Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Series of Starbursts

Whereas I set out to create one Starburst quilt, I had so many fused scraps that I kept going, yielding a series of 6.  Working in a series allowed me to experiment with variations of backing fabrics, wedge color combinations, center orientation, quilting motifs, threads and bindings.  It was very liberating to just play and create 6 unique Starburst quilts.
Series of 6 Starburst Quilts

Starburst Quilt #1

This was the first to be quilted and completed.  Center orientation and radiating curvy lines with some spiral chains sprinkled in to create dimension.

Starburst Quilt #2

While this was the second to be completed, it was one of the last to be fused.  As I did not have many wedges left, I went with all cool colors giving it a very wintery feel.  This one has curvy lines with figure 8s radiating out from the center.

Starburst Quilt #3

It may be hard to see in this picture, but this quilt has radiating wavy spiral from the center out with stars sprinkled in.  I started with a variegated thread but after several thread breaks, switched to a basic navy blue and tried to create the stars on the wedges for more visibility.

Starburst Quilt #4

Again one of the last to be fused.  I used all warm color wedges on a background of navy blue to help them really pop.  Here I decided to do an all over spiral in navy blue thread which was actually really challenging as I couldn't always see my previous quilting lines, so I often had to have some memory of my previous path.  Surprisingly, it all worked out with very little crossing over!

Starburst Quilt #5

I really liked the spiral quilting and wanted to add some sparkle.  Unfortunately, I never have any luck with Superior Glitter threads when used on top.  So I simply turned the quilt over and used the Glitter thread in my bobbin and loved the finished look.  I also figured out a trick for loading the bobbin by slipping my thread pick through the bobbin and holding the two ends of the thread pick almost like kite string as it came off the bobbin and wound onto the bobbin!

Starburst Quilt #6

Saving the best for last! Actually this was the first quilt top to be fused but the last to be quilted and finished!  It is also the largest in the series.  I used the Glitter thread again in the bobbin but elongated my spirals for a psychedelic finish.  It is my favorite and unfortunately the photograph simply does not capture the bling the Glitter thread adds!

And of course, I selected a variety of starry fabrics for my quilt backings, along with contrasting square pockets to insert a dowel for easy hanging.  Of course, I forgot this little step on the first two!
Starry Backings
While this was a fun series, I am done with Starburst least for now!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Pieced Home Sweet Home block
After taking Frieda Anderson's in person workshop at PIQF, I decided to continue the fun and education through her Craftsy class "Machine Quilting the Home Sweet Home Quilt" for more FMQing practice and motifs.  She offered some great tips and suggestions on prepping your quilt and had lots of fun motifs to share.  She also included a pattern to piece the "Home Sweet Home" quilt, and while the class kit wasn't my style, I found one of her class projects that had a fun and bright colorway and decided to piece one block to practice the various techniques myself.  I will admit that the fabric selection and piecing was probably the most complicated part of the project--as I was only making one block and in a different colorway--so several adjustments which required considerable brain power.  I cut one set of fabrics and let them stew overnight and then decided to switch out a few fabrics that weren't working for me.  And once I pieced the center house-it went fairly quick and trouble free.

Stitch in the ditch from the reverse

I used 505 basting spray and went to work stitching in the ditch all the seams (well, almost all--somehow I missed one little seam!

Now that my fmq'ing skills are coming along, I wanted them to pop against the bright fabrics and selected to do all white top and bobbin.  Then I selected 11 of my favorite and new to me motifs from her class to feature in each of the 11 fabrics used to construct the Home Sweet Home block.  I quilted the center in the morning before work, two more before dinner and the last two after dinner!  And once again, I love the finished look!

Reverse side all quilted
First the reverse side so you can see all the various motifs used top left to right:
  • Frieda's feathers outside in
  • Free form Scribbles
  • Bark
  • Stars
  • Frog Eggs
  • More Free form Scribbles (I call 'em door beads)
  • Stippling (which I finally got  the flow/movement down once Frieda used the term "amoeba like" which totally clicked with my biology background)
  • Loop de loops
  • Spirals
  • Lava flowers
  • Modern Baptist Fan

And here's the front...
Home Sweet Home
Thanks to Frieda Anderson and Craftsy for all the great tricks, tips and techniques for free motion quilting!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ironing Board version 4.0

Just like my quilt studio, my ironing board has gone through several upgrades and enhancements.
Version 1.0 basic ironing board (and studio too--oh my goodness!)
But just as my quilt studio and stash grew, my ironing board had to keep up!  So it was time to upgrade to a larger ironing surface.
Version 2.0 ironing board--same legs but supersized ironing surface
But unfortunately the original ironing board legs were a bit wobbly for this enhanced they had to go.  Doug installed wooden legs and several metal braces, but even they were a bit unstable and had to go...
Version 3.0 ironing board--new wooden legs but still quite a bit of wobble
Kitchen cart base from IKEA

Plus I realized there was quite a bit of space below that might be better used with shelving or baskets.  So off to IKEA we went--originally for a 2 foot square kitchen cart to affix the ironing top.  But somehow we wrote down the wrong aisle/space and came home with a larger than expected kitchen cart...which greatly worked to my favor with all the extra shelving and drawers for stowing away supplies.

