Monday, February 2, 2009

Project Improv - Stepping Out

Michele - stipple 6

So, I've been thinking about what I want to do for my Project Improv project. This group was formed to encourage us to think outside-the-box and creatively quilt. First, I just needed to finish a quilt or quilt project. Then, of course, trying to figure out how to get my project out of my mind and into a real quilt project has sort of paralyzed me. The possibilities are so endless, I didn't know which direction to go.

Now I knew I couldn't put together an entire quilt for this project. With working and running around like I do, that was just too big a thought. However, my new supervisor at my part-time job is also a quilter. She has learned the traditional quilting and piecing but knows nothing of our improvisational, modern take on things now. So, I've taken it upon myself to overload her with information! While discussing projects she has done, she told me she has our local quilt shop longarm her quilts. Now, I have about three quilt tops I've made planning to one day take them in for quilting, but I've been terrified to find out how much that might cost - because you know I would do it even if it is expensive, so I was just biding my time. Well, no more, ladies! What I thought would be hundreds of dollars is only tens of dollars. So, I took in a 54 x 50 inch quilt top and backing which will cost me about $60.00! So affordable! You may already know I like to make binding, so that won't be a problem, and my first Project Improv will be done. I guess the Improv part here will be the "getting it finished" part. I have no photos of the quilt top I sent in, but it is Denyse Schmidt inspired and was pieced, I think, in 2006. So, in a month or less, I can show it to you.

Well, another dilemma has been solved --

The stippling button!

I found the Stipple button on my sewing machine! Actually, I have always known it was there, but I never correlated the fact that I had it with what to use it on. My machine is the Husqvarna-Viking D1 - a computerized embroidery/sewing machine.

Project Improv - charity quilt square

This is the block I sent in for our Project Improv charity quilt. As I mentioned above, since I am not likely to manage an entire quilt during this Improv season, I decided to make two more wonky squares and sew up 16-inch, piped pillow covers. Previous to finding my stippling choices on my machine, I was bemoaning the fact that I might need to hand quilt to get that tight, wrinkley look I'm so fond of. Nope! Just press the button, Michele, and my sweet machine said, "What do you want me to do?' I have a few choices of stippling looks, as you can see in the photo above, and I can vary the stitch length and sweep of the pattern. This is not freehand motion. The machine just sews forward and sweeps back and forth. I just guide it down the block. I started at the center top and sewed down. Then, I turned the square around and reversed my path on either side of the center "pattern." Then, I just had to remember to turn the square around and go the other direction on both ends so as not to pull the fabric in one direction. It took about 90 minutes. It might go faster if I change the stitch length. I am going to make a sampler by marking out lanes on a large square of muslin and then changing the stitch lengths to see what I get.

Here is my new baby:

Michele - stipple 6

She has been sitting with me all day on my computer desk so I can stare at her and touch and feel the bumpy pattern.

Here is a shot of the stippling from the backside:

Michele - stipple 4

I'm so in love. It's like the sun has come out and is shining all over the possibilities in my mind. It's freeing to know that, one, I can run over to the quilt shop and afford to longarm quilt my larger items, and, two, I already have what I need to incorporate incredible quilting patterns into my work.

Thank you, Jacquie, for stepping out and organizing Project Improv! If I'm any indication of what can happen for we wannabe art quilters, your idea is already a success!


Jen @ said...

Hi Michele!

Your quilt block is so colorful and fun! I hope things are going well with your job!


AverettLadyNana said...

Love the colors and fabric in your quilt blocks!

Jackie Russell said...

I love the fabrics in your blocks. Your Improv blocks would look great in a table runner or four together for a table topper and still be managable on your DSM.

Nan said...

COOL!! I love it! [and I recognize that Pink and green fabric!] Grin! ;)

greetingarts said...

Oh, WOW. Wow, wow, WOW! So awesome! I could hear your happy dance all the way over here. :0) That is so cool, you're killing me with that machine of yours.

jacquie said...

this is such great work and soooo fun discovering the stipple stitch on your machine. i can't wait to press that button when i get my mom's machine back and see what it might do!

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I can see why you are so in love! Very, very pretty!

2ndAvenueStudio-Rachel said...

Pretty colors!

happy to hear you are gonna get it quilted...

Anonymous said...

WOW! This is great. Well done :)

Chris Worthy said...

Wow, that is gorgeous.

CJ said...

That is so cool your machine does that!

Christy said...

I'm so jealous about you having a stipple setting on your machine! I didn't even know that existed.

I saw your block in the Flickr set for Project Improv and had to check out your blog. I fell in love with your fabric choices.

Unknown said...

Michele, this is so incredibly beautiful! You do such fine work and those colors... :)
~Emily XOXO