Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Off to QuiltCon!

Oh, how I've waited. A whole year, in fact.

Last year, after missing out on the Savannah show, I was determined to attend the next show in Pasadena. I was checking QuiltCon's website for information about the 2018 show on a weekly basis, and when the long-awaited class list was first announced, I dove into it like a kid in a candy store. I made schedules, debated options, and on registration day, I was ready!

There were some snafus at registration but I managed to get into every class I wanted. I'll be taking classes with Angela Walters, Christina Cameli, Pamela Wiley, Kitty Wilkin, and Latifah Saafir. These are people I've only ever seen on a screen before, so that's wildly exciting that I'll be in the same room with them, learning from them!

So, my bags are packed, my workshop supplies are prepared, and my credit cards are ready.

... I do hope I haven't built it up too much in my head. After all, it was a whole year of anticipation!

Friday, February 16, 2018

L'Arc en Ciel

A special quilt deserves a special name, so it's no coincidence that I named this really special quilt after my favorite Japanese band. L'Arc en Ciel means The Rainbow in French, and it is a fitting name for this rainbow-themed scrappy Irish chain quilt from Melissa Corry's Irish Chain Quilts.

This quilt was made from leftover fabric. Well, almost. I didn't really have much in the way of low-volume scraps for the background and dug into my fat quarter stash for that, but the colored fabrics are all made from leftover strips pieced into crazy blocks. It was a lot of work, because I was making my own fabric essentially, but it was totally worth it when I saw the results at the end.

This quilt was slow to piece, but easy and enjoyable. I enjoyed all the different rainbow fabrics, and I particularly love the way the low-volume background looked. To make this quilt, I think I pretty much exhausted my almost-white prints, which means I need to replenish that.

When it comes to quilting, I had several ideas in mind. It ranges all the way from improv, to a more structured design. Ultimately, I chose structure because the piecing has enough improv in it. I quilted a secondary design in the background with diamonds lying beneath each chain cross. It's an easy, minimal marking design that also puts straight lines next to curvy fillers, which is my favorite way to employ contrast.

I had to resist the urge to quilt this as densely as I secretly wanted to. I usually like to quilt fillers at a super dense scale, but I just felt this quilt was busy enough that it didn't also warrant super dense quilting. So ... I used closer to a 3/8" scale, which was honestly a bit painful, but on the bright side, it means the quilt is slightly cuddlier.

This quilt has a sparkle to it because some of the fabrics I used has a metallic sheen. I adore it, and it's just perfect for brightening up those Chicago winter days! (Although, I don't think Chicago winters are all that dreary.) I toted this quilt all over the house, trying to find a good "stage" shot. I really think photography is the hardest part of being a quilt blogger!

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Candy Dish ~ Ready to Quilt

I don't post that many blog posts of works-in-progress, mostly because I don't remember to take in-progress photos. But I'm so excited about this quilt that I just have to post some work in progress shots!

A year ago I didn't think I would ever want to make a hexagon quilt. It just looked too complicated for me. But recently, I've been really wanting to make one ... or I probably just wanted an excuse to break out my Hex 'n More ruler again. It's just so fun to use that I actually look forward to the cutting process!

The fabric collection I'm using is True Colors by Anna Maria Horner, which has so many great prints. The pattern I'm using is Candy Dish by Julie Herman which is a pillow pattern, but I expanded it to a lap quilt so I can use pretty much all 20 fabrics in my bundle.

There's really not that much piecing other than attaching the triangles to the hexagons. This quilt is mostly about assembly, but it wasn't as hard as I expected. I once thought a quilt like this would be too hard to make, but apparently my piecing confidence has gone up, and now it no longer seems so daunting.

And I have a finished quilt ... top! I don't know when it'd get quilted, there are so many others in line, but I look forward to finishing it one day. In the mean time, maybe my brain will start brewing up some ideas about quilting it ... subconsciously. One can hope!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Inside Looking Out

Every few regular quilts, I like to slip in a paper-pieced quilt. I really enjoy paper piecing even though it can be slow and tedious. I love that I don't have to cut precisely, and it's a magical feeling when the blocks come out perfect, as paper pieced blocks tend to.

The pattern I'm using is Ventana by Alison Glass. For the fabric, I'm also using an Alison Glass collection called Seventy-Six. I think I probably own every single Alison Glass collection in some form ... but I'm addicted. When it comes to colorful, richly rainbow fabrics, she's the creme de la creme.

