At first, we had planned to go to Arizona to see my parents. But that didn't work out. So, we decided to have break at home this year. Then, Papa Pea thought we'd remodel a bathroom this week. But the weather is so crappy that it would be hard to haul drywall around without it getting wet. So, we decided to wait for spring. So...Ahhhhh...Spring Break! I do have a little schoolwork to do this week, but I'm going to try to get in some sewing and R&R this week also. I haven't had a spring break at home in years!
Today, I'm going to reveal my gentle curve piecing project/challenge project that I'm doing with Lynn, Alamosa Quilter. Lynn posted hers earlier this morning, so you'll want to go check that out for sure. She has a completely different take on it, which I love! You will recall that we are working out of Jean Wells' book Intuitive Color and Design. This is the second "assignment" in the book.
I was a little less than enthusastic about this second challenge. Why? Well, I felt like my first one went pretty well, and I was afraid it would be downhill from here (how's that for confidence?!). And this involves curves---scary. And I didn't have an inspriational source I was as excited about as I was that photo of our skating paths.
I mounted it in my sketchbook, along with the greeting card I had received and was going to use as color inspiration. I sketched an idea and colored it on the right side. I thought I'd make some gentle curves on top, put a solid piece of fabric on the bottom and appliqué some colored spots to represent the marbles, and do some pebbling for quilting (something I've never tried before). Okay, now I was getting excited.
And I started piecing. I did okay as long as I kept the curves pretty gentle. If they got too swooping, I had trouble. See in this photo above how the darker blue curves into the green and causes puckering? I left that one in, but I had another one that was much worse, and I cut it out. I also didn't like that straight line of orange, but I ended up leaving it in. I struggled with two things.
- I found it REALLY hard to make this look just like my drawing. So, I gave that up and just pieced what I thought looked good. That was an easy fix.
- The book was pretty clear on how to do a gentle curve from top to bottom (like the light blue to white on the far left). But it didn't really tell you how to get those curves in that go only part way up...for example the white to the blue on the lower left...see how the blue then goes into the green? I really had to play with that for a while to get it. More on that later.
I was starting to get the hang of this.
I kept on piecing and then trimmed it up. I then attached this darker blue to the bottom. I trimmed the whole thing to about 12.5 x 15.5". (Lynn and I agreed we would shoot for sizes around 12 x 15" finished.)
Okay. Now, I had to figure out what to do next. I started thinking about using appliqué to sew on some circles of color to represent some of the marbles. Then, I got an idea...
And I ended up with this. I thought it was pretty neat. I looked at my inspiration photo and back at this. I thought, "Gee, this sort of reminds me of the swirlies inside of the marbles. Wouldn't it be cool if I could somehow cut circles out of this and appliqué them on for the marbles?!" But, there are so many seams on this, I thought that would be REALLY challenging...to cut out, to turn edges under, and to sew on.
So, then I thought, "What about reverse appliqué?" (For those of you who don't know what this is, this is when--instead of sewing a piece of fabric on top of your background fabric--you cut a hole in your background fabric and sew your other fabric behind it.) I have never done reverse appliqué, but I've seen it done. I looked to the web for some inspiration on technique. I found this tutorial from Textiles4you that was quilte helpful. I adapted it for my purposes. More on that later.
I quilted the top with my walking foot. I just followed the lines of the piecing with matching thread. I used my Aurifil threads (some 40 wt, some 50 wt) for the quilting, except for the pebbling. That is a King Tutt variegated thread in a 40 wt. The pebbling was really scary and sort of hard. I practiced for about an hour before I did it on here. I still need a lot of practice. There are tons of mistakes on here (like pebbles that overlap, a few funny stitching lines), but overall I am really happy with it.
I told Sweet Pea that while I was doing it, I felt like a kid on a high diving board, standing there, looking down, holding my breath, and being so scared to do it--scared to belly flop and that it would hurt (and be disappointing). But, I didn't belly flop. I did okay. I think I would have liked more big circles quilted in, but that's okay. The mroe I did this, I found I got better and better at regulating my stitching speed, and I got a lot better at retracing where I'd been when I needed to backtrack along my stitching line. I am really, really proud of myself for jumping in this scary pool.
To be consistent with last time, I'll do a what I like and what I don't like about this:
WHAT I LIKE:
- I love the color scheme I chose.
- I love how the quilting turned out, and I'm especially happy with the big leap forward I made with the pebbling.
- I like piecing gentle curves.
- I found I can draw inspriation from pretty mundane stuff.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE:
- Not much to say here. I am so happy with how this turned out!
- I would like to have had some larger circles in the pebbling. Note to self, do this next time.
- I still need a lot of work on deeper curves. I should explore that sometime.
- There's so much quilting on this, it's pretty stiff. I guess it's a good thing it's a wall hanging!
What do you think I should name it? I am thinking of "Finding my Marbles" (instead of "Losing my Marbles"). :-) These exercises are really helping me to learn so much about myself as a quilter and "artist" (if I dare use that word).
I am so happy with how this turned out. I am excited to move on to our next challenge. I guess Lynn and I will have to talk about what that will be. :-)
I hope you enjoyed this little walk through of my project. I was thinking that tomorrow I could post some more detail on how I dealt with some of the curves and how I did the reverse appliqué. I was afraid it would make this post too long to include it here. Even then, I might need to break that down into two additional posts.
Hope you are all having a lovely day. Be sure to stop over and see what Lynn did with her project. You'll like it, too. Thank you, Lynn, for helping me grow and stretch myself in new ways!
Until next time,