Constellation quilt tips and materials

haptic lab constellation quilt

My progress on the haptic lab constellation quilt


My haptic lab constellation quilt has been is a work in progress since mid-2020. It began as a long-term project from which I have learned a lot! Luckily I ended up doing it during the challenging year of 2020 and the first months of 2021. It was a reflection project that valued the routine and supported some challenging moments.

After introducing you to my handmade quilt here, I made the sandwich of the top, batting and bottom layer. This is something that is usually done almost last in a normal quilting project. To this Sandwich I also added the constellation quilt pattern on paper over the top layer. This was the basis for embroidering the stars. I think it is no longer possible to buy this paper version. But I admit that it was a blessing to still be able to get it!

Guidelines machine stitching


As a matter of consistency of this constellation quilt, I chose to machine stitch the pattern guidelines. This allowed me to dedicate the effort of hand embroidery only to the constellations. It also allowed me to manage expectations and be creative in the use of materials while reinforcing the stability of the quilt.


After stitching the guidelines I dedicated most of the time to the most fun, yet repetitive part of this project: embroidering. I searched for many possible material options for each element. I though about making everything in the same color, about the proposed stitches, and I came to the following conclusion. Since I preferred the guidelines to go unnoticed, I stitched them using a thread of the same color as the top layer. Thus, I was able to give more emphasis to the stars and relax the complexity of the design.

Embroidering the constellations


Regarding the constellations, I must say that the process was somewhat revealing. In one hand I didn’t know how the materials were going to work because the final effect was hidden below the paper pattern. So, I embraced my imagination to predict the final effect and trusted the process!

For the stars I used a 6 strand silver embroidery thread. I separated 3 strands to use each time. This thread was a headache to work because the metallic thread wears out quickly while embroidering. I learned to use smaller portions of thread to decrease the risk of tearing it too much. In spite of that, I was excited to use this thread! I think the 3 strands give the “bulcky” effect that I was looking for without the intensity of a perlé thread! In addition, I confess that metallic perlé thread is not my favorite at all.

For the connecting lines between the stars I used the same thread in a light gold. A light gold goes better with the rest of the color palette. I was undecided between an interrupted or uninterrupted line. But as I finished the first constellations, I found that the uninterrupted line created less visual clutter in the overall design.

Names and the Milky Way


Two more groups of information were missing: the names of the constellations and the stars of the Milky Way. To make them I went for a soft perlé in two shades of blue. I used the lightest for the milky way stars, and the “not so dark” blue for the names of the constellations.

In the case of the milky way stars, I had to make an important decision. I found many references saying that the French knot stitch that the pattern suggested created some problems when tearing out the paper pattern. Many stitches fall apart at that time, even if the process is done carefully. In addition, the French knot is a delicate stitch, especially if the quilt is handled a lot. Now, those who know the headache of making French knots as many times as the project calls can imagine what it is like to have to redo them over and over. So I left my perfectionism aside (or did I actually embrace it …?) and replaced the French knots with a very delicate cross stitch.

Tearing off my constellation quilt!


The embroidery part of my haptic lab constellation quilt is finally finished! Now I have already started to tear and carefully remove the paper pattern to reveal the constellations. I still have to add some details as well as trim the edges and make the binding. So I will save a final revelation, full of good photos, for a next post! For now I show you this “sneak peak” of the satisfying moments of removing the paper quilt pattern that hid the embroidery of my haptic lab constellation quilt!

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Gingerbread house for Christmas

gingerbread house
gingerbread house
gingerbread house
gingerbread house
gingerbread house

gingerbread house
gingerbread house
gingerbread house

This Christmas I decided to try out my first gingerbread house.

I’ve done so many Christmas projects! A pom-pom wreath for the door, the decorations for the Christmas tree, advent calendars, there are a series of handmade Christmas adventures on the blog that you can check out and try. Right now I don’t really need anything else for my home since we spent so much time inside doors this year, I really wanted a handmade adventure to bring me the Christmas spirit that I usually absorb from these projects.So this Christmas I decided to try out my very first gingerbread house.

