Friday, April 21, 2017

Wings Alight: Threads and Wing Outline

You can see my previous blog posts about this quilt here.

Before starting the quilting I had to decide on thread colors for both the top and the bobbin.  Aurifil generously sponsored the top row of large spools:

Wings Alight: Aurifil threads--a mixture of 50, 40 ans 28wt.

I made a mini quilt sandwich from the quilt trimmings and tested out each thread weight (using 50wt in the bobbin) to find the best tension and stitch length for both straight line quilting using my walking foot and for free motion quilting using my darning/FMQ foot.  In the picture above you can see the back of my practice quilt and under that are my thread and tension notes.  In the end I decided to use matching color int he bobbin, which will make this a neat double sided quilt!

Wings Alight: Starting with my walking foot and the long straight lines.

The wings are outlined using Aurifil 28wt in Light Jade (1148), and will probably get a second layer. I used my walking foot for the longest straight lines, then switched to my FMQ foot for the rest of the feathers.  It took at least 30 minutes to quilt the left wing (you can check out a time lapse of that quilting on my Instagram--click here!).

Wings Alight: Finished left wing.

The right wing took a longer, but I finally got it done!  Here's how the quilt looks now:

Wings Alight: Really wishing I'd put the wings higher on the quilt...too late now!

And here's me in front of the wings, I guess this is a thing now:

Wings Alight: I do wish I could have made the wings bigger...although they are already a challenge to get through my machine (a Janome 6300 with a 9" throat)!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wings Alight Wholecloth Quilt Beginnings

You can read about the inspiration and materials here.  Today's post is about the wings design and transferring it onto the quilt top!

I really drug my heels on starting this project because I couldn't figure out how I was going to draw big wings on the fabric at the scale I wanted while keeping them somewhat symmetrical and level.  About a month ago I was complaining about this mental block to Afton at Quilting Mod and she suggested using a projector.  And she had one I was able to borrow!  Perfect!  I started working on my wing drawings and got a transparency printed at the local FedEx Office store.

Wings Alight: wings drawings--left is on tracing paper, center is printed from a digital file, right is the transparency. 

I decided to base my wings on a Sandhill crane coming in for a landing.  The wings have a different shape than when they are taking off or flying, and the way the feathers are spread out is ideal for filling with quilting designs!  This is also how I chose the name of the quilt:
  1. (of a bird) descend from the air and settle.

    "a lovely blue swallow alighted on a branch"

    synonyms:land, come to rest, settleperchlight
    "a swallow alighted on a branch"

The image of wings descending from the air and settling is lovely and calming to me. The wings will float on the quilt in a way that when you stand in front of them it looks like there are wings behind you:

Wings Alight Quilt: Me with the projected wings.

The process of drawing the wings onto the quilt took about 40 minutes, but the setup took quite a bit longer.  You can watch me trace the right wing in this time lapse video (hopefully it uploaded properly, if not you can click here to see it on my Instagram: QuiltsnFeathers):


Here is how the projected lines look next to the drawn lines (I used this Fons and Porter white pencil):

Wings Alight Quilt: projected wings (black) and traced wings (white).

Each wing is about 43" long, with about 12" between them.  From edge to edge the wings are 92" across.  Here is the final result on the quilt top:

Wings Alight Quilt: wings drawn on the quilt top.

I basted the quilt using Quilter's Dream Orient, and it is ready to start quilting!  Here's the official before picture: 

Wings Alight Quilt: basted quilt, measures 107" wide by 99" tall currently.  The wings are there--just hard to see in this lighting.

Next is filling bobbins and clearing off my sewing table!  I'm excited to finally get to start quilting these wings!

Wings Alight Quilt: Michael Miller Luxe sateen solids and Aurifil threads.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fairy Mini Quilt

Quilted Fairy, measures 13.5" x 9"

Another Quilted Mythological Creature Series mini quilt!  A couple of weeks ago when I made the quilted Centaur mini, I also made this quilted fairy--partly to keep the recipients guessing on what I was making for them.  This one was a birthday present for Afton at Quilting Mod.  I left the design of the fairy to the last minute, and decided in a migraine-induced state to just find a cool fairy online.  I settled on this artwork by Jesse Lindsay:

Picture/artwork credit to Jesse Lindsay

I traced the basic outline, removed her skirt, and added arms, hands, legs, antenna, eyes and extra swirls in the wings.  Geez hands and feet are hard.  And those tiny eyes!  

