Friday, April 5, 2019

Moonlight

My latest finish, Moonlight, uses Erica Jackman's pattern, Harper. It's a fun and easy quilt using basic Drunkard's Path blocks.

Some quilts are easy for me to to come up with quilting ideas for, and some are really really hard. For me, Moonlight was particularly challenging because of the printed background. Usually my quilts tend to have printed foreground components and solid backgrounds, so when I have a printed background, I really don't know what to do. The usual fillers I like to do in the background would all be too busy for the already busy background fabric.

But I know that dot-to-dot designs usually look good on prints, so that's what I did in the background. And as a bonus, dot-to-dot designs in the background blocks, when placed together, also create secondary designs. But I was also in the mood for some feathers.

I quilted the moons with an alternating design. It's definitely my favorite part of the quilt, it almost has a glow to it next to the indigo fabrics.

There are no solids to be found on the front of this quilt, which is pretty rare for me. But it allows me to quilt it on the lighter side, allowing for a cuddlier quilt than usual. It's really hard to see the quilting on the front though, but the back shows it well!

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Unchained

My latest finish is a significant finish for me, not because the quilt or quilting itself is significant, but because of the mental process I went through when I'm quilting it, and I named it Unchained for two reasons.

First, of course it's a play on words, since it's an Irish Chain. The pattern is from Jenifer Dick and Angela Walter's book Nine-Patch Revolution. I did modify the size of the blocks so I could use a jelly roll, but the layout is the same.

More importantly, I named this quilt Unchained because by quilting it the way I did, it represents a sense of freedom. When I first started quilting on my longarm, I was just so swept up with how quick and fun it was to finish my tops, and I didn't worry about anything but that it looked good. I didn't worry whether I was being "creative", whether I incorporated at least X different designs, or whether it was "showstopping". But at some point, that started to change, and over the last year especially I was driving myself completely insane trying to come up with something crazy each time. It got to be too much, and there were times I stayed away from the longarm room for weeks on end because I was too daunted.

But with this quilt, I only made myself one promise: I wanted to keep it simple, and recognize that it's perfectly alright not to quilt every quilt like it's my swan song. This is my simplest (in terms of the # of designs) quilt in recent memory, and I feel a great sense of relief at finally breaking out of the chains I had placed on myself.

So, I kept the quilting simple with continuous curves in the Irish chains and an easy, zero marking dot-to-dot design in the negative space that also had a very efficient travel path.

I love the end result, and I especially love the sense of freedom I now feel. My blog is called Savor Every Stitch, not Driving Myself Crazy For No Reason. And hopefully, Unchained will help me to remember that.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Rafters

Last summer I worked on a quilt top from a quilt along run by Christa Watson for a pattern called Dot 'n Dash. It was a simple jelly roll quilt that was quick to put together. After a few intensely quilted quilts, I was in the mood for something simple, so I pulled this top out. I already had a plan and was just getting ready to quilt it when suddenly, I decided to abandon all my previous plans and try something unexpected.

I tried to talk myself out of it, but once I had a "vision", I couldn't unsee it. While I was working on this, I was cursing myself for almost the whole time and wondered what I should ultimately name this quilt. Maybe it's the "what-was-I-thinking" quilt. Or the "why-do-I-have-to-make-everything-so-complicated" quilt. When I finally, finally finished it, I laid it out for the full reveal and suddenly I really liked it and knew exactly what I should call it.

Rafters. It wasn't quite intentional, as I just wanted to try a secondary design and have vertical strips in the quilting going behind the horizontal strips, but once I saw the whole thing, all I could see were rafters and beams!

I kept the quilting very simple in the foreground with just piano keys, and left all the intense quilting for the background.

I think the main challenge of this quilt (and why I hated working on it) is because I never quite figured out an efficient travel path. Sometimes that's just how it is.

The back of the quilt is pretty neat looking and I can see the rafters & beams look even better on the back than on the front.

At the end of the day, I really love the end result and I'm so glad I decided to go with my new vision for this quilt. It produced a very interesting effect and I have no regrets about it. So, despite the painful process, the end result is a win for me!

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

Friday, February 15, 2019

Totality

In the summer of 2017 there was a solar eclipse that crossed large swaths of US, and my husband’s parents happen to live in an area where there were several minutes of totality. So we drove down, armed with eclipse glasses, to see this amazing sight.

To commemorate this experience, I decided to do it the only way I know ... by buying fabric and making a quilt. I went to Spoonflower and picked out a bunch of sun and star themed fabrics from a lot of different artists. Spoonflower, though expensive, is amazing for finding completely unique fabrics, and I figured this occasion is a great excuse.

