Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

This week Trish (our challenge designer for Project Quilting) chose PIXEL PLAY for our 10.4 challenge.

This week, I’d like you to be inspired by these particles, whether you pixelize a picture, make use of low resolution like 8-bit graphics, or are merely inspired by these hard-working colored boxes.

Since I love to work with mosaics, the thought of working with pixels was inspiring. So I’m definitely IN this week. Thanks Trish!

I found a website (Pixel Stitch) that will convert a photo to an embroidery pattern made up of squares. Although it’s made for embroidery, it creates a grid of the pixels in the photo with colors, so it works for pixelated quilt patterns just as well. All I had to do was figure out how big each square would need be to make a reasonably-sized quilt that I might actually be able to finish during a busy week.

https://www.pixel-stitch.net/index.html

Another site (Pic2Pat) does the same thing: http://www.pic2pat.com/index.en.html

We had an juvenile owl, called a “jumper” (because it was just learning to fly), in our back yard a few years ago. You can read about it HERE. It was rescued and placed back in its nest. I’ll never forget the surprise I got when I saw the little guy several days later. He had learned how to fly and was sitting on our back yard fence staring at me with those big yellow owl eyes, almost as if to say “thank you…I’m fine now…and I’m fearless”. I knew that I had to capture the fierce look in those riveting, yet beautiful eyes in a future quilt.

I thought I needed to print the pattern to the full size, but later realized all I really needed was a copy large enough to follow alongside my gridded work surface.

The printed pattern sheets taped together

The next decision was what technique to use to get all those little squares (half inch) together on a quilt? The squares are far too small for me to piece. I’ll have to use a raw edge technique. Hmmmmm… how about placing squares on some sort of foundation and stitching over them to keep them in place. But what kind of foundation? I’ve used fusible woven interfacing before and ironed them into place. I’ve also used Steam-a-Seam II. Or I could use a temporary glue on muslin to keep them all in place until they’re stitched down. Or even pin tulle over them before stitching.

I decided to use a technique I used to do the quilt of my father in a previous post. It involves marking a quarter-inch grid on a fusible light weight interfacing and ironing each 1/4″ fabric square to the grid using the printed pattern as my guide.

Half-inch squares of batiks sorted by value

Placing squares side-by-side on the fusible interfacing grid

Original print out helps keep me on track

I placed a shear tulle over the squares before I started free motion quilting.

Strips of paper help keep me in the right place

Superior & Aurifil threads for quilting

Closeup of free motion quilting

Closeup of the owl eye

And the little guy is done! Doesn’t he/she look fearless? And I finished just in time to enter it in this week’s Project Quilting Challenge Season 10.4 (2019).

COME JOIN IN THE FUN…go to their website to see this week’s entries and to vote for you favorites (hope one of them is mine, #36 “Fear-less Owl”, hint, hint). Voting starts Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24th and runs through Friday, March 1st, 2019.

HOW TO VOTE: Just go to the link above, scroll down to the bottom until you see the thumbnail photos of the quilts. Then click on the heart in the upper right hand side of the photo of the entry you want to vote for ❤️ and it’ll fill the heart in & tell you how many votes you have left. If there are over a hundred entries, you’ll get 10 votes. Enjoy!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Inspiration

Project Quilting Inspiration

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are over, and it’s time for Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams to begin the first week of the Project Quilting Season 10 challenge.

When I saw the first challenge phrase, “Hope Springs Eternal“, I instantly thought of a photo my son & daughter-in-law sent us of our sweet little granddaughter looking up in awe as she “helped” decorate their Christmas tree.

Isn’t she a sweetie? She’s just between 1-1/2 & 2…So this is the first time she’s really enjoying the tree. And that look on her face is just full of wonder and hope for what’s to come.

Not only does it represent the hope of things to come for her, it represents our hope of flying half way around the world to see her soon. I’m so grateful that I live in an age where we can video-chat online weekly and get instant photos every day, but it’s just not the same as seeing them all in person. I can’t wait to give her a hug and play together.

To start the challenge, I printed an outline of the photo on paper and used my Cutterpillar light box to lightly trace some of the important features onto white muslin with pencil.

Next I sandwiched the white muslin on top of batting and backing and started thread sketching (which also served as free motion quilting) with black cotton Aurufil thread and my Bernina BSR foot.

