Friday, September 23, 2016

Rainbow Petals Quilt

Corey Yoder's Playful Petals is one of my favorite quilting pattern books. Corey loves the orange peel applique ... and so do I. The Rainbow Petals quilt has been on my to-quilt list for a long time, and I'm finally starting it.

I recently acquired an AccuQuilt Go! cutter and the first cutting die I bought was the orange peel die. So far I really enjoy my AccuQuilt (although it's SO heavy), and it takes some self-control not to go and buy every die that looks good. For the orange peel though, it's a great time saver, and I was able to both fuse and cut 150 orange peels needed for my quilt ridiculously quickly. Needless to say there are a lot of orange peel quilts in my future!

This is my first time using fusible applique on such a large scale, and I really enjoy it. There's something very kindergarten arts & crafts about glueing shapes, which is quite liberating. I'm using a heavy-duty Pellon Wonder Under for the fusible web, and so far it's been working beautifully. It's extremely fast to fuse, and although I find it a teensy bit stiff, I do not mind stiffness at all.

I'm using 2 packs of fat quarters, one mostly solid and one chevron striped, and they're both rainbow themed. Hopefully it'll look as great as I'm hoping.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quilt Stack

I love pictures of a stack of quilts in books and magazines. Something about seeing them so neat and folded up with hints of the prettiness on display makes my heart flutter. Unfortunately they do not stay that way, at least not in my house. I've always wanted a stack of my own, and finally produced enough to take a photograph before they are a mess again!

I'm visiting the in-laws this weekend, something I always enjoy greatly but it does mean I'll be missing quilting. On the bright side, my knitting needles will be able to get some love.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Building Blocks Sampler Quilt

I recently finished the Building Blocks Sampler quilt which was a quilt block-by-block, then assemble together with finishing strips method of Q-A-Y-G (quilt-as-you-go) quilting. Long before I was comfortable quilting larger quilts, I had been attracted to the quilt-as-you-go method because the idea of quilting small blocks at a time was less intimidating, yet somehow I never actually did any quilt-as-you-go projects until *after* I had quilted larger sized projects. But now I can compare whether I prefer this method over the traditional method. Well, I definitely prefer the traditional method!

First of all, it's really not any faster for me. The time I save from not dealing with drag is quickly offset by the extra time it takes to cut, prepare backing, baste, and quilt each block individually. Preparing the finishing strips is more work and more painful than preparing sashing, and assembling the blocks is also much more annoying than attaching sashing or nesting seams is. All the extra structure of the finishing strips makes this quilt far stiffer than anything I've made before, which might not be a bad thing if this was a wallhanging ... but it's not.

However, I'm glad I gave this method a try, and now can tuck it in my arsenal for potential quilting methods when appropriate.

Since this is a sampler quilt, I had a lot of fun quilting different designs for each block and practicing a number of things including geometric allovers, feathers, swirls, pebbles, paisleys, and lots of other fillers. It's really hard to photograph them though because I did this in black and batiks.

I used a layer cake for the back so the back of the quilt is actually pretty too, at least from a distance.

For the most part I enjoyed the black with batiks look, but it is a little bit severe given how much negative space there is in this quilt. I'll have to give that some thought the next time I choose my colors.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sewing Machine Cover

I've been wanting to make a custom sewing machine cover for some time, previously because the plastic white cover for my machine is so stark and ugly, and now because my machine sits flush with a sewing table and the plastic cover wouldn't fit.

I used a simple gray fat quarter for the background and then made 2 strips out of scrap fabric to run down the sides. This left me with a ton of negative space to quilt, which I love to do.

I quilted it with my 3 favorite designs that I'm still working on perfecting: pebbles, swirls, and paisleys. Of the 3, my swirls are probably the worst, but all in all it looks pretty good when it's not under the ultra-bright, flaw exposing LED light of the machine. I did one half of it with swirls and one half with paisleys so that I can turn it around for a different look, as only half of it is visible at a time.

