Thursday, September 19, 2019

How to Make a Fabric Collage Quilt

In my last post, I told you that I was making another fabric collage quilt, like the llama I had made a while back. Tanya asked for step by step directions, so I will happily show you the steps I followed. I think it will show you how flexible this process can be.

What you will need:
  • Some kind of small scraps. Since I need really small pieces, I like using the fabric that is in my fabric trash can.  I used strips I had created when I trimmed up some blocks.
  • Some kind of adhesive. I used a fusible steam-a-seam2 sheet, which then requires an iron, and a glue stick.
  • Needle and thread to sew things down. With so many little pieces, you will want to do a lot of sewing, so a sewing machine will make it much easier. If you want to hand stitch, you could add a layer of tulle to help hold all those little pieces down.


Step One: Choose the Design

 I decided I wanted a camel to go with my llama.  I drew the camel on the side of the side of the fusible that stays on the piece until it is ready to be fused down to the base.  When you are drawing on that side, make sure that you reverse the position so that the piece will be facing the right way. The camel drawing is facing the left, and as you will see later on the post, the camel will face right on the quilt.

This photo is obviously a recreation. The actual fusible sheet is bigger than a sheet of copier paper. If you want to save fusible, you may want to place the shape in a corner of the sheet instead of the middle.


Step Two: Place the Fabric Scraps on the Fusible

I didn't take a picture of the whole sheet, but I think it will be easy enough to figure out with the words. Take the paper off from one side of the fusible and set it aside. This is the paper that does not have the drawing on it. Lay the paper on a table fusible side up as you want the fabric to stick to the glue side. If possible, working on the ironing board would be best since you won't then have to move it to the ironing board.   You may want to tape the fusible sheet down to keep it secure, but I did not do that.

Place the fabric strips face up on the fusible. It is better to slightly overlap the fabric strips. If you have a piece that does not stick to the fusible where you want it, like places where there is too much of an overlap, you can a glue stick to add glue to the back of the fabric to stick it down. I just placed the strips down randomly, but of course, if you wanted a particular color in a particular part of the shape, you can do that as well.

Make sure there is fabric that covers the entire perimeter of the drawn area.  It is better to go slightly over so you can make a clean cut. Instead of just putting fabric on the camel shape, I covered the entire sheet of fusible.  The picture above shows the pieces I had left after the camel was cut out.


Step Three: Cut Out the Shape and Place it on the Background

I actually cut out the camel and placed it on the background next, but I don't have a picture of that, so I will move on to the other shapes because they show the process better. I looked at the shape of the leftover fabric and tried to imagine what animal would fit on that shape.

In this case, I placed the drawing on top of the fabric and cut out the perimeter. Since these drawings were on top of the fabric, I did not have to reverse the drawing. If I had wanted the animals to face the other way, I could have placed the drawing on the back of the fabric and then cut out the shape.

I used a pin to hold the drawing to the fabric and was able to pinch the shapes with my thumb and forefinger to hold them down and did not have any trouble. I was able to fix any fabric shifting before cutting.

 No actual cats were harmed in this process.

You can also combine pieces to make your shapes.  I made the fins with separate fabric because I wanted the fins to go in different directions.

Now it is time to bring out the iron. You now want to press the shape onto the background fabric. Use that wax-like paper you set aside. Or if you have a pressing sheet, you can use that. Place it over the shape to protect your iron from getting any fusible glue on it. Press the shape onto the background to secure it.


Step Four: Stitch Down the Strips


At long last, I present a picture of the camel. It does exist!  The next step is to stitch it down. Some quilters would have insisted on pressing the background fabric until the folds were ironed out before adding and stitching the shape.

You can, of course, make a fabric collage as a background, but I decided to keep my backgrounds plain since I will be adding words.

