Thursday, March 22, 2012

Super Swap--Table Runner

Okay, my partner received her table runner, so I can show it off now.  (Oh, and I apologize in advance for the horrid photos taken in bad lighting at night.)  The runner is around22-23 inches wide and 68 inches long (I measured, just can't find the paper I wrote it on) and traveled all the way to Pell City, Alabama.  My partner, Wendy (stitchduchess2), loves peacocks, batiks, scrappy, colorful, modern, shades of gray, crazy quilting and has some really big tables at her house--so this is kind of a combination of all that. 

The light gray is Kona Ash, the dark gray is Kona Medium Gray, and the binding is Kona Black.
 I debated between binding in black and turquoise, but decided the black framed the table runner best.  Each peacock block is 16" square (I think that's around 22 inches wide on point) and made up of four 8 inch blocks--three tail feather blocks and one body (I based the body block on a vintage quilt I saw).  I used the same fabrics for the body blocks but each tail feather is from a different fabric (yeah, I've got a lot of fabric in these tones...and this is only a fraction of it).  I love the mix of various prints and batiks.  Here's one block:

The peacocks actually face in opposite directions when looking at the table runner, but, I took their pictures so that they'd be heads up for you.  Here's the second peacock:

Here's a view of the quilting on each end.  The parallel lines intersect in the half-circle ends to form a cross hatching.  I did not mark out the lines but rather used the sewing machine foot as a general guide.  I didn't want perfectly straight lines, but rather was going for a bit of an organic feel to imitate the lines on a feather.  I thought this would contrast nicely with the paper-pieced points and lines of the peacock tails.  Normally, I probably wouldn't worry about washing something like a table runner before sending it out, but with that cross-hatching, I wanted more texture and unwashed left it kind of flat.  It puffed just the right amount with one handwash cycle! 

Batting used was Warm and White.

Each peacock was quilted with a turquoise thread which is mostly visible from the back side, but I think stays nicely unobtrusive on the front.

You can see some of the knots from the French knots on the back as I didn't add these until after I had quilted and bound the table runner.  BTW, I used Sulky rayon threads in Turquoise and Light Silver for this project which gives it a bit of sheen when the light hits it just right
 Here's how the quilting goes for the inset half square triangles on the sides between peacock blocks.  I kept the lines parallel to the peacocks, meeting in the middle to form points.

The French knots and head feathers are embroidered using DMC perle cotton floss (size 5).  I used a couple of blenders, one with blues and the other with greens, to coordinate with the fabrics.  Each block has slightly different placements for the knots.  You can also see how I outline or stitched-in-the-ditch quilted in the turquoise and then a bit further out outlined in the light silver.

Here's the other block--you can see how the knots are similar but different.  Isn't that feather fabric gorgeous?  I just love the gold shimmering on it!

A final look at the peacock table runner.  Whew, that was a whole lot of quilting, but I really was pleased with how it came out.  Even better was receiving the thank you from my partner (here's part of it):

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for my stunning peacock table runner! When I opened the package and saw the peacock block I was so happy and overwhelmed with your design for me! I had happy tears as I just sat and looked at my stunning runner! I will always treasure this runner and it will have a prominent place in my home. My 20yr old son came in and said "wow mom that is beautiful!" He really liked the colors you chose and so do I. He never comments on my swaps, but on this one he did, it is that beautiful!
 I know those of you who quilt, sew or make handicrafts know how great that made me feel after all the planning and work that went into this project--because in the end, you know what you made might not be perfect, but you sure hope the recipient loves it like it was. 

So, there you have it--one peacock table runner!  I plan on putting the block pattern online in April for download so stay tuned for an update.  (It's really not that hard to make!)  I plan on making this block again and I'd love to see your versions too.  I can't wait to show you the lovely table runner I received for the swap, let's hope the light is better tomorrow!
Super Swap--Table RunnerSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fabric for DQS12

This week a few packages showed up for some of my swaps, including the solids I plan on using for my DQS 12 quilt.  Although it was cloudy the day I took these pictures, you can still see how lovely the range is.  The first three bundles came from Pink Chalk Fabrics.  I do love their quick service, nice packaging and mixed bundles.

From left to right:  Moda Bella Solids American Blue, Kona Cotton Dusty Blue, Robert Kaufman Quilters Linen Taupe, Essex Linen Dusty Blue, Pure Organics Steel, Kona Cotton Sage, Kona Cotton Herb, Essex Linen Jungle, Moda Bella Solids Etchings Charcoal.  These are from the Parson Gray Curious Nature Coordinates Collection.

From the Apple Cider Bundle (left to right):  Kona Cotton Paprika, Kona Cotton Curry, Moda Bella Solids Ochre, Kona Cotton Raisin, Kona Cotton Butterscotch, Kona Cotton Moss, Kona Cotton Amber, Kona Cotton Brown.

From left to right (August-Hot Summer Nights Bundle):  Kona Cotton Dark Violet, Kona Cotton Coral, Kona Cotton Violet, Kona Cotton School Bus, Kona Cotton Cerise, Robert Kaufman Pure Organic Cherry, Kona Cotton Chocolate, Robert Kaufman Pure Organic Orange.
This last bundle set I bought from Sew Fresh Fabrics on Etsy.  I needed a few more greens and yellows.  I love how each had a label on it (easily peeled off), so I could remember the colors.  This was the bundle inspired by Outfoxed Outwitted.

Left to right (all Kona):  Natural, Medium Gray, Herb, Zucchini, Olive, Basil, Banana, Corn Yellow.
How did I choose all these colors?  Well, my secret partner loves modern, contemporary styles and leans towards warm earthy tones (both of which, I admit are not my norms--but, I love being pushed in my creativity and while I don't normally get to work with all solids or these tones, I do like them).  I did a little checking on Google images and after seeing photos of the beautiful area that my partner lives in, I choose colors from the surrounding landscape (sky, mountains, trees, wild flowers, earth, etc.) and then found mixed fabric bundles containing the colors I was going for.  I'm looking forward to mixing in the textures of the linens with the cottons.  Hopefully, these will all translate well into the design I've got floating in my head--guess we'll see!
Fabric for DQS12SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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