Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Mini Category

Choosing which quilts to link up for Blogger's Quilt Festival is something I take seriously.  Sure it's fun to show and tell and maybe have visitors you might not otherwise have - but I like to look back and feel there was something special or pivotal about the particular project.

Discovering the quilting community of Instagram happened overnight because of this little mini.  I had created a private account when I got my first iPhone since I could but didn't give it much thought or attention.  I had burned out on Flickr swaps and bees and I had put myself on a strict no-swapping time out.  Until - IGmini Swap came along.  

Since stalking and sneak peaks are a big part of what makes participating so much fun I changed my IG privacy to a public.  Sometimes I'm guilty of overgramming and sometimes I'm clueless who's who and what's what but I'm having a great time, thanks to this little mini. 

The matchstick quilting with a variety of thread colors was a first as well.  Kind of scary trying it out but loved the result.  Linking up to the Mini Category 

Be sure to check out all of this years Blogger's Quilt Festival categories and cast your vote with this link.  

My Previous Blogger's Quilt Festival Entries: 

Fall 2014
Look Who's Walking - Small Quilt

Spring 2014
Giant X-Plus  - Scrappy
Rip Tide - ROYGBIV

Fall 2013
Tassels - Group/Bee

Fall 2012
Old Italian Block - Scrap/ROYGBIV/Bed

Spring 2012
Catalyst (aka Mod Mosaic) - my first time to participate 

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Original Design

Goats Askew
You can read more about the creation of Goats Askew in this post .  The recently released and very popular book (for good reason!!)  The Improv Handbook For Modern Quiters by Sherri Lynn Wood aka: Daintytime is how this quilt came about.  She put a call out for testers and although mine wasn't chosen for the publication,  it was fun to give input and to be included in the Bias Strip Petal Gallery. 
My sense of time is not very good especially with the need to keep it a secret for so long. Fortunately the pictures in iPhoto are dated so I can tell you that from start to finish it took me 3 (crazy) weeks.  I tried to photograph steps along the way to document the journey and decisions.

I considered and abandoned the idea of using this as a background.  It felt too overpowering and didn't let the feature fabric shine.  The palette is more restricted than I typically work in an effort to broaden my approach to design.  

Took up the whole Living Room floor
 There was an awkwardness to handling the large pieces and I wished for a magical "Askew" tool like in editing programs that would tip and tilt the wedges.    The imbalance of strips weighing more heavily in color and width on one side than the one way I put my personal spin on it. 
FMQ detail
The challenge was very rewarding especially the problem solving of inset seams and the aspect of supersized improvisational designing  With endless options unexplored one day I simply must make another. 

SBAMQG Quilt Retreat cozy up the cabin

Finished size is 72"x86" Started February 23, 2014 Finished March 16, 2014.  Pieced and Quilted on my Babylock Symphony with Aurifil thread.  Winline Textile Bamboo batting.  Fabric from stash. 
Show and Tell at our MQG meeting
I've chosen to link up to the Original Design category because although the technique was from the score the final concept feels like mine - letting the fabric lead the way and the allowing the layout to find it's final destination sounds a little out there to some but not to me, especially after reading through my copy of the book and the guidance that Sherri Lynn shares. 

Be sure to check out all of this years Blogger's Quilt Festival categories and cast your vote with this link.  

Here is the list of my Previous Blogger's Quilt Festival Entries: 

Fall 2014
Look Who's Walking - Small Quilt

Spring 2014
Giant X-Plus  - Scrappy
Rip Tide - ROYGBIV

Fall 2013
Tassels - Group/Bee

Fall 2012
Old Italian Block - Scrap/ROYGBIV/Bed

Spring 2012
Catalyst (aka Mod Mosaic) - my first time to participate 

WIP and Blogging Bits

I thought I'd share a peak at what I've been working on and overgramming on IG.  A quick pre-post if you will.  What I should be doing is finishing up my Anna Maria Horner Loominous quilt because I want to link it to the Blogger's Quilt Festival and deadline is tomorrow (otherwise, there's Fall) !  I first participated in 2012 and have ever since, choosing sentimental quilts.  This one is special because of my friend and mentor Anne Play-Crafts -

Equal in Loominous - backlit makeshift design wall
My sewing room has transformed itself into a glorified storage closet so I've migrated out to our living room.  Having space came in handy for a "drop everything and quilt" party at my house with Merydith and Anne last week to sew a comfort gift for a mutual friend.
snagged this pic off Anne's IG 
It was "temporary" so I could finish up Ripple Strudel and Dig Deep featuring Carol Van Zandt's new fabric line Luna Lounge and send them off to display in the Andover booth a Quilt Market.  I have yet to move out!  My SIL is coming today for a sew date, so it's a good thing.