You can add additional strips at this point if you see places where the fusible is peeking through and places where you prefer a different fabric. Also glue down any pieces that still seem loose. For the camel, there was a large piece of scrap that seemed to be too solid and I didn't think it went well with all the skinny pieces, so I added more strips on top of the original strips.  I glued them down with a glue stick to make sure they stayed in place. Make sure to maintain the integrity of the shape by keeping or trimming the new strips inside the perimeter.

I placed the batting underneath the background to do the stitching. I left off the backing which will later be secured with quilting. If you want to prevent lint, you can use felt instead of batting, or add another layer which you will cover with the backing, or if you don't mind a lot of stitching in the backing, you can just consider all the stitching to also be quilting.

I used wavy lines to stitch down the shapes because my free motion foot broke and I was too lazy to get the other one.  For my llama and elephant, I also used a combination of free motion and embroidery stitches to stitch down the fabric. If you are sewing them by hand, placing a piece of  tulle over the shape will help you secure all the pieces.

The key is to secure these little pieces so they don't fly away so the more stitching, the better.

I plan to quilt around the shape with dark thread to make them more prominent, but you can also use a zig zag or buttonhole stitch or otherwise show the outline of the shape onto the background.


Step Five: Add Words


Yes of course this step is required. Why were you expecting me to say it is optional?

The cornier the words, the better. I wrote the words on a sheet of typing paper and pinned it to the paper, and then sewed through the paper to trace the words using a short stitch length.  Then rip off the paper. Tweezers will help remove the rest of the paper.

You can also use a disappearing marking pen to mark the words you can stitch. If your free motion foot is not broken, it is easier to use that to trace the words instead of turning the fabric using a straight stitch.

 You can also avoid the stitching completely by using a permanent fabric pen to write the words on the fabric. Or if your machine has an alphabet, you can get the words on the quilt that way. Or embroider by hand.

I think I will hand stitch or quilt over these letters to make them more prominent.


Step Six: Add Other Embellishments


You probably figured out you can add the embellishments before the words. You can add the eyes and other details either with fused strips, quilting, embroidery, or fabric markers or fabric crayons.  You can also add other things like beads, ribbons, or other quilting scraps.

The original plan was to make a separate camel quilt, but now that I have so many figures, I am thinking about putting all of them on the same quilt. So for now, I will leave you here with "quilt as desired, finish your project your way."

Other tutorials on this blog:
Scalloped Border Tips and Tricks
 Matchstick Mansion Quilt Tutorial
11Suggestions on How to Avoid Unfinished Quilts (UFOs)

Binding Fixes
How to Make Fold Over Binding

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ScrapHappy Saturday

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fabric Trash Fabric

I had to trim the blocks for the batik charity quilt to make them all the same size so they would fit better.  When I saw those little sliver trimmings, I decided that rather than throwing them into the trash, I would make new fabric out of them.  I took a fusible sheet and laid all the trimmings on them. Yes, I did have to add some of my own fabric trimmings, but my fabric trash can is pretty generous like that.

The plan was to make another animal quilt, to go with the llama and the elephant.  There are lots of scraps left so I may have to make more shapes to with it them. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Flip Flop Quilt

It's been a flip flop kind of a week for me, so I thought it was appropriate that I make these flip flop blocks for Stitching Sisters. It is another one of the kits I picked up when I went last time. I had originally thought I should give them a finished top and return the other kits and tell them that I got carried away, but I decided to try to make another quilt top since it is taking me so long to get one back to them.

I was expecting strips of fabric that I could strip piece and subcut them to the proper size, but they were all cut as separate pieces. The vertical strips are cut longer than required by the pattern, but instead of trimming them to fit the pattern, I will use them as they are, and just put borders on the sides and not on the top and bottom. Less work for  me. I don't think the quilts are required to be a certain size.

I had searing pain on my jaw and got a root canal. I was really happy that the dentist was able to see me the next day and take care of it right away, but when they took an x-ray at the end, it looks like he didn't go deep enough so I will have to go back in to get it redone.

