Thursday, June 30, 2016

Challenge 2016: The Four Seasons


It has been a long time since I posted.  The garden and life kept me away.  Our guild is having their yearly Challenge.  This was the impetus to get me back to the sewing machine.

It is called the "4 Seasons Challenge".  All the guild will be participating.  Finished wall hangings will be hung at our vendors fair.  If all do the challenge, that will be approximately 120 wall hangings, It will be quite a special display.  We were given instructions, on it was specified which season was ours. Mine was summer.

The instructions for this Challenge required no special purchases.  All things necessary are in our stashes.   Here is the directions:

The finished size of the Challenge is 6" wide X 42 inches long.  You can use any quilting technique.  The Edges are to be finished either with a binding or pillowcase technique.  Must have a label with your name.

The seasons colors are: Winter teal, Spring lime green, Summer yellow, Autumn orange.  Your season is highlighted.  Due date is September meeting. They will be used to decorate the hall for our Vendors fair in October.

On the left is my Summer Challenge.  The minute it was announced I knew what I wanted to do for the background.  I love pieced backgrounds.

2015 I used 1 1/2 inch squares for the background:

2014 Challenge is pictured in this blog I used 2" squares for the background (the 6th picture down):

I drew a full size rectangle on butcher paper and looked at it for 2 months.  Total brain block, no ideas.  I decided I would make the back ground.  I was given the yellow card, I headed to the yellow stash.

I am making a progression from the lightest to the darkest/brightest yellows.  I cut 6 1/2 X 1 1/2 inch strips, sewed them on muslin which was marked with the 42 X 6 rectangle.  I used the stitch and flip method.  I looked for inspiration as I stitched each yellow in place.  I imagined the background to look like the sunlight when it is almost noon.

I finished the panel.  I used 48 strips not 42 to complete the banner.  Why, I still haven't figured out. Maybe my 1/4 inch wasn't right.  It didn't matter since I was making a piece of fabric to use for my background.

When I finished I still wasn't inspired.  So I sandwiched it with batting and backing, and quilted it.  I did "Stitch in the Ditch".  Finished that and still no inspiration. Trimmed it and added the Binding.  I'm still foggy about what to do with this very skinny looking table runner.  (Which by BTW would be a very good use of scraps...just make it larger.)  While Binding I realized that I could turn in the Banner just as it was. It was a pieced piece.  It could be named "Sunshine on my Shoulder". Which is a very summery theme.

Between bouts in the garden, I peruse seed catalogs.  I came across the picture of scarlet runner beans and Voila, there was my inspiration.  I searched the stash to see if there were greens for leaves and beans.  I removed the paper with the rectangle from the wall and began drawing my pattern.  The picture on the left is my design for the banner.

"TIP":You can see a little bit of Painters Blue tape.  A roll resides in my sewing desk.  I use it to hang every thing from this paper pattern to fabric.  It doesn't make things tacky and I can re position the hung object where ever I want. and BTW, it will also peel off paper if you do it gently.

"TIP" 2:  I save any size cardboard rolls.  Toilet paper ones are good to roll 6" items on.  When I hand piece, I have rows of blocks or sashings, I roll them on tubes and put them in a baggy till I join them with other rows.   This keeps them clean and crease free. Another advantage is the finger pressed seams stay pressed when they are rolled around a tube.

Paper patterns, I wish to save, I roll on larger tubes.  It does take more room, but the patterns don't have fold marks.  The quilted background was rolled on a tube while I worked on it until I began putting the 3D relief items on it.

I'm ahead of myself, The next problem I needed to address was how to transfer the pattern to the background.


Closeup Top of Banner
This involves another tip which I thought up on my own.  It may have already been used and reported on the internet but I hadn't seen it.  Let me revel in the delight of my discovery.  My friend mentioned I could use contact paper and the light bulb went off.

I couldn't use carbon paper to draw the design on the background.  It would smudge.

I couldn't free hand it, and if I tried, I wouldn't be able to erase any mistakes I made drawing it from the fabric.

I couldn't use a light box because I had already quilted it.  It was essentially a finished "Quilt".

side view top
My friend said to copy it on contact paper and use it to position items.  I was concentrating on how to get the basic vine onto the fabric.  Bingo, I remembered "Press-n-seal" plastic wrap.  I had bought some to use to draw quilting patterns on and stitch over.  This idea I had gotten from a friend on the internet.  I had never done it but I had the box of the stuff.

I had my husband help me stretch a piece down the length of the paper pattern.  I smoothed it down and it stuck!  I'm getting excited.  It was working.  I took a Sharpie fine point and traced the major vine and its branches on it.  I also traced the rectangle's outline on the "press n seal".  We then peeled the plastic off which was more difficult than it sounds.  The plastic when pulled off wanted to stick back on itself like saran wrap does.  Using the press n seal on any piece bigger than a sheet of paper is a two person job.

The quilt was laying on a flat surface and we proceeded to stretch the plastic over it and fold the excess to the back of the quilt.  It took a mighty amount of smoothing and stretching and smoothing again to make it respond and lay flat.  There were a few minor wrinkles but that didn't distort the design.

After securing the plastic I thought it would be a breeze.  I would just embroider through the thin stuff, like they sew through it when quilting.  NOT!  the needle wouldn't even puncture it.  What to do now?  I thought, how can I trace the design onto the cloth?  If a needle won't do it, a pencil certainly won't.  I don't want to use a Sharpie and
press hard because the ink would bleed through on the fabric.  I decided to try in the bottom right corner, where the vine ends, to slit the plastic on the line and  trace with a #2 pencil and see if it is light enough not to show through the embroidery.  EUREKA!  I was on my way to a Banner for summer.

middle side
The rest is history.  I made another copy on new plastic with the leaves and flowers included.  After I finished the embroidery of the vine I covered the piece again with plastic wrap.  This time it would only be cut across the middle.  This would allow me to place the leaves and flowers where they should be.

I  copied the leaves beans and numbered them.  Cut their patterns out . The beans are just stuffed tubes.  The flowers are weird shapes which I stitched as if I was making yoyos and gathered them up and shaped them in the semblance of a bean flower.

While I was working on the piece the rest of it was covered with the plastic wrap.  I only uncovered the area I was working on.  The plastic wrap scores again.  It kept my project pristine from pet hairs and all sorts of debris.

middle flowers

I hope everyone takes advantage of a Challenge when it comes your way.   Don't think you can't do it.  Or that your abilities are not up to it.  It is so rewarding to have those "VOILA" and "EUREKA" moments.

middle flower side

more blogs by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other petsa blog about my courtship with my husband,and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.  A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

bottom side

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry, blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures. Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
Chronicling our adventures with a dumped Pit Bull Pup,
 who has become a hidden treasure.
an intro to baking for kids
All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission