Thursday, June 28, 2018

Killed it :: And Not In A Good Way!

After all these years of quilting you'd think the 'don't rush' lesson would be seared in to my brain by now.  It should be something I don't have to remind myself to do and should be second nature!  Wish that were true!

Was it really back in February when I went on our guild retreat?!  (Retreat Packing) Seems like a lifetime ago.  Besides a couple large quilt projects that I brought along, I also included some small paper pieced projects to break up the tedium. 
7 1/2" x 7 1/2"
I made a pink 'J' using the Geometric Alphabet from Quiet Play.  It was hanging quietly on my design wall for months.  Just waiting and waiting and waiting.  I had just finished quilting a large quilt the other day and with a bit of time on my hands I thought I could knock this out once and for all.

Because it was small, and you would think it would be a quick quilting finish, I decided to free motion quilt and use these threads.  I've had them for years and frankly just looking at them was good enough for me.  But in my moment of weakness I decided I'd use the shiny pink and the metallic silver for something different.  It was going to be quick...right?!

First I'll say this, the pink thread was not a problem.  It worked like just as it should.  I did use a 50wt thread in the bobbin which was about the only thing I did right.  The metallic thread was horrible!  I've knew enough to about metallic thread to adjust the tension, but even that didn't help me!

I used the pink thread first and flew through the sections with that I wanted pink.  At that point I was thinking that I had it nailed!  I'd be done in no time now!

Then the metallic nightmare began.  I'd start free motion quilting and it would break.  At the beginning I was trying to do things properly by picking out the stitches and starting again.  I quickly grew frustrated and threw that idea out the window!

Break, start again, break, start again...I finally just snipped the thread where it broke and kept going.  I didn't care that it may unravel.  I didn't care that it wasn't going to be perfect or properly done.  It was a tiny quilt that would live in my sewing room and was for my pleasure only!  

By the time I was near the end, what skill I had in FMQ had greatly declined!  I was so glad it was over by the end!  I don't care what anyone says...I will never use metallic thread's going in the trash!

Thankfully I used a fabric where you can't see the quilting!  That's usually the best place to see quilting detail and I'm always happy to show it!

For those who use metallic thread successfully, I'm in awe!  It just didn't work for me!  I feel like I've been traumatized from the experience!  


Other than that, I love my 'J'!  I'm totally good with the imperfections.  I wonder if I'll look at it and have flashbacks!  PTSD?!  Well, that's a little too dramatic!

Have you been ever been frustrated by a project to the point of not caring how it turned out?  Or did you take a deep breath and made it work?

If this was a large project (and not metallic thread) and I was having issues, I most certainly would have adjusted what needed to be adjusted, ripped out what needed to be ripped out and made it work.  I didn't feel the need to do that with something that was small and seemingly inconsequential.  

I could have never shared this screw up and no one would have known how I let quality control go by the wayside.  But sometimes things don't go quite as we planned and you have to either adjust, give up or do the best you can and work with what you have.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Louver :: The Finish

The moment we've all been waiting for!  I feel like all the hype leading up to this 'unveiling' might be a big fat let down!  And with the last two blog posts about this technique...I may be walking the line on too much all at once!

The truth is, I was having a heck of a time getting photos of this quilt.  Either the Kona Ice Frappe was too washed out or I couldn't get good shots of the texture.  I believe this might be a quilt that needs to be seen in person in order to get the full effect of the texture, how the 'twists' change depending on the angle you are looking at it and how it feels to the hand.  My hope is to enter it for QuiltCon 2019.  Even then there is no guarantee it'll get accepted!  

Without any further 'hype' and build she is!

35 1/2" X 45 1/2"
'Louver' is so named because it reminds me of the slats of a venetian blind.  By changing the angle of the slats it changes the amount of light that gets in.  While my quilt isn't letting anything get in, it does change from different angles.

The 'textured twists' also have an optical illusion associated with them.  One side of the piping is sewn up and one down.  You can change the illusion depending how you iron it.  I've pressed different curves into each panel giving it a wave effect.

Where the twist happens it becomes darker and stands out in a very interesting way.  With this quilt and the two mini quilts (Huge Progress #1, Blue Wave #2). 

I've been imagining other ways to use this technique.  I love to explore and experiment!  Pushing the envelope is nothing new in quilting, and it certainly has been a driving force in many of my quilts throughout the years.   Right now, this is my 'thing', my obsession!

I used Aurifil Mint Ice thread (#2800) for the quilting.  Mint Ice is a very light, light green.  It's almost looks light grey.  The 'textured twists' being what they are, quilting over them would be a disaster and ruin the effect.  It was super difficult to line up each color across the quilt.  You know how easy being a scant off on any seam adds up throughout a quilt and throws off lining up blocks.   It was no different with this quilt!


