Work-in-Progress Girl


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Radiant Orchid Mini-Quilt

It took me a long time to warm up to making a project for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge – I didn’t have many purples in my stash, even fewer of them in that sort of reddish-pinky-purple that Radiant Orchid seems to be, and I just didn’t have any ideas. But then I read a blog post at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread that introduced me to the hand over-dyed threads produced by Colour Complements. Mary was running a giveaway for threads from their Etsy shop and I got sucked into thread heaven, a place filled with pretty, pretty cotton and rayon, and I forgot the giveaway entirely: I just had to buy some thread immediately.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I paired up my sampler pack of threads (three sizes of perle cotton, a rayon chainette, and another very fine rayon thread) with three shades of Kaffee Fassett shot-cotton – Grape, Granite, and Lilac. I choose very quiet fabrics because I wanted to try out something called Kantha quilting and I wanted the stitching to pop, rather than blend into a busy print background. Kantha is a type of embroidery used in parts of India and Bangladesh to give new life to old saris – women would stack up several layers of old, worn saris and stitch them together using a running stitch which could be done in long straight lines or could used to create patterns or pictures. Most of the newer kantha quilts I’ve seen are done exclusively with the running stitches running across the quilts with little extra decoration, but if you do a Google image search or even go to Wikipedia, you can see pictures of some of the more decorative patterns that can be made with Kantha quilting.

Radiant Orchid mini-quilt

I did a little bit of both types, I suppose, since I did largely just straight lines, but also interrupted myself to include a very literal interpretation of the Radiant Orchid challenge. (So literal that I also brought an orchid home so that I could do a triple orchid take – plant, representation of the plant, colour named after the plant.) Because I was working with a sampler pack of threads, I had a little of a lot of varieties of thread, but not a lot of any of them, so I did five repeating rows of (six) different threads, which I also hoped would give it a nice texture and maybe kind of draw the eye around with the different shades of purple and pink (and little splashes of gold) .

Straight Stitching

I stitched the whole thing without a hoop or pins or anything – it was small enough it didn’t feel like it needed much support to keep it together, though I did start with the rayon thread and stitch it every 1-inch or so to help stabilize it enough that I really really didn’t have to worry. I was surprised by how much (overall) I enjoyed the process of stitching – it felt like it should have been tedious, but I didn’t get tired of it until I was near the end and using the worst of the threads – a 100% polyester (which feels scratchy and horrible) and the very thick perle cottons, which my needle was resistant to threading and which then didn’t want to take more than a single stitch at a time. The sparkle chainette (the one with gold flecks) was also a bit difficult because it was incredibly stretchy: I started with a piece of thread the width of the cloth and somehow managed to stitch TWO full lines without starting another length of the stuff.

Orchids

I free-hand stitched the orchids following a tutorial from Drago Art. For the flowers, I used another variegated perle cotton, this one in a blue-green-purple blend, but I found it sunk back into the background too much, so I outlined a lot of it with a very pale lavender DMC floss. Unlike the rest of the stitches in the piece, that back stitch does NOT travel to the back of the quilt – it’s all on the surface. A third thread was used to stitch the stem – it’s maybe a little too bright, but I like it anyway, so we’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

006

Anyway, this project absorbed a lot of my time throughout the first couple weeks in March, so much so that I feel like I should be sick of it now, but I’m pretty proud of how it all came out. It kind of dresses up that weird little nook in the strairwell/kitchen along with that print of one of Rodin’s Cambodian dancers and the actual orchids. My sister will likely hate the purple, so it won’t last there too long, I don’t imagine, but eventually it’ll go dress up my Mum’s house for spring.

This was finished on 17 March 2014 and stitched entirely by hand, by me. The binding was sewn to the front and hand-stitched to the back. The fabrics are all Kaffee Fassett shot cottons: the binding is “Grape,” the front is “Granite” and the back is “Lilac.” The threads are all from Colour Complements, except for one shiny purple one (directly above the gold flecked rayon) and the orchid outline, which are both DMC, though one is cotton and the other a horrible, scratchy Polyester. (Seriously, I don’t recommend it.) The quilt measures 15.5″ x 19″ and it is nameless, as are most of my quilts.

