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).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Blocks and other stuff

Two Bee Blocks in August, 4 quilts mailed to shows and 2 birthday celebrations and 1 great honor

Always Bee Learning pieced pineapple block for Elizabeth

HAVEN at do. good stitches August Block by Miss Print

The Birthday Bandy Swap August for Cinda (Sewbusy64 IG/Flickr) using the same pattern as the HAVEN block just in different colors.
Table runner in Cinda's favorite colors

block close up with quilting details

A 20th birthday gift for my son's oldest and best friend for his single dorm room. I mean you NEED big floor pillows, right?

I used IKEA decor weight fabric and contrasting zippers. Simple and functional. Stylish too, but boys in college don't think about that, do they???

Also in August: sent off my Open and Shut quilt to the AQS Quilt week- Chattanooga, TN Special Exhibit of the Bad Ass Quilters Society. And my Stitched quilt to AQS Quilt week in DesMoines, IA. My "Fade into Gray"  and "Colorado 4x4" quilts to the Modern Quilt Guild Special Exhibit for the International Quilt Show in Houston. I won't be able to attend Chattanooga or Des Moines, but if ANYONE reads this and goes, please take pictures for me. (Thank you).

Open and Shut


Fade into Gray

Colorado 4x4
Lastly, but by no means the least, a quilt I made for a very dear friend. Some of you have read the post already, but if not, you can see it here.
Twenty Questions

And I received a quilt in return, titled "Costal Oddessy" which I love, thank you Whitney

I also picked up with teaching again, after a bit of a break from traveling and getting children back to school. Come visit me in Boulder at Fabricate if you want to take a class or just say hi.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Derived Inspiration, No.1 "Twenty Questions"

Derived Inspiration

The process of being deeply inspired by something/someone.  It happens to us all the time. We photograph, we pin, we post, we admire, we dream,  then we create.

I'm making a conscious effort to document the process of inspiration. From inception to the aftermath. Going from the source of "the idea" and seeing where it takes me. I think I've done this unintentionally many times. This time,  I'm taking an intentional route.

Derived Inspiration: Study No. 1, "Twenty Questions", a friend quilt swap with Whitney (the peacock tree) (scrappy_lam on IG). We settled on asking each other some questions to learn more about quilting preferences, or just more about each other. Some questions helped shape my workable palette (fabric: solids in turquoise with buttercup/chartreuse/eggplant); others were just plain fun ( Crayons vs colored pencils- definitely colored pencils). Still others, getting at the overall design taking shape in my head (Q:"organic or linear",  A: "symmetrically organic"). 

Taking the "Twenty Questions" in their entirety I learned much about my friend; we both are morning people and prefer salty vs sweet things. And to paraphrase my friends unexpected sense of humor; (Q: "Do you still consider Pluto a planet" A: "Pluto, is a big goofy dog")

Lucky for me, I was at The Denver Botanic Gardens Chihuly exhibit right when we were talking about making each other a quilt. The glass sculptures were breathtaking and exhilarating  but one photograph, of a leaf just screamed "symmetrically organic". The palette was not the one I would use for the finished quilt, but the leaf was inspirational.
The source of Inspiration. I think this captured the "symmetrically organic" vibe perfectly
What I used from the inspiration: For one, the layout. This close-up photo is of a tropical plant leaf, organically divided into thirds. That appeals to me on many levels. The dominant  "background" green color, would be changed in my composition, but the amount of space that color occupied would not. The quilt design would fill the entire workable space, without borders. I would add complimentary colors to the background color to give depth and dimension. And the focal point, the sharply offset, slightly slanted, vein of red would play a difficult and pivotal role. 
The goal: Not to copy the leaf, it is already perfect. But to derive inspiration from it and take that inspiration on a ride. To be thoughtful of Whitney's 'requests" but not to lose one bit of myself in the process. 

The details
"Twenty Questions" Derived Inspiration: No.1- 2014

Quilt front
Quilt back, keeping with the symmetrically organic vibe?

50" x 55"
Improv linear piecing with an offset, slightly slanted improv pieced vein. Inspired original design.

Materials: Fabric Top- 100% Kona Cottons in Turquoise, Caribbean, Oasis, Cyan, Aqua, Robin Egg, Peacock, Lagoon (the blues); Grass Green, Lime, Peapod, Chartreuse, Sprout, Cactus, Honey Dew (the greens); Eggplant, Dark Violet, Mulberry, Magenta (the purples); Buttercup, Corn, Papaya (the yellows). Fabric Back- same as above scraps from top, plus white with turquoise dots from my stash.

