Friday, October 4, 2013

Week in Review 2013 - 10/04

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

I spend a fair amount of time organizing, prioritizing and pondering things I want to do. Sometimes my plans can't be carried out due to happenstance. Sometimes, more often than happenstance, my plans don't get done because I am human. Life is full of so many delightful distracting pleasures. Just this morning I was mulling over how I would start this post. The quote "Life is short. Eat dessert first," sprang to mind. I figured I better find out who said it. This of course led to surfing the web where I learned that the original quote was "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." It was Ernestine Ulmer who is attributed to be the originator of the quote. Ernestine Ulmer? I'd never heard of her. Naturally, I had to find out who she was. Surprise, surprise, she is best known for being the originator of "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." Now we all know. Let's get to dessert, which for me is working in my studio and getting my art out in public.

My dessert consumption for the week went like this:

1) Complete Call for Entry for Nestling Oysters - Done!

2) ZenBlossoms  

a) Transfer pattern for ZenBlossoms to fabric. - Done!
Back side of ZenBlossoms

I have been dissatisfied with every method I have tried in the past to transfer a pattern to black fabric. I was convinced that there must be a better way. Here is what I came up with:

1) Instead of transferring my pattern to the black background fabric, I transferred its mirror image to white muslin. Why? I can see the pattern through white muslin, but not black cotton.

2) I layered the quilt starting with the black cotton, then batting and finally the white muslin.

3) I pin basted the quilt sandwich white side up.

4) I machine quilted/basted along the pattern using a pale coral thread as my top thread (I can't see white on white) and a mid value blue thread in the bobbin, so I could see it against the black and it would blend in with the secondary colors I will eventually quilt with.

5) I removed the pin basting from the white/backside. Then I pin basted the large open areas on the black front side.

b) Layer and baste quilt. - Done!

c) Stitch pattern from the backside so that the bobbin thread marks the pattern on the top side. - Done!

This is the front side of ZenBlossoms.
It will finish at around 48" H x 32" W

d) Let the free motion quilting begin. - I am still waiting for my thread order to arrive. 

3) Leah Day's weekly assignments

Do whatever assignments Leah comes up with next. 

a) Foundation Piecing - Done!

Confession - One of the reasons I struggle so with Leah's free form foundation piecing methods is that I am spatially challenged. I find it excruciatingly difficult to work out how fabric will flip from back to front. Since this method is done by "eye" it took me 45 minutes (I actually timed it) to figure out how to layer the first piece that required thought. The section you see here has taken more than 4 hours. Practice is definitely helping. However, even in the groove I only add 10 swatches in an hour. I figure I have another 8 hours to go.

Start of the braided tress for Express Your Love II

b) Free Motion Quilting - Done!

Feathered Noodle motif

Free motion quilting is a totally different story. I barely have to watch Leah's videos before I have worked out the pattern. Some I can work out just by looking at the finished project. I might have named this latest motif Elephant Ears. It reminds me of the pastries.  Before I started practicing free motion quilting on a weekly basis, feathers were as diabolical as free form foundation piecing. Now, I don't even have to think, Feathered Noodle flowed easily. This is one I think I will return to again and again. 

4) Visioning Project - Read and practice the next two Facebook tutorials. - Guess I should have checked my list. I did one tutorial and thought that was all I had scheduled for myself.

5) Pictorial Painting - Face "Canyon." - Hip, Hip, Hurrah! - DONE!!! 

"Canyon" was made as one of the assignments in Pictorial Painting,
a class of taught by Annette Kennedy.
Facings is one of my least favorite aspects of quilting. It definitely doesn't count as dessert. It is more like eating liver. It does feel great to be done with it.

I'm hoping next week will be a dessert buffet, but it looks like quilting ZenBlossoms may have to wait. I just checked my thread order and see it headed to Montana instead of Wisconsin. My zip begins 549 and it went to 594. Thank goodness I have Leah's assignments to fall back on.

1) Finish a bobbin's worth of FMQ on each of my three studio days ZenBlossoms

2) Leah Day's weekly assignments

Do whatever assignments Leah comes up with next. 

a) Foundation Piecing

b) Free Motion Quilting

3) Visioning Project - Read and practice the next two Facebook tutorials. 

I am now linking up to two blogs on Friday's. The first is Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and the second is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays.


  1. Wow! Your transfer method is brilliant- seems like a lot of work but will be accurate and easy to see. You are making lemon aid from lemons :-) are you ordering the thread that Leah day uses? I haven't tried it yet but would like to. Have you researched the best place to get it? Thread can get pricey and I tend to make do with the cheap stuff, then get mad when it breaks or misbehaves. Love the canyon.

  2. Really beautiful free motion quilting! I love the elephant ears!

  3. Great projects! Love your Canyon and Zen Blossoms!
    Great method for transferring onto dark fabric.

    1. Thank you, Malini. The pattern for Canyon and how to tutorial is Annette Kennedy's. I simply followed her instructions. The dark fabric transfer method is mine, although it wouldn't surprise me if others have thought of it, too.