Escala Azule

Several weeks ago I showed a quilt that was made based on a photo taken in Porto, Portugal. You can check out that post HERE…..

Here is an excerpt from my blog about the next day…..

As I walked back across the bridge, I noticed a long set of stairs that went up the hill to the area that I was trying to reach. I also saw a small tram that would take you up the mountain. As I was debating about which to use, I noticed that there was a fairly long line for the tram and that the ticket machine was not working well and there was a tram agent banging on it to try to get it to work. SO, I decided to climb instead.

After I had climbed the first 100 steps, I turned a corner and found that there was ANOTHER set of steps and terraces that ended up being 114 MORE steps. However, it was a very interesting walk as there were homes located along these terraces, with kids, dogs and small shops along the way. I watched as one woman walked out of her door and up about 90 steps to get to her car. I can’t imagine how they manage to live there. Also, one of the train lines ran just above the houses so I would imagine that it is relatively noisy as well. But, the views were wonderful!

After I had finished “Casa Amarela”, I wanted to continue working on perspective in stairs, so I decided to use the long flight that I had walked up first.

I printed the photo in black and white and enlarged it to a full sheet of paper. Then I took a fine-point sharpie and traced the lines on the copy…..

The good thing about using a sharpie is that the ink soaks thru to the back…..

….leaving a perfect “reverse image” design for paper piecing!!!

I started piecing at the bottom….

….and worked my way up the stairs.

I was thrilled with the final quilt……

…and left with a memory of a fun day AND a lesson in perspective at the same time!!

Kew Quilt Finished!!!!

On Tuesday I finished the quilting on the Kew quilt and I could not be happier with the results…..

This quilt is a great example of the “fabric doing all of the heavy lifting”!!!

I spent one night trying to figure out how to quilt it and tried several designs that used curves or other designs but in the end, I went with plain old straight lines…..

I started to just free hand the lines but quickly decided that, if I wanted the lines to be straight, I needed to do some marking and that I should use the walking foot!!!

I had to make a couple of adjustments to my machine set up for quilting this…..

Firstly, I really had a hard time seeing the needle when I was stitching in the ditch so I kept adding lights until it looked like an airport runway…..

Even with the extra light, I still found it hard to stay in the ditch. I also debated about what color of thread to use on the ditch stitching in the colored strips but finally decided on a red variegation…..

The other machine set -up change was actually a funny one. I had been religiously using the thread cutter when I was sewing the strips together and found it TOO easy to hit that button when I was quilting!! My solution was to put a piece of tape of the button so that I wouldn’t hit it…..

It reminded me of the “NO” note that the astronauts put on Apollo 13 to ensure that this one button wasn’t punched accidentally…..

The binding went on smoothly although I moved outside to the deck to have natural light to do the sewing….my eyes are really getting bad!!!!

The final step was to clip off a few threads. This always makes me nervous as I am SURE that I will cut a hole in the finished top!!! To do this I use these sweet curved, spring-action scissors by Tooltron…..

They give a super close cut.

NOW….for the exciting news. I have been thinking a lot about what to call this quilt. My neighbor said that it looked like a roller coaster so I had been leaning that way but I also knew that I wanted the word “Kew” in it. So, last night we had our guild Show-N-Tell Zoom meeting and I asked for helped with the naming. One of our members, Terri, got this grin on her face and suggested “Bridge Over the River KEW”!!


So it is official…..”Bridge Over the Rive KEW” is finished!!

Kew Quilt — Yowza!!!!

Yesterday I had one of the sides finished and was excited to see how the next side would work. Here is the process that I used to piece each side…..

First, I drew the design using “Golden Threads Quilting Paper”.

It is thin and easy to see thru for tracing a pattern and super easy to tear off after the fact. I also like that it won’t tear if you have to rip out and re-do…..ask me how I know!!!!

Anyway, here is the pattern drawn out…..

When I drew out the first side, I made the decision that, since the lines themselves were so wide, I would use the outside of the line as my design. This meant that the colored sections were a bit wider but I think that it worked well.

