Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fractal Friendship Star mini quilt

Fractal Friendship Star, measures 18" x 18"

Back in January I came across this photo on Instagram and immediately wanted to make a quilt out of it:

Photo by ParisianFloors on IG

A month or two later Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl and I decided to swap mini quilts again and I knew that photo would inspire the quilt for her.  Our guidelines for the swap were to push ourselves out of our comfort zones--for me that meant doing a quilt with straight line quilting (instead of my usual detailed and dense free motion quilting) and for her that meant doing detailed free motion quilting (definitely go check out the gorgeous quilt she made!  She killed it!).  I drew out a quilt idea and figured out fabric requirements:

Fractal Friendship Star: quilt designing, size of blocks and fabric requirements.

Next I had to pick fabrics, which I really struggled with.  Finally I decided to use some Artisan Cottons by Windham Fabrics that I won through Hawthorne Threads earlier this year.  The fabrics are a shot cotton--meaning the warp and the weft fibers are different colors that create a really lovely shimmer.

Fractal Friendship Star: checking that the layout works!  The smallest squares are 1", and finish at 1/2.

It was pretty simple to piece, though lots of little squares!  There are 96 of the smallest square, but they came together into 4-patches quickly.

Fractal Friendship Star: Keeping my squares organized.  Yes, I pinned EVERY seam intersection.

Actually piecing the whole thing was all 4 and 9 patches!

Fractal Friendship Star: Piecing together the quilt top.

I like how this photo shows how the fabrics change depending on the direction of the dominate fiber color:

Fractal Friendship Star: basting.

I did try dense straight line quilting, but ripped it out because I really didn't like how it camouflaged all my careful piecing!  In the end I went with just stitch-in-the ditch!  I used Quilter's Dream wool batting for the light weight loft, which works well with the sparse quilting:

Fractal Friendship Star: finished quilt

It was a little strange only doing straight line quilting, but this was a definitely a case of Less Is More!  I'm much happier with each of those squares standing out.

Fractal Friendship Star: detail shot of the 1/2" and 1" squares.

Here's the back, I like how it turned out too!

Fractal Friendship Star: backing.

I was lucky enough to be able to gift it to Yvonne in person during our Oregon beach vacation (you can see pictures of our sewing vacation on Instagram: #YandROregonBeachRetreat)!  

Fractal Friendship Star: puffy squares.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wholecloth Quilt Challenge with Jess

A while ago I came across an interview with street artist/muralist Kelsey Montague (IG: kelseymontagueart).  Immediately I was inspired, and my brain started working out how I could turn those wings into a quilt and how it would look.  Once I realized that I was serious about making it into a quilt I knew I needed to get artist permission, especially since I'd like to show this quilt!  I emailed Kelsey and explained my idea and asked if using her art as inspiration would be okay.  She gave her blessing and I've been itching to start ever since!

But I was so intimidated by the scale of this project!  To make large enough wings I knew it would need to be queen sized, and the largest wholecloth quilts I've made were wall hangings:

Recent small wholecloth quilts from my Mythological Creature series.

Earlier this year while chatting with Jess at Quilty Habit we both mentioned having large wholecloth quilts planned for this year and she suggested having a friendly challenge between us (mostly as a way to encourage and motivate each other!).  Finally this month we were both ready to start the challenge!  You can follow our progress through our blogs (see her intro post here) and on Instagram under #wholeclothquiltchallenge

So, to get started I finally picked out fabric and threads!  I chose to use the new wide backing Luxe sateen solids from Michael Miller and a variety of 28, 40 and 50 weight threads from Aurifil.

Michael Miller Luxe in Fog and Charcoal, and a selection of Aurifil threads in teals and greys.

Aurifil has generously agreed to sponsor the threads for this project, I am so excited to get the 28 and 40wt threads to play with!  

Jess and I will be checking in on our progress about once a month, but you can also see real time photos on Instagram (Jess: QuiltyHabit, me: quiltsNfeathers).  My next blog post will include the sponsored Aurifil threads and progress on the wings design.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ombre Stars (mini quilt swap)

A few months ago the other ladies in the Blue Moon Quilters group (Yvonne at Quilting JetgirlAfton at Quilting ModSara at Blue Quail Studios) and I decided to do a swap using the V and C Ombre fabrics.  We were inspired by a swap we saw happening on Instagram, but wanted a smaller group to swap with.  Smaller groups seem to have better results in terms of quality and each person taking responsibility for their part in the swap (at least in my experience, but I do know many people have had amazing success in larger groups!).

Ombre Stars quilt, measured about 18" square, I think.

I made this quilt during a sewing slump and at times felt like I was dragging myself through the process.  Honestly if there hadn't been a deadline I wouldn't have finished it this summer at all.  But I pushed through and enjoyed it as much as I could (and got it done in time!).

Ombre Stars quilting detail.

To make the stars I followed the Sparkle Punch Quilt tutorial, but sized things down so I would have 4.5" finished stars.  I played with the layout a lot, but settled on the saturation gradient so the stars look like they are rising.

Ombre Stars, star and quilting detail.

 I quilted fancy pebbles around the stars using Aurifil Silver Fox (4670), a grey variegated thread.  I really wanted contrasting texture to the stars, but didn't want the quilting to disappear completely into the background fabric (Cotton Couture grey, maybe Fog?).  In the large open grey spaces I quilted airy swirls with Aurifil Maragesh (3817), which is a variegated yellow-teal-navy-pink, then did echo quilting with Aurifil Grey (2605).