I decided to thread sketch everything…her sweatshirt, hair, and even the needles on the branches of the Christmas tree. And it helped to look at the photo of her beside me on my computer as I sketched in all of her features, starting with her eyes.

I’m so glad I’ve got a nice selection of variegated cotton Sulky thread! I think they really help add depth…

my granddaughter has the cutest pink cheeks (just want to kiss them!), and I couldn’t get the effect I wanted with thread…so broke out my stash of Derwent color pencils and started coloring… adding a bit if color to her lips, her hair, and some shading.

Now that’s a bit better!

A little more shading, and then I added a double border of batik fabrics.

Here’s some close up photos…

I started so late on this challenge, … I wasn’t sure I’d have enough time. But once I started, it just came together and I loved every minute. You really CAN do it in a week.

Participating in PQ is so much fun, because it forces me to try a new technique or idea and actually get it done. I don’t have time to worry about failing or to quit and start over. It is what it is. And I can’t procrastinate when it HAS to be done from start to finish in only one week!

The voting starts this Sunday afternoon (January 13, 2019). Come vote for your favorites…but of course I’d love your vote!

VOTE HERE. Be sure to scroll down to the end.

I believe the voting is open January 13-19 and the winners announced Jan. 20.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

So after seeing the gorgeous quilts by Heidi Proffetty (see my earlier post) and not having access to a digital fabric cutter (which is really a necessity for her technique), I thought I’d try creating another small mosaic art quilt using the simpler tiny squares recommended by Cheryl Lynch (see previous blog post).

I thought you might enjoy following along with the process.

The first step was to find a very simple, but inspiring photo that I could trace to make the pattern outline. I found a photo that I had taken last spring of a Trillium (my fav woodland wildflower).

I downloaded a tracing app for my iPad and used it to roughly trace the outline of the petals & leaves. Note: There are a lot of tracing apps out there (and I certainly haven’t tried them all), but this one (free) allowed me to upload my photo and trace over it with my finger or my computer stylus. It’s rough, but that’s okay…I can go over the lines again with a black Sharpie pen after it’s printed.

This particular app allows you to fade out the background (photo) so you can print only the lines, which saves printer ink. That’s a nice feature.

After saving the tracing as a jpeg file, I needed to enlarge it at 200% to get it to print to the size of a sheet of copy paper, which was the size I was looking for. Once my outline was printed, I used Cheryl Lynch’s technique of taping it to a piece of core board and then thumbtacking a sheet of Steam-a-Seam 2 over it, uncovering the top of the fusible to expose the sticky side up.

Next, it was time to go through my collection of cotton batik fabrics to see what colors might work for the tiles. I cut them into 3/4 inch squares, using Cheryl Lynch’s mini mosaic cutting guide and found that the more variation you have in the light/dark of each color, the better it looks.

Now for the fun part…placing each individual square fabric “tile” with a tweezers. It’s somewhat like putting a puzzle together…one area of color at a time, but you don’t have to make them all fit…you can trim pieces to fit as needed.

For a project this small it doesn’t take long to cut enough squares of fabric to get started. The variation in the value of each fabric color is the key. You don’t want them to look too flat by having each tile exactly the same color value. I added some bright yellow strips in the center of the flower.

It’s slowly progressing! It takes quite awhile to individually place each square with a tweezers, but it’s surprising how much is accomplished by working on it in 30 minute segments throughout a couple of days. Before you know it, it’s finished and ready to fuse to the “grout” fabric and add the tulle netting over the top …

…adding the borders, batting, & backing …

and do the machine quilting using white cotton thread and a walking foot. I stitched between the rows of mosaic squares in the “grout area”, and outlined the petals and leaves. I added a few quilted veins into the petals of the Trillium too.

Close up of the quilted veins & center of the Trillium

What do you think? Originally the background was all browns and green, but I decided it needed more contrast, so I took out some of the squares and re-did the top portion of the background in blue sky.

This one’s completed and for sale at my Etsy Shop.

I’m ready to try it again…how about you?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting 9.3: Bold & Brave, Fabric Weaving Technique

Project Quilting 9.3: Bold & Brave, Fabric Weaving Technique

So for challenge #3 of this ninth season of Project Quilting we got the words “bold & brave”.

It was interesting to me that Kim had mentioned the new wefty needle process for weaving strips of fabric together. I’ve been wanting to try that technique, and now would be the perfect week to do it.

