Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coffee Obsession Quilt: Coffee Words Block {Gail}

I guess I am on a sewing kick! Knitting, crocheting, my planned papercrafting online class -- not happening, just not interested. So today I worked a bit on this quilting project I started back in May and haven't done much since. It will be a wallhanging with a strong coffee theme (get it?), and done in my own quilting style I call Obsession Quilting. You get to be obsessed with searching out theme fabric, and you obsess over the fussy cutting and patching together of the pieces. The photos below will show you what I am talking about.

I have been putting off working on the block made up of coffee words from the various fabrics. I have snipped out pieces with words I particularly wanted to include -- representing almost one example of every word on every fabric, plus a few strips from some strippy fabrics. I started the segment below knowing I wanted this "Gail waking up wanting coffee" portion: a couple stacked Get Me My Coffee pieces (light blue, center left), a strip of 3 Coffee words (you know, a desperate "coffee coffee coffee" plea!) The Wake Up and Smell The Coffee piece seemed appropriate (just to the right of the Get pieces), as did the Latte pieced in above, since I have a latte every morning. My children can tell you how sacred my morning lattes are! 

First segment of pieced Coffee Words, in progress.

I had to choose something from my snips to expand the center portion toward the right, so that the Coffee Coffee Coffee strip could be stitched down to protect it during future handling. The picture of the coffee bags are all labeled with their varieties, so they are allowed in this word block. Of course I couldn't find anything that was exactly the right size, but it worked pretty well height-wise. The ends of some of these seams don't extend all the way to the edges of the fabric, so I can fill in with more pieces easier, when I am ready.

The dark tan Latte and Espresso, sitting loose just below, will be sewn onto the bottom of Coffee Coffee Coffee strip, then I have a little word/picture to go to their right. You might notice the seam between Latte and Espresso -- this was actually one piece of fabric, but I shortened it to just the right length. At quilting time, I plan on making a scribble-stitched frame around each word with thread matching the lighter gold color. I really love that fabric -- it looks as if it has been dyed with coffee!

Segment 2 started with the Nature's Best panel, and I decided to go with coffee variety names around this. The Arabica Blend piece just above it is an altered block -- there was actually a picture of something above those words, but I cut off the top of the "frame" and stitched it back on just above the words. The seam is hiding very well, don't you think? (Click on the picture, you can see it larger size.) 
I had to get tricky with the coffee canisters: that fabric had been printed with the fabric off-grain so when I washed it, the canisters got all slanted! I stretched it back to its original off-grain so the canisters looked normal, spritzed it with Niagara Sizing, and ironed it dry! This stabilizes the weave for a while, as long as you don't handle it too much. Its frame is not drawn as a true rectangle, so I stitched using the canisters' lines as my straight-grain lines and left its surrounding fabric showing quite a bit.
Segment 2, coffee variety names.
I need to look for more examples in the fabrics.
Placing this segment by the Coffee Bags side of Segment 1 will help!
 Had a bit of trouble with the Mocha Java piece on the lower left -- pre-snipping these pieces is a crapshoot. You want to conserve your fabric, but leave enough space around the words for seam allowances. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I almost lost: one of those seams has like 3 threads as a SA. Must plan some stabilizing surface quilting in that area! The seam for whatever I attach to the lower edge of that area will ride exactly along the bottom of the letters. Maybe I'll use a snip from the same fabric and it won't look so "oops"-y! I filled and enlarged the segment with a couple of strips, which I will trim to length only when I have to.

Below is a picture of the back of Segment 1. I have a lot of trimming to do, but this type of piecing is not done by sewing a set distance away from the matched edges of the pieces. It's almost like a grid-based Crazy Quilt, except you are choosing your seam lines with far more care and accuracy. I press almost everything to one side, but you can see where I had to switch sides in one area. You can do this so that it is almost invisible on the front (bulkiness considerations) if you press the center portion of the seam open.

Backside of Segment 1, about 4" x 5"
Now that you can see the actual stitches, do you have an idea of the overall scale of these pieces? The framed area of the Get Me My Coffee piece is about 3/4" x 1 1/2", about the size of the first two joints on your index finger. :)

Here are the rest of my precut Coffee Words. I think this will be a fun block in my wallhanging!

I LOOOOVE coffee and fabric and quilting; this is a gratifying project!


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