I’ve been working on a batik kaleidoscope quilt on and off over the last several weeks. It all started with the Sizzix Big Shot Pro, having the ability to cut the pieces quickly, cleanly and easily. There are a couple of things I want to do with the blocks and hey! I can cut more really easily.
So the first thing is:
September Block of the Month
Thankfully EQ6 is available making mocking up the block super easy.
I am using an orange/gold for the background on all the blocks. The orange in the mock up is a bit more on the hot red side because warm is good!
So this month there will be a mock up block and a pieced block.
Technical difficulties sometimes present big problems. Other times they are opportunities for learning. Something went screwy a while back, causing something to happen to the version of Microsoft Office installed on my computer. I have an open source that I can use for documents, power point presentations, and graphics, it’s simply not as intuitive as Office. I could use the desktop but that requires a few back flips. I’m hoping by the time I get this posted I’ll at least have a line diagram that makes sense.
Oh rejoice with me friends it worked!!! Hallelujah. You’ll notice later on that the line that is in the squares around the perimeter are not stitched. The motif that gets stitched in there is so fun. Want to see from the back?
The outer box is 12 inches. I’m using the Quilters Select 12” x 6” ruler. I’m digging these as they grip the fabric so no shifting! I use the twelve inch side to draw the outer lines. The 6” side helps me to keep the ruler straight marking the next line. Why not use a 12” ruler? Well the ruler I currently own has a chip in one corner. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Measure in from each side 1 1/2 or 2 inches, this will create the inner square. See the diagram above.
Now to make the smaller squares: connect the dots. Place the ruler from hash mark to has mark on an angle. Draw a line from the dot, to the inside line.
For August we’re exploring how quilting looks on a highly patterned, very colored fabric. As a newer quilter I would often let the fabric do the work for me using simple motifs or stippling to accomplish the work of quilting, I daresay this is common among quilters, and it’s perfectly fine. Whatever gets the job done.
I’m using two layers of a cotton wool batting by Hobbs. I do love multiple layers of batting, this is something I started doing on competition quilts after Tilde won it’s ribbon. The first (back) later might be cotton, or bamboo to give stability to the quilt; the top layer is wool, or silk for great stitch definition. On the rare occasion that I make bed quilts one layer of wool or silk is perfect, as they breathe, and keep a body warm.
When Hobbs debuted this cotton/wool blend I thought I’d died and gone to heaven as it provides the stability I want with good stitch definition. Bonus!
The where and how will be over the next several weeks.
Superior Metallic – 40 wt. and shiny. Interestingly it’s quite subtle.
Superior MicroQuilter – 100 wt polyester this is a new must have in my thread collection for everything from stitch in the ditch, to the intense quilting I’m passionate about.
Is a striped batik from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I’ll share that on Instagram later this week.
“How do you get from here to there?” she asked. I promised to show her. When stitching on a pieced block, the ditch is your bestie.
The ribbon candy ended at the peak, to start the next wedge there are two options:
stop, tie off the thread, then restart in the next wedge. A viable option, one that I’d give consideration if this were a competition quilt.
travel in the ditch. This is a favorite option as it saves time, and thread. Depending on the weight of the thread it’s possible to stitch in the ditch several times without creating bulk, or warping the look of the quilt.
Stitching on the line, or in that ditch is key, however remember it’s perfectly fine if it’s not perfect. Wobbles on quilts add character.
I pause here to reposition my hands for a smooth transition.
You can see that the stitching isn’t exactly on that line. Yes I’m breaking my own rule for now showing the flaws. It’s my job as the teacher, and I take it very seriously. Yeah. Bridge. Brooklyn. I’ll make lots of money.
It’s only a little off, and most people wouldn’t notice it. Starting at the top of the peak let the ribbon candy begin. Next week there will drawings of the ribbon candy in the wedge, and the swirly sun motif in the lower corner.
