I ain't skeered of no stinkin' McKenna Ryan quilts anymore! In fact, I'm rather puffed up with pleasure at the leap forward.
|Koo Koo Puff|
Her designs have lots of little fused pieces that are semi-insane to cut out and put together. In many places there are multiple layers which are quite thick with fabric and fusible. The thought of doing the actual stitching on these has frankly freaked me out, both in terms of the level of FMQ skill needed and the difficulty of working through all those finicky layers.
This month I made myself Get Over It and finally got to work on the ones I like least out of the mini collection for "Sea Breeze." This has a series of nine 17"-square scenes, and they will be stretch-mounted on canvas frames to be wall art.
|The Snooty Sisters|
"The Snooty Sisters" were up first. I decided I wanted to further complicate this project by doing trapunto on the marine figures. No big deal: pull out scraps of my wool batting, pin it behind that portion of the quilt, and do the applique stitching for the trapunto layer. (I'm going to work up a tutorial for that with later companion minis.) Well, my Sapphire has a very sensitive tension system, and that fusible stuff really threw it for a loop. Literally. Loops and nasty nests on the back like this one:
ALL OVER THE PLACE, no matter how I tried to compensate for it. I was bad. After taking out and redoing about 400 of them, I left all the ones you see here and just pulled everything tight to the back as well as I could and tied them securely.
It was all going to be hidden away, anyhow, and this was meant for my own studio, not any competition or commission. Still, I was pulling my hair out at the thought of 8 more of these, and was ready to chuck the whole set back into deep storage for another 4 years!
But then I saw a very timely conversation on Margaret Gunn's Facebook page where somebody offered the tip of applying a drop of Sewer's Aid directly to the machine needle periodically. BRILLIANT! Problem solved!! Remarkably, when I did the trapunto/applique stitching on "Koo Koo Puff," not a single nest! And I was so excited on that one that I forgot to snap a picture and rushed right into the next step of relayering it with the full batting and its backing. So you don't get to see the beautiful sight of a perfectly clean backside with smooth, happy stitching along all the layering batt.
So, I got both of these quilted up. I kept things pretty simple (but with my own twists), because I like the look in the pattern pictures of them finished that way on the frames.
I threw in some bubble doodles in silver hologram thread for the seahorses. It's super sparkly in real life:
No binding was necessary, or even desirable - I just finished the edges with zig-zag stitching because it's all going to be hidden away when I take the whole set over to be mounted. (7 more to finish, first.) For now, I've pinned them up by my ironing station.
I really love the effect achieved with the trapunto! Can you see the dimension the figures have?
Especially this guy! He is COOL with all his poof! (What else could I do with a puffer, fish, I ask?) I went all out and gave him two trapunto layers, in fact. The first one lies under his face and one more "ring", and the other lies under his whole silhouette. It worked perfectly without creating a shelf in the exterior hand of the quilt:
It did cause the outer strips that have no quilting to ruffle up a bit, but those pull out flat very easily, so they won't show when it's mounted. If this much puff was put into a non-mounted project, those outer areas would need fairly dense fill-quilting to tame them.
|It was cheaper to buy the 9 unassembled frames from an online art supply store than to get 2 ready-to-go frames from Michaels. Now, if I could just find what I did with the connecting hardware. . .|
That makes 2 of these UFOs finished for February, which I'll be reporting to Aunt Marti for her UFO Parade at 52 Quilts.
And I'll probably get 3 or 4 done up in March. After this set, I still have a full-sized Christmas flimsy and a beach flimsy of her designs that have been waiting for years, as well, to be finished. And if you follow me, you know I'm working on yet another in my BOMs lineup. But I'm not so freaked about them now.
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