#TBT: Early Tarts

I don’t often have something to show for Throwback Thursday. I received a box back from ScanCafe and I found an early photo of the Tarts Come to Tea. It is amazing to see how it has progressed and to realized that the quilt is still in process. Sigh.

Early Tarts Come to Tea
Early Tarts Come to Tea

I started this quilt pretty soon after TFQ and I made She Had to Have Her Latte and I was still thinking that novelty fabrics would be a good idea.

Those novelty fabrics were jettisoned at some point, but some of the elements stayed. Even some of the placement basically, stayed.

I also started out using much darker fabrics.

I do still have that vase, which I like and may make into another applique type quilt.

I am not sure how I feel about these improvisational pieces now. Clearly, I am having trouble finishing the Tarts, despite keeping it on the list.

Cupcake Block

Cupcake Block for Mark
Cupcake Block for Mark

Lynn of Country Crossroads Quilt Shop started a project to make a quilt for Mark Lipinski. The theme was cupcakes and the block to the left is the one I made for him. Lynn said that he likes pink, so pink it was. I had the pink dot out for the Swoon #6 block, so I used it for the background. The cupcake pattern is from the Tarts Come to Tea. I just made the cake part a bit taller so it looked robust.

Lynn must be a woman to be reckoned with, because I got a photo of the quilt and someone delivered the quilt to Mark in time for his birthday.

Mark Lipiniski Cupcake Quilt
Mark Lipiniski Cupcake Quilt

I was really thrilled to get a photo of the quilt from Lynn.It is a wonderful quilt. There is a block in the upper left corner that has the Facebook “Like” thumbs-up symbol. There is a really a lot of nice work in this piece.

Captain Cupcake
Captain Cupcake

Someone also made him a very cute chef’s hat. I saw a photo of Mark wearing the hat on Linda Lum deBono’s Facebook page.

Just fun.

Tarts Return

Tarts quilting Detail
Tarts quilting Detail

I rearranged my workroom yesterday and quilted on the Tarts. The quilt was calling from where it was neatly hung in the closet and begging to be worked on. Since I had no good excuse NOT to work on it, I pulled it out and quilted some blocks. I did lots of straight line quilting, because the tension on my machine needs to be adjusted. I also didn’t feel like taking the time practice.

I set a goal of doing the yellow section that I had to pick out last Fall. I surpassed that modest goal by quilting that small section, the section next to it, a cup and a piece of pie. I am pleased.

Spending Quality Time with Tarts

I got a bug in my ear a week or so ago to quilt the Tarts. They weren’t hanging in the closet quilting themselves and the label does say 2010. I hauled them out, set up the table and quilted away. I did mostly straight line quilting the background of the 3 cups blocks. I also quilted (mostly) the to go cup. I need a differented colored thread to finish that one.

FMQ Fail
FMQ Fail

Then I got cocky, practiced my free motion skills and did one small strip in free motion circles. Big time fail. I couldn’t get the tension quite right. Yes, I was using the same thread in both the bobbin and the top (different colors, but same thread. Yes, I matched my speed of moving the quilt with the speed of the machine. Fail. The bobbin thread ceased to show through the front, because all of the top thread went through to the back. The yellow you can sort of see in the photo is the top thread. Unsewing is required.

The good part is that I am back in the saddle on this project and there is hope that I will get it done in 2010.

Hideous Tarts

Tarts Come to Tea, April 2010
Tarts Come to Tea, April 2010

Ta Da!

The Tarts are ready to quilt. Don’t have a heart attack when you see the grey border. I know it is ugly fabric that does not coordinate with the bright cheerfulness of the rest of the quilt. It is a quilting border and will be removed or cut off after the quilting is done.

I worked on the last bit of applique’ over the weekend and sewed on the quilting border. Except for the basting, the Tarts are ready to quilt. I didn’t realize that this piece was acting like a creativity dam. It was stopping up my creative problem solving for other projects. As soon as I did the applique’ and put the border on, I felt like I could do anything. It was an awesome feeling.

Tea Kettle with Stars
Tea Kettle with Stars

I tried a number of slight variations in location for the stars, for about 2 minutes, and then I just appliqued them on. Mentally, I am done with the project and hope I can make it through the quilting.

Tea Kettle with Stars, detail
Tea Kettle with Stars, detail

I am pleased with the way the block looks.

Lesson: stop thinking and just do it!

More Tarts

I finally buckled down this past weekend and got some of my ‘rote’ sewing out of the way. Rote sewing is stuff like making backs, putting on bindings, etc. I usually consider it to be stuff that I have to do at the machine, but isn’t very creative. I often have a hard time getting started on it. The good thing about rote sewing is that it usually goes fast once I buckle down and I can often cross a lot of tasks off my list after a rote sewing weekend.

