Cityscape

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In an effort to actually finish one of the languishing WIPs in my closet, yesterday I pulled out a wall hanging I started quite a while ago and ordered myself to complete it.

The inspiration was a picture of a painted door that I came across on Pinterest, and followed to this  Flickr account.  I don’t have a lot of my own creativity, so you’ll see that mine is very similar to the inspiration, but in cloth rather than paint.

painted door circles

Picture from Flickr: Ahrabella Heabe Lewis

I finished the majority of this quilt more than a year ago, but then got stuck on the finishing details.  After doing black-on-black embroidery for each window, I bogged down.  I wasn’t certain how I wanted to do the rest, didn’t want to screw it up, and just generally dithered until it got buried beneath other projects. This time I was determined to just get it accomplished and not worry about wrecking it with my not so smooth finishing skills.

I started with free motion stitching around the trees.

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I went around each one twice to make it more “sketchy” so that my wobbles would look purposeful rather than inept.

It was quickly apparent that the bobbin color mattered.  I did this tree twice, first with a light bobbin thread and after ripping it out, with a darker thread.

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I couldn’t bring myself to load a multitude of bobbins with the many thread colors that I needed, but I did use four different bobbins in the end to make the shade fit the top threads better.

My friend Paige very generously gave me a bag full of Gutermann 100 meter spools a while back which included a lot of greens and teals which were perfect for most of the trees.

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The city buildings and the clouds were next.  The straight edges of the Kona cotton fabric have frayed quite a lot with all the folding and unfolding over the course of this project, so I’ll have to clip and clean up.  The batik parts held up much better.

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I quilted the details without the backing on; I usually do this with wall hangings.  It looks tidier on the back that way when it is done.  I did wait to do the edge stitching on the hills until the backing was added so that it would be anchored in place.

This is what the messy back of the batting side looked like before the backing was added.  Is it weird that I really like it?

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I didn’t want the frame that binding would create, so I just sewed the backing on right-sides-together and then turned it right side out.  I’m mulling whether to add edge stitching – I usually do to further stabilize everything, but I like the really unobtrusive edge this has now without any.

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The finished cityscape reminds me of both Israel and Italy, the first two places my husband and I lived when we met and then were first married.  The trees make me think of the Italian cypresses, and the blocky city buildings and dry hills say Israel to me.  The blue sky works for either!

My sister was also a fan of the door design and had me help her make a wall quilt of her own at the same time I was making mine, but – as always – she put her own twist into hers.

cityscape zombies

That poor city doesn’t know what is about to befall it.

 

 

For Mom’s birthday

I made this duvet cover for my mom a while back:

Jardin de Provence duvet cover

She picked out the fabric, and it looked great in her room (I don’t have a picture of it there, unfortunately) so I ordered a fat quarter of the whole fabric line – Jardin de Provence – to surprise her with a wall hanging to go above the bed.

I chose to follow the Star Light, Star Bright pattern directions found here on the Moda Bake Shop website.

I didn’t have quite the right ruler, but some painters tape took care of that.  My triangles were 7 1/4″ high, making the diamonds 14 1/2″.

45 degree triangle

Cutting 45 degree diamonds

The only pattern issue I had was with the measurements of the diamonds.  The directions told which 45 degree triangle ruler she used, but didn’t make it clear the exact size of the diamonds.  Since I don’t have that ruler, I had to guess a bit based on the width of the fold that she suggested.  I obviously didn’t guess quite right because the squares that I cut for the corners ended up an inch too small, so I had to search out more white and cut new, bigger squares.  Avoidable if the diamond measurements had been given!

Jardin de Provence diamonds

I sewed the pieces together in a slightly different order than the pattern called for.  After doing the 8 diamond wedges, I added in the Y seam triangles before sewing more sections together.  It probably didn’t make a difference, but I figured I’d be manuevering less fabric volume that way.

Jardin de Provence diamonds

Jardin de Privence Y seams

If you look closely at these three in progress pictures, you’ll see that some of the diamonds moved around.  I didn’t always get the right edges sewn together, or notice in time to fix it.  So much for my careful arranging when I started!

Jardin de Provence corner Y seams

I didn’t do a perfect job on all the Y seams. But they are pretty good, and I’m quite proud of my center points.

Jardin de Provence center points

Four hours from start to finish – my handy assistants helped me get the final picture, despite the wind and can’t-set-down-the-popsicle obstacles.

Mom's Jardin de Provence star

Mom's Jardin de Provence star

Tomorrow I hope to start quilting, but I probably won’t get it quite finished by her birthday on Thursday.  But it will be far enough for her to see what it will be, and Mom isn’t picking about things like exact dates.

