Cactus Collage update

I attended the second class for the cactus collage today. I spent many hours this past week trying to finish 9 of the cactus.
Cactus collage 9 cactus
Thursday night, I bonded the 9 cacti to the background. I also traced and bonded over 30 pads for the prickly pear which will be the full length of the right side of the quilt. Today, at class I cut out all the prickly pear pads an a few more flowers for embellishment. This weekend, I am hoping to get the prickly pear cactus bonded to the background. The left side of the quilt has a large saguaro cactus so I still have quite a bit of work to complete.

Cactus Collage

Friday, I attended a Cactus Collage class at the Bernina Connection.
collage cactus This is the quilt made by our teacher, Mary Lewkowitz.

The class is using the pattern Collage Cactus Sampler by Laura Heine. Before class I pieced the background for the cactus collage. The background is abut 46" by 63".

Phyl Cactus background

Laura's collage technique is a bit different, she uses Steam A Seam 2 which I dislike. I last used Steam A Seam about 6 years ago, I stopped using Steam A Seam because I thought it gummed up my needle plus I think it makes wool appliqué difficult to needle. I can say that my opinion of Steam A Seam has not changed, in fact I found the new improved Steam A Seam awful. Since I purchased 10 yards of Steam A Seam, I will continue using it for this pattern. The new Steam A Seam is more gummy and IMHO more difficult to work with.

The first step was to trace each cactus onto Pattern Ease which is a non-woven material. An appliqué pressing sheet is placed over the cactus tracing, then the Individual pieces are cut out and placed according to the pattern. After the entire cactus is built up on the appliqué pressing sheet, it is pressed to make one complete unit. The completed cactus unit is then placed on some parchment paper. After all cactus units are completed, they will be pressed to the background.

This weekend I was able to complete 5 cactus units which is good start but still leaves a lot of work yet to do.
Phyl Cactus blocks


Solstice Dream - Marsh

I really enjoyed stitching the Marsh block, the fifth block in Solstice Dream Quilt. The block is 6" finished.
Solstice Dream Marsh
I was a bit worried about stitching the dragon fly tail and frog, I was worried the bullion knots would not be round and plump. The frog and the periwinkle bullion knots of the dragon fly tail were stitched with Thread Gathers silken pearl. Silken pearl is a 100% silk thread with a tight Cordonnet twist that is about a size 5 pearl thread. The tight twist of the silken pearl creates firm stitches with a gorgeous sheen. The dragon fly wings were cut from a sheer, organza-type ribbon and stitched down with Painter's Metallic Braid thread.

Solstice Dream blocks 1 - 5 The stitched the five block together.

Marcie's Neighborhood

I started this quilt 12 months ago, I finished the stitching and then waited 6 months to get the quilt machine quilted. I am so excited to have this quilt almost complete, I just need a hanging pocket and label to the back of the quilt.
Marcie's neighborhood
This is my version of Sue Spargo's Tootin' Along quilt. I changed the generic auto with VW Bugs which are loved by myself and my daughter, Marcie. We have always driven blue Bugs, my first VW was a dark blue 1969 VW Bug with a flowered vinyl roof. Two years ago, someone made a left turn in front of my daughter and her lovely blue bug was totaled. I could only find a yellow VW Bug to replace the blue VW, hence the lone yellow VW on the lower left of the quilt. The quilt was machine quilted by Gina Perkes. The quilt is 23 1/2" by 37".

Marcie is also a dog lover, so I added some wooden dog buttons I found in Houston a few years ago. There is a poodle on the upper right of the quilt. Emmie is Marcie's miniature poodle.
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Solstice Dream - Burst

I finished the fourth block for Solstice Dream quilt. The block size is 6" finished.
Solstice Dream Burst
The center stem is stitched with Shimmer Floss using a Palestrina knot stitch. The horizontal stitch of the Palestrina extends the full width of the 1/4" stem which gives the stitch a different look.