Threads: This quilt was an opportunity use use all kinds of almost done thread and bobbins from my collection. For those that I had information the following was used for piecing the top and the back: Gutermann poly cotton: 618, 650, 206, 607, 2776, 581, 6170, 577. YLI 100% cotton in seamiest 18V. Coats and Clark, 100% cotton 3690, 7360. Aurifil 100% Mako cotton in 50 wt was used to quilt. The top #2810 (turquoise) and the bobbin #2021 (off white). 

I got myself into a bit of a Y seam debacle part way through piecing the top, luckily, I'm getting better at those pesky seams. 
despite planning this still happened

the flimsy before modification of the purple/yellow vein

Batting: 100% cotton warm and natural.

Quilting done with a Bernina walking foot: Purple area: matchstick ; yellow area: Bernina modified #4 stitch; background turquoise areas: Bernina mirror image # 719 stitch.

Quilting, top, mid-detail
close-up of quilting details
Binding: cut 2" straight-of-grain with pieced insets.

Things I did that I don't normally do: I used Mary Ellen's Best Press starch alternative. I wish I tried this before, makes ironing a breeze. I also ripped out the inset purple/yellow "vein" twice. The proportions were never quite right. Third time was a charm.
I ripped this out twice. 
 I used all the scraps on the back, again, and generated a few unusable scraps- mostly from squaring up my fabrics and trimming down that troublesome vein.
not much you can do with these skinny pieces, except admire the colors,
 take a few pictures and post them on Instagram.
using up the usable scraps on the quilt back along with  a lovely white with turquoise polka dot print,
 my only" not solid" fabric
Stash fabric was used to finish the back. And I documented the solid fabric colors and threads used. May as well start practicing with the documentation in case Whitney wants to know. I didn't sketch since I had a good idea of what I was trying to achieve, but I made reference notes on a printed photo of the leaf, noting proportion and what I felt would be appropriate sizes for the large blocks of color and the prominent vein. I adjusted the vein size in the final quilt, as previously noted.

Dear friend, I hope (fingers crossed) that you like what I have done with your "Twenty Questions".

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fly fly away

IF anyone is going to these shows could you PLEASE take a picture of my quilts?????
Many, many thanks

AQS Quilt Week- Chatanooga, 2014 Bad Ass Quilting Special Exhibit (September 10-13)
Open and Shut

AQS Quilt Week- Des Moines, 2014 Bad Ass Quilting Special Exhibit (October 1-4)

International Quilt Festival, Houston: Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit (October 30- November 2, 2014)
(I may see you there for this one since I'm still pinching myself)
Fade to Gray
Colorado 4x4

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July oh how I love you

A bit of a take a breather month, only 2 active Bee's/swaps which is good, because I got to step away from Quilting for a bit and tried some other sewing. Nothing for me however, although I was hoping to make a skirt of 2 to wear this summer (better hurry up on that one).

The Birthday Bandy Swap: for Mariana

The whole package of stuff: Round embroidery pouch, embroidery hoop, threads in rainbow palette, needles and transfer paper. Hexie paper, fabric and thread. Small hoop pin cushion.
small hoop pin cushion and pins
Embroidery hoop bag, front (with economy block pieced sewing machine)
embroidery hoop bag back, with pieced hexies

Gifts for new friends in Bolivia

Funky chicken pot holders and dish towels.
and this great roomy and fun to sew Cooper Bag by Colette Patterns, purchased with the bag hard wear  (brilliant)! The pattern allows you to select from 3 finish styles, cross-body/backpack and satchel. I went with the cross body option.

my first rivets

I really love the lining fabric

used linen for the strap instead of cotton webbing
This bag is made from 2 mid-weight Italian Linens (navy and olive) and heavy weight fusible interfacing. The lining is Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements "Expedition" also with heavy weight fusible interfacing. I modified the interior of the bag to incorporate one zippered pocket instead of 2 open pockets. And made the bag strap from fabric instead of purchasing cotton webbing. The zippers are from Zippit and have large zipper pulls for ease of use. The pattern was well written, the magnetic snaps were easy to install and I must say, I am no longer fearful of rivets.

Sewing for my Remi
Merchant & Mills, The Top #64 Pattern in a  soft subtle striped flannel. Pattern edited to include french seaming along with the suggested top stitching.

really fun pocket construction.

back details with french seams, believe it or not, I did press the top before I gave it to her…...

French seam detail with added top-stitching
Fabric detail- subtle striping
2 patterns purchased this month and both patterns used and liked.