Welcome to the last stop in the Bee Block Blog Hop for New Leaf!
The blocks have been a delight to see each day - the variety, the layouts, the color plays, the stories, the techniques, the extras! I was thrilled that these quilters all agreed to participate, and over the moon with what I saw as I popped into each new blog post just as you did! From the bottom of my heart, thank you Ladies! Your willingness to lend your talent and time is most appreciated!!
So... as Katy's fabrics have not arrived in the UK yet after some 44 days, I jumped in to round out the 14th spot.
NOTE: Please swap out a letter O in exchange for a letter A if you're playing the FQ Scramble. Sorry about that!
The block I made is called "Feather."
Taking the inspiration from the bee hop "turning over a new leaf, renewal, refresh, a change in direction," this feather design slid into my psyche and onto my design board as a representation of what 2013 has been like so far and some of what I hope it will continue to be.
I've been thinking about: trusting my instincts more, saturating my world with positivity, remembering not everything is permanent (good or bad), listening, observing & processing what the world has to show me, and just general do-gooding.
The Feather design is an homage to a dear friend who emdodies these things already and so much more. His connectedness and reverence for nature is something I deeply admire, and feathers in particular are pivotal in the expression of his values and beliefs. He's a rare gem.
I studied a LOT of red-tailed hawk feathers, and it was interesting how different they look from how they're typically illustrated or painted. They're not symmetrical, the markings are often horizontal rather than angled and they have a blurred look that fades in and out like an ikat. I wanted to capture some of that essence in my design.
I opted for a paper-pieced technique that would allow me to create tiny strips. I'm not a quilter, and I'd never done this before! I was a little concerned I was in over my head, but I new the variegated look would come through if I could pull it off. I consulted a string quilt block tutorial at Film in the Fridge and this tutorial on foundation piecing at Connecting Threads.
I sketched out the block I wanted (I love close-ups!), created a posterboard template, traced the feather pieces onto copy paper to use for paper-piecing templates and then cut a bunch of 1" by 5.5-6" fabric strips. The piecing is improv so it was a gamble that I'd have what I needed from the fat-eighth bundle. (I have 1 full strip of each fabric left!)
To paper piece the strips, lay a strip of fabric onto the preceding strip (right sides together) on top of your paper guide, stitch w/ a 1/4" seam allowance, press flat.
Fold the paper backwards, toward the wrong side and crease. This gets the paper out of the way of your rotary cutter. Trim as you wish for the size that you want. Sometimes I trimmed up to 1/4" away, sometimes just a sliver to even out. Vary the angles of your cuts, too.
When both sides of the feather papers are covered, use the posterboard template to trace and cut. Double-check how they fit together and which side is up. Sew a scant staystitch on the sides of the cutouts.
Creating the center "shaft" (technically, rachis) between the 2 feather pieces was tricky. This was going to make or break the look, and I was winging it (hahahahaha - pun not intended). I cut a piece of white fabric (organic cotton sateen in this case), using the template to match the curved edge. I stitched one side, just easing the fabric gently into the curve shape as I went. I trimmed down the white fabric to about 3/4", then stitched to the 2nd feather piece using a zipper foot. The zipper foot enabled me to get in pretty tightly and not leave much showing. I think you could applique a shaft or just skip this piece entirely.
All that was left was to add the borders on the outsides of the feathers. I used the posterboard templates to trace and cut these. Cut pieces wider than you'll need so you can trim it down accurately.
I didn't remove the paper (yet) b/c my stitch length was too long and didn't perforate the paper enough to rip it right out. Booooo! I will have to figure out how to do this now - thinking about moistening the back with a sponge and using tweezers. Any ideas? Moral: use a smally-small stitch length!
Trace the templates onto both sides of your paper so you can keep track of where you're headed - to ensure full coverage. I had to fudge a couple spots.
Add seam allowances to your template! Duh. This turned out okay size-wise, but I completely forgot that part.
How cool would this feather design look in a huge, exaggerated scale?!
See how teensy the strips are!
Thanks for hopping along! Hope you're inspired and ready to try out these fabulous ideas!
To purchase New Leaf fabrics, visit Daisy Janie's stockist page to find a retailer.
The letter for the Fat Quarter Scramble is G!
NOTE: Please swap out a letter O in exchange for a letter A if you're playing the FQ Scramble. Sorry about that!!!
Play along and you can win a Fat Quarter Bundle of New Leaf. Details here. Email your answers to info (at) daisyjanie.com - no comments with your answer so we don't ruin the game! But comment otherwise, of course!!