And here it is being prepped for mounting on the thingie where it lives during the months it takes to do the actual quilting.
That minty green for the back is also from the Vintage Mom Cloth stash. The filler is from a company called Warm & Natural, wonderful all-cotton stuff that is soft and obedient. For this piece I did not pre-wash the filler because I know about how much it will shrink, and I want the nubbly that shrinkage will bring to the completed piece.
And here she is all mounted on
the thingie. There are side clamps used to get the proper tension, not
After the quilting is all done, which should be sometime this summer, then there is the trauma of the binding (kill me now), and then it's hot water dip, blast dry and off to its new home in the country. This one is called Fire And Land. Who knew that one could spend so much time with all that green without going blind?
While we're at it, if you're looking for something thoughtful and interesting to read, when you have time, read this. ESPECIALLY if you are a creator type of any kind. (If your eyes are also Growing Elderly, there's a link to a pdf of the essay included. It's the third teeny tiny sans-serif line from the top, right under her name.)
Even when doing a free form quilt, I like to incorporate elements of a traditional block somewhere in there. There's a hexagon block that's sometimes called Grandmother's Garden, sometimes called Honeycomb, depending on the region. It's got a couple of other names, too, but I forget. This time out that was my traditional block, and it saved me when dealing with the Glaring Error.
Below on the left, you see four dark green hexagon flowers with olive centers, my non-traditional use of the Honeycomb block. (They're made out of a deeply-textured honeycomb cloth. Clever!) All of that, and the red flower, were already in when the horrible design error was discovered. You can't see it now, but on the right was the giant hole left by the horrible error. Well maybe you can see where it was if you look really close. Eventually the thought hit -- more Honeycombs, but ghosted! So I made a bunch more hexagons in the light base green and a couple in the Ghana blue/green, along with partials in both cloths. Then I worked them into the giant hole. This took quite a while because the hole borders were irregular, hexagons are hexagons, and I had to work this in without mucking up the stripe or the petals of the centerpiece flower. Let's just say there was much Riesling and bad language. I admit that at one point I resorted to Whaler's. It was a difficult three weeks trying to make this work. O the humanity.
This pic was taken long after the hole was filled and I was pinning up the interior border.
Notice how this doesn't look anything like The Sketch. Also, what's not here is the grass. Or the leather strips. Or the purse bee cloth.*** Heh.
Here are two close-ups of one of the corner bees being ensnared, which also shows a bit how I do the folds.
All of the corner bees will have poofed wings, but I can't do that part until I'm done with the quilting bit because their wings will overlap the binding that will make the outer, final border. But the runaway bee got poofed early. Here he is in poof progress.
I tacked the wings down using Fredi because the wing thread is a clear nylon/plastic, kinda thick and set with a zig stitch. To ensure *nothing* goes wrong with the poofed wings down the road, it was best to use the machine.
*** I didn't document building the purse. I made it from a stripped book, and one element includes this adorable cloth with teeny flowers and bees.
The Pine Burr, also called Pine Cone, is one of the traditional black quilt blocks. One of the famous examples is Mary Alan Smith from Arkansas. I've wanted to try one for a long time, but wasn't feeling it until this project. Incorporating a burr into this piece would bring drama! Excitement! 3-D!
What you do is make a bunch of tiny squares (ignore the stains..that's just dried blood from an Incident years ago...this pic was when the cover for the little ironing board was in the washing pile)
turn them into tiny triangles,
and stack them ragged
Normally you'd start from the center and work your way out. But because I was making an edging for an existing space, and not a stand-alone block, I started a couple of inches in and worked my way out.
It worked great! Right up until I was finished and realized that while it was dramatic and 3-D and all, it also LOOKED LIKE A HIDEOUS BUG!! Threw the rest of the piece off-kilter. Why I didn't see this while in it, I don't know. Unfortunately when you catch an error at this stage, the only thing to do is to slice it out of the base. That was not a good day.
The brown furry thing is the cat, who is always in the way.
So I had a bug, and I had a big ass hole on the bottom right quad of my piece. I didn't take a picture of the hole because it was quite upsetting. It took a couple of weeks of glaring at it every day before the cloth began suggesting ways to make it all better.
Here's closer on the stripes that comprise the base.
