Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Project: "Rainy Spring"

Really, what else could I be stitching about right now?

All is quite green and the intrepid flowers are trying to grow, but we have had precious little sun in April or May, and it has been quite cold.
A nice day, a really good day, looks like this:

At least there is some blue in that sky!

It seems like most years I make a spring quilt; this year's will be informed by the weather, and the mixed blessing of luscious greens and too-cool days we are having here in the Northwest.

I started out with my trusty AccuQuilt to cut out my foundation blocks.

These are 6 1/2" square, made out of some old white curtains!
I also needed some fan shapes, and the Drunkard's Path die is perfect for them.

Truly, this machine saves me so much grief. Not to mention time.

First I pieced my windy cloudy sky. For those of you who know my book, I used the Curved Edge Foundation Piecing method on page 30.

These pieces are all pretty tiny. This center section will measure 18" X 18".
Those curved white shapes represent the clouds. What a great time to use my lace stash!

This is but a tiny corner of it... ;-)
I've started with the four corners.

Of course some of M & S Schmalberg's flowers found their way there. Did you know you can order the petal componets from them now? Look here.

These lace collages were very fun to make.

I used a fine white thread in the bobbin and clear monofilament thread in the top.

The sewing was very easy. Appliqueing these shapes onto the blue pieced blocks should be fairly simple too. Then I can add some white embroidery to them.

So far, the whole thing pinned up on the design wall looks like this:

Those smaller white shapes will have lace collages on them as well.
Then I have a very large pile of brilliant green fabrics to piece...

I can't tell you how good it feels to be diving into a new, longer-term project!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two Finishes

The trim by Renaissance Ribbons arrived and I have used them to finish two small projects, the Rose Window and Barbara's Door.

I do like the look! This finished out at 18" X 18".

"Barbara's Door" uses two different trims.

I like this too....it's just more interesting to me than plain binding. The finished edges on the ribbon are a plus to work with, too. It measures 13 X 18". Barbara, it will be in the mail on Tuesday!

Now I am down to one ufo, my "Go Crazy" project begun last fall. But the colors are not right for working with this time of year...too autumnal!
So even though I am looking forward to making a new class sample for my "Home Portraits" class at the Victorian Stitchery Retreat next November, I really and truly need to make a flower quilt right now.
So that is what I shall do!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jill's Quilt....Finished!

With all this endless rain we've been having, I have had plenty of indoor time to do the finish work on Jill's Quilt.
I am overall quite happy with how it turned out.

First off, the center:

The stipple quilting took care of the loose wrinkly look of the silk. I used the new PolyLite thread from Sulky that I got a sample of at Quilt Market and I really, really liked it! It truly was trouble free to stitch with, not too intrusive but not "invisible" either.

But once that was done, I decided I needed a little more stipple quilting elsewhere in the quilt, to tie in with the center section. The hearts were the perfect place for that.

I used my AccuQuilt die to cut out a template to mark my quilt...in a size bigger than what I used to cut out the hearts I appliqued on.

So I marked around the hearts with the template and then stippled around that.

It shows up really well on the black background...for better or worse... ;-)

You can see how that narrow ribbon went on between all the blocks, too...and how that ties in with the trim around the perimeter of the quilt. The trim is from Simplicity, by Cynthia Rowley.

It was interesting, combining the machine quilting with crazy quilting. I could do more of this I think.

So here is the quilt, 45" X 54", finished...

I have to say, the picture here doesn't quite catch the way this quilt kind of glows. The addition of small amounts of yellow, red, and orange are responsible for that.

All the Pink Bandana quilts are going to be shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this coming fall. I am quite sure that each quiltmaker will be telling a moving story about breast cancer and the exhibit will be a highlight of the show. I'm honored to be a part of it.
And it is not too late for you to make your quilt. Read about the challenge here. Thank you, Simplicity, for initiating this!

......We did actually have ONE sunny day this week. (We have maybe had 10 sunny days since the beginning of Spring and I am not kidding here.) I took a picture of my home for my next project...which is to make the sample for my "Home Portraits" class at the Victorian Stitchery Retreat in Wichita in November...

Yes, the sun does come out occasionally in SW Washington!
I so look forward to teaching this class....which will be about capturing the essence of "home" in an embroidered, CQ inspired stitching project...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quilting Jill's Quilt

I've never believed that crazy quilts should be quilted.
To me the two surfaces--quilted and embellished--are almost mutually exclusive.

But lately I've been interested in hybrids....not cars...but quilts, that are both crazy and sane. Jill's Quilt is an example of this. Structurally, it needs to be quilted. And because the embellishments are graphic but not detailed, some sewing amidst them was theoretically possible.
That big blank space in the center of the quilt, around the lettering, actually needs the quilting from a design standpoint, too.

So I decided to give this a try.

First I pin basted it, one safety pin per 6" block.
I used drapery lining for the batting (not EVER wanting puffiness on a CQ) and some nice gingham from Kaufman Fabrics on the back. The blue and white check will hide the quilting lines, which are not of interest, IMHO.

My Juki is threaded with clear monofilament on the top and some nice and substantial Aurofil #28 in the bobbin. I'm using a largish topstitching needle and all worked just fine.
Alas, the Dodgers were losing...again! *sigh*

After getting all the in-the-ditch work finished between the blocks, it became immediately apparent that I had to add some quilting within them too. You do have to give a quilt what it wants....can't hold back.

