Friday, February 14, 2014

Week in Review 2014 - 02/14

Detail from Tickling the Ivories showing a new
applique technique. 
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

When I started quilting in the late 1980's there was a cardinal rule that when pressing seams you pressed towards the dark fabric. Like many rules it evolved quite logically, but the reasons for it became less important and are unknown to many who adhere to it today. I am probably not breaking ground here, but I found myself questioning the way appliqués are attached to quilts these days. Do they always have to be needle turned or fused? Must they be added to the quilt top or could they be added during the quilting phase or some compromise time? Nothing like a quilt with a tight deadline to inspire invention! The close up you see of the appliqué for Tickling the Ivories was first pinned to just the top. Next I secured it by stitching 1/8" in from the outside edge. Yeah, no buckling or puckers! At this point I carefully clipped away the top behind the appliqué in order to avoid a double layer of quilt top fabric and darker fabrics showing through lighter fabrics. I prepared my quilt sandwich (backing, batting and top that has been pin basted.) Finally I went around the perimeter of each appliqué with a thin line of satin stitch in matching/coordinating thread. It worked! My appliqués are secure with none of the loose threads or stiff hand or added expense of fusible fabrics, that are the reasons I am not a fan of fusible appliqué.    

This week has been all about moving Tickling the Ivories forward. Of course I did a little more than that. :) Too much focus makes me cranky and dries up my creative problem solving well. 

1) Tickling the Ivories - Due March 15th

Tickling the Ivories after the notes and keyboard
have been appliquéd in place.

a) Add the accent appliqués - Done!
b) Prepare the quilt sandwich - Done!
c) Start the quilting - Done! Securing the appliqués to the quilt sandwich began the quilting process.

2) Leah Day projects.

a) Baste the face, torso and arms to Express Your Love II. - On hold until my three (gasp!) quilts with deadlines are done.

b) Do Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting lesson. - Done!

This week's free motion quilting assignment was titled
Hobbit Holes by Leah. It has a wonderfully, scaly
organic feel to it. I found it very relaxing to work up.

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments. - Done!

Outside cover of my pop-up page.

Our teacher this week with Jane Davenport. Wow, has she followed a circuitous and fascinating career path as daughter of a model, through fashion illustrator, designer, boutique owner and now teacher of mixed media. She has a fascination with 1930's pop-up books for children. Her lesson was about creating our own pop-up page based on three of our positive qualities. 

It's a miracle, winter is through 
and my pop-ups actually pop-up!

I chose whimsical, nurturing and open to new adventures as my qualities. They are represented by the imagined bushes, tree and sky.

5) Tumbling Blocks I (Due April 30) - Continue piecing the quilt. - On hold.

6) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall (Due August 3) - a commissioned quilt - On hold.

a) Select the fabric
b) Start piecing the quilt

I am loving, make that LOVING working on the Tickling the Ivories and can't wait to see how it evolves next week. I have other items on my project list to be sure that I have something to take a break on should Tickling the Ivories get to a stuck point.

1) Tickling the Ivories - Due March 15th

a) Add the quilted ribbon
b) Work on quilting the remainder of the piece

2) Leah Day projects.

a) Baste the face, torso and arms to Express Your Love II.
b) Do Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting lesson.

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments.

5) Tumbling Blocks I (Due April 30) - Continue piecing the quilt.

6) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall (Due August 3) - a commissioned quilt

a) Select the fabric
b) Start piecing the quilt

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. I love your Tickling the Ivories. Very dramatic!

  2. The coloured musical symbols really make the piece pop, Gwyned. I do much of my applique by fusing, but also by pinning or by needle-turn. Depends on what the quilt wants, eh? (grin)

  3. Your projects are all so beautiful and creative!

  4. I've done that applique method with bratty fabrics and it works a dream. Of course my satin stitch never looks as good as yours so I tend to do other edge treatments. What a creative soul you are.

    1. My satin stitch didn't look so hot the first time I tried it, nor did it look good the 5, 10 or perhaps even 15 times. I have learned a few tricks from all those false steps. First, I keep the stitch both narrow, but also with a mini zigzag. On my Bernina the setting is 2.0 W and 0.2 long. If I set it wider the stitch pulls up the fabric under the thread. If I set the length shorter, to the button hole mark ~ 0.1 the thread tends to build up on top of each other and form jamming lump. Another trick I have learned is to always make sharp turns with the needle down on the side where when I turn it makes sense for the turn. In other words the first stitch swings across the new line going in the new direction. I also use an open toe foot so that I can see what I am doing. Finally, I never rush. This is a slow, but steady pace stitch with a stop at each pivot.

  5. You've been so busy. Thanks for the explanation of your applique. It looks great!

    1. You are welcome, Ann. I am glad you found explanation helpful.

  6. I will have to play with that Bernina setting as I stitch my current piece. I am forever experimenting with how I do appliqué. Your method makes sense, Gwyned.