2012 FMQ Challenge: Bonus tutorial

30 09 2012

In addition to the usual monthly challenges, there are some bonus challenges throughout the year. Back in August, a bonus tutorial from Susan Brubaker Knapp was released: http://sewcalgal.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/2012-free-motion-quilting-challenge_27.html

I only got around to doing anything about it this weekend.

The challenge was to take a photo of something and convert it into a quilted piece. I decided to use a photo of a water lily I took in Bali a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s the original photo:

I converted the photo into a black and white image, then printed it out. I then stitched the outlines of the petals and leaves using an unthreaded machine onto a small quilt sandwich. I used an existing sandwich, which was a bad move, as it’s main colour was pink!

I used LOTS of different coloured threads, but I still wasn’t very happy with the final piece. Despite the thousands of stitches I did, there’s no way that pink background was covered, so the green leaves–in particular–look very insipid. I also didn’t check the placement of the centre of the flower before doing the stamens etc. so they’re out of whack too 😉

Here’s how my piece looked after about an hour of thread painting:

If I did this again, I’d use a black base, and applique on the big green leaves and the pink flower shape before I started stitching. I also WOULD NOT do the surface stitching/thread painting on to the quilt sandwich as it puckers up really badly with so much thread — I’d put it onto some tearaway/interfacing/stabiliser and do all my stitching on that before making the sandwich.

There’s a long way to go with my thread painting! Shadows and colour depth are two areas I really need to spend some more time on.

Community Quilt 15

30 09 2012

What a brightly coloured quilt top this was! I decided to quilt it with all-over feathers, using several different variegated threads to match the colour panels of the top. The backing fabric was a plain calico.

These photos were taken before I squared off the quilt ready for binding, so you can see a little of the batting at the edges.

Click on a photo to see it full size.

Threads used:

  • Superior Threads spool of an unknown colour (pale blue and tan mix) that came with my Sweet Sixteen; I finished the last of this spool. This was the same thread I used for some practice pieces when I first got my Sweet Sixteen.
  • Superior Threads Rainbows; 40 wt, colour 829 (orange, tan, cream variegated)
  • Superior Threads King Tut; 40 wt; colour 943 ‘Nile Crocodile’ (yellow, olive, and green variegated)
  • Superior Threads King Tut; 40 wt; colour 932 ‘Cairo’ (purple, pink,blue, and green variegated)
  • Wonderfil Silco; colour #SCM03 (pastel pink, yellow, blue and green variegated)
  • Bobbin: Wonderfil Deco-Bob; 80 wt; colour DB 112
  • Stitches in the quilting: 177,000

And the back:

Bali hut finally getting repaired

24 09 2012

After several visits from insurance company building assessors, structural engineers, etc. and after being refused our insurance claim for fixing the Bali hut that was damaged in the June storms (no, I’m NOT happy with CGU insurance as this was a Shire-approved structure yet the insurance company says it wasn’t designed properly in the first place!), we’re finally getting it repaired and secured permanently.

The repairs are going to cost us nearly as much as the original structure cost to build six years ago (according to the building info submitted to the Shire back then)…

Here are some ‘in progress’ photos:

The main work is to replace the short bolts holding the poles into the stirrups with REALLY BIG bolts (see the photo with my shoe in the picture), replace the steel frame with a stronger wood laminate roof frame and tie these beams to the rafters, and then add bracing from the poles to the wood laminate roof frame.


Community Quilt 14

24 09 2012

I had a bit of a break from quilting the community quilts — I’d finished one batch and hadn’t received the next, then I had a lot of work deadlines to meet and a trip to Bali. I finally got back to my Sweet Sixteen this past weekend, after about a month of no quilting!

The first quilt I pulled out of the large box of 11 in the new batch was a very dark (mostly solid black) geometric quilt. I suspect it was made with a male in mind, so I figured that feathers and flowers wouldn’t be the right way to quilt this quilt.

I thought of some sort of Navajo design motifs, but all those I could find on the internet required a LOT of marking (I’m not big on marking — I just want to quilt!). So I looked at it a different way.

I saw circles in the triangle blocks (!), so I decided to use one of Leah Day’s ‘matrix’ motifs. Out came a large bowl to mark the big circles and a lid for marking the small circles, then I free motion quilted each circle using a dark charcoal thread with a bit of a sheen (Floriani embroidery thread, 40 wt rayon, colour PF488), and using dark navy Wonderfil Invisifil (100 wt, colour IF 608) in the bobbin (the backing fabric was navy).

I used a variegated King Tut thread (colour 403 ‘Cairo’) for the rising sun motifs in the blue/grey border, and a soft green/blue rayon for the flames in the same border (Robison-Anton rayon, 40 wt, colour 2313 ‘Sprite’). The large flames in the other black areas and the large border were quilted with a black Gutermann polyester thread. I didn’t want any sort of sheen for these areas, which is why I just used a ‘standard’ thread.

