Let the handwork begin!!

Over the last 9 months I have been working on my color wheel quilt. A few weeks ago I posted about using the Pathagorean Theorum to calculate the size of the triangles needed to fill the corners.

Now the question was exactly what to add to the corners. In my original design, the outside circles were going to move in curvy lines…..

But, when I started laying out circles in different orientations, having curves in the outside drew the eye away from the center rather than toward it……

I had also considered making the darkest grey into a circle, but quickly decided that it wasn’t worth the effort!!!

After a lot more playing around……

…….I decided that a starburst effect would draw the eye to the middle……

At this point I realized that I needed a bit more fabric than I had on hand so, while I waited for UPS to make a drop to my door, I started making all of the circles. I found that the colors were much easier to pick since I had my fabrics folded so well. This was the basic way that I worked…..

SUCH luscious colors!!!!

You can check out this post where I tell how I prepared the circles.

Once the fabric arrived I made strip sets and then trimmed them down to a size that was a few inches larger than the final product…..

Now I needed to transfer the circle pattern onto each of the 4 fabric triangles. I started by tracing the triangle onto the fabric and adding the straight radiating lines. Next step was to trace the circles onto the fabric……

Final step was to baste each of the circles into place….

Then it was time to put it up on the design wall…..

Happily, I am pleased with how this looks!!!

So, now every night will find me sitting in my chair and appliquéing circles!!!

LET THE FUN TIMES BEGIN!!!

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Quilting in a real big empty….

Well, the construction started out going great guns, but then as projects often do, it came to a screeching halt as we wait for the Drywall guys to come in and close in the new wall.

But, today I had time to do some more work on the Henna Girl and I was not going to let a big open space deter me!!! I swept the area well and moved my machine table out of the corner and got everything set up……

I couldn’t figure out why it was so cold in the room, but Michael reminded me that there was an area that was open to the attic…..

……so a space heater was added to sort that out!!

I spent the next few hours happily quilting along and dreaming of when this room would be completely finished!!

I am pleased with my accomplishments for the afternoon, finishing the bottom portion of her shirt…..

…although when I cropped this photo, I realized that I have the top portion to do as well!!!

I was going to work on her arms, but didn’t have the right color of thread. Instead, I added some to her head scarf…..

Also, last night I finished all of the applique on the Color Wheel quilt so now it is time to get serious about figuring what to add to the corners. I took one of my photos of the finished portion, pulled it into Powerpont, and added the corners……

Now I have printed out a bunch of copies and hope to spend part of this evening playing with possible ways to finish the corners. Originally I didn’t have any ideas, but now have several in mind. Sometimes that makes it harder!!!

Now to get off of this computer and get to it!!

Two projects at the same time!!

I seldom work on two things at one time, but busy times call for intense multi-tasking!!

As I have posted here over the last few months, I have two quilts in the making….the Color Wheel and the Henna Girl. Since I found out that my studio enlargement is going to start at the end of January, and I REALLY want to get both of these quilts finished this spring, I am having to split my time between the two.

The first item on the agenda was to get all of the hand appliqued circles put onto the Color wheel quilt. When this was accomplished, I then added the color “squiggle, basting it in place as I went……

I had to make a few alterations to make the corners match, but it was fairly easy to put a fold into the squiggle.

Next I made 25 feet of bias tape, using the 3/8″ Clover tool and glued it to the outer edge of the squiggle…..

With all of it now in place, I will be able to work on the hand applique at night while watching TV…..

On to quilt #2……

Today I finished the body of the “Henna Girl”, adding her legs and feet……

The next step will be to work on the background. I am thinking about painting the “asphalt” fabric that she will sit on. The question is what else to add to the background. As I look at the original photo that I took of she and her Mom……

….I am thinking that I want to include a bit more of the background to better set the stage. I am tempted to include the bag of fruit in the background and maybe some of the woven basket in the foreground.

Decisions…….decisions!!!!

Studio Update

Now that Christmas is over, my house has been undecorated and redecorated in “Winter Blues”, using a few of my favorite “blue” things……

….including this small 12 inch quilt that I made YEARS ago…..

In the studio, I have been working on my Color Wheel quilt……

I have now appliqued most of the circles on and am ready to start putting binding on the edges of the squiggle. The first step is to baste it in place…..

Next I need to make miles of bias binding, and then decide whether I am going to apply it by machine or by hand…… I am leaning toward hand.

Now for my biggest studio news…..

In the upstairs of our house, there is a sitting room just on the other side of the bedroom that holds my studio…….

….and my husband has had the idea of knocking down the adjoining wall and adding about 75% to the size of my studio. We talked to the contractor today and he plans to start sometime toward the end of January. I am pumped!!!!

I have been searching the internet looking for new storage ideas for fabrics and threads and trying to figure out how to build a new cutting table. So many new things to think about!!!!

Now I need to get the Henna Girl and this Color Wheel quilts finished up FAST!!!