I dealt with that issue by quilting organic curve lines.  It was the perfect way to cover up any issues with the lines being off and it frankly, I love how it turned out!  I happen to be a big fan of dense quilting!

I probably took a hundred pictures of this darn quilt!  I kept thinking I could do better, capture the detail, let you could touch it with your eyes.  Whether or not I was fun for the first fifty photos!    

It's a simple design.  Basic rectangle panels divided with sashing.  Hopefully I elevated the simplicity by the detail.  

I can't stop running my hands across the twists!  Clean hands are required!  And I continually walk around it and grab a peek from different angles.  

It has become much more than I thought it would be when I started this adventure.  There have been times when an idea falls flat.  In fact, I had one of those moments yesterday!  When it works, it's magical!  

I hope all the hype was worth the wait!  

I know there have been so many of bloggers affected by not getting notifications when someone makes a comment on their blog.  Rumor has it the problem is solved.  Here is the link to that claim:  Blogger Help Forum
I have tried and when I comment I get not one by two notifications.  My concern is, and I don't know how to check it to be certain, when someone comments they are asked to subscribe.  I don't want you to have to subscribe to leave a comment.  It's ridiculous!  If that happens to you....Please, email me and let me know!  
You can reach me here: jaynebug {at} comcast {dot} net

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Blue Wave :: Scrap Mini #2

I haven't had a chance to photograph the large quilt yet, so I thought I'd go the 'scraps before the original' quilt route this time.

16 1/2" X 17"
For this quilt I went with improv wave strips and a dark blue background using Kona Nightfall.  The trick here was to get a good curve and still allowing the 'textured twist' to show.

Except for the strips on the left and right, it worked.  The outside strips ended up having one straight edge and one that was curved.  Yet again, they became scraps from scraps.  You just can't let it go can you Jayne?!  (no...I cannot)

I am shocked that I didn't have a dark blue thread in my stash!  I ended up using Aurifil Delft Blue (#2730) which I don't hate!  

I quilted curvy lines from top to bottom.  Some areas were left open, some areas were super dense by the time I finished. 

If you haven't tried organic curves or even straight lines, I would encourage you to give it a try.  It's a nice change from perfection, but I'd argue that it is still perfection just in a different way!

The back highlights the quilting in a completely different way!  As you can see, I didn't quilt at all in the textured twist strips.  It didn't really need it.

By the time I show you the original project, you'll be so sick and tired of it you may not even look!  Sorry about that!  If you know me, you know I latch on to a project and keep going until every scrap is gone.  That could mean 2 quilts, 3 quilts or more!!

If you are on Instagram, you know about 'stories'.  Did you know you can do polls with stories?  I bought this fun little rainbow flower pinwheel and asked in my poll 'Do You Love Rainbows'?  I was surprised to see there were 14% of the people who did not...What?!  How can you not love rainbows, love color...but, the good news is 86% do love rainbows!  

So I will informally ask you...Do You Love Rainbows? šŸŒˆ 

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Huge Progress :: Plus A Mini Quilt

If you remember last month, I started a project I thought was going to be laborious and tedious.  My post 'Tedium Begins' shows you exactly what I'm talking about.  It had all the makings of something that was going to be time consuming and most likely push me to the limit.  

I'm happy to say that wasn't really the case when it came time to sew!  It really was an intense time cutting and pressing all the pieces, but the main part, the part that really matters wasn't quite as bad as I had thought it would be.

Perhaps the hardest part was making sure I got all the beautiful folded strips in the right order on each panel I was making.

Writing numbers on each strip with a black sharpie and taking my time paid off!  I ended up with four big panels to work with.  Each panel ended up being about 18" x 22".  When I first started cutting and piecing I was worried I wasn't going to have enough to work with for the quilt.  

Turns out I had plenty!  So much left over that I was able to make two mini quilts and then some!

This is my first mini made from the scraps.  I kept it simple, light and worked with what I had on hand.

15" X 18 1/2"
The strips finish at 1/2" and 1/4" wide.  Even though the strips were super skinny, I was still able to give the 1/2" strips that signature 'textured twist' to them.  And that made me happy!

It was certainly a fun exercise in tiny piecing!  One that I always enjoy immensely!

I quilting this one using the best of both worlds.  Free motion pebbles and ovals and straight line matchstick quilting.

As you can see, some of the FMQ ended up being a little funky!  It matters not at all to me!  I will most likely never become great at FMQ, but it certainly isn't going to stop me from doing it!

The background fabric is Kona Ice Frappe.  I pulled out some thread and settled on Aurifil Pale Green #2880.  Normally I wouldn't go green with this fabric, but it matched and in the end blended perfectly!

Binding is always a place where we can add a little extra zing!  Even something as simple as yellow, orange and red pieced together gives an added visual.