Another thing that made it a flip flop kind of a week was that I called the sewing place to see if Opal was back from the spa. He said no, it wasn't there, and they just had a delivery and it wasn't in there and there weren't any Opals there. But after I asked him questions about where it was in the process and how long it would take he said that it was there and I could pick it up. When I went to pick it up, I asked him when they had gotten it, and he admitted they should have called me to let me know it was ready.

Also, I was supposed to have work for a little bit this week, so I treated myself to lunch at a restaurant after the root canal.  I know taxes and insurance would take all/most of the money but I felt I deserved lunch after that dentist visit.  I came back to find out there was no work. At least I could rest and recover.

So yeah, it has been a flip flop kind of a week, but it worked out okay and there were good things in there with the bad.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 37

I spent this week sewing the flip flop blocks and have put them in rows. I need to join the rows and add the borders on this and the previous quilt. It's been super hot and I didn't feel like pressing a quilt top.

On the cleaning front, I have removed all non craft stuff out of the craft/sewing room.  Instead of tackling the craft supplies, I decided to process all the non craft stuff and take them to their final destination before working on the craft stuff.  I did most of it as I went along, but I saved the really time-consuming stuff to do downstairs. Zeus has arthritis and although he is doing better, he does not come up the stairs anymore, and I have a box of paperwork that I need to sort through and file/recycle that I can do downstairs.
15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 221 out of 258 sessions
Success Rate: 86%

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15 Minutes to Stitch
Moving it Forward

Monday, September 9, 2019

Taking the Scenic Route to Declutter Sewing Room

My sewing machine, Opal, is at the spa this week. She deserves a rest after all the work I put her through - sewing practically every day. I was waiting to find a good time to let her go, until I realized there would never be a good time to let her go.

The original plan was to sew the binding on the drunkard's path quilt and then hand stitch the binding while she was away.  If I ran out of work (haha), I could prepare more applique blocks for 1857 or another quilt.  It turns out that I didn't even sew the binding on before I had to take her in.  I thought the repair person came on Tuesdays so getting her there on Monday made the most sense, but when I got there, they said they will ship her to Detroit.  There's nothing like a spa day in Detroit.

In the meantime, I haven't made much progress on the binding.  I did choose a fabric and cut the strips.  Instead of working on applique, I decided to do some extra decluttering and housework.  I had half a can of white exterior paint. I brought it out so I could repaint the wind chimes that had fallen down before I put them back up. The can was rusty and the paint was drying out but it was still usable so I decided to use it up, straight out of the can. I ran around the house and gave anything that was already painted white a patch job - mostly the garage door which was completely repainted, but there was still paint left so the side of the house and the porch also got touch ups here and there.

I also gave my neighbor a couple of things that were in the garage. So although I am officially decluttering the sewing room, other things in the house are also getting decluttered.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 36

This week I selected the fabric and cut the binding for the drunkard's path quilt.  I also took photos of older quilts and showed them to you.  In addition, I have continued the declutter of the sewing room.  Although most of this time was spent on removing items that don't have to do with sewing or crafting,  I am going to take full credit for stitching this week. 

Having more space to move around and find the crafting things is preparing for stitching, and all that willpower it took to avoid working on any other project definitely deserves some credit.
15 Minute sessions of stitching this month: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 214 out of 251 sessions
Success Rate: 85%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

Friday, September 6, 2019

More Small Quilts

When I posted the Meet and Greet post on Tuesday, I took a sampling of my small quilts on my porch and photographed them to give a taste of the variety of quilts I make.

I store them in drawers, and I showed one drawer's worth of quilts.

The small quilts in the other drawer cried "foul!"so I have decided that they too deserve a chance to go on an outing to the porch floor and have their own blog post.

You can click on the small quilts category in the sidebar or the small quilts label at the bottom of this post to see the backstory of a lot of them.

Click on this link to see the first batch of quilts I showed  at the Meet and Greet.


 In other news, I went to the library the other day and found some quilting books for sale.

