Japan Fan Club – FINISHED!

Japan_Fans_FINISHED_3

This is my proud face:  😀 😀 😀 😀  It’s taken over a year, but at last mum’s new Japanese-style door curtain is finished!  (Ummm, just in time for us to move out of the house it’s useful in, but oh well!)  It’s also well in time for Mother’s Day this Sunday and for the A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge for March.  🙂  Mum’s seen it in progress, but I’ve managed to keep most of the final quilting and finishing secret, so I don’t think she knows it’s done yet.Japan_Fans_FINISHED2_2

The backing is some fabric from mum’s stash, and was just the right size for this project.  Most of the quilting was done before the back was added, and only a small amount of in-the-ditch quilting around all the gold sashing was done afterwards to hold the sandwich together nicely and stop the backing flapping about a lot.  For this I used a gold-coloured (NOT metallic!) Aurifil on top and grey YLI soft touch in the bobbin, which has blended in really nicely with the back.  The top stitching all around the quilt was done with grey YLI soft touch and seems to have worked well, though it does show up quite a bit on the black areas.Japan_Fans_FINISHED_4

Now it’s done, there are a few things I think I would have done differently.  I’ve never done a turn-through backed quilt before, and if I did another then I would be wary of doing such dense quilting.  The quilt “pulled in” quite a bit because of the background quilting on the grey areas and that affected how flat (or not!) the quilt lies and made trimming it square tricky.  I should also really have done the foundation quilting in the ditches first, not last!  I did this for a reason – because I wanted to use that quilting to hold the three layers together – but in practice that was a bit of a silly way to do it!  The dense quilting really affected the squareness of the blocks and there was nothing much to brace against to mitigate the effect.  The backing worked out astonishingly well, though, and I’m very happy with how neat and square it is.

All in all, I am ever so pleased that this has come out looking even slightly like I imagined/hoped it would!  Fingers crossed mum likes it on Sunday and that it keeps many draughts away!  🙂

Linking up with TGIFF, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and ALYoF!  😀

More FMQ, More Fans

I’VE FINISHED THE CLOUDS!!!Japan_Fans_1003_2

I decided to experiment with the tension some more, dropping it from 4.6 to 4.2 and then to 3.8.  Based on how the last few blocks look at that tension, I’d say 3.8 is a winner.  There seemed to be no adverse effects on the back, either; I hate it when my thread grows tension legs!

You can see (just about) that I’ve started doing some quilting on the red bits of the window frame.  It’s essentially a squared off, slanted zig-zag between the two seam lines.  I’m doing these free-motion and finding that straight lines and FMQ is an uneasy combination!  They’re quite wibbly.Japan_Fans_1003_3

I started off completely free-hand, no marking at all, which worked but was slow because I had to juggle FMQ and figuring out if I was going in approximately the right direction.  Then I remembered (and found!) my new water-erase fabric pen and decided to do some guidelines because I’m better at following a line.  And then discovered that, even with a pen, I can’t draw a straight line!  Not sure if that makes me feel better or worse about the not-straight FMQ lines.  It has made the FMQ go a bit quicker, though, and I’ve found an angle to work at that I can manage fairly well in all necessary directions; initially I was rotating the quilt around the needle at every corner and it was doing horrible things to both quilt and needle.Japan_Fans_1003_1

Despite the wobbles, I’m not going to start using a ruler or a walking foot for this – better if it’s ALL kind of wobbly and organic-looking rather than a mix of wobbly and machine-precise.  I’m pretending it’s wood grain!

Mum can’t see why I would want to do this free-motion rather than with a walking foot.  I tried and failed to explain the need for practice to achieve better control over the movement of the fabric and needle and thus better results in future.  I admit, this doesn’t look as amazing as I’d like it to look, but I’m not going to get any better if I don’t do more of it.

At this point, almost all the red on one curtain is done, my plan is to finish that off and then do the same on the black frames.  Then put the back and the hanging loops on, do some minimal in-the-ditch quilting around the frames to hold the whole lot together and it’ll be DONE!  In time for Mother’s Day on Sunday!  I can’t wait!