Fluttering Hearts Test
Fluttering Hearts Test

This time I worked on backs and tossed the Fluttering Hearts into the mix. Above you can me trying out the Fluttering Hearts. I have had 3 on the piece on my design wall since November or December. I really wanted some at the top and decided that Saturday would be  good day to try it out.

Fluttering Hearts Appliqued
Fluttering Hearts Appliqued

I spent a lot of time sewing carefully around the hearts with the satin stitch. I am out of the thin Maderia embroidery thread so I used a spool of Robison-Anton that seemed relatively new. I love the sheen of that thread. It is also thick like quilting thread, so the satin stitch looks pretty full on the hearts.

Tarts with Fluttering Hearts
Tarts with Fluttering Hearts

Above is the Tarts with the Fluttering Hearts appliqued. I thought I would be done, but I am thinking that I need to applique’ something to the tea kettle (lower left), some steam or stars to the Chocolate Pot, like I showed in this post.

I think I might be getting too mired in the layering thing that is going on in my head. I have to remember that I put the label on the back and it says I finished this quilt in 2010, so I have to finish it!

Tarts Back
Tarts Back

Here is the Tarts back, another bit of rote sewing from the past weekend. It went together really fast! I was shocked. I guess I really do need to finish this quilt!

Give me your opinions about more bits of applique’ of it you think I should just wait to embellish with buttons and beads and embroidery.

Tarts Again

The Big Drip
The Big Drip

Yes, I am obsessing. This is the last time I will force you to read my obsessive, compulsive rantings on, what I am now calling, The Big Drip. The reason? The Big Drip is done. It is glued and appliqued down for eternity. Or at least until the glue from the fusible rots away and the fabric underneath is no longer viable.

I am pretty pleased with how it came out and will be even more pleased when I am at the point where I can embroider a stem on the cherry. Stay tuned for that drama! 😉

Fluttering Hearts
Fluttering Hearts

After successfully appliqueing The Big Drip to the piece, I had the idea that, perhaps, I should add some other little, appliqued embellishments to some of the other blocks.

I have to admit that the big grey teapot needs some spicing up. I cut out, and am trying, these little hearts. They do add a bit of a spark and draw the eye up towards that corner of the quilt, which is good. I don’t want the piece to look like I copied Mary Engelbreit. I also want it to be fun and not cutesy. Let me know what you think.

Tarts Cream Drips

Tarts, Small Drip
Tarts, Small Drip

This is the piece of pie and whipped cream, which you have seen four dozen times. I am forced to continue to show it to you until you scream for mercy. Only because you asked for it. 😉

Okay! Okay! I am not so mean. This is actually a slightly larger drip than before. I took your advice and decided to make the drip a little larger. I don’t think it is large enough here. When I stand back, it still looks like a speck. I don’t want people to think I made a big boo-boo on the applique’.

Tarts, Big Drip
Tarts, Big Drip

Here is the big drip. It looks like something! I used the same shape; just made it a bit bigger. I like it and it will probably be sewed down this weekend.

Sewing it down would be very nice, because then I can get it off of my design wall and put something else up.

Oh. The back. I still have to make the back. Sigh.

Whipped Cream Drama

I know you thought I forgot about the Tarts. Or, perhaps, you thought I abandoned the piece for another 3 years?

Oh ye of little faith!

Non quilt parts of my life have been busier than usual. I have still taken the time to diligently test your ideas for the whipped cream on the second piece of pie after I posted some thoughts in a previous blog post. I thought it would be easy and fast. HA! When will I ever learn?

Another issue is that the 9K is back in the shop. It is fixed now, but I won’t be able to pick it up (80+ mile round trip) until Friday since I am going out of town on Tuesday and the shop is closed on Monday. I tested an approximation of a satin stitch on the Jem. The Jem is a great machine, but the satin stitch it makes doesn’t compare to the 9K’s satin stitch. I need to wait until the 9K returns from his/her vacation. I’ll get everything ready, however.

Below are the candidates:

Whipped Cream #3
Whipped Cream #3

I liked this one, but didn’t think it was enough. I thought it needed more of something. Someone mentioned a drip in a comment, so I started working on that.

Whipped Cream #4
Whipped Cream #4

The drip above is too small. I want it to stand out a bit more against the plate.

Whipped Cream Test #5
Whipped Cream Test #5

The one above is pretty good in terms of having more than just an element on the top. However, the indentation in the top of the dripped whipped cream on the plate looks strange. It may be realistic, but it doesn’t look fun or interesting.

