Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dreaming of Cinderella (while the paint is drying)...

Remember the "Cinderella" TV movie/musical that used to come on every year?  (Yes, I am DEFINITELY dating myself now...)

It first aired in 1965 and starred Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella. I used to LOVE watching that thing every year!  Remember those song lyrics, "In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whatever I want to be?"

Well, today I am Cinderella, established in the corner of the family room by the window, working away on hand quilting the outer border of my "Baltimore Rhapsody" quilt.

It is snowing like crazy outside as I work, and the wind-tossed snowflakes make me feel like I am lost in a magic spell.

Maybe I am hoping my Fairy Godmother will come and finish my hand quilting chores so I can get on with more applique...

Part of my inability to finish the hand quilting was due to being stumped on what to quilt above the outer border swags.  I sort wanted something musical, but not something so busy that it would draw the eye away from the hand applique too much.

I have gone through so much waxed paper, doing overlay drawings, trying to come up with something.  I finally settled on a simple leafy swag with a single eighth note in the middle.  Eighth notes are not symmetrical, which really bugs is centered over the swag, but due to its irregular shape, it just looks funny to me...

I made my own little set of crude templates (I'll show you below...) and got busy with the 28 repeats of the motif required.

I am using a hoop for this, but took it off trying to get a decent picture...I think the picture would have been better if I had left the hoop on!

Once I got a side done (seven repeats), I still wasn't completely satisfied...something was missing.  Since I had already appliqued little hearts in the outer border corners, I decided to quilt little hearts between the leafy swag motifs.

The quilt is all bunched up on my little table so the picture is not good (when the quilt is touching the floor, Mr. Weasley is ALL OVER this puppy!!), but I think you can get the idea.  The following picture is before I removed the blue marking pen.

For continuity, I decided to do leaves in the corners as well, and more hearts.

Here is a shot after I spray-flooded the area with water to remove the blue house is so darn dry from the constantly-running furnace, that it took only minutes to dry (except for a couple of spots on the left...).

OK...don't is how I made my template...templates, actually.  I don't have one of those fancy stencil cutters, so sometimes I make the motif in stages on different pieces of template plastic (pay no attention to the quilt underneath...the stencil does not match up at the moment).

I figured out the length of my swag...not from leaf TIP to leaf TIP, but from leaf VEIN to leaf VEIN.  I made a curved line on my piece of template plastic with a skinny Sharpie marker, then used tiny, very pointy, curved scissors to "cut out the line."  (I think the scissors are actually delicate toenail scissors...I do NOT have delicate toenails, so they are in my sewing scissor drawer, LOL!).  

To "cut out the line," I just cut to the outside of my line all the way around.  As you can see, the channel is ULTRA skinny...I only need the point of my blue marker to fit down in the channel that I cut.

The two lines, one above and the curved one below, are just crudely drawn to help me line up my "line template" in the right place.  Then I carefully, and LIGHTLY draw my curved line.

On my second, separate template, I cut out the note and the leaves after drawing them around my initial curved line (the drawn curved line helps me to place this template in just the right spot on my quilt.  

I could have done all this on one piece of template plastic, but there would have been so much cut away that it would have been floppy and hard to stabilize while using.  Commercial stencils leave little chunks in the design line, but I don't have the patience to be that precise with my homemade pieces.

The leaf tips on either end will extend BEYOND my drawn line (the ends of my drawn line represent the ends of the leaf VEINS, not the leaf TIPS).  I just eyeball the veins in the other leaves while I am quilting.

Then I carefully trace around the inside of each cut-out...

...when I quilt, I stitch to the OUTSIDE of my drawn line (this also makes it easier to remove the blue pen because it is not underneath the stitches, hiding from the water spray!).

I loaded up the corner template with additional different sized hearts in case I needed them, so I have to move the template around to trace what I need...the spacing between the hearts and the branch are not the correct spacing.

When the correct side of the template is not clear, I label the template or at least write "this side" on the plastic.  Once I didn't do that and some of my motifs were backwards when finished, which I didn't notice until I saw the quilt hanging in a show, ha-ha!  Oh well!!

Will it ever stop snowing in Michigan...or get back to normal winter temperatures??  

I have two borders, fourteen of the twenty-eight repeats, done.  I am going to hunker down with a cup of tea and work on more of them after shoveling a little snow...

I hope you are warm and cozy somewhere, doing a little stitching!

In stitches,  Teresa  :o)


  1. I love seeing your process and your progress.

  2. Isn't it nice when we finally come up with a solution. I like the note and leaves and thought I was the only crazy person when it came to symmetry.

  3. Shoveling snow here too and tired of it. It is taking away from my stitching time for sure!
    That was interesting to see how you make your templates!

  4. I really looked forward to watching that Cinderella every year too! If she lived in Michigan, I guess those glass slippers of hers would be ice. Snow? I guess I shouldn't tell you it was 56 degrees here today. Don't worry about us not being able to tell the difference between winter and spring. The high on Monday's only going to be 22!

  5. We had snow today and tonight and I think tomorrow, too. Thank you for sharing another step in your lovely work.

  6. Love the snow, we have a hot summer here in New Zealand, although it is drizzling today, it is humid. What a view out the window you have, so pretty, I guess you are over it being pretty?
    I think your template making is great, it works, so that's what counts, I make some interesting quilting templates too, sometimes from cereal boxes!

  7. Your hand work just amazes me. That quilt sings sweet music to Mr. Weasley. That's why he's so drawn to it. He HEARS the music!!! Stay warm.

  8. OH Teresa it is amazing.
    I love Cinderella & I have never heard of this version. I will be stalking Mr Google to find it online.
    It is wonderful that you are in your own little corner of your own little room.
    Thank you for letting us see inside your design world.

  9. I can relate to the snow since in NJ it comes continually just when you think you'll get a break.

    Your quilt is absolutely amazing! Thank you for your description of your design process for the open spaces. I often have to do something like that and I like the way you took parts & put them together. I'll remember that next time I have an open space begging for more quilting!

  10. your quilt is simply amazing and I love how you share your thinking process.

    A lot of snow and cold here too in Northern Ohio.

  11. Your quilt is stunning, beautiful appliqué and hand quilting.

  12. What a great post! I found the info about making your template very useful! I really like your leaf and note motif - it fits the space beautifully and carries on your musical theme. Your stitches are beautiful - what a masterpiece this will be!!

  13. I have seen that program more times than I care to remember. I like it a lot, especially Leslie Ann Warren's portrayal of Cinderella. And now that song is playing in my head. ;-)

  14. It is so nice to be able to quilt near a window in natural light. I find it less of a strain on my eyes. When something doesn't satisfy me, it slows me down. Sometimes, i do not know what it is, but when I figure it out and take the extra time to fix it, I feel better.

  15. Beautiful quilting and thank you for explaining how you make your templates. That is very useful and ingenious. I like the idea of being able to fill in where needed with the extra motifs you put on the template. We have had our share of snow this year (21") so far and very cold temps. Today it is up to 7 with windchills of minus 30. Not a fun time to be outside doing anything! I'm staying inside to sew on one of my many UFOs.

  16. Thank you for sharing your design process. It helps me to see others figure out how the steps needed to get the desired results. Nothing is simple so it is nice when you take such care to show exactly how you do things.

  17. So lovely! :)
    Greetings from Finland!
    Hugs, Ulla

  18. magnificent! You are so talented. Thanks for sharing.


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