The sale had the perfect variety of quilt topics that interest me. The Beautiful Botanicals is my favorite.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Drunkard Path Quilting Closeups

I am still figuring out what fabric to use for the binding of the Drunkard's Path quilt, but  Kyle and Cynthia have asked me to show the quilting of the Drunkard's Path quilt. I am happy to oblige since it will show why took me so long to do it all. 

 The quilt is composed of "rings" around a center circle, shown above. In this circle, I put ovals inside each quarter circle with a sort of ribbon candy design inside each oval.  There is a grid in the center. And outside the oval are fingers. have no idea what to call any of these quilting designs since I just doodled but hopefully the descriptions, along with the picture will make sense.

In this picture, the dark pink on the bottom is the center circle.  I put some zig zag quilting around the dark areas on both sides and surrounded the center circle with petal shapes. I continued the petal shapes all the way up the light areas.

Going out further from the center circle past the light ring is a ring of dark area.  There is a light semicircle that juts into the dark area.  I put a fan shapes in there.  In the dark area, I tried to make these S shape quilting. This was hard to do. It requires a lot of concentration as to which direction you are supposed to be going while figuring out which space needs to be filled.  It wasn't very successful in all the areas, but it is a dark area so I didn't worry too much about going the right way. This ring is the first ring I quilted, and I did each semicircle individually for the most part although I did add some overlap to blend them.

I tried to do all the dark blue areas first, then dark purple to avoid too many thread changes, but once I finished the purple, I decided to just do all the dark areas with the dark purple. Hopefully it adds some consistency to the rings.

This is the first light ring I quilted, and I decided to quilt them in one big section instead of individual blocks to treat it as a big ring. I outlined the dark areas on each side and made these big leaves. In hindsight, I should have treated each half separately - just do one side of the stem and come back to do the other side, but by the time I thought to do that, I had gone so far, I decided to keep doing it that way to be consistent.

Then there is another dark "ring".  It is only in the corners and doesn't go all the way around the quilt.  I quilted these chains on them. I enjoyed making these. I like the design and the area to quilt is much smaller and it is in the corner so it is easy to maneuver.

The final "ring" is the light corner.  I separated this into rows and doodled a design in each row. Each of the corners has these rows, but they don't have the same quilting in each row.  These rows don't go all the way up to the corner  The final quilting has more of those chains going to the corners.  I wanted to make sure I was sewing up towards the corners to keep the fabric smooth.

I trimmed the quilt to the block size for a tutorial I will prepare for you, but as you can see, it is coming up a little bit short and you can see the batting in the corner. The tutorial will show how to fix that.

I will show you the whole quilt after it is bound.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Shasta Matova's Online Quilters Meet and Greet

The Earth Laughs in Flowers by Shasta Matova, finished 2017
Hello! Welcome to my blog, High Road Quilter! I am participating in the 2019 Online Quilter Meet and Greet that is hosted by Benita Skinner. If it is your first time here, I will tell you a little bit about myself as an introduction. I hope to entice you to come back to see what I make next! If it isn't your first time, hopefully you will still learn something about me.

 Let's see, we live in the great state of Ohio.  Ohio is considered the midwest, although most people find that surprising because it is closer to the east coast of the United States than the west. It is also called the gateway to the west. People here don't talk about how wonderful it is to live here, like they do in Chicago or New York, but it really is a great place to live. There is lots to see and do here.

I'm so special, the mapmaker even put a star to show you where I am.

I have been quilting for many years. I started quilting way before I started this blog, when I was in my twenties. You can tell I am no longer in my twenties since this blog is more than ten years old. This blog focuses mainly on quilting, as it is the primary hobby that has picture worthy posts, but it also shows my attempts at other types of crafts, gardening, genealogy, and photography. We have a great library system here, so I also post a random book review on my other blog, High Road Reader, as well as on GoodReads.  While I am giving you ways to stalk me, you can also find me on Facebook.

