Raindrop Kaleidoscope

  • Dimensions: 42" x 42"
  • Design, Assembly and Machine Quilting: Joanne Grimes
  • Design Software: Electric Quilt 7
  • Fabrics: Varieties from local thrift stores see Jun 6 fabrics reveal

So here I am back in the sewing room after an absence of about 12 hours. Don't laugh. If you're reading this you probably can't keep your own self out of the sewing room for more than a day. Support group anyone? Oh ya that's what quilt guilds are for, but I digress.
    Click on a day to see progress:
  • Jun 14, 2014
  • Jun 11, 2014
  • Jun 10, 2014
  • Jun 9, 2014
  • Jun 8, 2014
  • Jun 7, 2014
  • Jun 6, 2014
  • Jun 5, 2014
  • Jun 4, 2014
  • Jun 3, 2014
  • Jun 2, 2014
  • May 31, 2014
  • May 30, 2014
  • May 29, 2014
  • May 28, 2014
  • May 26, 2014
  • May 25, 2014
  • May 24, 2014
  • Apr 20, 2014
  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Apr 17, 2014
  • Apr 16, 2014

  • Apr 16

    Ok, so what shall I do next?

    I decided to do one of my designs from my Electric Quilt file. I think this one was one of the first ones I drew on that program, or maybe not, but close to it. EQ hollers at me quite a bit about my methods, but I managed. It definitely took a lot longer to draw this than the regular pencil and paper way. 

    So I'm going to try something a little different for the middle part. I enlarged the middle of the pic to the size I need for the middle so I don't have to calculate and freehand the drawing.  I wouldn't be able to do this if this wasn't an EQ drawing because my other sketches aren't very symmetrical until the life-size drawing is complete. I'll be cutting out the pieces and tracing them onto the freezer paper.  I'm only going to do this for the middle and the rest will be much easier to add to the drawing with compass and ruler. 
    Yes, I added some 'it's mine' stuff to these pics because they are just way too easy to copy, paste, blow up and use. 

    Apr 17

    I started drawing this out by tracing the very middle petals.

    Now I start using my ruler to do calculations and I get this far.

    Apr 18

    I continue drawing. I had some minor issues remembering my reference points while making this thing life size, but I did finally figure them out or at least a work around. The drawing ended up being roughly 46" x 46".
    The pic is somewhat hard to see simply because taking a pic of paper and pencil drawings tend to be awful photo subjects. Then I had to fiddle with it in photoshop to get the pencil lines visible. I have the design drawn out here.

    Apr 19

    So after I draw the pattern to life-size I need to number and label the pieces. I need to do this so I know where the pieces connect. This is just a sample closeup of the freezer paper template.

    Apr 20

    Okey, dokey it's time to figure out the fabric groups. Each line is a group. The numbers are the pieces that belong on the group. The number/letter combos are the names of the groups.

    Here's the fabrics and a couple of undecided bits that I picked for this quilt.

    May 24

    Well huh, it's been a month minus a couple days. Hey I was busy with, ya know, the family and spring weather...Ok, but now I'm back. I'd almost forgot what this thing is potentially supposed to look like. Here is the first round pattern section.

    Then the pieces are cut, ironed and lain out where they will connect when sewn.

    This is the first bit sewn together. They are about an inch or so long.

    Then there's the next slightly bigger piece.

    I keep adding pieces...

    More pieces...

    And wa laaa, the first round is put together! This round was rather annoying. There was lots of ripping out of seams. The fabrics hated each other and wouldn't line up....arggh. Oh well it's together.

    May 25

    Here I go with round 2.

    The pieces are laid out.

    I'm mostly repeating what I did on the first round with regards to sewing pieces together, so I'm not posting each individual piece. Anybody else see Batman? Ok the numbers are labels so I know where each piece needs to be connected. The circled number is the piece identifier.

    I connect part of round 2 to round 1. Looks like Batman got thrustors or something at least on the paper layout.

    And here is all of round 1 and 2 connected. Well the Batman bit was interesting while it lasted. I hand sewed all the curvy parts because doing it by machine took longer and more redos than necessary.

