Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pensacola, FL

I am merrily sewing away while Sean is in Virginia again dealing with the bus for sale. For more about that subject, you can read his post on the travel blog. Since he flew this time, we needed a place with an airport to leave me, the cat, and the boat. Pensacola had decent flights, so here I am.

I made some decisions about the Dragonfly quilt, but left it set aside in my growing pile of WIPs (Works in Progess.) They hang on a spring loaded curtain rod placed between two of the cabinets in my studio. Can this actually be called a pile if its hanging? Maybe it's a drape of WIPs? In any case, that's three quilt tops and two quilt backings there, ready to be sandwiched, basted, then quilted.

But I'm in a piecing mood, not a quilting mood, so I started yet another quilt top. It actually sort of makes sense to do this now while the boat is in a marina with constant power and constant air conditioning. Piecing requires a lot of back and forth between sewing, ironing, and the "design wall." Which in my case is the "design bed," since there isn't a single wall on the boat big enough to use for that purpose!

This is another gift quilt. The focal fabrics are all from a Makower UK line of Asian-inspired designs, called "Kimono." I thought they'd play nicely together in a pattern called Natural Beauty designed by Lori Mason and available free from American Patchwork and Quilting. Here's the cover photo from the pattern:

The pattern is written to use certain fabrics in a precise order so that the thin lines (purple and orange in the pattern photo) line up in a certain way. But since I'm sewing from my stash, I didn't have an exact one-to-one correspondence for the pattern fabrics and would need to use smaller amounts of more fabrics. I'd also need to cut up enough pieces to start laying it all out on the bed to see what worked. 

I wanted to use black as the background, rather than the cream in the pattern. Actually, I really like the cream, but all I have is a fairly pure white that didn't work at all with the Asian fabrics. My perfect cream fabric happens to have distinctive silhouettes of dogs on it; not a good thematic match.

Ew, that didn't work well at all. Hmm. How about this rusty orangey fabric as the background?

Better, but that color is kind of an acquired taste and I'm not sure the recipient will like it. (By the way, the lighting is TERRIBLE in the master stateroom and my cell phone photos just make it worse. You'll have to trust me that this color actually did work, because it looks like dog barf in the photo.) 

Next I tried a brighter red, with some of the border fabric alongside to hide the underlying bed quilt.

Wrong bright red for these fabrics, and too Christmassy anyway. Even though the focal fabrics have red and green in them, they don't scream Christmas until big chunks of red and green sit side by side. Aha! That's the problem: the green fabric.

Mo' better. Replacing the green with a neutral makes the black background work much better. There was too little contrast between the black and the green. Back into the stash to find another gold/beige/tan/cream neutral. I have a tub full of neutrals but alas, nothing that was right. Drat! I could have sworn I had a nice sort of wood-grained looking gold-y-ish fabric.

Oh, there it is, peeking out of the scrap pile from Hades. This is a shot of the bathroom counter in the quilt studio, where I've been tossing scraps and recent purchases that need to be folded and put away. Guess it's been awhile since the "put away" part of the process has happened. 

Now I could start sewing in earnest. Lots of squares and rectangles in this quilt that meet at their corners. In order for it to look crisp and nice, all the seams needed to be carefully nested. I had an Aha! moment on seam nesting today. Usually, I just press and nest the seam right along the stitch line with one finger, like this:

But today I started nesting the seam with more fingers, along three or four inches, like this:

Actually, I use a couple fingers of my right hand, too, but they were taking the photo. Lining up more of the seam made everything feed better through the machine and less likely to slip on the corners. So that worked much better. Probably most quilters already know that trick, but I had never heard of it before.

And here's the (probably) finished quilt top:

It may get a thin outer border of the same black background. The size is good as-is, though. I had to stand out on the port side deck and take the photo through an open window to get far enough away to fit the whole thing in the frame using my cell phone camera.

The actual sewing went pretty quickly on this one. Probably more time was spent pondering patterns, layouts, and the sorry state of the "to be put away" pile. I guess that's my next task!


  1. When things in the big, wide world are getting me down, all I have to do is come to your blogs and real life and art and beauty and love flood back to me. Thank you, Louise!

  2. Looking good--I made a Natural Beauty quilt for my daughter and son in law for their wedding 5 years ago, but biggie-sized it to queen size. There was a lot of tedious nesting, I agree, and my first color trial had to be switched out too. Must be something about that pattern :)

  3. Very pretty! I love Asian-inspired prints!


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