Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Been Busy

This year my time seems to be taken up with challenges.  I've been busy doing some doodling for the Sketchbook Challenge.  Thought I'd give it a try to see if it truly does provide inspiration for my quilting.  You saw some of my initial attempts here.  Here is another one.

I've been busy working on a round robin from my Guild.  I would show you a picture of the applique round I was working on, but Janet might be peeking in so I'll just show you her original block,

and some of the pieces that I used in my round.

Now I'm going to get ready to practice some more FMQ so that I can finish up some of the tops that I have hanging around in my UFO pile.  Why don't you check out the 2012 FMQ Challenge tutorials on SewCalGal's site.  January's tutorial was by Frances Moore. February's guest tutor is Diane Gaudinsky.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Practice....more practice

I've been in a bit of a "funk" the last few days.  It's probably just the January doldrums, so I thought a little free motion quilting would help.  As you may have seen on a previous post, I'm following along on the 2012 Free Motion Quilting challenge and have been drawing out this month's FMQ motif on paper.  Tonight I made an attempt on the sewing machine with actual fabric and thread.  Uh huh... here is my first attempt at that motif!
Definitely need more practice.  So I tried something simpler that I saw on Leah Day's blog for her quilt along.
I quilted with the white thread over top of a scrap piece from a previous attempt. I grabbed another quilt sandwich and tried again.  I stuck with it for a good hour.  Here is the result.
and here is a close up
I got a little courageous and tried something different. 

After all of this FMQ, did I learn anything?  Yessiree!  I discovered that by slowing down the speed of the machine it was easier to stitch over the same line when I sewed the veins of the leaves.  I also learned to recognize the sound of the machine which helped my "hand to machine" coordination.

Oh yes I also learned that FMQ has a way of lifting me out of my" January funk."  Now I'm off to work on something else.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reveal day!

So I've been busy working diligently in getting my Tangled Textile challenge completed.  So here it is.

It began with a piece of bleached muslin and some fabric paints.  First I brushed plain water over the entire piece,  I was told that this would make it easier to blend the paint. I painted white in the lower third and blue in the upper third.  In the middle third, I mixed a small amount of blue with the white, added a bit of water and blended in the colour creating a wash-like effect.

After it dried, I sponged additional white over the blue to paint in the clouds.  For texture I wanted to incorporate needle felting, but had no idea how to go about it.  I spoke to my friend, Bonnie, who was familiar with needle felting and she provided a sample.  She had needle felted white roving to a very pale blue netting.  It looked like this.

After sewing it to the painted background, it produced the fluffiness I was hoping for in some of the clouds and looked like this.

Then I needed to get the perspective right and add something that would give the impression of height.  That's when I added the treetops with a stencil and shiva paintstiks. 
 Here is a close up.
I initially pinned the kites and their tails in place to see how they would fit and if the scale was right.  I was concerned about how I would quilt the piece so I decided that I would do some free motion quilting first. After outlining the clouds and adding some swirls for the wind, the kites were repinned in place. I couched the kite tow-lines (is that what they're called?) and embroidered the tails in place. 

All that was left was to bind the quilt but I didn't want to detract from the picture so I made my first attempt at facing the quilt.  I used the tutorial on Susan Bruebaker Knapp's site.  It was one of the best illustrated ones I've seen.  Another challenge completed. 

Now, on to creating some more projects, maybe some more doodling or FMQ. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Up next

Well I've been busy practicing my drawing for the FMQ Challenge being hosted over at SewCalGal's blog.  I have not yet attempted it on fabric.  Like Leah Day says on her FMQ blog, I need to get busy and practice on fabric.

I got my sample finished for a Borders and Binding workshop being hosted by my Guild.  I did do some FMQ on it.  Our workshop is going to present just about everything you ever wanted to know about borders and finishing up your quilt. We are using a table runner as a means of presenting all of this.  Here is my sample.
and here is a close up of my FMQ
I've also been doing some doodling in my sketchbook.  Something that I was inspired to do by peeking in Vicki and Diane's sketchbook.  I'm far from their ability, but it's a start.

I also need to really step it up and get to my Tangled Textiles challenge.  So I have to get my worktable set up.  Here are some of the things that I'm using.  Can't show more because the reveal is on January 15.
It's been a busy first week of January, but a creative one.  Gotta go and finish my "Look Up" challenge.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Which direction to take

"Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here?" asked Alice.
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get," said the Cat.
"I really don't care where" replied Alice.
"Then it doesn't much matter which way you go," said the Cat. 
                             - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

I wasn't certain where I wanted my quilting to go. I have read so many of your blogs and a great many of them seem to have set a plan or goals for 2012.   I wasn't certain the direction to take.  A friend recently pointed out an expression that says whatever you're doing on January 1st, you will be doing the rest of the year.  If that is so, I will be practicing and experimenting more.  As you can see from my side bar, I have taken the pledge over at SewCalGal's 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge.  The first month's tutorial has begun and you can check it out here.  I've been practicing the design for the month by drawing it in my sketchbook to retain it to "muscle" memory.   This is the drawing.  I think I'm ready to attempt it on the sewing machine now.  I'll post a picture later.

I also want to sketch more.  I've read that sketching, or in my case doodling, can be the germination of wonderfully creative ideas.  Besides it's one more skill to add to my toolbox.  With the FMQ and the sketching maybe I'll be able to finish some of my UFOs that have stalled.  We shall see.