Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wheat in the Field

This is for a challenge in my local area.  For our yearly art quilt show we can buy a challenge packet of 2 fabrics.  From those 2 fabrics we have to use a recognizable amount in a finished item of any size and type.  Bag, quilt, wall hanging, wearable, etc.  it only has to incorporate those 2 fabrics and follow the theme of the year.  This year - pieces of the west.  We were provided with a golden cream, and a print of cowboy boots on a black background.  well, hmmm.

 I elected to go for wheat.  How the west was farmed and the various grasses we grow glimmer in the sun and sustain us and the various mammals we share this life with.  How to do that.  I decided to do a modern styling or the drunkards path.  Choosing a lot of stash fabrics in the same color family as the gold to cream color I added a fun western print of saddles to the background cowboy boots.

I quilted each grain in a free motion curve, mimicking the way the grasses grow on a curve to float and then catch the seeds as they ripen.  Adding a few random lines of beads to continue that line effect gave dimension and added movement.

For the back I pieced the remaining cream squares with the saddle print.  I will be adding the quilt tag given to the show participants.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June ROYGBIV - True Blue

Persimon Dreams at Blogspot

My June #focusthrutheprism challenge was in many ways the biggest challenge yet.  I did a ton of new-to-me quilting techniques.  Improve sewing, meandering that looks good, binding 3 sides, literally empty space as a design element, facing a quilt instead of wrapped binding.  The result was well worth it.

This months challenge was the friendship star.   At first I thought I would have a hard time with it - then I suddenly popped an idea.  My closest friends are mostly far away.  So I wanted to incorporate that feeling of distance.  Then I was reminded of the friendship charms we have as kids.  Little charms that have special words and look to be broken in half - each member of the friendship charm wears it on their person.  That image stuck with me.  So how to interpret it...

Taking my greys and making a background in an improv style.  I chose to use the indigo for true blue.  Then to start working on the 2 halves.  I wanted the star in blues and the background in greys.  As I was sewing I decided it needed a outline to make it clear and give a bit of punch - so I used two thin black and white borders on the star pieces.

Straight starburst quilting on one part of the star.After I had this piece is when I cut the jagged end of the upper side of the hanging.  I did not get pics but I wanted the cut out in the middle to follow the same path - and that was tricky with still having those edges turned under.  By finishing the edge of one, then laying it over the backing of the other and sketching the line - I got my jagged edge evenly spaced.

Then, my next challenge - meandering.  I am much better with waves or straight line stitching.  But I tackled a mini meander on the blue of the opposite star.  Got muscle cramps in my hands but it was worth it!

More straight line quilting and a larger meander later and I had 2 pieces of the friendship star.  The next challenge was how to bind on 3 edges.  Someone suggested facing the quilt.  After reviewing a few how to blogs, I went with this fantastic and simple tutorial.  There are a ton of additional tips out there, but this one worked for me!  I am now a huge fan of facing a quilt!

Next - to block the pieces and then somehow attach them to each other.  As the Cherrywood fabrics are hand dyed I did not want to soak them, just in case.  So, a spritz of water and hot iron on the back was enough to get it flat and pinned to its correct size.  Lay out over night.  

Then, to attach.  I wound up pinning them to a large mat I have and just hand stitching in lines of thread at all the points of the jagged edges.  I love it!  The thread is almost invisible from a very short distance away.  As a final design element I added two large beads to the front.  For each friend in the star.  

This is a series of techniques I want to continue to explore.  Very fun results!

May ROYGBIV - Monkey May

Persimmon Dreams at Blogspot

My #focusthrutheprism challenge for May was, well, late.  I finished it in June.  I was totally okay with that as I did so much in May and might have overdone the quilting of the May piece.  Super dense matchbook quilting = a lot of time!

I elected to do monkey wrenches in a variety of sizes.  Designing the blocks to fit the 20" requirement was rather fun.  I then decided to make the middles variations on courthouse steps to keep the crazy quilt look going.

I am using the Cherrywood fabrics with a FQ set of grey prints.  Adding in grey scraps from the various other projects I have going plus prints in the color of the month.  For the red I did not want a lot of value variation - I kept in in the same basic medium dark to dark value with one exception in the red on white print.  I kept the greys in light to medium values with one dark grey.

Once I had the blocks done and then together I decided to do a dense matchbook style quilting everywhere except the wrench's of each block to allow them to 'pop' and be more cohesive in a dark grey thread.  IT TOOK FOREVER!  Or many many more hours than I was prepared for.

