Thursday, September 24, 2020

Pick-Up Sticks

Pick-Up Sticks is such a fun and unusual quilt for me. The original pattern is called On the Ball by Brigitte Heitland (of Zen Chic). I really liked the pattern, but it was made with the splice and insert technique which will be incredibly difficult on this scale. So instead, I made it with the applique technique. Details on how I made this top is here.

When it comes to quilting it, I decided to keep this one simple in concept. I extended each "stick" into the background space, and I love the way it divides up the background.

I filled all the areas in between with my favorite filler: elongated elegant swirls.

I filled the center areas with pebbles, and left all the sticks unquilted so they would rise to the top of the quilt.

This quilt was easy even if it was time consuming. I absolutely love it, but I also cannot use this as a lap quilt because between the applique and the pounds of thread I added on, it's just too heavy! But I think it'd make a fabulous wall hanging ...

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Solstice ~ Ready to Quilt

Late last year after I finished the Stargazer Block-of-the-Month run by Rebecca Bryan, I said I wasn't going to do another one. Stargazer was a lot of work, and I was still feeling tired from it.

A few months later, when Rebecca revealed the 2020 Block-of-the-Month, Solstice, I decided that yes, I was going to do another one. Rebecca's quilts are never easy, but they're super interesting and unique. I certainly don't have another quilt like Solstice in my collection.

After 8 months of block making, I finally got ready to assemble Solstice.

Solstice wasn't too difficult to put together as it consists mostly of 60 degree triangles assembled in rows. There are no bias edges on the outside which is good news for me. However, some of the seams are very, very thick and I found that the most challenging part. The end result definitely has a wow factor! I would never have thought to use these colors, but they work so beautifully together.

Solstice is the first block-of-the-month I finished this year, and I couldn't be more pleased with it. One down, 3 more to go!

Thursday, September 10, 2020


I was in the mood for a quick and easy finish this week so I pulled out a quilt top I finished quite awhile ago. The original pattern is Mod Ovals by Malka Dubrawsky, but I made my blocks bigger. The fabrics used in this quilt are all from Libs Elliott's Tattooed North line, a sparkly line of neutrals with some golds mixed in. I simply love Libs Elliott's fabrics, and I consider her the rock star of the quilting world.

Even though I meant for this quilt to be quick and easy, I still wanted to put some effort into the quilting to make it special.

I quilted each block with a mixture of straight lines, ribbon candies, and dot-to-dot designs. I love how the secondary designs show up in these types of quilts.

There are 3 special blocks in this quilt where the fabric is gold instead of the neutral, so I decided to quilt them a little differently.

I named this quilt Velodrome because the individual blocks really remind me of cycling velodromes. I'm super happy with the fabrics and the graphic and urban look of this quilt, and it looks so different from Malka's original quilt that I marvel at just how much a quilt can change its vibe just by using different fabrics.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

X & +

There's no question that Brigitte Heitland from Zen Chic is my favorite fabric designer. I have loved most of her collections, to the point of collecting them obsessively, but I was a little disappointed when Day in Paris first came out. But when I actually saw it in person, it began to grow on me, and when I saw X & + made with Day in Paris, I fell madly in love with it.

I really enjoyed working on this quilt because of the gorgeous fabrics, and I knew the quilting just had two jobs: play up the huge borders and show off the fabrics on the blocks.

This quilt was rather easy to design quilting for as I didn't have a story in mind (unlike Rainbow Road), so I just wanted to play up the design of the quilt. I created some channels in the borders that extend the block design, and filled them with a combination of swirls and more linear designs.

I quilted each block with a few different designs, including serpentine lines, ribbon candies, straight line echoes, and dot-to-dot designs.

This quilt is pretty big at 83" x 83", and I had such a great time working on it. The colors are perfect and I'm really happy with how the quilting turned out. I hadn't quilted a swirl or ribbon candy in several months, and I missed it!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Quilting Tutorial: Steampunk Gears

When I quilted Rainbow Road, I had the idea of a Matrix-style steampunk city, so I tried to do a steampunk design of gears and teeth. I wasn't sure how it'd turn out, but I really liked the result. I've received requests for a tutorial on how to quilt this, so I'm trying my hand at a how-to guide.

I suggest practicing drawing this before trying it on a quilting machine. This design is actually just a variation on swirls, so it'd be helpful if you already knew how to quilt swirls. That being said, let's get started.

