This week I’ve completed this windmill design for the 5 x 7 Challenge. As I mentioned previously, I haven’t done a lot of paper-piecing before, but it seemed like the perfect technique for the background color splashes which I wanted.

Week 2 completed piece for the 5 x 7 Challenge
Designed and made by Christina Fairley Erickson
Original hand-drawn design
Back side

I ended up change quite a few things from my original hand-drawn design. First, I had small triangles around the center circle of the windmill, which I decided would simply be too small to be done effectively for the size of the finished piece. As I was going through my fabrics for the yellow color section, I found one with the circular motif which I decided would work well as the center, and chose to hand-appliqué it on. The other major change is that I didn’t add any struts to the windmill blades. I was going to machine appliqué some red fabric, but it looked too heavy. I then thought I’d machine quilt lines in, but once I finished quilting the colored background areas, the result was that the “windmill blades” and center stand or puff out since they haven’t been stitched. I like the look this way and think the result of stitching in strut lines may ruin this effect.  The other obvious change is that I decided to change the placement of the colors.

Sample/tester I made of Leah Day’s freemotion
quilting design “Sharp Angled Maze

I tested out a freemotion quilting design which I thought would work well for my background colors which I found from Leah Day’s Freemotion Quilting Project which she calls “Sharp Angled Maze.”  Overall, I think the design worked well within my piece.  The one problem that you can catch glimpses of is that with using a different color of thread on the back side of the piece, you can occasionally see bits of the bobbin thread on the front.  In the practice piece, you can see this in the lower half (particularly lower right), but I was able to adjust my machine tension to get rid of the problem.  I’m not sure whether it was the additional thicknesses of the seam allowances, but even with my top tension adjusted all the way down as far as it goes, I still had a little bit of bobbin thread showing.  If I were doing this for a large piece for competition, I’d probably work with it more.  Perhaps a smaller needle size?  Different thread?  Tighten the bobbin tension?

The other criticism I would have of this piece is that when you are further away from it, the blue and purple sections are a bit too close in value to the black/red/orange/yellow windmill blades.  If I were to do it on a larger scale, I would want to add more light values into those sections.

I welcome your comments and critiques on my pieces!

Thanks to other participants this week in our challenge!  Here are what others are working on:

“Wet” –  Hand-painted, thread-sketched and discharged
with bleach pen by Carol

Carol “LandscapeLady” has created this wonderful piece entitled “Wet”.
Check out her blog to see her photos of working on this piece throughout the process from photo to completed 5 x 7 art piece.

I really love the movement in the piece… you can feel, as well as see, the drops of water being joyfully shaken off this dog!

“Indonesian Dancer” – Work in Progress by Lise

Lise has this work in progress called “Indonesian Dancer.”  She is planning to add more to it, so we’ll look forward to seeing more- next week?   The repetition in this piece: wavy lines, musical notes, headdress elements, and sets of eyes all building the theme.  The wavy lines and lines surrounding the face particularly add to the primitive, ethnic feeling.  I can’t wait to see it finished!

Other blogs to check out:
Work in Progress Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced – delightful modern quilts

Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style… there are some really amazing projects here!

A Lovely Year of Finishes from Sew Bittersweet Designs has a great monthly goal-setting and project-finishing challenge

You might also be interested in:

Week 1 of the 5 x 7 
Artist Challenge
Getting Started May be 
the Hardest Part
52 Week 5 x 7 Challenge 
to Readers

1 reply
  1. landscapelady
    landscapelady says:

    Nice job on the paper piecing! It's not easy to do such little pieces and it came out nicely. I like the dark contrasting background, to bad the expert quilting doesn't show on the black.

    Lise's piece is very cool. I can see it being enhanced with beading to make it even better.


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