Wednesday, August 24, 2016

EPP ~ WIP ~ AMH

Believe it or not, I did not touch my sewing machine yesterday!  Not once!  Instead, I cleaned the screen porch and basement/garage.  Fun stuff!  It's amazing how much schmutz accumulates.    

Today I thought I'd share with you my EPP ~ WIP ~ AMH project!  Translation: English Paper Piecing, Work in Progress, Anna Maria Horner.  

I'm always on the look out for a new EPP project.  The hardest part for me is finding a design with templates I can print myself.  When I saw that Jodi from Tales of Cloth was doing a Shape Family Design Challenge, I jumped in.  

The first thing you need is a pile of shapes.  I purchased two Hexie Shape Family packages (100 pieces per package).  What's great about these is that all the pieces work together. You are only limited by your imagination.  



I played around with all kinds of designs until settling on this one.  Deciding on fabric presented far too many options!  Do I use prints?  Solids?  A mix?  In the end I settled on two prints.  Anna Maria Horner's 'Pretty Potent', which are so perfect for EPP.  Any of her fabric works well!

 

Once I figured out which parts of 'Pretty Potent' I wanted to use, I carefully cut the shapes needed.  It was tricky, but I was able to get what I needed from two fat quarters.

I basted each shape with thread, my preferred method.  There is glue basting, but I find that it's harder to pull the templates out when the piece is finished. 



The joy of fussy cutting!  The center came together surprisingly quick.  I really wanted to use Kona Wasabi, which coordinates with the center.  The bright pink...I couldn't resist throwing that in the mix as well.



All my pieces were basted before I stitched them together.  I used three different print areas from the pink fabric, so it was a bit complicated and confusing.  Having the basted pieces done first, I could make sure each section around the center was in the right order.



I wasn't sure how I should group the shapes around the center.  I ended up making sections and stitched each one before putting the puzzle together. 



I may have went a little crazy on making sure I had each piece it the right place!  I numbered each section so they would be in the right order, I only had to redo one piece!  And then number each section to its proper place on the center piece.  



This is where it stands.  The big question(s)...what to do next?!  I could applique it to a piece of fabric.  I could add more pieces.  What color for the background?  What will it be?  

I was thinking of making it into a pillow.  I still have three 'ugly' pillow covers from my couch that need to be changed.  I'll stew on it for a bit...it will be something...some day...soon!   

 

Do you have a favorite fabric you like for fussy cutting?  One that has the best designs and shapes that no matter how you slice it, it's perfect?  Anna Maria Horner comes to mind, and Denyse Schmidt too!

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Scattered Petals ~ Reckless Abandon

I didn't mean for this to happen!  Another moment of 'yeah, but what if' and then I went down the rabbit hole...again!  

It started with a desire to use scraps from one project, in conjunction with orphan blocks from a 'way back when' project and with reckless abandon, I chucked it all for a ridiculous pile of scraps that were speaking very loudly to me! 

SCATTERED PETALS
19" x 19"
I just wanted simple triangles like these, to make simple little quilts, to have a simple day of sewing.

  

Imagine trimming each triangle and finding a pile of gold when your finished!  Sad but true, that's how I felt!  I keep thinking there has to be a point where a scrap is garbage, not worth the time or trouble.  And then I prove myself wrong.



With the petals pieced, I had to come up with a cleaver way to connect them.  Piece by piece, the the guess work began.  It seemed simple enough in my mind.



I soon found out the middle was going to be a big fat mess!  I fiddled with it until it was good enough.  Not great. 

With a little quilting, or a lot in this case... 



...the dense quilting with the lines crossing in the middle camouflaged the horrible center.  It worked perfectly!  



I free motion quilted tiles in the petals, extending a few lines of color to the edge. 



And of course I had to add a pieced binding to finish it off!  It's becoming a regular feature lately.  



This photo was shot accidentally as I was picking things up.  I almost deleted it without looking at it and I'm glad I didn't!  How it happened, I couldn't tell you, but I really like it!  I haven't had a good 'quilt porn' picture for a while!

 

I don't know why scraps excite me so much.  Maybe it's the challenge.  Either way I have yet to be let down by them and I'm sure they will keep making me crazy and pushing me to take it over the top!

Are you a scrap fanatic?  How small is too small?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inspire ~ One Step Further

I recently asked a question on Instagram:  If you had to describe your favorite quilter using one word, what would it be?  The response was really interesting.  Bold, honest, passionate to inventive, fearless and creative.  What was the one word repeated over and over? Inspire.  I couldn't agree more!  So, I took that word and ran with it!  


'INSPIRE'
34 1/2" x 18 3/4"

INSPIRE:  Fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

When I first tried this 'Faux Trapunto' on my Crosscut Quilt, I knew then and there I would be trying it again!  I had an idea and I was itching to test it out.  Again, I've never done real Trapunto.  I've adapted a method that works for me, or so it seems.  



Once I settled on this color combination, the design was pretty much set in stone.  I couldn't pass up the chance to do one of my favorite things...curves!  The jelly roll strips are Kona Cotton and they make curves a breeze!  Precut, perfect size and ready to go!



Even with this panel finished, I was far from confident that my idea for the Faux Trapunto was going to work.  Either it would or it wouldn't.  A risk I felt was worth taking.



