Friday, April 20, 2018

The Macabre Mini

A few weeks ago, I was making a pinwheel star quilt and when I completed this block, I realized the birds that were all cut up and juxtaposed next to each other just looked kind of ... wrong. So I tossed it to the side and forgot about it.

Then one day, I came to my sewing room and saw it, and decided I might as well make my first mini quilt. Since I haven't done walking foot quilting for almost 2 years, I figured this was a good opportunity to play with it since the quilt is very small. I quilted lots of echo lines and I really like it!

My favorite part of this quilt is the binding. I found a leftover piece of binding from another quilt I made and it was the perfect length for this mini. Putting the binding on made me rather dizzy because of the tiny black/white strips, but once it's done, I love how it pops!

Maybe it's finally time to begin that mini quilt wall.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Stash Statement Blog Hop Kickoff!

Today is the kickoff day for the Stash Statement Blog Hop tour. Stash Statement is a new book from Kelly Young of My Quilt Infatuation, and I'm thrilled to be part of this blog hop!

I love the look of improv, but I'm afraid of doing it. As a former software engineer and current owner of a very mathematical brain, it is a challenge for me to improvise even under guidance. That is why I so welcome Kelly's approach which combines improv piecing and traditional piecing for one-of-a-kind quilts that caters to my need of order and structure but gives me a chance to experiment with improv. It's the best of both worlds!

My stop of the blog hop is on 5/7. Until then, here's a sneak peek of what I've been up to:

Below is the full schedule. It starts today with Grand Bazaar which is the stunning rainbow quilt on the cover of the book. I can't wait to see the versions these talented bloggers have made, and of course, I hope to see you back here on 5/7!

Stash Statement Blog Tour Schedule

Kickoff post:

  • Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

    4/16: Grand Bazaar

  • Shelley @ Cora's Quilts
  • Connie @ Freemotion by the River

    4/26: Louvered

  • Lindsey @ Primrose Cottage Quilts
  • Diann @ Little Penguin Quilts

    4/30: Precarious

  • Jess @ Quilty Habit
  • Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts

    5/7: Beach Retreat

  • Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts
  • Liz @ Savor Every Stitch (you're here!)

    5/14: Fire Pit

  • Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts
  • Preeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts

    5/21: Detour

  • Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
  • Shelley @ The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts

    5/28: Murrina

  • Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
  • Leanne @ Devoted Quilter

    6/4: Scattered

  • Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
  • Christine @ Triangles and Squares

    6/11: Bloom Chicka Boom

  • Chris @ made by ChrissieD
  • Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

    6/18: Regatta

  • Susan @ Quilt Fabrication
  • Debbie @ A Quilter's Table
  • Christa @ Christa Quilts

    6/25: Catch a Falling Star

  • Cynthia @ Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
  • Anja @ Anja Quilts

    7/2: College Prep

  • Hilary @ by Hilary Jordan
  • Lori @ Crossquilt

    7/9: Take Flight (bonus digital pattern)

  • Kelli @ Seriously, I Think It Needs Stitches
  • Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
  • Saturday, April 14, 2018

    International Quilt Festival Chicago 2018

    April is an exciting time of the year for me. Not only is the weather finally starting to think about warming up, but the quilt show season has officially begun!

    I look forward to the Quilt Festival in Rosemont every year. This is my 3rd year going, and each year it's been different. In 2016, I was a newbie quilter and everything was shiny and new to me. I rushed around trying not to miss anything, but overall felt very overwhelmed. Last year, I concentrated solely on testing out longarms so I didn't do much else. This year, I'm no longer a newbie and no longer shopping for a longarm, so I felt like I could slow down a bit more and enjoy the show.

    The best part of any quilt show is always the shopping. In fact, I judge a quilt show by the quality of the vendors. I always describe myself as drunk on fabric fumes at a quilt show, and I will usually pick up a few things that I wouldn't normally. I rarely have buyer's remorse, though!

