Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Jinny Beyer May Basket

Several months ago, I decided to start Jinny Beyer's Craftsy block of the month quilt.  Summer was super busy and I didn't make as much progress as I would have liked, but I am still chugging along.

I recently finished February's Basket of Fruit block:


I am hand piecing this quilt and enjoying the process.  It's completely different than my usual piecing style which consists of quickly rotary cut, string piece, and use large pieces in simple patterns.  I wanted a challenge and with this quilt I GOT ONE!

Look, I'm nearly done!

Friday, August 28, 2015

More or Less Quilting -- Mission IMPOSSIBLE!

When I started my More or Less quilting journey, I agreed to

1.  Use a different spool of FabuLux* thread from WonderFil for each quilt
2.  Use black fabric, white fabric, and a matching fabric
3.  Make one small change between each quilt
4.  Get it done.  Don't quilt for show.
5.  Be transparent. Be willing to show what doesn't work.

Well.... I recently finished quilt #4: First Love and I am going to be transparent and tell you what didn't work.

More or Less: Majestic Sunrise (quilt #3)


In the white, I quilted swirly feathers, echoed them 1/4" away, and pebbled the background up to the solid line 1/4" away from the red stripe.

In the red, I quilted ribbon candy. Who is shocked by that?

In the black, I quilted diamonds up to the solid line 1/4" away from the red strip.  I filled the space between the diamonds with ribbon candy (again, who is shocked?) and quilted stars in the middle of each diamond.

I liked that quilt, but needed to change something before I quilted the next quilt.

I decided to use FabuLux First Love thread from WonderFil (purple, pink, and teal).  The one thing I changed was to not finish all of the rows of diamonds.

Want to see the finished quilt?


Can you see it?  No?

THIS QUILT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PHOTOGRAPH!!! One of my students this weekend took some photos that came out better than mine, but she also acknowledges that this quilt just can't be photographed!  There is very little contrast between the thread and the black fabric, but if I increase the light, the white fabric simply glows:


You can see the diamond stitching much better in this photo, but the white hurts my eyes.

Maybe some color correcting on the computer will help?


The stitching shows well (yay!) but the quilt is actually black, white, and purple.

Millions of thanks to Barbara and Ben Skaught for their photography efforts with this impossible-to-photograph quilt.  Your photos at least show the stitching, and that was something I was unable to accomplish on my own.

So how was that for being transparent and "keeping it real"?

Details on the quilting:

I stitched this on my sweet Sweet Sixteen named Hazel.  She and I had a great time!

White Fabric:  I used my Handi Quilter Wave Ruler to stitch the spine, added some spiral feathers, and echoed with my 1/4" foot open-toe foot.


I added pebbles and stitched all of the way to the line 1/4" away from the purple stripe.

Purple Stripe:  I stitched ribbon candy in the purple fabric and stitched 1/4" away from the seam line with my Handi Quilter Mini Scallop Ruler:


Black fabric:

I rolled a die and let chance determine how many diamonds I stitched in each row.


After I stitched all of the diamonds, I had to fill the in-between areas with ribbon candy and figure out how to outline the uneven edges of the diamonds.  Then I added stars inside each diamond.

A reminder of the stitching on the finished quilt:


Here's a brief video explaining the differences.  Warning:  the quilting is REALLY hard to see on the last quilt.


So what did I learn from this quilt and what might I do different next time?

1.  I learned that this quilt is impossible to photograph.  Contrast matters!
2.  I learned that this quilt is too large; my next one will be smaller.
3.  I learned that I like this "dissolving diamonds" look but want to improve the transitions and outlines around the uneven diamond edges.

The next quilt will be quilted with FabuLux Tropical Fruit Salad thread from WonderFil.  The contrast should be better (oh please, let it be better!).  I hope to make the next quilt about half the size of this one.

I'll show the next quilt in next week's newsletter.  Stay tuned!

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*I was tickled to select the colors for the FabuLux line of thread.  I'm teasing you with these samples, because the thread is not yet available for purchase.  Keep checking in and I promise to make a huge announcement as soon as you can buy it!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quilt Pic of the week: Zoë's quilt

I have a fab friend named Zoë.  She's so wonderful that I make sure to type the umlauts and I wouldn't go to that trouble for just anyone!

I met Miss Zoë in Minneapolis at Quilt Market in May of this year:


Isn't she cute?  

She's smart, too!  She's helping me with my website and other online details that make me want to stick a seam ripper in my eye.  My website and my eyes thank her daily!


Well, Miss Zoë had a birthday recently and she definitely needed a quilt:



This is a scrappy version of my Sweet Tooth pattern. It is a happy quilt and it made me think of her.  

In addition to being a happy quilt, it's also a snuggly quilt with warm flannel on the back:




It may be summer now but, to quote the Stark family, Winter is coming!

Happy birthday, Miss Z! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quilt Pic of the Week: Majestic Sunrise

I am enjoying my More or Less quilt project and watching my quilting design evolve from quilt to quilt.   This quilt features a spool of Majestic Sunrise, a FabuLux thread.  I was tickled to have designed 40 colors for this yet-to-be-released thread line from WonderFil.

I started with three simple strips of black, red, and white fabric.  The first stitching, naturally, was the ribbon candy in the red stripe:


I stitched one-quarter inch outside the red stripe to frame the design:


Next I stitched a wave:


Then I stitched swirls and echoed them using my quarter-inch foot as a guide:


Pebble power!


What quilter doesn't love some diamonds?


It needed more Ribbon Candy:


My More or Less: Majestic Sunrise quilt is complete:


So how was this different than the last More or Less Quilt?

In The Pinks was vertical:


Majestic Sunrise was horizontal:


Watch the full explanation here:



I'm ready for my next More or Less quilt:


The new FabuLux thread is called First Love and I'm so excited to use it!  What changes should I make in this quilt?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

AQS Syracuse Show

The AQS Quilt Week in Syracuse, NY last week was so much fun!

There were Salt Potatoes, chocolate cake (no, I never share), and homemade chocolate chip cookies (Thanks, Deb!).

There was a beautiful hotel with a brief lack of Diet Coke.  I forgave them because the hotel and furnishings were just so pretty!

Wallpaper:


Chair:


There were also quilts and classes.

Karen Marchetti rocked the Handi Quilter classroom all week:


I miss her already!


I spent my day after the quilt show wondering if I could get pizza delivered to my house (no) and if the imaginary delivery person would fetch me my purse so that I wouldn't have to get out of my hammock (my guess would have been no):


As much as I love working at quilt shows, I love working at home, too!  I get to work in my studio for a whole week!  I wonder what mischief I can cook up while I'm home?

Monday, August 03, 2015

Quilt Pic of the Week: for Olivia

I love my children equally, but I really do have a favorite quilt pattern:  Squared Away.  I've designed many patterns over the years, but I'm fairly obsessed with this one lately.

When I was asked to make a quilt for my niece's "big girl bed," I said a quick YES! because I'm the coolest Auntie ever.  I knew that I had a pack of Riley Blake Lazy Day fabric that would make a great Squared Away quilt.  I set to work and had the quilt done a full month before her birthday:


I made this quilt with 48 blocks instead of the pattern's suggested 30/64.  I also added a border to make this quilt 69x90.

Once the front was taken care of, I ran to the Quilt Basket to buy my backing fabric.  When I saw this fabric, I knew that paying for a full-priced backing, usually something I avoid, was well worth the cost:


Like I said, Coolest Auntie Ever!

In case you doubt my love for my Squared Away pattern, allow me to show you a few other Squared Away quilts I have made.

In American Made Brand solids:


In scrappy Halloween prints:


In leftover Fig Tree & Co. fabrics:


What fabrics would you use with this pattern?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Gave In

A few months ago, I started Jinny Beyer's 2015 Block of the Month quilt through Craftsy.  I watched Jinny's class on templates and perfect hand piecing and said, "I've been quilting for 30 years and can quickly piece these blocks without all of the fuss!"

Famous last words.

I made the first block. I wasn't thrilled but I continued on.  I made the second block, again underwhelmed.  I attempted blocks three, four, and five and was ashamed of my blocks.  Then I decided to do what the teacher suggested.  I ripped out all of my blocks and started making them the way Jinny suggested.

WOW!


This block is perfect and the points match and I am a believer.  (I am also stubborn and a slow-learner since it took five bad blocks to convince me to do things the right way!)

I am hand-piecing with WonderFil Konfetti K200 Black thread and a size 7 embroidery needle.  I am finally enjoying making this quilt!

Are you making this quilt?  Did it take you five blocks to learn to do it the right way?  (Lie to me.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Quilt of the Week: In The Pinks

If you receive my newsletter, you've already seen my latest More or Less Quilt, In the Pinks, but I want to tell you more about it here.

I am working on a series of quilts that I call More or Less.  Every time I finish a quilt, I decide if there should be more or less of some element (color, pattern, etc.) in the next quilt.  Then I make the next quilt incorporating that change.  And do it all over again.  And again.  And again.

This week's quilt, In the Pinks, is number two in the series:


I used a not-yet-released thread from WonderFil called FabuLux.  I was tickled pink (did you see what I did there?) to design this thread line and had to have variegated pink spool in the line!


I started with ribbon candy (my fave!):


Bonus points if you notice the Hello Kitty fabric for the backing!

I stitched some straight lines to accentuate the pink stripe:


Then I went to work in the white stripe.  I started with a spine:


And then I swirled it:


Echoed the swirl:


Pebbled the background:


And got to work on the black stripe.  I stitched some diamonds:


and filled the channels with some ribbon candy (of course!):


The difference between Quilt One -- Olive Trees and Quilt Two -- In the Pinks is how I transitioned between the designs.  Check out the difference around the colored stripe in each quilt:


I think it's a much cleaner transition and I'm glad that I made the change.

If you want a better description of the quilting of each quilt and the transition between the two, watch my new video:



Look at In the Pinks again:


What will I do differently in More or Less Quilt 3?  It will be called Majestic Sunrise and I already have a few ideas...

In the comments, please answer these two questions:

1.  What would you do differently in Quilt 3?
2.  Should I continue filming videos about each pair of quilts?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cut the Scrap -- Cuties!

Do you have any fabric in your sewing room?  A little?  A lot?  If you are anything like me, you have no "room" in your sewing room because it is full of fabric.  I have a decent system for storing yardage, kits, and in-process projects in my sewing space, but I am overrun by scraps!

A basic philosophy of my life is that I like to do a minimum amount of effort and see a maximum amount of results.  This hardly ever works, but when I try to manage my overflowing scrap bins I pull out the largest pieces first and try to cut them into chunks that are 9"x22" (fat eighths).  I roll them into little bundles and call them Cuties.


I see a lot of black and white Cuties in that drawer that will probably turn into a quilt soon.

I design patterns for the Cutie Collection (patterns that use 16 fat eighths) and use my scraps to test patterns and make scrap quilts just because I like them.

My Cutie drawer has produced several Cutie Quilts:

Fenced In:


Squared Away (Halloween prints):


Squared Away (leftovers from a Fig Tree & Co. kit):


Sweet Tooth (light):


Sweet Tooth (dark):


Vintage:


How about you?  Do you have scrap pieces large enough to cut fat eighths?  Which Cutie Pattern might show them off best?