Monday, November 21, 2016

Sweet Silhouette {Quilt}

This was the first time I have had complete artistic control from start to finish on a school auction quilt and I could not have been happier!

I saw Angela Pingel's Profile quilt tutorial on her blog, Cut to Pieces, and knew that I had to make it for Button's Kindergarten year!

Her instructions on taking the pictures were perfect.  The only thing I made the mistake of was focusing in on some of the kids, when you should, ideally, stand at the same spot and make sure your camera lens is the same distance each time.

I had this great stack of solids I had picked up at Quiltcon in Austin and had used some of it for a quilt I'm working on for Button....just enough to do a quilt for 13 students. I found larger scale Alphabet fabric that I've used before from Joann's for the backing.

  I struggled to figure out a layout and decided to just do some empty blocks to make it a nice lap size.

I liked the idea of printing on fusible, but I already had a bolt of Pellon Wonder Under in my studio.
 I also really wanted my profiles to face the original direction, so I used a sharpie around the printouts, then flipped them over on my light box and made a line on the back.  Then I laid my fusible (sticky side down) on top and traced.  I cut up close to the edge, then ironed on, and then cut the fabric with fusible out.

My longarm ruler base was cracked in the move, so I didn't feel confident I could get the crosshatch that Angela's quilt had.  So I fused and stitched my applique and then quilted with it with a piece of scrap batting on my domestic machine.

I then cut away just to the edge so that it would help the trapunto effect I was going for with this quilt.

Before I pieced the blocks, I added their embroidered names.  I went in to the classroom and had each child write their name in the same size space.  I scanned and digitized them in my embroidery software so that they could be stitched out their EXACT penmanship.

Here is my confession part.  I told myself that a neutral thread throughout would work.
 I didn't want to change threads constantly.

And it looked alright-ish until I got to the end of the first row in the dark fabrics.....

I have not been listening to my gut the past few weeks and have paid heavily for it.
I spent six hours unpicking and reminded myself that sometimes there is a reason we should do the extra work.

This was the second time I used double batting on a quilt and I LOVE IT!!!
I chose a wavy crosshatch quilting on the empty blocks to make sure the eye always returned to the profile blocks.  They were fun and will definitely do it again!

I decided to quilt the profile blocks with free motion "doodling" and making sure I did an outline around the profile to emphasize the trapunto effect I was going for. I think it worked well.

See all the fun colors on the back?!?!  I was too hesitant to tempt fate and use a neutral color.  I'm thankful the backing was busy enough to handle it.

Had to share Button's little profile!  Unfortunately, I did not have a matching thread color for his fabric choice.  I'm not totally in love.  But his little handwriting!!  I melt....

I tried to match the letter backing, but soon discovered the lines just weren't matching.  So I added three primary colored strips.  I like how it draws the eye to the label though.

A solid black binding seemed the best choice to frame out the all solid quilt.

And, of course, I had to embroider a label for the back!

The thing I love the most is all the texture!!!

Quilt Stats:
Measures: 56" x 60"
Pattern: Profile Tutorial by Angela Pingel
Fabrics: Moda Bella Solids, Kona Black, Joann Fabrics Alphabet
Batting: 2 layers of Warm & Natural Cotton
Quilting: Diagonal Crosshatch on Babylock Symphony
 and Freemotion and Wavy Crosshatch on HandiQuilter Avante

And off it went to Auction....
and was successfully sold for a VERY generous amount to my co-room mom!
 I couldn't think of a better Mom-Son duo to win it!!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Liberty Color Wheel {Quilt}

This quilt.  It has quite a story!
 In 2009, I bought the book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts at the store when I was about 12 weeks pregnant with our Jamie Lynn
 I never imagined when I picked it up that I would end up laid up a lot during that pregnancy and reading that book.  Over and over. Some of the projects gave me such a feeling of productivity by making quick quilt items when I was feeling super low and unmotivated.  
 It was, basically, the book that made me see that quilting might bring me solace during my grief journey.  A therapy of sorts.

The one thing I always knew is that I wanted to really make the color wheel quilt!  I always envisioned a scrappy one, but never seemed to be particularly motivated to make one because didn't really have a home for it.

Then, on my 40th birthday, my husband sent me to New York City with our oldest son, two years ago. It's a super long story, but it worked out for him to go with me and we have now established that our family will be doing a Mother-Son trip with each of our sons when they turn 18, just like we do a Father-Son trip when they are 16.  

Josh and I did all the normal sightseeing, but I had to stop at Purl Soho knowing how much that book meant to me. I also always try to pick up a little bit of fabric as a souvenir when I travel.