    On day two of the show, I spent some time in classes. My morning class is with Jamie Wallen from Quilter's Apothecary called Mystical Blocks and Borders. Jamie is an accomplished quilter, and his work is stunning. He also had a low-key humor and so much quilting knowledge that the room was filled with sounds of people writing as he gave tip after tip after tip. Even though this is a longarm hands-on class, we spent most of the time drawing, which I think is a good thing. I could learn so much more drawing than trying to quilt something on a machine that I'm not even familiar with. In fact, Jamie said, "Don't think of it as drawing. Think of it as quilting on paper."

    While this sort of quilting is very elegant, it also requires more marking than I would want to bother with. However, I know that I will be able to take the principles I learned here and apply it to my own work.

    But ... I didn't quite get to finish the class. About 3 hours in, someone came in and said that there was a fire, and we all had to vacate the classes. There were a bunch of police cars and fire trucks parked outside and they locked the area down so nobody could go back in. What it did mean was that I had extra time at the vendor mall and my wallet suffered greatly for it.

    Happily, they took care of the fire situation eventually and my afternoon class called Black, White, and Zentangled didn't get cancelled. When I arrived, the instructor told me it was going to be a private lesson, because apparently I was the only one who signed up! I was surprised they didn't just cancel the class. But I had a great time in the class, and the class projects I worked on are probably the first class projects ever that I'm super proud of and actually want to keep!

    It comes as no surprise to me that I would enjoy Zentangling. After all, it's free-form doodling, and isn't that exactly what I do with free-motion quilting? I'm excited to finish the class project and hang it in my sewing room!

    It's been another great year at International Quilt Festival, and I hope to be back next year!

    Friday, April 6, 2018

    Supernova ~ EPP Madness!

    I've been eyeing Tula Pink's Nova quilt for ages, it feels like. Well, maybe close to a year. But either way, I almost bought it on multiple occasions only to put it back. The quilt is absolutely stunning, but my reason for not wanting to do it? It's a giant English Paper Piecing project and there's way too much fussy cutting.

    But it's just so beautiful and it continued to haunt me. One day, when I saw that a kit was available with Alison Glass fabrics, I decided to splurge for it. Not only is that version just a bit more rare than the more widely available Spirit Animal edition, but there's a lot less fussy cutting with Alison Glass's fabrics since it's mostly blenders.

    I have a love and hate relationship with English paper piecing. On one hand, I enjoy its portability, and it produces such beautiful and intricate looking pieces, but on the other hand, I have a pronounced allergy to hand sewing of any kind. But I've been looking for an EPP project to work on this year, so this is it!

    These are shaping up to be real mini beauties. The big challenge, of course, is to put it all together. I've never worked on EPP of this scale before, not even close. But I'm excited to keep working on this, because it is a real stunner!

    Friday, March 30, 2018

    Cascade

    Cascade by Initial K Studio was one of the first quilts to catch my attention. I first saw it several years ago and it was one of the first modern quilts I saw that attracted me to quilting. Then I forgot about it as quilt after quilt inundated my mind. But several months ago I remembered it and decided it was time!

    I was initially tempted to buy Cascade as a kit because it was hard to see it in any other colors. But then I found this magnificent jelly roll in my stash: Grunge by Moda. When I unwrapped it, I almost thought I had to bag the project. I was hoping to get a gradient across with one strip of each color, but instead I found that the jelly roll came with 20 colors of 2 strips each. But you know how a jelly roll is, once you unwrap it, you can't quite get it back. That motivated me to find a way to use it by arranging the colors in a gradient by intersplicing each color.

    This is probably the simplest quilting I've ever done, with just some straight lines and a few simple linear designs peeking out. I didn't think it really needed more than that.

    I took a shot of the quilt vertically, and I think it looks kind of interesting!

    This simple and modern quilt reminds me of why I got into quilting in the first place. And although I usually like to pile on the drama, sticking with the simple quilting was the right choice in this case. I'm glad I finally made this quilt that helped send me on this crazy, wonderful rabbit hole of quilting!