Color Wheel Central….part 2

When I left you yesterday I had finally sewn all of the inner strips together to form the inside square of the quilt. I did not add the final dark fabric to it since I knew that it would make the applique harder. Instead, I just pinned it to the design wall so that I could get an idea of what it would look like……

Now it was time to start placing the “Catherine Wheel” circles that will be hand appliqued. I knew that I needed to be careful placing the circles so that the arc was consistent from row to row. To solve that problem I pinned the first three arcs into place……

…..and drew a paper pattern from the middle row……

I cut this pattern out of cardboard and used it to place the other rows……

I used a Wash-out marker to draw around the circles so that I could easily place them as I worked thru the hand applique……

My concern was that the Red and Green arcs seemed to not fit as well. I was having to adjust the circle spacing to make them fit, but I finished it up anyway and was happy with how it looked……

I removed everything from the design wall and as I was getting ready to take out the last few pins, I noticed it…….

Do you see it?

The strips on the bottom left and top right are 2 inches smaller than the other ones!!!! No wonder I was having trouble fitting all of the circles into the space!!

So, I picked out both of those seams and added 2 inch strips to the outside…..

Once again there are now MORE seams for me to applique over!!!

At this point I was so disgusted that I washed off the markings for those two sets of arcs and put everything away for the day!! But that night I pulled it out and started the applique circles on the 6 arcs that are correct.

The applique process has been relaxing and, so far, I am happy with what how it looks…..

Today we packed for a 4 week trip in Europe (hubby works and I play), and I am not planning to take this project with me. But it WILL be here when I return and hopefully, I will be able to “sort-of” finish it up!!!

More to come….

Color Wheel Central….or the Comedy of Quilting Errors!!

If you have been reading this blog in the past few months, you may be wondering exactly what happened to the Color wheel quilt. I can assure you that it is still in process!! I was super excited when the fabrics that I had ordered arrived……

They are so much better than the pieces that I tried to dye for myself!!

This quilt has been a “sort-of” quilt…… I “sort of” knew how I was going to lay it out and I “sort of” knew how I was going to attach the squiggles, and I “sort of” knew how I was going to position the Catherine Wheel circles and I have “NO IDEA” what I am going to add in the outer corners…..but that is getting ahead of myself!!! Back to the “sort-of ‘s”!!

The first thing that I needed to do was to figure out the exact size of the squiggle square because that would determine the dimensions of my inside square. I started laying it out on the floor but…..

….I couldn’t make it square to save my soul!!! I would carefully adjust one side and corner, only to have the other side not fit!! ARGHHHHH!!!

If only there was some way that I could square up the sides???? Oh yeah, I have a laser square…..let’s try that!!!

And, amazingly, I had a good square laid out in just a few minutes……

A quick measurement of the center square (47 inches) and I was ready to start cutting background fabrics…..and things started going wrong!!!

This is the layout that I was thinking about…..

I want the squiggle to be on the darkest fabric and will want at least 2 inches on either side of it. So, if I take 4 inches off of the inside square measurement, I need the center piecing to be 43 inches. These 43 inches will be split between 3 fabrics…..say 14.5 inches each.

Do you see my mistake???? There are actually FIVE strips in the inner square and not 3. So now I have cut all of the fabrics too wide….YIKES!!!

I trimmed them back down to the needed size and started working from the inside out.

The first step was to applique the inner color wheel. I had a “sort-of” idea about how to do this using bias binding to cover the edges. My plan was to machine sew the inside edge and then hand stitch the outside edges. BUT…..no matter how hard I tried on my practice piece, I could not get it to lay flat…..the binding would pull the circle in and cause it to puff out……

At least I had the foresight to practice my technique prior to working on the actual piece!!! After several tries, I decided to change tracks and applique BOTH sides of the bias tape which meant that I could make everything lay flat. I accomplished this by glue basting the bias tape all the way around the circle before I ever started stitching…..

However, I did manage to cut the bias tape too short the first time and didn’t leave enough to join it back together…..ARGH!!! At last I had it finished…..

….but then realized that the yellow had to be on point and not on the square side of the block.

At this point I need to say…..I promise that I am smart, although you couldn’t prove it with this day’s work!!!!

Instead of re-doing the applique, I ended up adding corners to each of the sides to put the color wheel in the proper perspective……

So much for not having many seams to applique over!!!

I will leave this disaster here for now and continue with “Comedy of Errors” in tomorrow’s post!!

Coloring on…..

While I am waiting for the purchased fabric to arrive, I decided to do a few other things to get ready for the next stage in this quilt.

I had finally finished preparing all of the circles and stacked them up ready for use……

I love how the colors pop, even though I can only see the turned under edges!!

The next step was to trim the “squiggle” down so that I can attach it to the background using bias tape. I started to trim right on the line, but instead decided to leave about 1/8th of an inch on the edge…..

The next step was to remove the Golden Threads paper that I had used as a base for the piecing……..

It is hard to believe that it has taken this much time to do work that will fit in a few zip lock bags!!!

