Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kentucky Quilt Quilted

I'll share the exciting news first: I have finished the hand quilting on the old quilt top from Kentucky that I have been working on! All the flowers are done and so are all of the setting triangles between them.

It's been about a six weeks since I last wrote about it, and since then, I have done nothing but quilt, quilt, quilt whenever I have been sitting on the couch. (And it's football season, so that is a lot of time!) I found working on the setting triangles was nice "straight line" work as I tried to watch the games.

I also had to replace the fabric in four of the flowers. (I thought I was done after three, but then found a flower I had missed!) Here is how I did it:

I put a piece of paper under the quilt where I wanted to replace the flower fabric.
I poked a pin through the fabric and paper at all of the seam intersections and then connected the dots, which yielded a pattern like so:
(Where I've written "pin" indicates the pin on the quilt so that I could make sure to keep the shape lined up.) I figured the quilt was so irregular that there was no way I was going to be able to use an "idealized" six-petaled flower and have it work in the block. The blocks are wonky; I may as well work with it.

After numbering the pieces, I cut them out and taped them to the fabric so I could mark a 1/4" seam on all sides:
Then I cut out the shapes:
I kept the paper on while I hand stitched the seams between the petals. It helped keep things lined up and gave me a reference for where to sew.
Removing the paper yields the flower:
After setting the seams and pressing them all in one direction (not for any good quilting reason; just because I couldn't make myself do it any other way):
And presto majesto, you have a replacement flower:
Yes, I could have cut out one piece of fabric in this shape, but I wanted to keep the block more authentic with the seams between the petals.

I then picked out the seams around the flower and took it out of the quilt. I was lucky with the first block that all of the seams were pressed away from the flower. So all of these muslin parallelograms are pressed under and ready to receive the new fabric.
I simply laid in the new shape (matching the "pin" marking I made at the start) and put the folded edges of the muslin parallelograms over it. I then basted it in place. I tried pins at first, but they allowed for too  much shifting of the fabric.
Once basted, I hand stitched the muslin down using an applique stitch.
Once the outside edges were done, I removed the center hexagon from the old flower, pressed it well and basted and stitched it down over the center of the flower.
Once again, I got lucky as all the seams were pressed toward the centre. For some of the later blocks, I had to iron the edges of the centre piece over. It was a weird fabric--definitely not 100% cotton--and didn't iron well, but we managed. Again, basting with thread helps a lot.

And after quilting and removing the basting, you have a brand new block!!
Here are the other new fabrics I used to replace frayed flowers. A nice stripe:
I studied stripes already in the quilt to see how they handled them. (Where they parallel to a certain side? Did they all line up? Did they run around the block?) And it looked like they matched the stripe to one side seam in each piece, but didn't worry about how they lined up in the block. So that's what I did and I still ended up with a sort of pattern.

The stripe was an older fabric, but this floral was quite new:
I thought it would blend in well enough. In this case, I radiated the stems of the flowers on the print from the centre of the flower.

And for the fourth flower that I discovered later, I used this "Persian pickle" pattern. Well, it's not quite a paisley but I thought it was close enough!
In this case, I deliberately matched two sets of designs that alternate around the block. I cut these pieces from leftover strips from the library quilt I made. I didn't have the right pieces to make six matching blocks (sort of a kaleidoscope effect), but I think this is nice too.

So now that part is done. I'm going to quilt the outer blocks that I added later by machine. I think it's appropriate since they were added later, and there's no way I could hand quilt through the sheeting fabric (as in, sheets cut up to use as fabric). I had a thought to remove them entirely, but by then I had quilted to the edges and couldn't take them off anymore! (Or not without more work than I was willing to do.)

Now I'm debating adding a wide border to make this more of a queen size or whether to just add a binding and call it done. I'll have a while to think about it because I have some other projects to get to and need to put this aside. (Or I'm going to try. My obsessiveness has latched onto this pretty hard. We'll see if I can transfer it to another project!)

Meanwhile I'm pretty pleased with having it done, improvement in my hand quilting skills, all the fun fabrics in the quilt, the look of the quilted fabric, and the fact that this really didn't take very long once I started actually doing it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pennant Skirt - Finished!