This was also my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal for March (goal post here), so success on all fronts!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge My Button

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Sunday Stash: Scraps and Solids

I’ve talked a bit lately about being on a Clean It Up and Clear It Out mission – in the kitchen, I’ve now progressed to having cleaned and emptied of expired or unwanted stuff the fridge, both freezers, the spice drawer, and the pantry cupboards – and it’s still not going super great in the sewing room. I have sorted more fabric out of my stash that I want to get rid of (mostly the previously mentioned children’s fabrics, as well as my non-quilting cottons like voile and canvas – I found a little more of both). Then yesterday I went through all my piles of scrap fabric and threw away anything that wasn’t at least 1.5″ square (I know, I know, there are people who use that or would stuff it into dog beds or whatever, but I don’t know any of those people and so it’s going to go away) and resorted everything by colour, removing solids, cross-weaves, and linen pieces.

Fabric scraps

I do keep my scraps sorted by colour in baggies like this, more closed up than that, obviously, but I don’t ever zip them up – I don’t know if this has happened to any of you, but I find fabric will get an odour if you close it up in anything for too long. I used to keep all my fabric in plastic tubs and after I moved to this house, it took me several months to get the fabric out of the tubs and into use… and every bit of it smelled musty. I had to wash and press everything, and since I don’t use fabric softener (and since I use unscented laundry detergent) I was worried it wouldn’t get rid of the smell. It did, thank god, but I might have had a much smaller stash if it hadn’t.

I’ve put my name into the Stash Bee pile, so as long as I get in for next year, I’m planning on requesting large kinda scrappy log cabins. I’m going to make two or three blocks ahead, so it was good to see what I do and don’t have much of in my scrap piles these days. I was surprised to see I’ve got virtually no purple and that my reds are dwindling. I was sure I had more purple (and there are two boxes in my sewing room that are full of junk – I have a tendency to stack things up if I can’t decide where to put them, so who knows what’s underneath – so I’m hoping there will be a stack of purple scraps in there), but I’m not surprised about the red, since I seem to make most use of it. I have piles and piles and piles of blue and green scraps though. Piles.

ANYWAY, my big cleaning/organizing goal today was to deal with my solids.

Solids stash

Fair to say I have more than I thought I did. Somehow I always think I haven’t got that many options for solids, but clearly that’s not true.

It might not look like it...

These weren’t in the photo above because I don’t want to mix them in with the rest: it’s all the fabric I’ll need to make the Mario quilt designed by Angela at Cut to Pieces.

Solids stash

And then there are all these – amounts of 2 yards or more. Seriously… where does it all come from? (Oh, that’s right. My bank account.)

Essex Linen stash

My bit of Essex linen is smaller than I thought it was, but that’s probably a good thing – it means I’m mostly using it up as I’m buying it.

Cross-weave fabrics

And finally my cross-weaves. Well, some of them anyway. The rest (I’d bought a FQ bundle of Moda cross-weaves some time ago) are in a box with a project-in-progress. These ones I’d bought (mostly) to make a Twelves Trees quilt. Obviously I haven’t done that yet. (Much like many of my ideas… I buy all the necessary components, and then never get around to making the thing.)

So that bit of my sewing room is cleaned up. Which is good. I’m going to store all these fabrics in the plastic bins I mentioned earlier, but I’m going to leave the lids off so that the fabric doesn’t get that cooped up smell. I just have to figure out where to store them…

Linking up to Finding Fifth‘s Sunday Stash, this week hosted by Lisa in Port Hope.

Finding Fifth


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Late again!

And still not done my very last Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long pattern. There’s just so many lines! And I went out with a friend after work yesterday instead of coming home and stitching. Here’s what I’ve got done so far:

TARDIS-in-progress

There’s a lot not visible in this photo – all the swirls around the sides to represent spinning through the time vortex, I guess? – so I’ve really still got a long way to go. I’m hoping to be finished this weekend, but I’ll be honest: I’ll be happy if I’m done by next Wednesday! If you want to see a finished version now, though, and get the pattern, it’s available right here at Fandom in Stitches.

Like I said, I went out with a friend yesterday rather than coming home to stitch, but it was such a mixed evening I think I almost would have rather been home to stitch! We went to a movie, The Heat, which was only so-so at best (a lot of the jokes just don’t quite hit and it’s too long for what it is, they should have tightened it up a lot), and then we went out for dinner where my friend didn’t enjoy any part of her meal and although mine was fine, it was also not really anything special at all. Just wasn’t our day, I guess! Anyway, by the time I got home, I was more interested in sleeping than staying up to stitch or write up a post about not being finished.

