Saturday, November 22, 2014

Binding- my favorite part of making a quilt

Look carefully and NOT at how cold it is outside!

There has been lots of talk about binding lately. Debbie (A Quilters Table) has done a remarkable job of collecting and sorting all things binding. There are dozens of binding techniques out there. so many to choose from. For me, I'm just happy to be binding. It means I'm on the home-stretch, almost done and it's literally palpable. I've made bias binding, pieced binding, gradient binding and even tried (on small projects) faced "binding".
Often, I want the quilt to look cohesive, to have a binding that it well executed but camouflaged. I have used bindings to literally match the negative space on my quilts and even pulled in tiny (less than 1/4") pieces of color to make the quilt design appear to bleed to the edges.
Read between the lines

 But lately, I've wanted the binding to be boulder. That thing on a quilt that drew your eye and made you wonder. Can I do that? The binding is such a small quilting detail but it is what wraps the quilt up, signifying both an ending(quilt finish) and also a beginning (quilt ready for gifting).

I had the pleasure of making a store sample for Fabricate Boulder- a class I will be teaching. It's a medium sized project and it was the perfect opportunity to try "the binding". (The on line tutorial for the string pieced blocks can be found here).
The binding was done in the same fabric as the sashing, a beautiful solid eggplant purple.
I used 5 different threads quilting the project top. The piecing is busy and the colored threads really made the quilting both stand out and blend at the same time. I applied the same quilting to a 2" straight-of-grain same colored binding. I even added one line of metallic silver. I used a deep purple in the bobbin only changing the thread colors on one side of the binding. After "quilting" the binding I applied it like I always do, simple and straight forward.  It actually went on beautifully acting as a single piece of fabric instead of a folded piece.
I used a walking foot to keep fabric movement to a minimum.  Folded edge to the left

even at a distance you can "see" the binding
I think having the binding both blend and pop really makes this quilted piece fun. The binding gets to be the thing you notice, wonder how it got that way, make you ponder your next project. Just what I was hoping would happen.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sending you 25 hugs and a kiss, OK 26 hugs...

A, (I thought at the time), well thought out, sketched, documented, photographed, fabric especially selected project. I had a plan. I had the perfect fabrics, I even sketched out and thought about piecing the top so I wouldn't get myself into any "y" seaming "situations" and I almost pulled it all off. Almost, almost.

"25 hugs and a kiss"
you don't notice the binding because it changes color with the quilt top.

96" x 96", original design

Fabrics (top): Maude Asbury Crabtastic by Blend, Dictionary Eclectic Elements by Jim Holtz, Riley Blake Remember Words grey, April in Paris French Words natural, Letter from Paris Script cream, Michael Miller Old Script black, On time words grey, Sunprint text white/black, Timeless Treasures Wine Lovers Wine Words black, Back to School Cursive Alphabet white, Premier Prints Penmanship Primary neutral, Objects Newspaper Page, Kona solids (Snow, Steel, Medium gray, Iron Gray, Ash, Coal, Charcoal) Noir Timeless Treasures of Sotto, Donna Wilder for Fabric Traditions, Pixel Dot Freespirit , Westminster Fibers, Bungalow by Joel Dewbery Freespirit, Brandon Mably for Rowan Westminster Fibers, Primitiva by Jane Dixon for Andover Fabrics, Should Blossoms by Amy Butler for Rowan, The Culture Club Anastia (green/orange/red) by Robert Kaufman, Aviary 2 Joel Dewbury for Free spirit, Little Elephants by Michale Miller, Architextures by Robert Kaufman, Adornit Basics in Burnish, Subway signs by Eclectic Elements, The Dressmaking Collection- Vintage Notions for Red Rooster Fabrics, Metro Liviing Circles black, Downton Abbey Lady Mary tonal black, Quilters Linen Print Dots Charcoal, and various other quilting cottons from my stash.
pin basted, ready to go!

Fabrics (back): 108" wide, Spot on by Robert Kaufman in gray. And an "orphan" hug block from the front. Couldn't help it, HAD to use the left over block even thought the beautiful wide fabric of the backing seemed to be screaming to be left alone.

orphan block pieced into quilt back

Threads: Changed, top to bottom to compliment the deepening background piecing that was happening on the pieced top. All Aurifil 50 wt. mako cotton in 2630, 2612, 2600, 2605, 1198, 4241 and 2021. (Literally the gray scale spectrum from white to black).
the quilting is hidden and lends texture only

Binding: 2" straight of grain, pieced light to dark, complimenting the threading choice and the fabric choices.
Hand sewing the binding to the back.
At this point it's almost done and this is one of my favorite parts of the quilt!