Here are the steps to paper piecing….

Line the fabric up with the previous piece that was already sewn in place, matching the marking to the circular line…..

I normally don’t pin but since these seams were long, I opted for a few pins along the way….

Now I turn the piece over and sew on the reverse side, following the drawn line….

Iron the new piece out…..

And then comes the magic….

I used a straight edge to fold the NEXT piecing line over……

Placed the “Add-A-Quarter” ruler over it…..

…..and cut along the added quarter inch…..

The result is that now I have a good line to follow when I place the next piece!!

This ruler makes Paper Piecing SO much easier and I will do a review of it in the next day or two!!

As the night wore on, I made a few mistakes, including piecing from the wrong side of the paper…..

….meaning that everything was reversed!! Fortunately I only did THREE seams this way!!

At one point, I used two grey fabrics together instead of moving to the next in the gradation. I will honestly say that I debated long and hard about whether I wanted to rip out those FOUR seams to fix it, but in the end, I did just that.

Sometime around 11:00pm I put the final stitch in the side and laid it out on the wall to see how it looked…..


Needless to say, I went to sleep happily dreaming of firework stripes!!!

The final step will be to join the three pieces. I have always been thinking about applique, but maybe I should try piecing???? I will have to think about that!!!

Kew Quilt Update

I had called this my “thinking” quilt because I thought that it would take a lot of brain-power and would probably take a long time to do. Because of some choices that I have made along the way……I was WRONG!!

The first decision was a biggie… keep it more abstract and not worry about obtaining the full perspective. I had talked about this in my last post but was still a bit concerned about it when I got to the bigger of the steps…..

Were these larger posts (circled in orange) going to look bad if they were a solid piece? AND, if I didn’t have the stair points that stick out (circled in green), would that interfere with the visual aspect?

Rather than piecing it both ways to see, I turned to my computer and used digital fabric to cover the edges and see how it looked (Michael’s suggestion!!!).

This was the center section that was ALMOST complete (I had pieced and un-pieced the next section 3 times and had given up for the night)……

It even shows some of the “stair points”.

And, this is how it looked after the digital “trimming (note….I will not trim the actual fabric quite this thin)!!……

When you look at them side-by-side, I just don’t see enough difference to warrant the extra time and energy…..

Does that make me a bad person????

So, I went upstairs, sewed on the last set of stair strips and the took my rotary cutter to it and trimmed all of the edges off!!!….No going back…….NEXT!!!

Now it was time to start thinking about the sides…..

I quickly realized that the “glass” sections should mirror the “glass” sections of the middle……ie they should be grey and should change in value as they move up the piece.

I had in my mind that the smaller strips would be in colors with the color changing as it came to the curved lines in the photo, but had no idea about what colors to choose. This is where providence stepped in!!!

While I was looking for possible colors, my eyes landed on this piece of fabric……

I had a yard if it and wondered if it might work, alleviating the need for ME to do the gradations as it came to those curved lines.

The only way to find out was to try it so I drew out the pattern and started piecing. When I put it on the wall, I was pretty sure that this was what I wanted…..

…but once I had the entire side done, I was positive about it…..

Tomorrow we will look at the process of piecing the other side….mistakes included!!

Kew Quilt – Taking the easy road

As I mentioned in my last post, I had started piecing the easier of the “stair-steps”….ie, the ones that didn’t have any visible dimensional aspects. I quickly came to the end of those easy ones…..

….and had to make a hard decision. DO I make the piecing super complicated and have all of the dimensional elements as the stair moves back up OR…. do I keep it simple and let the perspective speak for itself.

Guess what I picked!!! I decided to keep things simple, knowing that I can re-do it if I am not happy.

Also, I started thinking about adding the dimensional elements with paint or thread during quilting. Those sound like good reasons don’t they……don’t they????

Anyway, at the end of the afternoon’s piecing I was about half-way finished with the “upside” and, so far, I am happy with how it looks……

Since I have decided to keep this part easy, I REALLY have to start thinking about the sides….they are coming sooner than I expected!!