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!

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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Paper Chain ~ Final Assembly

I've finally completed my last block-of-the-month of the year! Paper Chain is a paper-pieced block-of-the-month designed by Freshly Pieced. Out of the 4 block-of-the-months I've done this year, this one is perhaps the most traditional: 12 blocks, one block a month.

For me, fabric selection is always going to be the most challenging part of a quilt. This is why I like kits so much, but I decided not to do a kit for Paper Chain and instead curate my own fabric. I decided to use Breeze by Zen Chic.

Paper piecing requires a lot more prep work than other types of quilting, and I admit I really ran out of steam for this quilt about halfway through the year. But then I got some energy back and finished the last few months all in one fell swoop. I definitely got more and more excited as I approached the end!

I wasn't sure how I wanted to lay it out, so I browsed through a few books until I found one that seemed perfect: a modern traditional layout by Amy Gibson from her book The Quilt Block Cookbook. It had sashings and cornerstones like a traditional sampler, but also was off-center and had negative space like a modern quilt. I changed the math a bit because her layout is for a 16-block sampler and I only had 12 blocks, but the general idea is the same.

I feel like when I choose my own color palette, I'm basically holding my breath until it all comes together, because only then do I know whether the fabrics worked or not. In this case, I held my breath for a whole year. At the end though, I'd have to say ... I love it! The colorway evokes feelings of Japan and cherry blossoms, and this quilt feels much more special to me as a result.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Ghost Blossoms

It's been an absolutely crazy year, hasn't it? I knew that this quilt would be my last finish of the year, and I thought ... what should I pick? I have a wide variety of choices, from more muted palettes to explosions of rainbows. But I think a bright rainbow is what hits the spot for this time of the year.

Ghost Blossoms is designed by Tula Pink from the book Quilt with Tula and Angela, and for the fabrics I chose 16 prints from my Alison Glass stash. They don't all belong to the same line so there's a level of scrappiness, but it's still all Alison Glass so the color has a coherence. I don't know what is it about Alison Glass rainbows, but they have such a glow to them!

I don't like to obscure prints with a lot of heavy quilting, so I quilted dot-to-dot geometric designs in the blossoms.

The white background, however, is calling for a lot of elegant swirls!

But I didn't want to do that for every space, so every other row, I quilted a slightly different design in the background ghost blossom.

I think this quilt top is quite old. I'm not even sure when I made it, but it was at least 3 years ago. I'm sure glad I pulled it out for the final finish of the year. I'm totally in love with this quilt, and this is a great quilt to close out this insane year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Stargazer

Stargazer, designed by Rebecca Bryan, is a block-of-the-month I did last year. It was a big challenge, and after I was done with it, I felt so physically and mentally exhausted that I didn't want to look at it for quite awhile. So I put it away for a whole year ... but I finally decided it's time to quilt this.

Although I usually choose to quilt my quilts to death, I decided to try something different here for a change. I wanted to emphasize the beautiful geometric nature of this quilt, so I did a lot of dot-to-dot geometric quilting. This is the most sparse quilting I've ever done, and honestly it's kind of scary.

However, I didn't want the whole quilt to be composed of straight lines, so I slipped some swirls and continuous curves into what I consider the focal point of the quilt: the center.

I also reflected these designs on the directional points of the quilt.

The color palette of this quilt is so striking with the purples and teals. It was what initially drew me to this pattern, but it presented a dilemma during quilting. If I quilted this very densely, I would likely have to keep changing threads, and I really didn't want to do that. But by quilting sparsely, I managed to get away with just using one color: purple.

Quilting this quilt was nowhere near as challenging as piecing it, but the super bumpy corners did present a little bit of hardship. Miraculously, I didn't break a needle, and I now feel a bit more confident about thick seams in general ... because if my machine can handle this quilt, it can probably handle anything I throw at it!

When the quilt top was first completed, I remembered thinking it was beautiful but lacked a little bit of soul. Solid quilts tend to have that problem for me. But now, I'm really, really happy with it, and I think it has soul now.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Handiwork ~ Build-A-Quilt #2

Handiwork is the 2nd colorway from the Build-A-Quilt program by Angela Walters, and unlike Urban Grid which felt a bit like a risk, I knew I loved this color palette the minute I saw it.

I mean, it's Alison Glass, how could I not love it? What did scare me a bit more than Urban Grid is that I chose a layout I've never tried before: a braid quilt.

This was definitely more challenging than the flying geese layout of Urban Grid, but I'm glad I chose it because it is definitely an interesting and beautiful design!

I was quite apprehensive about this layout, and it was definitely not easy, but I'm very pleased with the way it turned out! Unfortunately I couldn't get a full picture as it's so huge, but I can't wait to quilt this!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Urban Grid ~ Build-A-Quilt #1

Late last year I decided to join the Build-A-Quilt program by Angela Walters. I had trouble deciding between 2 colorways, so I decided to just do both of them. The first one I've completed is Urban Grid.

What drew me to Urban Grid immediately is the really funky fabric. This is not a palette I would usually pick for myself, but something about it was intriguing to me, so I decided to give it a shot.

I enjoyed receiving fabric in the mail every month and making the blocks a lot. I followed the pattern except for one curved block that I substituted.

The best thing about this Build-A-Quilt is that the layout is so interesting! I really enjoyed the look of all those giant flying geese framing the blocks.

At first I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this quilt, and to be honest I'm still slightly on the fence, but one thing's for sure ... the more I look at it, the more it's growing on me.
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