This was a very easy project that didn't take more than a few afternoons, and it was great practice for quilting negative space. Plus, I now have something to ostensibly keep some dust out. (Maybe)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Quilt Expo 2016

I went to a surprise quilt show today, considering that I only found out about it yesterday. I accidentally stumbled upon the fact that Quilt Expo was happening this weekend across the state border in Madison, Wisconsin. After seeing the long vendor list, I found out it was a really big show, and I whisked my mom and drove there today.

There were a lot of stunning quilts on display as usual. Here are some of my favorites. Disclaimer: these photos are for personal memories, not for reproduction of these works of art.

Left: Effevescent - pieced & quilted by Marcia Shipman
Right: Backgammon - pieced by Lorraine Stenoish, quilted by Mary Klein

Left: Dashes & Dots - pieced by Margaret West, quilted by Norma Rheim
Right: Chicago - pieced & quilted by Karla Nitz

Left: Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden - pieced by Lois Solverud, quilted by Julayne Jelle
Right: Sunburst - pieced by Claudia Mielke, quilted by Dianne Thompson

Left: Links in 50 Shades of Gray - pieced & quilted by Jo Jacobi
Right: Rainbow Play - pieced & quilted by Brenda S. Roach

Left: Seven Women on My Mind - pieced & quilted by Patricia Geishirt
Right: Pinwheels - pieced by Linda Anderson, quilted by Marilyn Nikolaus

In addition to the beautiful quilts on display, the real draw of such a convention is always the market. I usually like to buy everything online, but during conventions I get to see lots of great new tools being demo'ed, and even try them out for myself. I played with stand-up longarms, and discovered that I have a much easier time doing boxes and straight lines than circles and swirls on there. (I have the opposite issue on my sit-down longarm. My circles look a lot better than my squares.) I get to flip through the fat quarter packs, charm packs, layer cakes, and enjoy the thrill of the hunt. I always leave shows like this with a ton of merchandise, and this one is no exception.

I'm not sure if I can go back next year as it was a bit of a drive, but I'm glad I found out about this show while it was happening and got to go this year.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Irish Chainish Quilt

Everybody loves a good scrappy quilt, and I seem to be no exception. The colors, the wildness, the surprising coherence! I'm pretty amazed at the way that all these different colors and prints, which were seemingly picked at random, all come together to make something beautiful. There's something quite magical about that. I call this the Irish Chainish Quilt because while it bears some resemblance to an Irish Chain, and indeed that is the original inspiration, it's also somewhat of a variation. The chains are a bit of an optic illusion. I got the idea from Kelly's Kwilts.

I did custom quilting for this, and used a combination of swirls, pebbles, feathers, and flowers. Pebbles are still my favorite and I'm the most proficient at them, but I'm really happy with the flowers too. I'm not as satisfied with my swirls and feathers, so more practice is needed on those. The different designs mean it's always interesting to quilt. For the binding, I used precut jelly roll strips again.

This is the biggest quilt I've done so far free-motion wise, and the main challenge was the amount of drag I had to deal with. Up close, I can see a lot of issues, though when I step back, it all turns really beautiful. This is officially my favorite quilt (for now), but I'll probably say that about every quilt I finish.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Building Blocks Quilt Workshop

Several months ago when I first started thinking about learning free-motion quilting, I came across Leah Day's Building Blocks Quilt Workshop, which I thought was a good idea for learning so I purchased it. I didn't get a chance to work on this quilt until now, but finally, I've started it. Piecing aside, the quilting should be a very relaxing project since this is block-by-block and I don't have to worry about drag. I'm going to take this opportunity to practice the different free-motion motifs I've learned in the past few months.

I'm using a pack of batik fat quarters with black Kona cotton, and the backing for each sandwich is simply a layer cake. Since my HQ Sweet 16 is otherwise engaged at the moment, I'm just making the sandwiches and stacking them up, waiting to be quilted. They actually look quite adorable, and I'm excited to quilt these one-by-one.

This is my first quilt block-by-block project, and depending on how easy or annoying assembly is, it will determine whether I will employ this method in the future.

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