Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Progress Report at Week Ten

Zowie, it has been a quietly busy couple of weeks, but I've still managed to sneak in bits of quilting progress here and there, supplemented by an all day binge on Sunday. Time for an official progress report.

First Priority Projects

Ice & Fire -- Is done, except for the handwork. It still needs some threads buried, the binding tacked down, and a sleeve. But, with the handwork-intensive holidays coming up, that makes it as good as done.

Graduation Quilt for Niece #1 -- The pieceing on this sucker is going much faster than I expected, despite the complications of its irregular layout. I'd say it is 50 - 60% assembled at this point. I'm not showing any pictures of this one, though, since it's a gift.

Labyrinth -- I worked up my nerve on Sunday morning, which was surprisingly difficult, and started into the machine quilting in the afternoon. It is a big sucker, so the sheer bulk of it creates some difficulties even though I'm using a very straightforward quilting pattern. I'm surprised by how much fun it has been, so far. I'm quilting along the "path" through the piece, so it is kind of like I'm enacting the meditative practice of walking the labyrinth, except with a sewing machine needle. Here's what it looks like, from my perspective:

Three or four hours in, and I'm maybe 15% through the quilting.

Second Priority Projects

Somehow, I have completely skipped over the second priority projects so far this year. Funny how that worked.

Third Priority Projects

Indigo Stars -- This one has just FLOWN together, which makes sense what with my anonymous collaborator having done all of the heavy lifting 70 years ago. The top is 90% assembled. And might I add, it's going to look smashing.

The Four Seasons -- No particular progress on these. I need to buy a matching backing fabric for the two newer ones.

The Symbol -- Still WAAAAY back in the planning process for this one.

Two Complex Shapes -- This requilting project is, like Ice and Fire, all over except the handwork. I just need to bury (lots of) lose threads, and re-attach the hanging sleave. And it looks terrific, thank you very much, as long as you don't notice the patch I had to make for it.

Fourth Priority Projects

Well, I skipped over the Second Priority, but I didn't skip THAT far over the Second Priority.


Dogme: Addendum

Here's another little piece of Dogme. Or maybe Bunnyme. I don't know if this is a common thing or a local thing, or if my mom is maybe just nuts, but when she started me quilting she suggested you "should," in a scrap quilt, "hide a rabbit." In other words, there should be a fabric with a rabbit somewhere in the design, but inconspicuous.

In general terms, I think this means that it adds to the experience of a quilt if you incorporate surprises, things that aren't going to be noticed on first examination but might be discovered at second look, or third look, or several years down the road. So especially when I'm making a quilt as a gift, or for a child, I always try to hide some metaphorical "rabbits."

But I hide literal rabbits too. Here's the one in Labyrinth:

...aaaaand I'm outta here. Have a good day!


gl. said...

making good progress! why are you wearing gloves in the photo? is it for warmth or protection?

Michael5000 said...

@gl.: Ok, good question. Those are quilter's gloves, and they aren't for warmth or protection, but for friction. On the palm side, they are covered with a zillion little "dots" of a rubbery material. This gives you a powerful grip on fabric.

When people hand quilt, they usually use a hoop to keep everything taut, right? Well, when you feed a quilt through the machine, you want everything to be just as taut. In the photo, you only see my left hand, because my right hand is holding the camera. Generally my right hand is down there too, also gloved, and together they make a kind of moving hoop as they guide the quilt past the needle.

gl. said...

oh, thanks! i never realized people used hoops for quilting; i thought they were just for embroidering handkerchiefs. ;)

Rebel said...

"The bunny, the bunny, oh I love the bunny... I don't love my mom or my dad just the bunny."

Looks like you're making phenomenal progress. You are so hardcore with your quilting gloves!

Exuberant Color said...

I enjoy ditch quilting and I wondered if that was how you would do Labyrinth. I see what you mean about liking to make lists but maybe not acting on them. When I was young I made lots of lists and actually accomplished everything on them. Maybe I'm just not disciplined any more. Anyway I like to do the fun stuff first!

Michael5000 said...

@gl.: Embroidering handkerchiefs, indeed! Hmph.

@rebel: Quilting gloves are the bomb dot com. You should get you some. You won't be sorry.

@e.c.: I always used to quilt in the ditch to hide my crappy quilting as much as possible. As I've gained confidence, I've done a lot of quilting "near the ditch," which is a look I like.

Michael5000 said...

@rebel: Further research shows me what you are quoting from. Another step in my continuing education....

Rebel said...

I really think you should supliment your bible reading with some Veggie Tales videos, they are a lot more fun.

gl. said...

i was just teasing. but i keep forgetting to mention how much i like the hidden rabbit. i love stuff like that.

wendi said...

help. i have the same machine, i think... i want to know if you have a walking foot for it and where'd you get it? I am also looking for a replacement darning plate, any ideas?
thanks, wendi
weddywoo at yahoo dot com

Bridget Benton said...

What is this ditch quilting of which you speak? It makes think of WWI soldiers with needles and old uniforms . . . but I guess that would trench quilting . . . please do illuminate!

Also - had to say thanks for the amazing links!! Heavy metal quilts? The largest collection of brain fiber art? I am delighted!!

Michael5000 said...

@wendi: For the darning plate, just call Monkey Wards and tell them you want to order an accessory part for an olde machine. If you get somebody knowledgeable, they will give you a phone number you can call and order a vintage plate. That's how I got mine.

My walking foot is just a generic, off the shelf model made to fit a variety of machines. A well-stocked sewing or sewing-machine store should be able to set you up. Bring your machine in with you, so you can make sure that what you are buying is going to work. Oh, and be prepared to hand over $30 or so; walking feet are a tricky mechanism and priced accordingly.

@bridget: I am enjoying having you on board!

Ditch quilting is when the quilting stitch -- the stitch that joins the front, batting, and back of the quilt together -- follows the "ditch" of a seam on the quilt's face. This tends to hide the quilting stitch, and to make the quilting less prominent in the piece's overall look.

If you look at the picture with the bunny, you can see that my quilt stitch (right above the little guy's ears) is running right next to, but not IN, the seam between the dark and light fabrics. That's what I'm calling "near the ditch."

Bridget Benton said...

MK5 - Thanks! That's what I thought (after I got rid of the WWI soldiers), but it's good to have it clarified . . . and hey, it's nice to be here!