First, this design does need to be boxed into a space. Then, from a corner, we start with a traditional swirl. Swirl to the center and come back out. It's very important to close the swirl with another echo outside of it.
Now, we add some teeth.
After we make some teeth, we close it with another echo, this time the echo should touch the edge of the teeth.
After this comes the most important echo. After this you can quilt as many echoes on top of it as you wish, but there must be at least one extra besides the one that touches the teeth or the effect will be lost.
From that point on, quilt more gears. Once in awhile, I like to throw in one with a different shape, a square shaped gear teeth. It's harder to quilt than the triangle teeth for me, so I throw it in only once in awhile for a change of pace.
And so on and so forth.
I really like how this design looks on certain types of quilts, and I hope this tutorial was helpful!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Season of Gifts

At first, I just wanted to take a little break from blogging. Just a few weeks. But then, once I got off the schedule, it became easier and easier to just let it keep slipping. And before I knew it ... a few months slipped by. I've been spending less time quilting in the past few months and more time on other endeavors, but I managed to finish a few gift quilts finally.

The first one is a quilt and pillow set for my daughter. She is going through a massive unicorn phase, so I knew she'd love this panel set by Sarah Watts from her Crescent collection. It was a rather large quilt so it took awhile, but I did a simple allover paisley design.

Next up is another large panel I quilted for my mother. When she requested a quilt, she wanted two things: black / white and no piecing. I found a gorgeous Aztec inspired panel on Honest Fabric which was then printed on demand, and I quilted this with straight lines. I won't lie ... this was a really hard quilt because without piecing and seam lines to follow, it is really hard to keep the lines straight across the quilt. Overall I still think it looks nice and I sure hope my mom likes it!

After that is another challenging quilt, but challenging for a completely different reason. My mother-in-law had given me a very old quilt that her mother had pieced years ago, and it was by far one of the most challenging tops I'd ever wrestled with. The whole thing was wavy, puckery, and the fabrics were stretched badly in areas. I almost gave up on it and wanted to send it to someone else to finish it, but in the end powered through. I used a loopy design that was at least very quick to do, though I could not avoid quilting a lot of tucks into it. I probably should have sent it to someone else who had a better idea of how to handle tops like these, but I knew it'd mean more if I finished it myself. At the end of the day, I can only hope she's happy with it.

Finally, piggybacked onto the vintage quilt, I finished a table runner for my sister-in-law as a housewarming present. Never mind that she moved into that house several years ago! She picked the fabric and the pattern, and I really enjoyed making this modern and beautiful table runner. The pattern is called Calamity Crosses by Jenifer Dick. I quilted this with straight lines only in an improv kind of way, and I really like how it turned out.

With these gift quilts off my plate and off my mind, I will now have to decide which of my own quilt tops to quilt next. It's not an easy decision because I have ... 93 of them. (There, I said it!)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Rainbow Road

Rainbow Road, pattern (originally called Prism) and fabric by Alison Glass, is actually a very old quilt top lying in my stash. I've wanted to quilt it for a long time, but I kept putting it off because it is the scariest type of quilt to deal with: the negative space quilt. Negative space quilts offer infinite potential, and also infinite chances to not reach that potential.

As far back as a few years ago, I already had a story and a plan for this quilt. I imagined a futuristic steampunk city with a lot of paths criss-crossing in the air, and at the top of it all was a rainbow road, a (somewhat unreachable) holy grail for the citizens of the city.

To give the quilt a feeling of depth, I quilted a lot of roads that criss-cross in the air, representing a top-down view of the city.

Since the theme is inspired by steampunk, on the background areas between the paths I quilted a lot of gear type motifs. Whether or not it actually invoked a feeling of steampunk, I cannot say, but I love the look!

The rainbow road itself is quilted with a dot-to-dot design that I sort of made up as I went along. I really like how it allows the beautiful rainbow fabrics to pop up.

Rainbow Road isn't my first paths-in-the-air quilt, as I previously quilted Skyways with a similar idea. But Skyways represents a happy futuristic city set in the clouds with flowers and greenery beneath, while Rainbow Road is definitely grittier.

I love the front of this quilt, but I might love the back even more. This is truly a double-sided quilt, and you can really see the details on the back.

I'm so very happy with this quilt because of the story and how it came out pretty much as I envisioned it. It was almost 3 years in the planning, but the end result is so very special to me!


Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

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