Saturday, October 31, 2015

Today was a Machine Quilting kind of Day

I took two fabulous classes at International Quilt Festival yesterday.  The first was a feathers class with Sue Nickels.  We had fun. You can never have enough feathers.

The second was Test Drive the Handiquilter Sweet Sixteen with Helen Godden.  It was a fantastic class and a fun machine.

I also bought a lot of WonderFil thread to try out for the blog!  Stay tuned.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Asymmetrical is a Challenge

I am a lover of formal symmetry.  It makes me happy every time.  I can get lost in rug stores looking at all the gorgeous carpets.   I was taking a class yesterday with the amazing Jane Sassaman at International Quilt Festival  Houston.   She asked me to do an asymmetrical design and I tried, but it was a true challenge.   I find them hard to balance.  Here are some of the patterns I created class.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Adding One Layer at a Time

I'm working on Blog Quilt #2 (really needs a title doesn't it?) and having a blast adding one layer at a time.

 Layer One Complete

Here's how I align the pieces on my background fabric.  The paper pattern is traced over with a fine line black Sharpie so the lines are easy to see and not too thick.

Layer Two Complete

Layer Three Complete

I have definitely used knowledge I've gained from doing this blog on this project.  I used Bottom Line by Superior Threads on the outside orange diamonds and the dark blue with large dots in the center.  I did this on purpose for two reasons.  First, I wanted something matte that wouldn't stick out.  Second,  I wanted something thin and fine that wouldn't show up too much.  I also set my stitch length and width to 1.6 so that the double-blanket stitches would be finer, but still there upon looking closely.

On the outer turquoise and orange frame, the inner orange points, and more I used my favorite Glide thread by Fil-Tec with a stitch length and width of 2.0.  It shows up a lot more which is what I wanted for those areas.

Now I have to finish the last few pieces and quilt it!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Mirror Inspiration

I was at my friend Julie's house the other day to sew with a bunch of friends for Quilter's Night Out.  Next to her front door was a skinny mirror with an interesting frame.  I took this close-up.

I love the circular design in the middle.  It would make an interesting applique or an interesting quilting pattern.  Decisions, decisions!

Here's a draft of a possible applique pattern.  I think if I were to actually make it, I would overlap the shapes so I don't have to worry about leaving space between them.  It's easier to make it look symmetrical when things overlap and you're not trying to have 1/8 inch spaces turn out equally spaced.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Picking Fabric for Blog Quilt #2

Blog Quilt #2, not the most creative title.  I'll have to think of one.  If you have a suggest, let me know!

So, I started working on this design:

I didn't draft the whole circle because it was easier to simply rotate the pattern.  I drew the segments on my background fabric to help with alignment.

So...I started with this amazing fabric you see in the largest orange points.  I knew I wanted it to be my them.  I then picked out a bunch of other fabrics to go with it.  I also chose a pale yellow batik as a background because all the applique fabrics needed to go well with it.

I love all the colors together except the pinky point sticking out of the purple tulip-shaped piece.  It blends too much with the orange next to it and their is not enough contrast between them.  So, I started trying other fabrics:

I was so sure that burgundy was going to work.  I don't like the dark black lines in this fabric.  

So I tried a different burgundy.  I still don't like it.

Green?  Nope.  Awful.

Lavender?  Love it, but it's too pale.

I felt like it was never going to work, but I tried this orange and turquoise print I'd rejected for the area that is now dark blue and it worked wonders.  All of the sudden the quilt sparkles!  Finally!  It really is worth making a test block to see if it works.  

The other important thing I learned doing this block?  The fabrics need to contrast, but they also need to blend at the same time.  If all the pieces were different tone-on-tones the block just wouldn't have the same sparkle!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Butteryfly is Almost Finished!

Butteryfly is done except for the hand-stitching of the binding!

Here is a picture after the orange was quilted:

I really like how you can see the orange.  My favorite area is probably the clam/scallop shapes right above the butterfly's head.  I double stitched them for more emphasis.  This was stitched with an orange Glide thread by Fil-Tec.

I decided to limit my palate of colors to three so the butterfly would still stand out.  The final quilting was done with a red Isocord Poly thread.  I went for a larger scale in part so it would show more and because I had a lot of space to fill!  I also decided to put some large circles in a few places to try to unite the edge.

