Blog Quilt #2 - Circular Possibilities

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

Blog Quilt #2 is done!

I finally finished quilting Blog Quilt #2 this weekend!  I really like the way it turned out.  The rows of straight feathers making a background fill are interesting and create a lot of texture.  Hobbs wool batting is inside the quilt and it definitely makes the feathers pop.

One thing I learned in making this quilt is to be careful about your backing. The backing on this quilt is a solid yellow, but it's very thick and the stitches didn't always sink into the fabric like I wanted them to.  Sometimes they just floated on the surface.

This quilt also marks the first time that I did a circular binding.  I used a single fold  bias binding and it turned out quite well.  I marked a line where I wanted the edge of the binding fabric to be, then followed this line in sewing it on to the quilt.  Then I trimmed the quilt to a circle and sewed the binding to the back.  It needs blocking to make it lay flat and it needs to be washed because I used blue wash-out marker.

Overall, I am really happy with this quilt, but now I have to figure out how to hang it!  Hmmm.........

And, oddly enough, the more I stare at the outer quilting, the more it starts to look like carpet padding.  LOL.