Colours of Happiness #10

Another cornerstone completed.

This is the one for Family. Of course, all the other components are the same as the previous one, but the hand lettering is different. I’ve tried to incorporate the shapes and curves of the Bengali lettering into the English word. I think this one works better than the previous one. Shame the lighting’s so washed out, but that’s what happens when you don’t have good daylight.

I’ll do another long side panel next, before I proceed to the other two cornerstones. They’re beautifully mindless once I’ve done all the marking up, I can just sit and stitch and think about other things – or indeed, nothing at all – as I work.

And some mindless work may be called for. The minor infection I had last week has risen up, gnashed its teeth and turned into a bit of a monster. I now have a very tiring and painful kidney infection which is not responding to treatment nearly as fast as I’d like. I’m on my second round of antibiotics and this second lot is strong and the tablets are huge, like horse pills, over 2cm (almost an inch) long. So, a little non-taxing distraction is called for.

Next time, I’ll show you what I’ve been distracting my miserable and rather grumpy self with

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Colours of Happiness #9

I’ve been working away on this behind the scenes.

I now have two long side panels and one corner panel hand quilted. I’m pretty pleased with the fish-scale overall design. The quilting design for the corner panel took me a long time to decide on, but I think it works. The leaf-points in the green strips under each flower also work well. I’ve done minimal quilting on the Dresden Plate flowers, and I’ve hand lettered one of my four ‘corner-stones’ into the orange strips in washable gold paint. It’s not shiny bright gold, more of an ‘old-gold’ look, and the metallic sheen isn’t very obvious, but it’s nice when it catches the light. The cornerstones are Family, Love, Prosperity, Peace, and the lettering shows them in English and Bengali. On the outer edge, it seemed to call for triangles, so that’s what I’ve done, only not the same as in the centre panel.

Two more long sides and three more cornerstones to go, and then I’ll be onto the centre panel. I really haven’t thought much about what to do there, because I think it’ll tell me what it wants when I get there. I hope I can live up to the quilt’s expectations… 😉

Back to assembling quilt sandwiches. Not quite the chore it is for a whole quilt, much easier in smaller sections…

Colours of Happiness 8

Let the quilting begin!

Sorry the pictures have such a yellowish cast: they were taken late at night under artificial light, but you get the idea…

I’ve sandwiched two of the long side panels and marked one of them up for quilting, using the ‘fish scale’ template I made. (You can just see it at the top of the picture above.) It’s 4 inches wide x 4 inches high, which will produce a nice soft quilted effect, puffing up between the stitching without making the quilt stiff. I much prefer light quilting, as I find close quilting tends to stiffen the drape of the quilt, even if it does look amazing.

You could actually quilt this design by machine, using a walking foot. If you click on the image, you can see that the template repeat produces a gently wiggly line running diagonally, something a walking foot is quite capable of negotiating if you sew fairly slowly.

I really love the bright pink thread: it’s the Gütermann hand quilting weight, in colour 2955. It looks brilliant against the orange backing fabric 🙂

It shouldn’t take too long to work each panel. They’re not too large, and the job is broken down into manageable chunks, so I’m confident of getting the sides and corners done by the end of October.

Then I just have to worry about what I’m doing for the centre… 

Scrappy follow-up

I finished it!

This ScrapHappy cushion cover is so cheery and bright, I just had to get it done. Just look at those colours, don’t they make you want to break out in a big grin? Even if these aren’t your colours, it’s like the sun came out.

The quilting sort of decided itself. I was going to do wavy lines, but then I thought, I always do wavy lines. How about cross-hatching? Nah, I do cross hatching when-ever I don’t do wavy lines. So I did half-hatching at 1½ inch intervals, but rotated it through 90° in each quadrant.

I really love how it looks, and I’ll use this again. Oh, and I quilted it in bright green, which really zings against the pink, yellow and orange!

I did my usual central zipper closure concealed by a flap, and bound it with a narrow quilt binding, which is a lovely quick finishing method and gives a crisper finish than turning the seam. It also means that there are no raw edges inside. Plus it gave me an excuse to squeeze a little bit more yellow into the job 😉

There you go then, Vera. Would you like me to send it on ahead, as a sort of deposit for the quilt?

