Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Red and White Design Challenge

Although I was part of the Blog Hop to get the design juices flowing for creating red and white quilts in EQ, I had never made a red and white quilt myself. I enjoyed the process of writing the tutorial for the blog hop and subsequently designed a quilt with the 48" x 60" parameters in mind.

So, here is my entry to the Design It! Challenge.

Here is my inspiration behind this design: My mom does an incredible amount of work for charity working with a chapter of It's My Very Own (IMVO) that meets weekly on Mondays in Apache Junction, AZ. From 2007-2011 they delivered a total of 500 bags. In the past two years they have delivered 483 bags. Already in 2014 two other agencies have signed on to be recipients, so they anticipate a huge increase in demand for their bags this year. The bags are referred to as a "Bag of Love". Several local organizations have been generous contributors to this effort. All contributions are greatly appreciated. Sometimes when someone in the area is cleaning out their estate, downsizing, etc. fabrics will be donated to the group. Good quilting cottons are hard to come by, but they use as many types of fabrics that are reasonable. They often receive types of fabrics that just can't be used in a quilt and have been quite inventive to create other objects that they can sell or put the fabrics in a bi-annual rummage sale whose proceeds go to a local one room school that they support. Not often does an organization have the opportunity to pass along goods that aren't quite the right fit in such a productive way. I continue to be impressed with their charitable spirit.

What is a "Bag of Love" you ask?  Each Bag of Love includes a handmade quilt, stuffed animal, toys, and personal care items that are gender and age appropriate. There are 10 separate groupings of gender/age.

They aim to have the quilts be a 48"x60" size. So, since I had suggested to my mom that while I was in AZ, if the volunteers would appreciate a quilting class, maybe I could help them with a fairly simple, yet different than they usually put together for their charity quilts. Since these bags even go to teenagers, something with a bit of design I thought would be nice.

This design helps to teach color value and the importance of understanding lights to darks and how it can effect the design. With a border fabric of their choice that might be something hard to work with, choose 4 coordinating colors. Place them in order of what your perceived value from light to dark is and take a black and white photocopy of it to test your perception. If you got it right they will shade from light to dark in a natural progression. If not, rearrange the order so that you can get the appropriate contrasts and effect of the intended design.

This is the design result in black and white. (48"x60")

In red and white with a Jinny Beyer border from her Monochrome line.

Fabric Requirements:
Border: 1.5 yards if pieced; if cut lengthwise with a border print --2 yards
Four values - EACH 1 yard
This is a generous portion. If you have usable 41.75" WOF, then 14.25" x WOF is sufficient.
Binding: 0.5 yard
Backing: 2.75 yards

Some of their results:

by Betty
by Cindy

by Margaret
by Kris

by Mary
by Mary

by Sally

There are several ways to construct this quilt (half square triangles  and two strip sets are just two ways that I can think of quickly), but I choose to minimize the number of seams and keep use of fabric efficient, which required diagonal sewing on the bias when assembling an individual row.

Key piecing elements include knowing when to have a dog ear at each end and when you don't! The triangles at the end of each row matches up at the point, but the other end of it needs a dog ear. The large triangles all need dog ears at each intersection. Once you have the whole row put together. Repeat until all rows are are complete and sew the rows together. I found pressing the seams in a given row in the same direction (need to think about this while you're piecing the row together) keeps a better 'average' of intersection depth rather than getting some quite flat seams and some double overlapped seams. This design is easily adapted into larger sizes.

I have upsized it to twin, queen and king sizes. I have designed pieced borders for the queen and king size. The sizing provides a bit more opportunity to design something to sit ON the bed, and something separate for the sides of the bed.

Fabric Estimates below are based on EQ7 calculations.