It’s something new, so I’ll be BRAVE by getting out of my comfort zone. And I’ll use some of my BOLD hand dyed fabrics in bright red, pink, with a bit of yellow throw in. And for the background, I’ll add some of my hand dyed teal greens. All the strips will go beautifully with a fat quarter of Tula Pink’s BOLD kitty fabric That I simply love.

The first challenge I had was that I don’t own that cool wefty needle…which, btw, I DO intend to purchase in the very near future. But because we’re expecting a snow storm today, I didn’t feel like trecking out to find it and online isn’t fast enough (I want it now!), So I found a tool from my old clothing sewing days that might work. It’s intended to help you insert elastic in your waistband. For today, it will just have to do.

The next challenge was finding my Clover 1/2″ bias tape maker. I knew I had an entire set of them somewhere. But where? A-hah, I found them…in every size imaginable, EXCEPT the 1/2 inch size. So, again not wanting to venture out, I decided to go with smaller strips and use my 1/4 inch bias tape make instead. I may as well be bold AND brave (or is that “stupid”)?

I decided on a modern box weaving pattern that I can use with the Tula Pink fabric to make some kind of a bag. I liked the fresh, modern look. Of course it’s one of the more difficult weaves … and right off the bat I wove the first 5 rows wrong and had to take them out and start over…but I CAN DO this (be bold, be brave, be courageous!!)…be persistent!

Here I’m beginning my first try…no, no, no

And here I’m re-weaving them on my second and more successful try…

Ahhhh!  Much better…at least I hope so. You know the old saying…”measure twice, cut once”? Well in this case it’s “count twice before weaving in the next strip”!

…notice the cute little “boxes” that are formed in the weave? …love it!

Isn’t it cute with my Tula Pink kitty fabric?

Now to decide what to make…hmmmmm.

I looked through every pattern and book I own, and decided on the “snack sack” from Atkinson Designs, “Big Bags, Little Bags”. I’m had to make some changes (not quite big enough) and I wanted to adapt it as a small bag to carry my cell phone & keys (cross body  strap) so I can grab my phone & keys when I take Snicks for a walk. …perfect!

Oops…forgot to insert the rings BEFORE sewing the loops onto the bag! Yikies! Good thing I could open up the rings and slide each through their fabric loop…

Here’s the inside (lining side) of the cell phone bag … it’s quilted to the woven front, French side seams done, & bottom sewn & zigzagged…no batting needed, and it’s ready to turn right side out. and bind the top edge.

Snicks approves, but was not happy to be woken up from her nap in the sunshine to see it.  She’s not overly enthusiastic.

TulaBag2

I’m happy with it.

My phone fits perfectly inside the little bag, and I can attach a ring to add my keys.

TulaBag3

Found the perfect button in my stash!

 

TulaBag1

This is the photo I think I’ll use for PR

I’m done early!  Voting for Project Quilting Season 9, Challenge #3 starts SUNDAY AFTERNOON, FEB 11 through FRIDAY, FEB 16.  I hope you’ll come vote for your ten favorite quilted objects (and of course I hope one of your votes is for mine).

Oh, BTW, I DID order the Wefty Needle from Tara’s ETSY SHOP: WEFTYneedle.  I’m sure her tool will make my next project easier and faster.  Can’t wait to get it and try weaving a different pattern–only next time I’ll do it with 1/2 inch or 1 inch folded strips instead of 1/4 inch.  …that reminds me…where IS that 1/2 inch bias tape maker of mine??

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

(Madison WI)

Project Quilting 9.2 Entry: Mosaic Falling Leave

Project Quilting 9.2 Entry: Mosaic Falling Leave

I’m still intrigued by the idea of fabric mosaics, so I thought I’d carry that idea a step further into this week’sProject Quilting 9.2 “Triangulation“. It’s risky… because I’m not sure this will work–it could be a huge failure, but I think it’s worth a try.

Instead of cutting the square fabric tiles,like I did in my last post, this time I’m thinking of stepping it up a notch by cutting the tiny squares into even tinier triangles and placing them onto an overall gridded pattern to replicate leaves or vines cascading down in shades of green and brown … very organic, very arts & crafts (which I love). I happened upon a beautiful tiled wall and that was the inspiration for this idea.  Plus, it gave me a good reason to use up some of the lovely fabrics I hand dyed.

