03 August 2008

Sea Dreams and Crazy Quilting


31 Ready to embellish, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
Ever since I put together my Sea Longings vignette, I've been thinking about doing a small crazy quilt wall hanging to go with it.

Since I keep getting e-mails about how I do my crazy quilt blocks, I thought I'd present this one as a tutorial. Lots of pictures in this one, so be patient with it!
00 fabric color palette
First, I gathered a number of fabrics, both from my fabric stash and from a trip to JoAnne Fabrics (the only fabric store we have left in town). I wanted to focus on the aqua colors and sand.
Pieced
This is the first block I pieced. At 9" x 18" it came out larger than I really wanted and I didn't like how dark it appeared. In truth, I wasn't very happy with the way I laid out the fabrics either. Just didn't work. So I set it aside and let my mind wander over it for a day and then gave it another go. You can see my thumbnail sketch that I worked from down in the left corner.
01 layout
This time, I spent more time laying out the fabrics and playing with the order and size of the pieces. You'll notice that I ended up with almost the exact same layout as in the first one, but I left out the darker sky pieces.
02 1st piece03 2nd piece sewn on04 2nd piece turned
Then the piecing begins. I start at the top as those are the pieces that I want to recede the most into the background. On a senic piece like this, working from back (more distant) to front (closer) is a simple trick that helps bring the foreground forward. First, a section of light blue calico for the top of the sky. Next, another blue cloudlike pattern for more sky. I place it face down, sew a seam with a loose stitch (about 7 to the inch), trim the seam and turn it.
06 3rd piece squared up07 3rd piece checking square after sewing08 3rd piece trimming
For the horizon, I need a really straight line, so it's time for a right triangle to come into use. I sewed the seam, checked for square, which I got off, just a little, so I sewed a second seamline to correct it and trimmed the seam. Now I have a proper horizon line!
09 4th piece added11 checking placement12 thats better

15 5th piece added16 6th piece added17 7th piece added
Next I added more fabrics, altering the location slightly from my first layout and checking slightly differnet orientations. Sometimes, what works just isn't fully obvious until things are stitched down.
18 8th piece added19 8th piece turned20 8th piece trimmed

21 9th piece added22 uh  no23 ripping out

24 trying again25 much better26 piecing done
At last I'm down to the sand pieces. Here I used rough natural linen and onasburg cotton to mimic the texture. The linen went down with no difficulty, but the onasburg placement was wrong at first. So I ripped out that seam and repositioned it. Much better!
27 trying out trims28 tucking in29 pinned in place
Then it was time to play with the placement of some lace trims. I'm lucky to have some beautiful tatted trims that my Aunt Lois made. The creamy one will be perfect as the foamy edge of the water on the sand. Another piece of varigated blue will work for a more distant wave crest. At the horizon, a piece of cotton insertion lace will mimic the pale sky at the horizon nicely. And last, a bit of old worn doily will make a great cloud. I just needed to undo a bit of seam to tuck it under and pin it in place. As I add stitching to it, the worn edges of the lace will be covered up and secured.
30 basting edges
Then, when all is pinned and sewn in place, a basting seam is sewn around the outside. Now the block is ready for embellishing! When finished, The block will probably be about 5 1/2" wide by 11" tall. I'll border it with some lucious creamy silk duiponi that I have and hang it on the wall next to my Sea Longings vignette! Stayed tuned for further updates on the seam finishes!

2 comments:

Erika Brown said...

Absolutely stunning.

Caroline Heinrichs said...

I love this piece! We really need to talk about doing something together!!

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