The next bit is NOT picking apart my work at all. overall I love this piece and will be happy to show it at any teaching venue.
Design Decisions happen.
Now I had to set this block aside for a few days. Upon returning I didn’t look before starting to quilt to see what thread I was using. I switched from Superior’s MicroQuilter to Wonderfil’s FabuLux, noticing only when starting the second wedge. I could have taken the stitching out, however I was grooving on the change in look, and the overall feel so I left it.
While stitching all the straight lines some distraction happened, phone call, meeting whatever – on one of the straight lines I stopped earlier than intended, to “fix it” an echoed circle seemed a great idea. It’s different, eye catching, and helps the eye travel over the surface of the quilt block. Were this a competition quilt the seam ripper and I would have had a hot date.
I chose to bind front to back and stitch in the ditch, there are a couple of places where it’s not exactly pretty and there’s a wee bit o’fixin’ that needs to happen. Just not today.
Last week we focused on the “bones” also known as stitching in the ditch. When you’re working on a quilt it’s not a “have to do” rather, it’s a good thing to do. When working on something like @play the bones get stitched as these would be the ditch in a pieced quilt top. Finer thread makes this stitching almost disappear into the batting, which is the goal.
Our post ended with this delightful conundrum, makes you kind of tense doesn’t it. Changing thread weight and color means that the needle, and tension need some kind of adjustment. For the top Wonderfil FabuLux Hush a 40 wt. trilobal polyester (means shiny!) designed by Debby Brown, for the MicroQuilter by Superior, an 80 weight polyester. Finer threads in the bobbin take up less room in the stitch, allowing tighter, closer stitching without skewing the quilt.
Clearly the tension was off in the first few stitches. This is a simple adjustment of the tension.
– lift the presser foot lever
– increase the tension (move dial to a higher number)
– take a few stitches, stop and check
– if the tension is good, keep stitching
– if the tension isn’t good, tweak it
Using the Sewline Marking pencil I placed a dot, about an inch up from the arc, about in the middle. I stitched from the peak of the spikes to the dot, then from the dot to the next peak. Using the same thread, I arced back. Just a small curve from the top of the peak, to the same dot.
Next up the big expanse, other wise known as the corner. The options are limitless. A long time ago this would have completely freaked me out. Now either there’s something on my brain. Sometimes I wait. This is a time to doodle, write blog posts, articles, walk up and down the stairs for the heck of it. Then there’s the old phone a friend, and the send friend a picture of the quilt.
The thinking led me to straight lines. It’s a basic principle – opposites attract. Straight lines highlight, and help define curves; curves soften the feel of straight lines. General rule. Lots of straight lines can do something dynamic to a geometric, square, block style quilt. Straight lines chosen, because why not.
Purple and orange are my favorite colors so I chose the orange Magnifico, another 40 weight, trilobal polyester thread. Stitch, stitch, stitch. Using the edge of the #24 Free Motion Embroidery foot, which measures 1/4 inch from needle center to the outside edge of the foot.
I started in the ditch (seam allowance) Next week I’ll show you the finished straight line quilting, including a wee bit of unplanned stitching, and what happened in the corner.
This one section of the Quilted Block of the Month that starts on Saturday.
I just want to point out that my lines aren’t perfect. Sometimes when quilting I get to thinking about things, or looking through the wrong part of my lenses. If, and only IF this were a competition quilt I’d rip that stuff out. It’s not a competition quilt, so it’s staying. There’s another little bit that happens later in the block that lends a little bit of “ooops what happened here” but ends up being something I like.
Saturday I’ll give all the information from fabric, thread, batting, and needles used, where I used them, and why I made those decisions.
How’s that for a tease?
PS After an email conversation with a friend last night I went over to the Road to California website. I don’t know when it got an makeover but Wow! I have a goal to get two quilts ready, and October 2nd seems almost reasonable for me. As long as life doesn’t throw me any more left-hooks!