for the whole of the quilt or at least for the whole of the background. Here it was evident that each part needed its own quilting, that's why I kept putting it off and spent a long time considering the options.

The elephant was easy, I just echoed some of the shapes, trying to keep him not too flat, and created an arching pattern in his coat (blanket? rug? saddlecloth?) to rhyme with the border arches.



Finally, I decided to quilt the immediate background with paisley-feather-mussel-like something in golden-brown variegated thread.


Then quilted simple rosettes into the corner patches,


And mini-arches in the narrow borders.


Finally, the "temple arches" were quilted with stylised architectural details, and the space between them - with echoing curves.


Despite the small surface area, it was a lot of fiddling, but that was not all, the handwork still remained, and the quilt sat waiting till I was in the mood to do that.


I went to three shops to look for suitable trimmings, and there was not a lot of choice in something Indian looking, but small-scale and not too colourful, so I just bought this gold lace, blingy red trim and some plastic "gems" that rhymed with the trim. Some hand stitching - and the elephant is ready for any ceremony he wants to attend.

On the whole, it's very unusual quilt for me in an uncharacteristic colour way, but it was fun to let it go and see how it developed of its volition.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Finished or not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Free Motion Mavericks at Lizzy Lenard Vintage Sewing
TGIFF at Celtic Thistle Stitches
Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She

Monday, 2 April 2018

Portraits

Again, an idea I've lived with for some time, since I made my horse quilt, actually, which only came to fruition now, in a couple of days of frantic drawing, tracing, cutting, pinning and stitching in between taking the kids out here, there and everywhere.

This is a series of little horse portraits - curve-piecing samples for a workshop, which incorporate 3d manes to make them come to life.


They are just flimsies at the moment, because this is how I prefer them for the workshops, quilting will add some texture, and the eyes will be brought to life by a couple of strokes of paint or crayons.
The choice of fabrics changes the style completely, from almost realistic to something fairytale-like.


For these two, the manes are made with loosely spun knitting yarn (leftovers from some knitted hats), for the third one, I used felting wool (unfelted in this case, in the horse quilt I felted the manes before stitching them into the seams - they look less natural when felted, but handling is much easier then). I wish I had made it longer, because it did shrink a bit with all the handling. the manes will probably be partially stitched down after quilting, to keep them in place when the quilt is folded, carried or stored.


I got so carried away, I have two more patterns ready, but will have to pause for a while.

Linking up to Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts
Linky Tuesday at Free Motion by the River

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Neon Quilt Finished

My, it's been a long time...
The quilt was actually finished long ago, I just didn't get around to photographing and posting it. Here it is:


Has anybody else noticed that the faster the quilt is to make, the longer it takes to post it, or is it just me?


The previous post tells everything about making the top (not much to tell - improv curve stack-and-whack). The quilting is curves and spirals, not too dense to keep it soft, in a beautiful variegated YLI thread in shades of blue, going into green and purple.


The binding is pieced from the strips of batik fat quarters left over from cutting the squares - blends with all the medley in the quilt itself.

I really love how fast these improv pieced quilts come together and plan on making another one (some day).


Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Splashes of Neon

Another productive day in my sewing group, and another improv curve piecing top.


The Eastern branch if the Irish Patchwork Society received a call for charity quilts for an orphanage in Russia, and I thought I'd try more improv piecing for that, because the time is limited, and this technique works really fast for me.

As I saw, a lot of our members are making quilts for smaller kids, so I decided to do something that's  more suitable for a teenager or a pre-teen (at least I hope this would appeal to them). The top finished about 45'' by 52''.


I had a fat quarter bundle of very nice and bright batiks ("Aurora" collection by Freedom fabrics), which were bought for another project, but were not used in the end, so I decided to use them, I also added a piece of bright blue-purple ombre fabric and dark grey butterflies to get to 42 squares of fabric. The squares had to be 9'', because the batik fat quarters were a bit smaller than usual.

I used stacks of four squares (mostly) and cut them free-hand in a more or less diagonal direction, then mixed the pieces and stitched them together. The finished blocks had to be trimmed to 8'' square. You can check out my previous quilt in the same technique, but with a different pattern of cutting, to compare the resulting effect.

I then had to spend quite a lot of time trying to create an interesting layout out of these blocks - it proved tricky, because the bright shapes stand out so and really draw your eye, so you have to organise something that is by itself random. I hope it turned out modern and dynamic.

Linking up to Linky Tuesday at Free motion by the River
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Elephant Walking On (and Mass Production Curve Piecing)

This is a story full of adventures and discoveries, errors and disappointments - it's the story of how I made the borders for my elephant block.

I had several cuts of the "Spice Trail" collection by Freedom Fabrics, which have really nice tasty colours, and I had in mind some kind of Indian carpet that they often depict on elephants' backs with arc like patterns in the border. I thought they would work nice for curve piecing. I started with a simple border with paisley patterned fabric:


Then I started making my arcs, and I had to modify my curve piecing process for mass production of identical blocks, which I'll talk about later. It must be said that with curved parts it's impossible to calculate in advance how much fabric you're going to need, you can only estimate ... you see already where this is going, don't you? Yes, I didn't have enough fabric for four borders. I also cut several pieces out of the wrong fabric, which depleted my stock.


So much so for the carpet, I decided to make it more vertical by adding another border:


Had I designed and planned it properly in advance, I would have pieced it in a different way. Then I decided to add a little bit of remaining patterned fabric and so I went from an 18'' by 22'' block to a 32'' by 47'' - all in a couple of days. What do you think of that? I think I have to stop here.


Now, some technical tips and tricks in case anybody is interested:

Mass Production Curve Piecing

Friday, 5 January 2018

Indian Elephant

As it often happens to me, I made a sketch for this long time ago, and it's only now that I managed to bring it to life - please meet the Elephant block:


The fabrics were purchased specifically for it and have been waiting all this time - over a year - in a separate bag, so that they didn't get involved with any other projects going on :))) I think the fabrics really make it - the contrast and the patterns are very eye-catching. It now needs a suitably Indian border, which I'm still considering, and I plan to add some trimmings for more Oriental splendour after it's quilted (and an eye, an eye is definitely needed).

It's a simple curve-pieced pattern, the size of a fat quarter, giver take, and it came together very fast. If you'd like to try some simple curve piecing, check out these beginner tutorials here and here.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a fabric Addict

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Airwaves Completed

I'm glad to report the completion of the free-style aviation-themed lap quilt that I showed started not so long ago.


I really like how fast it came together, even the quilting took just a couple of days. I don't like my "practical" quilts to be densely quilted, I prefer them to have more drape, so I tried to imitate the pieced pattern in the quilting - kind of loose free-form spirals and waves:


And because I had four blocks left over from my 6 by 6 layout, I decided to make it a quillow and used the four blocks for the pillow "cover". It's a bit smallish for the quilt (because it's made of the same blocks it's exactly one third of the quilt width), so when folded it looks  tight.


Anyway, I'm happy with it and I really want to try making other quilts in the same technique.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

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