Happy Solstice!

Rooster Wall Quilt

Today marks the time when the days will start to get lighter again: Solstice! The days will become longer starting now.

It’s a great reason to celebrate, and it’s the reason we put lights on trees! Before electricity, people would put candles in trees outside to light their way this time of year because it got so dark out.

Who doesn’t love sunshine – I can totally understand why people have celebrated this time of year throughout the centuries. I made this Rooster Quilt years ago – the sun is paper pieced, and I think it’s the perfect Solstice art! 🙂

So on this darkest of dark days, I have much hope for the future and wish you all the best during this holiday season!

rooster Quilt

Rooster Quilt… Finished!

Woo Hoo!  Today I finally finished my Rooster Quilt!  I’m glad too because I’m about DONE looking at it… sometimes when I am focusing on the same image for so long, I start to question every decision in the process.   I would have liked to hand quilt this one, but alas… after getting ready for a long haul in hand stitching, I found out I couldn’t run the needle through all the layers of the appliqué.  So ~ it’s machine quilted, and I think it turned out fine.

The face turned out pretty good ~ here is an up close shot.  I am so happy to be finished because I already have 2 new ideas for more art quilts!  One is a Cancer crab design I did for my daughters tattoo ~ I think it’ll look great as a quilt too.  The other idea is a squid quilt… we’ll see how those ideas pan out.   I love accomplishment!

Summer Solstice

I’m excited to see the sun today… finally.  Here in Portland, we’ve had winter all through springtime which means grey, wet rainy days.  So having the sun out makes me smile 🙂

I haven’t been sewing the last few weeks… I’ve been moving my sewing room.  I’m hoping with a new set up that I will be able to be much more efficient with my time.  I also had to oil my machine.  It was getting real tough to turn the handwheel, so I found some machine oil and fixed it right up.  I learned that 3-in-1 oil is not to be used on a sewing machine… you are supposed to used a “white mineral oil”.  I wonder if that’s true or if the sewing machine guy was just trying to make a sale?

Currently I’ve also been watching World Cup Soccer!!  I’m pretty stoked that my husband is so into it that he’ll wake up every morning at 4 a.m. to hit the record button on the VCR.  Then we wake up normally and get our necessary work done and then sit down to watch some games.  I can’t sew and watch anything… so my sewing time is disrupted a bit ~ but the world cup is only once every 4 years.  I think I can make some exceptions!  I don’t root for any particular team… so I pick the underdog in each team to root for.  I’m really enjoying it.

So not a lot to report… I did finish the front of my rooster quilt and added the edging.  Here’s a picture of the back of the patchwork before I sandwich it into the batting and backing.  Kind of cool from the back too!

Rooster Work: Appliqué

I have progressed to the next step in my Rooster Quilt adventure!  Over the last week or so, I’ve been doing the applique of the rooster, it’s feathers, and a little barn.  It’s a machined satin stitch, and I used some beautiful threads from Gütermann.
I have only just started doing applique… I’ve worked on 3 other small things and that is what inspired me to create my rooster! Here is the finished applique work:

And here are a couple of up close shots:

The color on some of these are a little off… but you get the idea 🙂

Right now I’m working on the edging to frame the work, then it’s time for batting, a backing fabric and I’m off the the proverbial quilting races!   I would love to hand quilt the entire thing, but I think I’ll have to use a machine to quilt through all the layers of fabric and stabilizer of the actual rooster.  Every step of the way has taken a little time to figure out and plan out my next move.  My next dilemma is figuring out how to hold the piece in place with all the backing to quilt without puckering.   I hope I can do a good job with it.  

Feather Colors: Rooster Quilt Continued

Do you ever notice how your productivity is affected by what you listen to?  Lately I’ve been listening to books on CD while I sew.  I was listening to good groovy music for a while, and that was cool for a while… but I find I get tired of trying to match my sewing mood to music.  Listening to stories is a very nice change of pace.

So I started cutting tail feathers for my rooster project:

When I did the background I listened to “Drood” by Dan Simmons.   It’s an interesting fictional story about Charles Dickens his “wild boys” who live in the sewers beneath London.  With the start of working on the tail feathers, I started a new seven-book series by Kevin J. Anderson.   The first book is:  “Hidden Empire” and so far is starting off great.  I need something that will draw me to my sewing area and keep me there for a while… and the books on CD are really working for me 🙂

I got all the feathers cut and this was my first take:

I liked it, but something just wasn’t right… and so I changed up one color:  The flower print on white has been rejected for a darker maroon print fabric:

I think it’s a great change, it really balances the darker colors of the body and gives the feathers a little more depth.  I’m happy with how the pieces all fit together ~ they are not totally as planned, but it still worked out great.  They are in place tacked down with a little spray glue.  Next I will be satin stitching all the edges.  Since this is all new to me I still don’t know how long it may take ~ but so far this project is exceeding my expectations.  I’m glad I have something fun to listen to while I take this on!

