Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Raven's Camera Quilt - A Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry

It's the Blogger's Quilt Festival week! Each quilter can enter two quilts in the festival and it's so fun browsing through all the entries. There are so many talented quilters. I wanted to be a part of all the excitement.

My favorite finish so far this year is Raven's Camera Quilt. Raven is a professional photographer and my niece. Her mom commissioned this quilt to give her for her birthday.

You can see more pictures and read all about the creation of this quilt here.

Please visit the Blogger's Quilt Festival and be inspired by all the wonderful entries. Amy does a fantastic job every year hosting this event.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Stack and Slash Poinsettias - A Finished Quilt

This little project was a filler between some of the bigger quilts I have been working on. The wedges for the blocks were given to me by my mom, who decided after trying one that these were going to be way too much work to make in a way that would result in a remotely flat block. She was right; accuracy is a must here, and you will see shortly that some of mine are not as flat as they ought to be.

This was a fun little quilt to make. There were twelve blocks in the kit, but I loved featuring the center poinsettia and the three that were left out were kind of boring. I did save one of them to possibly turn into a pot holder.

The fun part was free motion quilting the blocks. I used a light backing fabric on purpose so that the quilting would stand out. Not because the quilting would be great but because it would help me see what it really looks like and show me areas where I needed more practice. The quilt is small, finishing at 27 inches square. That made it super easy to maneuver under the sewing machine. It looks like I took a black ink pin and scribbled all over the backing.

This was my favorite. The secondary design was a nice surprise.

Quilting black thread on black fabric is not easy. Thankfully, none of the awkward scribbling effect is noticeable on the front. I think the loops in the corners look like some sort of electrical connection.

This quilt was washed prior to this photo shoot, so it's a bit crinkly.

Here's a close up of my favorite block. All that circle quilting pushed the extra bulk toward the center. It really puffs up.

You can see it much better at an angle. I should trapunto it so it looks more intentional. There are a couple of other blocks with a little poof but this one was the most extreme.

I had this pretty binding fabric in my stash. It finished off the quilt nicely. The only regret I have is that the cut wedges did not come with a larger piece of the fabric. I would love to know the full design on the original fabric.

I'll be taking this quilt right back to where it came. My mom's. I was thinking it would look nice laying over the back of her sofa. I'm sure she will be able to find a home for it when the holiday season rolls around.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cardinal In The Snow - A Finished Sampler Quilt

What an exciting finish. I had expected this quilt to take me well into August, but I got into a quilting groove this morning, and look what happened!

It all started with a one yard purchase of Charley Harper cardinal print. It sat and sat in my sewing room. I wanted to use it but I could never settle on a project, until the Moda Sampler Shuffle began. I knew right away that fussy cutting those cute birds to work in the sampler blocks would be lots of fun.

When I started this project, I was blogging a lot more, and the pace was just right to provide a regular blog feature, a few finished blocks at a time. All of the other fabric in the blocks is from stash, which was a good way to use up some of my red, white, and black fabrics.

The only downfall in using older stash is that one of the reds is a bleeder. I'm not sure if you can tell in the picture, but the white with red print is starting to look a little pink because the red solid is making its way onto that fabric. I used a blue water soluble pen to mark the curves for the stems of my paisley feathers. When I sprayed the pen marks off, that is when I first knew I had a problem.

I thought about washing it with multiple color catchers and hoping for the best, but instead, I have decided not to wash it at all and hope for the best over time. It is intended as a wall hanging so washing isn't really necessary. That particular fabric is in five or six of the blocks. This is the first time I have ever had a problem with any fabric bleeding like this, so I consider myself fortunate on that count.

Look how the white thread shines on the red backing.

Here it is a little closer. There are plenty of imperfections but overall, I am happy with the texture of the quilting. The entire quilt was done in free motion and some of the straight lines are a bit shaky. It was great practice.

I was determined to use a feather pattern of some kind in the sashing. Most of the patterns I saw were a little too formal until I saw this paisley feather design by Angela Walters. She has some great You Tube videos and I must have watched this one ten times before giving it a try. Originally, the feathers were going to go in the vertical space, too, but once the horizontal rows were quilted, it was going to be too busy to do more of those. The evenly spaced vertical lines provide a good contrast to the feathers. Each of the pieced blocks has minimal quilting.

The shadows fell just right while the quilting was in progress. The design stands out nicely in this picture.

I have been wanting to use a striped binding forever. This quilt will be on display during the winter/holiday season and I like the hint of candy cane it adds to the quilt.

The backyard clothes line has become my go to place for quilt photographs these days. My helpers only get called into action for the bigger projects. This quilt finishes at 48 inches x 57 inches.

I live in the south, where it rarely snows, and I've always loved pictures of cardinals in the snow. Now I have my own version, with or without real snow.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Kite Tails - Believe Circle Finished Quilt

For our May Believe Circle quilt, members sent in strippy neutral blocks with a couple of bright colors thrown in. They have a border on two sides and a half square triangle on the corner. Those triangles remind me of either confetti or kite tails. I love how four blocks form a larger on point block. As with so many of the quilts I make these days, the design is inspired by a Pinterest photo.

Each member of the circle sent two blocks so there were enough to have four blocks as the center of the quilt back. The boring neutral that surrounds the blocks comes from fabric I was given in a box labeled "ugly fabric". And while it isn't the most beautiful, I used lots of bright colored thread in the quilting to cheer it up a bit.

This isn't my best quilting. I have always used a walking foot when quilting a large spiral or circle pattern, and that always became tedious near the end, guiding the quilt round and round and round. I decided to give free motion circles a try. They were great near the center, but as the circles became larger, the control became more difficult. There were lots of jumps when I would stop and start as you can see in the orange. You can also see on the right where I marked "ish" guidelines for my circles.

