Friday, September 23, 2011

Works In Progress: S is for Sewing!

One of my large ongoing art quilt projects is the bigger version of S is for.....  I designed it and started piecing it in the Caryl Fallert class my mom and I took at quilt camp.  It utilizes her design technique and assembly method (appli-piecing), which I've talked about before (and here and here).

My mom just finished the quilt she started in the class- it looks phenomenal; her colors, design, assembly, quilting, and details are just fabulous.  She used this beautiful subdued olive-cream-maroon color pattern with a few pops of bright turquoise.  As usual, my chosen color palette is simply "bright."

I drafted the pattern based on the same initial S initial I used for the smaller S quilt, and added/subtracted detail as I went.  Each piece of the pattern serves as its own freezer paper template, so the pattern is consumed during the piecing process.  Here it is as I drafted it (before starting to piece).

I paper pieced the spikes in the center dragon and appli-pieced all the rest.  Originally, it had no border- just the dragon, but then I decided I would frame it with a skinny border and continued piecing on two sides (like the corner of a book page).

I decided I didn't like that, so then added borders around the other two sides.  Here's the final top.  The camera angle is bad, it really is pretty square.  I just machine appliqued the little flamelets coming out of the dragon's mouth, they and the foot are the only things not appli-pieced.  The very very saddest part is when I spritzed it with water and pinned it to my design wall to try to square it up a little bit, the dark navy in the bottom right corner bled into the yellow corner stripe!  I'm so sad, I have to figure out a way to deal with that.

I decided to do some faux trapunto under the dragon and a couple of leaves, so I layered muslin, polyester batting, and the quilt top and stitched around the dragon/leaves using water soluble thread.  I used the muslin because I wanted to stitch from the top side, but wasn't sure if the feed dogs would catch on the batting.  Afterwards, I trimmed the batting/muslin very close to the stitches.  This is the back of the quilt-  you can see the muslin kind of puffed up with the batting underneath.

I was originally going to wait and quilt it on my mom's longarm machine, but I really don't want to to wait until Thanksgiving, and have another big quilt top in line for the longarm anyway, so I think I'll try to do this one on my home machine.  I'll just have to be very patient and willing to rip stuff out if it doesn't look good.  The whole thing is about 30 inches square, so it shouldn't be too unmanageable.  Right now I'm just waiting for my batting to arrive.  I used polyester for the trapunto, and have usually used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/wool for my quilts, but my Mom said she's had really good luck with 100% wool batting lately so I ordered some of that.  I'll keep you posted on the quilting progress once the batting arrives!