Friday, 10 July 2020

Owls and Feathers

Ta-da! A big finish:

This is a bed quilt for my daughter's owl-themed room and I'm so excited to finish it as it has a lot of new-to-me aspects.

As I'm concentrating of curve piecing and developing a kind of Art-Deco inspired style with clean shapes and high contrast colours, I wanted to see how this style can translate to bed quilts. Me daughter's room already has curtains with an owl pattern that I designed and had printed at Spoonflower, and she said she would like a quilt in owl fabrics, too. I searched the Internet for fabrics that would suit the colour and style of our owls and discovered the "Where the Wise Things Are" collection by Quilting Treasures. I ordered two fabrics from it and complemented them by two from "Stonehenge Solstice" collection by Northcott, and I really love how they play together.

I wanted the blocks to have a stylised feather shape as I had the backing fabric with feathers and I am still planning to have wallpaper printed with the same feather pattern. After a lot of sketching and fiddling in Illustrator I came up with a block shape that repeats in rows in opposite directions, so that half of the blocks are in one colour way and the other half in a different one.

The blocks were all machine-pieced using the same technique that I describe in my Butterfly Block tutorial. It took quite a lot of time, but they went together without much trouble.

Even before I started the quilt, I had minky fabric printed at Spoonflower with a pattern I designed to complement the curtains. It was used a temporary bed spread, but intended all the time as the backing for the quilt.

The problem was that I only had two meters of it, which is exactly the length of the finished quilt I needed (I know it's not a good idea, but I could only order the fabric in full meters and it is quite expensive to order a additional meter when you only need 2-inch margins). I had to position my batting and top extremely carefully and was lucky to get  away with just a sliver of white unprinted minky showing on one side. 

You see, it's actually reversible. And I'll have to make a separate post about the curtains.

I had never made a quilt with minky backing before, but I read up and was prepared to its stretching and shifting. I always prefer to quilt bed quilts quite loosely, with minky it's particularly important, so I chose to support the feather idea in the quilting and free motioned simple "strands" in each of the blocks. Together with the fabric patterns, I think the texture makes this quilt quite luxurious.

It also turned out quite heavy, although I used fleece instead of my usual batting in an attempt to make it more light-weight; but I hope the wight will help it stay in place on the bed during the day.

Especially if our new furry baby comes to visit:

As he hasn't appeared on the blog yet, I might take the chance to introduce him: this is Loki, he's two and a half months at the moment and he's been with us for a couple of weeks now. He wasn't inclined to take part in the photoshoot, preferring to jump around, but he loves playing hide-and-seek in the corners of the bed.

And he colour matches the quilt, too :))))

So, all in all the quilt turned out fine and I think these blocks are very versatile, so I was wondering if anybody would be interested in if I made it into a pattern?

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Template for Lily The Dragon

Several people have asked me for a pattern for Lily the Dragon quilt and I replied that it is an improvisational technique that does not require a pattern per se. However, I decided I can share the outline, let's call it a template, which can be a starting point for anybody who wants to make their own dragon, so here you go.

You can find a lot of tutorials on the "ticker-tape technique" online, I can recommend one by Ruth from Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner as I learned this technique in her workshop. I'll just quickly outline the process here, with the differences I made.

  • So, to begin with, you can download the template and print it out (use "poster" setting in the Acrobat printing menu if you are printing it on a home printer and it will split the image onto multiple pages which you'll have to glue together). The image is 30'' by 50'', but if you want a different size, you can tinker with image scale, just bear in mind that if you make it too small it will get too fiddly.

  • Next, you'll need to transfer the template onto your background fabric. I used black background, and this is what makes her really pop and creates a stained glass effect, but it will also make image transfer trickier. I can suggest making holes along the lines in the paper template and tracing them with chalk. Alternatively, just cut out the large shapes and trace them around with a white pencil or washable marker (in this case you can just freehand the spines). I didn't stitch around the outline as I thought it would not go with the stained glass effect.
  • Assemble your quilt sandwich and baste it in your preferred method.
  • Now you can get out your scrap basket and start playing. If you go for a black background, bright and light-coloured fabrics are best, in my case I used patterned ones for the body and blenders for the wing and the spines. The exact shape and positioning of the pieces will depend on the scraps you have, you'll just need to trim them to follow the line of the template on the outside. Leave from 1/8'' to 1/4'' between the pieces. Ones you fit several pieces in place, secure them with pins, glue or fusible tape and take the sandwich to the machine. I used quite loose zigzag stick with a neutral thread to stitch around all the pieces. Again, check out Ruth's tutorial for the details.
  • Continue the process bit by bit until you fill in the outline. Because you are stitching through the quilt sandwich, it will also mean you have already quilted the dragon shape!
  • So, all that is left is quilting the space around her, and here the sky is the limit -  you can create a whimsical landscape around her or just go for echo quilting. I tried to use Angela Walter's Swirl hook pattern, it didn't turn out great, to be honest, but I still love the overall effect created by the bright variegated thread (it was one of YLI machine quilting threads).
I really hope this is helpful, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and if you make your own dragon, please send a pic or tag me on Instagram, I'd be thrilled to see it!

Lily the Dragon quilt pattern

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Devoted Quilter

Friday, 26 June 2020

The Bedroom Quilt

While waiting for quilting threads to arrive, I decided to piece a quilt top for the bedroom. it was designed and pieced in just several days as it consists of simple Art Deco style shapes.

The colour palette is one I plan for the bedroom in general (as I haven't made a new bed quilt yet). I seem drawn to teals and corals nowadays.