Twin - Approx 73"x98"

Fabric requirements:

Border 2 yards (3 yards if cut lengthwise)

Darkest and Lightest: 2 yards

Two Medium values: 2.5 yards

Binding: 5/8 yard

Backing: 5 5/8 yards

Queen - Approx 97x110

Fabric requirements:

Pieced Border
Light: 2 7/8 yards
Dark: 2 7/8 yards

Dark Inner Border : 1 1/4 yards
Light Inner Border: 1/2 yard


Darkest and Lightest: 1 5/8 yards

Medium Light : 1 1/8 yard
Medium Dark: 2 1/4 yards

Binding: 1 yard

Backing: 8.5 yards

King - Approx 110 x 110

Fabric requirements:

Pieced Border
Light: 2 7/8 yards
Dark: 2 7/8 yards

Dark Inner Border : 1 1/8 yards
Light Inner Border: 1/2 yard


Darkest and Lightest: 1 7/8 yards

Two Medium Values: 2 3/4 yards

Binding: 1 yard

Backing: 9.75 yards

I'm entering this design in Phase Two of the Red and White Challenge - Design It! I hope you'll check them all out.
Have fun!! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Scrollwork Freehand Border Design

What a difference a few days can make. The snow is gone and we had a beautiful sunset last evening.

This week I got to work on a quilt that left lots of open spaces and begged for a special outer border since the fabric read as a solid.

When I realized that doing a simple freehand scroll wasn't enough for the outer border...I decided to do an echo on both sides and this is what I came up with. So happy with the result! Easy too!!

First pass - consider a center section and keep about an inch or less away from both sides of the border (horizontal straight lines in (crude) illustration below), stitching a scroll on the outside of the section and coming back towards the line on the inside. This lets you cross the line to continue instead of sometimes maybe not hitting it.

Second pass (in blue)--echo on the inside doing a wave into the open side of the scroll and then just a pivot point at the next large open area.

Third pass (in green)--echo on the outside doing a wave into the open side of the scroll and then just a pivot point at the next large open area.

Completed illustration (tried to turn all the stitching into black lines) --ignore the straight horizontal lines...those were guides.
Here is a video trying to also demonstrate it.

Curious what people use to create digital illustrations of quilting motifs. Ideas?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Double Nine Birds in the Sky - Sneak Peek

This last week we had a nice bit of snow and the next day was glorious sunshine so made for some great photos. Here is my studio with the snow covered hillside below.

Today I captured this up river from Grand Coulee Dam on Lake Roosevelt. It was so calm, even though it was snowing, that we had a good mirror on the water.

I need to work on my voice-over voice (HA!)


I promised a sneak peek of the Red and White quilts ....and provided one of each on Facebook already, but here are a couple more images.

These two quilts are planned for an upcoming Red and White book being put together by AQS. I'll write up a lot more about my quilting choices and process when the book is ready.

In progress ......Initial structures of "Birds in the Air"

critical learning lesson--should have taken Judi Madsen's advice and marked all the straight lines that didn't have key registration elements in the piecing. The purple marking pen just wasn't lasting long enough when I initially tried to do that, so just went for it. Should have found a blue pen or got out my FriXion pen.

In progress.....Initial elements of "Double Nine Patch" (used the FriXion pen this time to mark a grid in the open white spaces.)
Here is a short video of how to do the continuously stitched orange peels and treatment around the red patches. Compiled three takes this using the Windows Live Movie Maker. Need to modify my camera mount so its not part of the image. Sorry.


Happy March!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Red and White Experimentation

Before getting started on two red and white quilts that will be part of an AQS Red and White Book, I decided to play a bit on one of my own.

After taking a picture of the quilt top and drawing on my print out....I started with my vinyl drawings and then went for it. If you look closely at the very outer edge of the red and white border print ...that was my inspiration for the triangles and heart shape flower motif in the white borders. I used the points in the border as registration spacing. Since the side borders are longer than the top and bottom, I had to do a little symmetical sizing right at the middle of the quilt so that the eye continues to move around the quilt.