I’ll start by drawing a grid on paper to use as a guide for placement, and cover that with the Steam-a-Seam 2–with one uncovered sticky side up. I can use my 3/8″ slotted template to cut the squares & then cut them in half corner-to-corner to make lots and lots (and lots) of triangles. I don’t want the triangles too large, since my Steam-a-Seam 2 sheet that I happen to have on hand is only 9×11 inches or so…and I only have a few days to get it done–the challenge deadline is fast approaching (hope I make it).

I wonder if the idea will translate well as I progress filling in the grid one by one with different values of green…and then brown…? Hmmmmm.

Little by little, one triangle at a time, it’s beginning to take shape…

It almost looks like a forest to me at this point.

I’m thinking a charcoal gray Kona cotton fabric will work best for the background “grout”. Black might be too dark and get lost in the top half of the quilt, and white might be too much of a contrast. I’ll have to audition a few grays to get the right one.

After ironing the quilt sandwich together with batting and backing fabric, I’m off to my sewing machine to stitch between the “tiles” with matching gray cotton thread.

That’s done!  And I’ve added the border (simple gray).  So I’m on the home stretch! Time to do a little hand sewing on the binding…I always save the last bit of my assortment of Aurifil threads in a special place for my hand sewing…

I love my little doll pincushion that my friend brought me back from her trip to Liberty of London…(I almost hate to stick her with pins!)

What do you think about it Snicks? … too tired to comment?

Done, done, done…with a few hours to spare…whew!  Time to get a square photo uploaded for the contest.  Since it’s not square, I hope this one will be the best choice…

Please stop by at the website for Project Quilting Season 9: Triangulation to vote for your 10 favorite quilts”!

Voting starts Sunday afternoon (January 28, 2018) and ends on Saturday (February 3, 2018).

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

It’s the middle of winter up here in Wisconsin, and cabin fever makes us do some wacky things. Waaaay back in the freezing February of 1979, the victorious Pail & Shovel party leaders fulfilled their student campaign promise to bring wackiness back to the UW-Madison campus. They built the head, crown, and torch of Lady Liberty and assembled it on top of the frozen ice on Lake Mendota. What a site! It created the illusion that the Statue of Liberty was rising out of (or sinking into) our frozen lake. It was a pretty amazing.

Since then, our Lady Liberty has suffered a fire, vandalism, and the effects of aging, only showing up (with a lot of reconstruction) a few winters over the years. So to get a glimpse of her on the frozen lake is pretty awesome. And really lifts your spirits in the dreaded cold post-holiday winter up here.

I think it was around February 2009, when the Hoofers (a UW student organization) took on the task of re-assembling it, that our Lady Liberty gloriously appeared again, not far from where I worked on the UW campus. So, during one of our lunch breaks on a beautiful cold but sunny day, , my co-worker and I just had to hike down to the lake, walk out onto the ice, and see it up close. Awesome!

Day One: When I heard this week’s Project Quilting challenge was “Hometown Proud”, I knew just what I was going to create! I brought up my Google file of photos of that day and found one to use as my inspiration!

Nothing says “Mad-Town Madison” and hometown pride better (except maybe the 1,000 pink flamingos on Bascom Hill in the springtime…LOL!)

I’ve been experimenting with a fabric mosaic technique (see my earlier blog post), so got out my stash of batiks in as many shades of blues and grays that I could find, and cut them up into 3/8th inch squares to fill in my sketch of our Lady Liberty.

To add a bit more realism to the scene, I cut silhouettes of a photographer and friend out of the darkest blue batik I could find, and decided to create the crown of the statue with fabrics cut to shape too, rather than using just squares.

Day Two: in the photos above all the bits of fabric have been fused down onto a white background (note the parchment paper to save my iron from a sticky mess). Then I added a layer of tulle over the top of all the fabric pieces to help keep them in place while machine quilting.

Next up…layering it on top of the batting & backing, and adding a border or two. I think I may get this project done in time to link it up for the contest! Yay!

Day Three: It took a lot of fabric auditioning time to find the right borders from my fabric stash, but I finally found something I liked.

Next came machine quilting. I wanted to emphasize the tiles by quilting between them, but also quilt in the sculpted face of the statue with Aurifil 50 wt grey thread.

