Monday, March 31, 2014

Jack O' Lantern Trio Completion

These three Jack O' Lanterns were very instrumental in helping me progress along my FMQ learning curve.

I decided to try diagonal channeling like Lee did in her Freshly Pieced baby quilts for twins. Although I think she did hers on a long arm with a ruler, I did mine on my domestic Pfaff, free hand, using the background postage stamp 1.5" grid as guidance. I am glad I did not cave and sew the parallel lines with the feed dogs engaged. Initially I was dismayed with the quality of the FMQ but it did get better with practice and once I established a rhythm. Think of all the turns I would have needed to make had I chickened out on FMQ and engaged those feed dogs! Here is a close-up of my parallel channels.

I experimented with a curvy treatment for the flying geese top and bottom borders. I did the bottom border first and was a bit shaky. The lines are wavy and sometimes criss-cross each other.

My curves within the flying geese improved by the top border. They are smoother and a bit more consistent.

Yep, those are itty-bitty spiders running around the binding. A fat quarter was just the perfect amount of yardage. I attached my binding on the back and then brought it around to the front where I machine stitched it in place. I wanted to practice a technique using an edging attachment on my sewing machine. The result was surprisingly tidy for a first try. I still prefer hand stitched binding but this wall hanging was dedicated to technique, not product at this point. The top-stitching on the binding turned out quite reasonable.

Again using the postage stamp 1.5" grid as a guide, I stitched scallops in the orange of the pumpkins themselves.

The back of the quilt is no frills and not at all fancy. You can just barely make out that I used both blue and orange thread for the quilting. The backing is a somewhat periwinkle toned check crescent moon fabric I'd bought many years ago on clearance. The color did pick up nicely on the purple spiders in the binding.


Although this wall hanging finished a small 21" x 30", it earns a big sigh of relief as I move it from my ongoing projects list to my completed list. In my February 2, 2013 post and my January 23, 2013 post I had discussed how I eliminated some black bats, cats, and witches since they did not contrast enough with the blue background grid. I'd also scaled the size way back. The original pattern on which this wall hanging was based was Halloween Night by Dorie Whipple and had been copyrighted in way back in 1995. It is hard to believe that this little quilt was 19 years in the making, although admittedly the majority of that time the component sections were warehoused in storage. That is almost two decades! Yikes!

Although many squares do make for a lot of background piecing I like the overall mottled effect. I did something similar with another quilt from my period when Debbie Mumm sunflowers were popular in that barn red, mellow gold, and muted green colorway. This wall hanging measures 40" x 40" and was completed in June of 2004 using a 2" grid of squares. The background was a tonal collection of beige plaids and stripes.

The backing matched the front colorway. The binding was a pieced medley of the top's reds, golds, and greens.

P.S. Just a musing of mine...
As I browse through old projects I am struck with the stark evolution both in fabrics and designs. I also noted the increased use of solids in modern day quilt compositions and the increased role played by the overall quilting pattern. These two wall hangings are dated looking by today's standards, but I still remember the enjoyment that came from making them. Piecing a crisp point or a precise seam intersection is a joy forever. A color palette that is harmoniously combined gives me pleasure even when its placement on the color wheel has become unpopular or out of fashion. Soon I will become more content with the quality of my FMQ, so that it, too, will contribute to my love of quilting to the same degree that piecing, pattern, and fabric selection do now.
... I'm getting there!

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