Friday, July 29, 2011

Challenging. . .

I got my challenge quilt "done" in time.  It's not completely done, as I have some more stones to sew on.  But I don't seem to be real motivated to do that, so I figured I should just show it anyway.  The binding is on and so is the label, so I think that's pretty good!

"Stones Rock!"
20 inches by 28.5 inches
I just ran out of time to get all the stones on . . . probably because I stalled so long on this one.  I went to the bead store and bought real stones - they're just polished and drilled so they were easy to attach.  Interestingly, all the stones ended up being some form of jasper.  They just really appealed to me.  Oh, I forgot to take any detail shots of the cool stones.  Ooops.


This shot is for Kate of Katekwiltz blog, who asked me how I handled the ruffled edges of the rock wall section.  My friend V., who helped me A LOT with this the last day, suggested that I do a basting stitch and then gather that section before sewing the border to it.  It worked pretty well.  There's still puffiness there, but no tucks.  I won't be quilting in that area, and I think it looks OK.  I would have liked the border to go right up to the "rocks" but it didn't work out that way.

I'm not 100% happy with this quilt, but I met the deadline and the requirements, so I can live with it.  It really was a challenge this year.  I think maybe I need to take a year off of doing the guild challenge, and just work on my own stuff for awhile.  Some days that's all the challenge I can handle!

Here are my Block Lotto blocks for July.  It was a fun block to do, and very easy.  If you're interested in the pattern, just go visit the Block Lotto link in my sidebar.  I'd love to win this month!

Here are some other Block Lotto blocks from a previous month (don't remember which one right now).  I thought these were fun and easy, so I used these for a demonstration I did at the local county fair.  This only needs some more white fabric between the rows and a simple border (black & white?) and it is ready to pass on to someone for quilting.  It was fun doing the demo at the fair - seems like lots of people want to come see the quilts, and almost everyone has some quilting "family" story they want to share.  That was lots of fun!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Building A Wall

We're finally getting some nice weather, and some flowers are starting to bloom.  This is the first white foxglove that I've had here; mostly they're purple.  We have an abundance of foxgloves this year - they're everywhere in the yard.  I love them, and I love that they just happen - I don't have to do a thing!  Yes, I'm a lazy gardener nowadays.

I'm finally getting started on my challenge quilt.  I've been thinking about it (and stalling) for quite a while now.  The challenge this year is to do 'an element of nature', using textures and fibers, etc.  There are no requirements for size or color for this challenge, which is challenging in itself.  I've had 3 different ideas and couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to do.  My initial thought was Trees or Leaves, but I though maybe too many people were going to do that. I also thought of Grass, but I've waited too long to do that one - no time for all the embroidery that I planned on doing.  So, I've finally decided on Rocks.

First off, I printed some photos of rocks on fabric.  I had some great rock photos from our trips to Nevada and the ocean, both of which are great places to find rocks.  Then I made a trip to the bead store to buy some polished and drilled rocks.  I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this yet.

When I visited a new local quilt store I saw this Texture Magic and had an idea that this could work too.  I had to play with it first.  I used some ugly scraps that I found.  You quilt through your fabrics and the Texture Magic.  Then you steam it with the iron and it shrinks up 30%.  It reminds me of Shrinky Dinks!

Then, using my photo of a rock wall, I started building a fabric rock wall.  I was surprised to see how many fabrics I had that would work for this, and my friend M~ let me use some of her Stonehedge fabrics.  My technique: I just looked at one of the rocks in the wall, and tried to copy it by cutting with my scissors.  I had a hard time getting them to be rock-y enough, but not too round or square.  I used a charcoal fabric for the background.  Black seemed to be too stark.

More rocks!

Then I decided that putting batting between the background fabric and the Texture Magic would be better.  It would fill the "rocks" nicely.  Then I stitched around all the rocks.  I did one continuous line of stitching.  It was a giant puzzle.  I had to do quite of bit of backtracking to make it continuous.  It took me two sessions of stitching to finish this!  But, finally it was done.  Time for the next step!

Making the magic happen.  In other words, steaming the fabric with the iron. 

Here it is - all crinkled/poofed up nicely.  I think it looks pretty much like a rock wall, all things considered.

Now for the rest of the quilt.  That will be the real challenge, because I only have a vague idea of what I want to do.  And the project is due Friday at noon.  You know what I'll be doing this week!  *grin*

Purple foxglove