Saturday 30 August 2014

LE: Beautiful Bountiful Berries

My berries are a lot like my hearts: but smaller and fiddlier! Again, finding the right fabric was tough but I was lucky enough to find some in my stash. I thought long and hard about ruby red berries which just felt so logical, but they really stuck out too much against my scrappy fabric. Then I thought about pinks but gave up on that for the same reason. I had settled on the idea of a rust, brown or mustard coloured tones as all these work so well with my fabrics - but felt they weren't authentically 'berry' enough. Then I found this fabric - I really don't do a lot with anything from the purple family, its a colour that doesn't immediately speak to me. But it works perfectly as a berry colour - its a bit red and blue - just enough but not too much and it blends in with all my scrappy mid tones beautifully. And the yellow helps it blend in with my browns without disappearing completely.

I really enjoyed seeing how many of you worked your own berries. With so many of them to do, its really something to consider in terms of shape outcome and time. I did think about embroidery. But decided that I couldn't do justice to perfectly round berries and anything less than perfect little spheres would have proved to be too frustrating.

Here's what I'm doing: cutting the berry pattern shape from wash away fusible - that's the white circles you see. Then, putting this cut out shape in the center of a larger circle - that's the circle drawn onto the fabric.

The circle I'm using for the larger circle is precisely drawn thanks to the aid of this plastic template called a "Mathomat", I purchased it for a few dollars from my local newsagents. And it has a circle that works well for this purpose.

You can see how much turning margin I have all around the circle: I'm cheating because this extra fabric will actually be my 'filling' so my berries aren't completely flat. It's just enough without being too much. 

So, the end result from the back looks something like this

I'm going to make all my berries before I start hand stitching them down on the background. With tasks like this, I break the preparation down into 'parts' because I personally think that I create slightly different work on different days and I like to get it all out in one 'lot' so that its as uniform as possible.

In all, the pattern calls for 96x berries. This means I'll make 100x as I always make a few more in case any turn out wobbly ;)

I'll be breaking up my berry turning preparation with a few hours of Hungarian stitches for my stems. But for now, I just have to keep on turning...

Wednesday 27 August 2014

WOW: LE: Hand Sewing

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 

Today I'm sewing down the last of the zig zag border - its taken a few weeks but its a time consuming task and can't be rushed. I'm already thinking about the berries to come and I have created a 'sampler berry' and pinned it down to check for size. I've also pinned down my newly turned hearts and I'm delighted with how they look. I've pinned the vase down because I've started thinking about my vases, I think they need more embellishments and I'm thinking of some embroidery work on them. I'm in two minds about this, but I think LE need more fuss

One thing's for sure; I have plenty of time to think about it as I work through another 5 or so hours of needle turn applique today. I find hand sewing quite soothing and once you find a rhythm, it can be hard to stop. I will usually sew next to this window here until light fades and I have to set up my daylight lamp or my needle snaps (and that is happening more and more, I'm sure they just don't make them as strong as they used to!)

This is what I mean when I say, 'happy sewing', I hope you find your creative nook today as I have found mine; its a creative and rewarding place to be.

What's Your WOW ? 

Monday 25 August 2014

LE: Turning Hearts

These are the hearts tucked in around the vases. I've been thinking and re-thinking the colours for months. Originally I would have gone with blue - and this was when I was thinking of a light and dark blue zig zag border throughout the quilt. But since going scrappy, I was really stuck. I considered pink of course, but all my pinks seemed too pink and clashed with the scrappy style of the rest of the fabrics I'm using. Then I found these fabrics in my stash, and they are the perfect balance of pink and a few other tones that keep them in harmony with my other fabrics without taking my quilt into a pink direction. Although I do love pink, there's a real danger of overtaking the mid tone colours with a few bright hues which would dominate and unbalance the overall 'look'. I'm really happy with these blender hearts now.

I purchased lots of fabrics when I started LE, but am surpised to find the best blenders in my own stash!

and I fussy cut through the fabric the get the colours and hues I thought would work best

I'm using wash away fusible for my applique pieces - it really speeds things up and I love the end results too

Saturday 23 August 2014

LE: Stitching Down the Zig Zag Border

Finally, my zig zag border goes down. Last month I spent 3 days pinning down each zag zag against the pattern precisely in alternating shades of light and dark. In that post I showed you how I was hand stitching the seams between the light and dark units together (left).

Some of you reading this blog (but not making or reading the pattern) wondered what I was using on the applique pieces - I'm using Floriani stitch n wash fusible. You don't remove this product, you just keep on working. When washed, it simply goes away. I have used it in many projects previously and I like the results it gives.

