Sunday, April 11, 2021

It 'SPARKLES'!

I couldn't have taken any longer to share my latest HST quilt version!  Few quilts excite me like a quilt made from HSTs.  When the idea of this version came to me, I couldn't wait to make it!  

'SPARKLE'
46" X 57"

I really love it!  Rainbow, gray, HSTs...all my favorite components.  In fact I'm so enamoured by it that I decided to write a pattern!  Not my favorite thing to do, but I think it's worth it!  

Hopefully by the end of the month or early April it'll be tested and ready for public consumption.  The pattern will be slightly different than this one, but it's essentially identical.


What I like about this design is all the color.  The HSTs have four different shades with the background in the center, and the 'sparkle' are the gray with the single color centers.


It's very similar to my Color Explosion quilt except that one has a zillion colors!  'Sparkle' is perhaps more refined.


I machine quilted the design using a light gray thread.  It was fun and tedious, but worth it after it went through the wash!  The size ended up being 46" x 57" after all was said and done.  The new version is a little bit larger.


I debated about adding a plain border or a gray border with the edge triangles extended.  In the end I didn't do either of those ideas!  The original design is exactly how I wanted it, so why mess with it?!


To call it 'Sparkle' or not to call it that...that is the question!  Why do names have to be so hard?  I'm really not creative in that department!


Let me just say that pattern writing is hard.  Hard for me!  If it wasn't for the encouragement from so many people in the social media arena and the support of my family, I probably would never take the pattern writing leap!   And I have to give a huge shout out to 
Yvonne (Quilting Jetgirl)  for the Technical Editing!  Her editing magic makes me feel much more secure and confident when it's all said and done!

Anyone who writes patterns...do you stress over it?  Do you have any tips to help ease the anxiety some of may feel when it comes to pattern writing?  Asking for a friend...šŸ˜‰!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Color Explosion Finish

While making this quilt I had the urge to change up this design and give it a make-over.  Which I did, but I couldn't show that one until this one was quilted, bound and washed!  That's jus the way I work!

COLOR EXPLOSION
51" x 62"

Many of you know that I make this quilt often, either in a lap size or baby quilt.  And you might know that I have a suitcase full of HSTs to pull from.  It's so much easier to have the HSTs at the ready where I can pull from when the mood strikes me!

I also love to quilt these using lines...a lot of lines!


This is a breakdown of how I quilted this recent quilt.  I section off the quilt either before I start or more often than not I'll quilt a section and figure out the next section on the fly.  Each quilt like this has its own quilting design as well an color layout, which makes each one unique.  I use 1/2", 3/4" and 1" lines every single time though!


By doing that it also feels like it's a new design and keeps it fresh and much less repetitive.


Another way to keep it new is using different colors of thread.  A small change, but if it inspires me that is always a good thing.  For this quilt I used the last of my Gray variegated thread.  And by last...I mean literally the last inch was used on the last line!


By adding the center squares you get a chance to see the intended design of the squares that are like colors.  Blues, greens, yellows.  Same color family, different shades.  


I'm always drawn to the 1/2" lines the most!  For some reason they hit all the highs for me.  Especially after the quilt is washed and the crinkle comes to life!  You might think the dense quilting would make a quilt stiff and uncomfortable, but that is just not the case!  I use Warm & Natural cotton batting and have never felt the quilting I do was too much. 


 As for the new and different design...it's finished!  I'll share that in a couple days.  Right now I'm remaking it, writing a pattern and hoping I don't go crazy in the process!  Wish me luck!

On an entirely different subject, I received my second Covid shot a couple days ago!  If nothing else it gives me a sense of relief.  I will continue with all the safety protocols when I go out as a precaution, but at least I can go out!

LINKING:

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Improv Curves :: Caribbean Waves

In between quilting a couple quilts and writing a new pattern, I was able to make and finish a wall hanging.  I've had the fabric cut and stored away for over a year and finally got around to do what I was suppose to do with it.

CARIBBEAN WAVES
15" x 19"

Small but packed full of color and quilting detail!  Amazingly, once I started it didn't take all that long to have the curves fully sewn.  The warm waters of a Caribbean island was my goal with this one and I think I just may have captured that vibe!


I used 35 colors from top to bottom.  Aqua, teal, white and dark blue all made an appearance in varying degrees.  I like to start by laying out my strips and pieces so I can get just the best flow of the colors.


I found about 6 thread colors that I was able to use for the quilting.  Quilting organic curves or matchstick quilting is always a fun adventure!  There is very little worries when it comes to putting the pedal to the metal!


The most important step to getting this ombre effect is having enough different shades to pull from.  More is better!

I opted for a faced binding for the simple reason that I wanted the 'waves' to go from edge to edge.  Almost like the waves are crashing off the the sides!!


With most improv, curves especially, there is waste!  Over the years I've fine tuned the method that works for me.  And if you know me...I waste nothing!  


A matched set...a wall hanging, pot holders and a mini wave quilt!  Still crazy after all these years!