Rooster Work

As you may know, I’m amidst a big sewing project right now… and I’ve just finished the background patchwork for it!!  Here are some pics over the last couple weeks of my progress:

 The pieces were fairly small and it took some time to get the grassy hills to be smooth-ish.  There are a few points that don’t match up exactly… but I’m still really happy with the results.

My work station got pretty messy… of course.

For me, cleaning up the sewing mess just means I’ve completed something up to a certain stage… and it always feels great! 

I feel like it didn’t really take that long to get this done.  And check it out with some of the rooster pattern on it:

So the next phase of this project is cutting all the fabric pieces for the rooster, and applying some interfacing to them to keep them stable while they are being appliquéd onto the background.  I’m still not exactly sure of the best way to do this next part… I figure there will be some trial and error, but I am confident I’ll get it figured out.

Background Blocks

I’m just about finished with the background blocks of my rooster piece!  Today I’m starting the bottom 6 blocks which include greens and the brown of the fencepost… then it’s onto putting them all together ~ I’m pretty excited!

Of course, I started running out of pretty yellows so I used some lighter ivory colors where the rooster is going to sit ~ that won’t be seen anyway.   The paper piecing is working out really well, takes some time… but my points are looking great!  I hope the blocks all fit together as nicely as the smaller pieces did.

I decided I’m going to wait to pick edging colors until all the patchwork and appliqué is done.  I’m thinking of using an old screen printing frame to mount this onto… still not sure how I’m going to do that…. but, I have plenty of time to think about it.  It took over a week and a half to get these few blocks done!  Of course, I don’t spend every waking hour working on this either ~ I still have to do regular work, and I have to make most of my own food.  While this may not seem like much, it takes a nice chunk out of my days, and sewing sometimes is low on the priority list.

Luckily for me, I have some free time this evening for just a sewing venture.  I hope to get the last 6 blocks created and start putting the whole thing together soon!

It’s All About Process

I am getting ready to bust out this big sewing project.  I’m doing it for the love of process.  It’s really hard to plan something from the very beginning and follow it through to the end… at least for me.  Plus ~ I’ve never tried paper piecing or intricate appliqué before, so this is a real adventure!

My mind is slowly getting around the idea of paper piecing.  It’s a process of printing on this foundation paper, then sewing directly to the paper following the printed lines so as to keep your sewing lines neat and perfect.  After you sew your blocks, you tear out the paper and voila: accurately patchworked corners. 

Now that I have a pattern AND foundation papers in my possession I’m in business again!  It took some trial and error to get these papers to print… I was worried I’d have to trace it from paper.  Luckily my OLD printer was up to the chore.  Today I got them all cut up and tomorrow I’m ready to start some actual sewing!

I also got some brand new fabrics… and that makes me so happy.  It’s like getting a box of new crayons.  I plan on using these (and many others) for the rooster and his tail feathers:

These yellows, oranges, and greens are for the background.  I found these on Etsy: Hoosier Quilter ~ what a great place to find fun unique fabrics!

Now you know what I’ll be geeking over the next few weeks! I’m so curious as to how this is going to turn out… I’m trusting my gut for color choices and pattern piecing.  I know I may make a few mistakes… but I’m just gonna go for it!

New Project: Rooster Quilt Wall Art

Rooster Quilt Design

I am so excited to try my hand at some real appliqué work… I did my first appliqués recently, and they turned out great.  So I have a big elaborate plan to do a fabric wall art piece featuring a chicken, of course… a rooster to be exact.

I plan on quilting a background that I laid out and will paper-piece together.  Then I’m going to appliqué the rooster over the top using all sorts of colored fabrics.
Here’s my work so far:

I have it laid out in Illustrator, and if it turns out well I’ll be able to turn it into a pattern for others to use.  I don’t have the details for the head yet… don’t know if it will all be done with thread, or if I will use different fabrics.

I’ve already spent numerous hours figuring out the patchwork pattern for the background and creating the tail feathers.  I have a feeling it may take some serious time to complete, since I can’t work on it all the time.  I’ll try to post pics as I go along ~ I really hope to have it done in a couple months!

It looks pretty cool as an illustration too ~ so we may be seeing this image again… maybe as a super cool screen print!