Linking up with Free Motion Mavericks, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Quilting the Japan Fan Club

Japan_Fans_1002_4It’s all gone a bit Art Deco, and I LIKE it!  😀Japan Fans quilting

I did most of the outline quilting on the fans at Quilt Club last week, now I’m working on the straight lines on the “plain” halves of the fan blades.  One half of the curtain is now quilted like this, next I will do the same to the other half and then steel myself for the FMQ.Japan Fans quiltingI was worried that the metallic thread would be too much on the blades (especially the black ones), but I think it helps to differentiate fans from frames, which is important given they’re all the same fabrics!  This is particularly important for the red fans because they sit right next to the red frames.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Editing to also link up to ALYOF at Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts. I’m aiming to have this completely quilted and ready to give to Mum for Mothering Sunday on the 15th.  🙂

Creative Oozings #24 – Frus. Tra. Tion.

I’ve managed to get very little done recently.  Partly because I’ve had nowhere to set up a sewing machine and partly because all my sewing machines seem to be in various stages of death.  Mum’s Huskystar, which has been my principle machine for at least a year, got caught in a plumbing leak we had and was found sitting in a puddle of water.  I took it to my trusty sewing machine repair man and he worked minor miracles to clean out the rust and get it working again (fortunately it’s a purely mechanical machine), but when I came to use it at Quilt Club I found that the tension seemed to be all over the place, it was not sounding completely right, and then a screw fell out while I was doing a bit of free-motion quilting on the border.  Ack.  And Toby’s quilt is now partially quilted but I think I’m going to have to rip it all out and start again because the back is a nightmare of loops.  I’m going to take it back to Mr Knight to see if anything can be done to salvage it (again!).  But that’s ok, I thought – I have my cheap-ass AEG machine that I bought in Germany!  It’s been serviced and sorted after I accidentally nadgered it, let’s see how that works out.  It won’t FMQ (can’t drop the feed dogs), but maybe I can make a start on piecing Jess’s quilt!

Continue reading Creative Oozings #24 – Frus. Tra. Tion.

Creative Oozings #21 – Joining the Japan Fan Club

When I entered the Pembrokeshire Country Show, at pretty much the last possible minute, I had more ideas than actual finished articles.  I knew I wanted to do the two baby quilts for the patchwork quilt class, and had high hopes of finishing off mum’s door curtain and making up a new bag to enter into the patchwork items class, so I paid for two entries for each class and set to.Japanese fans Continue reading Creative Oozings #21 – Joining the Japan Fan Club

Creative Oozings #17 – A Busy Couple of Months

Long time, no post.  Not because I haven’t been doing things, more because I’ve not stopped doing things.  August and September have seen several completed quilty bits, several shows of varying sizes, and a new member of the family, among other things.  It’s not been dull!

Below are some sneak peeks of things I’ve made over the last couple of months; I’ll add links to the specific posts as I write them.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #17 – A Busy Couple of Months

Creative Oozings #8 – Progress with Attic Windows

Yesterday was Quilt Club day, and the day that we were all due to start our Attic Windows projects.  I’d hoped to be able to have all my fans ready and fabric bought for the background squares, but January has been a busy month work-wise (yay) so I hadn’t had the time to spend playing with fabric (boo).  As it was, I didn’t even have time to cut all the strips I needed before the session, so while other members zoomed along doing gorgeous Attic Windows with glittery New York skylines or vibrant poppies, I plodded along with my rotary cutter and sewing machine and generated a pile of bi-coloured rectangles in sets of three, enough for 24 blocks.Bicoloured rectangles

Continue reading Creative Oozings #8 – Progress with Attic Windows

Creative Oozings #6 – Attic Windows, the Evolution of a Design

The thing I really like about Quilt Club (apart from the lovely people) is the relative informality of it.  Everyone works at their own pace and although there are group projects, no one is forced to do anything they don’t want to do.  This was great for me because when I joined I brought with me a host of already-started projects that I needed help continuing.  (And most of them *still* aren’t finished yet!)  Until now, the only group projects I’ve jumped in on were the pre-Christmas mini-projects, which were great fun but only took up one session.  The next group project, though, is one I’m going to grab with both hands because it’s Attic Windows.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #6 – Attic Windows, the Evolution of a Design