Thursday, April 8, 2021

City Tiles

After a few bright and rainbowy quilts, I definitely felt the need to work on something a bit more graphic. Enter City Tiles. The pattern is by Quilty Love, and the fabrics are all from Art Gallery Fabrics, though different collections.

The combination of fabric and the name of this pattern has a very urban, geometric feel to it, so I wanted to see if I can make the quilting also very urban and geometric.

I decided not to incorporate a single swirl, and instead make the entire quilt with dot-to-dot designs and dense lines. I adore the way those dense lines look especially when placed next to areas I left unquilted.

As usual, I kept the quilting very minimal in the foreground, especially because I'm working with Art Gallery Fabrics. I think anybody who has worked with Art Gallery Fabrics knows this, but the feel of AGF fabrics is just different from anything else I've used. It feels wonderful to the touch, but it's not my favorite to poke a needle through, and this is true during both the piecing and quilting phase.

I set a goal for myself this year to try to finish quilting 18 quilts, and so far I've been able to stay on track. I'm quite excited as some of my favorite quilt tops are on the schedule to be finished this year! We'll see what happens.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Iridescent

The Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters may have been over for more than a year now ... but I'm certainly not done making quilts that were featured in the show. My latest finish is Iridescent, a bright all-solids quilt designed by Slice of Pi Quilts.

Iridescent was so easy and so satisfying to put together because it's just squares and half-square triangles. The color placement would have been very confusing except for the fact that the pattern offered up a helpful chart, so there was no mix-up at all. Sometimes I just don't want to have to think.

But I do enjoy thinking when it comes to figuring out a quilting design. For the quilting, I designed a simple pattern that used a combination of dot-to-dot designs, a pebble and swirl fillers, and all the blocks are connected by a ribbon candy. That gave it a secondary effect which is always fun.

I really enjoy quilting all-solid quilts because I don't have to worry about obscuring prints or figuring out what to do with prints, and in addition, all-solid quilts really show off the quilting!

Some quilts aren't fun to quilt and I just push through it to enjoy the end result, but I truly loved every second of working on Iridescent. Once I figured out the quilting pattern, the execution was incredibly fun and satisfying. The last few weeks have been snowy and dreary here, so these beautiful colors certainly make me happy!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Graffiti Quilting Fun

I'm a huge fan of Karlee Porter, who is known for her unique and awe-inspiring graffiti quilting. Although I own all her books, I wasn't quite able to understand the concepts well enough, until I finally took a Graffiti Quilting Master Class with her awhile ago.

I've taken quite a few quilting classes over the years, but most of them are just fangirl moments for me. I'm excited to meet the instructor, but I rarely take away that much from the classes because I tend to learn best from books. However, Karlee's Graffiti Quilting Master Class definitely taught me a lot more than I expected, and it was one of the best classes I've ever taken.

I didn't actually do any quilting during the lessons, and instead practiced drawing. This was my first attempt:

Then, I tried a bottom-up approach. On a longarm, I would have to quilt top-down, obviously.

Finally, I decided to have some fun with gradient coloring while I drew my 3rd sample.

I still haven't had a chance to try this on a real quilt, but I have no doubt that if can draw it, I can quilt it. I've been having so much fun just drawing them, though! In a way, it reminds me of improv piecing, where my brain hurts because it's on all the time, but the results are usually surprising and exciting for that very reason.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Bohemian Spark

I wanted to finish Bohemian Spark for Valentine's Day, and while I didn't quite make that deadline ... at least it's still February! Both the pattern and the fabric (Just Red) are designed by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic.

I was very excited to make this quilt, but it was certainly one of the tougher ones I've made. It was paper-pieced, which I usually love, but the pieces are huge, which made them more challenging to line up correctly, and to add to the difficulty, the edges of most of these blocks are bias. I breathed a sigh of relief after it came together, and most of the points mostly match.

I used just two designs in this quilt: straight lines and swirls. I kept the swirls to the lighter colored fabric, as I don't like dense quilting with contrasting thread.

The straight lines were actually quite challenging because they're so long. There was a lot of fudging and guesstimation going on, but overall I'm pretty happy with it.

This quilt really has such a visual impact! I haven't done a red and pink quilt ... ever, so I'm happy to have this one as it really stands out.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Spectrum

Every once in awhile, a designer creates a collection that speaks to me so much that I could not get enough of it. Observatory by Alison Glass was one of those collections for me, and when I saw Spectrum (pattern also by Alison Glass) made in Observatory, I just knew I had to make it.

This is actually a super-easy quilt, consisting of just quarter-square triangles and some strips. The fabrics and colors is what makes this quilt so special to me. Like all Alison Glass quilts, the fabrics really glow.

I decided to keep the quilting very light and simple here with a few different geometric designs, though I made a quilting plan for the different patterns to shift across the quilt so that it's still interesting for me to look at and not too boring to quilt.

