Friday, September 26, 2014

Red, White & Quilted - new AQS Book

When asked to quilt two red and white quilts for an upcoming AQS book, I was honored. When given the selection of quilt tops to choose from, I realized they were quite traditional in design but the author and editors were requesting modern quilting. Specifically, they had seen my "Spinner" quilt and liked that quilting, mentioning there were 'no feathers' felt I needed to try and honor that idea of no feathers and the style in which my "Spinner" was quilted.

The two quilts that I got to work with were a traditional 'Birds in the Air' block design and one with a 'Double Nine Patch' block with some big blocks of white. Having more negative space to work with opened up some interesting possibilities on the 'Double Nine Patch'.

I received the book in the mail this week and to my great delight...Double Nine Patch is featured on the inside cover both front and back!

Just to be listed with these other famous names in quilting makes me giddy. Pam Clark, Margaret Solomon Gunn, Judi Madsen, Sue Nickels, Sue Patten, Sally Terry, and Judy Woodworth. I've taken classes from four of these ladies and have admired their work these past five years of my professional quilting journey.

Here is a bit more about my approach to the quilting on the two quilts.

'Birds in the Air'

Quilting on a two color quilt, the challenge is what color thread do you use.....using white thread on red will stand out and using red thread on white will really stand out. I chose to use So Fine! 50 wt. and put the stitches per inch up to 12 --the highest of the standard settings on my Gammill.

As I looked at the overall quilt, the small half square triangles (HSTs) kept appearing on the diagonal grid like you're looking through bathroom glass. So, I chose to put echoed lines. The lines that followed the piecing lines went smoothly using a ruler to help the diagonal. The entire quilt was stabilized stitching along those piecing lines.

And the quilt continues to live on...when a call came from the International Quilt Festival for red and white quilts to be part of their 40th celebration (Ruby is the color for 40 apparently) Linda, author of the book, submitted this particular quilt along with 5 others from the book and they were all accepted. So, it will be part of the
Ruby Jubilee: A 40-Year Celebration Exhibit
at Houston Quilt Festival 2014! Whoo Hooo!!

It will also travel as part of special exhibits that AQS will feature in their shows in 2015. So, I hope you'll attend at least one and give it a look!

I usually start on a custom quilt with my vinyl sheet and some drawing on top of the quilt to get an idea for the scale and how an area might look with a motif and fill.

 The basic structure of the quilting goes down first and I try to do as much continuously across the quilt as possible.

Below are a series of photos taken during the quilting process.


Only fills added to the edge of the center.

The initial lines stitched didn't seem enough, so I added more to fill some areas and let others pop.
 At the border I decided to just extend the basic grid and straight line work that was done in the center, but not do any further fill work. This was a much labored decision. Not adding the fills in the border seemed to be effective by letting the center be in focus and the outer part not so much with just the grid structure being quilted.


I chose to put off center, four blocks stitched in RED. It didn't create as strong of an effect as I thought it might, but it is there none the less. The red blocks made me very nervous because the red is such a high contrast on the white fabric. The white thread goes easier on the red, but is still a bit unnerving when stitching it.


'Double Nine Patch'

I started with drawing a grid pattern, on point, in line with the nine patch on point squares. Then started stitching the cathedral window or orange peel shape using the grid pattern drawn or the actual nine patch piecing as registration marks.

 Here are images along the way. Pay particular attention to how adding density to specific quilted areas changes what your eye sees. Your eye sees what is NOT quilted.

There is opportunity to do the quilting around the 9patch as you hit each pieced square.

Here is how I pass from left to right.

and then come back from the right to the left.
Detail of what happens at the 9 patch pieced block.
Then I came back through the orange peels to do the flower fill that mimics the grid of the 9patch blocks but through the center of the white block left in the middle of the red grid area.
I decided this was not enough at this point, especially when I realized who the other quilters were that had been asked to do quilts for this book. So, the other 'empties' got two different treatments, either a swirl or a dense fill of pebbles. This provided both a different relief and an alternate design. The pebble fills were around the junctions of 9patch blocks and the swirls were the others.
At the time I was able to do some continuously because they were touching so could just move to the next one, but I had to hop into new spots several times. I wondered if I had it to do again would I change anything? Likely just know my fill strategy and after the main orange peels were completed. Go back and do continuous fills with each one marked with a different pin or something so that I could remember what design I was doing in each.