Today, I'm taking this half assembled zig zag border, accurately placing it on my background fabric and hand stitching it into position.

Yes, I'll be hand stitching all my applique, all the way. This is a decision I made when I stated LE, it is an heirloom quilt and its one of those 'once in a lifetime' quilts and I'm going for 1790 authenticity with hand stitching and intense attention to details. This is a quilt of flourishes, fussiness and time.

Preparation, repetition, addiction: a true labour of love

If you're making this quilt yourself, remember to add your own LE based blog posts over in the Love Entwined Archive at the top of this blog. We love seeing how every quilter makes LE their own - me included!

Wednesday 20 August 2014

WOW: LE Embroidery Stems Completed

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

My own Love Entwined is really taking shape now. I've spent months in preparation, doing bits here and there, which I now have ready to finally get the center underway. I'm really excited to be at this stage, after all the hard work of this beginning, there's a lot of fun ahead. During the months when I was sitting down doing all the tiny prep work, turning hundreds of pieces over and over, what really inspired me was seeing what everyone else was doing. Most quilters making LE are miles ahead of me and seeing their progress kept me motivated. 

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to add images in the Yahoo BOM Group or on Pinterest. I know uploading images takes time - time most of us just don't have much of nowadays. I'm deeply appreciative of how keen so many of you are to share your journey with all of us. We all need an inspiring boost every now and then. It just reminds me how wonderful it is to make a quilt within a community, and in this case, an online community. What a great place to be. THANK YOU!

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday 13 August 2014

WOW: LE Vase Details

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

I've been spending all my spare time embroidering. My hands are numb! I'm really looking forward to returning to some applique. The vases in these pictures are just pinned in place to help me guide the embroidery, I won't actually stitch them down until my zig zag border is down. It's just a progress shot, but I really love it. Now I just have two more vases worth of stems to stitch down and I'm hoping to get this done today.

If you're making LE, remember to add a linky to your own blog posts over in the Love Entwined Archives.

What's Your WOW ?

Friday 8 August 2014

LE: My Flower Stems

This stitch really appeals to me: it's called a Hungarian Braided Stitch. It looks like a plait and I think it's just perfect for my flower stems. I considered a lot of stitches for the stems and really agonized over my all the available choices. Personally, I think you should select a stitch based on your design and personal taste. The pattern actually has an appliqued stem - and I love that too. In fact, at this stage I plan to applique my stems on my red and white LE. Something about this scrappy style called for embroidered stems in my opinion and I did think about it for a few months before committing. There are so many beautiful LE's being made over in my Yahoo BOM Group that when I started seeing the embroidered stems, they just spoke to me. So I changed my mind. 

I'm combining the Hungarian stitch with free stitching and I'm using two shades for the main stems and the little flourishes and thinner stems branching out.

Mostly I use an embroidery hoop, although I did create a few stems 'freehand' but then it just got too difficult. My zig zag border is precisely pinned to my paper template (below) and ready to be appliqued to this center, but I really wanted to have the embroidery down before I put down that border. I'll repeat here that I used a Pilot Frixion pen to transfer the pattern to my chosen background. I pre-tested this pen before drawing it up.

Now, with the zig zag border, its so important to accurately put it down as there is a lot going on in the center square. Please don't go ahead and 'fill out' your center without the zig zag down first- even though it appears that I am doing that now. I am actually not doing that. I am creating the pattern out of order from the BOM Parts and because of the hoop and handling for embroidery (and potential shrinkage) I wanted the embroidery finished before stitching down the border. The border has to be in place before you place the vases and flowers or else you'll have clashes. I really don't want anyone creating a bad habit because it appears that I am working 'out of turn'.

Each week I select a different area to focus on and I work on whatever suits me at that time; taking into account hand and eye strain. I can afford to do this as I know the pattern very well and am experienced, but if you are working from the pattern I do suggest you stick to the order of the Parts as they are released. There's just so much work - too much- to have to re-do any one part. You don't want to face that discouragement! 

Embroidery stems are not better than the pattern applique stems - they're just different, and whether they will work on your own quilt will depend on the style of your fabrics and your own personal taste.

Here is an excellent YouTube Tutorial to help you learn this stitch, if you are interested in making it yourself.

As for me, I have a lot of embroidery to be getting on with!

If you're making LE and you blog, please consider adding your progress over in the Love Entwined Archive at the top of this blog - it's easy to add a link and it allows quilters in the future to see how other quilters made LE their own.
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