Friday, July 23, 2021

Slice & Dice :: Much Better!

Every so often I start a project with good intentions and high hopes only to have it feel like a big flop!  Improv if a funny and fun technique that can be hit or miss, but with a little courage it can change in a matter of seconds.

15 1/2" x 17 1/2"

Looking at the final quilt you'd never guess that it only came together after having to slice and dice one little block to get me on my way!

I was in the mood for more improv circles and curves using a different color combination and came up with this.  It hung on my design wall and for weeks I'd look at it and feel...nothing.  Not one ounce of inspiration or desire to take it further.  I was actually thinking the trash would be the best place for it!

Then one day it was sink or swim!  Figure it out or toss it.  What's it going to hurt to slice it, dice it, quarter it, mangle it?!  Whether it worked or not didn't matter.  Something had to be done.

I ended with something quite different from the original block and it was enough to give me the inspiration and desire to take it further.  That's one of the reasons I love improv.  If you don't like something you can cut it up and alter it.

All that being said, I was excited to keep going and in the end I made a wall quilt that I love.  

A combination or curves, color, inset circles and triangles are some of my favorite elements to add to most any improv project.   

You'll notice that the gray fabric is all but obliterated!  The circle above is the only place where I left it.  I couldn't bring myself to use more and I love gray in quilts!

It wouldn't be complete without a lot of crazy dense quilting!  I cannot resist when I have a small project like this!

The back in all its glory!  I'm glad I used a dark backing so you could see the 'doodle' quilting.  Pebbles and matchstick quilting is a winner in my book.  

One of my dreams and desires is to take a design like this and super size it to a big lap quilt.  Seems simple, right?!  When it comes to improv my tendency is to always go small.  Hopefully one day I can change that!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Circle of Love Revisited :: Heart of the Home

I'm not going to lie...I love making my mini 'Heart of the Home' houses!  Big, small, one or two at a time, I just enjoy the process.  So it's no surprise I filled some down time with making another Circle of Love wall quilt.  

The first 'Circle of Love' I made was in December of 2020.  Naturally because it was the first it received a lot more quilting detail.  The excitement of having it turn out spurred me to go all out with lots of quilting detail.  With the second version, I wasn't quite as detailed but the main idea is the same.

20" x 20"

I still went with a rainbow of hearts, 3 1/2" houses, as well as different window treatments, roofs and chimneys for each dwelling.  One thing I added for this one was a sun smack dab in the middle!  You gotta give each one it's own personality I think!

The sun has eight (8) shades of yellow randomly placed around the center.  It gives this neighborhood a playful happy vibe.  With each house sporting its own charm I can't help think about how everyone is unique and is what makes a neighborhood special.  

Much of the fun of making this quilt is picking the fabric.  I cannot believe I'm saying that!  I usually agonize over fabric selections, but with can't really go wrong.  I tend to have plenty of small print scraps, and as you can see it doesn't take much to build a house of this size.  Finding eight (8) prints even for me is pretty simple.

As for the quilting, I stitched in the ditch around each house, heart, roof, and chimney.  Did a geometric star motif in the center of the heart and free motion loop stippling.  Ending with a geometric design around the perimeter 'neighborhood'!  

If I'm making single homes I get more detailed with the window treatments by adding tiny animals or people.  With the circle houses I don't find it necessary.  Plus, it would drive me crazy trying to find sets of animals or peoples times eight (8).  Which would result in me not finding the joy or excitement of making it.

The backing is a piece of fabric I got years ago from Ikea.  I love the funky geometric design and figured why not?!  For the binding I used a Kaffe Fasset stripe, at least I think it is.  And of course, I finished it off with my go to hanging system of corners and loops!  You can find my tutorial here: Hanging a Mini Quilt.  

I seem to be on a wall quilt craze right now!  I don't know about you but I go through phases like this.  I'll make a few wall quilts at  time, or runners or even a batch of mini mini quilts.  As much as I want to make a quilt, a real full size quilt...I don't have a plan or idea to work with right now.  So I'll fill my time with 'things and stuff' until I come up with a great idea!


Friday, July 2, 2021

'Hills & Valleys' :: Finished!

The sweet smell of victory!  You know that feeling!  Anytime you can claim a finish it's a great feeling and a victory in my book especially these days!  It might be a small finish, but one nonetheless!

