Just completed my last journal quilt of the year. I am glad this year is finished – I have found the colour theme difficult to get enthusiastic about. I think that has a lot to do with insufficient colour contrast for the way I work as well as a busy year. This means I haven’t really risen to the challenge very well! I need to think very carefully about next year’s JQ challenge and only do it if I feel I can do it properly.
I have enjoyed working with the fabric that I made by doing gestural marks on the floor ie from a distance. I will do more fabric that way. I also like the texture that has come from cheaper cloth than I usually used.
I made my October Journal Quilt a couple of weeks ago and forgot to blog it.
The blue patterned pieces are paper I made as a result of Isobel Hall’s workshop. I wanted to see how it would piece together and if I could do a bigger quilt. Whilst this one looks fine, I am not convinced these lovely papers will make a large quilt that I am happy with. It won’t bend well in a machine and of course, you can’t really press the seams – I forgot that you can’t iron the paper – well, unless you want a very mucky iron!! So I will stick to using these papers for book covers.
Back to FMQ for November’s JQ. Yvonne and I had spent a couple of messy days large mark making, first on paper and then on fabric. The paper or fabric was on the floor and we had to work standing up – I got very messy feet!! The JQ uses the fabric which was done in black print paste dye. Unfortunately it is Kemtex’s black that washes blue – but I still like the results. They have a Japanese feel to them.
Not yet the end of unexpected results. I cut up the fabric into 6 by 11 inches patches and pieced it. My Juki had just come back from the “hospital” so I decided to try free motion quilting with it. I wish I hadn’t – it will never FMQ successfully as it jerks and pulls when you change direction – it is now off to the knacker’s yard. In case, you are considering a Juki, this is the Exceed F600 which is their most expensive domestic machine. I understand that the straight stitch only Juki is fine for FMQ. So I moved back onto my old Bernina to see if it was me – it is not. The FMQ I did with the Bernina is fine. Unfortunately, the large piece of fabric is now no good for a quilt so I have cut out a section of the Bernina stitched fabric to use for this month’s JQ.
It has been a very busy summer, much of it without a good WiFi service. We decided in July to bring our canal boat from the Cheshire to Devizes as we had sold our northern home. It took us 17 days boating and locking but overall nearer 25 as we had to wait in Oxford for the waters in the Thames to recede. Even then, when the boat was allowed on the Thames, it did 8mph – that is 4mph more than it is actually capable of in still water!
So now I need to get back to blogging and completing my JQs and other pieces which are collecting too fast in the MUST QUILT pile.
Here is September’s JQ. It was improvisionally pieced adding line piecing. The fabrics are hand dyed and then discharged with formosol. Not intentionally, a windsurfer sail has appeared in the piecing, hence the name – “Blue Sail”
I was challenged to make my next 4 journal quilts, the yellow ones, as one piece and do some free motion quilting on them ie free up from my normal very tight anc controlled quilting!!
Oh dear, I should try walking before I run!! The improvisional piecing was more complicated that I have been doing – not bad. Should have taken a picture of the whole top. Yellow was tricky to work with as I have to have 75% yellow in each JQ and I found that quite difficult as there is not enough interest or variation in yellows.
And then I quilted – well, I should have tried to do something more simple that try to replicate shards. It really needed unpicking and starting again but I am a little short of time and need to post them all by end of August so the report says “Must try harder” and I shall need to repeat the exercise for the blue JQs.
Ahead of time, done the last two JQ’s for the first quarter. I am getting better at fine line piecing – not sure it was clever to add it to improvional piecing – it would have been easier to have straighter pieces to stitch together. I do now know the secret. On the second piece, don’t bother with the 1/4th inch seam, just make sure that the line is evenly one 1/8th inch whilst not loosing the edges meeting evenly so the seams will still press out flat. A bit like rubbing your stomach and patting your head!!
So here they are – better than the last two – more colourful and even a little bit of design!!
Originally, this was just long pieces – then I had the courage to make a horizontal cut and insert a red line. Glad I did.
Very fiesty colours this time. I decided that it was best faced, rather than bound. Keeping the corners neat is a bit of a challenge on so small a piece when faced. I may have broken the 25% of other colours on this one – not sure. It was good for me as I had decided I won’t be able to use the main fabric in this JQ – I now know how I can use fabric that looks great but doesn’t immediately tell me what to do with it. This exercise will also help with the landscape quilts I am planning to make.
Next month, we start on yellows. I have a better stash of yellows – just need to decide what technique to use.
I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do the challenge this year – the idea of 4 red, 4 yellow and 4 blue didn’t really appeal – and it is still an issue! As I learnt a lot about quilting doing the challenge last year, I decided that I better do it this year and use the experience to further my quilting techniques. So the 1st four red quilts will be line pieced as I need to get more accurate at it.
Here are the first two quilts, red in A4 portrait format:
Two more to go before the end of April – no pressure!!
Finally finished my last two quilts for December and January. Getting my head round doing them proved difficult. Part of the problem was starting my piece for Bletchley Park’s exhibition at the end of February. The rest was sheer procrastination!
So here they are – first the December one which used provisional piecing which proved quite difficult on a small quilt.
And the final one for January this year – a single button with buttonhole quilting.
Now the burning question – do I do the challenge again this year? It is colour based this time, 4 months of red, 4 of yellow and 4 of blue. Also A4 which is a new format for me and won’t fit in my box of JQ’s.
Slightly out of sequence, I have finished my July JQ. The yellow has not photographed well – the yellow patch and beads are much closer in colour than the photo shows. Also feel the quilt is a bit messy, lacks good design principles and not professional enough – it very nearly became a UFO however, time is marching on and I need to start on my September JQ.