I kept in the ditch, but around the main elements in the blocks (free machine stitching here).

And I switched to 1949's "Little Women". Liz Taylor as Amy, Janet Leigh as Meg, and Margaret
O'Brien as Beth. Excellent! The costumes were superb as well.

Quilting in the ditch between the stitches was a little tricky, but doable. It wouldn't have been if there were beads involved, though. As it was, I was able to avoid all the hand stitches.

When all that was done, I realized that the seams between the blocks had to be covered. The quilt just didn't look "done" with those bare seams. Hybrid or not, this is still a crazy quilt!
I got a bunch of this narrow Renaissance Ribbon on sale at Fabric Depot. Using a clear zigzag on top and some Wonderfil Invisifil thread in the bobbin (I really didnt want it to show on the back more than necessary) it is quick work to sew this down.

It was simple to bury the end of the ribbon into the quilt before sewing the ribbon down.

Easy peasy.

And now to the center. I've quilted around the letters but do need to knock back that puffiness in the green silk.
I'll probably weanie out and just stipple quilt it...I don't have enough practice at fancy machine quilting details to pull off anything else. But I think it will look ok.

Then to finish the edges, put on the sleeve and label, and this is done!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rose Window...tweaked!

You how know when you look at a digital thumbnail picture of a project, you can "see" what needs to be fixed?
Well, the white center of my Rose Window looked a little "blank" in the thumbnail, so I decided to outline the petals in the crochet work of the center doily.

I used Aurofil #12 cotton and just wrapped the outline.

It's kind of subtle but I think it "reads" a little better.
The doily itself wasn't perfectly round, which kind of bugs me, but what can you do?
Now if that trim for the binding would just get here!

It is this one, designed by Laura Foster Nicholson. I like the idea of having lots of detail all the way out to the edge....at least, I think I do.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rose Window...progress

This past March I started a crazy quilt collage experiment. Now that Market and classes, patterns and traveling are behind me I've decided to finish this before embarking on new work during the summer.
How good it is to be back stitching in my sewing room!

It feels like it has been a long time....

....that I have gotten to play with my flowers...

...and use some of my button treasures.
This is all done except for the binding. It will use a special ribbon that hasn't arrived yet. I can't wait to use it! It measures around 17" X 17".
Meanwhile, here is the overall shot.

Ah, this felt good... ;-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home from Spring Quilt Market

Salt Lake City is an incredibly beautiful place. Last week-end was my first time there and I fell in love with it!

But most of my time was spent in the big convention center downtown at Market, where I demo-ed my new pattern in Tracey's booth, had a book signing, an interview for QNN-TV (!), and generally prowled the aisles looking for new and interesting crazy quilt related products. I helped out my friends from RiverSilks during the Sample Spree event....where vendors lay out their wares at wholesale prices for attendees to shop. That was a melee!

I also went to a reception at HandiQuilter's headquarters, where I toured their production facilities and enjoyed the great feast they put on. Three chocolate fountains!!!!

I made a new friend, too, my fellow author, Janice Vaine. Her book, The Art of Elegant Hand Embroidery, Embellishment, and Applique is an instant classic, a reference I will treasure for the rest of my stitching life.

I've put most of these pics up on my Facebook page, but wanted to post them here too, so I invite you have a look.

Here is my little corner of Quilt Market....

...where I am demo-ing away.

Here is the rest of Tracey's booth. You may recognize her "Bento Box" pattern, along the wall to the left. She has sold almost 50,000 of them. Her new pattern, "Puzzle Box", is hanging on the right.

Jean Krynicki and her daughter Jill are hard at work at the RiverSilks table at Sample Spree.

Sample Spree is always a mob scene.

Jan Vaine and I enjoyed a quiet breakfast together the next morning.
She is a gracious lady, and has talent to burn.

Here she is demo-ing her method of needleturn applique at the Checkers Distributers booth. She is wearing the flower pin I gave her, which is so neat... ;-)

My book signing was at Peterson-Arne's booth. They are another wholesale distributor business.
It was very special for me to see the interest in my book and everyone was very friendly and sweet.

Here are some of my friends from C & T Publishing. My quilt is hanging in their booth behind them!

HandiQuilter has got to make the best sitdown, midarm, and longarm machines out there. Each one is made by hand in Utah.

Here is one of the benches where the machines are assembled, with parts carefully sourced from all over the world for highest quality and reliability.

Their quality control and customer service are second to none, I am sure. I have got my eye on one of their Sweet 16 sitdown models too....

The white chocolate on the Rice Krispie treat was the best. Unbelievable!

Jodie Davis, of QNN TV, ate the much healthier shrimp....

I will have to be honest and say that not too much of the current trend in quilting fabric appealed to me, and many of the booths from the fabric companies and designers looked the same. I have a sneaking suspicion that the retro-look is going to be pretty dated in a few years' time. There were almost no hand-dyed or primitive wool fabric booths to be seen...previous trends from years past that have pretty much totally died down. I can't predict what will come next, but I know something will!

There was one booth that totally decked me though.

I've used Renaissance Ribbons for years, buying them at a local fabric store which carries a few of them. I have never seen them all together like this! Oh my oh my.....

I got back last night, and even though it was raining and cool.....

....It is SO good to be home.