Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm Back! (For a moment)

Hi out there all you bloggy friends!  I'm back from my trip to Germany, which was super fun, (and documented in around 800 pictures), and have been quilting madly on Seymour.  Just in the random-aside vein,  this always plays in my mind when I say (or think) "I'm back" or "I'll be right back."  Not sure why, but it's one of those things that's taking up permanent brain space and keeping out more important useful things.

Anyway,  I fused Seymour's background pieces all together on both sides, then assembled the quilt sandwiches.  I used spray baste to adhere the batting to the backing and then fused the top (you may recall the whole thing had fusible on it) to the batting.  This seemed to work fairly well in terms of shifting;  that is, I didn't really have any.  I'm pleased that there were no back puckers or anything.

That didn't mean the quilting went particularly well though.  Some parts were fairly straightforward, while others really made me want to scream.  For instance,  I feel pretty good about the quilting on and around the swamp (on the dark side) and on chimney rock (on the light side), mediocre about the quilting on the background of the dark side, and dreadful about the sky on both sides.

For the foreground of the light side my mom suggested quilting some straight lines (after I had a little mini-meltdown on the phone) so I did that.  I increased the distance between the lines as I came into the foreground (to hopefully give some added perspective), but the lines blend in so much I don't think you can tell.  I also think it probably needs more quilting in that region, but so much will be covered by Seymour that I'm going to wait to do any more quilting till his skeleton is on there.

I did the (seemingly)-requisite ripping as well, once when the tension was way off and I didn't realize it until I'd quilted a large section, and once when the extra backing got accidentally flipped around the edge (ACK).  Also, I did all the quilting on the singer 201 which has a blessedly large amount of space under the harp compared to my baby Janome, but makes extra stitches after I've picked up my foot/stopped my hands.  I have lovely little knots all over the top of my quilting.  *sigh*

However, squaring them up and standing back (way back) made me feel better, as I'm still liking the overall impact.  The next step is to put on the trim and facing so the two sides can be laced together (I'll post on that later this week).  My goal is to finish the trim/facing this week, so wish me luck.  I'm headed to my family home in southern New Mexico on Friday for a family reunion in honor of my Grandfather's 85th birthday.  Should be fun, especially because my favorite Anna Banana will be there.  She has grown significantly (to judge from the pictures) and has apparently acquired many new skills since I last saw her.

Hope everyone is doing well out in blogland (and real-land too!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Light and Dark

I'm running out of ideas of what to call my WIP posts about Seymour the dinosaur which is not good since he's not anywhere near done.  

I did get the dark side assembled in the past week though.  After being unhappy with how much blending there was between the trunk and the background, I replaced a bunch of the pieces of background right next to the trunk with pieces that were darker and had less pattern.  I also tried using Shiva Painststicks for the first time.  If you've never used them, they're like a cross between an oil paint and a crayon.  You can draw or dab or blend with them, but they don't drip.  I got a beige one at a LQS while we were in Denver with the goal of lightening the edge of the trunk (in combination with darkening the edge of the background.  I also finished the bottom section and worked on the lake some more since I didn't like the purply bits in the middle (it's supposed to feel like a reflection of the sky).

Here's where I left off last week.

Here's what it looks like now.  Much better I think.

On these two close-ups you can see the effect of the paintstick.  In each picture the two arrows are pointing to identical pieces of fabric, only the piece on the right has had some beige paintstick applied to lighten it.

I've still got all the pins in it so I can look at it and mull it over to see whether I think any more pieces should be moved or replaced before I fuse it all together.  I tell you what, it sure uses a lot of pins!  Do any of the pieces look out-of-place to you guys? Here are the two sides together.  I love the way they look side-by side.  Such a dramatic difference; just what I was going for.  It's too bad you won't ever see them this way displayed.

