Sunday, December 26, 2021

Best of 2021

It's the end of another year, and once again it's time to join the Best of linky party that Cheryl Brickey at Meadow Mist Designs hosts every year. I admit that I look forward to writing this post every year!

This year I really focused on finishing quilts over piecing quilt tops, and not only that, but finishing quilt tops that I particularly love. It's hard for me to finish my favorites, because it means the infinite potential is gone, but I also know there's really no use for a shelf full of quilt tops I can't use. So, I made it a point to finish quite a few of my favorites, and I will hopefully continue that trend for 2022 as well.

Most Challenging: Bohemian Spark

Bohemian Spark was a real challenge both to piece and to quilt! It was entirely paper-pieced, but the pieces are huge and the edges are biased, and assembly was a pain. Quilting this was also very challenging due to the long lines and figuring out an efficient quilt path. I love the finished product though!

Most Fun: Glass Candies

Glass Candies was such a fun quilt to make due to the fact that the entire quilt is made up of half-square triangles (which are my favorite thing), the fabric (Ombre Confetti) was so bright and colorful, and the quilting was very fun and easy.

Most Surprising: City Tiles

I went into the quilting design of City Tiles with the idea of making it look very different from what I usually do. I decided to experiment with large unquilted areas adjacent to dense matchstick quilting, and the effect turned out much better than I expected.

Most Inspired: Winterfresh

Most of the time when I make a quilt, I either use a kit or a fat quarter bundle. Winterfresh was an exception because I picked yardage from my stash that were all from different collections, and I'm in love with the vibe of this quilt, which has a minty, fresh, snowy feel.

Favorite Quilt: Spectrum

Finally, my favorite quilt of the year is still Spectrum which I made at the beginning of the year. The piecing was very easy and the quilting was much simpler than what I usually do, but I just love how the fabric glows. It's perhaps no coincidence that Observatory by Alison Glass, the fabric collection here, is one of my favorite fabric collections ever.

***

I spent less time quilting this year and more time on my other pursuits, and I expect that to continue next year also. However, I feel much less stressed or pressured when I'm quilting now, and that allows me to enjoy it much more.

Be sure to head over to the linky party to check out everybody else's posts. Have a great New Year and I'll see you all next year!

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Cross Tile

In a way, I find that I'm forever playing the matchmaking game in my quilting room. I have a lot of patterns ... and I have a lot of fabric bundles. Finding the right pattern to go with the right fabric is a fun yet stressful experience, because besides taking into account whether the fabric looks right for the pattern, I also prefer to make matches where a majority of the bundle is used up.

When I saw Cross Tile (designed by Quilty Love), I immediately knew which fabric collection to go with it: Matchmade by Art Gallery Fabrics. Matchmade is collection of near-solids, and I particularly like that it's not a typical rainbow palette.

This quilt was really easy to piece, but certainly not boring. When I'm working with a fabric collection I like a lot, it really makes piecing even more enjoyable.

I didn't want to stress about the quilting, so I designed a pretty simple block-style quilt. The foreground is a dot-to-dot design because I don't want to quilt too heavily over AGF fabrics. I really love coming up with dot-to-dot designs, because it feels like I'm solving a puzzle.

In the background I quilted swirls and pebbles, but I decided to add one little element that I think made a big difference: unquilted space. The unquilted areas instantly add some punch and also broke up the background nicely into blocks.

I had planned to finish 18 quilts this year, and at first I was on track, but then ... life happened. However, I'm still very pleased with the 14 quilts that I did manage to finish this year, because I finished some quilts that I had once been reluctant to do because they were too precious, and that's definitely progress!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Paper Chain

After the ultra-colorful and bright Glass Candies, I wanted to pick a quilt top with more subdued colors for my next finish. I decided on Paper Chain, which is a block-of-the-month quilt that I made last year.

The fabric collection I chose is Breeze by Zen Chic, and the layout is from the Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson. This quilt really gives me a Japanese vibe!

I have never done free-motion quilting on a sampler quilt before, so this was a bit of a new experience. But at the end of the day, it's not that different from non-sampler quilts, except I have a few more blocks to design.

I tend to not quilt very heavily on foreground fabrics, so I came up with a different design for each block mostly by employing straight lines, curvy lines, and an occasional plume feather. But this was the easy part.

The background was more challenging since there was so much negative space. I decided to try a design that was totally new to me: Angela Walters's paisley feathers. It's an intricate looking design that is actually easier than regular feathers, but incredibly exhausting to do. I had to take my time on this so that I didn't get injured.