The top is curve-pieced (which is my go-to technique now) but I plan to add texture and interest with quilting.

It will, however, have to wait for its turn to be quilted, as I have another one pinned and ready to go.

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Faith and Fabric

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Mad Tea Party

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”

This is The-Big-Quilt-Of-The-Year for me and it turned out a bit more hectic than planned, but I think it's still a true rendition of the theme :))) Two of the previous posts show the background piecing and raw-edge appliqué in progress.

The idea was not to literally illustrate the text, but rather play with the familiar imagery and take the"crazy" part to the extreme, combining and transforming the various elements to the point of dizziness. The cups gradually turn into hats, gateaus into chess pawns, petals into cookies and milk drops, the cake plate serves as a clock (and a melting one, too).

I abandoned my beloved vivid colours for a softer vintage palette plus dark outlines and"hatching" inspired by Tenniel's illustrations. I have very few patterned fabrics, especially with this kind of chintzy vintage patterns, so I collected some bits and pieces specially for the china in this quilt.

The space and time are warped and everything is shrouded by the smoke of the caterpillar's hookah.

The quilting was a big unknown till the last minute, as I'm too lazy to quilt each square in the corresponding black or white, changing the threads and burying the ends all the time, and an overall fill could break the shapes. Smoke was the game-changing idea. It meant I didn't have to stick with black-and-white thread, and instead went for a variegated YLI thread in pastel hues which worked well with the vintage-style prints and softened the sharp contrast of the background. The smoke comes out of the stack of cups, which is a (very obscure) reference to the caterpillar.

The wavy-flowy quilting was quite enjoyable, although it did take a long time, but the fun and game ended when, on the home stretch, with the last corner left, I realised the spool was empty.

I used a full spool of thread on the quilting (top only, the bobbin had a neutral colour), and had to order another one. Needless to say, the shop I bought it from was out of stock... So, I had to wait a couple of weeks until they restocked and could send it to me to finish those last five minutes of quilting.

The roses are one of my favourite parts.

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Patchwork and Quilts at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Monday, 25 May 2020

Of Flowers and Letters

This project lies at the intersection of two of my interests - quilting and lettering. I heard about the #36daysoftype challenge in Instagram several years ago, but didn't have the time then, or the year after, or... until this year, anyway.

The commitment is to design and post a letter or number every day for 36 days, the reward is to enjoy all the beautiful, quirky, mind-boggling, sweet or provocative interpretations of the same letter posted by artists, calligraphers, animators, illustrators from all over the world.

I only found out that it started on the day that it started, so I didn't have the time to make a couple of entires in advance or even to think through my concept and it emerged gradually through the first couple of days. I think D was the first really nice one.

The concept, as it developed, was Art-Nouveau inspired illustrated initials with floral motifs. Three fabrics for each letter: a pastel background, relatively dark letter, and a lighter tint of the same colour for the flowers of leaves. Detail and stems were added with a thread, which more or less matched the main colour. The appliqué was done on Pelmet Vilene with the help of Bondaweb, then free-motion quilted.

I did the initial sketches in Procreate on my iPad, several at a time, whenever I had the time, so the process of making the letter itself did not take long and could be fitted into most days. I fell back a couple of times, but then caught up making two or three at a time.

Unfortunately, I ran out of Pelmet Vilene before the end of the project, and not just anywhere, but right after I completed the letter X. None of the scraps left was big enough to cut one last 6 inch square.

Obviously, I knew it was coming, and I had ordered more, but that was the beginning of the strict lockdown and the shop closed even its online operations, so the order was left to hang there for several weeks. I finally received my materials when the instagram challenge was over, but I still completed the last letter and decided not to go into the numbers this time.

So, here they are, all of them:

I used some of the scraps to make two floral compositions for the covers and put them all together into a textile alphabet book, which will go to my niece when she's big enough to learn her ABC.

To make the pages, I sandwiched two sheets back to back and zigzagged around with thin light-grey thread, which is almost invisible on all the pastel backgrounds.

I found a tutorial on single-sheet book binding and stitched the pages together with leftover cotton  knitting yarn.

It turned out rather sweet to look at and nice to hold. Working in such a small format was a welcome change from the large quilts, though it required a lot of concentration for the small details (few of them will stand up to close scrutiny).

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, 14 May 2020

Lots Of Pockets

Another look back at the projects not featured on the blog yet - this was a first birthday present for my niece:

I rarely buy panels, but this one had bright colours, cute animals and lovely florals - everything I love, so I thought it would be great for one on my baby nieces. As they both had been supplied with baby quilts already, I decided to make a panel of pockets that can go on the side of the baby cot, rails at the the top of the stairs of on the wall somewhere.

I was sensible enough to buy a blender fabric from the same collection at once, so that was used for the sashing, and three baby fabrics from another collection went to the inside of the pockets, backing and binding. I used the quilt-as you-go method to put it all together, with the only difference that the pockets and pocket "lining" had to be quilted separately before stitched together at the edges. The pockets are slightly wider than the lining to allow for two little tucks that create the volume inside.

The quilting was very simple, just parallel lines in various directions, but it did take quite a lot of time. Putting the blocks together was easy, although handling the thing became more difficult when the rows were put together, because it's heavier and more unbending than a normal quilt with all the layers going on.

The corner triangles and loops at the back hold the poles, so that the whole thing keeps shape even if stuff is stuffed into the pockets, and the ribbons are there to tie it to the rail.

On the whole, it was quite a different project to what I usually do, requiring a lot of technical decisions rather than artistic ones, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

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

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