Whipped Cream #6
Whipped Cream #6

The one above is the option I have decided to use. I like the more engaged shape of the drip. I don’t think that is how drips really look, but this quilt isn’t reality.

As you can see, I take Lorraine Torrence’s admonishment to “make visual decisions visually” to heart.

Janome Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set

I saw this in an email from Janome yesterday and was already drooling about he possibilities. I decided to quilt the Tarts Come to Tea myself, so I think this would come in handy. I am going to put it on my Christmas list!

One of the things I like about it is that it gives the sewist cornering markings. That might make me better at getting even lines when I have to turn.

I’d love to know your thoughts if you have used this!

Janome Clear View Quilting Foot
Janome Clear View Quilting Foot

Clipped from www.janome.com
Attach and remove the guides as needed to suit your task at hand- gives you three feet in one- 1/4 Inch Foot, Ditch Quilting and Clear foot.  Markings indicate 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch from center needle drop position with handy cornering markings for both 1/8 and 1/4 inch seams.  Oval-shaped needle hole allows needle adjustment for scant 1/4 inch piecing (computer models only).  Fits virtually all Janome top-loading models.  Please see your authorized Janome dealer for more information.

Whipped Cream

I’d like to baste the Tarts at the next CQFA meeting on Saturday. In order to accomplish that goal, I need to get the whipped cream on the pie. I made the pattern and have been auditioning it in slightly varied locations all over the pie.

Pie Cream #1
Pie Cream #1

The above photo shows the crust stitching (see below), but I still don’t like the placement.

Pie Cream, in context
Pie Cream, in context

The above shows the whipped cream on the pie from a little further back, so it can be seen in context. It does look better from this distance.

Pie Cream #2
Pie Cream #2

The above location does not work. I am rather proud of that crust and the location of the whipped cream covers up my lovely stitching.

I am thinking that the ultimate problem is that I made the pattern too big and it should be a smaller mound of whipped cream, like on the cupcake. I am also thinking about adding a cherry instead of whipped cream.

Another Take on the Tarts

SherriD's Take on the Tarts #1
SherriD's Take on the Tarts #1

There is a book called Brain Rules. One of the rules is that the more senses you stimulate, the more people will remember about what you were telling them. Another rule is that vision takes up about 50% of a person’s sense-related brain power.

I had a lot of help on the Tarts as it progressed and one thing that SherriD did was use her Photoshop powers to stimulate my vision sense.

In the first picture, she showed how the quilt would look with some more flying geese in the bottom middle would look. I ended up adding some silverware, but the idea was sound.

SherriD Two Cups
SherriD Two Cups

Once I definitely replaced the Flying Geese with the stack of cups, SherriD thought it would look better if I had two godl cups there. I wasn’t about to redo another part, but I liked the show and tell.

By the way, there are twenty-three elements (blocks) in this piece. Of the 23, twelve have been redone at least once. rust me, it seemed like I redid a lot more than that!

Tarts Milestone

I have a box of Recchiuti that I have been slowly savoring as I work on the Tarts project. The box is almost empty and, TA DAH, I have reached a major milestone in the work on the Tarts project!

Tarts Top Complete, August 2009
Tarts Top Complete, August 2009

Your eyes do not deceive you. The Tarts Come to Tea top is completely sewn together. I had some bits of time over the weekend and used those bits to work on the Tarts. I really need to get this piece off my design wall and work on something easy. I resisted the urge, especially after all this time, to just throw the thing together. I really looked at it as my last opportunity to fix any despicable design decisions.

My first order of business was to replace the yellow cup.

Yellow Print Cup
Yellow Print Cup

I like the cup itself and am pleased with the fussy cutting and satin stitch quality. As part of the complete Tarts Come to Tea design,  it didn’t work. My eye kept jumping to it. While I want the viewer’s eye to move around the piece, I didn’t want it to be glued to the yellow cup.

New Pie, August 2009
New Pie, August 2009

TFQ suggested pie.  Since I was thinking along the lines of a pastry or tart as well, I appliqued another piece of pie. I used the same design as the original piece of pie.

Old Pie, August 2009
Old Pie, August 2009

The problem was that they were too similar. I didn’t make enough changes to the design, even though the colors/fabrics are different. The similarities are highlighted because the two elements are close together in the piece.

I resolved the issue in my mind, however. I am going to applique’ some whipped cream on top of the new piece of pie, and perhaps a cherry. It will overlap on to the blue block above it. I planned to do it before the entire piece was sewn together, but I got caught up in the excitement and focus of the sewing and forgot. I’ll add it later this week or on the weekend.

