Monday, September 12, 2011

Starflower 2

I always like to have hand projects to do in the car, and at various times have tried all sorts of things;  knitting, crocheting, cross stitch, needlework/embroidery, hexies, you name it.  I think I've just about concluded that the best thing for me in the car is really simple crochet.  I started a complicated doily type thing a while back; it's actually a UFO that didn't make my list, but its pattern was too complicated for me to focus on while simultaneously chatting to the driver or listening to an audiobook.   The hexies are pretty simple too, but I don't want to make any more of them until I know what I'm going to do with them.

Anyhow, a couple months back I decided to try hand quilting.  I made myself a quilt sandwich with black sparkly fabric on one side and white sparkly fabric on the other side and sketched out a star with rays radiating out.  My idea was to fill each ray with a different hand quilting pattern.  I also thought that it could be double sided; some colors of thread would show up better on the white and others would show up better on the black.

I struggled along for a while; I don't really know how to hand quilt, so I looked up some online resources which were pretty helpful.  Sadly I don't remember where I found them!  The whole process was slow though and the sparkle in the black fabric combined with the skinny quilting thread meant that the stitches weren't showing up as well as I wanted.

When my mom suggested I use embroidery thread, I jumped at the idea.  The double stranded (or more) thread showed up much better, and I could use larger stitches.  I did several rays using the embroidery floss with just a simple running stitch until one day I stumbled across Molly's embroidery stitch instructions on Wild Olive.  I've read her fabulous blog for a long time (you guys should totally check it out) but it never occurred to me that I could do some of the fun stitches since my mind was still on "quilt" not "embroidery."

In the end, the project turned out to be a mix of various types of stitching with lots of colors (my favorite kind).  I had intended to work on it slowly in the car but found that my stitches were neater when I worked on it while stationary.  Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to enter it into the State Fair which starts this week, so I went ahead and finished it up.

Starflower 2, 16" x 16" 2011, Shannon Conley

Here are some close-ups of some of the sections, sorry about the weird shadows in some of the pictures.  My design wall is directly across from the window that is the primary light source for my photos, so when taking close ups my choices are to be at a really weird angle (bad) or be straight on but have horrid camera shadows in the pictures.  My dad said he'll help me with some other light sources the next time I'm at their house, but in the interim, I'll keep on like this!

Those little orange flowers and the adjacent swirls are some of my favorite patterns.

I also really like the metallic thread (on the right above) with the pink, although the metallic is hard to see in the picture.  It's actually Ricky Tim's Razzle Dazzle, which is fun for bobbin quilting.

In this one you can see the area I started in with actual quilting thread and smaller stitches; it was all right but I like the bolder embroidery floss better.

Finally, this is the back.  It quickly became evident that it was not going to be a two-sided quilt.  While the back looks pretty good (as backs go) it is definitely not another "front."  In the end that was fine with me though, it saved me the trouble of having to work out something else for the label and hanging pocket.

And now, another thing crossed off the UFO list!  I have so many projects I want to start but there are still 4 big ones (#1, 3, 4, and 6) still to go before I start another big something.  I was originally going to work on the dogs next, but I think maybe I'll try to finish #6 first.  We'll see how brave I become with FMQ on the home machine!

1. Purple Medallion Quilt:  Status- top pieced, needs to have faux trapunto and machine quilting.
2. Hawaiian Applique Quilt: Status-top pieced, sandwich made, some quilting done.  Needs to have Zendoodling quilting done and finished.
3. Dog Portraits: Status- two dogs thread painted, need to finish thread painting, assembly, and quilting.
4. Nativity Mosaic Quilt: Status- Mary and Joseph are mosaic-ed, everyone else needs to be tiled in and finished.
5. Visions of God Group Church Quilt: Status- All the blocks but 3 are sitting in a pile on my desk.  I need to get  three more blocks and then assemble/quilt it.
6. Large S Quilt: Status-Top is finished, needs to be blocked and quilted.
7. Small Caryl Fallert Blocks: Status-Miscellaneous blocks need to be quilted/finished and donated.
8. Grandmother's Flower Garden Project: Status-Not even sure what this is going to be, but I have been piecing a bunch of grandmother's flower garden blocks and need to do something with them.

9. Miniature Whole Cloth Quilt: Status-about 2/3ds finished, need to find some ribbon to quilt with and maybe some perl cotton.

Do you guys have any hand quilting projects underway?  What about freehand embroidery?   I enjoyed this project, but probably won't do another one like it for a while!