Saturday, August 28, 2010

Having Too Much Fun!

I’ve been having a blast today working on my practice piece for the Kaffee Quilt. I did a lot of steps today and have a lot of pictures to show for it, so get ready!

After basting the edges and down the center in both directions, I started in on the red squares. I already knew what I wanted to try on those squares, and just like taking tests, you start with what you know and the rest will come more easily.

I put on the clear free motion foot, dropped the feed dogs and off I went. I stippled around the outside of the main circle to push it into the background, outlined the circle to define the shape and then let the design on the fabric tell me where to go after that. I did two different patterns on the two squares.
I didn’t want to fill it in too densely so I didn’t trace everything; just a few things. I'm such a newbie I still get amazed at how much quilting changes the texture and feel of the quilt. It's quite a transformation.

Here’s the back of each square which shows the patterns more clearly.
I really had a fun time with it. The machine worked wonderfully and I was getting a result that matched the ideas in my head. How could I not get excited about that!?

Once the red squares were done, it was time to move to the yellow ones. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to sew a curve from each corner to the next. That means it was time to audition my bowls and plates to see which one would fit.
The big glass one won.

So I used it to mark the curves with my blue water soluble marker.

And then there’s nothing left to do but sew.
I put on my walking foot to keep things even, started at one corner and then sewed all the lines with a continuous path. On the quilt I'll be going in a long path from end to end, but on this one I went around each square.

After that was quilted, I had this:
Hopefully you can see what I'm trying to do: outline the red squares in big circles.  It's not so apparent on this small piece, but on a larger layout with many more squares it will work better.

And then the big question that's been holding me back on this project--what do to in the center of the yellow squares. I doodled on paper a lot. Geometric designs. Flower designs. But I wasn't getting anything that I liked that filled the space nicely.

And then while looking at remodeling magazines (for the kitchen we're working on), I came across this tile:
Do you see what I see? That fleur de lis pattern jumped out at me and I thought it would be perfect. It could be modified to fit the shape I had and I've always liked fleurs de lis. Similar to what I was saying about the pattern of the Summit shawl not being too lacy, I find fleur de lis interesting, classic and fancy without being too flowery.

So I worked on it. Drew out a full sized square, marked out my curves and the diagonal lines, and then drafted some fleurs de lis:
Once I had them good enough (I certainly wasn't striving for perfect symmetry), I traced them in marker, scanned them and printed two copies onto card stock. (One just for back up while I was at it.)

Then I cut it out very carefully:
I laid the shape onto the yellow squares and started tracing. The whole shape didn't fit exactly, so I just traced whichever quarter I liked and moved the pattern around to get it to fit. I didn't worry about being too's not like I was going to be sewing it exactly anyway!

I put the free motion foot back on and went to town. After it was sewn, I soaked it to remove the markings and dried it on the line. That gave me this:

Here's the back if you want to see the quilting pattern more clearly:

I was about to sew this up into a pillow cover (yes, I was that excited) when I stopped myself. I wasn't sure that the pattern on the yellow squares was apparent enough. I mean, yes, you could tell there was quilting there, but certainly not what it was.

I was a little nervous about trying more, but told myself that this was my practice piece so I had better practice! There was no sense in doing the whole quilt wondering if I should have tried something else.

I decided I needed to fill in the "background" space between the fleur de lis and the curve. I rejected generic stippling because a lot of the spaces were just too narrow. Then I remembered a pebble fill that I've seen a couple time. It's pretty thread-hungry and time consuming (what isn't?) but it also continues the circle theme. So I gave it a try:
I did one square and am debating about the second square before I dive in. Try something else, or repeat the pebbles? I'm pretty happy with the pebbles.

Again, here's the back. The new yellow square is on the lower left:

And just to confirm my thoughts, why don't you help me out again by offering your opinion?

Do you prefer the plain original (left) or the pebbled (right)?

Thanks again!

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