    ***

    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, March 23, 2018

    Skyline ~ A Sampler Quilt in Progress

    I grew up in Shanghai, (now) the most populous city in the world, so I've always been a city girl at heart. Even though I live in the suburbs right now, my heart always beats a little faster whenever I see pictures of a skyline. It's been on my mind to make a skyline quilt, but I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do until I saw pictures of the Art Gallery Fabrics booth at QuiltCon 2017. AGF built a cardboard backdrop inspired by the Miami skyline, and when I saw it, I knew then that I wanted to do something like that in quilt form.

    I wanted to make my quilt in the style of a sampler quilt, with each building being built with different types of blocks. I'm not into anything too complicated, so all of the buildings are made of basic blocks.

    First I designed a rough version in EQ7:

    Using EQ7 helps me visualize proportions and also play with color a bit, so that I have a general idea of how my color scheme will work out.

    Well, I think my finished buildings look pretty close to the version I envisioned:

    I can tell already that this quilt will be a blast to quilt!

    Wednesday, March 14, 2018

    Modern Plus Sign Quilts Blog Hop: Postage Plus

    Today is day 4 of the Modern Plus Sign blog hop, and I'm super excited to show off the Postage Plus quilt from Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander's fabulous new book, Modern Plus Sign Quilts!

    Image credit: C & T Publishing

    How much do I love this book? A lot. I even bought my own physical copy, because I just love to sit on my favorite chair and flip through the beautiful book, enjoying the writing and styling, and dreaming of the quilts I'll make in the future. The Plus Sign is a very traditional block, but it has been interpreted in a completely new way in this book. There are so many different variations, as well as different techniques, that there is really something for everyone!

    When I was deciding which quilt to make for the hop, I was immediately attracted to Postage Plus for one simple reason: I had envisioned the perfect color palette. I knew I wanted something that was dark hot pink and hot pink offset against a white / gray scrappy center, so that's exactly what I ended up doing.

    I used cerise and berry for the background, which are such great colors. For the center plus sign, I pulled together some white and gray fabrics from my stash.

    One reason I was so excited to use the berry and cerise color is because I wanted to use hot pink thread to quilt this. I created a wavy design that flows behind the plus.

    I've been needing a hot pink quilt in my house, and now I have one! It was so much fun and so easy to make.

    Modern Plus Sign has many other fabulous quilts, and they'll all be featured throughout the blog hop. You can get an autographed copy from Cheryl, Paige, or you can get a non autographed copy from Amazon.

    Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the other stops on today's blog hop:

    Linda @ Flourishing Palms
    Bernie @ Needle & Foot
    Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
    Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
    Stacey @ Stacey in Stitches
    Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog

    Here is the full schedule. There are lots of beautiful quilts (and non-quilts) so be sure to follow along, see them all, and win some prizes! I am always amazed to see people come up with their own variations of the quilts, so this blog hop has been a blast to follow along!

    ***

    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, March 9, 2018

    Urban Cabin

    It doesn't look like I'm going to be sick of making log cabin inspired quilts anytime soon, especially not with beautiful and easy patterns like Brigitte Heitland's Zen Cabin!

    For my fabric choice, I'm using what I considered a very lucky find. Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics is one of those collections that really captured me when I saw it. It certainly wasn't one I had heard of or was anticipating the launch of, and in fact I saw it by chance while looking for something else. But ... I'm so glad I did, because this is probably one of my top 3 favorite collections of 2017!

    I actually started this project the day before National Sew a Jelly Roll Day (9/16) but, of course, it takes me months from piecing to completion. I can't help that I like to have many projects going at once. I actually found this a bit difficult to piece because the jelly roll strips were cut a bit under 2.5" (one of the major pitfalls of precuts!) and I didn't necessarily compensate well. It resulted in a not-quite-flat quilt but luckily, that problem pretty much quilted out!

