Yay! There’s something so exciting about #1. Being on the front end of a project and starting to work through how things are going to fall into place is my favorite part of the project. Explains all the UFOs I have! On this block, I did a lot of things for the “first time” making it take a lot longer than I expected. The pattern sample is on the left, my finished block is on the right.
I think it is pretty obvious that I skipped the paper piecing part of this block. For some reason, I was hell bent that the crystal ball was going to be round so I went with satin stitch raw edge applique. The embroidery on the books was done with a custom digitized fonts for my embroidery machine. Of course, I somehow or another managed to make my book spines BACKWARDS! I’ve decided to just leave them for now. I’ll make the next set in the right direction. If these still bug me then I’ll just pull the seams and switch them around to be going in the right direction!
This is only my second attempt at digitizing my own embroidery files. The moon on “Unfogging the Future” is my very first applique! I had to try multiple times to get the smaller font turned over into something you can actually read. I tried out auto columns, skinny fonts, and outlining. In the end, I settled on a nice clean set of fonts with no extra bulk in the outlines. The little swirly Q’s on “The Dream Oracle” are just me tinkering with fill objects, but I like them on there! If you’d like to try out the titles on your own machine, Here is a zip collection of .pes files. If you need another version, just drop me a line with the extension and I’ll convert it for you.
WARNING: These do not stitch out in the most logical order. Seems like getting things ordered in a smart way and labeling the color changes is part of my learning curve!
Painting the Ball
Textile painting and dying is on my list of things to learn and get better at. It seemed like this was a good chance to try out of of the Jacquard paints and perl-ex powders I have around.
The colorless extender can be mixed with the perl-ex powers to create an luminescent paint. I did not have a breathing mask when I was working with these powders, but in the future I will. It didn’t seem to be a big deal, but the powder does fly around like crazy. Since I was working near a sunny window, I could see every single particle. Can’t be good to breathe in that much metallic paint, right? I went ahead and created four crystal balls so I could go crazy and try different techniques with the paints and powders.
They look crazy right? I heat set them, then cut off the mostly white one on the bottom right. I knew I hated that one, so I used it to test color fastness and beat it to death. I washed it with harsh detergents, rubbed it across the wood on the porch and pulled and tugged to try to create cracks. In general, it held up really well. I did lose some paint on the areas that I had used water to thin the paint. Too much water it seems.
I wanted to get a feel for how they looked in the block so I did a quick test run with each:
My favorites were the swirl ones; however, I had used a fair amount of water to thin the paint on both of those. Since I learned from my experiment that could cause a color fastness issue, I decided they weren’t viable options. I know I was responding to the swirly ones because they seem to have movement and action where the star field one is more chaotic and stagnant. I talked myself into the more colorfast option by telling myself if it were just sitting on a shelf it would be stagnant. If someone wasn’t channeling spirits it wouldn’t be active. Well, that and I didn’t want to do it again!
The darkness you see on the edges of the stitching around the ball is another experiment with dye. I tried to give it a bit of a hard edge, but discovered quickly I wasn’t happy with that so I just left it where it was. In the end, this whole block may get a do-over, but for now I’m happy!
I’m excited about the quilting on this one. Maybe I’ll get the movement out of the ball after all! I’m also looking forward to all of the wood grain work for the background. Too bad I dont want to deal with quilt as you go – the quilting part sounds more fun than the sewing part in this case! I’m going to try to have block 2 done on time – wish me luck!!
Want to know everything there is to know about my progress on this quilt? Check out the Harry Potter Project Bookcase of Doom Index!