Quilting: Bernina #4 stitch, 5mm wide, 2.5 stitch length, stretched 4X. Quilted with a walking foot on a Bernina 180.
The quilting adds texture only

Batting: 100% cotton warm and natural.

Ideas, lessons learned etc., etc. - the final idea is that for this quilt,  the quilting style, the thread selection and the pieced binding don't stand out on their own. They repeat, and reinforce the process of the light to dark gradation of the quilt top. Having those elements align make the top a cohesive statement, each part complimenting but not competing with the overall design. The binding, and the threads and the actual quilting was not a preplanned part of this quilt. When I was sketching and fabric buying I wasn't even considering how to finish the quilt. I only had the top in mind. I just love as you create how something that was unknown becomes clear. And with clarity comes completion.

2014 has been a journey of epic proportions for me so far. I have much to do in 2015. I hope it's at least as much fun and fulfilling as 2014 has been.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

October, feels like fall

Lots of finishes in October. But not much to share, 'cause some of those quilts are Holiday gifts……
Here is what I can share:

Kenya Charity quilt through the Metro Denver Modern Quilt guild, 6, 8.5" string pieced blocks for a twin quilt. {My pathetic attempt at a photo before they went away}.

A few scrappy 9 patch blocks for the Front Range Modern Quilt guild baby quilts for our guild members. (I'm doing a great job of getting things out the door before photographing them this month).

Denver Quilt Guild, RJR Fabric Challenge Quilt (read about it here if you missed it).

Birthday Bandy swap for Raquel. I really enjoyed making these tote bags and using some really fun little fabric scraps.

Haven at Do.Good stitches- October paper pieced arrow blocks. This quilt is going to be beautiful and I can't wait to see it done.
there are 11 blocks because I had a paper piecing moment on one of them…..

Lastly, Halloween….. it almost snuck up on me….. I will be on a plane on Halloween but thought it would be fun to leave behind treats for my family while I was away. These cute little drawstring bags in fun Halloween fabrics seemed like just the thing. The pattern is by s.o.t.a.k handmade.
Zombie fabric and jars with "ghoulish" stuff in them….. bring on Halloween!
Fabrics by Riley Blake and Michael Miller

Beginning the Christmas crafting/sewing. I think this year, warm flannel pillow cases are on order. I'm not sure why I haven't gifted these before. Especially good for college students because we all know how much they wash their sheets!

And lastly, a fun trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston TX. More to come on this later…. or just check out the photos on my IG feed @spontaneousthreads

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat, I think Treat!

I arrive at the International Quilt Festival on Halloween. That's a treat in itself, but for an added bit of fun I tackled The Trail Tote (both sizes- one for me  one for a gift) by Noodlehead for Robert Kaufman.

I couldn't resist the fun Halloween fabrics I had to play with. I also modified the interior,
 adding a divider pocket with an additional magnetic clasp so I can stash my iPad separately from my keys and wallet.

Happy Halloween All!
Fabrics: Large tote- (exterior) Spooktacular 100 Maude Ashbury by Blend, (zip pocket) Remix Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, (piping) Cotton & Steel Moonlit-picnic-luminescence-starlight-sparkler, (strap) Zen Chic commas by Moda, (interior) Quilt Soup for Henry Glass, (divider pocket) Michael Miller Spa Ikat.

Small tote- (exterior)After Dark De Lion Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics, (piping)Heath for Alexander Henry Fabrics, (lining interior)Slime Time by Studio e Fabrics, (strap) nylon webbing in black
Zippers by Zipit (Etsy)

Now all I have to do is fill my bag with more treats from the International Quilt Festival.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sneak Peek at The Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit at the International Quilt Festival

For those of you who can't go or have yet to board the plane, Christa at has provided us all with some awesome eye candy. She has individually photographed each of the quilts hanging in the exhibit.  Thank you Christa!

Friday, October 17, 2014

RJR Fabric Challenge Quilt

My RJR Fabric Challenge Quilt through the Denver Quilt Guild.

1. Pick 12 fat quarters chosen by RJR fabrics.
2. Design and finish a quilt (top) in one month's time (bonus points for finishing the whole quilt).
3. Maker could add one additional "neutral" fabric, BUT you had to notice the RJR fabrics, and not so much the added fabric .
4. Minimum size, 36" square

Ready Set…….. GO!!!!
The details:
"Read Between the Lines"
 57" x  54.5"
Fabrics top: RJR Cotton and Steel line 2 prints and 10 coordinating solids. Prints: Dottie in Fedora, XOXO in Ghost. Solids: Tiffany Box, pink Sapphire, rhododendron, pink orchid, mandarin, on the rock, silver, driftwood, linen white. Additional fabric, Kona 100% cotton in snow.
Fabrics back: Kona cotton in silver and slate, Shimmer Metallic Dash by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman. Additional Stash Fabrics. Small remnant improv piece left-over from front.
detail of back

Thread: Piecing Aurifil 2026; Quilting (bobbin) Aurifil 2600, (top) center metallic: Sulky 7009 Metallic silver, remainder Aurifil 2026.

Quilting: matchstick on Bernina 180 with walking foot
yes, matchstick quilting does take time and uses lots of thread

Batting: Hobbs heirloom cotton
Binding: 2" straight of grain with inset seam detailing
inset seaming continues through binding
Design: original design with couture inset seam detailing. Cool colors used in larger improv pieced square. I also inset rectangles of improv pieced fabric in the warm solid colors. The inset seams were used to add tiny, less than 1/4" color strips. These were added as the top was being pieced. The inset seaming proved difficult in areas in which multiple seams came together because the inset pieces are so tiny and you can really only press other seams to the side so much.  I used the same sewing technique to continue the inset fabric through the binding. I glue basted the inset seams, so laundering was going to be necessary at the completion of the quilt, even before I stained the top (gasp). (see below)
inset seam detail

inset seam detail

Something I've never done before: I was nearly finished the quilt and noticed a black stain on the top. I have no idea how (what looks for all the world like a sharpie mark) the stain got onto the quilt top.  (Insert Boo Hoo face here). Luckily I received all kinds of great stain removal advice and was able to remove the stain after just one washing. (phew).

Things I learned: even though you start with the equivalent of 3 yards of fabric (12 fat quarters) once you start cutting and piecing the amount you end up with is significantly less, especially if your design has lots of seams. Also, I {still} LOVE metallic threads. It's the most I've used in any quilt and it really sparkles against the improv pieced the cool fabrics. My question is- how come Aurifil doesn't make metallics? I'd use them if you had them!! (hint, hint Alex Veronelli)
Metallic thread… it sparkles, it really does.
One final note- often when in the process of creating a quilt design, or at least during the cutting and piecing I have a pretty good idea of what name goes with the quilt. And for sure by the time I'm done quilting I know for sure. Oddly, that didn't happen in this case and I toyed with the idea of calling this "The quilt with no name".  Luckily that didn't happen, and eventually, after all the cutting and sewing and quilting and praying the stain came off after washing, and then even asking some friends for suggestions (none given), something came to me (phew).  I almost wanted to smack a palm to my head and say DUH! There are so many LINES on this quilt I'm astounded it didn't come sooner,  but then again, maybe even I had to "read between the lines…."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Scraptastic Projects and a Link up

Well, I didn't quite make the Tuesday deadline, but I did finally get this all together. Leanne  at shecanquilt is hosting a fun link up with projects made from scraps. Seems like I've been plowing through my scrap stash lately and here is what I have.
Table runner, string pieced with a scrappy center string
using this pattern from Miss Print

close up, front

fun backing fabric

The quilting lends texture only
Go check out the fun projects and fun prizes!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September snap, it's Fall

The summer whizzed by and now Fall has arrived. September was busy mailing things here and there.

Haven @do.good stitches blocks for Emilee were 2 low volume scrappy trips around the world.

September Birthday Bandy Swap was for Cinda. I went bright and chose orange and pink linen. Did some improv piecing and some embroidery on the shoe bags. I threw some metallic threads into the mix on the traveling jewelry case and made them all bright enough to find in any suitcase. There are a few other little things in the package, but somethings need to be a surprise.
Fronts, shoe bags and travel jewelry case


close up stitching. I used some metallic thread (on the left), again

Interior of zippered jewelry case. LOTS of pockets a zippered mini pouch and padding to protect everything.
I also finished and bound 2 quilts and started on a third, but those will be in another post a bit later. (One of them is a Christmas gift and well, can't spoil that surprise).