    Between the graffiti inspired prints and the dark gray background, the quilt really has a harder edge to it. And what could soften that more than a wild wraparound feather? I've never done feathers quite like this before, but it's easily my favorite part of the quilt. To add further interest, I used the jagged tiles design to fill in the rest of the space. These are some of my favorite designs because there's zero marking and they look a lot harder than they actually are.

    In the foreground space, I used a variety of linear designs. Some of the fabric is pretty busy and it doesn't show the quilting at all, so it doesn't really matter what I do as long as it's filled in. I think there's about 5 or 6 linear designs that I like to use so they pretty much show up everywhere.

    Since I used a solid back, the quilting shows up well there! And phew, my tension was alright.

    I really love this quilt, because it is just so me in every single way!

    ***

    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, March 2, 2018

    Tangerine Dreams ~ Ready to Quilt

    When I caught my first glance of Kona's color of the year, Tiger Lily, I was ecstatic. Orange is unquestionably one of my absolute favorite colors, and the reddish-orange of Tiger Lily hits all the right notes with me.

    I knew I was long overdue for an orange and gray quilt! I rarely make quilts in all solids, but it seemed like a good idea for this quilt. While hunting for patterns, I realized I wanted to make another quilt from my Haphazard pattern.

    After a lot of clicks and iterations, I finally decided on a layout that spoke to me the most.

    The quilt top got completed pretty quickly since it was all half-square triangles, which is one block I can say I mastered. (It's because I can trim it to size ...)

    In all honesty, because it's all solids, this quilt top really lacks life at this moment. But that's what the quilting is going to do ... give it life! The last time I quilted this quilt, I was happy with my quilting decision, but I'll probably do something a little different this time. Probably.

    Monday, February 26, 2018

    QuiltCon 2018

    I got back from QuiltCon last night, and I was greeted by 2 sick kids and a husband who is exhausted taking care of them. I wasn't feeling too hot myself so all I wanted to do was to lie down and go to sleep. I used to love flying when I was younger, but then I grew up. How I wish teleportation was available!

    QuiltCon was as wonderful as I imagined, but it was much more exhausting than I was expecting. I was warned against scheduling too heavily, but I didn't listen. When registration day opened, I saw that everything I wanted was open so I went wild. I ended up doing 7 classes in 3 days, and it was ... well, let's just say I've learned my lesson!

    Normally when I go to a show, I take pictures of my favorite quilts and post them. But for QuiltCon, it's hard to choose because there are so many favorite quilts! In fact, I daresay I love about 95% of the quilts in the show. Instead, I'll talk about my classes and show off all the goodies I got!

    Quilt Photography Basics with Kitty Wilkin & Michelle Bartholomew

    I think my photos have improved a lot since the day I started blogging. That being said, I still struggle with them. I learned a lot in this class. The class had a practical session where we actually took photographs, and I think I took some of the best product photos I've ever shot in my life here:

    I learned some low-cost tricks for high impact photography, and while they're not all applicable to me, I do hope that my photos will continue to improve.

    Radiating Designs Skill Builder with Pamela Wiley

    This class was a longarm class, so it consisted of some lecture time and lots of practice time. I learned some interesting ways to look at shaping and perspective, and developed a new appreciation for straight line designs on quilts. While I don't think quilting at the density of Pamela is my style (plus I don't have a computerized machine) I can definitely take some inspiration from this class for my own quilting. Here is my quilting sample:

    Shape by Shape 2 with Angela Walters

    This is the first of my three classes with Angela. As soon as I walked in the room I gushed to Angela how much I adore her. She was very sweet, and this class was every bit as entertaining as I expected. This was a drawing class so we doodled a lot of designs on paper. Most of the designs that she taught is in her book and I've already read the book, but there's nothing like being in the room with her, enjoying her humor, her energy, and actually seeing the quilted samples live. Talk about wow factors! It's easy to see why she's a superstar. Plus, being able to ask her questions is invaluable.

