Sunday, January 19, 2014

finally making my postage stamp block!

Years ago in one of Heather Stewart's Stashbusters classes, she gave us instructions to make a postage stamp quilt.  I knew right then I would NEVER make a quilt but did say I would make 1 block.  I already knew what fabric I was going to use and that I was going to call it Fade To Black- yes all you Metallica fans out there know the song.
View video here.
Or here because you never can have enough Metallica!

I wanted to take my hand dyed blue fabric and start at one corner with the lights, progressively getting darker towards the opposite corner.  I found an idea online where you add a narrow inner border and then a pieced border, so I made the blues follow the fading colour in the border too.  Why stop there?  I am attempting to do the same with the binding, once the block is quilted then I can get the binding figured out a little better.  Here are some photos.

Somehow this grid and scribbles is my "master plan"

Dulux is so helpful by making sure he is right in-between me and the ironing board.

Wait, now he is helping me sew by laying his head on my leg.  Guess someone would like some attention!

OK here are all my 1 1/2" squares sewn on the inner part of the block.

The block with the black inner border, the pieced blue fading border and a bit wider outer border.

Roughly sewing and fitting the border to the block, will figure it out later once the block is quilted.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sound City Quilt- dying fabrics, checkerboard guitar and the right side up letters!

Working a little bit here and there on the Sound City quilt.  I dyed some of my fabrics the other day, hoping to get the yellow of the letters just right.  Not too gold, and not too canary, so I took 4 fabrics and tea dyed them.  Here are 2 photos of the before (left side) and after (right side) fabrics.  I thought that just tea dying the white Moda Grunge fabric would work, but it turned out way too brown. (bottom photo, top right fabric)  So I took the other 3 yellows I had and dyed them to tone them down a bit.  My favourite, once it is tea dyed,  is the lightest yellow fabric. (top photo, bottom right fabric)

I now have 3 other dyed fabrics I can use for other projects and they smell delicious like Chai Tea!

I was limited on time, and did not want to work on the letters, plus the fabric needed to dry, so I decided to assemble the guitar.  All the pieces were cut out and basted around the edges.  Mostly to hold the edges down, but also because I put a layer of batting under the guitar fabric to give it a little bit of dimension.  I sewed the neck to the guitar body, a few times as I didn't have the angle quite right and Dan was pointing out that the guitar strings would be crooked it left on that angle.  I don't play the guitar so what do I know on proper placement of the neck.  Once "someone" was satisfied, I sewed grey thread across the neck to make the frets, then switched to a lighter grey to make the bow tie fret markers, and hand stitched the HAMER logo on the head.  

Here is the finished guitar, just waiting to be appliquéd onto the whole quilt, and then it will need the guitar strings sewn on.  I think it looks pretty cute! And truth be told, I have grabbed it a few times and played air guitar! Clearly I had better not quit my day job. 

We had a very sunny and FREEZING (-20oC) day today.  (thankfully no more snow!) I took the opportunity to re-trace the Sound City letters on my "light table" window, and made sure this time I traced them backwards so that when they get ironed on the fabric they will be the right side up.  This evening I had a melt down trying to iron the dreaded and much hated Steam A Seam onto the back side of the perfectly dyed, light yellow fabric.  I only have a little square of fabric and did not want to waste any, so when the Steam A Seam was not sticking and rolling and peeling off, there was some yelling!  I am used to working and sewing all day with my wonderful deaf dog Dulux. (he also can't hear me while I am singing)  I use the opportunity to talk to myself and back it up with the explanation that I am talking to him.  I am one of those people that has to state out loud what I am doing before I do it, so that I get it straight in my head, and boy did I want to get these letters straight.  Well, tonight there were other people around, not just me and Dulux, so when I was yelling "WHY WON'T THESE LETTERS STICK?", Dan was just trying to help by offering suggestions.  

We all probably know how that went-LOL

Anyway, venting done, back to the letters.

  I cranked up the iron temperature and risked ruining the Steam A Seam glue, but took the chance anyway.  Thankfully it stuck well enough that I could cut out the letters, peel off the one layer of paper and lay the letters on the guitar amp front.  Once they were moved, moved again and then moved once more (ok, maybe two more times), I was ready to permanently press them down.  By this point my iron plate was so gunked up with glue it was streaked black, and I didn't want to stain the yellow letters so I used my trusty tea towel again.  I flattened that iron hard to make sure the letters stuck, which they actually only seem to have stuck to the tulle and not the fabric underneath the tulle. YIKES.  Well time for bed as I did not sleep well last night with the furnace going non-stop.  I didn't have the energy to blanket stitch each letter tonight, that will be another day.  Everyone in the house has strict instructions not to touch the amp as I am worried the letters will peel off before they are sewn down.  Here is a photo of where I left off. 

