The last of my bullseye quilts is now complete, and I like to think it’s the best of the bunch. If nothing else, it had the longest maturation time of any.
Here’s the final Bullseye Bubbles (25.5 by 33.5 inches.)
Once the green organza additions began, I felt the need for more bubbles, this time in purple, and spent much time rearranging all those shapes.
After I had them all fused down I worked on a quilting design. I printed a photo of my top in B&W and put a clear page divider over it. Then, I used a dry erase marker to try out quilting designs. Talk about high tech!
Did I make changes? You bet. I needed more bubbles, so I quilted them after I had finished the swirly bits. Are they lovely, round, even bubbles? No, not even close. But that didn’t stop me from adding more.
I’m over bullseyes for a while, but I’ve learned never to say never.
Actually, I should call them carryovers from 2017 finishes.
The second bullseye quilt is now done. “Crazy Bullseyes” (25 by 36 inches) used up some of my blue green scraps and a yard piece of fabric I bought for the heck of it.
The second finish is for a Chinese Year of the Dog art quilt group challenge. I don’t have a dog, so I looked to outer space for inspiration. In this case I traced the Canus Major constellation, which is home to Sirius, the dog star. I discussed this piece in another post, but here’s “Siriusly” again.
I began to quilt the third (and last) bullseye quilt this month, and started an improv abstract piece to avoid the boring task of sewing in hanging sleeves.
My excuse for the improv piece was I needed to test out my new (used, actually) portable Pfaff sewing machine before the 2 month warranty ran out. So far, so good. My old portable sewing machine keeps requiring repair, which sets me back at least $100 each time, and the used machine cost $300. So, I plan to donate my old Elna to the sewing machine shop for them to fix and give to a local charity.
While I was at the sewing machine shop I browsed the newest fancy machines and suffered sticker shock. The idea seems to be to remove all thinking from the sewing process, just push a button and follow the laser line. Sorry, I’m a piece of tape on the machine bed kind of sewer.
Heart In Gold
My nemesis was lurking in my threads box waiting for the day I would need a glittery silver thread. That day arrived when I chose a galaxy for a Chinese Year of the Dog quilt challenge. I’ve never owned a dog so I don’t have a burning desire to capture my fur person in fabric. I’m OK with dogs, but don’t turn to mush over them.
Instead, I decided to do an outline of the Canus Major constellation, which contains Sirius, the dog star. I FMQed glittery synthetic black organza to a piece of navy cotton, and then outlined the constellation using my mother’s tracing wheel and paper.
The constellation of Canis Major and nearby open clusters and nebulas.
My problems began at this point. I wanted to use a silver metallic thread over the outline, but had only a Sulky thread called Holoshimmer in the right color. Since I didn’t see this challenge piece as a work of art I had no intention of buying additional supplies. Holoshimmer it was.
Even after following the helpful hints on the Sulky website I had issues with the thread. I was using a jeans stitch to outline the constellation and that went OK except for one thread wrap-around that broke the thread. The real issues started with the zigzag edge stitching. Despite the vertical thread stand, stitching slowly, and 50 weight bobbin thread; the Holoshimmer insisted on wrapping itself around all the openings on my machine, causing the thread to break many times. I finally ended up hand feeding it through my tension discs to remove tangles. Never have I been so glad to see the starting point of a stitch line. The spool of thread is now in the trash.
Everything after that was anticlimactic. I sorted through my Swarovski crystals to find appropriate colors and sizes. and glued them on for the stars in Canus Major. Because the piece is so small I made a backing for it out of a painting experiment. I found that my Decor bond had lost most of its adhesiveness. I didn’t think it was that old. My mother’s tracing paper from the 1960s held up much better.
Finally, I stitched the black part to the backing at the corners. My plan to sew on some fabric stars was thwarted when I couldn’t find them. I know they’re in my sewing room … somewhere.
At this point I declared “Siriusly” done.
Frigid temperatures have discouraged me from gadding about, so I’ve been busy in my work room and have two finishes to show for it. You’ve seen them before in their unfinished states, but I trust they are now done, or done enough to suit me.