I should have been stitching today, but instead I got sucked into a vortex of trying out a Bonnie & Camille “Happy Go-Lucky” honeycomb with half (well, a couple… I’ve got piles more, just in really inappropriate colours) the solids/near solids I own. Here’s far too many of them, with my thoughts, and request for your own. The pattern I’ve decided to use is the Confetti quilt by V & Co., which has a baby size and also a… twin? size that uses two honeycombs. I haven’t seen any pictures of the quilt top that show it in the larger size, but there are several photos at V & Co.’s site that’ll give you a general idea of what the quilt will look like, at any rate. There are very large open areas in the quilt, so that background is going to be much more visible than it is in any of my photos (and the light was kind of weird, so you’ll get a lot of sun at the top of each photo and much less at the bottom – what I like about that is that it gives you an idea of what the fabrics will look like in different lights, but it does wash it out some up top).

Kona BlackKona White

First the Kona cotton in Black, which I like for how it lets the colours/fabrics pop, but which I think is just all wrong regardless. It’s just too dark for such a sunny collection of fabrics, even if it does work in a technical way. And beside it a Kona white, which is fine but… also just all wrong. It somehow emphasizes the non-whiteness of the white in the prints and even though white suits the prettiness and delicacy of some of the prints, it sort of feels fussy to me to have florals paired with a pristine white like that.

Moda Natural or SnowModa Natural or Snow

And then these two are two Moda Bella cottons, one is Snow and the other is Natural, but I don’t have a colour card for Bella, so I can’t figure out which is which. (And in photos, they’re nearly indistinguishable.) The whites in the prints look more pristine here, less dingy I guess, than in the photo on the pure white, but the’re just so BORING.

041Kona Medium Grey

I thought I would wind up liking it best on grey, but I tried two greys and don’t really like either of them. Kona Ash (left) is a nice grey, but it while it doesn’t hurt the prints in any way, it also doesn’t do anything to elevate them, if that makes sense. The Medium Grey isn’t too bad – like a black, it gives the fabric something to pop itself up from. But I don’t know.. it’s only just okay. I didn’t have any darker greys to try with – I thought I had more Kona Charcoal, but couldn’t seem to find it.

Essex Yarn Dyed Flax035

So okay, Essex Linen blends. Nothing I have is labelled so I’m often uncertain, but I think this is the Yarn Dyed Flax, it kind of looks like a grey and white cross-weave, in a way. The one on the right is maybe Essex linen in Natural – it kind of has an oatmealy colour. I like them both, really, because they’ve got a bit of interest even though they’re near-solids, but they are a little bit boring still. And I wonder if it would be heavy having a quilt top made with 6 yards of linen? Maybe that would be nice, I don’t know.

So something more interesting, but also maybe more scary?

Kona Deep BlueDeep Blue

So how about Kona Deep Blue? I actually really like this one, but I worry quite a bit about the way the dark blue in the line will play with that blue as a background. Also, is it way too intense to make up the majority of a quilt top? (In the plus column: I already own 6 yards, so I wouldn’t have to buy anything but the binding/quilt backing.)

Kona Sunflower

The Kona Sunflower? (Or is it Daffodil? It seems to match Sunflower on my colour chart, but Daffodil sounds more like something I’d have actually bought. I actually like this one – it’s a great match for the print – but it’s scary to think of 72×96″ of yellow with a scattering of other colours. I think it would be a little too intense in a not very good way.

So finally that leave me with two unknown shot cottons. I’m pretty certain I bought both of these from Mad About Patchwork, but I can’t figure out what either of them are.

Turquoise shot cotton?Blue/Green Shot Cotton?

I’m pretty certain the one on the left is from the Kaffe Fassett collection. It’s a kind of turquoise colour but it looks like it’s made up with two different turquoises, one darker and the other lighter. I actually kind of love the way this one looks, but I don’t know why. I feel like it shouldn’t work, because it’s turquoise rather than something more bluish-blue. I quite like the one on the right too, but haven’t got any idea what fabric this actually is – it’s made of a blue and a green cross-weave, which is more visible than in the one on the left. It’s a bit quieter of an option, but probably in a good way, as it wouldn’t overwhelm the quilt like I think the turquoise one would (and like the deep blue up above would).

I don’t know, I’m pretty torn! I’d like to make this quilt for my mom for Christmas, if I can (though hexagons? Scary!), so I need to make a decision so that I can get started, but I’m not really sure what to do. I lean towards either the Kona Deep Blue or either of the two shot cottons, but I don’t know how to find out what colour I’ve got (without buying a colour card, which is.. not cheap). Any suggestions? Other colours you think I should try?