Monday, November 30, 2015

A Fortune and Bench Inspiration

We had Chinese food for dinner the other night and here are my fortunes:

Both are great!  I like the first one better.  When I started this blog this summer I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do.  It's been a great place for me to play creatively without having the pressure of show quilts that I usually put upon myself.  I've learned a lot about blanket stitching and various threads and adjusting stitch size.

I went to the vet the other day to get our bird some more food and there was a new bench outside.  The back looked like this:

This could make an interesting applique pattern or an interesting quilting pattern, perhaps for sashing (although it would need to be modified so it was a continuous line design).  It could also be interesting in a modern quilt!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beginning Blog Quilt #3 - A Rainbow

I know, I know.  I'll work on a title.  But it's hard to do when you're in the middle of the process and don't know what it will look like complete.  I started with a long skinny design.  You can see the shapes below.

I knew that I wanted to play with a rainbow of color so I cut each piece out of eight different solid fabrics.  They're luscious Michael Miller Couture Cotton solids.  They have a nice high thread count and are my favorite solids to work with.

I then took the 8 pieces and gradated each column.  Since I used eight fabrics, I ended up with eight columns of color.  Now, I have to decide how to arrange the columns.  Here are some possibilities and my thoughts on them:

I like this.  If you look at it sideways it looks like a color tree....or so my husband says.  I wonder if it's too close together.  I also think it would be hard to align this perfectly on a background.  You'd have to draw a grid and be really careful it was straight or it would bother your eye.

I definitely like the shape that this gives with moving the columns up and down.  However, which the color changes I don't think it's as effective as the design above.

I like this design too.  The  columns are moved up and down, but with a lot less variation.  However, the colors still seem off and don't flow together like they do in the first picture.

If  you look in the middle of the right side at the cornflower blue shapes you can see that I tried to align them next to each other.  I don't like this effect either. It seems jumbled.

Here I tried spreading the shapes on the left further apart.  Not my favorite either.

Here I made the center dots go in a wavy line.  I like this effect the best so far.

This is another variation of the wavy line version.

Right now I am leaning towards either the top or bottom picture.  I haven't decided yet.  I'm going to work on appliqueing down all the pieces and then play some more!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish I had time to quilt this little turkey, but a drawing will have to suffice!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Enjoy your time with family and friends.  Maybe I'll have time this weekend?!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Unexpected Tablerunner Complete!

It's done!  I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.  I especially like the ends that are pointed like an arrow.  Thank you to my friend Helen for explaining how to fold the binding properly!  I also like that I used the center circle fabric for the binding.  It's a nice way to tie it all together.

It had been awhile since I'd quilted baptist fans, but I'm really happy with how they turned out.  you can really see the thread because I used a slightly darker thread.

The back looks great too.  I like how the light blue thread shows up on the lavender fabric.

I'd put it on my Thanksgiving table, but I have two young boys who I know will spill on it!  Perhaps on my dresser.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Red Robin Inspiration

I was at Red Robin with my family the other night and I discovered a great pattern on one of the seasoning containers on the table.

What I specifically love about this container is the leaves that come out from the corner.  I could totally see them as a fill pattern for quilting.

Yes, this would be really fun if done on a large scale.  I can't imagine doing this design on a small scale!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Quilting my Unexpected Tablerunner

I was so excited to quilt my table runner.  I quilt a lot of show quilts and they take me a long time.  With this quilt I wanted to try something modern and fun and I wanted to use feathers as they are my favorite!  I also wanted to incorporate more straight lines to separate large open areas as that seems to be a recent trend in free motion quilting.

I quilted some feathers coming in from the edge of the block.  I did this in the two outer blocks on the left and right sides.

To add more interest I quilted feathers coming from the inside of the block to the outside.  I did this in the center block.

The view from the back.

The view from the back.

Here is the tablerunner once all the feathers have been completed.  As you can see, I divided the larger triangles into three smaller triangles to add interest to the quilt.  I drew the lines with the help of the 30 degree mark on my ruler and then added a 1/4 inch outline to the outside of those lines.  Inside them I quilted a feather.  Since I also quilted the inside of the blocks with a feather, I decided that the remaining unquilted areas needed something completely different.  

Here's the back so far.  I decided not to try to quilt feathers in the very outside corners.  Instead, I decided to trim the outside of the tablerunner to match that angle.

I love machine quilting!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Unexpected Tablerunner Layout

Okay, so started with three blocks, but now what to do with them?  I decided to outline each block in a 1/2 inch strip of royal blue.

I was so excited to work on these blocks, that this is the best image I have of the block by itself!

I then decided to sew them into a table runner set on point.

I cut off the tips of the squares where the blocks connected so that the corners of the background squares met at a point.  A quick project, but a pretty one.  I'm very happy with the results.  I like the way the squares connect because it's different.  I had to baste them first to make sure they aligned and then I sewed the seam.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Inspiration in the Card Aisle

I was waiting at CVS for a prescription so I wandered down the greeting card aisle looking for inspiration.  Here's what I found:

There are lots of fun quilting patterns or applique designs in the border of this card!

Applique balloons with interesting prints!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Appliqueing the Unexpected Tablerunner

I have been trying out all sorts of new things on this blog.  This time I decided to focus on changing up the size of the blanket-stitch on this block since there are only 4 different pieces.  Each color was done in a different size blanket-stitch:

If you look carefully, you can see the difference in scales.  The dark blue in the center is done in a 1.4  mm wide and 1.4 mm long stitch.  The light blue behind the dark blue is 2,0 mm x 2.0 mm blanket-stitch, my usual size.  The pale lavender dots are 1.8 mm by 1.8 mm blanket-stitch.  I was a little nervous to do the dark purple curves because I decided to stitch them in a 2.2 mm by 2.2 mm blanket stitch.  It was really fast to stitch because the stitches were so long, however it did come with it's challenges.  Going 2.2 mm into the fabric meant that when I got to the points the stitch would've gone beyond the fabric and over onto the background.  I angled the stitches in a little more to make sure they stayed on the purple fabric and it worked like a charm, but I had to remember to do that at each point.

Overall, I am very happy with the different sizes of stitch.  I think it adds a little more interest to the block and I want to play more with vary sizes of stitch.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Unexpected Tablerunner

I had already traced the fusible patterns for this block that I was originally planning to use in Blog Quilt #1.  It didn't work out in that quilt, but since I already had the fusible traced I figured I should make the blocks.

I picked a pale blue batik to use as a background and then started picking fabrics.  The inner "x" piece is a fantastic batik with circular patterns.  They look great cut into an x.  Then I started trying to decide what went behind the x:

Too dark!

Just Right!  It allows the fabric in the "x" to shine.

Now to decide on the curves.  I like this fabric.

Blue dots?  They don't really do much.

Lavender?!  It brings out the lavender in the "x" fabric and makes the block sparkle.  I love it!

Now to blanket-stitch it!  I've decided to call this project Unexpected Tablerunner.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Playing with Possiblities

I started designing this motif from an element in a friend's mirror frame.  I like what I have, but the question is how to set it into a quilt.

I updated it a little by making the shapes overlap.   I am going to talk below about "feather in" and "feather out" designs.  The extra feather is on the left below.

Then I put it in front of my mirrors to see what happened.

Eight repetitions seems like too much.

5-fold symmetry is nice.

4-fold symmetry with the extra feather in.  I like it.

4-fold symmetry with the extra feather out.  It was better with the feather in.

5-fold symmetry with the feather out. I liked it better with the feather in.

Mirroring with the feather out.  Could be interesting in repeated strips?  I like the feather in as show below that the feather out.

Now I have a lot of possibilities to decide on!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Hyperquilting Blog Quilt #2

I have always admired Patsy Thompson's work.  I have her book Feather Adventures and have admired it many times, but never tried her quilting style out!

Hyperquilting is done when you first stitch a feather (or other design) and then go back and add in another thread color on top of it.  It's a lot of thread, but the results are amazing!  As you can see from the photo on the outside of her book the feather was quilted in pink thread, then stitched again in gold thread.  The outside is also echoed in purple thread.  In stitching my own hyperquilting, I found that this outside echo was essential.

Here is Blog Quilt #2 with it's round of hyperquilting.  I did the quilting in Glide by Fil-Tec thread and Fufu thread.  It really helped the quilt sparkle once I added in the echo quilting around the edge.

Such fun!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Beginning to Quilt Blog Quilt #2: I will NEVER get tired of Feathers

I love to free motion machine quilt.  Since I am working on lots of small projects for this blog I decided to try out different machine quilting techniques that I haven't explored, but have always wanted to.  I started with quilting around and between all the applique pieces.  I must admit I started with colored thread to match, but it was a lot of starting and stopping so I switched to using monofilament thread instead.  In the small spaces in the center I quilted pebbles to create a simple texture.

Then I was considering how to quilt the central area between the design and a circular border.  I knew radiating lines would be beautiful, but they've been done a lot.  So I decided to quilt them with radiating feathers instead.  I have quilted a lot of feathers in my life and I really enjoy them.  I will never, ever, get tired of feathers.

Here are the results so far.  And a sneak peek at my next blog!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Flower Mandalas

My mother emailed me the other day and told me I had to google "flower Mandala."  I did and this is what I found:

These are made with real flowers and petals!  Amazing.