Monday, April 21, 2014

Bella Bella Blue

I saw a fascinating quilt hanging in a local quilt store and loved the color and design.  I asked about it and quickly bought "Bella Bella Quilts" by Norah McKeeting, which I read through carefully.  I had to make one of those quilts and I settled on the one she calls "Venice Rose."  I call mine "Bella Bella Blue."
Bella Bella Blue 72" x 72"
It is made in an interesting way with excellent instructions in the book.  No sense going through the whole process here.  The design is constructed with two spokes, one the reverse of the other, and they are quite long.
The two spokes of the wheel.
The pattern comes with the book with paper piecing directions.  Instead of using the usual foundation material I used freezer paper.  I did it the usual way, but instead of sewing through the paper I ironed it down, folded it back, added the next piece of fabric, and sewed alongside the fold, catching only fabric.  I found I needed to put a pin in the last piece sewed just to be sure the pattern didn't slip.  This thing gets to be a snake by the time it is finished.  The freezer paper foundation can be used over and over and there is no paper to pull out later.  Putting the spokes together requires great care in matching the angled seams.  I did and redid many of these intersections.

TIP:  Matching seams is critical for a top notch result and a good method is shown on this website.  She talks about getting points right, but the same method works for matching seams.

TIP:  You have tried twice and still the seams don't come together with precision?  Carefully pin again as directed in that website, then turn your quilt over and sew it together from the other direction.  This almost always solves the problem

As to adding the circular border, I direct you to the book.  I designed my own appliqué, but I didn't want to needle turn the edges, and I am not crazy about satin stitch (probably because I don't do it well).  I discovered Ricky Tims' "Rhapsody Quilts" and was interested in his method of using machine blanket stitch for appliqué.  I used it on my motifs and was very happy even with this first attempt.

The quilting is all feathers with one in every piece of every spoke.  In the diagonal joins I did a wiggly grid.  It is hard to see on the front in these photos, but here is what the back looks like.
Backside shows the quilting.
My problem #1:  I ran out of the dark blue.  I had that fabric in my stash for years and loved it, but it never quite went with anything else.  Finally, here is the place for it.  Then I ran out!  Fortunately, I had a piece of selvedge, which showed that it was a Jinny Beyer fabric and I was able to buy an expensive one yard online.  I finished the quilt with a small handful of very small scraps.  Too close for comfort.

TIP:  Figure your fabric before you sew!  You might not be as lucky as I was to still be able to find an almost outdated fabric.

My problem #2:  I carefully marked the quilting design with blue marker on the white and a Clover iron-away white marker on the dark.  By the time I finished quilting the first two spokes the white marker rubbed off all the rest of the quilt.  The blue marker stayed the duration.

TIP:  Test your marker by rubbing it with your hands and scrap fabric.  If it doesn't stay you may have to mark as you go along, which is what I did.  Remember, practicing the quilting design with a marker will help you do a better job with the quilting.  I love the "SewLine" ceramic marker, and it has different color refills.  It rubs off and if there is any residue, it washes out.

37 comments:

  1. Wow: fabulous quilt! Thanks for your tips!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the Bella Bella book and quilts. You did a beautiful job and your appliqué really finishes the quilt nicely. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a stunning quilt. I have seen similar quilts in red, but just made me dizzy. The blue has a calming effect. Wonderful work.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's an intricate piece of work! Beautiful! I would never have started such a piece... seems to me that great workmanship is required to make it. And lots of patience. I enjoyed reading your post with your tips to solve the problems you encountered. Thank you and again, beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, it's breathtaking. Bella, bella indeed. What a great achievement!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is amazing!! Please tell me it took you months. . . years . . . to complete! Your tips are greatly appreciated, thank you for sharing them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It didn't take very long to piece the top, but it sat around for at least a year because I couldn't figure out how to quilt it. When inspiration and ability finally intersected I got it completed.

      Delete
  7. This is an amazing quilt...gorgeous! Ditto for your quilting!

    ReplyDelete
  8. One of the best I have seen in awhile! Gorgeous!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow that is a wonderful quilt, love the design. And your quilting is amazing! Love it all

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks to all for your very generous comments. Every one is appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It looks absolutely amazing! I love the colour and the design.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I never saw such interesting desing. Looks fab!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a beautiful, beautiful quilt!! How long did it take you to make it? Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really didn't take long, but I didn't keep track. The completed top sat for over a year while I tried to figure out how to quilt it!

      Delete
  14. Love the quilt and the quilting is just wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for taking the time to write up the tips - they're very helpful. Also, this quilt is stunning, I'll have to look for the book!

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is just lovely!! And the quilting is beautiful too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your quilt is so lovely and so inspiring, and your tips are priceless. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow that is (I can't think of a word good enough).

    ReplyDelete
  19. is me again. Which book did this pattern come from?
    http://www.ctpub.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=2175 or http://www.ctpub.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=3036

    syvisser@gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Bella Bella Quilts" by Norah McKeeting

      http://www.amazon.com/Bella-Quilts-Stunning-Designs-Italian/dp/1571203044/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398468812&sr=8-2&keywords=bella+bella+quilts

      Delete
  20. I don't quite get the process of not sewing thru the paper. What an accomplishment!
    LeeAnna Paylor
    Not Afraid of Color! lapaylor.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I had to go back and check the size, so I could get an idea of the scale, WOW! That's a big quilt, lots of effort and precision! I can see it being doable with the paper piecing, at first I thought it was all curved piecing. Excellent!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. wow! this is amazing and so intricate!

    Thanks for linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love your quilt! It is amazing! Now I've gone and bought the book! Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I just finished my piecing for the Venice Rose!! Do you have any tips with the curved border, I'm having a heck of a time
    Gina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gina, I am not sure how much I can help you. I followed the directions carefully, but beyond that it just takes pinning, persistence and patience. You might try basting and hand appliqué if machine sewing is not working for you. Tedious, but you have already done a lot of work so it pays to get that border looking nice. Good luck! Let me know how you fare.

      Delete
  25. Wow! What a Eureka moment! Just two simple spokes, just stumbled onto your blog and really enjoying it. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete