Sunday, April 29, 2012

Free-Motion Roosevelt

This month's free-motion quilt challenge wasn't to use a specific motif, but rather to learn a technique for marking a particular design onto a quilt top for free-motion quilting. Excellent - there are a bunch of continuous-line illustrations that I've been thinking of adapting for use as quilting lines. The forthcoming Oscar Berger exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art was the perfect opportunity to put this technique to the test.

Here's the original image that I started with: 
Oscar Berger, Theodore Roosevelt, ink on paper,New Britain Museum of American Art
I traced this onto tulle using a black Sharpie:

I then positioned the tulle over a piece of white fabric and traced through it using an air-erase pen:

Et voilà! Quilted Theodore Roosevelt!
I will most assuredly be returning to this technique - glad to have it in my pocket of skills!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Bit of Gorgonzola

I'm just going to say this: I love this color palette, even though it came from such a gross photo (or maybe it's because it came from such a gross photo -- possibly it's the imp of the perverse appealing to my sensibilities here). I decided to use the fabrics that I pulled last week to make a wall hanging that I've had my eye on for several months.
"Color Wave" pattern by Nancy Mahoney, from Fons & Porter Love of Quilting, May/June 2011
Cutting the circles for this took an entire day and probably resulted in permanent hand damage (but don't we all suffer for our art?). 

I got everything fused down -- no hand applique for me! -- last night and started some of the quilting. I'm doing the suggested spirals in each circle, but I haven't yet decided what to do in the pale background.
This one already has a name: "I Do Like a Bit of Gorgonzola!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

NSQ Architecture Challenge

The annual challenge theme for Newington Schoolhouse Quilters this year is "Architecture." I spent a great deal of time last fall looking at some spectacular examples of architecture, especially the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, which is built from hexagons. That prospect was too daunting to tackle at this point (mostly since I procrastinated for too long) so instead I decided to work from a photo of the building where the University of Nottingham housed us for six weeks:
Second-Place Winner of the 2008 Carbuncle Cup, awarded for "appalling" British architecture:
Amenities Building, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus
This building may have been considered an eyesore by British architects, but we thought it was delightfully contemporary. We loved the high ceilings, the wrap-around windows, and I was impressed by the funky patchworky exterior. So, patchwork it is! Tonight I started piecing very tiny rectangles for the bottom of the building. Each segment finishes at only half-inch by one-and-a-half inch. I have approximated the lower windows and doors with some nifty architectural fabrics that I have had kicking around for years, but those parts aren't pieced realistically. Still, I'm pretty happy with a first night's work:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Progress in stolen moments

Despite the super busy-ness of this month, I have managed to get the rows of my scrap brick sewn together. I love this completely random effect - plans for quilting this 81 x 99" monster are underway.

I have also been mulling the Color Palette Challenge for April, which is based on a delightfully disgusting photo of a moldy pie. At this point, all I have done is pulled some fabrics, but I think I'm on track. This is a very rich earthy palette, and it seems like I'll finally have a use for a great fat quarter that my sister sent me a few years ago (the celtic-y print in the center). Not sure what I'll make yet, but I'll pull something together.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Challenging challenge

My journal quilting group is working on a "found objects" challenge, in which everybody brought in a little doodad of some sort for everyone else, so we all have the same pile of doodads from which to create a teeny (8.5 x 11") quilt. I confess that I am completely flummoxed by this pile of things. The napkin was my biggest initial challenge, but I think I solved that problem by cutting it and rolling it into some nifty elongated beads. But seriously...I have no idea where this is going, and it's due on Tuesday. Any thoughts, Faithful Readers?

Items for "found objects" journal quilt: paper napkin, bingo card, feathers, seed beads, pompoms, circle stencil (?), red mesh, silver mesh, olive lace, blue handkerchief, red candlewicking thread, cigar tie. (NOT SHOWN: small shisha mirror)

I'm severely overbooked this month with real work and eighteen hours of opera (plus sixteen hours of driving to and fro to NYC) and a newsletter and birthday planning. It's a good month to bypass the rainbow scrap challenge, because the color of the month is "light neutral" and I'm actually trying to save those up for some semi-planned larger scrap quilting projects. I will somehow manage to complete the color palette challenge, do the Craftsy blocks (my beloved hexagons!), finish a t-shirt quilt promised for a friend, and complete an additional "architecture" challenge for my guild chapter due on May 2. (And yes, I will sleep. But I probably won't blog a whole lot.)

My handsome baby (!) wearing his brand new (requested!) martini (!) shirt

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Color Challenge

Despite my very best efforts at procrastination, I did manage to complete a small project for this month's Color Palette Challenge. I loved the colors in the photo, but my thoughts early on in the month were trying to put too many pieces together so it took me forever to really dig in. I started with the beautiful logo from the National Museum of Iceland. My husband liked their logo so much that he saved a bag from our trip last fall; we're not in the bag-framing business, so I took it to a light table and traced out the pieces for an applique. I had a great piece of hand-painted fabric in just the right shades of taupe-y gray as the background, and a very dark almost-black for the applique itself. To bring in the fiery colors, I wanted to use a piece that I painted myself in a Sky Dyes class with Mickey Lawler several years ago. It had just the right volcanic look that worked in this palette, and that worked with the Iceland motif. In the end, though, I just used a tiny bit of the lava fabric as a two-sided border. Nothing fancy here, so the applique remains (off)center-stage.
March Color Palette Challenge: "Þjóðminjasafns Íslands" (12.5 x 12.75")
I did a simple echo quilting around the applique using a rayon thread variegated in shades of gray, and some free-motion flame quilting using a red/orange/gold/black variegated rayon in the lava border. There must be some Murphy's Law of variegated thread - everywhere I made a little goof, the color was very dark and visible at that exact point.

My husband has claimed this for his office (and, as I type this, I realize that he has now claimed both of my color challenge quilts - what the heck?!?).