Way back on Mother’s Day, I gave my mom a book by Rayna Gillman on free-form quilting. She’s been trying to use up some of the older scraps in her vast quilting stash and I thought this book might give her some new ideas. Since then she, my sister Carol, and I have been stripping scraps. We had fun following the book’s recommendations and sewing together strips in random fashion. We pooled our first bits to make one larger piece, about lap quilt size. Then we each started on another. Mine is not surprisingly the smallest and the last to be finished. I only worked on it while the three of us were together at Mom’s and not too often at that. But now it is done and in use by my cat Venus. She likes to sleep on the pillows in the window of the family room. If she didn’t leave behind so much cat hair, it wouldn’t be a problem, but she does. To make it easy to keep the pillows clean, I’ve made her a cat blanket that is easily washed and keeps cat hair off the pillow.
See how much she loves it!
These rows of strips should have been quick and easy work. This is not my usual style of stitching and it took me way longer than it should have.
Putting them together like a puzzle was the fun part.
Free-motion quilting on a small scale like this is quite fun. Quilting on the lap size quilts was way harder. The larger ones are so heavy and difficult to move under the machine. Next up, I’ll be quilting a full size bed quilt that Mom pieced and gave to me two years ago. It’s going to be a huge job to quilt it and I haven’t wanted to tackle it until now. It will take a fair amount of planning to get it started and going smoothly. Now, it’s time has finally arrived. I think I am ready. I just hope to get it finished before Christmas with my sanity intact.
My little blue goat is finished and ready for hanging! At 11 x 20, he’s not very big, so why has it taken me so long to complete him? Ah, it’s so easy to get sidetracked these days. But finish him I did and I am pleased.
In the end, I decided against a binding and used another method to finish the quilt by turning in the top and bottom fabrics toward each other and slipstitching them together. The batting I used was some leftover scraps from my closet. It’s a bit thick, but OK for this small piece. Minimal quilting holds it all together. All the quilting is next to the embroidery or applique and doesn’t show on the front. The quilting was done by hand. Since I hadn’t used the machine for any of the previous stitching, I couldn’t see putting in machine quilting for this project.
The stitches show up well against the dark blue back, not necessarily a good thing, but OK by me. They won’t show once he’s hanging on the wall. The quilt does now have a hanging sleeve and a spot on the wall to call his own.
Last week I traveled to Houston for the International Quilt Festival. Usually it’s not bad for a four hour drive. This year our driving day was plagued by a fierce thunderstorm from Beaumont to Houston. That made it all the better when we finally arrived at the convention center. As always, the displays were fabulous. Despite the title, not everything in the show was quilts. I even had two doll in the show. If only my pictures weren’t all blurry, I’d have some to share of some of the wonderful stitching I saw. One thing I noticed was that more and more of the pieces have embroidery and decorative stitching on them. That made them especially interesting to me.
Craftsy sponsored an Open Studio area with 4 different demos every two hours. It was situated at the far end of the exhibit hall, but I managed to swing by often to see what’s new. The two I liked best were on hand embroidery and machine embroidery. No surprise there. Catherine Redford demonstrated her method of African folklore embroidery on Thursday and Liz Kettle talked about threads and technical help for free-form embroidery on Friday. The hand embroidery was especially interesting since I’m working right now on my goat and have a bigger embroidery in the works.
My goat project is coming along nicely. I’ve got the sun and sky stitched and all the embroidery is complete. The sun’s design echos the design on the goat. He is so richly decorated, the piece needed something with weight in the sky for balance.
Now it is ready for the finishing. I think I will quilt it in a traditional manner with batting and a real binding just to see how I like that look.
I’ve been busy stitching on my little goat. The ground fabric is rather busy. Much busier than it appears at first. The stitching that I’ve added for the grass and plants seem to blend right in depending on the lighting. And that’s OK. Some of the colors were chosen for subtlety. The goat is the main element and the background is for texture.
Little goat is now more at home in his world. I’ve added tiny Chinese knot flowers and other flowers of detached chain and pistol stitch in the foreground. In the middle there is wheat ear stitch, stem stitch, running stitch, and fly stitch. Way in the distance, on the horizon, is a row of lavender pistol stitch.
Next up is the sun and the sky. The sun will have to be kind of jazzy to keep up with the rest of the embroidery. I usually go for understated, so this is heavy embellishing for me. It’s a fun switch.
In a spurt of clothing sewing, I have completed two new pairs of pants.
A pair of green twill pants.
And purple denim capris.
This purple denim was bought as the end of the bolt. There wasn’t enough to do both the yoke and pockets AND full length. I opted for capri length so that I could keep the yoke and pockets. What good is a pair of pants without pockets? Lucky for me it’s still warm enough here in Louisiana to wear the shorter length now and into December.
Both are variations of my favorite pants pattern which is a rub off of jeans that I love. Both are made of stretch cotton. That makes them comfy to wear and move around in.
This is proving to be a really fun goat! I hadn’t realized just how folksy he would be when I started or how colorful. When you have a blue goat, it stands to reason that he’s going to be kind of wild looking. Now he is finished, but there is more stitching to be done. The background needs lots of color and pattern to balance the heavy stitching on blue boy.Before I began the embroidery, I narrowed down my palette of floss, or so I thought. Now that I’m looking, I can see that I’ve got nearly the whole rainbow going on here. I love to see them all lined up.
There are so many pretty colors. I know that I won’t use all of them in the finished embroidery, but I like having choices.
It’s been a while since I’ve embroidered and it’s long past overdue. I have been sewing, but not so much of the playful kind. I do have a couple of pairs of pants to make, but I need something more. Something to work on during quiet times at night. Something thoughtful. Something hand work. So I have started a new embroidery. For the background, I’ve hand stitched together some strips of batiks onto a base cloth of navy cotton. I like the navy for the borders, but next time I’ll use a lighter color directly under the strips. I’m not sure I like the way the navy darkens the lighter fabrics.
Inspired by some folk art goats that my mom and sister have been painting, I dug around in my sketchbook and came up with a sketch from the zoo that I like. It’s a mountain goat. A pretty simple gesture sketch, but one I like all the same.Using the goat on the left as a start, I’ve appliqued some shapes in fun colors. Don’t you just love a blue goat?
Although the background is stitched raw edges, the goat has turned under edges. I’m trying both to see which I like working with better. If I do as much embroidery as I think I may be doing, then the raw edges may be a better choice. We shall see.