A maze of corn stalks (pun intended!)

Well the last month of 2014 has flown by. There has been some work ongoing in the  Ice Bear Quilts Studio, but not as much as I’d like!

I have moved further with the Kansas Troubles wall quilt: I have added on the second border and the corner Kansas Troubles blocks, which were only pinned on on the design wall in my last post about this quilt.

The Kansas Troubles quilt with the second orange border sewn on.

The Kansas Troubles quilt with the second orange border sewn on.

The next stage was to make all the leaves and stalks that then get appliquéd to the patchwork top. As this is a stash buster quilt (no sneaky buying of extra yardage!) the challenge was to find three corn-stalk greens with sufficient contrast in my stash. I went with two Oakshott shot cottons and one plain green. The colours are a little wonky on screen, but look okay in real life! Then I cut out all the shapes to make three corn-stalks, and fusible backed them all. This took a surprisingly long time, for the meagre looking end result!

The corn leaves, cut out, backed with fusible and partly fused.

The corn leaves, cut out, backed with fusible and partly fused.

The instructions with the pattern said to construct the stalks off the quilt, using a appliqué pressing sheet (thank you Bear Designs), which I did, but when I pinned them to the quilt top I didn’t like them at all! The distribution of the leaves wasn’t right for my feeling They overlapped in nasty non-quiltable clumps), and the lengths of the stalks wasn’t right (not enough difference between them, and nothing like how the lengths of the stalks on the pattern photograph differed) even though I had followed the instructions correctly… so back to square one with the stalks.

A corn stalk under construction off the quilt top.

A corn stalk under construction off the quilt top.

I carefully de-constructed them (‘defused’ the fused bits) and rearranged the leaves and corn cobs. I also cut a new stalk for the longest corn-stalk and all new corn tassels: the pattern had them cut on the straight grain, but they are then, of course, impossible to bend and curve a bit, so I cut a new set on the bias. Then I hung the quilt top back on the design wall and remade my stalks, by pinning the leaves to the top. I am much happier with how they look now, but am giving them a few days to ‘settle’ before I attach them permanently to the top. The tassels are all rigidly straight in the photo, but I will bend and curve them when I sew them on, to get a more natural result.

The quilt top with the reconstructed corn stalks pinned on.

The quilt top with the reconstructed corn stalks pinned on.

To have a bit of a change whilst pondering what to do with the stalks, I have also cut out all the patches to make Pastthyme Patterns ‘Storm Watcher’ quilt, a pattern I bought whilst on holiday in New England. I am going to make the patched background from a range of Christmas cottons in red and green (all culled from my stash, which was great fun), with the appliqué, borders and backing in flannel. The aim is to have it ready for next winter!

'Storm watcher' from Pastthyme Patterns.

‘Storm watcher’ from Pastthyme Patterns.

And so another year ends at Ice Bear Quilts. I have some exciting new projects planned for 2015, so do look in every now and then, and to all my readers I wish you a happy and healthy 2015 filled with the people and things that you love.

A winter door-hanging that comes out every year in December, and will soon qualify as vintage!

A winter door-hanging that comes out every year in December, and will soon qualify as vintage!

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