Outer Border


On the printed Jinny Beyer Monochrome border print, I used the printed motif itself as my guide for quilting 3 separate passes to outline various elements of the motifs. A very busy print, so just get it quilted sufficiently.
Inner Border

When I got to the right inner border, my brain flipped where I was putting the heart flower motif. Whoops! I debated whether to leave it and add it all the way around or take it out. I was liking the triangles left UNquilted. I considered letting the right and bottom inner borders be opposite, but ultimately I went ahead and stitched how I wanted it to be and then removed the 4 'outer stitched' elements afterwards. This way I saw what it looked like if I had done it both ways. A dab of water after removing the thread and it looked as good as never stitched.

I wasn't so sure how I wanted to quilt the zigzags and chose to let the fabric help me out a bit ... maybe too much. The two medium value fabrics were quite busy so it wouldn't have mattered too much what I did with them. Took the opportunity to practice a feather with pearl stem and lots of bubbles. I came back and did the red parts at the end since I had started out with white thread on the machine.

The lightest zigzag had small red circles. This quilting doesn't seem to fit the design at all, so isn't a good choice, but I am glad I tried it anyway. The second iteration went much better and I was able to do the entire set in one pass with the exception of the inner circles.
The middle red motif is taken from the red printed border kind of a fleur de lis shape. The swirls in the upper portion of each are too tight to see relative to the background quilting. The lower red elements I put the same heart flower motif as was in the border and an 'S' in each corner. In this picture you also see the mid-point of the quilt so the borders are adjusted a little bit 'long' on the triangles at the mid point to accomodate the sizing.

Here is the backside. I'm saving a full front view for later in the year as part of the  Red and White Challenges.

So...I hope I've got my mojo sufficiently back to get going again. Next up...the two red and white quilts. Come back for some sneak peaks next week.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Celebrating our Love

On Valentine's Day, my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Yes...we were sappy enough to get married on Valentine's Day. When we first started dating, there were two things he asked for ...some day......a short engagement and he wanted to wear tails. So, when we got engaged during a Thanksgiving weekend the year before...it seemed that given my then school schedule (I was the Associate Dean of Engineering at a University), February might be the best time to get married...well, Valentine's Day it was!! Although you can't see his 'tails' in this photo, he was wearing them. It set the 'tone' for the wedding..quite formal (he is of British heritage), so I thought of Princess Diana's wedding and some of the unique elements that I really liked, one being the signing of the marriage certificate during the ceremony.

Unfortunately I caught some sort of bug while in Arizona last week and so it ended up being a quiet, trying to recover, weekend at home.

I was notifed by SewCalGal that my comment was randomly selected to win the EQ Stash Download from the Red and White Challenges Kickoff Week Blog Hop with inspirations on how to design red and white quilts in EQ. Their new way of delivering the Stash is AWESOME! No need to wait for it to arrive in the mail, just a quick download and you're off and running to design with the latest fabrics from manufacturers. It is even priced lower than the older versions. yeah!!

I've still got until March 23 to get a red and white DESIGN (Phase 2) entered into the current Red and White Challenge! I had not made a red and white quilt before this year so didn't enter anything into Phase 1 (quilts made before 2014). There were several beautiful quilts, they are worth checking out. Maybe you will be inspired to design one!

This past week I did get one little block quilted. It is for a name tag to the guild I recently joined in Republic, WA, "Piece 'N Pals". Tried out some of the ideas learned in Judi Madsen's class while at AQS. Freehanded the name stuff and tried to mark the colored triangles, but it got a little crazy ;-) Important to try things before working on paying customer work when it really counts.

Even using 12 spi I can begin to understand why Judi likes to use an even higher spi #. Her work is so detailed and dense.

Before I sign off...just want to feature a quilt I designed a couple of years ago, but thematically is appropriate and fun to reflect on.

This is Mi Amore. A quilt a designed as the final challenge in the McCalls Quilt Design Star 2011. Our challenge was to take a popular song and be inspired. Various love songs kept coming to mind, but not one in particular. My husband has been so supportive of what I am doing and I wanted to honor that love. There was a song popular back when I was in college called Mi Amore, so I went with that one as the name for the quilt. The design is meant to represent the sound coming from a speaker when listening to those love songs. I enjoy trying to create a 3d illusion and the ombre in these cotton sateen fabrics provided the gradations of color value that worked great. I did use a solid dark red sateen for the darkest red, but could have easily used the darkest red from the ombre to make this work.