“Not Quite Nancy” is the last of my Nancy series. It took a lot of time to quilt as I decided to do crossed curving lines a half inch apart. Never again.
I decided I like it best with a horizontal orientation. It’s not my favorite of the series even though its boldness is in my wheelhouse.
Another series carryover from 2017 is “Bloodshot Bullseyes,” one of my three responses to an Ohio SAQA challenge. I created eight curved piecing quarter squares with scraps and sewed them to felt.
The ribbon on the sides has been lurking in my trims box for a few years, so I was delighted to put it to work. I also did a bit of beading in the bullseye centers. Beading is right up there with dainty embroidery in my most disliked embellishments list. That is, I dislike doing them. When other people do them well they’re lovely.
I have at least two more tops to quilt (more of the bullseye series) before I can really dig into new work. In the meantime I’ll be working to improve my photography skills or at least my equipment. I’m waiting on the lights now.
So Not Nancy got quilted this month with few headaches. Yay! I dyed the large mottled solid fabrics and pieced the busy squares using some of Nancy Crow’s methods. Nancy just doesn’t use large blocks of solids, ergo the title.
I even drew out a quilting plan. (Imagine a picture of me patting myself on the back.) Well, it wasn’t rocket science, but consisted of following the piecing and keeping the diagonal line pattern straight.
I used a hera marker to draw those long quilting lines in the solid areas. You can see the “line” drawn on the right side, below. I found that worked well with the solid fabric and saved me the fuss of masking tape. I don’t think the line would show well on a busy fabric.
As usual, the FMQ in the two pieced areas didn’t go smoothly, but I expected that. I feel naked doing FMQ on solids; prints hide so much.
The quilting in the solid areas was done with a walking foot. The larger spaces between lines are 3/4 inch wide, while the smaller ones are 3/8 of an inch.
I used a heavily discounted dark blue Judy Niemeyer fabric for the binding. I don’t think the barbed wire fence in the print appealed to many quilters, but it doesn’t show when it’s 3/8 inch wide. While I’m fond of facings, I decided I wanted the STOP of a contrasting binding on this one.
Only one more to quilt in this series. Now if I only knew how I should quilt it.
Technical details: 34 x 36 inches; Quilters Dream cotton batting, Aurifil thread.
Heaven forfend, I found my stash of small gifts on hand was depleted. This is not a good position to be in at this time of year. Luckily, I subscribe to Christine Cameli’s blog, where she gave me the perfect quick (and small) gift to make. She calls it a bucket though I think you could call it a basket.
Since Christine teaches free motion quilting she has scads of fat quarter size quilting samples that are perfect for her project. I have a few practice squares, but I also have upholstery samples. After a scrounge through my large scraps I matched up bucket exteriors and liners and went to work.
A video in Christine’s post shows how she makes her buckets. The post also has a link to her free pattern on Craftsy. If you know the size bucket you want, just watch the video. Christine’s pattern makes a bucket about 4.5 inches wide and tall. I think it’s a good size for gifting with some candy or sewing notions tucked inside, but if you want something larger adjust the size accordingly.
As you can see, I used the same fabric for the liners and cuffs, but a contrasting cuff would definitely be fun. The bucket and liner are made from 8.5 by 6.5 inch fabric pieces (2 each of both exterior and lining), and the cuff is 4.5 by 16.5 inches.
After you sew the exterior pieces (then the linings) together around 3 sides, you cut out a 2 inch square of fabric at each bottom corner. Then you match the seams and sew the cut edges together. I don’t know if that’s clear, so just watch the video.
The short ends of the cuff are sewn together and the cuff is pressed in half long ways, right side out. You nestle the lining inside the exterior (wrong sides against each other), then pin the cuff inside everything, raw edges together. Once you sew around all the layers you can turn over the cuff and admire your bucket.
I think you could also use pre-quilted fabric for the exteriors. I thought of using some fancy silk scraps but stopped when I saw I’d have to interface the silk. I was in production mode, which meant done was better than fancy.