Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Oh Deer!

What a fun project this was!  This was my first attempt at applique, and I escaped relatively unscathed!

I have been admiring the works of Luke Haynes, a modern "dude quilter" for a few years now, and recently stumbled across a tutorial on Bernina's website written by none other than Luke himself.  It's a good step by step guide to how he makes his own brilliant works, such as "Hammer":
and The American Context #16:

I assume he uses Photoshop to "posterize" a photo, then prints out the "map" on paper and appliqueing that image to a background.  Anyhow, I was really excited to find his tutorial, and decided this would be a great Christmas gift for my brother and sister-in-law, who needed a quilt from me, but would more likely appreciate an outdoor-sy theme like the deer.

So I'm not going to go through my whole process step-by-step, but will just hit the high points, as this was my first time with a fairly unusual method of quilting.

First off, you print out the stencil pages and tape them together, then cut out the outline of the deer ( you can see that I started that on the right side, using an Xacto knife).

After the deer is cut out, I used it to trace my first fabric (off-white), which I cut out, then cut the dark lined pieces (which transfer to tan in the fabric), then the dotted lines (which transfer to the brown plaid).  Each successive layer is glued to the last, til you have the finished fabric deer (below).

You have to be a bit careful with this, as it's not stiff and has to be supported when you move it around so the layers don't become unglued.  I laid the whole think over a cutting mat and piece of cardboard as I auditioned several different background fabrics

I had planned for this to be my background from the beginning.  I loved the juxtaposition of the quilt with a very "manly" image and message, since my brother's a tough-guy type who would not respond to a traditional quilt.  I decided against it, as I thought it might be too modern and edgy.  Besides, I wasn't crazy about the color combinations together.

I love this fabric, and the colors were good, but felt the deer wasn't standing out as much on the right side.

Another one of my beloved fabrics, but again, I didn't think the deer was "popping" enough, and the design (which looks a bit to me like a forest) was a bit too literal.

Here was another contender.  I love the color, and been waiting for the right quilt for this brown and orange fabric, but for some reason, I felt the background needed to be a bit busier.

As you know, this was the winner.  The green and brown give is a woodsy feel, and the design almost evokes a plaid design, which, to me, screams "Up North".

This was my first time using adhesive spray, which I mostly loved working with.  For a smaller project that I didn't have to roll up or fold to quilt on my home machine, it worked very well.  I have since spray basted a larger project, and I was occasionally getting some shifting and creasing when I rolled up the quilt to fit in the harp space.  Best traits of the spray baste is less time on your knees, no fussing with pins either before or during quilting, and big time savings.  When FMQ'ing I did get some sticky residue on the quilting foot, but a little alcohol took care of that.

Here's the final product.  I made it a little larger (24" x 38"), but that was easy.  Backed with a nice green batik, bound with brown and a hanging sleeve for easy display.  I think they liked it, but with Minnesotans, you can't always tell ;)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A few Christmas finishes...

Late to the party with regard to sharing these, but I made a few non-quilt pieces for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The first project was a set of three placemats, double-sided, for Halloween/Thanksgiving on one side:

 and Christmas on the other:

My other project is a set of three quilted placemats.  I had planned to make a set for fall (Halloween and Thanksgiving), but as always, I am a little behind in the craft calendar, so when I finally decided to make them, it was somewhere around early November.  Killing two birds with one stone, I ended up making reversible mats, with pumkins in fall colors on one side, and Christmas-themed wrapped present blocks on the other.  Each of us picked out our favorite fabrics for each season and I went to work.
We all picked out fabrics, and our little one ended up liking mom's finished product, so that one became hers, of course!  My only regret is not finishing them until about a week before Thanksgiving, but now we have them for the long haul :)  On the Autumn side, I love the little pumpkins, especially the one with spiders on it.  Since my wife hates bugs of any kind, I like to put this fabric in here and there to tease her a little (I snuck a little piece of it down by here feet on our duvet cover!)  I also love this cool gold-accented binding fabric, which can be seen on both sides, of course.

I made our little one a stocking last year, and though we spent Christmas with my family in Minnesota, we brought it along.

I used three of my favorite Christmas fabrics on this one: the Russian nesting dolls, the packages, and the crimson fabric with gold Christmas greetings.  Was also one of my first projects to use the Bernina's stitch regulator!

Finally, I made a Christmas tree skirt!  I used this tutorial from the Paul's Block Party blog, which was clear and simple, and I highly recommend it if you like the layout.  Even if you don't, it will help you set up the triangular block, and you can put whatever you want in it.

Here the pieced top.  The background is an antique white, which I felt make it a little warmer, and might not show water stains from watering the tree so much as a true white.

I cut the center hole a little bigger than the tutorial suggested just to accommodate my large tree stand.  I also didn't close the circle with ties or anything, as I don't think that's necessary (unless you live in an earthquake-prone area :)).   

Here are close-ups of a couple of the trees.  I especially love this weird, wood-like patterned fabric I used for the tree trunks- a fabric which I have had no use for until now.  Sorry for the images being a little too artsy (read: out of focus)- it was dark and cozy and Christmas-y, and I was too lazy to set up the lighting for the shots.  Truth be told, I finished this project on January 7, which is technically Orthodox Christmas, so I just made it in time!  This is my favorite block, which is a Matrioshka nativity print I got from Joann Fabric.  With a Russian wife, I can always find a use for any Matrioshka-themed fabrics.

There are even a few stray pine needles for to keep things festive!