    May 26

    I'm trying a different method for the quilting part. It's a type of Quilt as You Go (QAYG) way of doing things. This way I can use up stuffing and scraps for the back and sandwich.

    Ok now after admiring that for awhile I start round 3. 

    The pieces are ironed onto the fabric, cut out and laid out.
    The circled pieces are the ones I sewed together so far for round 3. I have been sewing the raindrop curves by hand. Yowza is that ever tedious, but the results are MUCH more satisfying than my meager machine sewing skills.

    May 28

    All the sewing groups get sewn together,well almost. I still need to hand sew all the raindrop curves. 

    I sew one round 3 sewing group to the main quilt piece.

    I added a bunch of scraps to the back which ended up being somewhat of a fiasco. I had to adjust the back pieces several times so there wouldn't be any kinks. Lesson learned...make sure back is already made before adding the top to it.

    May 29

    I'm still working on round 3. I added two more.

    May 30

    I finished up round 3 and quilted the cream/white fabric.

    Now onto the 4th round. It's pretty much the final round except for the border.

    May 31

     So after cutting out the paper pieces ironing them to their proper fabrics; this is the result pile.
    I do these steps every round, but one doesn't need a pic of it each time so I sprinkle the mundane bits around to show that they are done. This particular pic to the left is the previous pile all nice and sorted out according to shape.

    You see this layout step pretty much every round because it is always different and shows continuity better. Anyway TaDa! it's the final round layout to the right.
    To the left is one of 8 sewing groups. This one is ready to be sewn together.It has 10 pieces in it.
    Here is that sewing group sewn together along with the paper pieces. Hmmm just had a thought about making these bits of text surrounded by speech bubbles. Maybe later. Anyway the paper is all distorted from being ironed onto the fabric and the tape shrinks.
    What we have below is...a mess? Sort of. The part that counts is where the arrow is pointing to my trusty alligator clip. That is where I'm connecting the first final round sewing group to the main quilt. I discovered that QAYG doesn't quite work with all my weird angles and connection points. You really do have to stick to straight lines that form actual squares, triangles or rectangles. Have you noticed most of my pieces are polygons? Notice the pink one with the marker lines showing...nope QAYG doesn't work with that or Y seams. There is too much fabric wrangling and the likelihood that the back will be nice and flat after sewing a piece like that onto the whole quilt is nil to none. 

    Ok I've sewn the group onto the quilt top, but not all the way through the back. I'm still hand sewing the raindrops. The curves are too dramatic to mess with on the machine. I am able to sew the big partial one on the edge with the machine though.
    Here's where I left off for the day. It's the 2nd sewing group in the final round.

    Jun 2

    My camera battery died completely so I didn't get a pic of the above piece attached all nice and pretty to the main quilt group. I did continue sewing while waiting for the battery to charge though. I got another sewing group done.

    Here's the hapless group from above about to be attached to the main quilt block. Well actually it's underneath the group from two pics above.

    And here's a closeup of the pieces about to be attached.

    Jun 3

    I have now attached 3 sewing groups to the main quilt group...ahem...yay...what no applause!? What do I need to do here people? Make the Prism Starburst again? See that's my problem I always make my biggest and greatest project first and then it's downhill from there. Not a real good habit to get into if you're in the art world though. Ok enough of the self congratulations and self loathing all at once. It's hard on the psyche. Aaaaand the one and only pic of the day. Taaadaaa!

    Thus endeth the insanity section of this interlude.

    Jun 4

    I attached another group and I added the speech bubbles I mentioned awhile back.

    Now the next few pics will show how I put together a Round 4 sewing group.They are in order starting with 1. The first one shows the backside of the connected pieces, but the rest will be right side up.











    After that lovely step-by-step which requires one to imagine the nuts and bolts of how I attached each piece, I attach it to the growing main quilt body which requires even more imagination.

    I think I'm starting to see the raindrop pattern...niiiice

    Jun 5

    Alrighty then I basically did everything I did yesterday which resulted in another sewing group added to the main quilt body. I even marked out which group I added.

