Reverse Applique Progress

This is how my piece looks so far; I’ve reverse appliqued 11 cloud shapes so far, 8 more to go. If you look carefully you can see 3 white cloud shapes, those are pattern pieces which I’m “auditioning” to see where clouds will look good on the remaining available quilt surface. This is a better view:

The surface looks a bit crooked because the fabric isn’t lying flat against the wall; the fabric that’s laminated is stiff and has no drape, so I have to really smooth it down to get an accurate read on the surface. I’m feeling confident it will quilt well, though.

I was distracted for a day with the 12 pounds of cherries I got at the store on sale recently; I used them to make a pie with the last of the lard from Prairie Pride Farms, it is THE best lard and it’s worth every penny:

It took me a few hours, it seemed, to pit all the cherries; in the end, enough for 3 pies. I had to freeze 2 pie’s worth because I don’t have any more lard, and according to the Prairie Pride website, they aren’t shipping until September, when it may cool down after the hottest summer on record.

It’s good I didn’t bake 3 pies or I probably would’ve eaten them all myself. I can’t tell you how good it turned out: check out the flake on the crust:

Recipe:

Pie crust for 2 pies

4 1/2 cups pitted cherries tossed with 1 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 4 pinches cinnamon. Toss these ingredients, then add 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Put in pie crust, use egg wash to anchor down the lattice strips cut from the second pie crust. Bake for 1 hour at 350. Cool on a rack to keep crust flaky and firm.

Cloud Catastrophe: Sewing in the Clutch Averts Disaster

I left my camera in my brother’s car for a few days and wasn’t able to post any photos of progress on my art quilt.

Of course, the other reason I wasn’t able to post is because I hit a huge impediment. Part of my design includes 19 clouds–to represent the 19 victims of the January 8 shooting who survived; the clouds will each be cut out of my quilt top using reverse applique. Last weekend, I cut out my first cloud, and used satin stitch around the reverse applique:

OMG. Yuck. I was so disappointed. It was just to hard for me to roll up my quilt top and maneuver it through my machine to keep the satin stitch smooth, instead the stitch was all jerky. This cloud will not do; it’s just unacceptable. I needed a solution.

So….as so often is the case, when one applique fails….apply another applique on top to cover it up. I drew another cloud around my failed cloud…

…and pinned some fabric to the back and cut out that cloud shape, neatly disposing of the failed cloud. 😦

I needed a new method of cover up the seam of my new cloud. What to do. I thought of trying free-motion zig-zag, but then I thought I’d try out my new Juki and used free-motion straight-stitch to sew circles and curls over the seam, which will keep it from fraying.

I cut out a sample cloud with same sample paper-laminated fabric for the inside and some hand-dyed yellow cotton on the outsdie. The laminated fabric is from a photo I took of the Vietnam War memorial on the National Mall.

Here’s a closeup. I liked the way it looked.

So I used the technique on my new cloud; here it is, fresh off the machine and still in it’s embroidery hoop.

Here’s a close-up:

One cloud down, 18 more to go!!

Quilt Top Is Almost Finished

Progress is bleeping slow, that’s all I can say. Having a day job and trying to get an art project done right now seem to me to be mutually exclusive occupations.

Tonight I finished all the “couching”, which is sewing down yarn around the unfinished edges of reverse applique.

Here’s a reverse applique with unfinished edges:

And here it is with yarn sewn down around the edges:

On the back, you can see the bobbin thread on the tear-away stabilizer;  I used sheer polyester thread for the topstich. Polyester is the good invisible thread; nylon is the bad invisible thread (it turns yellow over time).

I then tore away the stabilizer, as the name of the product suggests; all of the layers of the quilt top are quite evident here:

Voila: here it is, everything is DONE except now placing the appliques, which I’ll do over the next few weeks, and hopefully get started quilting this thing by Thanksgiving. There will be about 5 desert poppy appliques placed on top of this design when it’s done: