Monday, July 6, 2015

Coming Soon: Selvage Along!

Do you keep the selvages from the fabric you use?


Join me and Jess at Quilty Habit this summer for a Selvage Along!  Every Monday through September at least one of us will be posting our selvage projects, tutorials, project roundups and linkys.  We also have lined up some other bloggers to do a blog hop next month to share their new tutorials and projects!

Grab a button (code in sidebar) and let's make something new and fun with all those selvages!  We will be hosting a linky in August in September so you can see what everyone else is working on and will also be sharing our projects and ideas on Instagram (I'm @quiltsnfeathers and she is @quiltyhabit)--join us there with #SelvageAlong !  The fun starts next Monday, July 13th!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crystal City Rejuvenated

Oh hey guys, it's been a while!  I blame the extended absence on being sick for several weeks in June, though I was also quite busy creating and would rather do that than blog!  I do keep up with my instagram, so if you want to see what I'm working on in real-time, come follow me there: @quiltsnfeathers.

So, you guys probably remember my Crystal City quilt from last year:

Crystal City Quilt, 36" x 41"

Well, I didn't like it.  I used pastel fabrics for the QuiltCon fabric challenge, and hated them.  But since I'd worked so hard on the quilt I entered it at the Fiber Arts Fiesta.  It didn't place, and the only note from the judge was,  "should probably be quilting in large pastel pieces."  This really annoyed me--should it or shouldn't it?  Why is there a qualifier?  Does she know what she is talking about as a quilt judge or not??  But finally I decided that if I wanted to show this quilt again it probably did need more quilting (plus those big triangle got kind of wrinkly in the mail).  Here were my ideas:

Quilting ideas for the triangles and crystal shapes.

I finally decided on the bottom right pattern, based of a zendoodle.  I marked the quilt and then used my walking foot and Aurifil #2600 to add the new quilting:

Crystal facet marks for quilting.

Zendoodle marks for quilting.

The quilt has two layers of batting (one Warm and Natural and one Quilter's Dream wool), so the large triangles had a lot of loft/puffiness that shifted as I quilted.  Unfortunately this caused a lot of small pinches and wrinkles in the quilting:

Quilting wrinkles/pinching detail.

So I ripped it out and hand basted the triangles (the crystals didn't have issues since there was less added quilting) so all the layer wouldn't shift:

Dense hand basting stitches to hold the puffiness down a little while quilting.

I also decreased the pressure on my walking foot (from 3 to 2) so it wouldn't be smushing the fabric quilt so much.  And success!  It helped SO much!

After quilting. The basting stitches helped keep things from shifting and causing wrinkles.

Here is Crystal City with the new quilting: 

Crystal City quilt with new quilting in larger shapes.

I like the new quilting a lot!  But I still hate the pastels.  Man, they just bug me--I hate that I used them only for a challenge (that it wasn't accepted into--you can read more about it in the original post) and that they really aren't at all something I would want to show off.  Finally about a month ago I had an epiphany: what if I painted OVER the pastels?!  Around the same time The Modern Quilt Guild put out a call for quilts for their International Quilt Festival exhibit, and I felt this quilt might be worth entering...after fixing the colors.  I ordered a set of shimmery Shiva Paintstiks and picked colors that correspond to ones already in the quilt:

Shiva Paintstiks picked out for Crystal City rejuvenation.

I looked at a lot of tutorials online on how to proceed, and finally ended up follow Leah Day's youtube tutorial, more or less. 

I taped off each shape before painting them.

I taped off and painted one color at a time.  It wasn't until the 6th (of 8) color that I realized it was MUCH faster and looked just as nice to gently draw on the shapes using the paint stick, then use the brush to blend and smooth it out (rather than putting paint on the brush, then brushing it onto the quilt as per the tutorial I followed).

I spent all day (between tending the kids) to paint it, and despite it saying "no offensive odor" it does indeed smell like oil paints and gave me a headache.  Anyway, here is the final result:

Crystal City quilt, after being painted with Shiva Paintstiks.

It's like a box of jewels now!  In retrospect I wish I had spaced out the colors a little better, but at the time simply covering the corresponding color made the most sense.  Also as I painted I wondered if maybe I should have used fewers colors.  C'est la vie.