 And that's how I did it! Thanks for reading.
I've ordered quite a few copies of the book for my shop, so if you're interested in buying one, stop by or leave a comment that you'd like one shipped to you and I will paypal you an invoice, be sure to indicate if you'd like it autographed or not. MSRP of the book is $22.95. All orders taken by Oct. 3 will receive free shipping and tax.





Monday, September 22, 2014

A Wrinkle In Time Challenge

When I first thought about this theme, "A Wrinkle In Time" ...I immediately thought of a project I had in my stash called Harvest Time --just simply the word 'time' triggered that. I got started on the project and someone mentioned the challenge was the title of a book and I thought, OH NO! So, I quickly started doing some research about the book and a particular word caught my eye. Tesseract.

I have not read the book, but read the Wikipedia overview and decided to jump at this particular 'shape' of a Tesseract and see what I could come up with. If you look at the Schlegel Diagram of it, it provides a great 3d perspective of the description. If it can be drawn, then surely I can make a quilt from that, right?

So, I took the image and uploaded it into EQ7 as a tracing image. I initially tried to just draw it on a circle grid with multiple rings and 8 spokes but I just didn't seem to be getting the points to connect right, and at this writing I'm not sure why I would have even tried to do that. Anyway, the EasyDraw screen allowed me to do what I wanted a bit easier. I wanted to create templates to just piece it together.

My first rendition kept it in the same color family but different shading.

Ultimately I decided to go with a prism effect and considered even more of the cross section impacts than my original shading.

Here is my coloration of that, and so I named it Tesseract Prism.

Print as templates based on the size you want to create it, tape 'em up, mark the colors, find the fabrics and start piecing. With the wonderful templates provided, it went together quite easily. Yes, I had to be careful with all the weird joins, but after going through the Skill Builder Sampler you could do it too!

With time running out, I decided to just ditch the surfaces and 'face' the edges to enter it in the show challenge. This was entered in the Walla Walla Valley Quilt Festival 2014 "A Wrinkle In Time" Challenge.

I believe I may want to work on designing some quilting that will show intersections of surfaces, so if you have ideas, I'd love to hear about them! This one needs more quilting, but for its original purpose it is done. I do think it will have a further evolution. Time will tell.

There was another Tesseract created for the challenge. Check out my page and go to the Photo Album Walla Walla Quilt Festival 2014 to see it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A challenge - done two ways

The Republic Quilt Guild aka Piece 'n Pals put up a challenge for this year's quilt show that takes place as part of the Ferry County Fair August 29-31, 2014.

Requirements: Any Star block, Churn Dash, Log Cabin (no larger than 1.5" unfinished logs) and House Block. 6" finished blocks, 14.5-15.5" finished dimension of the piece; recognizable amount of the challenge fabric (red rose tone on tone). Sandwiched, quilted and bound. Embellishments permitted. Hanging sleeve and name on the back.

Judging considerations: accuracy of piecing, neatness, cleanliness and adherence to above-mention requirements.

Hanging Sleeve on a mini?? ok.... ;-)

Hoping that once it is quilted and blocked the finished sizing (always smaller) will be understood.

I came up with two different designs within these parameters and was able to use ONE challenge Fat Quarter to make both. This is the red tone on tone rose print challenge fabric.

I enjoy these types of challenges to work within the limits, but be creative and think outside the box to pull it off.

The red/white one I finished the edge with a 'facing' (a first for me) and the sashings and border had star points that allowed another star in the center to give it 3 stars in the sky and parts in the corners. Apparently the star corner by the house made it look 'skewed', but it still won Judges Choice in the challenge. I'm linking up this design with the Red and White MAKE it challenge.


The quilting tried to emphasize the red bits and quilted down the white background quite extensively. To do again, I'd likely put some stars in the sky with the quilting. I was about to 'face' it and realized I had left the upper right corner of the churn dash unquilted, so had to put it back on the table and get it done!

In the picture window version, I used Lumiere Sateen for the sashing and borders. Bound it with Cotton Sateen. The log cabin block wasn't pieced very accurately and got a bit 'squify' in its squareness. I think given the size it would have been better to paper piece it to keep it square. Metallic thread was used in the sun and reflection in the water.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harvest Time

In 2010, Paintbrush Studios came out with a line of fabric of fruits and vegetables called Farmer John II. A lovely collection of colors and beautiful illustrations of the things we eat from the earth.