Blanket stitching comes next……...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sound City quilt- practicing on the letters because you know I am going to do them backwards!

Not much work done on the quilt today, but here is the update.  I wasn't quite happy with the green satin I bought as the colour was a bit off.  Yesterday I found a bit darker colour as well as some green vinyl so I will be trying each of those fabrics out for the edge of the amp.  Who knows if my machine will be able to sew the vinyl, and who knows why any store would sell green vinyl? Can't imagine it being a big seller.

My biggest challenge is how to put the Sound City letters on the front of the amp.  I was thinking I would hand embroider them on, but that is because in my head the actual letter sizes were WAY smaller.  Once I enlarged the whole image, the letters were bigger than possible to embroider, so I then decided on using my old standby method- Steam A Seam.  Steam A Seam boggles my mind each and ever time I attempt to use it.  Which side of the paper do I draw my pattern? Do I draw it right side up or up side down? These are some of the hardest questions in the universe- well to me anyway.  This is one reason why I HATE paper piecing too. I always plan my pattern and then once it is sewn, I come up short.  I waste so much fabric with these techniques.  Thankfully I can expense them with my business.

SO, my worry is ironing the letter onto the tulle and not having the tulle melt.  I traced my letter S as my sample, good thing too as you can see in the photo that once again I have it backwards!

I lay a tea towel down- couldn't find my pressing cloth and the tea towel drawer is directly below my make shift work area, and pressed away.  The tulle curled a bit on the edges of my sample, but basically survived.

Now I just need to appliqué around the edge so that it stays down.  My Sgt. Pepper quilt from years back didn't have any appliqué, as I was making it days before the concert (my usual procrastination technique) and I didn't have time to appliqué the letters. I am sure by now that they have all peeled off, so I hope to avoid that disaster by securing my Sound City letters permanently!

I then tried out some of the appliqué stitches my sewing machine has and narrowed it down to every quilter's favourite- the blanket stitch and then the blind hem.  I decided on the blanket stitch as it was easy to follow the edge of the letter fabric without fraying that edge.  Here a few photos of my sample stitches.

In any of the photos I find online, the actual Sound City letters look to be yellow.  I am not sure if they are originally yellow, or if like Rick's checkerboard guitar, they were once white and yellowed with age.  The yellow/ gold fabric  I have looks really good but I think I might take some white and tea dye it tonight and see if that looks any better.  

That's it for today.  If you don't hear from me for a few days it could be that I traced all my letters backwards once again and have to re-do them-LOL.  Or that it will take me a long time to appliqué around each letter of the words.  Either way know that I am hard at work on the letters and hopefully the next photo will be of a finished amp grill. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Making my Sound City quilt- A Documentary…if Dave Grohl can make a documentary, so can I

I am constantly listening to music (really loud music) when I quilt and the band of choice is Cheap Trick!  Rick, the guitar player from Cheap Trick is featured in Dave Grohl's documentary- Sound City and he plays guitar on one of the songs on the CD.  While quilting and listening to the song From Can To Can't, I got the idea of a Sound City quilt. This was around the same time I bought my tickets for the Hamilton and Toronto shows so thought- Why not try to make this in 2 months?  Sound City is a documentary all about the history of the Sound City Recording Studio in LA.  For those of you who would like to buy the movie click here

A Photoshopping genius friend of mine (Thanks Darran) added Rick's guitar to the photo and this is what I will be trying to recreate.  I decided to make my documentary a photo documentary of the making of this quilt.  

My first steps are to enlarge the shapes of the guitar and the amp to the size I need for my quilt.

I start by tracing them with pencil on paper- here are the amp and guitar shapes.

 And then, since I don't have a light box (I really must get one) I tape the pencil drawings to my front window and re-trace in black marker.  Thank goodness it was a sunny day today!

Then I re-trace each individual pattern piece for each fabric I will be using.  This gets kind of tedious so I won't post all the individual photos of this step, but imagine the guitar body, neck and head pieces, the top and bottom of the amps and the trim etc.  So we will fast forward to some photos of the cut out fabric pieces. 

I think that the amp will be really awesome as I am layering black batting, Moda Grunge fabric (in honour of Dave and Nirvana) and a top layer of tulle, so that it will look like the grill cloth.  

Here is a pinned together Hamer Checkerboard guitar and click on that < link to see more about this iconic guitar that EVERYONE in the music industry would love to play!  

Here is a photo of Dave Grohl with Rick's guitar.

Well that is all the work I accomplished today…………and this is how my front kitchen counter will remain for the next little while, until this quilt is finished. 

Keep checking back to see how this quilt progresses! thanks for reading.