I had a lot of fun coming up with a design for each block, and though the background was challenging, I'm very satisfied with the final results.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Glass Candies

Since I've been on a journey lately to finish some of my favorite quilts instead of saving them for later, lately every quilt I've chosen to work on is special. But some are just more special than others.

Glass Candies is one of my all-time favorites. Both the pattern (Dude Ranch) and the fabric (Confetti Ombre) are designed by V & Co. I renamed it Glass Candies because as I was piecing this, I kept thinking of those beautiful Murano glass candies I saw on a trip to Venice.

This quilt is made up of half-square triangles and squares so it was quite easy and lots of fun to put together. The only painful part was assembly as it's assembled on the bias.

I had so much fun coming up with a quilting design for this quilt. I kept things very simple in the foreground (just continuous curves) and went to town in the background, creating geometric secondary designs and complementing them with swirls.

It took me a long time to quilt this, because I was enjoying it so much and wanted to savor the process ... and because it was a lot of quilting. I have the big M-sized bobbin on my longarm, and it still took about 10 bobbins!

I'm thrilled with the end result, as it turned out better than I imagined. This one is a keeper!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Sedona

Because I promised myself to quilt some of my favorites in the stash this year, I decided to pull out Sedona. Sedona, designed by Sew Kind of Wonderful, is a beautiful black and white quilt featuring some really neat piecing. It is probably the most graphic quilt I've ever made!

The piecing process of Sedona was intricate and difficult, but I managed to get through it because of the great pattern writing and the usage of the specialty ruler. It's also perhaps the first row-by-row quilt I've ever done.

I had auditioned half a dozen different plans to quilt this, but none seemed right for the quilt. Every time I closed my eyes, I imagined this quilt with simple half-inch spaced matchstick quilting. So that's what I ended up doing.

I took a deep breath before committing, but I felt better as soon as I quilted a few lines and knew I wasn't going to second guess myself anymore ... mostly because ripping would take too long!

Quilting this quilt reminds me a bit of making Aztec Sky, which is also a black and white quilt that I did half-inch matchstick quilting on. Except Sedona was a little easier because it's pieced, hence it's straighter and the seam lines help a lot to keep me aligned.

I'm very happy with the end result, and glad that I was able to finish another of my favorites! While I don't think I can achieve my goal of finishing 17 quilts this year (due to a busy summer), I am glad I talked myself into quilting some of my most precious tops.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Atmosphere

The Atmosphere quilt along came along last year at a very unusual time. When it was first announced, the pandemic was barely a blip on my radar. By the time I was making the quilt top for the quilt along, however, things were getting serious. We had just started the lockdowns in my state, and my family was struggling to figure out remote learning. It's hard to imagine that that was almost a year and a half ago!

And now as I'm finishing up this quilt, I can look with a hopeful eye into the future that things might finally be getting back to normal, or normal-ish.

Atmosphere is an all-solids quilt designed by Lee Heinrich consisting of half-square triangles and flying geese, and it is truly spectacular in the array of colors it has! Keeping things organized during piecing time would have been a challenge, but the pattern was so well-written and helped me keep things perfectly organized.

One of the things I particularly love about this quilt is the secondary designs, and I wanted to emphasize that in the quilting. I used a lot of geometric designs and ribbon candies to link the shapes together.

In the more open areas, I used a dense swirl for background. With a matching thread, the swirls add a lot of texture and look so elegant.

I really love all the beautiful colors of this quilt, and it's such a bright and cheerful quilt!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Blog Hop: Just One Charm Pack Quilts ~ Cat's Eye

This is probably a very common story, but I started my quilting journey with a single charm pack. Just one charm pack to try this quilting thing out. It led to a baby quilt, which then led to a new obsession, and now I have far too many charm packs in my stash. What to do with them?

This is why I was so happy with the news that Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Design has a new book coming out called Just One Charm Pack Quilts, and I was honored that she invited me to participate in the blog hop. The quilt I chose to make is called Cat's Eye, consisting solely of half-square triangles.

The fabric I chose is some of my very special fabric that I've been holding onto for a long time: First of Infinity by Kumiko Fujita. The huge funky prints are so interesting and unique, and they breathe a kind of urban pace which I adore.

I modified this pattern just slightly from the book version, as I wanted a slightly larger lap-sized quilt.

I designed the quilting to complement the feel of the print: angular and linear. In fact, this entire quilt is made up of just straight lines! The center of the quilt is my favorite with a square spiral design.

I love the look on the back too, as the quilting shows up great on the solid backing.

I really enjoyed making this quilt, both the piecing and the quilting, and I've had a great time participating in this blog hop and finally using up some of that precious First of Infinity fabrics. Be sure to check out the other stops on this blog hop to see other gorgeous quilts made from charm packs!
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