I filled the sashing strips with probably my favorite design to use in long strips: ribbon candies. Even after all this time, I still struggle with making this design look perfect and even, so I'll just have to be happy with my more free-form "organic" ribbon candies.

Due to the larger scale quilting, this was done fairly quickly and is actually a very cuddly quilt. This is great because I definitely don't have a lot of those. Although I can't photograph it, one thing I particularly love about this quilt is the mix of textures between the lighter batik fabrics and the heavier Kaleidoscope solids. In both colors and texture, this quilt is definitely a feast for the senses!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Winterfresh

For my first completed quilt of 2021, I wanted to pick something seasonally appropriate. The pattern's name is Lattice Vines by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs, but I named this quilt Winterfresh because the fabrics really evoke winter for me.

For the first time ever probably, I combined fabrics that didn't belong to the same collection or was curated by somebody else. (Not including scrappy quilts, of course.) It was rather scary to pick these fabrics that are from 3 different collections, but I think they work well together. I also changed the pattern a bit as the original pattern has an on-point layout, and I made it into a grid instead. I love the super graphic look of this pattern.

I had the quilting all planned out before I even loaded this, and I didn't have to change much on the fly. I knew that I wanted to use a lot of straight lines on the white fabric (there's something delicious about straight lines on white) but also add swirls for elegance, and complete it with geometric designs.

In the sashing strips which are possibly my favorite part of this quilt, I did ribbon candies and more straight lines. I like how they enhance the graphic look of this quilt.

For my first finish of the year, I'm very pleased with this quilt. It was very fun to make and fairly easy to quilt. It's perfect for cuddling with on the couch while drinking hot cocoa and watching snow fall!

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Linking up with: Meadow Mist Designs.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Best of 2020

2020 ... what a year! I debated whether I should even do a year-end summary post, but looking back at my projects this year, I realized that I do want to write one. Regardless of what's happening in the outside world (and in my home world ... my oldest is still not allowed to go to school), the quilting room will always provide a refuge. Picking out my top 5 of the year helps remind me that 2020 isn't all bad.

Like in previous years, I'm joining Cheryl Brickey's Best of 2020 Linky Party. Thanks to Cheryl for hosting this great linky party!

Most Challenging: Moon Dance

I knew before heading into Moon Dance that it would be hard. And it was. Fabric selection was incredibly stressful, and I wasn't sure until the very end that it would work out well. Also, this was my first time dealing with a double curve (to get the almond shaped block), which Moon Dance had tons of. However, although stressful and difficult, I never once thought I wouldn't be able to do it, mostly because of the wonderful pattern writing of Sew Kind of Wonderful and their amazing Quick Curves Ruler.

Most Inspired: Rainbow Road

I had a story planned for Rainbow Road while I was piecing it, which was probably several years ago. I envisioned a Matrix-style steampunk city that's kind of grim, but has a strip of Rainbow Road at the very top that represents a kind of holy grail. That was my plan all along, but it wasn't until I came up with the idea of criss-crossing roads beneath the rainbow road and a filler that resembles gears that I felt ready to quilt this. I really like how it came out, and felt my vision came to life, making this my most inspired quilt of the year.

Most Fun: Bone & Chains

When I came up with the category of "Most Fun", I had to define it for myself. What does fun mean? Fun to piece? Fun to quilt? Or fun to look at? Turns out, all 3. Now, Bone & Chain was definitely a major pain to cut, but once that was done, I had a blast piecing it, and watching the blocks slowly come out was very rewarding. It was also fun to quilt once I decided what to do with the skulls. But the best part ... is that this quilt is so fun to look at! I love how the eyes are sometimes wandering, sometimes cross-eyed, and sometimes dead. All in all, I had a lot of fun with this one!

Favorite Top: Solstice

Solstice was one of the block-of-the-months I did this year, and it was with Rebecca Bryan, who designs spectacular (and complex) quilts. I was really excited every month to work on this, and though it was challenging, it was also easier than it looked. I love the color palette, the fact that it has a burgundy background, and the final layout is so unique and definitely not like any other quilts I have made before. All this easily makes Solstice my favorite top of the year!

Favorite Quilt: Velodrome

This probably comes as a surprise to most. It certainly came as a surprise to me! When I set out to pick my favorite quilt of the year, I did not expect to pick Velodrome. First of all, when I first finished the top, I felt neutral about it. I neither liked it nor disliked it. It wasn't until I was done quilting it that I realized that I really liked it. And it wasn't until I had snuggled under it for months that I realized that I really really loved it. I find myself running my hands over the texture, admiring the fabric (and the quilting design), and thinking about how this quilt went from meh to oh-so-special!

***

In conclusion, in these confusing times, I'm so grateful that I found quilting. When the world is grey, I can play with pretty fabrics, I can escape from my worries just for a bit and concentrate on the simple joy of sewing a block, and I can put on some good music and quilt my anxieties away.
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