The myths


My intention was to make a small house. But when I started making it, I realized that this will be a proper sized one!
To tell you the truth, this little experiment has dispelled many myths! The gingerbread house dough is very resistant and the gingerbread house icing, if done properly, is a very strong cement. It also is a decorative forgiving plaster that goes very well into the hands of an humble apprentice. Both make gingerbread houses much more resilient than you think!

Gingerbread house frosting


As I am not a fan of gingerbread houses full of candy and strong colors, I opted for the “basic” gingerbread house decorations. I just used icing that gives it a somewhat minimalist look. At least I did not want to venture into big juggling right on my first try … ah, but the maternal grandfather’s genetics that I preserve inside me (fantasy enthusiast) couldn’t resist adding at least a few windows glass using gelatin sheets… just to keep the cold outside!

Overall I am very proud if it and I assume that I will make more in the following years.

I wish you a different but merry Christmas, with the light that is missing in the streets emanating, this time, from the inside out.

gingerbread house
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Starting my Constellation Quilt

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Vou começar mais uma empreitada, mais um grande quilt e, desta vez é quase todo acolchoado à mão!

 

Não é segredo nenhum que sou uma grande contempladora do céu. Observar o céu nocturno é uma das minhas coisas favoritas, um hábito que adquiri com o meu pai. O céu foi algo que nunca me passou pela cabeça deixar de fora no meu Nature Journal porque é, sem dúvida, parte dela e parte da nossa história.

 

Quando a Constança partilhou pela primeira vez o seu quilt das constelações eu pensei de imediato: “este é um projecto para eu fazer no futuro!” Alguns anos se passaram e eu ganhei alguma experiência com quilts de maiores dimensões pelo que finalmente me senti capaz de embarcar nesta aventura pelas estrelas. Aos poucos comprei o kit da HapticLab e fui escolhendo os materiais. O kit vem acompanhado com um pequeno guia mas confesso que não é muito aprofundado no que diz respeito à escolha de materiais pelo que, neste caso, a experiência vale tudo. Não que qualquer pessoa não possa fazê-lo, porque pode, mas para uma peça que exigente tanto investimento e tempo, para mim é essencial fazer boas escolhas de material.

 

Escolhi um quilting cotton em azul bem escuro porque não queria o compromisso dos tons mais claros do cobalto, mas também não me agradava a ideia de destituir o quilt do imaginário do céu azul. Prefiro dar-lhe um twist especial noutros detalhes. Para o verso, não compliquei e escolhi o branco, sobretudo porque não quero que tenha qualquer influência no quilt e porque, sendo acolchoado à mão, queria deixar os pontos visíveis e arrumados pelo verso. O meu batting é de 80% de algodão. Tenho sempre preferência pelos 100% algodão mas confesso que tenho a sensação que  acabam por encolher ligeiramente e, neste caso, não quis arriscar.
Seleccionei um fio de algodão 40 para acolchoar as linhas orientadoras (ainda não decidi se faço esta parte à máquina ou não), meadas de 6 fios para bordar nos tons metalizados mais subtis que encontrei e fio de algodão 8 em branco e alguns tons de azul claro (que na verdade ainda não tenho a certeza como usarei). Apetrechei-me de agulhas para quilting e para bordar, um bom dedal e do maior bastidor que tinha.

 

Este é um projecto para muitos meses, sobretudo porque durante o verão, o calor não vai deixar-me ter o mesmo tipo de rendimento. Por isso, é um trabalho do qual não vou dar muitas notícias no blog entretanto, mas que poderão acompanhar mais regularmente na minha conta do instagram e do facebook!

 

I’m going to start another big project, another big quilt, and this time it’s almost all hand quilted!

 

 

It is no secret that I am love star gazing. Admiring the night sky is one of my favorite things, a habit I acquired with my father. The sky was something that never crossed my mind not being in my Nature Journal because it is undoubtedly part of it and part of our history.

 

When Constança first shared her constellation quilt I immediately thought: “this is a project for me to do in the future!” Some years went by and I gained some experience with bigger quilts so I finally felt able to embark on this adventure among the stars. Gradually I bought the HapticLab kit and started to choose the materials to use on it. The quilt kit comes with a small guide, but I confess that it is not very helpful regarding the choice of the main materials so, in this case, my previous experience is worth everything. Not that anyone can’t do it because you can, but for a piece of work that requires so much investment and time, for me it is essential to make good material choices.