Colours of Happiness 7

The piecing is finished. 

Here it is, all pinned up on my design wall, showing how the panels will be arranged. I just wanted to get a photo of it all in one piece before I take the whole lot down and start cutting backing and batting panels for everything.

It’s the usual rubbish indoor photo, not only because the lighting’s not ideal, but also because I suspect only in daylight will the camera come close to capturing these colours properly. They always look either washed out and lacking detail, or luridly radioactive, some stronger than others. In real life, the visual effect is rich and complex, and nothing shouts too much louder than everything else. So roll on the day when I can hang this beauty on the washing line, in the sun, and finally get a photo I like!

I won’t be able to show much progress on this for a while. I have quite a work list on the go right now, and I need to start concentrating on the final Ovarian Cancer Australia quilt for the time being. But I’ll be hand quilting this one in the background, and will show stuff from time to time. I’ll probably get the long panels and corners done first, as I’m still thinking about what happens in the centre.

Till then.

Colours of Happiness 6

Progress is being made.

I have three of the four chequerboard sides assembled, just the last one to go. So I took the opportunity of having a clear cutting table to work out what I was going to do with the corner squares. I got one assembled, and I’m pleased with it. I took a bit of a left turn with the colours, and as well as the gold/brown and orange fabrics and the floral prints I’ve used elsewhere, I’ve included some of my favourite shot green, which ties in perfectly and adds an acid note amongst all those pinks and oranges and yellows.

It’s probably a bit fanciful, but I think these corner blocks look like lotus flowers turning their faces up to the sun radiating in the centre. I’ll make the same block for each corner, identical except for pattern variations in the fabrics.

I also scored with backing fabric. I found the perfect orange/ yellow print, and then discovered there was only a metre left on the bolt. This lovely orange print alternative will look great with the hot pink hand quilting thread I’ll be using. Yes, that’s the plan. I decided I have plenty of time to do the quilting by hand even if I have to stop and let my paws recover for a day or so here and there. In the central starburst section I’ll be doing some kind of round multi-pointed mandala-type motif, yet to be designed.

On the corner squares, I shall outline the quarter-Dresden flower shape, do something wiggly in the straight strips, and in the chequerboard I shall do a fish-scale clamshell motif. Imagine a round top clamshell, but with a small upwards point at the centre of the top. Here’s the template I made for it. It’s the same sort of idea as the hand quilting for the Bonnard quilt.

So, one more chequerboard side and three more corners to make, and the piecing is done. Then I’ll cut the backing pieces and spray-baste the quilt sandwiches. And then quilting can start. The final stage is assembling the quilted pieces and binding. But that’s still a way off.

Onwards…

 

Colours of Happiness #5

Two long sides completed, two to go.

It’s fiddly work, it doesn’t go together as fast as the starburst, so it’s taking a while to finish each one, especially as I have to lay out all the pieces first. Left and bottom side are the finished ones, the top one is the layout template and will be stitched together last. I have the right side laid out on my cutting table to be sewn together tomorrow.

I thought more about the cornerstones, and the more I thought the less I liked the idea of big plain squares of fabric. Too easy, too simple, a bit of a cop-out. So I have something a bit more fancy-schmantzy in mind, involving a quarter Dresden, a couple of leftover strips from the three-sets, some unused fabric strips and a couple more contrasting squares. I’ll make one and then show you what I mean. There will be some gold hand-lettering in these corner squares, and again, you’ll have to wait and see!

I’m not going to add any more to the outside, and I’ll assemble the quilt in sections; I want to hand quilt, and it will be much easier to work on if it’s still in smaller pieces. So, the centre starburst and its border will be Piece 1, the 4 chequerboard borders will be Pieces 2-5, and the 4 large cornerstones will be Pieces 6-9. I don’t know if you remember the Cloths of Heaven quilt, but I put that together the same way (although I did machine quilt the borders on that one).

It’s going pretty fast, and I’m still loving it, still having lots of fun 🙂