Monday 30 April 2012

Colour My World Yellow

Happy Monday, all! As I mentioned last week, I was finding this month a challenge. Upon reflection, I don't think it was so much the colour yellow that I was struggling with, but more what I wanted to do with it. Once I got going though, there was no stopping!

Little Ms. Sunshine
I've been wanting to try some of the techniques that Gloria Loughman shares in her book Quilted Symphony. This is definitely a book I'd recommend. Lots of ideas and techniques to make your own, as well as great eye candy quilts. That woman is one talented quilter!

One thing I don't think I've shared is that I'm trying to use fabrics from my stash for these monthly challenges. As I hadn't tried Gloria's techniques before, I wasn't sure how all the different fabrics would look layered together. Would there be enough contrast? Too much contrast? As I sat staring at my yellow stash, afraid of picking the wrong values or shades or tints or whatever of yellow, I finally just let go and kind of gave myself permission for it 'not to work'. It's an experiment and I should not worry too much about the outcome, I thought to myself. So with that stern talking to, I relaxed and just had fun with it.

So here's my Little Ms. Sunshine. Like my other Colour My World challenge pieces, this one measures 14.5" square with just a zigzag stitch finish. It has foundation piecing on tearaway stabilizer, machine fusible appliqué, decorative stitching, free motion quilting and probably something else that I can't remember right now. I really love this layered collage/mosaic look so you'll probably see more of this in the future.

Detail of the sun rays
For the decorative stitching and quilting, I also used whatever yellow thread I had in my stash and decided to use the 'shiny' stuff as much as possible. I have to say that the 'shiny' stuff is a pain in the arse to use! It kept sliding off the spool and getting caught underneath the spool, causing annoying tension issues. I tried putting the spool in a jar and changing the orientation of the spool so it fed sideway, but it just kept getting stuck. What finally worked was transferring the thread to a bobbin. Not a perfect solution, but by far the best one I found.

For the machine quilting, I added free motion flames between the sun rays and echoed them right out to the edge.

Detail of the sun rays and the free motion pebbles in the sun
Some other lessons learned/reinforced:
- Learned how to get nice points in satin stitching by slowly reducing the stitch width as I came towards the point of the sun rays and slowly increasing it as I went away from the point.
- The pretty fabrics won't necessarily get the job done. Sometimes, it's the fugly ones that work better. Plus, with so much layering or collage of fabrics, it's not about the print or design of the fabric, it's really just about the colour.
- Play with different weights and types of threads -- with something as busy as this, it will probably all blend in.
- More contrast is needed between the sun rays and the background.

All in all though, I'm super pleased with this month's challenge. I learned a lot that I can use on other projects and I find my Ms. Sunshine rather cheerful!

[Edited: I'm linking this up to TGIFF!, which is being hosted by Laura of Quokka Quilts this week. She found a clever way to spell out TGIFF this week -- with her quilt. Check it out and the other finishes this week. As always, you are more than welcome to link up one of your own recent finishes!]

For those participating this month, how did you find this colour?

May's colour is Cyan. I'll do a post later this week with some tidbits about this fun colour.

I'll post this week's Modern Block tomorrow.


  1. I'm not surprised you've been doing a happy dance! This is sensational! A truly wonderful piece. I'm completely in awe :)

  2. Stunning!! M-R; just when I think you have done your best; this shows up. I simply love it...I have go to make more time to at least try some of these things....gosh!!!! you are doing so well with all of these techniques. Be proud girl!!!! love it!!

  3. I think you have turned out a beauty! Incorporating so many different techniques is amazing, and it looks spectacular!

  4. Ooooh! My favorite colour and I luv this layering and the sun motif and ooh, just everything. I will check out this book you are recommending. Super Great job, M-R! Luv it!

  5. Ms. Sunshine is absolutely gorgeous! I love it! I really like the stitching you used around the outside circle and the rays. Very good job!

  6. It looks great! All of the shades work really well together. I was also afraid that my different shades would clash horribly but in the end it worked out and everything in yellow inevitably looks really happy.

  7. oh wow! It looks fabulous! I'm so glad you gave yourself permission to play - I know I often get paralyzed by the "but do they work together" type of questions. Your fabrics and threads all look wonderful, and it most definitely is a little bit of sunshine on this grey wet Vancouver day. Gloria Loughman is a wonderfully inspiring quilter - I had the pleasure of a 2 day workshop with her last year - marvelous!

  8. I love love love this! I too sometimes call new things I try "experiments" so I don`t put my expectations too high! I have this book also! I will definitely try some of these techniques! Thank you for sharing!

  9. WOW! You utilised all those yellow shades brilliantly!

  10. truly amazing, M-R. Dom.

  11. That's really gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see you author a book in a year or two. Your talents are worth publishing!!

  13. Oh my gosh that is just gorgeous!

  14. Love it !! I love all the detail!
    I have my book out again, and spent the evening looking at it...again!

  15. This is amazing! And I love yellow! Nicely done!

  16. Well, all of your frustration worked out, because it looks fabulous! I love the free motion flames.


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