AWM quilt

Remembrance Day

I worked on the poppies today, which felt quite good since today was Remberance Day. I came up with a decent way to quilt the actual flowers, and I've basted the layers of the background + wadding, and I've painted the names for the honour roll! Phew!

I guess I've got 1 flower 99% complete, the middle flower is probably 50%, and I haven't started the top flower at all. So all up, I'm probably half way through. At this rate I should be able to finish Soldier On in time for the Canberra Show.

I'm unimpressed with the top names, which is to be expected since they were the ones I did first, but they will be almost totally covered by poppies anyway. The camera has picked out the shiny silver, it doesn't look quite as bright in real life.

Thanks Soldier On!

Thanks for linking my humble little blog!

I've been working on the sample quilt today, in between enjoying the semi-warm Canberra spring with the kids. It's looking good, I'm so glad I'm not testing out these methods on the main quilt - even though I'm not up to attaching petals to the background I'm still happier not testing on Soldier On yet.

I've taken the design from a photo I took of the poppies straight on, and then cropped significantly.

It gives me the chance to make flowers on a few different angles, which is something I'm going to have to do in the main quilt.

I hung BarkLife at mum's place today to hang until it goes off to Geelong for Expressions, and spent ages thinking about the green parts and how they've been quilted. I think I can do something very similar with red wool and felt to create the petals.

So this is the printed full-scale version of the poppies, which I've outlined.
I've made a few of the petals but they're definately a work in progress. I'll add some pics tomorrow :)
Last night I laid out the background for Soldier On, with the black fabric folded to fit where it will eventually go. I'm much happier now I can see how it all goes together!

Almost finished the background

and I bought the fabric for the name panels! Very productive, especially considering the week that I've been having.

The fabric I bought for the panels is just beautiful. It cost a bomb, but the other ladies in the shop couldn't stop stroking it. It's brilliant because it reflects the light the way I wanted it to, it's shiny but it still has depth, and it's very dark but can look light when the light is shining on it (as you can see in the pic).

I still have to buy the red fabric for the poppies, but I'm thinking of getting a light coloured homespun and dying/painting the flowers myself. Cheaper and more effective.

I used a sample piece to see how it would sew, I'm not convinced I need to cut it into individual panels before sewing it on, I think that I can achieve the same effect with quilting and in any case most of the panel will be covered in poppies anyway.

I'm not sold on a method for the name roll, I tried quilting in gold thread, and using acrylic and fabric paints, but I'm thinking of using a template and sponge stencilling them on.

I've finished most of the background, the windows and pavers, I just have to finish the ceiling and tidy things up a bit! I'm still not a huge fan of zigzag stitch, but it certainly has it's uses. I ran out of the varigated grey shiny thread with two windows to go, in fact I'm starting to run out of lots of threads. I think the size of the quilt is using up much more than I'm used to.
I've also been looking into the Houston Quilt Festival, they have an In Full Bloom (floral quilt) competition, with a submission date of April 2013, so I'm thinking of creating a smaller sample poppy quilt for that comp. It would be good to see how the black fabric sews, as well as giving me a chance to try out the poppy! Once I've finished the background I'll move onto the small quilt, then come back to the big one.

Soldier On, piecing

I've been working to get the 'background' ready to put together for the quilt, and I've been using some old fashioned pattern piecing methods.

Basically I use greaseproof paper to copy the size of the pieces I need from the full scale drawing, you can see since the drawing is tacked onto the wall I'm using blue tack to keep the greaseproof in place while I copy the lines.

Then I align the pattern with the fabric so the grain is running the right way (this is very new for me, normally I'm much more relaxed about my approach to grain direction etc.)

Then I cut out the fabric with the pattern piece pinned to it. I've been adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance to all the pieces, I love my 1/4 inch patchwork foot. I've been allowing extra fabric for where I know the edges will be and where the pieces meet in the middle (at the 'soldier') which I can always trim later if it's not needed. There is nothing worse than having it almost perfect, but having no wriggle room.

And here you can see the results of all this greaseproof paper. The steps were very frustrating as each is on a different angle to account for perspective. No doubt some quilting nut has worked out a way to cut fabric like this with minimum effort but I had to do things the slow way this time.
I think this is the only accurate method for foundation piecing something this unique, unfortunately there are no short cuts when you want to get it right :( which is a shame because I love shortcuts.
It is definately effective though, I'm loving the results already!

scale drawing for Soldier On.

I've been thinking about this project for a little while, but finally got around to making the full scale version of the drawings. I would have preferred white paper, but newspaper will do this time. I don't suppose 'real' artists would use newspaper, but there you go.

It's a little difficult to see the details, basically its big red poppies on the left, then there is a soldier on the right. You can see a little better in the sketch here:

and this photo gives you some idea, but I've played around with the scale so the poppies on the left are much closer to the viewer. I took this one ages ago, when I hadn't even thought of this quilt, when I tried to go back and take a better photo with the quilt in mind I couldn't replicate the combination of light, shadow, and no people, so this is the image I'm sticking with!
I had an idea to call it Soldier On, in honour of the charity which supports wounded and returning Australian soldiers, and I'm hoping to get their support to use their name as the quilt title. So I'm sticking with that name, until I get around to speaking with them.