You can get this pattern as a PDF download at patternspot.com

Those who tested the pattern have had fun creating it in different combinations of colors and themes. Here are some that went different directions than the hearts. It definitely has an industrial feel to it and is easily made into a 'guy'/'boy' quilt. If you make one...I'd love to see it!

Oh ...one more exciting thing coming up in April ....I've been asked to be the vendor at a retreat April 4-6, 2014 in Mazama, WA. The retreat is hosted by Colleen Blackwood of Laughing Lizzies Patterns who teaches each year at the Sister's show and is a major player in the Krazy Horse Quilt show in Pendleton, OR. There are still a few spots available. If you're interested, just ask me for details or check out her website and tell her I sent you!

View Larger Map

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

AQS Quilt Week Phoenix 2014

What a fun time this past week in Phoenix, Arizona!

My parents live in the adjacent town, Mesa. This meant, that AQS Quilt Week was close enough I could spend a week with them, and include my mom in the many quilty festivities and help her out with her own quilt group.

Here are some of my highlights.

"Spinner" was juried into the show in the Wall Quilts - Traditional category. The EQ7 tutorial button in the upper righthand corner of my blog will lead you to how to draft this yourself if you're interested in making one.

I did mark 'stitch regulated' on my entry form, but did not enter it into the Computer Aided category as I couldn't imagine trying to compete with a Computer Aided --typically considered from a guided perspective--entry. This was quite a controversial subject for entrants with AQS's new category definition. Given the lopsided amounts of entries in various categories, I'm guessing there will be new definitions in 2015. Given the remaining shows of 2014...there might be some interesting options for people to consider. Winners were listed on the AQS site.

Here are the stats by my observation in the show and program:
...approximately 140 different quilters or quilting groups represented in the show; Categories/Description/# of juried entries:
500/WallQuilts -Innovative -Art /96;

Unfortunately it did appear that some ComputerAided (not considering Stitch Regulation of which I'm sure there were many) quilts were in other categories, but the judges didn't move them. Seemed to be difficulty in maintaining the integrity of the definition within a category ...perhaps both on the entrant's part in choosing the appropriate category and the organization taking liberties to move a quilt if it has been entered into the wrong category. Sad when there is this sort of controversy. I even saw someone in person that had entered a quilt in a prior show (not AQS) that by all appearances was past its qualified 'show life'...but I didn't have the heart to talk with them about how that ended up (sure thought about it though).

Wednesday was the opening, and the first 300 people got cupcakes to celebrate AQS's 30th year. A former high school student of my mother's from the mid 60's is now a friend of hers here in AZ and came with us for the day. We enjoyed looking at all the quilts, finding brief descriptions of them in the program and reviewing the various exhibits that were included in the show as well. We walked through all the vendors, connected with friends I've made from being at various shows and tested machines--always got to take a little time to play and leave a little bit of stitching on their sandwich. Even saw Marci Baker from Alicia's Attic, The Tucker's from Studio 180 and Cheri Meinke-Johnson who does all the crystals (she had given me advice on 'Flutterbright' when I was at AQS-Knoxville, before I put the crystals on that auilg). I tend to walk these pretty fast and then return to specific booths, but since I had my mom and friend with me...I would walk two booths and typically have to walk back one and wait and then do it again. I should have worn my 'standing' shoes...not my walking shoes (HA!)

Thursday was an opportunity to sit in on two different author related events. Elaine --Executive Editor of AQS--spoke about solving the publishing puzzle...and at the end asked impromtply for me to share my own experience of how it came to be that I am publishing with AQS.  ahhhh....hopefully it came out ok! HA! A good experience for me though.