I was delighted to see that they had bundles all worked out for a Color Wheel Quilt! I chose the Liberty London bundle because we had just visited the Statue of Liberty.
And lets be real,  its beautiful!

After we moved into our new home last year, I realized I had the perfect wall just for the quilt in my studio. After renovations started dying down and the dust settled? I felt compelled to finally make the quilt, one beautiful spring day. 

It was painful to break up the bundle, but I persevered and cut the pieces keeping them in order.

But the good news?  I still have enough to do another quilt!!! 
I'm planning a Flowering Snowball for our "pretty" room since I rainbowtized my library bookcases!!

After cutting, assembly went really well.
I used Kona Snow as my background because the white finishes in my room are a soft, not harsh, white. And it seemed happier with the prints. 

I was surprised how quickly I had a finished top! It seriously goes under the "quick" heading.
I then wondered why I hadn't started it sooner?

I did some quilting sketches for quite a long time.  I really wanted it to be "right" before I ever loaded it up on Ole Betsy.

I knew right away that I wanted to emphasize the quadrants with geometric versus organic themes.  But always using pebbles as a consistent background.

I started at the top left making free motion flowers.
Hindsight, I wish I had looked for more flower motifs and had made sure I did some really solid echo lines around them because some really got lost in the pebbles.

I moved over to the top right to make circles.  I thought it was going to be the most difficult quadrant, but it proved to be the most fun for me!

Geometric versus organic...

In the bottom left corner I chose squares, but with the consistent background of pebbles throughout.  I didn't really think about how tricky they would be, but I let go and tried not to be too perfect, because the more perfect I tried to be, the more wonky they got!

I went with feathers in the bottom right corner.
 I love the nod to traditional, but the ability to make them fun and crazy.

The wheel itself was a close to the seam, but not quite in the ditch quilting.  

I was looking for a trapunto effect.

Which certainly helps when you use double batting.
 It was the first time I layered two cotton battings for a quilt and I have done it again since.
I can't resist.  All the texture!!!!

I chose a backing that was a french text/pictorial print.  I really wanted something that felt like a long ago London gal picked up some French Parisian textiles for her home.  The binding was more Kona Snow.

I just adore it in my sitting area in the studio. This is where Button plays (see toy house above), where I sit and unpick my quilts (a lot), occasionally do my hand-stitching and crosstitch. More often than not, where Button and I snuggle and fall asleep.

  It's amazing to see it up on the wall, right where I wanted it ever since we moved in this new house. A testament to my quilt and grief journey since 2009. 
Delightful, really. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vintage Dresden {Quilt}

"43 years in the making"

Many years ago, my good friend, Rebecca, were baseball moms.  You know.  Those moms that have only boys and live at the local Little League ballpark all week long?

She used to watch me work on quilt bindings at baseball practices and games and one day approached me about finishing a quilt her grandmother had started around the time we were born. 

She delivered a gorgeous Dresden top that her grandmother had added embroidery on the centers of. It had a backing and even the batting was basted to the backing. Just waiting for some quilting. 

Originally, the plan was for me to help HER finish it. We agreed we would set up a date.  Not quite that much later, Ole Betsy came into my life and I asked for her to wait for me to get to know my longarm.  I thought probably be a really enjoyable experience for her and I to do together.

Then, she moved to the northern suburbs in Houston from our southwest corner. And if you know the area well? You know that's equivalent to moving across the country. 

I messaged her a few times to set up a date. Then. We moved to Salt Lake City. I told her I was taking it with me and I would be mailing her a finished quilt. 
One year later, with house renovations out of the way, I finally worked on it.
And looking back?  All those years of waiting were worth it. I have 6 years on my longarm under my belt, I "found" my feathers last winter. I had quilted a few vintage quilts up to this point also and had learned so much from my research. 

 It would have been a completely different finish if I had quilted it on my domestic machine 7 years ago. 

It just seemed meant to be. 

Things of note.

Batting:  I did end up adding another layer of batting. The original batting caused a lot of tension issues in the beginning because it was lumpy in some areas and very thin in others. It still was uneven, but it quilted more smoothly and I love the extra depth it created. 

Quilting: Free motion feathers in the blue sashing and borders. Meandering/stippling around each Dresden. Loops on the pointy dresdens and indents on the straight plates. 

The binding?  A yellow gingham I had in my stash.  
That actually matched a few of the dresden yellow gingham in the top!

I embroidered a quilt label on the back. I sent her the proof to make sure she liked the wording.
I wanted all the hands that had a part of it recognized on the back!!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Dresden Plate
Fabric: Vintage fabrics
Thread: So Fine/King Tut Brooklet Variegated and Omnithread Natural White
Quilted: Free motion quilting on HQ Avante



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