Upper Left, August 2009
Upper Left, August 2009

I had already started to sew sections together last weekend when I tried to tell myself I was finished. Still, there was a lot of piecing to do, so I got too it.

Upper Middle, August 2009
Upper Middle, August 2009

One thing I forgot about improvisational piecing is that one has to add bits and pieces in between. I really didn’t want to do much of that, because I liked the look of the blocks being next to each other. That meant some trimming and adding little bits, which I did, and which will, hopefully, be mostly hidden once the piece is completed. I couldn’t avoid adding some bits and I had to pay attention to the checkerboards, because I didn’t want to cut them off in the middle of a square.

Lower Left, August 2009
Lower Left, August 2009

There were a few places where I couldn’t trim and augment. Those spots should be readily apparent from the photo. In general, I am pleased with the way the piece turned out.

Quilting is next, of course. As I mentioned in the last post about the Tarts, I seriously thinking about quilting the piece myself. I want it to be done a certain way. I don’t think I am good enough yet on the longarm to quilt the detailed design I have in mind. I really want the cups and pastries to stand out. More thinking on this is required.

I can’t really believe that it is together. It has been such a long process!

Tarts Progress Also

Tarts, August 2009
Tarts, August 2009

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. All the bits and pieces that I have wanted to change are done and I can start sewing the whole piece together. I don’t really think that it is nearing completion, because I have lot of ideas for handwork and embellishment in my mind. I just have to figure out the order of the next steps.

After I determined that the 9K was behaving admirably yesterday, I didn’t listen to anyone’s 2 cents about this space and made the stack of cups the way I wanted. I am pretty pleased with how they came out, though I think the pink I chose is a little bit darker than the flying geese background. It works, so it is fine.

Tarts cups
Tarts cups

Confession time: After I put the stack of cups up next to the curly pot, I started not to like the yellow print cup very much. I started to think how nicely a slice of cake would work in that area. I even had a fleeting thought that a scone or chocolate chip cookie would work. (SherriD: stop laughing!)

Yellow Print Cup
Yellow Print Cup

Really, I am trying to stop fiddling, but I may not be able to finish the piece with that cup on the front. I started to sew the sections together, but I have stayed away from this section until I can decide if I can live with this cup. The other issue is that I don’t have a replacement design in mind. I really want to get this top off the design wall in one piece and do something easy.

I am shocked to admit that quilting this myself actually entered my mind last night, as I worked on Beach Town. This piece is pretty large, so I’ll have to really think about that. Beach Town is small and I am still working on the last bits. The last quilt I tried to quilt was Seeing Red. I densly quilted about a 14″ square,  then ripped all the quilting out and took it to my machine quilter.  I don’t want a repeat of that.

Tarts Progressing Slowly

Tarts, July 12, 2009 #1
Tarts, July 12, 2009 #1

I was determined to get at least one of the blocks done this weekend.

I took the easy way out and worked on the smaller block. No block is easy, regardless of how small.

Every block requires a background which I must choose while considering the surrounding blocks. I was determined to use that purple/blue dotty swirl (see bottom middle next to the frothy drink). I love that fabric and think the quilt needs another piece of it somewhere. I cut it, confidently put it up on the design wall and stood back to look.

Blech.

Failure. It bled into the background of the frothy drink and just didn’t stand up to the blocks around it.

Sigh. Back to the drawing board for a new background. After consulting with myself, I decided that the area could stand a purple backround, yet it would have to be a different purple.

Tarts, July 12, 2009 #2
Tarts, July 12, 2009 #2

I looked at the background of the grey teapot and decided that I should bring that color down to the bottom of the quilt. I found a piece of a similar violetty-purple. It isn’t the exact same fabric and it is more subtle. I was pretty happy that my second choice seemed to be a good one.

It does add a seventh instance of purple to the quilt. I think that I am ok in terms of the “Odd Rule,” which I understand to be a design element or principle, which says that an odd number of related elements make the piece more interesting.  My mother, an artist, reminds me of this all the time. I have to balance design principles for art with design principles for quilts. I believe, that there is, at least, a slight difference.

Tarts, 2005
Tarts, 2005

Here is what the Tarts looked like at the start of the design process.  This is really a Here to There type moment.

It has really come a long way and TOTALLY changed direction. Notice I took out all the coffee-themed fabric. I bought that fabric all for this quilt. I have tons of it and now ask myself what I am going to do with it. Backs and tote bags, I guess. I also had a melon shape thing going at the time. There are a lot more classic quilt elements – more Flying Geese, Square in a Square, lots of sashing. The blue and pink Flying Geese that have survived the design process this long are really a remnant of the original idea I had. Time to move on!