Monday, October 17, 2011

McCall's Quilt Design Star - FINAL Challenge

Mi Amore goes from idea to reality

Having taken the process pledge....I will share.
Challenge: use lyrics from a well recognized song to be inspired, let it represent you as a designer.

I immediately thought of several songs that are 'ours' (my dear husband and I), but I didn't feel like they would be well recognized. I went in search of something that would still represent our love but be more recognizable. My quilting in general is so supported by him, I had to choose a song that could represent why I am even here.

I Adore, Mi Amor - by Color me Badd - if you don't recognize it from the title, I believe you'll recognize it when you hear it (if you were alive in the early 90's!). is all about listening and knowing the love of my dreams ..... (lyrics) and so started my design process.

In general I was thinking about some sort of background but then large applique over the top. In thinking about these specific lyrics, I imagined hearing it from a speaker. If you look at the speaker fabric under a microscope it just might look like the background I have created. The hearts represent the love of my dreams coming forth from the speakers. The more I tweaked the design, it almost looked like a castle wall with small glass (red) windows. Medieval Love!

I have Lumiere Sateen in my stash that I've wanted to use for a long time.

I love Jinny Beyer border prints, but wasn't sure I'd find one to work, but alas I did! Four Seasons - 6055-04. This softens the geometric design of the center but keeps it looking Latin.

 I loaded the fabric image (although not a full-repeat) into EQ7 so I could get an idea of how it would come together and then quickly ordered from Jinny Beyer's studio the only place I was able to find it online.

Besides the Lumiere Sateen, I also had some Cotton Sateen solids, including a lot of black and only a fat quarter of several other colors. I decided that one solid red I had was too cherry/orange like, and the dark/maroon was the best darkest dark to go with the Lumiere Sateen. I then decided NOT to use the lightest end of the Lumiere Sateen in the redish colorway. These squares get cut once on the diagonal.
I wanted to print the text on the fabric, but the size of the heart was too big to feed through my printer. Light box and fabric pen to the rescue! This font was used for our wedding stuff too!

Here I have cut up strips from the greyish colorway of the Lumiere Sateen. I also had solid black and decided that was best for the darkest dark.

I decided I should do a test block. I don't know if I have ever done a 'test' block before, so this was really disciplined of me. But I wanted this quilt to really work well and the color placement was critical. I did one block, took a photo of it, then replicated that photo multiple times to get a mocked up version. It is going to work! WHOO!! HOO!! If you don't see the 3-d effect, just squint a little bit.

Chain piecing by folding a grey strip and a red triangle in half, align the midpoints, sew, set the seam, press (special directions to keep the seams going in a nice way), then trim to size. I just happened to have the perfect ruler!

There really are only two blocks, but half of each block should be pressed in opposite directions so that when putting the blocks together you get seams that complement each other rather than overlap. I put together the half square triangles into a square. Then the four squares that make a larger block, 3 blocks in a row and 4 rows.

Note the pressing, especially in the center of this four-square.
Carefully pull apart the seam so that they all lay in different directions. This is supposed to help the join lay squarely. This also meant that each square nicely joins with the next square in all directions.
Center pieced-- look at the 3-d effect! WHOO HOO!YEAH!!

Mirrored mitered borders, the Jinny Beyer way! Here I am testing with a mirror to see if I like the mitered location or if I should choose an alternate 'center' point (there were two points of symmetry in this border). The middle border, top and bottom, used the Lumiere Sateen WOF; left and right used a slice from the LOF on the dark edge. In the design process I changed the size of the quilt to fit the WOF to be able to use the fabric this way. If you chose to make a king size you could use two WOFs. The inner and outer border print were on just the right repeat so that I didn't have to cut the long sides to get a good design mirror miter at the corners. Typically with a rectangle you need to do a middle join half way between the two corners on the long sides in order to keep the mirrored miter working correctly. When doing so, the center joins aren't very noticable, but I didn't even have to do them!
This could have been the entire quilt, but I felt it needed more to be in this challenge. Now, let's test the applique' process. How do I want to put these on to the top? I tried it several ways (see the test below), but ultimately decided upon fusible woven interfacing to give it extra opaqueness, used on all hearts except the tiniest to give them consistency in their texture and look. Thank you Suzanne Young for the interfacing.

With templates from EQ7, I traced each of the 15 hearts on the interfacing, cut each of them out and ironed them onto the wrong side of the fabric as shown. The visual here is key to get the shading direction correct if I wanted it to be like I had designed it!