This mini was made from the excess wave trimmings.  If I thought it was wide enough I set it aside knowing full well I'd be making a mini!  While not 35 colors, this 4" x 5" mini still has 18 different shades...and a faced binding!  

I wonder why I waited so long to use those stored away strips?!  Improv curves are always satisfying!  

LINKING:

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Always a Winner!

 There are certain designs that will never bore me, this design is one of them!  Not just the design, but the explosion of color never disappoints.


I added a border to the outside of this one in a medium gray, have it pinned and hopefully today will be quilting time!  

HST blocks are pretty simple and basic, but there are so many options when it comes to layouts.  Granted this quilt is the kitchen sink of colors, but even when using a limited color scheme it can be quite dynamic!


Once or twice a year I cut 2 - 4 squares from just about every solid I have in my stash and then make an enormous stack of half square triangles in every color combination imaginable.  See that little black case in the photo?  That's my treasure box!  I keep my HSTs inside and when the mood strikes...I grab it and make this quilt or a baby quilt in no time at all.

The key to this design is pairing four shades of one color to make a square.  At this stage it looks a lot like a hot mess and it's hard to figure out what the heck is going on.  


By adding the centers in each corner of the blocks it lets your eyes focus on the color groupings.  Otherwise it would be pretty overwhelming!

I use different center colors for each block and press the seams so that I can nest them together for a nice fit!

I always make my HSTs oversize so that I can trim them to whatever size I need.  And I press my HST seams to one side!  This is because I trim using the Bloc_Loc ruler.  It has a channel in the center that locks on to the seam allowing fast and accurate trimming.  Honestly if it wasn't for this ruler I don't think I'd have a suitcase full of HSTs!


By cutting and pairing so many squares together, I always have a huge selection of colors to work with.




I've been making this design for years.  While many people don't like to repeat designs, I can't help it when it comes to this one.  Each one is different in the end.  I don't have set rules for color, squares or even quilting.  

Much as I love it, this time while I was making it I started thinking of other options!  And we all know there are times when that can be dangerous!  I couldn't help it and I jumped into another project practically before the last pin snapped into place on my quilt sandwich!  


Sneak peek!  It'll have a gray background...but wait there's more!  Sorry you'll have to wait for a bit to see that one!  I gotta a lot of quilting to do!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Drunkards Path Circle Quilt

I happily have a finished quilt!  I had to let it sit for a while until I had the basic plan which means very little in my world of quilting as my ideas seem to change practically before I thread my machine!

52" x 64"

Right off the bat I'm going to say this was a super difficult quilt to photograph!  Between the gray and the neon, I wasn't able to achieve an accurate photo.  I don't have proper lighting either from the sun or alternative lamps.  I did my best considering what I had to work with!

Once all the blocks were pieced I arranged them in a layout that I thought worked.  The top went together quite fast.  Each block ended up being 9.5" and for the most part they all lined up pretty well.  


The Drunkard Path blocks went together without too much trouble.  For the most part they all formed circles!


My quilting plan was to keep it simple.  And like I said as soon as the machine was threaded...I had another idea that would involve a bit more work, but worth it in the end I think!  With the exception of the six (6) neon and gray circles, I basically quilted pie slices throughout the quilt.


These blocks got the 'special' treatment!  I stitched in the ditch around the circle and then quilted a star/compass in each one.  I knew it would take extra muscle and work, but in the end I think it was totally worth it.  By the time I finished quilting there were quite a few threads that needed to be buried!


I used Kona Bone for the backing which seemed to work even with gray as the background on the front.  

Let's talk about the border!  I felt I needed to increase the overall size of the quilt so I choose to add a border.  It ended up being three (3) rounds.  The first was a 1 1/4" (finished) strip.  Next I decided to go wild and add more neon!  That round ended up being 3/4" (finished) and accentuates two of the corners.  The width of the neon pink circle determined why I went with such a thin border piece.  And finally I finished it off with a 2" (finished) border on the sides and a 3 1/4" (finished) border on the top and bottom.

The concern I had with adding three borders was that it might become wonky.  For some reason it stayed straight and the quilting was a breeze!


My instincts when it comes to quilting is usually to do a lot of dense quilting.  It was difficult not follow my usual method.  I had to constantly remind myself that it was okay to do something different.


In the end I love how it turned out!  I scratched my 'circle' itch for the time being and got to use more of my neon pink stash.  This was the first time I did a double Drunkard's Path block, but it won't be the last!  While I initially had difficulty with getting things to line up while piecing, I figured it out and think I have a much better understanding of how to tackle the process.

LINKING:

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Playing With Scraps

While I'm waiting on a brilliant idea (or any idea) on how to quilt my Drunkard Path quilt, I decided the best thing I could do was play with the scraps and see if I could make something out of nothing!

When making Drunkard Path blocks there is always a lovely pile of scraps that happen no matter how careful you are not to waste valuable fabric real estate!  Orange peel shapes seem to be the predominate shape scrap left after it's all said and done.  My mission was to take the scraps and see what I could construct, configure and imagine.  I think most people might have thrown the scraps out, but not me!  

