Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Couple More Silk Blocks

I have been hand stitching away.  Here are 2 more silk dupioni flower blocks.  
My goal is to have 12.  I do have a plan, but I don't want to share yet.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sketching 2.0

We have a lovely, shaded porch here in Key West with 2 comfy wicker chairs and a table - one for Bailey and one for me.

  Even though I love to spend my time sewing, I hate to be stuck inside.  I have been working on handstitching my silk  block, and that I can do sitting outside, but that is slow going, and truth be told, I'm getting a bit bored.

For those of you that have followed my blog for a while, you know that I dabble with sketching whenever I come down here.  Last year it lasted a week!  Well, I am giving it a go again. 
Let's call it Sketching version 2.0

  I brought my markers and sketchbook with me, but I needed something to put them in.  Here's the perfect mug that I bought for myself to hold the markers.  It makes me feel like an artist.
I have the perfect place to sit and sketch
with my patient little buddy.
They love her here in Key West.  Lots of people stop me on the street and ask to pet her.

I decided not to limit myself to a once a day sketch or a theme.  I just want to experiment and have some fun.    Structure and restrictions has never really worked for me.  Let's see how it goes and how long it lasts.  I'll keep sharing as I go, if you like.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Key West Inspiration

I know some of you are having a cold and icy winter. 
 I feel your pain, BUT.... it's paradise here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

More Silk Blocks

A couple of weeks ago I shared some dupioni silk blocks that I was working on during our drive down to Florida.  You can see them in my post titled "Hitting The Road".

I finished one of them and have made a couple more.

The blocks measure 14" finished.  I fuse the silk down with a fusible applique called Soft Fuse, stitching a few pieces at a time.  My plan is to make a dozen of them, all different.  
I  design another one as I finish the last one.  The plan is for them all to have a Jacobean flavor.
They will surround a center square.  The design for the square is still percolating in my head.
 It's a bit slow going because I started the first block with hand stitching and so I will continue that until the quilt is done. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Continuous Bias Binding Tutorial

I am posting this tutorial at the request of some of the women in my workshops.  I learned to make continuous bias binding during my first quilting class.  It was in 1992 and it was a 4 session class.  The wallhanging we made was hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted.  Then we bound it with continuous bias binding.  Although I don't do any hand piecing or hand quilting anymore, I do a bit of hand applique (fusible, of course) and I still make bias binding.

 This is the Strip Ticket that I bought back then.  I keep it in my book case, peaking out a bit so I can always find it. On one side, there are diagrams for cutting and stitching the fabric.  On the other side are the cutting dimensions depending on the binding width and length.   I wasn't sure if it was still available, but it is.  Check your LQS, but if they don't have it you can find it on line HERE.

To make your own bias binding, start with the correct size square, according to the Strip ticket.
Cut the fabric square
in half diagonally.

Place one triangle on top of the other, right sides together.  Stitch them together with 1/4" seam.

Press open the seam and mark parallel lines as far apart as the width of the desired binding.  (I use

Also make a mark 1/4" from the angled edges.

Pin the  two edges together forming a tube, offsetting the marks by one row.

Sew with a 1/4" seam.
 Press open the seam and cut on the line to make a continuous strip of bias binding.

Fold the strip in half lengthwise and press.

Why use bias binding?
1.  It is more durable for a quilt that will be used a lot and washed.
2.  A striped fabric looks great when made on the bias.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Inspiration From Key West

This week I am focusing on houses.  I walk or ride my bike with my buddy almost every morning and the scenery here is just fascinating.  The architecture is so unique.  There are several typical styles that are located on the main roads and all the little lanes.  I love them all.  And the colors can be just amazing, but if you want lots of space between your neighbor, this is not the place.  Land is expensive, so you can practically reach out and touch the house next door.

A few years ago, I played with these house designs to make this fun folding fabric book:
There is a very stiff interfacing inside that makes it rigid enough to stand.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Top Is Done

In my previous post, I shared the beginnings of my silk dupioni Storm At Sea quilt.  I have been sewing away. I finished it today.  It has been an up and down journey - a love and hate affair.

It has taken me much longer than I expected.  Why is it when you are nearing the finish line, so many things can go wrong?
This layout was in my last post.  I took my time putting it together.  The paper makes it difficult to piece the blocks together.  They slip. To get the most precise points, I baste them together first with the longest machine stitch on my machine.  Then I go in and make adjustments, if necessary, by removing a section of the basting stitches.

This is how the main body turned out:
The patterns in the design really are starting to show now. Can you see the curved lines?

There are several options for finishing and I chose one that would accentuate one of the patterns:
I really love this layout.  It really accentuates the curved medallion,but OOPS!,  do you see my mistake in the upper left corner?  Ratz! So I ripped and fixed and added the outer borders. Some very naughty words came out of my mouth as I realized I put one border on wrong side out and then when I went to rip it out, I realized I took off the wrong border.  But finally the top is done.  Yay!
I added the skinny colored border using scraps.  It added just a little pop of color.
This is what tge back looked like when I was finished .  The papers are all a bit ragged at this point.
I shorten the stitch length when stitching to the newsprint paper foundation.  
This helps the paper to come off easily.

My set up here isn't conducive to quilting, so I will roll it up onto one of those swim noodles and try to come up with a plan to quilt it when I return to PA.

In the meantime, if you haven't done any paperpiecing and would like to try, I designed a simple little birdhouse quilt a bunch of years ago.  You can get the free pattern  HERE.
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