Speaking of Market - oh that IG eye candy makes me want to sneak into someone's luggage and experience the whirlwind for myself.  I'm hoping that there will be schoolhouse videos and more images in the days to come.  Lee had a beautiful booth and was sweet enough to take time to hostess a linky party  WIP at Freshly Pieced.

Not sure where time has gone but it's that time again for  New Bloggers Blog Hop  and this year a few of the Alumni are carrying on with sign up now open.   This is a great resource for any bloggers with links to previous advice and tech help posts from a long list of talented and generous people.  It's also wonderful way to discover blogs to follow.

In a nutshell : 2015 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop Sign Up
If you are interested in participating in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop and have been blogging
  1. mainly about modern quilting*,
  2. for less than 2 years,
  3. writing at least 4 posts a month,
  4. are willing to agree to be actively involved in the blog hop through visiting and commenting on the other blogger’s hop posts,
  5. and have or are willing to open a Facebook account to participate in the group discussions,

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ripple Strudel - apple slices tutorial

Today I thought I'd share a little bit about my Ripple Strudel quilt and add another item to the long neglected TUTORIAL TAB on the blog.  When Carol Van Zandt offered to send me some of her amazing new fabric line Luna Lounge to play with, I knew it was a great excuse to try out the large apple core template I picked up at from the  Jenny Doan booth at Quilt Festival. 
Ripple Strudel
The warm grays and black called out for a graphic design. After seeing the QuiltCon bias tape challenge, I picked up the Clover tool but just like the template it has pretty much been sitting ever since.  Andover's textured solid in Lacquer worked perfectly and hand-stiched like butter on the binding.
Binding Tool - right side of fabric
The right and wrong side of Textured Solid is pretty obvious - because, umm it's textured - so make sure to feed it through correctly to avoid the uncurling of your fold (pictured above).

Textured Solids 
After a comment from Linda Flourishing Palms on IG about attaching the binding before trimming the excess batting/backing I remembered that I had been taught that originally and used that technique on my earliest quilts.  Verdict is split - there is more stability and a cleaner trim from your stitch line but I haven't converted back.  There's something gratifying about the "haircut" and fresh edge that I find too appealing to wait until after.

Finished Details
Combining FMQ, topstitch and echo stitch made me quit happy and I think lends well to the design.

Apple Slices - How To

Rather than stick to the traditional Apple Core pattern,   I created apple slices - and chunks.   (Note that I've added additional pictures of each step below that I photographed along the way with another scrappier quilt to give you more samples) 

I've used FQs but yardage and a Layer cake would work as well.  Also, if you don't own a template you could print one for free from sources like QuiltersCache and modify the scale.  The arc is different but the concept is the same.

Let's get Started:

Layer Up and Cut
To avoid fabric waste and save time, I folded the FQ first lengthwise and then again to cut four layers at once.  You could even use 2 FQs and get away with 8 layers because they will be trimmed later and the slight distortion from stacking that high doesn't really matter. The squares just need to be at least 8 3/4".

Sew together four-patch blocks and center the template.  Rotary cut around with a slight over cut at each tip, just enough to free to core but not too much - you'll see why in a minute.    

Center the template
Now it's time to clean up those mis-matched outer edges.  If you have a big 16.5" ruler it's awesome - but if not, just trim with any ruler.
Clean up the four sides
Next, line up the center marks on the template and cut as shown below.  Work your way around reorienting the template, "landscape or portrait" as you go.

Slicing from the Sides
These become the parts for the quilt edge.  Other than the "floppy ears" that are left behind, there's not too much waste!
For a half slice, sew together 4.5" strips and cut as shown below.  A rotating board is also helpful but not necessary. 

Half Slice Cores
 I like the variety half slice cores give and they can make layout more interesting.  You can also add in full template cores of course.
Apple Slices and Chunks
The curve is gentle enough to not require pins and the center seam of a quarter chunk actually makes it easier to line up.  I'd recommend finger pressing the center for reference on the half slice or full cores to keep on target.

Secondary designs appear depending upon placement, so play around with your layout before deciding.  Seams can be pressed open or to the side. I tried it both ways and prefer open for the piecing and to the side for the rows.  

Late Night Layout - 
Sorry for the poor lighting on this one.  I wanted to show how I used wonder clips facing alternating directions (red or clear) to mark the bottom of each column (1-2-3). What's your trick for keeping track?

Play around with your feet to find one that you like for the topstitching of the bias.  Before adding the bias down I dabbed a bit of glue here and there to secure it in place.  It's not necessary but I found it helpful.

