Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I put a bird on it

The fourth (although I haven't yet quilted the third) of my Modern Patchwork miniatures is done! I actually had some perfect bird fabric with just the right scale for this pattern. A simple meander for quilting took no time at all. The name is inspired by a Portlandia sketch (love that show!).

"I put a bird on it" (15" x 15") from  Elizabeth Hartman's "Neighborhood" pattern 
Great day at the FLQS today stitching with friends!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hunter's Star

As a reward for not buying any fabric in May (a goal I have completely missed in both June and July), I bought myself a Hunter's Star ruler. I decided to give it a try with some scraps on a small scale, before committing to a larger project. The top went together like a dream - the directions were very clear and easy to follow. I used up the last bits of the orange and purple prints to make the border. I love this Katmandu fabric by Mark Lipinski (which is, sadly, now out of print, but I'm still hoarding a few yards of some of the prints).
Feeling confident from my five months of tutorials and practice through the Free-Motion Challenge, I did three different patterns of free-motion quilting on this little gem. The "McTavishing" in the green doesn't show very well in photos or, to my relief, very clearly in person. It's not a bad first attempt at this design, but it was tricky going around all the orange stars. The straight river lines in the purple look a lot better.
On the stars, though, I used my recently acquired feathering skills. These stars are only about four inches point-to-point, so there is a LOT of thread in these little sparklers! I'm adding this photo at a little larger size, even though I think it's going to bleed into the sidebars, because it's really clear and I'm super psyched about how it looks!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Color planning

Giving some preliminary thoughts to the third Modern Patchwork miniature (Glam Garlands). I want to do this one in a "tertiary triadic" color scheme...

...so I started pulling some possible fabric choices:

Maybe the yellow-greens are more chartreuse (according to my color tool, anyway), but I like the way these colors aren't quite primary. Just a peek into the process phase...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Modern Miniature

I spent the day making the second miniature quilt, Roller Rink, from the Modern Patchwork book that I am so loving. I had some scraps of the four-value gray fabric that I bought several years ago when I took Anna Faustino's weaving class; this went together in a snap (it's only 16"). I quilted it in straight lines with nice long stitches using 12-wt white Sulky, in half-inch increments on the diagonal.

Roller Rink Miniature (16 x 16"), July 2012

Just for fun, I switched to yellow thread for one quilting line.
Although I typically steer clear of black and gold in the same quilt (sorry, Pittsburgh!), this is really a series of greys and I do like grey with yellow. This pattern is a terrific use for the brown and pink pieces of four-value fabrics that I have been hoarding until the right project comes along. I have enough of each to make either a cute little 36 x 48" baby quilt or a pair of table runners using this pattern.

Next up: a lengthy three-part basting session tomorrow afternoon. Time to get those pins back to work!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Flower power: DONE!

I spent some air-conditioned time today finishing the binding on the quilt that I whipped up using the Just Can't Cut It pattern. This pattern is super fast -- not a lot of piecing necessary when you start with a terrific large-scale print like this one! I curved the corners for two reasons: (1) because I have been wanting to try it, and (2) because I nicked two of the corners when I was cutting the 12.5" squares and I didn't have a single inch of extra fabric to cut better ones. But exigency breeds creativity, and I love how the curved edges give the quilt even more of a '60s/'70s look!

For the quilting, I used Elizabeth Hartman's Loopy Flowers design. I did take the time to tuck in the ends of every flower (they're not connected, so lots of starts and stops) but it was worth the (minor) effort. I love how these big messy flowers look with this big goofy print:

I haven't named this quilt yet...I'm sure something suitably inspiring will come to me soon. I generally try to make some vague, amusing-to-me reference to a movie, song, or some other element of pop culture, but not something so familiar that everyone would necessarily recognize it. (For example, I named my semi-famous unicorn quilt "Dear Barbara", inspired by a line by Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball.)

And now I find myself with a box of unused basting pins ready for the next quilt on Sunday afternoon, and a brand new copy of Elizabeth Hartman's (same as above - as I said before, I'm in love with her aesthetic) book Modern Patchwork. Let the weekend begin!

A Return to Craftsy

After neglecting the Craftsy Block of the Month program for several months, I spent some time yesterday making July's blocks, which are probably my favorites so far. I like these particular block patterns, AND I think I have gotten better at picking out fabrics for this "modern" look. I'm not convinced that all of my blocks will go together come October, but oh well -- they will at least be joined in their Tangerine Tango awesomeness.

July blocks for Amy Gibson's Block of the Month class on Craftsy.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July Free Motion

I really like the look of this month's Free Motion Challenge by Angela Walters - I love how the straight lines (the "tile" edges) provide some definition to a good all-over background motif. I was even more excited when I recognized this motif in the Tula Pink book that I've been poring over! I tried my hand at the tiling pattern on my blue squares that I'm doing for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. (That project has kind of fallen by the wayside, but I'm still doing the color squares to practice quilting and the placemats, although I'm hand piecing July's, so it's still not finished.)
I just did a simple meander within each tile, because I'm getting fairly comfortable with that basic motif and I wanted to be able to concentrate on the tile part of the design. What I discovered, though, is that the tile takes care of itself, and then defines just a teensy little area to quilt with whatever you like. Next time I think I'll try some tiny clouds or flowers, and eventually I might even be confident enough to vary the patterns in each tile. Thanks to Angela for sharing this excellent tutorial!

"Wild Thing" journal quilt

My journal group's topic for our monthly meeting was "Wild Thing", in honor of Maurice Sendak. Here's my little piece (with apologies to Mr. Sendak):

"Wild Thing" (July 2012, 8.5 x 11")
I had a lot of fun sifting through my mountain of selvedge strips looking for amusing slightly naughty words to use on this...I might consider a "ransom note" quilt in the future with this technique. (Tip, if you want to try: use plenty of Fray Check.)

I was particularly excited to finally find a use for the cute little girly that Marlene Shea gave us all last year when she was demonstrating how to emboss sheet metal for our art quilts - machine stitched right through it without even a hiccup.

My next journal goal is to start a series...I'm considering "Steampunk" (my 8-year-old's request), Sol Lewitt (there were more things I wanted to try), and Charlie Harper (which are extremely cute, but don't feel particularly artistic on my part, since I'm just basically copying). Any series theme suggestions, Faithful Readers?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nailed it

July's Color Palette Challenge is based on a Picasso painting:

I'm not the world's biggest fan of blue, but this deep cobalt is appealing. I decided to make a mini-quilt based on the Metropolis Quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's book Modern Patchwork. This is made from nine strips, which only took a few minutes to cut:

"Woven Tic Tac Toe" (19.5 x 19.5), from "Metropolis" pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.
Sew, slash, sew, repeat...fast, easy, and a great woven effect! Both of my boys saw this and said, "Wow, I love that pattern!" (but then hedged their enthusiasm with "of course I hate the colors"). They did agree, however, that the colors matched the printed photo of the painting. I did a nice tight square meander, a scrappy binding, and voilĂ ! Done in one evening, and with two full weeks left in July!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mega colors

I got a terrific book by Tula Pink from the Newington Library and whipped up this lovely little top in no time flat. Start to finish, this top took less than 24 hours: cutting one evening, rows at the shop the next day, sashing strips in the evening. I am in love with this trend of contemporary/modern quilting that uses huge chunks of gorgeous fabrics. Every single one of these fabrics was already in my stash, even the sashing (which I bought for something else, but it wasn't the right shade of lime). I was originally planning to use plain white as the sashing, but somebody suggested lime and I remembered that I had six yards of this - perfect! I'll use most of the rest on the back, which I'll piece soon so I know what's left for other projects.
Napping size (64 x 80") version of Tula Pink's Dreamweaver pattern. This is the top only - not yet quilted.

Perfect Quilt of Perfect Squares

A year or so ago, I saw a book of mathematics-derived patterns for crafting. One that appealed to me immediately was drafted for cross stitch, but I thought I could easily adapt it for quilting. It's based on the concept of "perfect square dissection," in which a square is divided into smaller squares all of different sizes. Easy peasy.

I decided to make the 21-square version, with all numbers divided in two to make reasonable size patches that finish into a 56-inch square quilt. I had a bunch of black and whites that I'd been collecting for nothing in particular, so I started pressing and cutting and had the pieces ready in only a few hours. (Hey, there are only 21 pieces in this quilt!) I spent a little extra time embroidering the Ganesh figure in black thread on white Kona, because I thought it balanced the batik panel that my friend Sara had given me, and I really like that Ganesh design -- it's also on my dining room in gold thread on a rich red valance. The whole top went together in only a couple of hours; the only slightly tricky part was figuring out which partial seams to sew, and in which order.

This top sat in my UFO bin for about a year, but I have been making good progress through that bin, so its number was up. I basted it two weeks ago, and quilted a very simple meander over the whole thing using Sulky Blendables in the "Piano Keys" color. I switched to plain black for the batik panel and plain white for the Ganesh square.
"Perfect Squares" (56 x 56")
Summary: I stone cold love how this came out. I'm eager to make this in different colors, from primary solids to Kaffe Fassett prints to batiks. I see this particular prototype as a wall hanging, but it would also be perfect for a baby in a sufficiently geeky family (Perfect Squares for the Perfect Baby!) I am planning to write up this pattern in case anyone else wants to make one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So many things to do

So much to blog about...VT quilt festival (wow!), new sewing machine (!!), finished projects, ongoing projects, new projects...

Here's a photo of some scrap blocks I have been working on (well...cutting, anyway) for almost a year. I finally sewed a few together. This one's going to take a while, apparently.
More interesting (to me, at least) things to follow...