Starburst Quilt – Finished

It’s called “Starburst” (pattern from the Missouri Quilt Company)  but with this combination of fabrics in this particular layout you don’t really see the starburst, unfortunately. I’ve also mentioned earlier that the background fabric didn’t set up enough contrast, particularly with the paler batiks to highlight the starburst effect.
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However, I’m happy with the finished quilt. The dark narrow border and binding help strengthen the contrast and the quilting design used draws a bit of attention to the diagonal lines.

The back, on the other hand, I think has stronger contrasts:

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While the dark elements blend into the backing, the lighter “framing” makes the whole design come alive. So on the whole, I’d say the quilt worked out quite well. It’ll get added to the collection.

Now back to “Wind Waiting” – the pilots need quite a bit of thread painting – that’s up next.

Death By Chocolate Brownies (Gluten Free!)

brownies

This is what they look like – VERY chocolatey and moist.

Here’s the recipe from Delicious Obsessions (click on recipe to see an enlarged image you can print):

brownie-recipe

Here’s how I make them:

In blender put: cut up banana, vanilla, 2 eggs, maple syrup and 3 tbsp of coconut (or almond) milk and blend thoroughly

In a medium size bowl: measure out the cocoa powder and baking soda (I use 1 tsp).

Add wet to dry and mix well. I add raisins, sometimes coconut, ground pecans. (You could also add candied ginger bits if you weren’t worried about cane sugar…)

Pour into a parchment lined 8×8 or 9×9 cake pan, bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

This is important: let brownies cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.

The brownies freeze well. I get 16 servings from one pan – they’re so rich that I quarter the brownies, then quarter them again.

I serve with Hagen Das Limoncello Gelato (which contains, of course, diary):

lemon-gelato

Yum! The tanginess of the lemon with the intense chocolate is very satisfying. You can even go further and splash some Bailey’s Irish Cream over the whole thing but then, of course you’re adding more sugar and diary! But who really cares, right?

The recipe (without the additions) can be gluten, dairy, and grain free!

New Boring Socks

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A couple of weeks ago I was in Wolfville for a Food/Film Festival. We wandered the main drag and I came across a yarn shop. My supply of variegated sock yarn was down to leftovers so I picked up four 100g balls of yarn. I knew they were subdued by looking at the balls but when the stash is as low as mine was I thought I should pick up one of each colour. Actually a mistake because the socks that knit up are so boring.

I tried livening up this pair with the light grey stripe and rose cuffs/heels/toes but no matter – what I got was a boring sock! I have three more balls left to work on. I gotta come up with some way of making the socks more interesting otherwise I’ll be bored to death working on them! And this was a women’s large size, for a friend who wears a size 10 shoe, so it took even longer to knit than my universal size for a 7/12-8 shoe size.

Starburst Quilt Back

Yesterday I collected a bunch of fat quarters and large leftover pieces in the colour families used on the front of the Starburst quilt. I bought two dark navy fabrics planning to use one on one half of the back, the second on the other side. I found an image of a simple quilt, planned it out so it would fit the dimensions of the Starburst top. Today, I cut out the pieces, sewed them together and stitched up the back.

Starburst Quilt Back

Starburst Quilt Back

I also managed to assemble the quilt sandwich – top, batting, back – and now I’m ready to create some kind of simple single run design for quilting the whole thing. The blocks on the top are 6″ square – I’d like something that fills each block and brings out the diagonal of each half-square triangle. Don’t know what that is, yet. But I’ll come up with something tomorrow, I’m sure.

Starburst Quilt

Friday, I attended a day-long quilting/sewing session with 19 other women to raise money for an ailing quilter in Newfoundland. The quilt kit was for a HST (half-square triangles) quilt – Starburst. I just finished piecing the top with borders.

The quilt uses 16 batik/print fabric 10″ squares and 16 “background” 10″ squares as contrast. My problem was the background fabric in my kit didn’t offer enough contrast – a very pale blue, I think would have worked better than the mid-turquoise batik I had.
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I did one quadrant on Friday then stopped. On Saturday I took apart what I’d sewn and rearranged the squares trying to get a better flow of colour because I didn’t like the colour distribution I’d started with. I also trimmed all 64 squares to 6 1/2″ hoping that would make my points all work without a lot of fuss. However, I finished piecing the squares only to discover the bias edges produced a “wobble” at the outer edge – I needed to remove about 1″ from the length of each edge. Today I began by taking 1/8″ off quite a few of the joins at the outer edge in order to make the top lay flat. Then I measured all the outer edges to make sure I ended at 48 1/2″. Finally I cut the binding fabric in the kit to 61″ length (to be sure I had enough to mitre the corners).

Just finished adding the binding – a fight to get the mitred corners to press flat but in the end I won that battle. I warned the top it was going straight into the garbage if it didn’t cooperate! It finally acquiesced.

So now I need to come up with an idea for the back and I will need backing fabric to complement the pallet used in the top. Off to the fabric shop to see what I can find.

The Solution…

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Stitched Foreground

Michael Fuller wrote me yesterday

Go with the detail and time consuming fussiness. It’ll be superior to the photo copy model….”

‘OK,’ I though to myself, ‘I’ll give it a try.”

That’s where I started today – I began by printing out the black and white outlined image of Brian, the figure on the left, on some Heat ‘n Bond printing paper in order to use the outlines as templates for the fabric – BUT, here’s a glitch: the technique requires a ton of cutting with small fine scissors and for the last six weeks my arthritic right thumb isn’t working – the muscles to “open” the scissors are too weak to let me cut with any precision.

I decided to try fighting through that problem but a second issue presented itself: I cut out the entire jacket in a light fabric intending to use that as the base and building toward the darker tonal qualities until I had the jacket assembled. I fused some Heat ‘n Bond to the wrong side of my lightest fabric, cut out the overall jacket shape – that worked out OK, but when I started to build the left sleeve it became immediately obvious the slight differences in weight of fabric (although all quilting cottons) was going to create an imbalance and because each tiny piece of the puzzle is so small I would be left with a  slightly fraying “raw” edge in spite of the fact that I’ve fused some Heat ‘n Bond to the wrong side of each small piece before cutting it out.

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Detail of Figures

The final thing that was obvious was how “lifeless” the construction would be. The very subtle differences in shade intensity wasn’t achievable with the fabrics I have.

I gave up after about an hour of finicky cutting and fusing and decided to use the fabric photo images after all and fused them to the background.

What I will do tomorrow is begin the process of edge stitching each figure and then stitching in the colour/shading boundaries. That is also fussy work but my wonky right hand doesn’t interfere with being able to do careful machine stitching.

Here’s The Question…

Pilots: Printed on Fabric

Pilots: Printed on fabric, laid on background

Here’s the question – I’ve been looking at the art piece and wondering how might it look if I printed the figures on fabric, fussy cut them and fused them to the scene instead of trying to create them (shadows and all) from different fabrics?

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Here’s the detail, right? Lots of little pieces to be very fussy cut and fused to a base fabric – very time consuming. Doing the appliqué work will also be time consuming because I will want to stitch in all those colour demarcations, but what I get is a more realistic look to the figures which are the focus of the piece.

All I’ve done so far is print each pilot on EQ Printables Fusible Fabric and carefully cut each. I haven’t yet fused them to the background. The way we see the sun on their clothing gives the viewer a sense of the light – some brightness but not full sunshine. I can’t achieve that through piecing, even if I’m extremely careful with fabric selection.

I guess what I have to do is try one of the guys and see how he turns out – maybe Brian (the one on the left). Whichever way I do this, I think it makes sense to refrain from filling in the grasses/shrubs until after I’ve got the figures in place, that way I can build up the grass around their shoes as I go along and not as an afterthought.

In case you hadn’t noticed – this fabric wall art requires a gazillion decisions and unlike oil/acrylic painting there’s no going back – you have to live with whatever decision you choose to execute.