I particularly like this quilt for the secondary patterns that form in the negative space between the blocks. Not only is it an interesting shape, but it's fun to quilt! Instead of quilting the same filler throughout though, I sort of treated it as an off-center medallion with a center motif, and then each ring is a different design radiating out. When it comes to quilting background spaces, I usually think more is more!

In the beautiful print fabrics, I kept it simple with some dot-to-dot designs. That way, it both contrasts with the denser background and doesn't obscure the fabric. The fun thing about dot-to-dot designs is that I can make up whatever, and as long as there's some symmetry there, it will look good.

I knew what I wanted to do with the quilting before I even started piecing, and I love it when that happens. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, that quilt usually gets made and quilted pretty quickly. I like the end result very much, and I expect I'll want to do another paper-piecing project before too long.

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wonky Stars Swap

Late last year, I saw that my friend Rachel was organizing a wonky star swap. Having never participated in a swap before, I was curious so I wanted to try it. The theme of the swap is wonky stars, which is sawtooth star blocks with wonky points.

For the fabric, I dove into my scraps. I pulled up a lot of Alison Glass and Anna Maria Horner, but there are also a lot of other designers represented. I really wanted to experiment with different color combinations and try some things I normally wouldn't, since these stars are each going to go to a different person, they don't have to match at all!

I made some that are monochromatic, and some that are crazy rainbows. Some of the swap members had color preferences, so I tried to keep that in mind.

Well, I think these are quite cute. Now I just have to address the envelopes and hope I don't mix them up. I can't wait for stars that people have made for me to show up in the mail!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Critical Sunshine

I love naming my quilts, it somehow makes them each more personal and special to me. Sometimes it's the name of the pattern, very frequently it's the name of the fabric collection showcased in the quilt since that so often determines the mood of the quilt, and sometimes it's just how the quilt makes me feel when I look at it.

When I first saw Brigitte Heitland's Plus It's Simple quilt made from Fragile, the gorgeous shades of yellow, white, and a little bit of grey just evoke in me a feeling of immense optimism and happiness. Thus, the name Critical Sunshine was born.

I loved piecing this quilt, and I'm sure the fabric had a lot to do with it! I was so excited about Fragile when it was first announced, and when it finally arrived 7 months later, it exceeded my expectations. I also really, really love Brigitte's patterns. They're rarely difficult (although some of them are!) but they're always interesting and always modern.

Quilting this was pretty fun because I got to use a golden yellow thread. I quilted the background with my favorite fillers, and did some geometric designs in the plus signs. After the absolutely exhausting quilting I did on Refraction, this quilt provides a nice breather. The biggest challenge was that I couldn't see where I was going a lot of the time because the thread blended into the fabric a little too well.

Fragile is such an amazing collection, that it is easily my favorite fabric collection from 2017. Needless to say, this is just the first of quite a few quilts I plan to make that will use this fabric line. This quilt makes me really happy to look at it, but what can I say, I just love a golden yellow!

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Linking up to: Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Busy Hands Quilts, Powered by Quilting, My Quilt Infatuation, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Retreat Organizer

It's about 6 weeks until QuiltCon, and my Retreat Organizer is done! It was not easy. It was only fun most of the time. But the end result is pretty great, and I'm so proud of myself for actually getting through this!

I wrote a blog post when I had finished getting the materials together for this bag, and I considered it the biggest sewing challenge I've faced yet. I bought this class more than 3 years ago, before I knew what a quilt was, and when I was barely sure how to thread my machine. I didn't take it back then, and I'm glad, because it would have been way, way too much. But now that I've had a lot of quilting experience and some experience in simple bag making, it was a great time to take this class.

I feel like I achieved a major milestone with this bag, which is far more complicated than any bag I've done before. I used a lot of techniques I've never, ever tried before, like velcro, mesh, vinyl, bias binding, and zippers by the yard. I only broke one needle too, so it didn't go too badly! The result looks so good and professional, I can hardly believe I made it.

This little organizer is just perfectly sized to carry all the essential quilting supplies, including the Omnigrid foldable cutting mat / pressing board. (It might have been sized specifically to carry that!)

I'm so happy I accomplished this. I got a great looking organizer, and now I feel empowered to make more of Annie's projects ... with video instruction, of course. (I don't think I would want to do this without video instruction still.) But I've purchased more of Annie's classes, and hopefully, with this one under my belt, the rest will feel less intimidating too!

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Link parties joined: Crazy Mom Quilts.

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