Right sides together, stitch the actual heart shape, right at the interfacing. Split open the back side and turn it inside out. Hand applique 'blindly' to the quilt top center in its appropriate location. Remembering a tutorial I saw at our local quilt festival in September by Mission Lake Designs, I wanted to use silk thread, but didn't feel the one color and very old thread that I happened to have in my stash would be a good choice. I ended up using my Aurifil Maco 40 weight in a variety of colors. Thanks Aurifil!! I'm also not convinced I really knew what I was doing with this applique since hand applique really isn't my thing, but I felt the fabric type required it. I like to use fusible raw edge applique when I can ;-).

Test. There are several different ideas tried with these four hearts, including machine (black heart only) and hand applique; (left to right) cotton batt sewn into the seam, batting added behind the quilt top as if it is being trapunto'd, no stuffing, stuffed with hobbs 80/20. I also wrote on the heart with a fabric pen to test how that would work. I then added a layer of wool and a layer of cotton batting and then the backing. Not sure if I want to do all of that on the real thing.

I experimented with the quilting a bit on the hearts. Quilting half of two of the hearts and not the other half just to see how they would set up. I quilted the Mi Amore in the large heart. Motif quilting in all 4 sides and straight line in the borders based on the fabric motif in the left and bottom borders. Definitely want to do the straight line on all borders in the real quilt. Need to outline the hearts with quilting (just outside the heart) but need to use clear or smoke thread. Used 3 different threads in the curved lines: black (upper right), grey (lines lower of the hearts) and a white WonderFil (lower left). Decided the grey was probalby best, but needed to be a bit darker. Thank you Suzanne Young for coming through with the right threads!

At this point I'm just hoping the applique hasn't distorted the quilt top too much. I'm going to use wool only for batting and solid black cotton sateen on the back and binding.

In quilting this I was concerned about losing the 3-d effect in the background so didn't want to quilt it too densely. Keeping with my notion of 'Simple and Stunning', I tried to do just that. Long sweeping movements are difficult even on a long-arm since I like to stitch them fairly quickly and that overruns the regulator and wool batting is fairly lofty providing some shifting to the quilt top as you move across the quilt. The cotton sateen is fairly flimsy (i.e. not stiff) so the quilting lines definitely add movement and movement of sound can be spastic, right? ;-) I think it would be fun to make this again and this time heavily quilt the background with spastic illustrations of sound bursts and see how much difference it makes to the 3-d effect (if at all). I roughly chalked the sweeping curves with a chalking wheel before quilting them. Only one had to be continued after shifting the quilt since I loaded it sideways on the long-arm frame. The hearts in the border were freehanded as I did the inside ditch with 'smoke'--an invisible thread that is dark in color. This thread was also used in the scallops of the border and going around each appliqued heart. The key is to get the thread with a sock on it or put it in a bag so that the thread doesn't jump off the spool and then catch underneath and stop the machine or break the thread. (rrrr) I freehanded the Mi Amore lettering. The thicker sections are outlined.

How is this for having just enough thread? I had to pull some off the bobbin back onto the spool in order to finish up the binding. WHEW!!!

My working title was Medieval Love, but I decided to go with Mi Amore which isn't exactly the title of the song, but apparently is part Spanish and part Italian and since the quilt feels Latin, I just liked how it looked and sounded. Hope you like it!

This quilt was made for the FINAL round in the 2011 McCalls Quilt Star Design Challenge. Voting is open Oct. 18 - Nov. 8, 2011. Thank you for your support throughout this entire process. May I suggest after you get to the voting page that you make it a 'favorite' or put a link on you desktop so you can access it easily every day! Don't forget to leave a comment on the voting page as well. Thanks!!
Vote HERE daily.

Personal Reflections: When I started this McCall's contest, I didn't feel that I could clearly define my style of quilt design. I have made many quilts, most my own designs, but always a reaction to a particular inspiration for the ultimate recipient. Now having made 3 quilts within this challenge process, I believe that in a series, these all say that I have a style that incorporates geometric shapes, perspective/3-d and color variegations. I look forward to continuing to develop my style.

1892 Rondure 70"x70"
Pulsed Illumination 37"x37"
Mi Amore - 51"x63"

Thank you McCalls for the format and organization of this process and giving those of us who participated an opportunity for exposure to a larger public and reason to explore our own style.

If you would like to vote, you can do so daily Oct. 18-Nov. 8.  You will find my quilt here.

1 comment:

  1. Marlene, I truly enjoyed reading this post and your design process! Thank you so much for sharing! I found myself nodding my head and saying "yes" and such things - your thought process is so similar to mine, love it! :)
    Oh and I have to say - I got the link that voting has started through McCalls on FB, I went to the site and just looked at all the quilts, WITHOUT looking at any names - HONEST!:) When your quilt opened, I said - THAT'S THE ONE! and then I saw it was yours! Honestly! I love it and will vote again and again - I so hope you will win!!