Friday, July 28, 2017

Gone Bowling

The idea for this project came about one day when I thought about making a circle quilt with scraps. I wanted the circles on a lot of negative space, but didn't want to go with a traditional grid pattern. Then suddenly, the image of a top-down view of a bowling lane came to mind, and that became the inspiration for this quilt. I got out my sketchbook and did some rough planning.

There are two things I wanted to really play with in this quilt: striped circles for the bowling balls and free-motion quilting the "lane" space. For the circles, I used some leftover charm squares, and it's a combination of Northcott Urban Elementz and Moda Thicket.

For quilting the negative space, I sort of simulated the look of a bowling lane by quilting lane spaces, and in the spaces I filled each one with a different level 2 filler. I call them level 2 fillers because they're a lot more time-consuming and involved than my normal go-to fillers. But since the quilt is not big and it's a wallhanging, I quilted it to death and then added some more quilting.

In the "bowling pin" section, I quilted a different design into each circle. Some are more successful than others! I filled the areas around it with dense pebbles. That took a long time but is fairly mindless and relaxing to do.

In the lane space, I let it fly! This would have taken forever to do if it wasn't so small (42" x 26"). My favorite section in here is definitely the pebbled leaves.

This little quilt was great fun to do, and it functions as a quilting sampler. Eventually, it'll be hung in my quilting studio ... when I get around to finishing the space, that is!


Link parties joined: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, July 21, 2017

This Way Up

This Way Up is the first foundation paper pieced quilt I've finished this year, and I'm really happy with it. The original pattern is called Woodcut, but I named my quilt This Way Up because all I can see are arrows pointing up!

I almost considered leaving the colored spaces unquilted to make them pop, but that's really not my style. So instead, I opted for some simple geometric lines with echoes. In all the little nooks and crannies around the colored spaces, I didn't have a lot of room, so I did what works best for small tight areas ... pebbles! It really mashed the area down, and helped to enhance the colored arrows with the contrast in quilting density.

My favorite part of every quilt to quilt is almost always the negative space. In this quilt, there really wasn't a lot of it. I did some stacking swirls that looked like they were growing out of the pebbles, and added some straight lines in the border area for some contrast.

I still occasionally overthink my quilting design, but in general it's been getting much easier for me to land a concept and go with it, because I realize it just has to look good, it doesn't have to be the most-amazing-design-ever. And finished is better than perfect, anyway!


Linking up with: Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Northern Lights

I first saw a sample of Northern Lights, a pattern by Julie Herman, in a quilt shop in Alaska. I immediately was intrigued by the pretty solid colors in a gradient, and I loved the quilting on the store sample. It was a lot of dense fillers in matching colors that complemented the quilt perfectly and added a delicious texture.

I didn't buy the kit then, because my suitcase was already full, and I wasn't sure I would be able to piece it. But I thought of it constantly. Earlier this year I finally bought it as a late Christmas gift to myself. As a bonus, I finally had the excuse to invest in a Hex 'n More ruler! I just love collecting rulers.

I decided to make my quilt exactly like the sample, in the same arrangement of colors. Although this quilt is doable without the Hex 'n More ruler, I do have to say it makes cutting the trapezoids a lot more quick and fun! I was worried I wouldn't be able to piece this, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I did have to use a pin or two during row assembly, but it came together very quickly and almost all of my points almost match. Close enough is good enough!

Quilting this top was an exhilarating experience. As I was quilting this, I became convinced that this quilt top was designed specifically to showcase free-motion quilting. The big expanses of space, all in solids ... there is no place to hide, and everything shows! On some sections, it's great news. On others, well ...

To start with, I filled some sections with paisleys, pebbles, and swirls. I don't think I'll ever get tired of them.

I decided to try a new filler that I've never tried before. Leaves! I know leaves are pretty much just a pointed paisley, but I find it quite a bit more challenging to execute compared to the paisley. However, it has such a great look so I was determined to learn them.

I wanted to add some straight lines just to break it up a bit. But one block in, I realized I was already bored. So to break it up even further, I added some wavy lines to contrast with it.

