Friday, September 30, 2016

A Sampling of Fall

As I've shared in previous posts, fall really is my favorite time of year. It's hard to say which month of fall that I enjoy the most. September brings the hints of colors on the mountainside and cooler evening temperatures. By late September, the passing of the autumnal equinox brings us longer hours of darkness that drive home the message that summer has passed. October brings out the full colors of the season along with children planning their costumes for a night of trick-or-treating. November is a more reflective month; the rich colors have faded, and the bare, brown tree branches remain. We may see a few weeks of Indian summer or some early snowfall as we prepare for the Thanksgiving season.
I thought I would use this month's post to share a wall quilt I made a few years ago. It is fall-themed and features a sampling of different quilting techniques and patterns. The name of this piece is Wonky Fall Foliage and is designed by Sandy Workman of Pine Mountain Designs. Her shop, Pine Needles, is located in Gardner Village in West Jordan, Utah. This shopping center features a number of shops and boutiques, including Archibald's Restaurant which is housed in an historic flour mill.
I began this project as part of a class offered by Village Dry Goods in Brigham City, Utah. I didn't finish the project that day, but I was introduced to each of the techniques featured in this quilt. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures from when this project was in process to illustrate the techniques, but I will do my best to explain as I go.
The first thing we learned was how to make wonky blocks featured on the top and bottom rows. For someone like me who likes to have everything neat and ordered, being tasked with making blocks that were of irregular angles and off balance was a bit unnerving. You can even see that some of my blocks didn't end up as "wonky" as perhaps they could have. For these blocks, you start with the center square, you then add four strips around the center and press them out. You then use a straight edge ruler and rotary cutter to create irregular angles at each of the corner. The next step is to add another row of fabric strips and then repeat the process of trimming the fabric in such as a way to create irregular angles. After you add the third row of fabric strips all the way around, you "square up" the block to the desired dimensions.

The "grass" in this piece is made up of multiple green prints and features a tumbler block. In case you are wondering, a tumbler block is a tall trapezoid that resembles a tumbler glass. these blocks can be arranged in a number of different ways and using different colors to create patterns.
In my quilt, the small green tumblers are simply arranged in a straight row.
Another fun aspect of this quilt was learning how to paper piece hexagons. I've shared some experiences with paper piecing in another post; however, this project marked the first time I had someone show me the process. In this quilt, the hexagons simply form a dividing line between one portion of the quilt and the other. After I pieced the individual hexagons, I hand-sewed them together and then used a blind stitch to attach them to the quilt top.
Working on the center portion of the quilt introduced me to principles of fusible appliqué, including the use of a light table to help with tracing pieces, and then placing them onto the background fabric. I learned a few other things about fusible appliqué:
  • If the paper doesn't want to peel off nicely from the edge, use a pin to gently scratch through the paper near the middle of the shape and then peel it off starting from the middle and moving out.
  • Be careful that the fusible side of the appliqué fabric is not facing up when you go to iron your pieces to the background fabric. Otherwise your appliqué piece will be stuck to the iron.
  • If faced with the above scenario, a dryer sheet is a useful resource for removing adhesive from the iron. Another technique to remove adhesive is to sprinkle some salt on a piece of paper and iron over the salt. (In case you are wondering, I keep a box of dryer sheets in my sewing room.)
We also learned some embroidery stitches to embellish the appliqué pieces and to help "create" the center picture. I've enjoyed learning different embroidery stitches since I was in elementary school, and I had fun adding stitches to this piece.

I had this piece machine quilted at Village Dry Goods. When I brought it in, it was fun to be announced as "someone who finishes projects." Although I have plenty of "in progress" or "not yet started" projects in my repertoire, I certainly seek to be one who sees projects through to completion. Here is the label I added to the back of this quilt to mark its completion:
Whether we're speaking of the season that reminds of a year coming to a close or finishing a project, there is something satisfying about bringing something to completion. The terms "finish" and "complete" are used throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Depending on the context, they can serve as a warning or provide hope. For example, in some cases, the nations are warned of complete destruction because of their disobedience. In other cases, we see the manifestation of God's glory as a work is brought to completion such as the building of the temple. In yet other uses, complete refers to the state of the individual who is surrendered to Christ. I am going to close with the words of Paul in his second letter to the Corinthian church. In this letter, he challenges these believers to be complete and speaks of the promise in response to their being made complete:
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11