Wednesday, September 2, 2015


It is certainly an interesting challenge to try making a quilt with limited access to fabric. Last week I had laid out some fall leaves and thought I was well on my way. But this week I started adding the blue background pieces. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get the green leaf to look right. It would get swallowed up in the quilt whether I used darker or lighter blues and looked like a muddy mess. I took numerous pictures so I could see it from afar, and after looking at it in grayscale, I finally decided that most of my fabrics that surrounded the green were too close in value to the green. There are probably other factors, too, such as scale of the prints. But since I don't have a lot of variety to work with here. I ended up cutting more orange fabric and making one more orange leaf. I really hated giving up the green one, but there is a tiny bit of green in two of the orange patches. And I haven't completely given up on green yet. I'm thinking I might be able to work it into the border, where differences in value won't make as much difference. (The border is integrated into the rest of the quilt.) I still have to add some blues, and I know I'll be making numerous changes, especially as I begin to add the border pieces. I've pinned some up just to get an idea of how they might look. Here's what I've got so far: 

I'll continue to work with value as I go--something I tend to ignore when I make quilts. Now I know why it's important to lay out the whole quilt before starting to sew when using this technique. The colors really change a lot depending on what's next to them, and it's much easier to cut more fabric than to rip and resew. 

Meanwhile, on the Big Quilt, here's my favorite patch this week:

I'm really free-forming these flowers. They look nothing like the pencil sketch I made before starting the quilting. I sort of sketch a bit of a plan, but I find I do better if I just quilt whatever feels right at the moment. This is based loosely on Flower Power,  a design by Lori Kennedy from The Inbox Jaunt. I hope she doesn't cringe. But I think I'm getting better as I go. (Practice makes Good Enough, right?) 

Remember last week I said that I wasn't sure I liked quilting with a thinner thread in the bobbin, but that I was planning to continue? Well, this week when I ran out of bobbin thread, without even thinking, I loaded my bobbins with the lighter color King Tut thread that I'm using in the top and didn't notice the change until I was half way through sewing with the first bobbin. I checked the back and it looks no different than with the first thread I was using, so I decided to keep using the King Tut in the bobbin. It is just so much easier for me to work with when pulling the thread to the surface of the quilt. I might run out of the King Tut now, but I can just order more. I've been using the lighter weight thread for piecing, and I really like it for that. So win-win all the way around.

Here's how the edges of the quilt look with straight line quilting in the light gray patches:

This whole quilt is on the bias, but stay-stitching the edge before basting it has really worked well to keep everything lying flat. 

And the quilt I can't show you is still going well (just about half way with the top). I may have spent a little too much time contemplating fabric for the Fall Maple Leaf quilt this week, though. 

I'm finding that with working three projects at once, I'm not spending as much time looking at your blogs. (And there are LOTS of neat blog posts and hops going on right now!!) I need to balance that out a bit. Thank you for the wonderful comments last week. I love the encouragement. I try to respond to everyone, but sometimes I get really neat comments from no-reply bloggers, and I have trouble tracking them down. If this is you, please consider leaving an e-mail address so I can get back to you. Otherwise, just know I really appreciate what you've had to say. 

I'm linking up this week with Freemotion by the River and Sew Fresh Quilts for their linky parties. I hope you're having a great week and finding time to check out all the quilty goodness going on in blogland.


Cathy said...

Your quilting is looking fantastic! And I can't wait to see the leaves finished. Great job!

Mari said...

These look terrific! I'm really anxious to see the big quilt finsh. It's going to be spectacular. And the no-reply thing is just very frustrating. I've given up on tracking people down. I feel bad about it, but balance is a real thing, you know? Great work, and have a great day.

Bonnie said...

Your leaf quilt looks so interesting. I assume that it is improvisational quilting. Great job so far. And, yes, value along with texture/size can have dramatic differences on the finished quilt. I can't think of too many quilts where I actually laid out the entire quilt --- wait... I guess I'm kind of doing that now with my 2014 Row by Row quilt. I've laid out the sides of the quilts and keep making changes, so yep, I'm doing the same thing you are but without the improv going on! Your quilting looks great.

Teje Karjalainen said...

Hi! Your leaves-project looks very esciting! And the quilt under quilting is going to be fantastic! Beautiful colours and the quilting looks great! x Teje

Denise Finucane said...

I look forward to seeing both of these finishes. I really like the leaves so far - I often have problems finding the right's too yellow, too grey, too blue or too brown...
That fmq patch is lovely. I've just been following Inbox Jaunt the past few weeks, but haven't tried any designs yet. There are so many talented people to learn from :)

Bernie Kringel said...

When I look at your quilting Janine, I just can't believe you can do that with a treadle. You are so talented!

I have a really difficult time with color and value. It is something I am constantly working on. Your project is looking great though.

Kaja said...

Looking good - I really like your quilting close ups. I look forward to seeing how your leaf quilt progresses and enjoyed reading about your design decisions - I always like to learn about process.