Monday, November 30, 2015

Always Follow Your Heart

Phew!  November was the final stretch of quilt challenges.  I had signed up for two QuiltCon 2016 challenges:  the Michael Miller challenge featuring Glitz fabrics and the EZ Quilting Triangle challenge.
The Glitz has faded...another time?!?

Before my Michael Miller challenge fabric bundle arrived, I had a vision for what kind of quilt I wanted to create and sketched out a rough design.  I picked up a selection of Cotton Couture solids and that is where the story pretty much ends.  When it came time to finalizing the design and construction--I kept striking out, and so I will not be entering anything this year.  


Meanwhile, my Mini 45-degree triangle template just sat and sat with no real ideas for a quilt design.  I brainstormed a variety of triangle and diamond quilts but none piqued my interest.  And so it sat and sat until an arrow pointed the way to the other side of a rainbow!  Yes, I opted to create a color wheel quilt featuring 12 arrows representing each of the primary, secondary and tertiary colors!  The triangle template was perfect for creating my arrow heads.  For the fletching (aka feathers), I found a range of chevron prints in my stash and filled in missing gaps with a quick trip to Beverly's!  Matching Kona solid 5" charms were selected to match the chevrons and a solid grey Kona was used to create bias tape.  A black and white chevron/zebra print was used to create my applique heart center!
Creation of my Color Wheel of Arrows
Once my fabrics were all selected, the quilt top came together fairly quickly, despite some tension woes with the invisible thread used for the machine applique/basting phase.  As always, I struggled with how best to quilt it.  Initial plans including designs that would explode from the center in between each of my arrows, including some invisible arrows that would be quilted into the background.  But then I thought back to my archery instruction days and thought it would be fun to create a target.  Initially I started with concentric hearts...but did not like the idea of having to mark the hearts onto my mostly white quilt top.  The same issue came up with concentric rings.  Yet, squares could be easily marked thanks to the ever amazing and ever practical blue painter's tape!!  Doug challenged me to consider wonky frames...which I sketched out in Photoshop but my brain was too tired to figure out how to figure out the rotations.  So I went with the KISS principle and used concentric squares that were each 5" apart from each other!  
Brainstorm for Quilting Designs using Photoshop Elements

Each ring was taped off, stitched with a second stitch line about 1/4" away.  A different free motion filler was used to fill in each ring.  The first few rings went super quick, but the free motion feather took almost half a day given all the extra details.  
FMQ Fills (center out):  Escargot, Flames, Modified Spirals and Feathers
In case you hadn't noticed, I am very resistant to marking my quilt tops for fear the marks won't come out (I've read and seen too many marking horror stories!!)   Once again, blue painter's tape to the rescue!!  I used small pieces that were marked with up and down arrows to use as guides for even spacing of my hills and valleys for the spine.  They served as little road signs as my walking foot navigated its lap along the final border! 
Blue tape guides

As this quilt was made for QuiltCon 2016, I really needed quality photos for the online entry.  I typically wake up early and go outside to capture the morning light.  Yet, it kept casting a slightly blue tint to all my pictures and it was difficult to capture the texture of all my quilting.  So I tried hanging it in our bedroom where you could really see all the quilting, but as the wire is not totally parallel, it kept resulting in distorted edges!!  I was about to give up when I looked down and saw Panda watching from the floor.  I tried laying out the quilt on the floor and finally managed to get a picture that was square and truly showed off all my quilting!!  
Photography Blues and Skews!!
Of course, a large chevron print was used for the quilt back, and I used more of the zebra print for the quilt sleeve!  
Chevron Backing and Panda serving as inspiration for the heart center/sleeve and directing the photo shoot!

"Always Follow Your Heart," 40"x40"

6 comments:

  1. I love it. Your quilting is divine, as always! I'll email you a link to my post on using a grey card for white balance for taking photos. It's helped me tons.

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    1. Thanks Sarah--will be sure to spend some more time getting better acquainted with my camera to take better quality pics that capture the color and texture of my quilts. I greatly appreciate the tips!!

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  2. This is a stunning quilt. I am not familiar with modern quilts, but this quilt sure wins my heart.

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    1. Awww...thanks Michiko! That is high praise from such a talented quilter such as yourself!!

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  3. Such a wonderful quilt, Mel. I love all the facets you incorporated into this quilt. Beautiful quilting, too.

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    1. Thanks Ann...this was a fun quilt to design and quilt!!

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