Late in the afternoon there was an Authors Roundtable with four recent authors with AQS, two who I follow on Facebook, newsletter and/or their blog (Linda M. Poole and Judi Madsen --Green Fairy Quilts). Fun to meet them in person and hear their stories. They answered questions about how their idea became a 'book', the process, good, bad, etc.  Somehow I helped them take pictures together, but didn't capture any on my own camera, so I'm linking to the picture that I took on Linda's camera that she posted!

Took a leisurely lunch at the local greek restuarant (My Big Fat Greek). Not a style of food I can get very often where I live now, so that was nice. After lunch one of my students/clients from the Grand Coulee area who is wintering in AZ arrived to see the show and catch up with me. We looked at some of the quilts and played more on various machines, visited with friends, etc. We got to enjoy a quick meal w/Kathy before she took off.

Thursday night my mom and I went to the Freddy Moran trunkshow - Red is my Neutral. My mom is always wearing red, so thought she'd enjoy how Freddy does red! Always fun to see how Freddy thinks and puts her art together. Lately, she is just using a glue stick and sends the entire top off to the quilter to stitch it together. She is over 80! Still a hoot! I was so pleased to be able to tell her the story of the first time I saw her trunkshow in San Francisco c.2002. The very first and likely only San Francisco Quilt Guild meeting I went to before moving out of the area. I had started quilting just before that and I was invited by a gal in my class to attend. Freddy's freedom of expression in her quilt designing gave me an early start to thinking outside the box.

Friday morning my mom took a class from Cindy Seitz-Krug. It was great to see Cindy again after meeting her when I decided to attend a local guild meeting in Bakersfield, CA in the late spring of 2012. She was the featured presenter at the meeting and it allowed me to get acquainted with her work. I have seen her quilts since then at APQS shows and has been a repeat winner in AQS shows.

Friday, my last day at the show, was met with great anticipation. I was going to take a class from Judi Madsen (Green Fairy Quilts). The AQS people had been talking about how this was her first time teaching and how excited they were to have her personality just bubbling over. She was teaching several different classes and I was going to take her Simple Marking, Fabulous Quilting class. With my red/white quilts due by the end of the month...I thought this would be perfect. I have always loved Judi's beautiful quilting and was excited for the opportunity to hear how she does it. The fact that her book was available too, was a double bonus.

Here is what I did in the class. The center flower mimics the design she put into one of her own quilts. Handi-Quilter provided the machines and we had two students per machine, so our blocks were loaded side by side and we took turns working through our quilting.


From Judi's quilt

I was able to pick up a bit more So! Fine Superior Thread spools in anticipation of my red/white quilt work when I get home.

Said good-bye to the AQS staff that I have gotten to know and headed out for a fun evening, reconnecting with a former boss from 20+ years ago during my 'international banking' days. Crazy!!! He and his wife met us at a restaurant in North Scottsdale. Wonderful evening catching up on our lives.

Saturday night I had a great treat....spent several hours with a dear friend who had quadruplets 50 some days ago. She has her work cut out for her once they get home. Two are out of NICU in a step down unit and two are still developing the necessary skills to survive. But daily progress is there. They are just so precious. If you want to read more about them, you can check-in at her blog http://family4tune.blogspot.com.

Been testing some more of our Skill Builder Blocks that will be going into the book. Here are some I've done while here in AZ.


Monday I'll be teaching in Apache Junction, AZ the zig zag quilt I put together from the blog hop a couple of weeks ago. My mom has a charity quilt group that she meets with weekly, so I'll be showing them this simple way to use some of their donated fabrics that they get. Red/White was the blog hop purpose, but if you turn it into 4 values and a nice border print, you could use any colors.

Looking forward to getting home and back to my piecing, teaching, and quilting. They have had very fridgid weather so haven't missed that and I've been enjoying 60's and 70's here --just lovely!

Waiting at home is my dear husband....we're looking forward to celebrating 5 years of married life on Valentine's Day!

If you're still reading...thanks for stopping by. It's been a full week!