Sunday, October 26, 2014

Round Robin # 4 - Charlene

To illustrate how our Round Robin progressed I thought I would deconstruct this one for you.  Charlene started out with a pretty bird motif hand appliqued in her center panel.  (Don't mind the wrinkles, these projects have been handled a lot!)

I just love the little blue egg in the nest.

Dutchy added the first border of green fabric with hexies in the corners.  She added buttons to the center of each hexie for a little pizzazz.

Next came Carol and she added a border of blue half square triangles which picked up on that blue egg.  Very spring-ie!

You can really see how the wall hanging is starting to grow.  By the time it got to me Tami had added more hand applique.  Two lovely corner groupings of flowers, stems, and leaves on a pretty tea died background.  She used greens, blues, and pinks to pull in all the colors from the previous additions.

You can probably noticed the blue wording stitched on the corners opposite to Tami's handiwork.  When I received the project I just knew I had to do something in the blank corners.  This is where the challenge comes in, adding something that would compliment everyone else's work.  As I studied the project I decided that adding more applique would be too much.  I wanted a place for the eye to rest.  I had been so thrilled with the way the embroidery had come out on the last project (Signature Blocks) I decided to do some more emboridery on this one.  

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the project before I got started so I don't have any "work in progress" to show you.  But I do have a couple of close ups of what I did.  Many thanks to Charlene for sending me pictures of the finished project!

I know that Charlene enjoys Primitive patterns so I searched the internet for some quotes and some lettering that would give me an idea of what a "primitive" alphabet looks like.  I wanted the quote to be about spring to go along with the egg in the nest.  Since we started this project in the dead of a LONG, COLD, New England winter that seemed never ending I thought this quote said it all:

No matter how long the winter,

spring is sure to follow.

I'm not sure if the letters look all that "primitive" but I was very happy with the way they came out.  I chose to do the embroidery in a stem stitch with light blue perle cotton #5.  I found it gives a real clear look to the embroidery.  In second guessing myself I thought I should have used black instead of blue but Charlene has assured me that she likes the blue so it's all good.

Here's Charlene with the finished project including a cranberry half square triangle border from Jane and an outside border of leaves from Deb R.

Another pretty wall hanging ready for spring!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Round Robin # 3 - Signature Wall Hanging

We had decided at our November meeting in 2013 that we would plan on doing the Round Robin starting in January of 2014.  By December my sister Dutchy was busy at work getting her first row ready.  She would be leaving for her annual trek to Florida just after Christmas but didn't want to miss out on our fun group project.

For her project Dutchy chose a signature block.  Her instructions said we could create a row using any block we wanted that represented something about ourselves.  In that row we were to add a signature block.

For her initial block she had done a beautiful job of embroidering her signature and birth date.  She then combined it with red and white nine patch blocks. Here's a close up.

Here's what it looked like by the time I received it.  Carol decided to leave off the year she was born and the rest of us followed suit.  And in the end Dutchy removed her 'year' too.

Carol added the Court House Steps block with 1" strips (finished).  I love the bold graphic look.  Tami added the pretty hand applique fans in 1930s fabrics.  Beautiful work done by both of them!

As the months go by in the Round Robin you can see that each time you get the next project bag there are more and more rows already in place.  Figuring out how to coordinate with the graphic pattern done by Carol and the light colors in Tami's blocks is part of the fun of a group project like this.  

Dutchy and I are sisters so there were many blocks that would have been appropriate to represent me to her.  Since sewing is one of the many interests we have shared over the years I thought the Spool block would be the best choice.  To create the spool block I started with several pretty pink fabric for the "thread" and a dark brown for the "spools".  

Putting the block together proved to be more challenging than I expected.  I didn't have a pattern so I just looked at some on the internet and improvised.  Once I figured out the appropriate size I laid out all the pieces.  I started with creating the angled edges of the spool.  

A little chain stitching meant it went together quickly but I had to pay attention to the direction of each white rectangles to make sure the angle was opposite on each end.  After they were all stitched I pressed them open, with the seam allowance pressed onto the dark fabric.

Here's a close up of all the parts of the block sewn together.

For the embroidery I used a stem stitch in #5 Perle Cotton.  I like the texture of the Perle for an outline stitch.  Its a bit thicker than regular cotton floss and stands up a bit higher on the project.  

And a little trick my mother taught me is to lay a bath towel on the ironing board then put the piece face down on the towel and press from the back.  I use plenty of starch to get a smooth surface which also makes the stitching stand out.

Here's how it looked when I passed it on to Jane.

You can clearly see the piecing of the white background on the spools but that blend in once the finished piece is quilted.

And here's Dutchy the finished project.  It's the perfect size to fit on the rack she uses for wall hangings.  I can't wait to see it all done and hanging up next spring!

Next week, Round Robin #4 for Charlene.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Round Robin - # 2 Tami

I have Tami's project listed as Round # 2 but really it was the first one I got to do.  Carol's was the second one.  It doesn't really matter right at the beginning but as we get towards the end you'll see the progress on each project more clearly.

So this was what I got as the very first item to work on for the Round Robin.  Tami had created this beautiful center block.  She does wonderful hand applique work!  I have to admit I was a bit intimidated when I first pulled it out of the bag.  Per usual I hung it on my design wall for about a week or so for inspiration. 

Tami had a piece of fabric from one of our original group members, Mary Jane, who passed away several years ago.  She and Tami were very close.  Tami included the green fabric in the center of the cone flowers.  It was fabric that Tami had purchased on one of their trips to Pennsylvania.  She also added 7 blue circles to represent each of the members of the group and one gold circle to represent Mary Jane.

In her instructions Tami asked us to be sure to use a piece of the green "Mary Jane" fabric in whatever we created.  She also include in the bag some scraps of the other fabrics she used in case we wanted to use them as well.

I took the background and scraps from Tami and pulled some coordinates from my stash.  I  was really surprised to find so many pieces in my stash that would work.  

Doing another applique border at this point didn't seem like the best choice.  And I'm much better at piecing than hand applique!  So for my addition I created an angular border to contrast with the curves and circles of the flowers and leaves.  I was able to incorporate the Mary Jane fabric on the corners.  

Unfortunately, I didn't take enough pictures of the "building" of the border so I don't have much in the way of details on how it was constructed.  But you can see it's half square triangles set symmetrically from the center outward.   

The corners are half square triangles as well, just rotated to create a diagonal line.  Since I was not working with a pattern I had to do the math to get everything to fit.  Yes, math!  Not to worry, I don't mind math and I LOVE geometry :o)  I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy quilting, it's real life geometry. 

Here's how it looked when I passed it on to Jane.


Who would have predicted how beautiful this quilt top would become!  The combination of colors and keeping all the same background fabric made it look as if one person had done all the work.

Jane added the pretty appliqued border after me, Deb R added the bottom appliqued panel with her signature beeskeep, Charlene added another pretty appliqued panel at the top, Dutchy added the green border and pretty pieced side panels.  But Carol had the toughest job of all - adding the corners after everything else was in place.  Now that took some MATH!!  

We all loved it, especially Tami.  You can see that we have some very talented ladies in our group.  Learning from all of them is just one of the many things I enjoy about meeting up once a month.

Next weeks post will be Round # 3, Dutchy's signature block wall hanging.