Friday, July 21, 2017

This Way Up

This Way Up is the first foundation paper pieced quilt I've finished this year, and I'm really happy with it. The original pattern is called Woodcut, but I named my quilt This Way Up because all I can see are arrows pointing up!

I almost considered leaving the colored spaces unquilted to make them pop, but that's really not my style. So instead, I opted for some simple geometric lines with echoes. In all the little nooks and crannies around the colored spaces, I didn't have a lot of room, so I did what works best for small tight areas ... pebbles! It really mashed the area down, and helped to enhance the colored arrows with the contrast in quilting density.

My favorite part of every quilt to quilt is almost always the negative space. In this quilt, there really wasn't a lot of it. I did some stacking swirls that looked like they were growing out of the pebbles, and added some straight lines in the border area for some contrast.

I still occasionally overthink my quilting design, but in general it's been getting much easier for me to land a concept and go with it, because I realize it just has to look good, it doesn't have to be the most-amazing-design-ever. And finished is better than perfect, anyway!

***

Linking up with: Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Sew Can She.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Northern Lights

I first saw a sample of Northern Lights, a pattern by Julie Herman, in a quilt shop in Alaska. I immediately was intrigued by the pretty solid colors in a gradient, and I loved the quilting on the store sample. It was a lot of dense fillers in matching colors that complemented the quilt perfectly and added a delicious texture.

I didn't buy the kit then, because my suitcase was already full, and I wasn't sure I would be able to piece it. But I thought of it constantly. Earlier this year I finally bought it as a late Christmas gift to myself. As a bonus, I finally had the excuse to invest in a Hex 'n More ruler! I just love collecting rulers.

I decided to make my quilt exactly like the sample, in the same arrangement of colors. Although this quilt is doable without the Hex 'n More ruler, I do have to say it makes cutting the trapezoids a lot more quick and fun! I was worried I wouldn't be able to piece this, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I did have to use a pin or two during row assembly, but it came together very quickly and almost all of my points almost match. Close enough is good enough!

Quilting this top was an exhilarating experience. As I was quilting this, I became convinced that this quilt top was designed specifically to showcase free-motion quilting. The big expanses of space, all in solids ... there is no place to hide, and everything shows! On some sections, it's great news. On others, well ...

To start with, I filled some sections with paisleys, pebbles, and swirls. I don't think I'll ever get tired of them.

I decided to try a new filler that I've never tried before. Leaves! I know leaves are pretty much just a pointed paisley, but I find it quite a bit more challenging to execute compared to the paisley. However, it has such a great look so I was determined to learn them.

I wanted to add some straight lines just to break it up a bit. But one block in, I realized I was already bored. So to break it up even further, I added some wavy lines to contrast with it.

I'm so happy I conquered this! Quilting this quilt was amazingly fun (isn't it always, though?) and it's such a joy to watch the quilt come to life. All in all, I'm thrilled with the way this turned out.

I really like the back of the quilt too ... I didn't realize until awhile after the quilt was finished that the back shared some of the colors as the front and has a Northern Lights kind of feel! Now that's what I call a happy coincidence.

***

Link parties I joined: Crazy Mom Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quits.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Liebster Award

Have you heard of the Liebster Award? I hadn't, until Rose of Something Rose Made nominated me. The Liebster award is a blogger to blogger nomination (not limited to quilting) to help blogs get more followers, and I'm honored to get the nomination. Thank you Rose!

I met Rose through the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. It was a fun and exciting group where we shared tips and critiques about how to improve our quilting blogs, and of course, friendships were made in the process. Rose and I have followed each other since then, and she is one of the most encouraging people in my machine quilting journey! You can read her Liebster Award post here.

According to the rules, I'm to include a short commentary of a blog I follow. Well, I follow a lot of blogs, but one of my favorites is Suzy Quilts. I don't remember how I found Suzy Quilts, but once I did, I didn't want to leave. Her blog is a joy to the eye, so clean and aesthetically pleasing, and she's got a beautiful, modern taste that I aspire to. She posts many great and useful tutorials as well as product comparisons. (She even has city guides for quilters, something I used the last time I went to Chicago!) And the cherry on top? I frequently find myself laughing out loud at her writing. She's so hilarious! If you aren't following her already, well, go see what you're missing!

As part of the nomination, Rose has posed some questions for me to answer, so here they are:

Who inspired you to quilt/sew?

Actually ... nobody to start with! I started quilting because I ran out of knitting classes to take on Craftsy, so I decided to pursue a new hobby (so I can take more classes). Before I knew it, quilting caught my eye, and I haven't looked back.

If you could meet one Quilt Personality, who would it be?

Everybody who reads my blog knows how much I adore Angela Walters! She was and remains my #1 inspiration for machine quilting. But I'm signed up for 3 classes with her next year in QuiltCon, so barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll meet her in February!

Your (audio/visual) preference while quilting:

I always prefer to have something going. I either blast alternative rock, or listen to audiobooks, or listen to TV reruns. It helps me through the not-so-fun parts (like preparing a backing) and when I'm on my longarm, having music going makes me more relaxed!

Do you have a favorite snack/munch while quilting?

I don't snack in my quilting area. Too risky. The most I will do is drink some water.

Do you look for quilts while watching a movie?

All. The. Time.

What comes first when you make a quilt:

I usually see something I really want to make, and then look for fabric in my stash (or go shop for some more fabric) to fit it.

What is your favorite quilt?

I have made quite a few quilts now and I love them all, so I really can't pick a favorite. My more recent finishes are certainly better executed than what I did a year ago, but that doesn't necessarily mean I love them more.