I'm so happy I conquered this! Quilting this quilt was amazingly fun (isn't it always, though?) and it's such a joy to watch the quilt come to life. All in all, I'm thrilled with the way this turned out.

I really like the back of the quilt too ... I didn't realize until awhile after the quilt was finished that the back shared some of the colors as the front and has a Northern Lights kind of feel! Now that's what I call a happy coincidence.


Link parties I joined: Crazy Mom Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quits.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Liebster Award

Have you heard of the Liebster Award? I hadn't, until Rose of Something Rose Made nominated me. The Liebster award is a blogger to blogger nomination (not limited to quilting) to help blogs get more followers, and I'm honored to get the nomination. Thank you Rose!

I met Rose through the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. It was a fun and exciting group where we shared tips and critiques about how to improve our quilting blogs, and of course, friendships were made in the process. Rose and I have followed each other since then, and she is one of the most encouraging people in my machine quilting journey! You can read her Liebster Award post here.

According to the rules, I'm to include a short commentary of a blog I follow. Well, I follow a lot of blogs, but one of my favorites is Suzy Quilts. I don't remember how I found Suzy Quilts, but once I did, I didn't want to leave. Her blog is a joy to the eye, so clean and aesthetically pleasing, and she's got a beautiful, modern taste that I aspire to. She posts many great and useful tutorials as well as product comparisons. (She even has city guides for quilters, something I used the last time I went to Chicago!) And the cherry on top? I frequently find myself laughing out loud at her writing. She's so hilarious! If you aren't following her already, well, go see what you're missing!

As part of the nomination, Rose has posed some questions for me to answer, so here they are:

Who inspired you to quilt/sew?

Actually ... nobody to start with! I started quilting because I ran out of knitting classes to take on Craftsy, so I decided to pursue a new hobby (so I can take more classes). Before I knew it, quilting caught my eye, and I haven't looked back.

If you could meet one Quilt Personality, who would it be?

Everybody who reads my blog knows how much I adore Angela Walters! She was and remains my #1 inspiration for machine quilting. But I'm signed up for 3 classes with her next year in QuiltCon, so barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll meet her in February!

Your (audio/visual) preference while quilting:

I always prefer to have something going. I either blast alternative rock, or listen to audiobooks, or listen to TV reruns. It helps me through the not-so-fun parts (like preparing a backing) and when I'm on my longarm, having music going makes me more relaxed!

Do you have a favorite snack/munch while quilting?

I don't snack in my quilting area. Too risky. The most I will do is drink some water.

Do you look for quilts while watching a movie?

All. The. Time.

What comes first when you make a quilt:

I usually see something I really want to make, and then look for fabric in my stash (or go shop for some more fabric) to fit it.

What is your favorite quilt?

I have made quite a few quilts now and I love them all, so I really can't pick a favorite. My more recent finishes are certainly better executed than what I did a year ago, but that doesn't necessarily mean I love them more.

Hand Quilt or Machine Quilt?

Machine quilt, all the way. If I had to hand quilt, I wouldn't be quilting. I joked to my mother-in-law that I'm allergic to sewing by hand ... but it's true!

Favorite Color?

I have so many favorite colors! I love bright colors and metallics, and don't care much for pastels or earthy colors. My favorite color lately is probably a hot pink.

Favorite Quilting/Crafting Item?

My longarm, of course! I always feel a sense of great happiness when I walk into the quilting room and see her. I even love the way she smells.

Do you work on one project or many?

I usually have about 4-5 I'm working on simultaneously.


Now, my nominees! Actually, make that nominee. I had in mind several people I wanted to nominate, but they've all been nominated already or had too many followers to qualify. But I managed to grab Sherry of Powered by Quilting up before others did! I met Sherry through the 2017 New Quilters Blog Hop, and we bonded over the fact that we both have an engineering background! (She's a current engineer, and I'm a retired engineer.) Sherry's got great tutorials and many beautiful quilts on her blog. Please go visit her!

For Sherry, I'm passing Rose's questions along. I think they're great questions!

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