Happy Labor Day, everyone (in the US, anyway). I hope you're enjoying a day off. We're about ready to head out for a bike ride. But I wanted to take a moment to show you something.
Check it out! I have a a "finish" to show! (Click on any photos in this post to see them a little bigger.) It's not quilted yet, but the top is finished. Remember last Thursday, when I was in such a bad mood? Well, I took to the sewing room and finished putting together the blocks and borders for this quilt. I spent part of Friday on it, too, and this is what I have to show for it! Yippee!
Here it is draped over some straw bales we have next to the shed. I feel like I've been holding out on you, because I never even told you I was working on it, I don't think! Jana always has Halloween in June. I started this in June for her quilt-along (probably on the last day of June, albeit). I worked on the hand stitching off and on all summer. It was a nice project for in front of the TV.
The stitching and tinting was really fun on this. I have never tinted a stitchery before. It really adds a lot of interest, doesn't it? I also used Cosmo embroidery floss for the first time. I really enjoyed working with it. I especially enjoyed working with the variegated threads, like the one for the boot laces and the little round flowers. (I'll have more to say about Cosmo floss in my next post.)
See how pretty the floss is in these little round flowers? All that is from the same skein. It is very prety. I enjoyed learning to make some old stitches in new ways. For example, these fowers and the candycorns are compacted buttonhole stitches. I really like the effect.
There were lots of different stitches on this, which made it fun. Outline stitching, X's, buttonholes, french knots... This kept it interesting for me. I accidentally ordered the wrong color of floss for the collar on the big jack-o-lantern, but it worked out for the best. I think it was supposed to be more blue, but the purple coordinated better with my fabrics, anyway.
Here is a close up of some of the fabrics. I used Guising by Lizzy House and some other Lizzy House fabrics (i.e., the "bracelets" in the big black border). I got it from Julie at The Intrepid Thread. I took the lead from Lynn on this, who also is making this and said she would use Guising. Thanks for that, Lynn. I'll be interested to see how she puts her fabrics together. It will be fun to see if she puts different fabrics in different places.
The little white ghost border is a black border on the pattern, but I changed it up a bit. I also used a dark purple instead of black in the pinwheels and squares in the blocks.
Here is another close up that shows the pinwheels, too. The only tough thing was some of the prints were pretty big prints. When I cut them up into the small squares, I sort of lost the effect. For example, if you look at some of the pinwheels, there is an orange fabric with black bracelets (like the large black border but in orange and black). When I cut that into triangles for the pinwheels, I got some pieces that were solid orange and some that had polkadots. That's a problem with using fabric with big prints for small pieces. I could have fussy cut for a better effect, but it's okay.
Overall, I think it's a good quilt. I am looking forward to having it quilted. This is almost small enough I'd feel comfortable quilting it myself. But I'm sort of feeling like I don't want to. I don't know if it is laziness or what.... I may ask someone esle to do the quilting so I can get it done for Halloween. I'm afraid I'll put it off and it will be come a UFO. I'm really working hard not to create more UFOs and to see things through.
One more look at the whole quilt top. (BTW, you can see what I mean about the orange polkadot pinwheel in the bottom left pinwheel here in this photo. Also, I just realized I put the bottom border on backwards. I meant to have the light pinwheel on the left and the dark one on the right. I had it all carefully planned. Oh well. I'm not going to change it now.) I didn't pay any attention to the bracelets when I cut them. The bracelets are all cattywompus. I think that's how they're printed on the fabric, because I cut pretty close to straight across the grain on these. But I think the cattywompus bracelets were a happy accident. I really like it that they are all going at an angle. It gives this a "fun" look, I think. I couldn't have planned that better if I had tried, if you ask me!
Click here to see a photo of the pattern designer's version on their website. (I was going to post a photo here, but I wrote to them for their permission to use the photo, and they hadn't answered me yet. I wanted to get this posted. I suppose they are taking time off for the holiday weekend.) I really love their striped flange border and striped binding. I'm going to go look for a good black and white stripe for my binding, I think. This photo is from Crabapple Hill Studios, and the pattern is called Which Witch's Boot. (Click on the name of the pattern to go get it.) I liked the pattern a lot. The stitchery pattern is provided in full scale, so you can just trace and get started. There are clear instructions for how to do the tinting, and how to do the stitches required. I found the pattern easy to follow. I also had an easy time making the blocks and putting the borders together. The designers tell you how large your quilt/borders should be at various points during the process, which really makes it easy to ensure everything is going to fit together nicely. I found that the whole thing went together just swimmingly. Great pattern. Highly recommended.
I suppose if I had to rank this pattern in difficulty, I would put the stitchery part at an advanced beginner to intermediate. I say this only because there are several different stitches used, and it might be useful to have some prior knowledge of buttonhole stitching coming into the project. But if you understand that stitch, I think everything else is pretty easy.
I think I would put the piecing for the borders at about an advanced beginner, also. The blocks are super easy to make. The borders involve setting those blocks on point, which is not hard at all, but may be very new to a real novice. The instructions on how to do it are very clear. So, if you are a beginner, don't be scared off by the blocks on point at all.
And don't be scared off by the tinting. All you need is a box of crayons! It's like coloring in a coloring book. It was fun, easy, and relaxing. I think it gives a great effect, too!
I will offer a couple of small tips, here. In this photo, you can see my stitchery before I did any stitching. I have it laying on my ironing board. I have traced the pattern and done my tinting. The instructions tell you to trace the stitchery with a permanent, very fine tip, brown marker. I didn't have one that I thought was fine enough, and I was really scared to do this with a permanent marker. So, I opted for pencil. (I didn't use one of the blue disappearing ink markers, because you have to iron on this before stitching. So, you'd either lose your marks [if they disappear with heat] or they'd become permanent.) I would not use pencil again. When coloring with the crayons, I found the crayon picked up some of the lead and dragged it into the color. As I was coloring, I thought, "Ahhh! This is why they want you to use a permanent marker!" My advice: Follow the pattern designer's instructions and use a really fine tip permanent marker to trace the pattern! ;-)
Also, I backed my stitchery fabric with muslin. So, I was stitching through two layers of fabric. I haven't done this before on any of my stitcheries. But I really liked it. It seemed to give my piece more stability, and if you do have to carry a thread, it doesn't show through. So, I do recommend doing that. I will do that again in the future. I will have machine quilting on it, so I'm not worried about the double thickness of fabric.
By the way, I purchased the pattern and all supplies to make this project with my own money. ;-)
I hope you like this! I'll show it to you again when I get it quilted.
I was anxious to get it done, because I really wanted to start on a new stitchery project. Come back tomorrow and I will show you that one!
Until next time,