Wedding bells are ringing

The wedding invitation

The wedding invitation

My sister-in-law is getting married, and we get to go to Israel next week to go to the wedding!  According to my Israeli husband, money is a more common gift than presents, but I couldn’t not make her something.  So, inspired by their wedding invitation, I am making a mini quilt for them. I scanned the invitation and my sister used her spiffy (technical term) software and cutting thingie (2nd technical term) to cut out patterns for me.  I then used those to trace on the paper backing of fusible web I’d ironed to fabric to make different silhouettes.  Lots and lots of cutting around little corners came next.

Tracing the pattern pieces

Tracing the pattern pieces

I quilted a background of squares from different white and ivory fabrics and ironed on the silhouettes and was so close to being done!  Just embroidering their names in English and Hebrew and the binding to do.

Pnina's wedding quilt - wrong order

This is actually a patterned blue fabric, but my camera makes it look black.

Which is when I realized that I am an idiot.  An idiot who should not be trusted with an iron. See, the thing about Hebrew is that it reads from right to left, unlike English.  Which means that when I laid out the figures in a left to right pattern, as I read the invitation, I had the events out of order.  The figures rushing to each other were representing the first meeting, which had to go before the falling in love. i tried to pry them up, but I’d done my ironing too well and it ripped the figures and left blue shadows and glue on the background.

The ruined background

The ruined background

At this point, there was much swearing and stomping of feet and gnashing of teeth and then more swearing. The redone and almost done wedding mini-quilt When I calmed down and became resigned, I performed an emergency amputation of the top half.  I sewed on new batting, cut out new squares, sewed the new squares to the bottom half that I hadn’t wrecked, re-quilted, re-traced, re-cut, and after REALLY CAREFUL examination, re-ironed.

Amputating the mistake.

Amputating the mistake.

I’m now back where I was an hour and a half ago, with just the embroidery and binding to go.  Whew!

The almost done and redone wedding mini quilt

The almost done and redone wedding mini quilt

Fused fabric – Chinese zodiac animals and a few fish

Last year I took a Craftsy class called Hand Stitched Collage Quilts from Laura Wasilowski.  It was one of the first classes I took from Craftsy and was a definite success.  Here are a couple of projects I made during the class and inspired by Laura’s books:

I love fused fabric quilting for wall hangings because I can add embellishments like embroidery and buttons and still finish in a reasonable amount of time.  And this type of applique is also very quick.  After a few projects, I now have a lot of scraps and don’t have to spend a lot of time fusing the webbing to a lot of fabrics.  Just larger pieces need to be fused and I can begin the more fun part of cutting and ironing.

My children are originally from Taiwan, and they love to hear about their Chinese zodiac animals.  So,  I decided to make them wall hangings of their zodiac animals.

One son is a rooster.  I love bright batik fabric, so his rooster is a full feathered guy, with a black button eye.  I added some feather stitch embroidery here and there to make sure everything stayed in place, and we hung it above his dresser where it looks out over the room, and apparently wakes him up each morning at the crack of dawn.  That boy has never slept in in his life, so that part of the rooster label fits very well.

My other son is a pig.  Not just any pig, but a golden fire pig, which is considered very lucky and only happens every 600 years.  To be honest, we don’t know a lot more about the zodiac than we have read on Wikipedia.  To add to the doubtfulness, the description of fire pigs doesn’t fit my son well and would also apply to every other child born in the same 12 months, making them all equally rare (?) and exactly the same.  But he enjoys the idea that he is a rare and lucky child (along with every other kid in his grade) so we go with it.

For his wall quilt, which is very small, I went crazy quilt style, on top of the gaudiest and goldest (not a word?) fabric I could find.  The photos don’t really do it justice.  It gleams in both threads and sequins.  He loves it and it is hanging right above his bed.  I need to add a little more support – all those buttons at the bottom have made it start to sag a little.

The next project was perhaps a bit too ambitious.  I wanted an underwater sea scene for our cabin.  It got a little out of hand.  I just couldn’t stop adding to it.  Really, I needed an editor to rein me in, or Tim Gunn to wander by and order me to stop adding embellishments.  This one has it all – fused fabric, embroidery, buttons, even crochet and knitting.  (Can I just say that I LOVE that there are knitting patterns for barnacles?)  It took me forever to finish because I kept wandering off to other bright and shiny projects that caught my attention.  This one taught me to stick to smaller, quicker projects.

Knitted barnacles on the coral reef

My most recent wall quilt defies that size lesson, however.  My sister loves koi, and her husband, in random order, and she asked me to make him a koi quilt for his birthday.  More fish!  How could I say no?  After looking at Google images of a lot of koi photos and paintings and quilts, we came up with this quilt.  I sped things up a lot by skipping hand embroidery and going with machine stitching.  I added a lot of free motion quilting in the fins and the lily pads and to outline everything.  Lots of texture without all the hours and hours of hand embroidery.

He is flying in tomorrow and I’m anxious to find out if he likes his surprise.  My sister seems sure it will be a hit.