One of my friends, Janelle, has been reading this blog and found a fabric that she thought might encourage and inspire me and she sweetly brought it to the latest guild meeting……

It really does give me some ideas about how to fill the corners of the quilt…..isn’t that what quilting friends are for!!!!!

 

 

 

It worked…..sort of……

After my poor dyeing experience on Thursday, I was not deterred and decided that I WOULD figure out how to do a gradation dye. And I did…..sort of!!!

As I researched the “how-to’s” further, I realized that I had probably added too much dye powder to begin with and then left it in the activation bath for way too long, especially since that bath was supposed to deepen and darken the dye!!!

So, on Saturday morning, I started over again, but on a MUCH smaller scale…..

I only let the fabric dye for about 15 minutes in total, with the center area only being in the dye for about 5 minutes. When I added the activator, I continued to dip the fabric rather than letting it all sit in the dye bath, and I only activated for about 5 minutes…..

When I started the rinsing process, I was encouraged with the difference in colors that I could see……

….and when I hung it on the design wall, there was a definite gradation…….

The only problem is that I really don’t like the dullness of the color!!! But, I really DO like the way that THIS fabric looks……

And, I still want to try to do some sort of gradation in the center section…..something along this line……

So, I thought that maybe I had other black/grey fabrics that would work, but we all know just how many different colors of black exist in this world. These are a few in my stash…..

So, I bit the bullet and got online to order several black and grey shades from the same collection…..Moda Marbles!!

I will wait (hopefully patiently) while they arrive and then I can continue on my Color Wheel journey!!!

This time I listened!!

A couple of posts back, I talked about not listening to that small voice that tells you that you are doing something wrong.

Well, I did it again!!!! But this time I actually listened to my inner self and stopped before it got too far along and was able to fix it without too much trouble.

I decided that the problem was occurring because I was trying to add too many fabrics into each section so I would cut them smaller and smaller and it was easy to get the angle wrong. To combat that I decided to limit the number of fabrics to 20 in each section.

After I selected the fabrics for a section, I laid them out…..

and matched them to the color wheel……

If they lean to the previous color then I move them to the front of the piecing lineup and if they point to the next color they move to the back. Then it is a matter of intermixing the dark and lighter fabrics and get to sewing….

One of the things that bothered me early on in the sewing process was that I was sewing over and over thru a scrap piece of fabric…..

…..and it seemed like such a waste!!! So, I pulled out my 1.5 inch scrap squares and started making four patches (ala Bonnie Hunter)……

I ended up with about 75 – two inch four patches to use in some future unknown project!! I know that it slowed up the sewing process and was probably silly to do, but it did make me feel better!!

Before long I was finished with the “squiggle” part of the quilt……

….and started the process of trying to winnow down my ideas about what to put in the center of this colorful square. At one point I was thinking about appliqued 70’s type flowers but decided that it was too much of a departure from the Squiggle. Then I thought about piecing some sort of blocks in that area, but again it just didn’t seem right. Michael suggested that I have circles moving across the quilt, changing in colors from one side to the other. He even wanted one color to be “eaten” by the other color…..sort of like a Pac-man.

Then I started thinking about Catherine Wheels…..circular fireworks used in England, especially when celebrating Guy Fawkes day…..

I first thought about piecing a center something like this…..

…..but I was concerned that the weight of the center piecing would overtake the color squiggle.

However, I really liked the circular look of the Catherine Wheel so started thinking of something along these lines……

I was initially thinking about having 24 arcs….one for each color in the wheel, but then I decided that it would be too cluttered. Also, I wasn’t really looking forward to appliqueing over 200 circles!!! Then there was the issue of how the arcs would work up into the corners. My solution to all of these problems was to just do 12 arcs….four sets of 3 each.

Now my only problem is to see whether or not I can actually plan, prepare and hand applique all of those circles…….time will tell!!!

That Niggly Voice…..

You know how you are sewing along and something just doesn’t feel right? But you ignore the feeling and keep on working!!! That is what happened to me this week.

I had been busy with work deadlines the past two weeks so hadn’t found much time to be progressing with my Color Wheel quilt, so I started trying to do 15 or 20 minutes each morning. One of those mornings I was working along and ended up having to take a couple of stitching lines out and irreparably tore the foundation paper so I added more paper to the back and kept on going.

But as I would sew off of the edge, I was having to sew over lots of edges that I hadn’t had to do before. I was excited to be getting something done so decided that it was okay and just kept going……WRONG!!!

So…..I finished up the blue side and was happy with how it looked…..

On Saturday I started working on the green side and, for some reason, had a look at the finished blue section. The first thing that I realized was that I had sewn the sections together in the wrong order which is why there isn’t a lot of definition between the colors.

Then I had another look at it and realized that the slant of the strips was not correct in one particular area…..

Gee I wish that I had listened to my inner voice!!!!

So, 1 hour later I had made the needed corrections and was ready to move forward with the green side.

It also looks so much better now because the colors actually flow from one color to another!!

The moral of this story……

….and LISTEN to yourself!!!!