Quilted Fairy: final drawing on fabric.

Again I used Kona Silver and two layers of batting (Quilter's Dream wool on the top of a cotton batting).

Quilted Fairy: basic outline quilted.

I chose Aurifil variegated Creme de Menthe (4662) for the wings--I love how the different shades of teal can be interpreted as the wings being translucent, or catching the light.  The inner details are 1-2 layers of quilting, but the outer edge of the wings is 4-5 layers to define them from the background.

Quilted Fairy: hand for scale.  She's little, and her face is the size of my finger nail.

The fairy's body is Aurifil Wisteria (2566), and the antenna are quilted using a double strand of Wisteria and Medium Lavender (2540) so they are a little darker.

Quilted Fairy: body detail.

The background echo quilting is Aurifil Mint Ice (2800).  I love how these cotton threads have a nature shine! 

Quilted Fairy: echo quilting detail--I love those accidental diamonds!

Quilted Fairy: quilting details.

The back is some blue solid scrap I had, the binding is Tula Pink Mosaic in Glacier. 

Quilted Fairy: back.

I took this quilt with me all the way to Savannah for QuiltCon so I could give it to Afton at the same time I gave Jess the Centaur mini quilt.  Luckily we ended up having dinner as a group on the first night so I didn't have to wait long, and she loves this fairy quilt!

Quilted Fairy: neat.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Centaur/Sagittarius mini quilt

Quilted Centaur: 12" x 9.5"

The next installment to my Quilted Mythological Creature Series is this Centaur/Sagittarius, made for Jess from Quilty Habit.  I knew I wanted to create a strong, intelligent female creature for her and finally settled on a centaur, and since Jess was born under the Sagittarius astrology sign I figured it'd be fitting to give the centaur a bow and arrow.  Plus good bow hunters are strong and skilled.

Quilted Centaur: quilting detail, check out those tiny fingers!

This is one of the more detailed in this series since she has a tool and 9 fingers (her second thumb is behind her palm).  There were a lot of extra start and stops for the bow and and fingers!  I created the image from various centaur line drawings I found online and added details to keep the horse themes I used in the Hippocamp and Campohhip quilts.  Then traced the image onto some Kona Silver:

Quilted Centaur: drawing on fabric.

I start with a basic outline, then add a few details (like the hair) before doing all the background fill quilting:

Quilted Centaur: Basic outline done.

I used Aurifil 50wt in Chocolate (2360) for the horse body, Medium Lavender (2540) for the human part, Marrakesh (3817) for the hair, Dark Violet (2582) for the bow and arrow, and Silver Moon (4060, variegated) for the background echos.  

Quilted Centaur: Hair detail quilting.

There are two layer of batting (one cotton, one wool) for texture and stability.  The binding is Tula Pink Mosaic in Glacier. 

Quilted Centaur: horse tail detail (sorry for the weird colors, the sun was setting fast during my photoshoot!)

I was so excited to give this to Jess in person while we were both at QuiltCon last week!  Such a joy to see her expression and give her a hug with this quilt :-)

Quilted Centaur: back

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Four Greater Than One: QuiltCon 2017 Charity Quilt

It took 6 months for our charity quilt to go from raw materials to finished quilt (see my previous post here), but I am so excited to finally be able to share the finished quilt:

Four Greater Than One: QuiltCon charity quilt 2017, measures 88.5" x 65.75"

Yvonne at Quilting JetgirlAfton at Quilting ModSara at Blue Quail Studios and I formed the Blue Moon Quilters to make this charity quilt as an independent MQG group.  Yvonne designed the quilt, we split up the piecing between the 4 of us, and I quilted and finished it. So my blog post will focus on the quilting!  Check out the other's blog posts for more pictures and information.

Four Greater Than One: quilt label (for show purposes). 