For the second quilt I decided not to add the bias because I was going for a softer appearance more inline with the palette.   Full reveal of "Chunky Apples Sauce"  coming soon.

If you happen to be at Quilt Market this week or see a photo of Ripple Strudel or Dig Deep in the Andover Fabrics booth #1601- I'd love to see it.  I'm home with the rest of the #notgoingtoquiltmarket folks drooling over the IG feed. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bee Sewcial - May plans and a goal

Revised Clustered Draft
Remember all those after-the-fact QuiltCon pins exchanged that made so many people happy? Marci was the generous organizer of that swap and May is her month to be queen of Bee Social. Now I get to make something special for her.
First Draft
She has set out to build a bright and happy abstract village with structured improv blocks.  Part of the challenge is to propose a plan with the expectation that we are free to deviate from it. 
My first thought when I read the charge was to use one of my QDAD designs since travel photos are a fairly common member spark.  Here's one from a few days ago inspired by a photo from Michelle Wilke taken of a coastal town in Lisbon, Portugal. 

My QDAD design from 2/4/2015 has the palette and feel of a town to me even though it was actually a photo of Julliette's folded fabric stash stacked on a shelf.  I may use one or both for my other block(s). 

You might recall that I've got my first "QDAD to life" in the works as one of four Q2 FAL items. It's the WIP I'm choosing for the ALYoF May goal setting party.   
Slow (and I mean slow) progress was made this last weekend during a fun (and funny) sew day with my friend who is collaborating with me on the secret gift.  
We're basically constructing it in the most confusing and difficult manner possible and enjoying our detoured journey by laughing at ourselves about that very fact.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dig Deep - Luna Lounge

Dig Deep - Luna Lounge 
Dig Deep
As I mentioned in my previous post, I chose to use the soon to be released fabric line Luna Lounge in neutrals by Carol Van Zandt for my SBAMQG workshop with Pam Rocco a couple of weeks ago and arrived with the top sewn.  The pattern is Stacked Bricks, one of her Fibonacci series patterns for Quilter's Newsletter and free online.
Luna Lounge
Playing Nicely 
There was a wonderful trunk show and great advise - I treasure those bits of insight to design and quilting that Pam shared, including making a plan and deviating from it and to "get queasy".

Most of the time I focused on the backing and predominately used a FQ stack of Pop rox in the choco color way, an earlier fabric line of Carol's.   They played so well together and I especially love Gyros in black, so good!

The Backside
I tend towards bold, bright in your face kind of color but I really love the natural earthiness of this fabric.  The name "Dig Deep" came about because the quilt reminded me of the soft light sand on top and how it gets darker the lower you get.  As a kid building sandcastles it was so rewarding to hit water and see the almost black dense texture after scooping away the easy stuff.

The gradiant blue streaks running down the front are the same concept representing the color change of the ocean from waters edge to deep sea.
Stair step variation of the Classic Porch Shot 
The binding change up from Tapioca to Sandstone at the design break is subtle but effective and easier to see in this close up.  Not everyone enjoys the binding step but I do.  especially with Andover's Textured Solids because it hand-stitches like butter and is nice and soft for the edge.  Because the weave is looser than the other quilt cotton, I did use my pinking blade rotary when I cut my strips.  
Ta Da It's Done
Finished size: 40"x50"
Fabrics: Carol Van Zandt's Luna Lounge, Pop Rox, and Textured Solids by Andover
Winline bamboo batting, Aurifil 50 weight for piecing and quilting. 
Pattern: Pam Rocco's Stacked Bricks 
Started April 18th, completed May 1, 2015 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Marsala - Pantone Quilt Challenge

Today is the deadline for linking up your Marsala to the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge.
Marsala Quilt - Out of Line
Although I had every intention of participating, unless I start and finish by 11pm the only category I'll be posting to is the Non-Judged Entry for sharing things that were previously made or do not qualify for other reasons.

Browsing around old projects I came up with a few items that seem to be within the color palette Marsala and here they are:   

From my Palm Springs weekend with Heather Ross 
Marsala Hand-dyed 
Quilt for my niece - progress shot
Marsala parts
Flannel backing from stash that matched perfectly for this charity quilt
Marsala Backing
Needle turn appliqué pillow - a birthday gift
Marsala Center
Improv Workshop
Marsala WIP
QDAD (Quilt Design A Day) #240
Marsala Design

It's an odd color but apparently not one that I've avoided in the past - just in 2015 when it would've been nice to have use it, ha ha.  Be sure to check it out even if you haven't entered.  There are familiar faces and it'll be fun voting and seeing who wins the prizes.