Thursday, September 26, 2013

Veggie Quilt Progess

Well I have been meaning to post this for quite some time. I last posted about buying the fabric for my veggie quilt. A lot has happened since then!

First off, I washed all of my new fabrics and then spent a few hours ironing and starching the heck out of them. When I stitched the edges before tossing them in the wash, I experienced a lot of bunching. For a while I thought it was a tension issue, but then decided it was just related to stitching on the edge of fabric.

See the bunching?
So, as I ironed, I would pull the fabric edge taught to break a few stitches and relieve the tension mismatch. All went well until one particular fabric, where all of a sudden the entire thing ripped as I tugged on it!


I actually gasped out loud. There's nothing in here to show scale, but that was a good three to four inches.  I think it actually indicates that it's a low quality fabric. None of the others ripped or showed a hint of that kind of strain. 

So after I got over that shock, I cut the background squares and inset triangles. I was heavily aided by my awesome scale drawing.

I made this guy in indesign at 60p, and whenever I wanted to know the size of something I just used the ruler, saw how many p it was, and added seam allowance.  I also discovered the magic formula for half square triangles: add 7/8" to whatever your FINISHED size should be (so no seam allowance). It worked out perfectly. For each of those 5" triangles that make up the larger 10" inset triangles, I cut a 5 7/8" square and then cut it in half.  Perfect!

Then it came time to create pinwheels. I gave up agonizing over it, picked a style, and went with it. The pinwheel patterns were for 12," and mine are 10," so instead of trying to figure out weird measurements to cut of everything (which I originally tried to figure out), I foundation pieced them. I actually re-drew the design in illustrator and was able to print it out to scale very easily.

Foundation piecing in progress!

I have to say that I LOVE foundation piecing. I get into a rhythm of it and I really enjoy how precise everything comes out.  But it also highlights how shockingly bad I am at stitching a straight line. I would finish stitching a seam, pull it away from the machine, and see that my stitches wibble wobbled all around the drawn line. And those subtle wobbles really are noticeable when you fold the seam over. It's definitely one thing I want to work on.

I pretty much always work at night, so here is one of the few daytime shots of the layout in progress.

Of course kitty provided a lot of "assistance" throughout.
Trying to cut, are you?

What, you want to lay out this fabric? You don't want me rolling on it? Nonsense!

 Since completing the pinwheels, progress has slowed down for me. Do you ever find yourself procrastinating on hard parts of quilts? I sure do! I kept finding all kinds of excuses to drag my feet on figuring out the applique. Finally last week I got all the shapes chosen and laid out on the quilt.

Sorry, taken at night. All the colors are screwy because I was trying to darken it enough to make the veggie line drawings visible.

 The middle block will be a little herb garden, with lots of cute insects.

Then it was time to actually start the applique! I discovered I was out of my trusty Heat N Bond Lite, and the nearest Joann's is somewhat far, so I spent a few days debating what to do about fusible web. I want this quilt to be soft and cuddly, not crinkly. I have mistyfuse, but it's not paper-backed, which I find critical.

So, I thought I would give the steps in Simply Successful Applique a shot.

I bought this book, got super psyched about it, and then got distracted and busy.  I'm not saying I'm going to hand stitch these guys down (although you never know...I actually love hand sewing...) but I thought I would try turned edge applique.

I started with the carrots, which for some reason I thought would be easy. It's a little hard to get used to Jeanne's technique after using fusible for so long, because here you iron the template onto the front of the fabric, not the back.

Then you sit down with an iron, awl, and cup of liquid starch, and go crazy. I did get a lot of satisfaction from getting the fabric to conform to a curve or dip, but it's slow going. And I've noticed my eyes hurt afterwards from staring so hard.

Here are the carrots!

You may be wondering about the colors. My dad plants funky carrots that come out in red, yellow, white, and purple!

So you san see those curves are a bit jagged and not as smooth as I would like, but not awful.  I thought things were going well until I sat down tonight to do the carrot stalks.

I left this uncropped so you could see the cat, who loves to interfere.
Um, what was I thinking, right?? I gave it a shot....

...and here is the result of my first one (took about 40 minutes).

Not so hot. I am debating if it would be a travesty if I used fusible just for these guys, because I don't really have the skills to do such tight points yet. I did try, but this is TOUGH!

So that's the status for now. Stuck on some super tough shapes. And to be real, there are other tough shapes in this design too if I persist with turned-edge. E.G. everything in that center herb block. Hmmmm...maybe it's time to switch back to fusible?

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