I paired the fabric up with Amy Smart's Chain Links pattern. I had made the a quilt Phases of the Moon using that pattern a long time ago (incidentally, also with a Spoonflower bundle). It is such a great pattern for showing off prints.

I quilted the background with simple swirls. No pebbles, no paisleys, no leaves, I just wanted pure, simple swirls to add an elegant look to the space. There's no doubt about it, that swirls are my favorite filler, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of them.

I quilted the black frames with a combination of ribbon candies and straight lines, which are my other favorite designs next to swirls. Instead of using a black on black though, I opted for a thread color that shows in the form of a gray. I usually match my thread color to the fabric, but black is an exception.

Inside the printed squares, I quilted dot-to-dot designs, alternating between a straight line design and a flower design.

I think this is one of my favorite finishes. Everything about this quilt speaks to me, from the pattern, to the fabrics, to the theme, to the quilting.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

Friday, February 1, 2019

Minikins: Metro Double-Zip Pouch

In January, I decided to participate in the Minikins challenge run by Sew Sweetness. Last year I made a few minikins (and they turned out really well) at my own pace, but since the January challenge is the Metro Double-Zip Pouch, something I'd been wanting to make anyway, I decided to do it in time for the challenge.

And can I just say, yowza. That was really, really hard. But it wasn't the zippers that gave me trouble. Or the hardware. Or even thick layers this time. No. It was the fact that there were parts of this bag that required a super narrow foot (like a zipper foot) and mine wasn't working well. In the end, I had to hand-sew some of it.

I love the finished result, though. I used a canvas fabric which gave the pouch a nice texture, and found a light teal print for the lining that matched the exterior well. I love the double zippers and the wristlet, and how lucky that I found 2 zippers in my collection that matched the color of the fabric perfectly?

And then ... the next day I went online to find a new zipper foot for my machine, and discovered that I had been putting it on backwards all along, and that's why it didn't work! Oops.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Seahorse Sanctuary

Elizabeth Hartman's Neighborhood quilt in her book Modern Patchwork is one of the earliest quilts on my queue. I added it a few years ago, determined to work on it some day, but my biggest challenge? I didn't know what fabric to choose.

My favorite part of the pattern is that each little house has a window where Elizabeth placed some fussy cut birds. That was adorable, and I knew I wanted to do something similar. Yet I could not find the right fabric in the right scale that also had coordinating fabrics to go with it. That is, until I got the idea of using her Reef collection.

Reef has a cute seahorses print that felt like they could be the residents in the houses! And so, my Neighborhood quilt moved underwater and became Seahorse Sanctuary. I chose a solid blue for the background to represent the ocean, and after choosing my fabrics (which is the hardest part) everything else fell into place. This was incredibly fun to piece too, as it's a log cabin, albeit in a funky way.

The blue represents water, of course, so I wanted to go with some watery motifs. Naturally, the first things I thought of were swirls, wavy lines, and pebbles. (But this could be a sky quilt and I'm sure I'll find an excuse to use these exact 3 designs.)

But the most fun part of this quilt are the houses. I decided to make each house slightly different, because of course the seahorses have their own decor choices. I used a variety of designs to represent texture on the houses, but I think the clamshells are my favorite. And I don't think I've ever used them before ... I never saw a good opportunity, but they totally work for houses, especially underwater houses!

Here's another house, with an underwater fern decoration:

I like how this quilt is really cute but it doesn't scream kid quilt. I'm not sure yet if I'll keep this quilt for myself or give it to one of my kids. Maybe we'll just share.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

Friday, January 18, 2019

An All Stars Assembly

I really enjoy the slow pace and different flow of English Paper Piecing projects, but if I thought Supernova was time-consuming, it was nothing compared to All Stars. I started actively working on this quilt top in June of last year, and I think no less than 200 hours went into it.

The most challenging part of this quilt is actually the fabric selection, which I did back in May. I resisted the urge to go with a kit (which is crazy expensive anyway), and instead painstakingly picked out my own fabrics (but still all Tula Pink), and allowing the rainbow of colors to wash from the top to the bottom. It took a great deal of planning and a great deal of fussy cutting, because I really wanted the colors in a bloom to relate to each other. I'm really pleased with the final look, even though in another medium I would have deemed this far too insane. But ... somehow I like it as a quilt.

This is by far the largest English Paper Piecing project I've ever worked on, and even though making the individual blooms was fun, assembling at the end was pretty tedious.

Part of the reason the final assembly was so tedious was because I don't like to take the paper pieces out until after the whole thing is assembled. I like how much structure and sturdiness the card stock gives it, and I like to keep that for as long as possible. I have this fear that the quilt would otherwise wrinkle and distort while I'm assembling it, or worse, that I step on it and rip it.

But it's finally done, and now it's ready for quilting ... hopefully sometime this year.

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