The free motion circles go to the edge of each block. Then, I set up my walking foot and echo quilted around all the circles until I reached the edge of the quilt. Those stitches are so much better.

The label is fused to the back and held by quilting.

Each set of circles is quilted in a different thread color. The quilts our circle makes are designed to use stash so the design is usually quite scrappy. This time I used thread stash as well, so many bobbins that had only a little thread on them were emptied during the quilting. There is blue, green, orange, red, and gold thread. In some cases, several shades of a color was used. Now, I have plenty of empty bobbins.

The quilt finishes at about 52 inches square. The binding is a dark blue print from the backing scraps of another quilt finish.

I won't free motion such large circles again but it was a worthy experiment.

A few of the pictures were taken before I sprayed the quilt top with water to get rid of all the blue marking lines. They come right off with a quick spray of water.

It's time to put this quilt in the wash and ship it off to My Very Own Blanket. This is the first time this year I have been caught up with all of my deadline sewing. It feels really good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bright Blocks - A Finished Believe Circle Quilt

It seems like I have been spending lots of time catching up, and this quilt is no exception. The blocks for this quilt were made in January 2017 by the Believe Circle members of do. Good Stitches. They were easy, bright, fun blocks, which were a good way for us to start out the year.

Originally, I wanted to graffiti quilt this project from the back, but I chickened out. I will get brave enough to try that eventually. Instead, I quilted each block with its own design, with very few repeats. The center three squares on each block are consistently quilted with pebbles to bring some cohesion to this bright and crazy quilt.

I used thread from my stash to quilt these. Both the top and bottom threads are Sulky Blendables. The top thread was mostly red with some teal mixed in. The bottom thread was mostly blue with a little red mixed in. It felt good to see some thread stash getting used up. I had several favorite designs in the quilting. This sun was one of them.

This funky grid was a good one, too.

These flowers are a favorite to quilt. I used this design twice. The first time was on a busier block and it did not show up as good. I like it on the solid.

With 35 blocks in the quilt, the more I quilted, the more challenging it became to think of unique designs. The yellow block was supposed to look like fans so it was a happy moment when I realized they look a bit like citrus fruit on that bright yellow.

The mustache block was the very last block I quilted. I was out of any original thought so hey, why not quilt mustaches on the mustache fabric. This was a very fun ending to the quilting on this project.

The backing is a watery fabric from my stash. It was just the right size. There was a time that I would intentionally choose busy fabric for backings so that the quilting would not show. I'm glad I don't feel the need to do that anymore and I was wishing I had gone with a solid so all those fun designs would show up on the back, too. The green binding is another stash buster. This quilt finishes at 42 inches x 50 inches.

Usually, I completely forget about adding a label until the quilt is completely finished and I have to hand stitch it on. This time I remembered ahead of time. I fused the label to the quilt back before I layered it for quilting. The quilt stitches should hold it in place. These pictures were taken before washing so we will see how it holds up.

This quilt will be heading to My Very Own Blanket soon, where it will find its way into the hands of a foster child who needs a little extra something to brighten his/her day.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Finished Camera Quilt

Six months in the making, this quilt is finished and on its way to its new home.

Late last year, my sister-in-law asked if I would make a quilt for her daughter, my niece, for her birthday. I had been wanting to make a quilt for my niece for a long time and I knew I could get it finished in a six-month window. The only criteria given to me was that her favorite color is teal. I wrote about the start of this quilt here.

My niece is a professional photographer so it was easy to decide on the camera block. And what a great stash buster, too. As I always do, I started with a very narrow palette of teal and quickly realized that I needed to expand. This was both to add more interest to the quilt and also because there was only so much teal in my stash.

Each block finishes at 10" x 7.5". Without borders the top measures 60"x75". The circles that make the lens of each block are fused on with two-sided fusible interfacing and then stitched around with a tight zig zag stitch.

I knew I wanted borders. This quilt had to have borders because I wanted it to add a special message for my niece. It's really her message. It is how she thinks of each and every customer she deals with in her photography business. The lettering is from QuietPlay's Craftsy pattern Just My Type lowercase pattern.

You are raven. Her first name happens to be Raven. I hope she knows that the message she delivers in her business applies so accurately to her as well.

Deciding on the quilting design is always the most challenging part of a project for me. I thought about doing some sort of camera-centric design on each block, but in the end, decided to go for texture. The blocks really speak for themselves. Rather than free motion stitch wavy lines, I used a decorative scallop stitch on my sewing machine and quilted each line with my walking foot. I started with five or six lines of stitching on a row of blocks, but could see that it really needed more to have a defined texture. Each row of cameras has twelve rows of stitching. This sort of quilting is tough on the shoulders if too much is done in a sitting, so I set myself a goal of completing one row of cameras a day. Even then, I usually did six rows in the morning and six rows at night.

Swirls are quilted in the negative space in the border. I love swirls and it had been a while since I quilted any. Each of the four corners is quilted with one giant swirl.

Small meander quilting was done all around the letters to make them stand out a little more. The binding is a dark teal that is also used in a couple of camera blocks.

Rather than perpetuate the camera theme on the back, I looked for backing fabric that emphasized another of my niece's interests, Renaissance fairs. She loves a good costume and in addition to attending them regularly, she worked at one for several years. I sent her mom several suggestions for backing fabric and she liked this one right away. I was really nervous about the quilting being too busy for the backing, but since I went with a blue thread for the quilting, I think it avoids overwhelming the print of the fabric. This fabric is Magic - Castle Plans in Navy by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller.

The finished quilt is 70" x 85".

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