However, I do love this piece.  Its a little crazy, and a lot red.  By keeping the red value in a darker tone it keeps it a rich vibrant red while the grey tones it down a bit.  The texture created by the blocks and the quilting was hard to photograph, but I see it in person and I just love it.

This is also part of my Q2 finish along with On the Windy Side 2015.

Deer, Dear, Deere Complete!

See progress on this piece here and here.  Below find the finished quilt.  Enjoy the eye candy!

on the design wall

With machine quilting only.

My first finished piece with hand sewing.  So fun!  So time consuming!!!

I had a blast collecting deer themed fabrics.  I might still be doing so!

Making the grey stars unique was fun.

I love the mix of the bright fabrics and the subtle colors of the quilting.

I love it.  It will hang in my hall way on a skinney wall.

Wall hanging or a really big table topper!
Part of my Q2 finishes with On the Windy Side 2015 Finish Along.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mystery Quilt Mini and Top Completed

I started with the above fabrics and a FQ pack of white to grey to black fabrics.  I wanted to play with neutrals and shot cottons, far outside my comfort zone.  To put me back in my zone - the background white with black text print.

Working from the mystery quilt created and hosted on facebook by my friend Kristin McCoy she calls XOXO (that you can still play with!)I started the process week by week.

 I was actually surprised at how I liked just doing a small bit at a time, not knowing how it would wind up.  I tried to keep it to pieces I would lay out in a graduated or ombre look.

I loved how these 9 patches looked with the greys!

 Eventually I had all the blocks made and started working with the design wall.  Right away I hated the black.  Its just too distracting.  So FINE!  Out comes the seam ripper and I subbed darker greys for all the black pieces.

 Ahhhh, much better.  At this point I started wondering how I was going to quilt this.  I wanted to use a bright blue - the same shade the shot cottons carry.  But I worried it was a bad choice.  Who would use blue on this color combo?!?!  So, I made a tester - ie mini.

 With 1 inch blocks rather than 2, and all the same fabrics.  once I had my quilt sandwich I quilted in blue in a graduated thread build up.  I love the result!  Blue for quilting it is!

I am also ridiculously happy with the binding I did for the mini - strips of greys that gradually darken with the quilt.

For the full sized top I wanted to make it bed sized, so I added 13 inches top and bottom, and 9 inches to each side.  I deliberately sewed the borders first then added them to the top to make this simple border with movement.  It carries the eye around the quilt.

I found this process and result quite satisfying.  A quilt does not have to be complex or use a lot of fabrics to be lovely.  I like it a lot!

Part of the Q2 finishes with the 2015 Finish Along over at On the Windy Side.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Swap Items Complete

For this spring I entered a swap from Facebook.  Make anything with fabric with a quilting emphasis.  My assigned (secret!) partner did not want a mini - so what to do?

Well first - go find fabric!  She specifically mentioned Tula Pink, so I went outside my stash and comfort zone and explored Tula Pink on my favorite online shop - Hawthorne Threads.

I went with fabrics from several lines, including some add ons from other designers like Joel Dewberry.  I decided on the focus fabric from the Tula Pink Elizabeth line.  So lush and outside my normal!

Since I was not making a mini I elected to make a bag using the Phoebe pattern I found on craftsy.  I want one for me now!

I had so much fun I kept going!  Next up - log cabin style hexie pot holder.  I DEFINITELY need one for me!

Still feeling inspired I went for this little pop up pouch from a tutorial by the Crafty Gemini.  Loved it so much I made me one!

For fun - a keychain fob as well!

 Hopefully my partner enjoys all her treats - I have had a blast making them  :)

Part of my Q2 finishes with On the Windy Side 2015 Finish Along

Happy Sewing!

Hexie Mini

I don't have a name for it, but hexie mini DONE!  While I do love it, I don't know that I will ever make one again.  122 hand sewn hexies - and it finishes at the size of a cupboard door, lol. 

For quilting I elected to use my machine wavey stitch.  I used lines of dark blue thread and orange thread.

For the binding I used a lovely lime Tula Pink fabric I had.  2 strips were not quite enough so I just added a scrap of a blue print from the scrap pile.  I will use this technique again - I like the interest it brings.

The backing is pieced from some blue paisley, a white on white print, the same light blue used in the binding, and a rectangle of grey.

I have not actually added a tag or name to the back yet - I am waiting for an order of swatchs from spoonflower to arrive with a load of tags I designed.  I am thinking this one will work.

I was not kidding when I said it was the size of a cabinet door - which is lovely since that is where it will be!

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