Thursday, 8 May 2008

Feeling better ....

Dear Lene,
I hope I didn't scare you yesterday, with my endless whining and worrying about the fabric choices. (Also that part about wanting to sit in the corner and sulk about it - that was really mature, wasn't it?) But as I said, knowing that we're in this together got me out of my self-pity and up and going again.

I spent some time playing with an alternate set of fabrics. I think I more or less turned the house inside out, looking for different things, literally going through everything here to see what I had. You have very little clue what an undertaking that was - my fabric stash is beyond extensive, it's verging on being legendary. [Scary is another term people have used.] And also, it would be a shame to change my mind now, after I bought all those yards of red fabric for the background - I'm still a little embarrassed that I bought fabric, with everything I have here.

Then you got back home and emailed that you liked the choices. Really liked them. And I thought about it some more. I turned around at one point and saw the new block sitting there on the floor (where I'd put it to see it and some other fabrics from a distance) and suddenly I realized that the yellow? I can't even see the pattern on it from five feet away. The print that was bothering me and worrying me was totally irrelevant to the total scheme of things - okay, it helps that I'm nearsighted and wasn't wearing my glasses at the time, but it was a revelation.

So, I did get started on the block after all, and I haven't shown you much yet other than fabrics. I spent Wednesday cutting out a freezer paper template for the center section, ironing it to the fabric, and basting it down on the background.

It's a huge piece of freezer paper, almost 48cm/19" square, and it took a lot of fiddling to get everything to lie flat. I creased both the background as well as the yellow fabric, to be able to center it properly. This is the center floret (?) pinned into place, just prior to my thread basting it.

Have I ever mentioned that I don't like basting? It's kind of like swatching in knitting, just as necessary but just as distasteful to me.

One very short sewing stint later, it started looking like this -

I'm cutting away the freezer paper as I go along. It's such a big piece that it's awkward and gets in the way of reaching in to sew at the center of the piece. I had toyed with the idea of doing it freehand, but all of those scallops would be tricky to replicate that way, so I chickened out (sort of) and went with the freezer paper.

I laughed when you wondered yesterday about why the quilter of the antique used white thread for her appliqué. I hadn't told you at that point that I'm using white thread. I used to do that sometimes, use non-matching thread to show off a little - kind of like, "Look, I can use any color thread and it still looks good!". Obnoxious, I know. But I've come to appreciate the visibility of tiny stitches in a neutral color, as an accent. Also, I've realize that it makes everything much more simple. One color of thread means no searching for perfect color matches, and just one spool of thread to work from.

I also realized that I have two one-thousand-yard spools of this white thread. It might be interesting to see how much thread it takes to do the project. If I were inclined to do something like that, of course.

I'm not 100% positive yet, about all of the other fabrics. I'm going to have to make a decision pretty soon, especially on the fabric for the stems and leaves. I thought I had the right one, but then today (while looking for a totally different set of fabrics) I found another that might be even better for this group of colors. More about that soon, I hope. Until I make a final decision, I'm leaving the area where the stem needs to be tucked under the floret loose and un-sewn.

So, for now I'm going with the original fabric choices, more or less. I had said something to you about it not being a big deal to ditch the current choices, and just consider it as an appliqué "swatch", but I'm going with it and finishing the block with just a (possible) minor change to the leaf/stem fabric. Thanks for your input on the fabrics, it really helped.


PS - I'd love to send you some sun (we've had lots) but I'm not sure it packages up and travels very well....


Leslie said...

You're making such good headway - it's wonderful to check in and see the steady progress. I know it's early, but I'm sure the team effort will help too with the slow times!
I 'baste' with washable fabric glue stick. It's great.
I wonder what tools women in the late 1800's used. I doubt they had an eighth of what's available to us. Certainly not freezer paper!
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...


I've "discovered" you circuitously by reading Pearl's blog and following her links and then more links and I am and there you are. I am also a knitter/quilter...more knitting recently than quilting...I am painfully slow at both, but enjoy the process, so I persist. Love your new blog.

Ridgely - in Bellingham, WA

Tina from Canada said...

Okay Lene, you've done it again. I've just bought my first skein of lace weight yarn to make a beautiful shawl like the ones you make. Now you want me to quilt again too.

Actually I borrowed a lovely book on quick projects, it included some simple pieced quilts that I was thinking about get me in so much trouble...Thanks ;)

pacalaga said...

So, I always thought that using freezer paper involved stitching the applique over the freezer paper and cutting it out later from the back. Are you just using your freezer paper as a template or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Hi Cassie

yes I was wondering about the same thing.I always thought you used the freezer paper as the template and sew it under not over the quilt?
I would also love to see how you sew the edges,they are very neat and tidy.


Kathie said...

I use freezer paper but then I trace around it with a generals chalk pencil , remove the freezer paper and baste it.
I love your fabric choices...
this is so fun to watch your progress ...
looking forward to more!

Cynthia said...

Hi, I am a knitter, quilter, too! I have been following Lene for some time, and am so glad to see what you too are doing! Nice to meet you! Love your quilt design, and the colors you have chosen! Am loving the process, keep it up you girls! I too would like to know how you use the freezer paper, when I did applique, I painstakingly, pressed under and basted that over just paper. hmmm, always there are tricks to the trade!

beadlizard said...

Freezer paper... Hmmm... A bit more detail please?

Again, I really appreciate the close-up photo since that's the only way I can see in real life. --syl