This photo shows the colour best. The others
are overexposed so you can see the pattern
more clearly.
Last time I wrote about this skirt it was May 25 and I said you might not see it again for a while because I had a long way of straight knitting to get it done. I guess four months counts as a long time!

After the couple of false starts, the rest of the knitting went smoothly. I did not run out of yarn (yeah!) so I could just knit until I had the length I wanted and then finish. Sorry, no drama this time!
I finished the knitting by the end of June but didn't get the elastic encased in the waistband until the end of July.

By then it was hot so I anytime I even thought about putting this on for some pictures, I just couldn't bear it. But a couple Sundays ago it was cool enough for a fall outfit.

The skirt felt great. It is quite bulky and very warm, so definitely a winter skirt. (Unlike my zig zag skirt which is great for three seasons.)
You can see in this picture how the skirt increases in size from the fitted waist area to the area below the hips where it hangs straight down.

This was accomplished with two strategies: increasing the number of stitches periodically and increasing the needle size. Changing the needle size also makes a more firm fabric on top where you need it (you don't want loose stitches you can see through or fabric that won't hold its shape) and a slightly looser fabric with more drape on the bottom where you want it.
I finished the skirt off with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. (I know...now that I started using it, it comes in handy for everything!)

Although I find it to be a rather bulky bind off, I definitely wanted the stretch and thought that a heftier line on the bottom of the skirt would balance the project nicely.
This picture shows the skirt pulled down to rest more on my hips rather than my natural waist line. The stretchiness of the knit means I have options of how to wear it.

Project Stats
Started
: 25 Apr '15
Finished: 27 Jun '15
Pattern: Pennant Pleated Skirt by Elanor Lynn (from Modern Knits, Vintage Style)
Materials: about a sweater's worth of worsted weight wool

My aunt told me her sister made her a skirt with this pattern when she was young. Considering I got the pattern from a book based on vintage styles, I guess that's not so unlikely; but I find it a delightful tie with the past.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Niles Piecemakers Quilt Show 2015

I was happy to attend the 2015 quilt show of the Niles Piecemakers a couple weeks ago. I took a lot of pictures and I'm going to post them here so you can enjoy them too.

The first thing you saw when you walked in was three quilts all made in the same block of the month series. It was fun to find similarities and differences:
There were plenty of smaller wall hangings. I think this first one was done by "drawing" on a dyed fabric with the thread to bring out shapes. Beautiful!
The next two were done by women after they traveled to Japan.
I think this one (above) is a great setting to show case fabrics that are special to you. Some squares are a single piece of fabric and some are four patches.

Here is another Japanese inspired design:
I have some Asian fabrics for a wall hanging and I wanted a record of this quilt as a reminder of the simplicity and asymmetry found in so many Japanese designs.

I'm a sucker for leaves (especially this pieced maple leaf block) so I was intrigued by this design that mixes stylized pieced leaves with more realistic embroidered leaves. I also love the log cabin setting blocks.
Speaking of settings, this arrangement is also fantastic:
There was a special exhibit of the work of Gale Polk. What a fantastic quilter. Her specialty was applique. (I overhead her telling some other people that she sticks with applique because she never learned to piece well!) The following are hers:
Detail:
A Sun Bonnet Sue calendar:
The last one is titled "Pandemonium"...small wonder why!

Although she claimed no proficiency with piecing, the following quilts she did proves that she is not correct in her self-assessment:
The well known "Dear Jane" quilt:
A lone-star in which each diamond is itself pieced:
And there were still more (by others in the guild):
Note the colour distribution in this one:
Hand embroidered Halloween or haunted house blocks:
I don't normally go for printed scenes, but I just love what they've done with this fabric. It looks like a neighbourhood of cosy cabins in the woods!
A Christmas quilt:
The next one is pieced in the "envelope" pattern and then it's signed by everyone and given as a friendship quilt. So clever.
And finally, I got a picture of all the apple projects that they made for the Niles Apple Festival Parade. You can see the trophies they have won over the years!
The guild has a show every two years. I'll be looking forward to the next one!

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