The center panel was going to be the main event, but a border of some kind was needed.  I played around with ideas until something finally clicked.  Work it out as I go, my usual method.  I ended up making Confetti blocks and Improv blocks, and then connecting them with a third block featuring an imperfect strip down the middle.  No border for the sides, I have a plan for that!



Now was the time to see if my idea would come together.  This time I took my batting scraps and cut them to 1 1/2" wide.  I thought I would try rolling the strips instead of folding them like the first time.  I like that they were skinny, but it was a fail withe rolling!  Since I stitch the strips down the middle to keep them secure, they basically ended up flat anyway.  Ever changing and adapting!  

I was hoping the skinny strips of batting would make the cursive writing easy, and for the most part it did.  I used lots of pins while molding each letter!  I ran in to a few issues with the loops of the letters.  I didn't want to go over letters and have double layers of batting.  A few snips here and there helped.  There are a couple letters I'm not thrilled with like the 'P' and the 'N'.  Next time, right?!



Now comes the fun part, or the part that mattered the most!  Using my Hera marker, I traced around the letters to make quilting a little easier.  There was a lot of 'feeling' where the extra batting was while I stitched too. It was slow going!  Trying to get as close as possible takes time.



With a sigh of relief that the letters were done, it was time for the best part of quilting.  Waves, curves...organic lines.  Or I thought it would be the best part.  Turns out it ended up being a pain in the butt big time!  

The first go around including changing thread colors for each color.  I quilted above the letters, below the letters and each end of the letters.  I soon discovered that wasn't enough, it looked ridiculous with out the quilting in between the curves and loops of the word.  This is where it was frustrating and difficult, but so worth it.  It created more definition making the text standout even more.  Of course, there were a lot of threads to bury in the end!



The plan for the sides was a matched pieced binding.  Carry the design to the edge.

 

I love how it turned out and so happy I didn't define it with a solid binding.  Taking the extra time was and is always worth it.




Pretty cool right?!  I find myself touching the back a little too often!  The quilting and the different thread colors stand out more on the back.  I also decided to add a hanging sleeve this time.  

   

I've always wanted to do a Word Quilt and I suppose this will qualify!  I didn't have this technique in mind when I wanted to do a work quilt, but for now this will do!  



I tried to keep the pictures and process to the bare minimum for this post, believe me, I had what seems like a hundred.  I couldn't stop taking pictures!  I thought about doing a two part series.  In the end I decided to share it all at once, I just couldn't help myself!



With the current discussion on derivative work on The Modern Quilt Guild blog, there seems to be a lot of confusion.  Me included.  I'd be crazy to say all my quilts are originals of mine, when in truth inspiration from everywhere influences me and my decisions.  Ain't no shame in that!

Inspire, be inspired, use inspiration.  


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Over The Moon

Isn't it exciting when you finish a quilt?!  The long hours have come to an end and if we are lucky, every single second, minute and hour was worth it.  Besides the thrill of the finish, there is always that moment of sadness.  Sad that it's over.  This doesn't happen with every quilt, but there are those projects that you have enjoyed so much you want to keep going!

'Over The Moon' was mine!  

OVER THE MOON
15" x 15 1/2"
The size had a lot to do with it, and of course, the hand quilting.  I found myself looking forward to the moment when I could sit and pick up where I left off.  Hurry eat dinner, take the dog for a walk...quilting time!!  

   
There is hardly a spot untouched with quilting!  Over kill?  Over done?  Over the top?  I'll say over the moon and leave it at that!



I love the big stitches!  The more the merrier!  In each circle I tried to do a different quilt design. Some needed more stitches and some needed very little.  That might be the only part where I held back.



The right side I kept it super simple.  Vertical stitches and nothing more.  I'll admit, I wanted to do circles everywhere, but somewhere deep down inside of me wouldn't allow it.



I don't know for sure if the quilting on the back is suppose to look exactly like the quilting on the front.  Mine sort of does.  I know just enough to go all in, not enough to know right from wrong! 

Sometimes I think if I take the time to learn something the proper way, it'll take all the fun out of it! I know!  That's totally lame and maybe even a cop out!  But some truth in it for me.



I guess there was room for more quilting after all!  After machine stitching the binding on, I couldn't help but continue the circles into the binding.  I was going to do just a little, but before I knew it...there was stitching everywhere!

My first plan for the binding was to do a wide binding.  It's something I have wanted to do, but hadn't had a project to try it on.  I thought this would be the perfect test piece for it until I realized the circles would be compromised in the process.  Another time perhaps!



Since my binding situation changed, I had to go with a pieced binding.  Remember when I said the circles were a test and I used a piece of scrap linen for the background?  Turns out I had just enough left over after the circles for three sides of binding.  The blue side is a piece left over from my backing.  

I'm loving the texture not just on the front, the back is so cool!  It shows exactly why I wanted to try hand quilting! 

What I learned is, trying new is good...using scraps is always good.  Even though you are testing a new technique or tutorial, it just may turn out better than you think and becomes a really good 'thing'.   



You can check out the tutorial for the Six Minute Circle, the starting point for this quilt.  There will be more in my future!



This will be the next hand quilting project.  My daughter made this panel, a dye discharge technique using thiox.  I don't know what it means, it's what she told me and I'll take her word for it!  And you can bet I'll try to restrain myself with over doing it with the quilting.  I'll try, but no promises!

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