Hand Quilt or Machine Quilt?

Machine quilt, all the way. If I had to hand quilt, I wouldn't be quilting. I joked to my mother-in-law that I'm allergic to sewing by hand ... but it's true!

Favorite Color?

I have so many favorite colors! I love bright colors and metallics, and don't care much for pastels or earthy colors. My favorite color lately is probably a hot pink.

Favorite Quilting/Crafting Item?

My longarm, of course! I always feel a sense of great happiness when I walk into the quilting room and see her. I even love the way she smells.

Do you work on one project or many?

I usually have about 4-5 I'm working on simultaneously.

***

Now, my nominees! Actually, make that nominee. I had in mind several people I wanted to nominate, but they've all been nominated already or had too many followers to qualify. But I managed to grab Sherry of Powered by Quilting up before others did! I met Sherry through the 2017 New Quilters Blog Hop, and we bonded over the fact that we both have an engineering background! (She's a current engineer, and I'm a retired engineer.) Sherry's got great tutorials and many beautiful quilts on her blog. Please go visit her!

For Sherry, I'm passing Rose's questions along. I think they're great questions!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Aviatrix Medallion ~ Part Four: The (Not) Finale

Aviatrix Medallion is hands down the hardest quilt top I've ever pieced, and now it's also the hardest quilt I've ever quilted.

I really enjoyed quilting all the different designs, some of which are my own ideas and some that I got from inspiration photos on the internet. A combination of ruler work and free-motion means that I never take the ruler base off. The ruler base does adds a little bit of drag, but I find I'm used to it now and can still move the machine smoothly.

And ... that's all I have for now. For personal reasons, I have to take it off the frame and I'm not sure when I'll get around to finishing it. It is my first official quilting UFO (UnFinished Object). But when I come back to it, I won't have to spend any time thinking about quilting designs, at least!

Previous posts on this quilt:

  • Part Zero
  • Part One: Center Star + Border 1
  • Part Two: Border 2 + Border 3
  • Part Three: Borders 4 to 6

    ***

    Linking up with: Cooking Up Quilts.

  • Monday, June 26, 2017

    QuiltCon Registration Day

    Last night, I had multiple dreams, and every single one of them involved QuiltCon's registration. In my dreams, I'd speed through the registration site and get my top picks. This is my first time registering for QuiltCon, and I was really nervous. I had heard stories that in the past, the site would crash due to too much traffic, or that it's nearly impossible to get all your top workshop choices because there's so many people for so few spots.

    I'm nothing if not good at planning, though. I had it all ready ... my credit card number on my clipboard, all the course codes of the courses I wanted to take and backup options on a piece of paper, and a slew of keyboard shortcuts to help me move through the registration process as quickly as possible. If this didn't get me at least some of my top choices, then I really don't know what else I can do!

    This morning, I watched the computer clock tick from 8:59:59 to 9:00:00, and clicked on the registration link. And ...

    Error. This event is not available for registration. Contact event planner.

    Say what?

    I figured it was a mistake, or maybe my clock wasn't in sync. I tried again, and again. The same. I finally posted a message on Facebook, and soon found that nobody could register! It took about 15 minutes, before I was able to finally register. I must have gotten really lucky, because I was one of the first ones to get into the system ... and got all my workshop picks.

    So, barring no unforeseen circumstances ...

    I'm beyond excited! Among the workshops I registered for, I have 3 with Angela Walters!

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Geese in Flight ~ A Heart Builders Quilt

    I recently received this quilt top pieced by Annette Z to quilt for Stash Builder Box's Heart Builders charity. It is gorgeous, with tons of flying geese in different formations.


    Photo credit: @annettezee

    I loaded the quilt on my frame and got to work. When I first got my longarm, for some reason I was most fearful about learning to load. I've watched videos, and they didn't make any sense. But once I actually did it, I realized it's not that bad, and even kind of enjoyable! (Preparing the backing, on the other hand, is not the least bit enjoyable.)

    I looked at this top for awhile before I decided on my design. I did a swirl / paisley allover for most of it, but I highlighted a few of my favorite blocks and did a custom design for those.

    I finished it with a black binding to give it some extra drama. Now, once I can find a box to ship this, it's off to be given to a child in need!

    ***

    I joined the link parties at Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts. Link up!

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    True Blue

    When I came across a quilt kit by Zen Chic using her True Blue fabric line at a quilt show, I felt simultaneously happy and guilty. Happy because it is such a beautiful kit, and the pattern is very easy and very me. Guilty because I already have the True Blue fabric bundle in my stash somewhere! Surely I don't need to buy it again in the form of a kit, right?

    But it was on sale ...

    This quilt top was so easy and relaxing to make because it's made of randomly paired half-square triangles. I love making half-square triangles! It's the only block I have truly mastered, mostly because I can trim it to size. And of course, the fabric is just so lovely.

    Quilting this, on the other hand, wasn't easy ... at least at first. I decided to play with contrast in both shape and scale. This is my first time using a ruler base to do ruler work, and at first, it was terrifying. But after about 1/3 of the quilt, I realized I was much more comfortable!

    In the foreground fabrics, I did a lot of geometric designs, and I highlighted a few patches and quilted a flower in them.

    In the negative space, it is all about curvy, swirly designs. I had some fun echoing some of the triangle designs in the negative space too.

    I had to sneak a feather in here somewhere! But it ended up being a big, showy feather that also divided up the space.

    This is the 3rd quilt I completed on my longarm. While every quilt is a learning experience, this one really stretched me, but I'm so happy with the end result!

    ***

    Link parties I joined: Cut & Alter, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Sew Can She.

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