I'm headed out-of-town again tomorrow, hopefully all will go smoothly.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Passport Wallet

I'm leaving for Germany on Thursday, (yay!) and decided I wanted a passport wallet thingy to carry while I'm there.  I'd thought about just making up a pattern myself like I did for the iPad case, but then figured there were bound to be instructions already out there.   Of course, pinterest didn't let me down, and I decided to follow this fabulous tutorial from Crafty Staci.  The instructions were a little tricky, but I figured it out and am really pleased with how mine came out.  It was a first time I'd done a zipper like that and it was so easy (thanks to the instructions).

For anyone wondering, I followed her instructions exactly except I added piping around the outside and used snaps instead of an elastic.  The outer fabric is from my favorite print (from Jane Sassaman's Prairie Gothic line) and the change purse lining/piping are Kate Spain (both previously seen here).  I'm not sure what the inner pockets are.  It's kind of hard to tell in the pictures, but there are credit card/ID pockets on both sides (on top of the passport pocket), so I'm hoping to avoid carrying an additional wallet all together.

I hope the dogs behave for Mike while I'm gone!  Any last minute suggestions on things to do in Munich?

I'm actually going to link up with Young House Love/Bower Power/Centsational Girl/Ten June summer Pinterest challenge since it was running right when I decided to do this pinterest inspired challenge.  YHL is one of my favorite blogs, you guys should check it out.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sounds of Life and Light

One more old quilt for this week.  I made this for my dear friend Linda, who is also the organist at our church.  I think it was my very first original design.  Perhaps not 100% successful, but I love it so much.  Check out the original posts here and here.

I hope you are all staying cool!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Seymour's back!

Super late update today!  I hope you're all having a lovely Independence Day.  I've been working on Seymour some more lately, or rather Seymour's background, and wanted to give an update.

On a peripherally related note, when I was in Denver last weekend for my friend's wedding, my mom and I went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  It's really a great museum but the best part was that they had an assembled Coelophysis skeleton.  I took a bunch of pictures even though it was a little late for drafting Seymour.  

When last we left off, I'd finished the background for the front (below) and was talking about working on the skeleton.

After significantly more thought about the assembly process, however, I realized that I would need to piece the background and quilt the front and back together before putting on any foreground or dinosaur elements. So I set to work on the pattern for the back.  As you may recall, while the front (or really "side A" since he'll be fully reversible) will have Seymour's skeleton, the back will have him fleshed out.  Here's the pattern I used for the back ("side B").  I edited, enlarged, and printed it as I discussed here.

I assembled the back the same way as I did the front, basically cutting out pieces backed with fusible and pinning them up.  My guiding design aesthetic was that side A would be desert- characterized by light tints and warm colors and that side B would be jungle- characterized by dark shades, low contrast, and cool colors.  I started with the treetops, large trunk, and sky, then started filling in the background.

I got to this point and stopped because I didn't quite like the interface between the tree trunk and the background.  I wanted this side to be more blendy and low contrast than the other side, but it felt like the tree trunk was getting lost in the background.  I didn't have any more really dark fabric or any more solid looking fabric so I decided to wait until I had a chance to go fabric shopping.  My mom and I actually had a chance to visit some quilt stores when we were in the Denver area and I picked up a few great options.  I can't wait to swap them out to make the tree pop a bit more.

I'm really happy with how it's going so far, especially the trunk and trees.  I think the background still needs quite a bit of work though.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced as usual!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fourth of July

While I'm traveling, I wanted to show some of my old quilts that are buried in the archive.  If you've seen them before, there'll be new stuff on Wednesday.

This one seemed particularly apt.  "Proud to be an American," or as it will always be in my brain, "Mikes' Lone Star."  One of the wonderful things about Mike retiring is that this quilt gets to hang in our house now instead of his office.  You can check out my posts about it here.

I feel very lucky to have been able to grow up in and live in a place that offers as many freedoms and privileges (and wide open spaces and mountains, and on and on and on) as America.  Happy 4th of July everyone!  I hope you all have a chance to celebrate safely with your families or friends.  If you're not American, I vote you use it as an excuse to grab your nearest and dearest for a celebratory tipple anyway!