I am stitching on too many large wool projects at the same time, so I am not sure when I will start stitching the fifth block of Solstice Dream. Most of the blocks are 6", the stitching is not as intense as stitching on Fresh Cut, Sue Spargo 2017 BOM, so I do find stitching on Solstice Dream a pleasant break between my Sue Spargo projects.
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I just got home after an absolutely inspiring workshop with Sue Spargo at Madeline Island School of the Arts. MISA is located on Madeline Island, the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. I flew out of Phoenix on Sunday, June 25th to Minneapolis, Minnesota. My wool appliqué buddy, Monica and her husband picked me up at the airport and we drove to the Duluth airport to pick up a rental car. Monica and I then drove to Bayfield, Wisconsin to catch the ferry to Madeline Island and Monica's husband, Glenn, began his week fly fishing vacation in northern Minnesota.
Madeline Island Ferry

The class project was the peacock. I spent a few weeks getting the background and peacock appliqué pieces prepared.
Peacock background Peacock placement

I had the wool appliqué pieces all whipped stitched on my background and I was ready to start embellishing. After 5 days of stitching, I have a good start on the peacock but have much more to stitch. The peacock block is approximately 21" x 21".
Peacock 1
Friday afternoon, Monica and I drove to La Pointe. Monica had a chance to look for agates on the shoreline, she was brave enough to wade in the cold waters of Lake Superior and found some beautiful agates and rocks.
Monica Lake Superior
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Solstice Dream Hedgehog Blossom block

I finished the third block of the Solstice Dream quilt.

Solstice Dream block 3 hedgehog blossom

This block gave me a chance to learn a new stitch. The 3 marigold petals are stitched with the double Pekinese stitch. The double pekinese stitch looks complicated but really was quite easy to stitch. First, I stitched a backstitch around each marigold petal and then threaded another thread through the backstitches which gives the stitch a braid-like appearance.

Solstice Dream blocks 1 2 3
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Project bag

I am always looking for the perfect bag. A perfect bag has the perfectly sized pockets and shape to carry everything I need. There are thousands of bag pattern but one pattern never seems to have everything I am looking for. Sue Spargo designed the Allium bag a year ago, the bag was quite ingenious and almost perfect. The Allium Spool Sac was designed specifically to store Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads with the special vinyl zippered pockets manufactured by Yazzii.

I found the vinyl zipper pockets were ideal to keep my project thread organized. I loved that the vinyl zipper pockets had velcro along one edge so the pockets could easily be changed out of the bag. The bag was almost perfect but it lacked pockets to keep my wool block, notebook and needle keep with the project threads.

After months and months of thinking about adding pockets to the Allium bag, I finally came up with a bag construction plan. I decided to use a light weight mesh for the pockets.
byannie has a wide selection of colors of mesh and zippers.

After much trial and error, I finished my first bag.

I am using the bag for my Solstice Dream quilt. Below are pictures of the inside of the bag. I have mesh pockets on each side of the bag, to hold block, pattern notebook. Solstice Dream requires a lot of different threads, I used 2 vinyl zipper pockets which attach to the bag with velcro.

Overall, I was pleased with my new bag. A few sewing design glitches which I tried to fix with my next bag.
I will use this bag for my 2017 Sue Spargo project, Fresh Cut.

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Solistice Dream - Petal Show

I finished the second block of the Solstice Dream, called Petal Show.

SD Block 2 petal show
Block 2 gave m the opportunity to learn the Basque stitch, which is illustrated in Yvette Stanton's book, The Right-handed Embroiderer's Companion. Yvette's book is an excellent reference for learning embroidery stitches and her Left-handed Embroiderer's Companion is an excellent guide for left-handed stitchers. The Basque stitch gives a beautiful picot edge to the inner flower petals. The bees are stitched with Dazzle thread.

SD blocks 1 and 2 The two finished blocks on my design wall.


Solistice Dream

I have been having some trouble publishing my blog so I have not been writing lately. Today, I decided I would try publishing and see what would happen.
I saw a new wool appliqué quilt pattern in February and it was love at first sight.
Solistice Dream
Solstice Dream was designed by Kerry Green of kerry stitch designs. The quilt is 36" x 42".

I decided to use hand dyed wool from Wooly Lady, I chose turquoise wool as my background. The butterfly is the first block I stitched, I really love stitching with the hand dyed silken pearl by Thread Gatherers. The finished size of the block is 6" x 12"

Block 1 butterfly
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