The second mini I made will be another post, another day.  I also hope to get some pictures of the quilt in the next day or two so I can share the main event with you!

I'll leave you with a couple fun and interesting pictures!

A warped view of the panels and...

The near perfect pressed panel back!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Scrap Magic :: Bits-n-Pieces

As promised, I'm sharing my finished table runner that I made from scraps.  Scraps from a secret project that has since become 'not' a secret project!  That project is here:  Scattered, and the process of how I used the scraps from it is here:  Improv Scraps.  

I'm a sucker for using every last piece I can and its not unusual for me to use the 'cast off' pieces and finish it before the original project.  When I was making the panels for the Scattered quilt, there was an excitement brewing inside me as I trimmed down the blocks and saw the scraps grow!  Gotta love a challenge!

Stained Glass
14" x 54"
I use gray as a background in so many projects, don't I?!  Usually I go with a very light grey, but decided to use the charcoal gray leftovers for this.  And I'm super glad I did!  It makes me want to replenish this one again. 

The black binding gives it more definition, or frames the pieces as if it were a stained glass window!

I quilted a combination of straight lines and free motion pebbles using a dark gray thread.  

You can see the quilting a little better on the back.  Pretty simple and easy to do!  The back is three different shades of gray pieced together.  I often have large scraps laying around that aren't large enough for one project, but when pieced together they certainly are!

Scraps of all sizes can become something.  By adding a larger piece of fabric to a small piece on one side or all sides become instantly more manageable.  Try it!  Once the piece is bigger you can trim it into a shape such as a square and piece several together.   

You could add strips between each scrap and make a long row and leave it as is, or it could be chopped up again.  The hardest part is letting go and letting it happen when faced with a golden pile of bits-n-pieces! 

This type of piecing and playing with scraps isn't every ones favorite thing to do.  You may look at it and think 'what the heck was she thinking'!  Imagine if we all did the same thing, imagine how boring that would be!

I tend to appreciate a style, theme or technique regardless if its my thing or not!  Its about the journey, the dedication, the time and work that goes in to a quilt.  

If it weren't for our community and it's support of one another, we wouldn't be who we are now or who we will become in the future as quilters.  So, a huge thank you for all the support I've received over the years.  This community has made me a better quilter!


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Bee Inspired 2018 :: Chutes & Ladders

Wheeeeeee!  Play time!  This month our Bee Inspired prompt was from Audrey @artandstole, and it was a fun one!  

Chutes and Ladders is a game most of us are very familiar with.  Audrey requested something to climb and something to slide down using a blue background and as much color as our hearts desired!  My heart desired it, at least for part of it.

I was excited when I finally had the time to start this prompt.  It was sure to be a fun one.  The blocks needed to be at least 12" and the ladder/slide needed to reach from one side to the other.  

14 1/2" x 17 1/2"
First up was the 'chute'!  I had no idea where this was going to go or even if it would work out.  Improv can be a challenge!  I love when improv takes me on a journey.  Having a basic idea to start, figuring it out as I go and then seeing where it takes me.  

I wondered, if I had my very own slide what exactly would that look like?  Certain it would be a beautiful bright one.  Something with a little kick to it, but nothing that would cause bodily harm!

I started with bright pink, because...I like pink.  I also like pink and orange together.  The 'sit your butt and slide part' did not come to me right away, so I let it sit until the next day.  I just couldn't find a color that would give this slide the punch I wanted.

The next day it an idea did come to me!  What could be brighter than a rainbow?  I pulled my colors and viola! It happened!  


I pieced together the rainbow and promptly sliced out my slide.  I wanted my slide to flip me into the air at the end where I could fly out of it and land on my feet!  Well, if I were much younger...I wouldn't want to break a bone!

Next up I had to tackle the ladder.  My first thought of a ladder was a crooked one.  I was firmly embedded in my brain and I couldn't shake it loose!

14 1/2" x 14 1/2"
The picture in my head was of a funky old ladder.  You know how wood gets old and lichen (moss) starts growing on it after being left outside?  That's what I was after.

I used two green shades for the rungs and added the blue background in between.  

My ladder was also going to need perspective.  So, I made my top sections start small and gradually grow wider at the bottom.  And with that, I sliced in the sides and added the background.  

A super fun challenge and I'm excited to see how Audrey puts these blocks together!  It's sure to be a fun and amazing 'game board'!

You can check out my previous Bee Inspired posts here:

Next up is another inspiring prompt, this time from Heather @quiltachusetts !  Terrarium Blocks!

You can check out all the blocks on Instagram here:  #beeinspired2018

My Bee Mates are amazing! 

Shelby @godshomemovies 
Jayne @twiggyandopal 
Audry @artandstole 
Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Christine @ccpquilt 
Jenny @pappersaxsten 
Shelagh @stuartmoorestextiles