Saturday, June 16, 2007

Spring Migration : Lakeside Quilt Guild 2007 Challenge

No theme this year, other than trying to get participants to think outside the box and try new things. Here is the contents of the bag of STUFF we had to incorporate into the 2007 challenge piece :

It contained :
1 fat quarter
Eyelash yarn
Sparkle Gold Braid
Tulle (bridal netting)

Here's the sketch I started with in my notebook (from the Original Sweet Leaf Notebook) :

Notes on the construction :
With Challenge pieces, I like to challenge myself to try new techniques. In this case, I wanted to try 1) drafting a soaring trail of flying geese 2) paper-piecing 3) using crayons to add color 4) echo quilting.

For a while now, I've had a book called Stellar Journeys that explains how to make these soaring flying geese patterns. I knew it would involve paper piecing, so I've been putting it off. My first attempt at paper piecing in 2004 made me abandon it : 4 hours for a 4-in block did not seem like time well-spent! However, I do understand that for some applications, paper-piecing is the only way to get clean, sharp points ... It definitely has its uses!

This is the flying geese trail I drafted on freezer paper. Here it is overlayed on my background with the tree to make sure everything was sized properly.

Here is the original pattern with the paper-pieced strip. The last 6 lavendar triangles at the tippy top are fused on. They just got to be too small to manage at that size.

All this time, I thought this style of soaring Flying Geese was unusual. Unique. Last week, I discovered Caryl Bryer Fallert's website--she's got these flying geese trails all over her work! She also has course material to explain how to do it as well. I did not discover The Bryer Patch until after I had most of this piece done ... It's always fun to see new examples, though!

Batting : medium polyester batt, left over from another project. I like the quilting to show ...

The first wall hanging I ever did used Warm 'N Natural, because that's what everyone then said I should use ... I absolutely hated that batting. It was FLAT FLAT FLAT. Lifeless. What's the point of quilting it if there's no puff whatsoever? My Unca Ray says sleeping under a quilt made with Warm n Natural batting is like sleeping under a rug--it's kind of stiff. He's not a big fan of it either. Last month, Harriet Hargrave spoke at The Darting Needles Quilt Guild in Appleton. Her talk was on batting (of all things--it's a lot more interesting than you would ever imagine!). She said that Warm n Natural started out as winter window-coverings. It hangs well, doesn't distort, and is thin ... It has its merits, but I still don't like it. My favorite all-purpose batting is Hobbs 80/20, though I didn't use it here ...

Quilting : Echo Quilting fills in the open spaces. I used an invisible polyester thread on top (another new thing for me). I'm really happy with the way that turned out. You can see the quilting, not the threads. In the bobbin, I used a cream-colored Bottom Line from Superior Threads.

Back of quilt to show quilting.

The pattern for the tree comes from a recent issue of Quilter's Newsletter. Their "Gathered Yo-yo Flowers Tree" pattern recommended making the tree blossoms out of yo-yos. Again, I'm not much for handwork, so I opted for pulling the ready-made silk flowers off a fake rhododendron (a thrift store find). Then I added some color with regular crayons. Pink, orange, and purple reflected the colors in the rest of the piece. The flowers are sewn on with sequins and beads.

Detail of flowers and geese.

Size : I started with a fat quarter from my stash for the background. Instead of agonizing over the Golden Mean, and what size should I make it, the fat-1/4 size really simplified matters.

I started with the fat-1/4 for the front and did the fusible applique and embroidery.
I used the given fat quarter as part of the hilly landscape. Then I added the backing and batting for quilting.

Other Elements : The Sun was drawn freehand. It's not a blazing, hot summer sun because it's supposed to invoke spring. I cut up the gold braid and captured it under the tulle, then added the remaining long gold beads on top. I know, it could use a few more in the corner, but I only had a handful in the challenge kit ... The eyelash yarn got couched up the spine of the flying geese. I guess I was thinking it kind of reminded me of feathers ... I'm not sure it works there, but I had to include it somewhere in the piece.

I'm not sure I like it yet, but it's growing on me ... It always takes a while to get used to a new creation.

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