    Your Own Two Feet: FMQ + Straight Lines with Christina Cameli

    I signed up for this class before Christina's Craftsy class on the same subject came out. It covered a lot of the same materials, but I was still happy to learn from Christina. Although it was a sit-down machine class, a lot of the designs I can see being quilted on a longarm as well. One in particular I'm already planning to use on a future quilt, and I think it's brilliant.

    To be honest, I haven't quilted on a domestic machine for a long, long time. But I thought it'd be okay. It's like riding a bike, right? Well, it wasn't! I had forgotten just how challenging it was to manage even a little bit of bulk and drag, and how challenging it is to get consistent stitch length and achieve good tension on a sit-down. But even though my quilting is ugly (and I won't be showing it here) it was still a great class!

    Small Changes, Big Variety with Angela Walters

    The second of my classes with Angela is another drawing class, and this time we went over the designs she had in her Craftsy class of the same name. However, I have no regrets about purchasing this class. There's something about seeing it live that makes it click in new ways, and I for one finally figured out one of her fancier ribbon candy designs after seeing her draw it live. Plus ... I seriously get inspiration just being in the same room as her!

    Tackling Curves With the Happy As A Clam Project with Latifah Saafir

    If I felt pretty good about myself after a quilting class, I just needed to try to sew a curve to feel completely humbled again. Not long ago I sort of figured out the Drunkard's Path (and I needed to do a lot of trimming down!) but clamshells are a different thing altogether. At least I brought fabric I didn't much like, because my curves were terrible. When I was at the trimming station, I looked to my left ... and to my right ... and my neighbors' curves were fine. Things lined up at the right spot. Mine was very, very off and as it turns out, I didn't need to learn how to piece a curve ... I needed to learn how to press them!

    I will say this though, that this was way too short of a class to cover all the materials. I think it needed to be at least twice as long! I did leave the class intrigued about clamshells and admiring the beautiful patterns Latifah designed, but I still don't feel very confident about curves.

    Swirling Beyond Feathers with Angela Walters

    At last, we've come to the class I've looked forward to the most at QuiltCon. How fitting that it is the last class to close the show for me! This was an actual stand-up longarm class where we watch Angela draw, and then try to quilt it on the machine. I got used to the HQ Amara after awhile, but I still think that my APQS Lenni is a fabulously smooth machine. I was actually decently happy with my class sample, so here it is:

    I learned a lot in this class, including how to do scrolls, do proper swirl chains, and of course, paisley feathers. I think I can manage them now, maybe!

    ***

    There's no question that one of the major attractions of a show like QuiltCon for me is the vendor hall. Sure, QuiltCon isn't a huge show and it was fairly fast to walk the vendor booths, but this is an instance where almost all of the booths appeal to me. There are a lot of vendors here that don't go to any of the more traditional shows I normally go to, so meeting them and seeing their products in person is a great attraction. My favorite booths were probably ME + YOU for Indah Batik and beyond the reef.

    And of course, I shopped. A lot. I actually considered buying more, but I'm glad I didn't, because when I packed up my suitcase on Saturday night, I found that I had to do some creative maneuvering just to be able to fit the stuff I did buy. It was really, really full!

    I know that I could have bought a lot of this stuff online. However, seeing the products live make me feel giddy. I kind of feel like I'm drunk on convention fumes, and that I would buy things that I normally might think about more. Since this is my first QuiltCon, I decided not to hold back, but carrying that stuff home at the end of a day? I wish I had booked a hotel closer to the convention center.

    Of course, QuiltCon isn't complete without some meet-ups and selfies!

    From top left, going clockwise: Cheryl Brickey, Natalie Barnes, Angela Walters, Sherry Shish, and Christina Cameli.

    I plan to go to QuiltCon Nashville next year, but I'll definitely take it easier. Well, that's what I say now. Who knows what I might do when the class list comes out!

    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!

    ***

    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.

    ***

    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!

    ***

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

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