What About That Rooster?

Joanna commented on my last post that it was an interesting bait and switch, titling the post with “Rooster” but blogging about geese. Yeah, that was not really on purpose. By the time I finished showing you the flying geese quilt top, it seemed like a big enough post already. This one is actually about the rooster.

Though I put a couple of recent photos in Instagram, when you last saw it on the blog, I’d assembled portions of the appliqué but had not fused it all together. Here it is, both before and after being fused to the background fabric. Click either picture to see them bigger. 

It’s worth spending a moment here to talk about execution. Over the last few months, I read a lot of different blogs and tutorials about fused and other machine appliqué. For me it was like reading a lot of recipes for one type of dish, and then making my own plan based on what I’d learned.

Whatever this quilt is when done, it won’t be a cuddle quilt or bed quilt. It’s not likely to ever be laundered. I don’t need to worry about finishing the edges completely with stitching. That gives more flexibility for method. Here are a few bullet points, with whatever commentary applies:

* I used Wonder-Under brand fusible web. Honestly, I haven’t tried more than a couple of brands, so I can’t tell you how it compares to other types of fusible.
* For some of the larger pieces, I cut the centers out of the Wonder-Under before fusing to the rooster fabric, leaving just an outline about 1/2″ wide. That reduced the heft and stiffness of those pieces.
* I fused small components together to make bigger parts (shown in the photo above,) using parchment paper as my pressing sheet. Once the pieces are pressed together, they can be peeled off as a group. Some people recommend Teflon pressing sheets, but I used parchment paper; it worked fine and it’s very inexpensive.
* Previously I’d drawn an outline of the rooster on tracing paper, along with a couple of marks to show where the background seams were. That made it easier to place the big parts when I was ready to fuse to the fabric. However, I purposely oriented the rooster a little less upright than my original drawing. That was easy to do since I hadn’t fused all the parts together yet.

After attaching the full rooster to the background fabric, I tried a lot of ideas for how to frame it. Initially I figured to create a narrow line of dark coral, all the way around, and then bordering that with hourglass blocks. None of the color combinations I tried really rocked me.

Many iterations of color later, I left the room. While Jim and I had dinner that evening, I tossed out some questions. You know, what if? What if I don’t use a narrow border of coral? What if I don’t use a narrow border at all? What if I just put one wide strip border around it and call it done? What if …

One question seemed worth pursuing: what if I made a checkerboard border? What if I used three layers of checkerboard, like 9-patches? Or maybe simpler, just 4-patches? Again I auditioned colors. I chose a bronze batik (used in many other projects, and I’ll be very sad when it’s gone) and the same blue print used for the rooster’s head.

The finished patches are 1 1/8″ squares. Rather than work with the tiny pieces individually, I used strips of blue and bronze, cut along the grain for better stability. If you cut across, width of fabric, you can get substantial bowing of the pieced strip.

That’s my progress so far.

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20 thoughts on “What About That Rooster?

  1. katechiconi

    He’s magnificent! I think the checkerboard around the outside is inspired and I love the fabrics you’ve used to mimic the variation and colours of a rooster’s feathers. Can I plead for a dot in the centre of his eye, though? I think it would give him more personality and focus.

    Reply
  2. Shasta

    I wouldn’t have thought of using that fabric combination for the rooster – they seem so different, but they go together so perfectly! The checkerboard border works great too.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yep, it’s an odd combination of fabrics. There are batiks and Kaffe Fassett and basic prints and Marcia Derse and even bits of an African fabric. I’m a lot less inhibited about combining than I used to be, and also happier with my combinations. Thanks for noticing.

      Reply
  3. Cjh

    Nice! I don’t know how much bigger the piece is supposed to be, but “what if” you put a narrow coral border around the outside of the checkered border (which looks fabulous, by the way)?

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I don’t know how much bigger it’s supposed to be, either! With the checkerboard it’s about 20″ square, I think, so could accept more for size. I also wondered about a coral edge around it. I don’t have quite the color I’d like, so am still thinking about that. Thanks for the comments!

      Reply

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