Sunday, August 23, 2015

Arctic Hare finished cushion

I have (just about) finished my Arctic Hare cushion. There are a few things to tidy up like threads and some basting and one little mistake that needs fixing. I'm happy with the finished product and Toffee has given it the dog seal of approval.

I decided to try making my own piping to go around the edge. I made bias strips with a piece of old yellow fabric (c. 1988). I thought I had some cording that was specifically for piping which would have given a better result, but I made do with some cord that I've had for ages purchased for some project long forgotten. The cord worked okay, but given the size of the cushion I probably would have preferred beefier piping.

I do not have a purpose-built cording foot so I used a zipper foot. This worked fine, so I won't be rushing out to get a special foot for this job any time soon. Making the piping was pretty easy, but putting it all together was tricky, especially with all of the layers (I counted 12 layers of fabric and 3 layers of batting when crossing the overlapped backing that was bound on the edge). Both of my machines coped fine with the layers, I just think that when a 1/4 inch seam is taller than it is wide, there's a bit of slippage. In hindsight, a 1/2 inch seam would have been a good idea.

The back is made using the same grey fabric as the narrow border on the front. I did some wavy cross-hatched quilting using the walking foot just to hold the layers together and give it some texture. The overlapped edges are bound in a blue stripe that I used on the front as well. This whole project was an exercise in making-do. I did buy an inner (a bit too puffy, I think); everything else was hanging around my studio.

This is the first of my finishes for this quarter's 2015 finish-along - and a month before the deadline!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Modern round robin

We've started a round robin at Monday Modern quilters and I am organising it. I've been wanting to do one for a while, so 9 of us have joined in. After 4 years of participating in the Cotton Robin, I'm pleased to be doing one with this group. Unlike the Cotton Robin, we are sharing our work along the way - some of the girls were a bit nervous about the process and I think seeing each other's progress has helped with this.

My starting block is a red/pink and white checkerboard with two appliqued circles that I fussy cut from a Christmas fabric I had in my stash. I debated doing something a bit more avant-garde (or at least more modern), but decided that having a mix of styles would make it more interesting.

I have Melanie's starting block which she managed to put together after being overseas for the lead-up discussions. She used the cutest fabrics (my 11-year old announced "Adorable!" when she saw them). I had it hanging on the wall for a week before diving in this weekend. I was determined to use fabrics from my stash but really struggled with the green and the navy. I think I managed to find some fabrics that work without being exactly the same.

The flying geese (Melanie's go to pattern) were my inspiration. I decided to stack them up for some variety and drafted a paper pieced pattern to do this. I had to add the cute cat fabric, but am wondering if I will re-do the corner piece because I don't like the direction the cats are facing (which way is up?) and think it should be a bit larger. I may need to fussy cut that one to get it to work better but I have 3 more weeks to play with it, so who knows?

I only added to two sides which I think balances well. There will be 2 more borders added to this one, so it will be interesting to see if the asymmetry continues.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chilly rabbit

A few months ago I did a pattern test for my friend Robyn (see her blog here). It's been hanging around for a while on the design wall but is one of my candidates for this quarter's finish along.

I decided to make it a bit bigger with some snowballs and corner stars - this turned my rabbit into an arctic hare. My plan was for a pillow, but it seems to be a bit bigger than expected. At 20 inches it's still possible, but I don't think I have an inner for it. Although I have been known to make them from a few recycled cushions, I'm not feeling particularly resourceful right now.

When I finished the piecing it looked very pale. I wish I had used a background with more contrast. My solution was to use a much darker quilting thread and do some dense quilting on all of the blue bits - this has worked well and the blue has more depth now. I also used scrap of puffy polyester batting which has given the hare some dimension that I like.

There are still a lot of threads to deal with, but that's a job that I really dislike, so I'm putting it off. Whether this ends up as a pillow or just a mini quilt / wall hanging, I will add yellow binding or piping to the edges. Now it's time to attached a few other projects...

Linking up with Lee this week at Freshly Pieced.