ABSTRACTION
16 1/2" x 22"

Instead, I worked through the pile and created a fun quilt that let my imagination go wild!  Which after making a quilt that's all about accuracy and precision it can be a nice diversion and clears the mind.

The fabric in this quilt is Kona Ash Gray and Michael Miller Neon Pink.

I really enjoy the process of mindless sewing.  Most of the time I don't really have any expectations or clear ideas when I start a project like this.  I cut, sew and repeat until it's time to puzzle pieces together.  At that stage ideas start to form and I can begin to figure it out.  Perhaps that's a crazy way to work, but who's to say!


You can see how the orange peel shapes were used to create some of the shapes.  I didn't want the neon pink to overwhelm the space so I tried to keep it at a minimum.


When I finished the center I decided I'd inset it into a large Ash Grey piece.  I did a wonky oval shape and did just that...which worked but I didn't like it.  It was too stark.  Not only that but by the end I could have saved a lot of inset circle headache and just added strips on all the sides.  

The left side really brought it together for me.  That's the beauty of improv!  Don't like where it's going?  Cut it off and do something else!


I'm not a great free-motion quilter and my capabilities are limited, but I'll never back down or shy away from it especially when it's a small quilt like this.  I can do whatever I want, and in the end be very happy about it!


I didn't quilt on any of the pink, just the gray.  I might have had I had a matching thread or something close.  


Lastly, the binding.  I considered doing a faced binding for a minute or two, and then thought better of that idea.  Half and half with the neon/gray but take the time to match one little spot!  Matching the binding was the only precision skill in this quilt!


Now that this is finished and all the scraps are used I can move on to quilting the Drunkard Path quilt!  I don't plan on doing 'crazy' with the quilting, so expect straight line geometric quilting!

PEACOCK PARTY   TGIFF ● WHOOP WHOOP FRIDAY

Friday, February 26, 2021

Time Warp!

Where did time go?!  I cannot believe it's the end of February already and I also cannot believe I spent 8 days with zero, zilch, zippo sewing!  And then let's not forget there was the virtual QuiltCon Together show going on as well!

Many of you know that we quarantine for two weeks in order to spend time with my daughter's God-Children.  There are three of them including the mom ranging in age from 7-1 1/2 years old.  We take Covid very seriously and both our families take extra precautions so that we can all have visits.  

We usually spend three or four days together and then they go back home.  However this time we had the added bonus of snow!  Snow and ice to be exact!  Now, Mid-Tennessee doesn't often see snow except maybe a dusting once in a while.  This time was a bit different and frankly, a very nice surprise!  


It was a beautiful scene!  I love watching the snow falling and how quiet it becomes outside.  Inside was a different story!!  With the roads too treacherous to drive, our 3 day visit turned into 8 days!  The good part was there was snow for the children to play in!  They loved it of course, and it helped getting them outside to play.  

I think we all had a blast and we sure love having the children here!  We are always thankful for our visits.  However...when you aren't use to it...it can be exhausting!  We look forward to the next visit of course, this time without snow!

All that being said, I didn't have one second of sewing in 8 days!  Truthfully the first several were a welcomed change.  But I was going through withdrawals by day 4!  Luckily those days were spent tooling around QuiltCon Together!

I was luckily enough to have two quilts in the show.  QuiltCon is the only show I enter quilts in mostly because don't know any others to enter! 

VITALITY

BEHIND THE SCENES

I understand why a virtual quilt show had to happen and not that I would have been able to go the the show had it been in Atlanta like it originally should have been, but it was nice to see the quilts.  I didn't sign up for classes or lectures...I just looked at all the quilts!  They were great eye candy, but it was a little bit of a let down.  There is nothing like seeing people, their quilts and all the detail in person.  Next year...I hope!

Now that I was finally able to get back to sewing I got to start a project that I've been thinking about for a while now.  Neon pink, Cotton + Steel and Kona Ash!  Couldn't be a better combination in my book!


And of course circles AKA Drunkard Path blocks!  I don't have a lot of the old Cotton + Steel fabric with neon pink left, but it was time to use it.  It just was.  The neon Pink is a Michael Miller fabric that is no longer available.  I bought several yards when I saw it on sale and then realized it was not going to be around for long.  


I drew up a couple blocks in EQ8, printed the templates and began cutting.  By the way, there are a couple prints in the mix that aren't Cotton + Steel, but have neon pink in them!


The blocks are suppose to be 5" finished and an 8" circle.  I always have issues with the edges of the blocks lining up.  I do the crease in the center, often glue my blocks, but they don't always end up perfect.  


I think in the end it might because I don't manipulate (pull!) the fabric enough.  Truth is, in the end it doesn't matter because I'll trim all the blocks to whatever size they need to be.  


Many of my designs aren't set in stone so I'm able to go with the flow.  I make it up as I go!  Which seems to be my way!

Hopefully I can make progress today and soon enough have a finished quilt top to share!!

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