Total quilting stitches: 160,000

2012 FMQ Challenge: September

21 09 2012

This month’s challenge tutorial was from Paula Reid. Like Don Linn’s piece earlier in the year, this one used a design that we had to mark on to the fabric. Paula suggested several options for transferring the design and I ended up using a sample piece of Transdoodle from MistyFuse (received in my pack of MistyFuse several months ago).

I was pretty impressed with Transdoodle — you just lay it between the pattern and the fabric, chalky side down, then using a ball point pen or similar and a hard surface to write on, you go over the pattern and the chalk transfers to the fabric nice and neatly. There’s a bit of chalky residue transferred from where you press down with your hand etc. too, but it brushes off very easily. You can use the sheet over and over again.

Here’s my design transferred onto the fabric, ready for stitching –I didn’t transfer all the lines for the feathers, thinking I could do them without the marks.

Here’s the first lot of stitching — I used a white thread so that it would stand out against the deep red/maroon of the fabric. I was wrong about not marking the centre feathers. I could do the outside ones easily enough (though I’m much happier making commas a la Diane Gaudynski’s method), but I got a bit caught up on the inner feathers. I may have better off just doing them without the markings. I added some tiny pebbles in the centre and at the edges (the whole design fits an 8″ block).

Here’s the back:

I thought it needed a lift, so I added some variegated green ‘veins’ to the feathers and the teardrop motifs. Then went around the outer bumps and edges in the same green, about 1/8″ from the original stitching.

I’m glad I tried this technique, and especially glad I tried the Transdoodle paper as I think it has a lot of potential for anyone marking quilt designs.

However, having now done a couple of marked designs, I realise that they are not for me — I much prefer to create my own designs and patterns freehand on the machine. That said, I’m glad I’ve tried various marking methods as I’m sure I’ll use some marked designs at some point. So thanks Paula for stretching my bounds.

Threads used:

  • White: Madeira Rayon, 40 wt, Colour 1001
  • Green: Superior King Tut Egyptian cotton, 40 wt, Colour 988 (Oasis)
  • Bobbin (navy): Wonderfil Invisifil, 80 wt, Colour IF 608

Ricky Tims in Perth

20 09 2012

Last weekend I had the BEST time – I attended four Ricky Tims sessions and one concert by him! He’s currently in Australia and the lovely Michelle (my good friend and my Handi Quilter Sweet 16 [S16] dealer) got him over to Western Australia for five days, two of which were the session and concert days. Ricky has blogged about some of his experiences here: http://www.rickytims.com/ (and you can see a picture of Ricky and Michelle here: http://www.rickytims.com/home/47-blog-general/1789-down-under-day-6).

Ricky was such a personable, open, warm presenter. We got HEAPS of tips and tricks from him (and fortunately a 50+ page book of notes so we didn’t have to try to write everything down), as well as stories about his life in both quilting and music. And the concert was fantastic – not only is he an award-winning quilter, author of quilting books, Quiltshow TV presenter etc., but he’s also an incredible musician and composer.

He also spent time after each session signing people’s books, CDs, etc. and allowing photos to be taken.

If you get the chance to see Ricky live in concert or attend his lectures, just DO IT. He also holds retreats at his home town in Colorado a few times a year. I believe he’s also presenting in Brisbane and Adelaide this month.

BTW, Michelle and her staff have made the excellent videos on using rulers etc. with the S16: http://www.handcraftershouse.com.au/index.php?act=viewDoc&docId=8

Ricky signed my book

Ricky signed my book

Close-up of his Rhapsody quilt — one of several that he brought with him and talked about at length.

Bali: Day 6: Thursday 13 September 2012

17 09 2012

We were up at 6:00 am for a 6:45 am pickup by our driver. We arrived in plenty of time for our flight — the traffic was pretty light at that hour of the day. The gate wasn’t even allocated until about 20 mins before boarding, so we had to wander about the international terminal past security — a ploy to get you do last-minute shopping? The flight was due to leave at 9:30 am but we didn’t take off until about 9:45.

We had an uneventful flight back to Perth (beef rendang was my choice again for the meal), and cleared immigration, customs and baggage claim in about 15 minutes (a record for me at Perth International Airport!). My nephew was waiting to pick us up. After getting dropped at my sister’s place, I drove the 90 minutes home. Not a big deal when it’s only about a 3 hour flight 😉

The highlights of my first trip to Bali:

  • Spending time with my parents and sister (our first ‘just us’ family holiday in almost 40 years!)
  • Bumbu Bali Cooking School — I highly recommend this!
  • The fabric place in the Denpasar markets for quilting batiks at $2.40 a metre
  • Totally relaxing in a warm tropical climate, in such a beautiful location
  • The food!
  • Amazing massages, foot reflexology, etc.
  • The low prices of everything.

Would I go again? Yep!

More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/collections/72157631547384389/