Before I started the quilting I talked with the others to brainstorm how to quilt it because I was drawing a blank and I wanted the quilting to be inclusive of their ideas.  We ended up with agreeing on straight line quilting (SLQ) in the grey and gold, and more organic/curving/flowing lines in the teal and blue.  Here's a look at the quilt about 2/3 through the SLQ:

Four Greater Than One: straight line quilting on the center areas.

I broke up the large blue spaces by adding rings that connect the storm at sea blocks--those were Yvonne's idea, and my older brother suggested continuing them across the top and bottom of the quilt (I made that part of the ring go "behind" the gold and grey blocks).  I love how the quilted rings are actual curves that connect the blocks that only have the illusion of curves.  Hopefully you can see the rings a little more from the back:

Four Greater Than One: Quilt back.

There are 4 rings, and each one has a different quilting filler: the center is all pebbles (including 4 small snails!), the second is McTavishing, the third is Flow Quilting (which is the idea of quilting in a "mental state of moderate enjoyable challenge, of being in the zone, but not frustrated with the challenge. A state of smooth progress" but more loosely meaning a variety of designs flowing from one to another without much structure or plan) and the very outer edges of the quilt are filled with tight loops.

Four Greater Than One: center and quilting detail.

I'm sorry to say I didn't document the quilting process anywhere except on Instagram, so if you're interested in seeing lots of progress photos of the quilting, go check out my feed: quiltsNfeathers .  

Four Greater Than One: Quilting detail--a small snail crawling up the right side of the blue square.

I spent at least 37.5 hours on quilting--which includes marking the straight lines.  The quilting was done over a 3 week period on my Janome 6300 (a domestic machine with a 9" throat), and I used 24 very full bobbins of Aurifil 50wt thread.  All of the threads for piecing and quilting were donated by Aurifil for this charity quilt!  Yvonne estimated we used about 2.5 miles of thread, so many, many thanks to Aurifil for sponsoring it!  The thread colors are Dark Deft Blue, Turquoise, Mustard and Aluminium.  I really put these threads through their paces and didn't have any thread issues.  I also love how the 50wt disappears when doing in-the-ditch work

Four Greater Than One: quilting detail.

Michael Miller Fabrics generously supplied 17 yards(!) of Cotton Couture solids for this quilt.  We wanted to use Cotton Couture for their soft feel and how nicely it drapes.  They were a joy to work with from cutting to piecing, basting to quilting.  The colors we chose are Royal, Gold, Lagoon and Fog. 

Four Greater Than One: Flow quilting detail.

My favorite designs to use in flow quilting are dense feathers, pebbles (with variations), arches, spirals, paisleys, orange peels (which require marking and planning ahead, but are worth it!), wishbones, and quilted paisleys (top left and bottom center of the photo above).  I also quilted in two large nautilus shells:

Four Greater Than One: quilting detail.

The flow quilting was probably my favorite part of the quilting, although it was hugely time and thread consuming!  I spent 12.5 hours on just the flow quilting ring, but I like that when I get bored of quilting one design I can just switch to another.

Four Greater Than One: flow quilting detail.

The Warm Company graciously sponsored the batting for this quilt.  They sent us their new Warm 100 batting to use.  I pin basted and quilted it SO much, and was really happy with how the batting behaved and held up to all the handling.  I was surprised how little the quilt shrank despite all my quilting--the quilt top was 88.5" x 68.5" and the finished quilt is 88.5" x 65.75" (how did it not shrink any in height?!).  Unfortunately I can't tell you how much it shrank in the wash yet (we'll wash it before it is donated to the charity we pick out), but I'll update when I can!

Four Greater Than One: quilt back quilting detail.

I really put everything I had into quilting this quilt, and feel confident that I was able to #QuiltTheLifeIntoIt!  Here is the quilt top before quilting (and before the 2" border, but the only before photo I have):

Four Greater Than One: Before quilting.

And here it is afterwards:

Four Greater Than One: After quilting

I would guess the total hours of work put into this quilt are well over 100.  I am SO excited to show it to the other ladies in my group while at QuiltCon next week-- they haven't even seen it finished since I put it in the mail right after finishing it.  If you get to see it at QuiltCon, don't forget to look for the 4 small snails in the pebble-ring, and share a picture of it on Instagram and tag it with #FourGreaterThanOne!