Sunday, February 22, 2015

Embellished With Love

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles put out a call for entries for their annual FiberShots Community Challenge which helps raise funds for the museum.  Entries are all 16" x 16" and auctioned off with prices starting at $300 with all proceeds funding the museum's programs.  This year's theme was "Embellish Your World" for the opportunity to add any number of quilt embellishments

Heart Mock Up
I love quilting and wanted to incorporate hearts into my quilt entry.  I went through my studio and did some shopping to pull out a variety of embellishment techniques...which I admit was a bit overwhelming.  Thanks to a 1 week extension and a friendly nudge from a fellow guild member, I managed to complete my entry in time.  Last Sunday I had a few sketches and started to pull and cut fabric, but when I laid out the blocks, they were simply too busy, too much and I decided to scrap.  I chose 2 black and white prints to accent solid black and white fabrics to create a checkered background.  Then I planned to use an ombre fabric to create a 3-D heart ornament that would hang from my quilt.  But first I needed to make a mock up to refine my construction techniques to fit my vision.

Close Up of Hearts with their textured backdrop

Reverse Side of 3-D hearts-hot pink felt

While I love my little polka dot heart, it was scrapped for smaller, loftier hearts that were all designed to hang slightly off balance.

Great care was then taken to stitch the heart ornaments into the quilt background while taking even greater care not to stitch over them when adding quilted texture into the solid centers with free motion escargot in the black squares and walking foot square spirals in the white squares.
"Love & Embellish Your World"
Reverse Side
And to complement the ombre yarn used for the heart ornaments, I found this great ribbon fabric for my quilt back.  While I entitled this quilt "Love & Embellish Your World", only after the label was attached and bound did I dub it "Embellish Your World with Love."

I will admit that I really liked this quilt and was very tempted to keep it for myself.  But I am hoping it will help raise some funds to support the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and all that they do to promote fiber art!   You can bid on this piece and the others that will be on display in March through April.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wicked Windy & Winding Ways in Print!

March 2015 American Quilter
Imagine my sheer delight when I started to receive emails from fellow guild members congratulating me on my "Wicked Windy & Winding Ways" Wicked Challenge quilt featured in the March issue of American Quilter!!

Of course, I was away this weekend on a quilting retreat and unable to access my subscription copy and had to wait patiently until my return to see with my own eyes.

Wow!  My "Wicked Windy & Winding Ways" got its own quarter page debut, which was an absolute surprise.  The challenge organizers emailed us several months ago to let us know that AQ was interested in publishing a story about the challenge and giving us a heads up they might be contacting some of the quilters to be included.  When I wasn't contacted, I figured they chose to feature other quilts instead.

As I was away on a quilting retreat--Doug sent me some pictures via email as a preview and I shared with some of my fellow quilting friends.  For the rest of the weekend, they then referred to me as a published quilter.  Too funny!!

So be sure to rush out and get your own copy of the March 2015 American Quilter!!
Dare to Be Wicked Article spread
Close up shot

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mini Madness: Amish Glow

Starting units for Amish Glow blocks
McCalls Magazine is hosting a "Mini Madness" Quilt Along that continues for 14 consecutive weeks, with each week unlocking a new set of instructions via video tutorial and pdf instructions to construct 4 miniature quilts.  I've enjoyed following along and learning all the wonderful tips and techniques to construct each quilt.  First up was an amish inspired quilt:  Amish Glow.

Mini Blocks--each finishes a little over 3"

When I first decided to follow along, I assumed that due to their petite size, these would be quick and easy projects.  I quickly realized that this assumption was way wrong.  While they are small, they still have the same number of pieces that go into the construction of the individual blocks and overall quilt top!  Moreover, there are lots of tiny pieces (many just over 1") that require precise cutting, piecing and pressing in order to get all the seams to match up nicely.

Quilt Top pieced and basted

As I follow along, I have set the same 3 goals for each mini quilt (although more may follow as I progress through the 4 different quilts):
1.  Learn some new techniques for constructing a mini
2.  Use fabrics from my stash (preferably scraps whenever possible)
3.  Add my own unique style to each quilt

The instructions for Amish Glow called for a variety of solid blues and purples, which I had left over from the Technicolor Safari Sweet Dreams and Fields of Quilted Dreams.  But I also decided to add a pop of lime green which I really love as it adds sparkle and is a great contrast to the raspberry sashing intersections.

Once pieced, it was time to quilt.  I started with the sashing and did a back and forth ribbon with circles at the raspberry intersections.  I then did some loop de loops around the background in each block giving more loft to the colorful units.

But when it came to the 3-4" solid black border--I was stuck.  I originally wanted to quilt in some cables but did not have any stencils and really did not want to do much marking.

Then on Monday, I did some more research on Amish quilting and kept seeing feathers.  So I sketched out a very loose wavy line around the border to serve as my feather spine that I filled in with chain of pearls and free form plumes in teal thread (all threads used were Aurifil).

Border feather quilted with only teal thread
I loved my feathers but decided this was the perfect quilt to try out Patsy Thompson's Hyperquilting from her Ultimate Free Motion Quilting Craftsy class.  Using a lime green thread, I echoed each plume and then added 2 accent lines within each plume.  It was immediate gratification as I added this extra layer of quilting and color.  It totally transformed the border and just added so much sparkle and interest, especially on the solid black border.  I will definitely be incorporating more hyperquilting in future projects as I am hooked!!

While single fold binding will be covered in the final week of the Quilt Along, I simply could not wait to finish my quilt.  So I pulled out some of my quilt edging/finishing books for some guidance on single fold binding and found it fairly simply to complete.

I am working my way through the next few lessons on the Button Flowers and Petite Dresden stay tuned for posts once they are complete!

Amish Glow--Hyperquilted and Finished at 17" x 20"