The very first quilt I ever made was a storm at sea. I didn't know quilts had difficulty levels.  It took me a decade or two to recover from that trauma. The career, schooling and child-raising might also have had something to do with the lapse in quilting.

However, I tend to be persistent, and I tried again. Now I quilt every single day, almost. It might be just a few minutes a day, but it is almost every day. I even write a post every week, (or two weeks or month, depending on when I remember to post an update) to let you know of my progress.

And just like I play loose with what day it is or how often I do something, I play loose with the types of quilts I make.  My profile lists nine types to show a variety, so I figure I should show you some of those to prove it.

  • traditional quilts
  • improv quilts
  • art quilts
  • modern quilts
  • liberated quilts
  • pieced quilts
  • applique quilts
  • hand quilted quilts
  • machine quilted quilts

My initial idea was to create a collage for these different types of quilts, but when I pulled up the first picture, I couldn't figure out what category to put it in, and while I could put them in more than one category, it would get overwhelming since I have made about 100 quilts so far.  Instead I am sprinkling some photos of quilts and let you do the categorization.  No one will know if you skip that step.

Some of these are all brand new, never-seen-before photographs. I make bigger quilts, but it was easier to grab a stack of small quilts and take them outside to photograph. I put them on the porch and took photographs quickly without arranging or straightening them because I didn't want a wind gust to take any of them away.

My latest finish: Neighborhood by Shasta Matova
The photographs on this post is just a sample. So please stick around and browse.  If you click on the finished quilts link above or the quilt reveal link in the side bar, you will get a quick glance at a lot of my finished quilts.  Scrolling down through the posts will let you see the variety.  You can also choose a random date or a topic that interests you from the side bar.

My best quilts, my masterpieces, haven't been finished yet.  Some of them might even already have been started. Be sure to come back to see them. We're always open!

To visit other quilters participating in the 2019 Online Quilter's Meet and Greet, please click on this image.

To enter in a drawing for a prize, click on this image.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Finished Quilting Drunkard's Path

When I looked at the list of my quilts that I have been keeping ever since I started quilting, the second UFO was the drunkard's path quilt.  The top had already been pieced and it just needed to be sandwiched and quilted.  At the time I made the quilt, I really had a hard time doing any free motion quilting, and I wasn't all that good at straight line quilting either.

I can't say I am better at quilting now, but I have more confidence and less fear. Since this is an older quilt with dated fabrics, I felt free to just add stitching to add texture.  I really enjoyed doodling on the Adinkra quilt, so I decided to do the same on this quilt.

So for quite a few months, I have been slowly taking parts of this quilt and quilting it.  A few minutes at a time, as the ideas of what to quilt in the spaces come to me, and as I can convince myself to touch a quilt sandwich in the heat of the summer.

I am happy to announce today that there are no basting safety pins on the sandwich, which means that the quilting is officially done!  The quilt isn't finished of course, since it still needs to be trimmed and bound, but it is certainly much closer to completion now.

The pictures on this post obviously have nothing to do with the Drunkard's Path quilt and are there for your viewing pleasure only.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 35

These two weeks, as the days and weeks continue to blur together, I have been working on quilting the ethnic drunkard path quilt, and finished my mini of the month. I have also been cleaning the sewing room. You may get a bit of a deja vu from my last posting, but, what can I say, I have been consistently avoiding any distractions this month.
15 Minute sessions of stitching this month: 14 out of 14
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 207 out of 244 sessions
Success Rate: 85%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

Saturday, August 31, 2019

My Favorite August Photos

I haven't been carrying around my camera lately, so my photos for this year are limited in terms of variety.  I have already shown you most of the best ones throughout the month, but there are a few left, and while they are pretty common for me, they are probably not common in your part of your world. Plus, I like looking at the summer pictures on my blog when it is wintertime.

It was a dry summer so there weren't a lot of blooms.  Besides quilts, the passion flowers that grow profusely in my yard and Zeus were the main subjects of my photos this month.

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Wandering Camera