Reupholsterng and framing the surface

And the old black and white interior design fabric was getting stained and releasing fumes which were probably toxic.  So I purchased some Therma Flec heat resistant fabric to reupholster the ironing surface.  And Doug attached several wooden slats so I could simply set the ironing board on top of the cart and easily remove it if needed.

Easy on and easy off with some shelf liner to protect the cart's surface
Version 4.0-Sturdy and plenty of storage for my ironing and fabric supplies
Let's hope that Version 4.0 is here to stay!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Studio Makeover

Going vertical to stow all my quilting gear and supplies
Ok, now that the studio makeover is almost complete--I am ready to post some pictures and get back to some serious quilting since the studio has been in flux for almost 2 weeks as we tackled various phases.

Phase 1 involved rearranging the furniture for better utilization of the space and work flow.  While I was still fine tuning a few areas, I had enough information and needed measurements to visit IKEA to pick up some more vertical and efficient storage.  We picked up and assembled a 5x5 Expedit bookshelf, kitchen cart, small rolling caddy and fabric baskets to tuck away all the clutter!

I love my teal blue focal wall!!
Then last weekend for Phase 2, I got my first experience painting.  Saturday night we went to Lowe's to select a paint color, pick up the paint and supplies and the next morning after moving away the furniture, we applied the first of 2 coats of paint.  I loved the color immediately as it brought so much cheer into the space.

Phase 3 had to wait until the walls were dry and I could finalize the floor plan of furniture to rehang all my studio essentials.  My cute handyman brought out all the tools and hardware to hang up my design wall, peg board, thread racks and all my other essentials so I could get the studio back into working order.  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!!
Fabric storage, cutting station and design wall.
My resource library corner--with plenty of room to expand my collection of books/magazines
And Phase 4 which is just started is rehang some of my favorite quilts to add another layer of color, texture and inspiration into my studio...
My sewing and ironing stations with several of my favorite quilts hung to add color, texture and motivation
And even though we added several larger pieces of furniture, it still feels much more open.  And with the new layout, everything has its designated space which makes for easy organization and better work flow as I progress to the various phases of the quilt design and construction phase.  Much of this is in thanks to my review of a favorite book:  Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter:  An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams.  And of course, special thanks to Doug for all his time, expertise and use of power tools to recreate my quilt sanctuary!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dot to Dot Quilt

Fabrics and threads for Dot to Dot Quilt
As part of my quest to embrace free motion quilting, I've been working my way through several Craftsy classes by Leah Day, Frieda Anderson, Cindy Needham, Ann Peterson and Angela Walters.  After watching Angela demonstrate FMQ in her Machine Quilting Negative Space and her Dot to Dot Quilting classes, I was eager to apply the techniques to my own sampler quilt.  So I went to work selecting a fun palette of mostly solid fabrics to create the Dot to Dot Quilting sampler quilt class project.
Quilt top with ESS SID

Piecing the quilt top went super fast--I think it was less than a day from start to finish.  And I also went to work stitching in the ditch "every stinking seam" as recommended in Cindy Needham's Craftsy class.  Again--this went rather quickly and whereas in the past I might have considered this sufficiently quilted and sending it off to a loved one.  But it was time to start applying the various dot to dot and negative space quilting motifs.  Angela provided 3 different designs for the quilting, but I printed out a blank template and sketched out some of my own ideas to highlight the motifs I most enjoyed.  

Masking tape in lieu of marker pens

I was so excited about my final design and eager to start FMQ.  Instead of marking the fabric with various dots or lines, I opted instead to use various widths of masking tape to guide my lines of FMQing.  I didn't have to worry about whether the markings would completely wash out or ironed out--and as a bonus, the tape removed any stray threads or lint off the quilt top!

While starting out on the center two yellow squares, my Bernina kept skipping stitches creating much frustration as I would have to go back to catch up those missing stitches.  So it was sent off to the LQS for a week and it turned out the timing was off, which was causing all the skipped stitches.  So once it was back in the studio, the remainder of FMQ was a breeze and relatively frustration-free!  I would set out to do a few blocks each day before work or during my lunch lunch breaks, to set a reasonable pace. The next thing I knew, I was finishing up the border quilting and it was ready for binding!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the texture the FMQ created.  After I finished each block, I would simply caress my hand over the newly formed stitches!  
One quadrant worth of quilting highlighting the various techniques/motifs used
The center quilted
Fun backing-surprisingly it is from Joann's and I love the print and quality!
The complete top quilted
Back in the studio where you can really see all the texture created from the FMQ--Love it!
I have a few more class sample projects ready for more FMQ practice...can't wait!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Featuring Autumn Mums

Autumn Mums featured on Friestyle blog

Whenever I complete a class project/quilt, I try to send a picture to the instructor in appreciation for their instruction.  So I recently emailed Frieda Anderson a picture of my Autumn Mums wall hanging from PIQF, and she posted it to her Friestyle blog along with high praise indeed!

I enjoyed her instruction so much, I also signed up for her Machine Quilting Home Sweet Home Craftsy class and steadily working my way through the lessons.  I may even work on assembling a class project and who knows...maybe I will be featured on her blog again!?!

Thanks again Frieda!