In the photo above I’m going back and forth over the facial features with grey thread and free motion quilting,

Day Four: After adding the binding and hanging corners and hand sewing the binding to the back, I felt it still needed a bit more definition between the statue and the background.  So I went over some of the stitches with black Aurifil thread, giving it a bit more depth…

LadyL10

I think the black really made the statute’s features show up from a distance…

LadyL9

And the black helped define the statue against the ice and sky backgrounds…

Here’s some photos of the finished fabric mosaic…

LadyL7

A closeup of the “ice”

LadyL8

And last but not least, the photo I’m going to uplink to the First Challenge of the Project Quilting Season 9…

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

Voting begins Sunday, January 15, 2018 and ends the following Saturday.  I hope you’ll stop by and vote for your favorites (of course, I’m hoping one of your favorites will be mine).  🙂

UPDATE: VOTING IS CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who voted for my quilt–I really appreciate it. I came in 3rd — no prize, but I’m very pleased to be third out of 113 entries!❤️. And my name will be entered with the other quilters into the final drawing at the end of the season. Yay!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

I was looking through my Quilting Arts magazines and found an article by Cheryl Lynch where she shared her technique to make mini mosaic quilts.

I’ve always been drawn to mosaics, whether they’re made in glass, tile, paint, or fabric. It’s something about their detail I guess…so I was intrigued with the idea of making a mosaic pattern out of fabric.

After a little searching, I found her Etsy shop online and decided the best way to learn her technique was to purchase one of her kits, and the cutting template.

Photo of mosaic quilting kit

It arrived fast, and I was so excited to get started. Her kit included the instructions, lots and lots of batik fabric squares (to cut up for the “tiles”), a sheet of Steam a Seam II, tulle, a light batik for the “grout”, and full size pattern. It was hard choosing which of her darling patterns to try, but I decided on the bicycle pattern (I love bicycling). The plastic slotted template I bought in addition to her kit helps in cutting the 3/8″ square “tiles” with your rotary cutter. I tried doing it with a regular rotary ruler, and you can do it–but believe me, the slotted specialized template makes it so much easier.

The first step is to cut the variety of batik fabrics (by color) into tiny tiles, and organize them by color. Variety is the key. Batiks really help…not only do they provide the variation, the color permeates through to the back of the fabric so there’s no “wrong side”…so you never have to worry which side is up!

After sliding her master pattern under a sheet of Steam a Seam II (with one sticky exposed and facing side up) I secured them with thumbtacks to a foam core base. Using the pattern underneath as my guide, I placed each individual fabric square with a tweezers on top of the base following the outline of the pattern and then filled each section in…being sure to leave a little space in between each “tile” to let the fabric “grout” show through (the light batik fabric is added later and will show through these spaces).

It was a bit time-consuming, BUT I actually found the process relaxing and almost therapeutic and satisfying …kind of like putting a puzzle together or coloring in a coloring book. I also enjoyed the fact that it was an easy project to work on for a while, step away to do other things, and then come back and continue.

Isn’t it amazing how much progress you can make on a project (whether it’s sewing, quilting, or even cleaning a closet)… if you can carve out 20 minutes here and there throughout your day?

The next step was covering it with parchment (to protect the iron) and fusing it to the light batik “grout” fabric. Then layering it on top of a quilt sandwich (batting & backing) and adding a piece of light-colored tulle before adding the 2 narrow borders and machine quilting.

It’s hard deciding on the borders (see photos above)! But you know, I don’t think you can make a bad choice when you’re auditioning fabrics for your borders. You intuitively know when something really isn’t working. And when I came down to the last few choices…I think any of them would have worked. It’s just a matter of going with your gut, …so I finally decided on a grey batik and a medium brown batik–both from my stash.

Next up was machine quilting through all the layers. You could free motion quilt, but for this piece I was able to follow the grout lines pretty easily using my walking foot. I found a cotton Aurafil thread in a matching color and outlined the main bicycle, then continued along the horizontal lines of the background.

To finish up, I added a couple of folded squares (triangles) to the top corners of the back of the mini quilt for easy hanging with a thin wooden dowel. For more info on how to do that, see my earlier blog here. And finished it off with matching binding.

MosaicBike3IMG_6996MosaicBike6MosaicBike1

I hope you’ll give mini mosaic quilting a try.  (Or if you’d rather purchase this finished art quilt, it’s now for sale in my Etsy Shop.)

For more information on Cheryl Lynch and her technique, click on the link to her website below. She has some marvelous “how to” videos!

http://www.cheryllynchquilts.com/mini-mosaic-quilts.html

I can’ wait to start a new mini mosaic art quilt–using my own design. 

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts