24 April 2007

art for auction & something like a tutorial

I have finished off and sent the first screen to GraceSpace to be included in their silent auction taking place this Friday.

Seedless Grape recently asked about quilting. I have to say, both knitting and quilting each have their appealing and their daunting aspects, but the only way to overcome the daunting is to dive right in and do it. Here's a peek at how I approach quilting, which may not be the most technically meticulous or historically informed approach, but it's how I do it for now.

I have a ton of scraps leftover from projects that I worked on even a year ago. I hold on to every scrap (because I am a little crazy and maybe slightly OCD); I store them in plastic bags. I have been giving some of my scraps away to our friend Phil, who uses them for collage work, but for the most part, I save everything. I then take these scraps and cut them into the largest size square that I can, which I came to the conclusion averages to 2 1/2 inches. Anything smaller, I cut into tiny circles or into hexagons to use for two other projects that I am taking my time with. I also save strips of fabric because they can be used for log cabin squares and such. Here, I am sorting scraps to see what I can use and what I can cut down:

screen - cutting scraps

For this specific project, I wasn't working with any pattern. If you are starting out and prefer working with a pattern to guide you, Free Spirit Fabrics has a ton of great patterns available for free download on their site. In this case, I took my scrappy bits and lined them up to see what colors and sizes worked best together. I want colors that will "pop" next to the creamy neutral of the natural Kona, so I have opted to use complimentary colors:

screen - laying out scraps

screen - progress - piecing

Once I lay things out, I then start chain-piecing on the machine, which there is a fabulous tutorial for here. Chain-piecing may look or sound intimidating at first, but it makes life so easy. Once you get into the groove of it, it is super-fast and efficient. I iron my pieces after I piece them in order to fit everything together and figure out what should go where. I am playing with the layout. Once that is determined, there will be more chain-piecing and more ironing:

screen - progress

Once everything is attached, we have a finished piece, which I then iron again to make sure everything is nice and flat. If you notice, things look a little warped once it's on the stretcher bars. That's actually because of the way I pulled at the fabric while stretching it. I think in this instance, for this project, it works. If I were making a pillow or a block for a quilt, I would not allow that to happen, but I wouldn't be pulling fabric tautly over a frame for those projects either.

Anyway, piecing is probably the easiest part of quilting. It's fun, and you get to play with color and arrangement. The tough part is actually quilting and binding. (Although, as far as I am concerned, binding is just a little easier than quilting itself.) There is a great tutorial on the purl bee on hand quilting and machine quilting that I strongly recommend. I really can't explain it any better than they have, so please check it out.

dollquilt 1 in progress - quilting

Hope you've enjoyed this little peek into the method behind my madness.


seedless grape said...

This was really interesting! Thanks so much for giving us a peek into your thought process! I love looking at all your WIPS--so beautiful!

grumperina said...

You know how I unloaded all my yarn leftovers on you? I think I should do the same with fabric. Currently I toss pretty much all my scraps... couldn't fathom someone had use for them!

Jessica said...

Your quilts are lovely, I'm so glad you're posting about them again.

Ashley said...

I love seeing how much use you get out of all your fabric. Nothing going to waste, and so much beauty emerging from mere scraps! Lovely.

Lola and Ava said...

I really enjoyed scrolling towards the finished project! I just finished my first quilt & I was surprised to see that there was a name for a technique my mom taught me years ago. I thought I was being lazy, so I'm glad that I did something right!

Sue xx said...

Wow that looks absolutely fantastic.