Ombre Star swirl quilting detail.

I quilted the stars with matching (or near matching) Aurifil, and kept the quilting really simple so they would pop out.

Ombre Stars rainbow thread selection for the stars quilting.

The backing is a pieced Alison Glass Handcrafted print, and the binding is some Koi voile I've been hoarding.  The colors are perfect with the ombre stars though, so it demanded to be used!

Ombre Stars back.

Here is our grouping of swap quilts together:

Blue Moon Quilters ombre swap quilts!  Made by (left to right): me, Sara, Yvonne and Afton.  I received the quilt made by Yvonne, and my quilt went to Afton.

To read more about the other quilts:
Sara's cubes
Yvonne's Double Goosed
Afton's Cocklebur

Friday, August 5, 2016

2017 QuiltCon Charity Quilt: Fabric and Thread

Even before the official announcement for the 2017 QuiltCon charity quilt challenge, a small group of friends and I had been discussing participating as an Individual Members group.  We decided to name our group the Blue Moon Quilters, which consists of Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, Afton at Quilting Mod, Sara at Blue Quail Studios and me!  Once the challenge came out we immediately started discussing which of the colors we wanted to use:

Quiltcon Charity Quilt Palette 2017
2017 QuiltCon Charity Quilt color palette 

Then we started talking about designs.  Yvonne was amazing with being able to take some discussion points and turning them into designs (and tons of edits!) in what seemed like the blink of an eye.  Definitely go check out her blog post about the charity quilt to see more about the design process!  Here is the final design we all agreed on, based off of the Storm at Sea block:

Double Rainbow Society Final Colored Design
Blue Moon Quilters QuiltCon charity quilt design: titled Four Greater Than One

Once we had a finalized design Yvonne figured out fabric requirements and I contacted Michael Miller Fabrics to inquire about them sponsoring the fabric for this quilt.  We reached out to Michael Miller because we all have used Cotton Couture some and love the colors and softness of the fabric.  They responded enthusiastically and sent the fabrics right away:

Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabrics in Royal, Gold, Fog and Lagoon.

Next I contacted Aurifil to ask them to sponsor the threads we would need to piece and quilt our charity quilt.  You all know how much my machine and I love Aurifil!  Thankfully they were happy to contribute thread for our charity quilt and sent us these lovely colors:

Aurifil threads for the Blue Moon Quilters charity quilt, left to right: Dark Delft Blue (#2780), Medium Blue (#2735), Dark Turquoise (#4182), Aluminum (#2615), and Mustard (#5022). 

I specifically asked for slightly darker blue thread for the quilting, but matching blue threads for the piecing.  Also I wanted to branch out from using Aurifil's Dove (#2600), so I asked for Aluminum (though Dove would be a nice match to Cotton Couture's Fog too).

Aurifil threads with the coordinating Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabrics.

Next week we have a meetup planned to start cutting fabrics!  We've broken the quilt into 4 sections and will distribute the fabric and blue threads to everyone (the other thread colors will stay with me until it is time to quilt!). I am so excited to get started on the piecing and getting to work with the other ladies!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sunburst Quilt

A few months ago my father in law had a heart attack, and the doctors realized he needed a triple bipass.  He was in the hospital for at least 3 weeks, and while I realized the best thing I could do was to support my husband in however he could help his father, I felt helpless.  A few days before his surgery I thought of making him a quilt!  That is the best way I could show that I cared and supported him!  I quickly chose this Sunburst quilt pattern from the 2016 QuiltCon magazine because I knew it would be quick to piece, a nice lap size, and it was designed by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl.  

2016 QuiltCon Magazine Cover - Featuring Sunburst by Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
QuiltCon 2016 magazine, includes the pattern for the cover quilt, Sunburst!

Some quick back and forth emails with Yvonne helped me pick fabrics that would transition nicely, but required an extra 1/4y of the Lizzy House whales.  Thankfully, my friend Afton from Quilting Mod came to the rescue and let me use the FQ she had stashed away!  I'm so thankful to have some local quilting friends that let me raid their stash on occasion!  And then if that wasn't already enough help, she and Sara (@bluequailstudio) came over to help me speed-piece the quilt top:

Sara (sewing) and Afton (ironing) helping make the blocks for the Sunburst quilt.

This is how far we got in the piecing within about 4 hours, including kid-wrangling and a lunch break:

One day of progress on Sunburst!

I can't thank those ladies enough for all their help!  I finished piecing the rest of the quilt top, basted it and quilted it over the next three days.  It was pretty crazy.  Here is the finished quilt:

Sunburst quilt, measured 59"x79" pre-wash.

The background is Kona navy and I used Quilter's Dream green batting for the first time.  I used all near-matching Aurifil threads, so mostly the texture would be noticed.  I love using Aurifil in my machine because I get consistently good results with it (not to mention how pretty the thread is!), and for this rushed quilt I didn't want any surprises.

Sunburst quilting detail.

Sunburst quilting texture.

I decided to piece the back, despite my time constraints, so I could use up some of the scraps from the top and the last of the Kona Cornflower I had:

Sunburst quilt back, using scraps and Kona cornflower.

Sunburst back quilting detail.  I have a tutorial for those peacock feathers under the Tutorials tab at the top of the page!

I'm so glad I was able to make this quilt and gift it to my father in law so quickly.  His surgery and recovery went really well and he's almost back to his previous physical abilities!  And I highly recommend this quilt pattern if you're looking for something quick, easy, and eye catching!