Thursday, July 5, 2007

Just Piecing Around...

You all know how I love to piece, and don't get to do it as much as I would like to...mainly because I usually work on largish crazy quilts, and once the piecing frenzy is over, it takes months of embellishment to finish a quilt.
But I had four little projects to piece for an upcoming trip I'm taking, so I had a blast whipping them up yesterday.
Next week I'm traveling to the annual Girl's Week with my cousin, sister-in-law, and my Uncle Hal's widow at the old family cottage on Lake Michigan. I am bringing stitching projects for us all to work on as we while away the glorious hours on that porch I love so dearly.

We are going to make soft jewelry bags...basically a long block folded into thirds, with the sides sewn up and a front flap hanging over. Because my ladies are not quilters, I prepared their blocks for them, but I am going to teach them some embellishment techniques and stitches. One of the gals, Deb, is a World Class Cross Stitcher, so I am going to bring some waste canvas along with some of Pam Kellogg's wonderful cross stitched CQ seam designs, (a superb free online resource: thank you, Pam!!!) and have Deb teach me a thing or two, too.

I took a few pictures throughout the morning of my Piecing Party...

I have found I like drawing the block's piecing pattern onto my foundation fabric. This acts as a guideline for when I start sewing and flipping my fancy fabrics...but as you will see, the four blocks I made are similar in their pattern but definitely not the same. Keyword: guideline! Here is my pattern taped onto my "lightbox" ready for tracing onto the foundation fabric.

I ran out of muslin for the foundation so chose some old pre-printed "lace" panels from my sane quilt stash. I've had it for 25 years so don't need to keep saving it! I like that it is lightweight with a slightly loose weave...easier for stitching through later.

These floral initials will be the front flaps of the bags.

Each block has some lace pieced in it somewhere. I like the way this heavy lace essentially turns that patch visually into a large scale print. The green linen below it was already sewn and flipped; then I machine basted the lace over it before sewing on the next piece.

There we go, all tucked into place. The edge of the lace makes a nice pre-fab seam treatment, doesn't it? The great Martha Green (crazy quiilter extraordinaire) would call that a "con", and she'd be right.

This time the lace is machine basted to the patch before it is sewn and flipped as one unit. Here the lace acts to divide a largish plain patch, so I get lots of added visual interest for virtually no extra work. Another con.

This shows how part of the block is pieced into a chunk before the chunk is sewn on and flipped.
Isn't that hand-dyed silk shibori AWESOME? My friend Vicki Day did that...

Here are two of the bags-to-be, ready to be interfaced and have their edges zig-zagged, and then handed over to my gals to sew on.

And here are the other two.
I started throwing some seam treatments onto mine yesterday at the 4th of July party we went to...a ten year old girl was watching me and occaisionally throught the evening she would shake her head and say, "You never stop sewing do you?"
Nope, I never do....

This is where the stitching action will be! My family has gathered on this porch for about 90 years now...we keep overlaying new summers of memories here, some tragic, some joyful. This summer's are going to be mellow....

16 comments :

threadspider said...

What a glorious time you girls are going to have. Thanks for the wonderful guide to how you work and for sharing your skills with us..and that beautiful view of your family porch. It looks like the place memories are made and shared.

Marty52 said...

These are going to be beautiful bags, Allie. I like the way you have matched the colors in the letters with the fabric colors in the bags. Thanks for the tutorial!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

What a fabulous porch!! I will be with you in spirit. The waste canvas - I had forgotten about that. It would be the solution for me to put my "lace" in stitches onto a piece of fabric. As always - your colors are yummy!! Your ladies will be converts for sure to CQ.

Debra Spincic said...

Maybe you could encourage Deb to not use the waste canvas and get a little more free! If she has cross stitched for a long time, her stitches are going to be very regular anyway; unless it is you that will be playing with the waste canvas.

I am sure these will be lovely bags when done. Be sure and share those pictures too!

Amy said...

I have always done straight seams on my cqs but looking at the piecing here and on your 'Crazy for Flowers' has inspired my to try curves on my next cq.

Kay said...

What a wonderful place! Have a peaceful, happy time.

Sue in western WA said...

Those bags are already gorgeous. What fun y'all are going to have!

Barbara C said...

What lovely projects. I'm sure you'll be stitching up memories you'll look back on fondly.

I love vacation projects and look forward to choosing and packing them.

Deb H said...

It sounds so inviting, to set on a porch near the lake, where it's always cooler than inland, & enjoy stitching away. Sigh.. I wish I could go there...

Pam Kellogg said...

Allison, thank you for mentioning my charted seam treatments. I have some new ones to add but haven't had time to do it yet.

I love looking at your blocks! You have a very unique way piecing. Enjoy your time in Michigan!

Mary said...

youre killin' me Smalls!!!!!!!!!!!
i will be thinking of you. is laura making hers for elle? i noticed an E. maybe next year!!!

Louisiana Momma said...

I love seeing how you pieced the bags together - they will be beautiful! And thanks for that link too!! I can't wait to use some of them.. don't forget to show us your work with the waste canvas!

Sonji Hunt said...

You will have a lovely time indeed. The humidity is waiting for you, Allie!

I just love the way you piece, with those ever so slight curves. It really makes a difference and gives things a landscape effect.

Have fun!

Susan said...

I love the light box. Best kind - always there - at least during the day. =) The final pieces are lovely. I don't care if it's a con. I like the effect. Are all the letters your floral arrangements?

I know you will have a wonderful time making more memories.

Simona Tedeschi said...

I always love your color choice an may I use your patterns for my own in a RR?
Thank you

Granny Fran said...

What a great place to sit and sew; and drink tea? I'm always amazed to see how you piece the crazy quilt blocks with curves and all. Love your use of the laces, that heavy lace is to die for.