I had seen the free online pattern provided by the company, designed by Quilts by Nature Pattern Company and collected some of my favorite fabrics (not necessarily the ones used in the pattern).

My former living location--Walla Walla Valley--hosted the 2014 Quilt Festival with the theme "A Wrinkle in Time" (Sept 19-21, 2014) ....well, somehow just the word TIME made me think of this quilt 'Harvest Time' that I had saved for a future project. So, I got it out and went to work on it. Note: "A Wrinkle in Time" I later learned is the name of a book. Once I did a little research on that, I came up with another design on my own that I'll write about in a future blog post. Here it is prior to quilting with backlight (used a magnet to put it up on the door to the studio).

I found a few things, that if you want to make it yourself, you might want to know before you get too far into it. Be sure your printed pattern did not 'scale' to a size of block you don't want. It gives directions for 6" and 8" blocks so you can have a different sized result. Double check the first page you print of the paper piecing patterns to be sure it will result in the size you want. I re-printed ALL of mine (turned it over on the back and did it again that way I at least didn't trash my good foundation paper). Unfortunately I had already pieced two of those very intricate blocks to find out they weren't big enough. Ah well, it could have been the 'circular' ones, grateful it wasn't!

1. Make 8 copies of page #'d 5. There are two blocks illustrated on this sheet, but you need 4 for each block, and you need 2 versions of each block. So that requires 8 copies (not the 4 indicated on the pattern). The outside element of the 3 quarter pieces is not drawn correctly on the lower pattern on the page. Use the upper part again for those blocks. Easiest to just re-draw the stitching line on the lower ones to match the upper ones. If you don't do this, these lower two blocks 'watch band' fabric won't match up with the adjacent blocks.

2. Make 8 copies of page #'d 6. (not 6 copies as indicated) You need 4 on top and 4 on the bottom to make that border.

3. Page #'d 4 didn't print to give an unfinished 6 1/2" block. It was slightly larger. Just trim to leave 1/4" seam allowance on the blocks that had a point in the edge of the middle section and then center and trim the rest of the block to make sure you have a 6 1/2" unfinished block.

4. Block # 26 is illustrated in b/w and described different than the colored illustration. The Potatoes should be on top and the Watermelon 'behind' to create the woven effect in the colored illustration. You'll need to cut the opposite Watermelon/Potato fabrics based on what is written. It also seems that the 'hole' of the watch band in the middle of the 3 ought to be Watermelon since it is 'underneath' and not the background fabric as generically applied throughout the rest of the quilt.

5. Given the effect of appliqued holes for the watchband, how about doing reverse applique so that there is a DEPRESSION behind the watchband for the 'hole'? I did this by cutting a larger applique piece and basting it to the back of where I had cut a slit for the hole.  Then needle turned the watch band fabric and appliqued it to the garlic background fabric that had been basted behind it. Some cuts into the band were necessary to get it to turn under at the curves. I chose to do some more squared just because it was easier.

6. The thin grey band clasp means a lot of layers of fabric if you press towards the clasp. If you press away from the clasp, then the clasp will seem recessed and realistically it would be raised. What about adding 2-sided fusible interfacing and cutting the entire piece out? This wouldn't give it much lift, but would minimize the layers and is 'topically' applied. I actually pieced the ends into the seam very carefully and then fused the entire piece on the top. This meant that all of the blocks with a clasp I either only used the middle paper foundation and minded the issue described in #3 above, or just rotary cut the sides and center and then added the clasp as described.

Hints to the piecing: when you get to the center circle you can either cut 1/4s as the color illustration represents or use a whole circle to apply to the paper pieced blocks (4 in total). I found that doing this piecing by hand worked fairly well and I got better at keeping it circular.

I used Warm & Plush for the batting and a backing full of fruit and vegetables.

For the quilting I did an 'onion' type fill in all of the garlic areas with Wonderfil Invisifil (100 wt) off white thread, including in the watch band holes. All watch bands and centers were stitched in the ditch. Each watch face had hands quilted into it and sometimes other quilting motifs/fills to give it some depth. The hands and center were then colored in with a micron Fabric marker. I used a Wonderfil metallic to straight stitch just inside the edge of the clasp fused applique elements.

Maybe you'll see it at the WWVQFestival Sept 19-21, 2014.

I'm excited to hang this in my kitchen, finally!