Monday, April 4, 2016


Where do you find inspiration?  Everywhere I look I find ideas for my quilting, and by that I mean the sewing and design as well as the actual stitching for the final sandwich of a quilt.  I see design in nature, wrought iron gates, fabric designs, shadows, other peoples' quilts, and many other places.  My brain sucks in ideas and I collect pages from magazines and put markers in books with interesting art.  Now and then I even look through those sheaves of paper and paper-sprouting volumes.

I mentioned in previous posts that in spite of what I thought was careful planning I have ended up spending way too many hours un-sewing my beautiful plans.  After the latest rip session to remove realistic thread painted fires I snugged down excess fabric with grid quilting.  Then I cut pieces of three different fabrics into interesting shapes originally drawn on freezer paper.  I laid these out over  each other and the grid quilting to suggest fire.  It looked far better than a realistic rendition of flames and reminded me of a bed of coals.  This is so perfect because it does not detract from the thread painted bird, which is the main attraction, but suggests that he is rising out of a hot place.

Fabrics and some of the freezer paper patterns
I was reluctant to tie up all my fabric by ironing fusible onto it before cutting shapes.   I wanted to be sure that all was well with the design in situ.  I cut the fabric pieces and played helter-skelter with different arrangements.  When I was satisfied I fused MistyFuse to the back of each piece.  This was a real nuisance as it was hard to manage the flimsy fusing material and cut it into the necessary shapes.  I then ironed each piece of fabric and its matching MistyFuse onto parchment paper, and then trimmed around the now paper-backed fabric to get rid of any fusible material sticking out from the edges.  Lastly I removed the paper.  I do not recommend this method, but I didn't want to waste fabric or fusible on an uncertain outcome so I did it the hard way.  It was successful anyway and I love the final, fused result on the quilt.

TIP:  Be sure to protect your iron and ironing board with heat-resistant teflon, silicone or fiberglass sheets when fusing.  I also have a teflon iron shoe, which covers the sole plate of my iron so I don't have to clean it when I am done.

One raw-edged appliqué group stitched down over the grid
(looks very bright in isolated photo - more subtle on the quilt)
Shows more of the appliqués.  The red, dotted fabric seems to sparkle.
What does all this have to do with inspiration?  Inspiration was provided by the sun as I came in from walking the dog before breakfast.  My quilt was lying on a card table and the early morning sunshine shone through a window from a low angle.  It lit up the grid design under the appliqué and made it look incredible.  The grid even showed up lightly where the appliqué was fused on top of it.  Ten minutes later the sun had moved on and the effect was gone.  After seeing that, I don't think I will do the McTavishing, but am going to try it some more on a tester before I decide for sure.  I may very well leave it as it is. There is no need to do more quilting except for design purposes and the sideways light is really beautiful on it.

Sunlight on the grid (lump is from quilt being folded over itself)
This last photo is the best reflection of the subtlety of the appliqué.  The background under the appliqué is made up of three different fabrics sewn together in wavy lines like in landscape quilts.  All together it looks like one piece of fabric.

TIP: Sometimes less is better.  Let the ideas percolate as I have said before.  I percolated today as I went into the National Park and walked across (yes, across) Bear Lake.  It was frozen and had a big snowman in the middle of it about 7 ft. tall!

Snowman on Bear Lake; Hallett peak in back.
Sew a happy seam this week.


  1. Ohhh. I remember this project! Sorry to hear about all the unpicking, but the new flames do look great. Totally been there and it's quite a decision to have to make, but sometimes we do have to step back to move forward. :)

    1. So true. I will leave it with happy feelings when I move on to the next project.

  2. I find joy, and learn a lot reading your stitching and unstitching. Reading about a process is revealing. Your successes and mishaps are equally important to us readers. Thank you for sharing them.

    1. Thank you for that. Sometimes I feel that my readers must think that all I do is mess up. Then I have to stop those thoughts and share with that most messes have solutions and that is what my blog is all about.

  3. Unpicking is never fun! The quilting looks perfect right now with the sun showing on it!

    1. Thanks. I am glad you like it. I am leaving it as is - no McTavishing, which will only flatten the little cushions that suggest coals.

  4. It is quite striking. I understand the frustration of unpicking, but I also get wanting it to be the way you want it to be. For me, it's often worth the extra work, but I'll admit I usually am cursing while I'm doing it!