Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July FMQ Challenge started

Hi all -

I've started the July FMQ Challenge, but I'm definitely not going to finish it on time. Because of this, I think I'll probably end up making a wallhanging rather than a pillow. I really don't need any more pillows! This months challenge was inspired by Paula Reid. I chose the option where we needed to use a particular one of her stencils to make our pillow. They gave us a PDF of the stencil so we could print it out an use it.

I thought about this for a while and decided that what I wanted to do was blow the stencil up and quilt fills to define the areas of the stencil. Since the stencil is a feathered wreath, I thought it would be cool to use a solid black fabric and quilt each plume around the wreath in a different color of thread, making the wreath into a color wheel. The first thing to do was to blow up the stencil to the size I wanted and trace over the lines with a black sharpie pen so that I would be able to see the lines through the black fabric:

Here I'd just started the tracing so you can see what a difference the Sharpie made. Here it is all traced out:

Now I just had to tape it all to a window and trace it again:

I was pretty excited at how well you could see the lines through the fabric. Next time I do this, though, I'll reduce the width of the overlaps of the paper since the lines did get a bit hard to see in the areas where I had 4 or even 2 layers of paper underneath.

To make the markings I used a white Stabilo pencil that I ordered online. I'd heard several quilters mention these pencils for marking and I wanted to try them. It was interesting looking at the prices of the pencils while shopping. I looked at both Amazon and Dick Blick. At Amazon, the white pencils were $3.87 for a box of 12 (although they're up to $4.42 today), but the other colors were more like $4-7 for a single pencil (I didn't see any options for a box of any other color). At Dick Blick, the pencils were all around $1.35 each, regardless of the color. Obviously, I went with the white pencils from Amazon, but if I like them and want other colors then I'll go with Dick Blick. I sure wish I understood how these prices were set!

Anyway, the Stabilo pencil was very easy to use -- it glided smoothly over the fabric without much pulling, even though I tend to be heavy-handed when writing. The marks were very visible, so there wouldn't be any problem with seeing them while quilting. They were a bit thick since the tip wore down fairly quickly, but that didn't bother me for this project. I didn't do any testing (laziness) beyond making a little mark and rubbing it off with my finger. It came off pretty well, but we'll see how it goes with the wallhanging.

Now I had to make the more difficult decision -- what fill would I use? I was thinking it would be cool if the plumes themselves weren't outlined, but the fill would just go up to the edge to subtly define the edge of the plume. Perhaps feathers within each plume:

I could do what I wanted with this, but the image in my head was very boring and I wasn't sure if I would be putting down enough thread to make the colors visible on the black background. So I looked at some other fills:

Nothing was clicking for me. I thought about using a different fill in each plume, but it seemed too chaotic in my head. Finally, I decided on swirls:

I could tell I was going to like this, but I would have to quilt the outline of each plume to make it work.

Next to the thread. I decided to raid my incredible collection of my favorite thread -- FilTec Glide. I counted the plumes on the outside of the wreath and there were 24, so I would need 24 different colors. Not a problem for me! It was nice that the number was divisible by 6, so I could have my primary and secondary colors evenly spaced around the wreath. I started pulling thread and this is what I came up with:

Isn't that cool? The reds are much redder than they appear in the picture. Even Wesley liked them:

I caught Buttercup laying in the middle, too, but she jumped down before I could get her picture. My cats are big color fans!

Now it was time to start quilting. This was a good test for what it will be like to quilt on my new machine. Since I don't have very many bobbins for that machine, I had to wind the bobbin for each color, do the quilting, then wind the thread off of the bobbin and onto a smaller bobbin from my old machine since I can't throw away that much thread. I bought a little Singer bobbin winder to keep by the machine so I wouldn't have to have my old machine set up, too, just to wind the bobbins. This actually worked better than I expected. So I got the quilting of the main wreath finished:

I love how it's turning out! The colors aren't perfect as you move around the circle, but they're good enough for me. It was interesting to see how some of the colors changed quite a bit from what they looked like on the spool. The transitions looked smoother to me on the spools. Now I have to decide how to do the corners. Originally, I was thinking I would use the compliments to the colors appearing next to the corners, but that's seeming too chaotic again. My next thought was to use white thread, but I think that might end up too strong. Right now I'm leaning towards a gray thread, but we'll see what I end up doing when I get back to it.



  1. Stunning! Love those colors. So good to be connected again through our blogs!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad I saw your post on TQS and look forward to seeing everything you're working on!