I have no idea why I like folds in quilts so much, but I do. I can't remember when I first started adding folds to pieces...most likely it was by accident, trying to hide an error. Nor do I care that some quilters proclaim that Folds Are Not Allowed, mainly because none of them have been able to adequately answer the follow up question - why?
Folds are not hard to do. You just have to make sure you stop the join of each strip at the right place so that you can get the next one under & over it properly. Otherwise it's picking the stitches back out, which is irritating.
Anywho, turns out that the dark green, which is a linen from the Vintage Mom Cloth stash (circa 1970s) is a bitch. I had a hint of this early on, as you can see in this underside shot. The cloth tends to be all unravel-ly.
Once I got to the actual quilting stage, I discovered to my dismay that the actual threads of the dark green shift shift around! As my hand quilting is not yet as refined as I would like it to be, despite umpteen years of making these things, this has meant that some of the quilting on the dark green strips I am doing on the machine. The red red Ghana cloth used for the main flower turned out to have this
problem, too, resulting in an emergency fixing that I hope holds once
it goes through the final wash. The blue/green ghana cloth was fine,
None of the other linen from the VMC tries to leap apart. The cloth for the Anansi Dress is from the same time period (mid-70s) but it's sturdy as all get out. But then again, that cloth is slightly heavier and has a much tighter weave. That might be the difference.
Cat's been long out of the bag on this one, I'm well into the final stages now - aka the omigod this is going to take the REST of my LIFE quilting part, I've got to be places other than the blog this week, now's a good a time as any to share build notes on the project I've been working on since Feb. 2007.
Here is The Sketch.
The main thing to know about The Sketch is that it never looks like the finished product, mainly because the cloth will do what it will as you go along. Yet I insist on making one at the start anyway.
When I look at this now, I am particularly amused by that 'grass' bit on the bottom. You'll see why.
Here's a picture from the stash when I was working on a prototype of one of the flowers. I often whip up prototypes on the machine before executing the block by hand, just to make sure it works. That's a hard-learned lesson from several times in the distant past when it finally hit me that just because a block looks fantabulous when cut out from construction paper doesn't mean it will work in cloth. Paper does not unravel and wrinkle as paper does. You don't have to remember to cut paper on the bias. Paper, unlike cloth, has no weight, meaning you don't have to match weights when matching pieces of paper.
Because no version of this flower looked good once done (to me) it's safe to post because it's not in the final piece.
As usual Cuddle Kitty started off at the end of Fredi's extender and slowly inched himself closer until he was as much in the way as possible.
What I have to put up with, let me tell you. I still don't understand *why* he does this. I kinda get why he pulls the same stunt when I'm at the computer, but Fredi is making noise, things are moving, I am often cursing up a storm, he's had his tail accidentally stitched into something more than once, he gets shoved onto the floor or occasionally picked up and thrown across the room, and STILL he gets all up into everything.
It just hit me that before I can roll the other thing out I should test to make sure this works.
From many several weeks ago, when I was transferring the prototype doodle into the base template in order to get the final measurements and such down. I don't think I quite captured his air of Cuddle Kitty's sense of Sullen in this pic, taken after an hour or so of me shoving him out of my way. He was attempting to nap. FINALLY he got up and stalked off, making with the Angry Tail Twitch. He jumped up on Fredi, sprawled out and whined for a good 45 mins.
From where you sit, nothing big just happened. From where I sit, it was something huge! (Infrastructure stuff.) Let us celebrate by showing off the base, which I think I finished two months ago, but don't hold me to that.
This picture amuses a friend who thinks that once again I've taken a tool designed to do one function and adapted it for another. But I am firmly convinced the device I have Grass attached to, which was a cast-off from one of my brethren in Ives I snatched up immediately, was created to do the sort of thing I'm using it for.
For context, it's attached to the wooden thing in the middle of the picture below. I still don't know what this thing is called, but it has instantly replaced those damned embroidery hoops I hated with a huge stompy hate.
This next picture amuses me, mainly because I didn't notice what was up on the screen when I snapped it. I was trying to get a good pic of the Grass edges, to show what it looks like once the two edges are tacked down with teeny 'x' stitches and then a pin is used to rip out some of the threads to get a cool raggedy look.