15 1/2" x 15 3/4"

In my last post I shared what went into making this quilt.  The parts and pieces, the contemplation and process.  Now is the time for the finale by sharing the quilting of this one little quilt.

I love when the stars align and you feel like all the work you put into a quilt paid off.  This quilt is a mere 15 1/2" x 15 3/4" which gives me the opportunity to have some quilting fun.  Dense, detailed and free-motion!

Starting with the center I choose 1/4" vertical lines using a bright orange thread.   It was a great start and it set me up for the next section to tackle.

For the inset circles section I went with a 1/2" grid for part of it and continued with 1/4" lines for the rest.  Inside the circles I free-motion quilted a super dense swirl.  All very simple designs, but exactly what I was after.

What I like to call the 'hills' section, the improv half-ish circles, I went what looks like sun rays on the side.  Again, simple but effective.  

The top 'hill' section ended up with organic matchstick quilting.  When I have a quilt this size, or maybe any quilt for that matter, I often see and do the quilting in sections.  My mind goes there and I follow!  

The final section!  Naturally I went with pebbles.  The texture and look alone is enough to brave the free-motion adventure!

I used about 5-6 different thread colors, all 50 wt Aurifil.  One second I wanted contrast with the thread on the fabric, the next second I was all matchy-matchy.  No rules, right?!

The back is always a beautiful sight and I always add hanging corners for a simple way to hang a quilt.

For one fleeting moment I considered adding some kind of matching binding.  Thankfully I came to my senses and decided an orange binding would be just fine!

I am quite content and pleased with this finish!  Now if I could only try another color palette...

If you haven't had your machine serviced in a while...I highly recommend that you do!  My quilting was on hold while my big Janome was taking a well earned two week sabbatical.  While I missed having it by my side, I was blown away at the difference a deep cleaning and servicing made.  It was much quieter, smoother and the stitches are better than ever!  


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Ups & Downs :: Back on Track

It's been a while, but I'm back with a new project to share!  I'm not sure what happened to me or why I haven't posted lately.  It's weird because I've always loved writing blog posts and couldn't wait to share whatever I was working on.  I suppose we all need a break every once in a while.  

Since my last post I took my machine in for a deep cleaning.  While I could continue to piece things together, I couldn't quilt any of the pieces until I got my machine back.  It took two weeks and nearly went to three but one of the ladies who works at the shop told the tech that 'Jayne needs her machine today' and lo and behold...I got it back!  It helps to have friends in high places.  

What I'm sharing today I haven't quilted yet.  It's in the queue and I'm excited about the possibilities!

I'm back to my comfort color combination!  Pink, orange and yellow!  It's always filled me with happiness and has never failed me in any of the projects made with these energetic colors.  Coming up with a design or idea might take a while, but the colors never!

It started with a simple improv curve.  I was off to a great start and eager to make more!

And so I did!  Four perfectly imperfect curves that fed my need for a little improv magic!  These were the easy part, the hard part was figuring out what to do with them and what to make next.

There's improv where you have a concept and there's improv where you start and figure it out as you go.  I'm mostly in the latter category!

I thought a nice fit with the curves might be some small inset circles.  Once again, not perfect which was very much intended.  After a while even these changed form!

I also pieced triangles that at first I wanted to pair with the inset circles, but after sewing a circle to the top of a triangle it was plain and simply wrong.  What I love about improv is if it isn't working...slice it up and try something else.

I often stare (or glare) at the parts and pieces of an improv project for an undetermined amount of time until something makes sense and the design become clearer.  

The inset circles become double inset circles, the triangles become their own feature or in extreme cases I won't use them at all.

When I'm struggling with a design, walking away for an hour or a day is often the best thing to do.  The break often brings clarity to a design idea.  Fresh eyes!  Fresh mind!

Eventually I made the decisions needed to bring this quilt to an end.  Designing as I go, scraping ideas that aren't working and in the end feeling good about what I've done.  Some improv comes together easily and sometimes it doesn't.  Half the battle is not giving up!  Who doesn't love a good challenge?!

I fell in love with the center circle and would love to explore more of that on a larger scale.  Right now this wall hanging before quilting is 16" x 17".  I'm considering making circles that are that size!