Using my full size drawing as a reference, I marked the major lines on my fabric....
...using a pink water soluble marker. The blue marker wouldn't have shown up on this fabric. I marked it first so that when I pinned the fabrics and batting together I wouldn't have put pins in places where I needed to sew right away.
I always get questions about how I put my quilts together -- I pin most of my quilts, although I have used spray adhesive to do some smaller pieces. So here's the pinning process, with pictures:
I press the backing fabric first, using Mary Ellen's Best Press, a lightweight starch. I like the feel of the fabric after it's pressed with it, it smells divine and, since I buy the Cherry Blossom variety, it's PINK!
My backing fabric is pretty small, so I was only able to use the 2" binder clips to secure two sides of it to the table. I used painter's tape for the other two sides. The goal at this stage is to hold the backing fabric taut without stretching it. The binder clips are available at office supply stores like Staples. For the size of my table surface, I bought 3 dozen clips; I think they come in boxes of 1 dozen.
My work tables have gotten pretty beat up over the years of pinning, spray basting and everything else. They are inexpensive wood veneer banquet tables -- my setup is two tables, each measuring 30" by 96". They are pushed together in the middle of my room, giving me a working surface of 60" by 96".
Then I lay batting on top and cut it to fit. This is wool batting from Quilters Dream. I'm going to be doing a lot of detailed quilting on this and the wool will give a nice loft to the feathers without going to the extra work of trapunto (stuffed work technique first seen in Italian embroideries). If I wanted more loft, however, I would certainly do the trapunto as well as using the wool.
Then I smoothed the marked top over the batting and started pinning. My pins are approximately 4" apart. That's enough to hold the layers securely but still give me room to sew.
Recently a big box of thread arrived from the Mettler company -- several different weights and lots of colors! I'm pretty sure I can find some goodies in there to use!
I started pulling colors, using my backing fabric as inspiration since my face fabric is a hand dye without a great deal of color variation.
Seaweed #1 in a couple of different shades of green....
Added a few more, using more color variation. There are more greens in there and also a variegated thread with green/blue/yellow. Also sewed in one of the "long lines" on the right hand side that the fish will eventually rest against. Used a metallic gold by Mettler for the long line.
This is a closeup where the variegated thread was used. I like the color and also like the texture in the center stem of the seaweed.
Darker thread used for feathers and then lighter thread (lighter both in color and in thread weight) for the small echo lines that pop those feathers so they look like they were stuffed.
This is what the back looks like so far....
And now, since I'm home, I also have to cook, right? Woman cannot live on thread alone....
The book that I was most intrigued with over the weekend is Rachael Ray's new one, "My Year in Meals". She documents, complete with recipes, everything she cooked for a year in her own home kitchen. Also there's a unique feature of the book (of less interest to me because I'm a wine person, not a cocktail person); if you flip the book over and work from back to front, Rachael's husband John has 100 cocktail recipes.
This is the "Mushroom Lasagna"; it's more of an Alfredo style lasagna as it is made with a white sauce and no tomatoes. I added some left over prime rib from the holidays to make it even yummier.
I also made "Creamy Winter Vegetable Soup" -- a real winner -- and tonight I am making a pork loin roast. Rachael's version pairs it with potato/parsnip pancakes, but since one of my husband and my three fights in 25 years of marriage was over how incredibly filthy I got the stove while making potato pancakes for Hanukkah one year, I decided to make mashed potato/parsnip puree instead! Smart decision, right?
I'm also baking bread, but that seemed like a lot of pale colored foods, so I found a recipe in Taste of the South Magazine for Brussels sprouts with spinach that sounded good -- it's flavored with lemon and also has a chopped red bell pepper in it.
We have friends coming over tonight and we're watching the Notre Dame and Alabama football teams play for the BCS national championship. I really like both teams, so who to root for? Are there other football fans out there -- do you have an opinion on this?
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