    Jun 6

    A repeat of yesterday and the day before was done to get the last two groups sewn on.

    and the last one!!!!!!

      And now the fabric types reveal: (By the way I believe all of these have been used on previous quilts somewhere...treasure hunt?!)
    1. Some sort of pink blend that feels somewhat slick and slightly stretchy
    2. Bedsheet cross between flannel and tight weave cotton
    3. Loose weave tablecloth
    4. Possible bed sheet, but is t-shirt material
    5. Satin kimono
    6. Extra stretchy soft something or other...It was a woman's casual top
    7. Hawaiian shirt...ish
    8. Cotton actually meant for sewing and such

    And now the quilt is prepped for machine quilting. I did do the QAYG method up until round 4, so the middle section is already done.

    I'm almost done quilting the creamy areas. I picked out the threads for the rest of the quilt. It looks like I can machine quilt everything but the purple and grey areas. I might be able to bobbin stitch the grey areas. That would be interesting. We shall see...

    Jun 7

    I am getting ready to attach the border

    I get the quilt all prepped to sew the borders on and use a QAYG method to attach them.

    Aaaaaandd....KABLOW! This is the result. Bet you weren't expecting that, huh? Don't worry the quilt design is fine. Just the borders were affected by this fiasco. What happened? Well, while sewing the borders on and through to the backing as one generally does when using QAYG; the back puckered like somebody eating a raw lemon slice. I had to rip out all of the borders. I will be attaching them again, but I'm tossing QAYG out the window as a whole. I don't see it working very well for any of my designs in the future either.

    Jun 8

    After yesterday's mess I reattached the borders in my own technique with only a couple places that needed a quick redo because of puckering. That was on the flimsy cottony fabric.

    I have to rearrange the stuffing/batting after wrangling the quilt top all over the place. Between ripping out the borders/binding and putting them back on it was a mess. I am using up bits and pieces of batting and such which makes the quilt look fuller than the completely flat stuff.

    Well here's what the back of this quilt looks like. I pin back the borders/binding. It looks like I will have a couple places that will pucker, but there's not much I can do about that since the back isn't perfectly flat. The puckers will be barely noticeable unlike the KABLOW day. I should have taken pics of it before I ripped into it...Those were some doozy puckers.

    Oooooh I'm getting there! The binding is sewn on. I sew the borders/binding on from the back and use invisible thread in the bobbin. This way if I go off the rail a tad the thread isn't visible on the front of the quilt. I sew the borders/binding extremely close to the edge on the back. I usually only have about a millimeter clearance. I tried to get a pic of the clearance, but my patience ran out trying to get a good sharp pic of the stitching.

    Jun 9

    Not a whole lot got done today. It was too nice out and amazingly there are other things to do than quilting. I did get some done though. I quilted the cream areas. Yes, I know there's some puckery, but that is somewhat of an optical illusion. It's puffy. I still need to quilt the grey blue areas and that will straighten things out.

    I like making quilts with awesome design quality and at the same time they look inviting and usable. I also was using up leftover batting/stuffing so some places are puffier than others, but not so much that it looks lumpy. It was somewhat of a bear quilting the cream because it was stretchy and soft.

    I can say this with much certainty though. My technical sewing skills will never win any awards at traditional quilt shows. Perfect quilts aren't comfy.

    Jun 10

    I went on a thrift store run and found some more thread that matches the pieces in this quilt nicely. My pic of threads to use from day or two earlier is moot. I changed the threads that I had planned on using for the top quilting.

    I worked on machine quilting the top. I first had to pin the purple pieces. I decided to use a black thread instead of purple embroidery. It's thin enough and both are dark so the color difference is negligible.

    The purple bits are quilted to my liking. I mostly went very near the edge of the pieces and quilted some in the middle areas so the batting/stuffing wouldn't run off to the corners later when it gets washed.

    I changed out the thread to a grey color and got ready to quilt the grey areas.

    Jun 11

    Still machine quilting the top. I worked on the grey areas today and started the raindrops with green thread.

    Jun 14

    I finish quilting the top and add my signature.