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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stippling Along

Where has the summer gone? I have to say that this has been the first true summer in a long time in Calgary. Warm days and nights, barely any rain, after the deluge in June. It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to the early sunrises and the temperatures are falling in the evenings. And yesterday, true to form, there were strong winds, as if to rattle the leaves off trees. In our part of the country, the predominant tree is the poplar, which go golden and shed very quickly. No doubt, I have seen patches of gold amongst the trees and it won't be long now that they will blossom gold and shed. Time to programme my daylight alarm clock as I am sure I will find it difficult to wake up without the sunlight.

I have been quilting more since my last post. I was struck by a tree quilt I saw posted on my wanderings and have pinned it on Pinterest and I wanted to attempt a quilt to see if I could do it. My friend Stephanie just had a little baby girl and so I made one for her. Fortuitously, I had picked the right colour (brown, with the pink heart) and when I saw she had green curtains, I picked green for the binding. She loved the quilt and I hope baby Gabrielle loves it too. It is backed with a fleecy baby blanket I got from Ikea. Making the free form lines of the " bark" on the "tree" was relatively easy and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I did break three needles in a row when quilting this but I figured it was just me pulling and tugging impatiently and once I became aware of this, I stopped breaking needles. The heart is appliqued on and embroidered the name and dates in a chainstitch.

I also was inspired to make my very own Hudson Bay blanket quilt. To actually buy a wool one would cost an arm and a leg. I wanted to practice more free motion quilting so I bravely cut into my kona snow and went with a large off white expanse with just the iconic stripes, although the blue is not quite right as it needed to be more navy. I really love the look. And my free motion quilting is still a little stilted but I am learning. My stippling is very stilted and I can't seem to make the "Twosies" and "threesies". I need to practice plenty more times. Since this blanket is for me, I really don't care if the quilting is off. I still have to bind it but managed to FMQ in a day. The biggest thing I learnt from this is to check the directionality of the print of the backing before pinning everything together since I discovered it is upside down after I started quilting. Ack!! I think I shall bind it with some gray fabric so it doesn't distract from the starkness of the off white. I have recently been inspired by first nations teepees and may attempt more quilts with very graphic images and more solid colours. I think I am slowly venturing into what is known as modern quilting!

I am pleased that I am using my new sewing machine more and am using it for what I got it for- free motion quilting. I have questioned my choice from time to time as I do think the new machine is a little advanced, with all the fancy stitches that I will most likely  never use but I may surprise myself and attempt to work with these fancy stitches after all. Now, let's hope the stipes are colourfast as I took a chance and did not prewash the fabric before sewing them all together.  In hindsight, all that white is begging to be stained any colour and not all the fabrics were quilting cottons since I have a perchant for shopping in the discount section. I am going to tack some colour catchers to the quilt when it goes for it's first wash, just in case.