The yellow stitching was small, the orange medium, and the red large.  At first I wasn't too sure about this, but I'm glad now that it's complete because it really lets the butterfly stand out.

The echoed clam shell in a circle above is probably my favorite design on the quilt.  I love how it looks like a flower.  Time to go hand stitch!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Inspiration from Europe...Now if only I could find the Picture

I know I started this drawing based on a photograph I took in Europe.  However, I can't find the original photograph.  It is lost somewhere among the 1,000 or so pictures I took over the two weeks when I was there.

Here is the progression of the design:

I didn't like the shape of the curl and decided to make it more curvy. 


 Now I traced the image using a light box.  I tried adding an additional curve inside it, but wasn't happy with it.

I tried adding a shape going up.  Not happy with it. 

I put a small shape on the inside, but it didn't feel big enough or strong enough compared to the existing shape. 

Possibilities for the bottom of the shape. 

Now I add in a larger interior shape. 

Should I change the shape at the top?   

 Adapting the shape at the bottom to make it more interesting.

Can I add in more shapes?  No...they really don't work.

I like this flower.  It's interesting, however, it is rather large in size and I'm not sure how to arrange them.  I'll have to play with a mirror and figure out how many repeats to do in a circle.  Eight?  Twelve like a clock?  That would make this pattern VERY large.  Perhaps not.  Obviously I need to think more about what to do with it, but overall I am happy for now.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Refining an Old Design

I was itching to start a new applique project, but wasn't in the mood to design.  So I went into my Adobe Illustrator files to see what I had there that I'd never done anything with.  I found this design:

I liked the design, but I didn't like all the little dots and paisley shapes, so I took them out.  Then I refined it some more until I ended up with this drawing:

I added the diamond shape to the border so I could cut it in pieces instead of one large circle which would have been a major challenge as I am using 9 x 12 inch sheets of Steam-a-Seam 2!  I also wanted a more interesting center and a bit more layering.

Now to play with fabric!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Graffiti Quilting Part 2

Now that the central background was done, it's was time to have some fun doing Graffiti Quilting!  I went down and pulled a bunch of threads that made a gradation of threads from yellow to pink.  I wasn't sure how many I'd want so I started out with a lot.

I knew this was going to be too many colors, so I started stitching and decided to make more choices as I went along.

First up:  Yellow. I used a Polyneon by Madeira Thread.

Now it's on to other colors!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Words of Wisdom and Inspiration

A friend of mine recently posted this on Facebook.  I love the message in the words, but to be honest the first thing I notices was the border design.  It's lovely!

I can see this as Graffiti Quilting or as a pattern for applique.  It's intriguing to me in many ways.  I particularly love the paisley in the upper left corner!  And the lower left corner too.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Graffiti Quilting Butteryfly

I have decided that I want to try out Karlee Porter's Graffiti Quilting on Butteryfly.  I am intrigued by her book after snagging the last copy in Houston last year.  The first thing to do seemed to be to try a sample and see what happened.

I used a practice sandwich of dark gray fabric and two layers of batting.  The bottom layer is Quilters Dream Cotton and the top layer is Hobbs wool.  I like the extra puff this gives.  I like to use two layers in small quilts, but not in large quilts as they get really heavy to move around under the needle.  The thread used is Glide by Fil-Tec in Kiwi.  Love this!  So I'm ready to try it on Butteryfly.  Here is what I started with behind the butterfly:

The background is quilted in a slightly darker blue Wonderfil InvisaFil thread.  I love the way it looks like clouds.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Appliqueing Butteryfly

The pieces on Butteryfly are very thin.  They are about a quarter of an inch at their widest.  I knew that I needed to adjust he size of my double blanket-stitch and make it smaller so the stitches didn't go too far into the fabric.  I decided to test out stitches at 1.4 millimeters wide and 1.4 millimeters long.  I was very happy with the results.  The stitches stitched out well (I tested this first!  A MUST!) and I was a happy camper.  The yellow thread is Polyneon by Madeira threads and the pink is a Sulky Rayon 40 weight thread.  I chose these threads because they were the right color.  I knew that if I stitched the wing pieces in pink or purple thread it wouldn't work because some pieces were predominantly pink and yellow and others were predominantly purple and yellow.  Therefore I picked yellow thread.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the butterfly before I layered the quilt, so here it is with the pins already in.  Oops.