I chose a dark blue quilting cotton for the front because I didn’t want the compromise of the lighter shades of cobalt, but I also didn’t like the idea of ​​removing the “blue sky imaginary” from the quilt. I prefer to give it a special twist in other details. For the back, I didn’t overthink it and chose white, especially because I don’t want it to have any influence on the quilt and because, being hand quilted, I wanted to make it clean for the stitches to be visible from the back. My batting is 80% cotton. I always prefer 100% cotton but I confess that I have the feeling that they end up shrinking slightly and, in this case, I didn’t want to take any chances. I selected a 40  cotton thread to quilt the guidelines (I still haven’t decided if I will machine quilt this part or not), embroidery  6 threads thread in the most subtle metallic tones I found, and 8 cotton embroidery thread in white and some shades of blue (I’m not really sure how I will use it yet). I equipped myself with quilting and embroidery needles, a good leader thimble and the biggest frame I had.

This is a project for many months of work, mainly because during the summer the heat will not let me work taht hard on it. So it is a project that you won’t get that much news on the blog in the meantime, but that you can follow it more regularly on my instagram and facebook accounts!

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Framing two sleepy lions

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Os meus leões adormecidos já têm destino!

 
Queria oferecê-los às minhas duas afilhadas mas fiquei indecisa sobre a melhor forma de os emoldurar. Encaixilhar, só mesmo sem vidro, para que o efeito da punch needle não se perdesse. Contudo achei que lhes dava um carácter mais sério do que eu pretendia para duas pequenas princesas. Pensei em fazer uma pequena almofada com cada um, acrescentando um tecido colorido para a parte de trás. Mas, apesar de uma almofada com punch needle me parecer uma ideia espectacular, com apenas 10 cm de diâmetro creio que os meus leões perderiam todo impacto numa almofada minúscula sem objectivo nenhum.

Depois de algumas ideias acabei por ceder à delicadeza dos bastidores porque me parece uma forma mais leve de enquadrar um trabalho são jovial e descontraído. Por isso comprei dois pequenos bastidores de madeira com o mesmo tamanho e apliquei-lhes os leões como se fosse bordar. Pelo verso, cortei o excesso de tecido deixando apenas o suficiente para o prender pela parte de trás do bastidor fixando-o. Depois pespontei, a uns 5mm da extremidade, a toda a volta e puxei o excesso de fio de forma a que a berma ficasse esticada pela parte de trás. Podia ter tapado o verso e a berma com outro tecido mas confesso que não tenho nada contra os versos dos bordados e até gosto de os ver (embora não de os analisar).

 

Acrescentei uma fita e agora estão prontos para oferecer. O bastidor é tão leve que pode ser pendurado nos mais diversos locais: janelas, puxadores, portas, enfim, onde quisermos. E mesmo que o queiramos colocar na parede não precisamos de nos comprometer com um furo: basta uma pequena tira de washi tape para o segurar!
 

 

My two sleepy lions have a home!

I wanted to offer them to my two sweet godchildren, but I was undecided on the best way to frame them. To use a regular frame I must do it without any glass, so that the punch needle effect is not lost. However, I thought it gave the lions a more serious character than I intended. I thought about making a small pillow with each one, adding a colorful fabric to the back. But despite the fact that a punch needle cushion seems like a spectacular idea, having only 10 cm in diameter, I believe that my lions would lose all impact in a tiny cushion with no purpose.

After some research I ended up going for the delicacy of the embroidery hoops because it seems to me a lighter way to frame a light little work. So I bought two small wooden embroidery hoops of the same size and applied the lions to them as if I was going to embroider. From the back, I cut off the excess fabric leaving just enough to secure it to the back of the frame and fix it. Then I stitched all around about 5mm from the edge, and pulled the excess thread so that the fabric was stretched from the back. I could have covered the back with another fabric but, I must confess, that I have nothing against the back of embroidery work and I even like to see it (not analysing it).

I added a ribbon and now these two sleepy lions are ready to offer. The framing is so light that it can be hung in different places: windows, handles, doors, wherever we want! And even if we want to put it on the wall, we don’t need to commit to a hole: just use a small strip of washi tape to hold it!

 

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