Crystal City quilting and paint detail.

Even though I wonder what I could have done with the paints, I think these bold, vibrant colors are much closer to my original idea of what this quilt should look like.  I'm not sure I love it yet, but it has certainly grown on me!

Crystal City angle view.

So here is the before and after (the grey is Cotton Couture in Charcoal for reference):

Crystal City quilt before.
Crystal City quilt after the makeover!

So, what do you think of the changes??  And have you ever painted a quilt?  How did you get rid of the oil paint smell?

Friday, June 12, 2015

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (mini quilt)

"She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" mini quilt, measures about 17" x 21"

I made this quilt for Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for a private swap.  I started with a different plan that included some dresden wedges, but ended up feeling uninspired by them.  I decided it wasn't worth forcing, and went back to the drawing board.  I came up with idea of a flower losing petals in the quiet moments before sleep.

Quilting detail.

I've been really itching to use some Alison Glass Handcrafted for a while now, and felt this burgundy with yellow and orange bits made for a nice flower. I chose the Tula Pink Pixeldot in Coral for the center since the colors were a pretty good match and the hexagons seemed like a good fit for the center of a flower.

Flower center detail--I love this quilted hexagon texture!

The background fabric is Kona Ash and the binding is Kona Charcoal.

Quilting detail.

The backing is some shot-cotton that was given to me, so I'm afraid I don't know anything about it.

Quilt back.

This type of quilting is probably my favorite, at least on small pieces like this.  I get to experiment with new designs and different ways of combining them.  Sometimes the results are not at all what I expected, and that is fun too.

Quilt back, quilting detail.

For this quilt my newest interest was incorporating little orange peels in, I love the new texture they added!

Quilt back, quilting detail.

I used Quilter's Dream Orient (bamboo-silk-cotton blend) batting, and added a wool batting layer under the flower and falling petals for extra loft.

Flower and petals have two layers of batting.

Despite the dense quilting, the quilt remained soft and pliable.  I will definitely be using this batting again.

Showing how nice the drape is for this heavily quilted mini using Quilter's Dream Orient batting.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not mini quilt.

I quilted it using mostly Aurifil #2600 (dove) for the background, but also used some #2311 for the center of the flower, #2545 for the flower petals, and a little bit of variegated #3817 for the petal flight paths:

Quilting detail using variegated thread.

I used Aurifil #2600 in the bobbin too so there would be a nice contrast with the blue backing:

Quilt back, quilting detail.  This one wasn't picked off, it's escaping, it's flying away!

You can go see the wonderful quilt Yvonne made for me over on her blog!

Quilt label.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ABQMQG Quilted Banner

I finally finished this quilt last week--just in time for it to make a cameo on the local news as part of the publicity for the Fiber Arts Fiesta!  First time one of my quilts have been on the news!

ABQMQG (Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild) quilted banner, measures about 86"x42".

The Fiber Arts Fiesta was this past weekend, and the ABQMQG had a booth in combination with the Best of QuiltCon traveling quilts exhibit our president brought in.  The ABQMQG banner hung behind the tables for all to see and it was really good to get tons of positive feedback on my quilting!

Sun and sky quilting detail

When I got the quilt top (it was pieced and appliqued by other women in the guild), I immediately wanted to add a big sun since Albuquerque has abundant sunshine (310 days of sunshine every year!).  I couldn't make all those pebbles and occasional swirls without adding a snail somewhere, so hidden in there is a sun snail--which started a whole snail theme for the quilt and I ended up adding 9 more!

Center of the sun quilting detail--inspired by my husband saying, "maybe you could do swirls to look like sun spots!" and Yvonne's sun quilting.

And then I was like, this quilt needs hot air balloons!  Albuquerque is home of the International Balloon Fiesta, the largest ballooning event on Earth with nearly 600 balloons.  My husband suggested the variegated thread, which I so quickly adopted into my plans I forgot it was his idea!  He gently reminded me ;-)

Quilted hot air balloon detail, Aurifil #4654

Quilted hot air balloon detail, Aurifil #4647

I freehand drew the balloons on the quilt using a water-erasable marker, and kept the same ratios of the basket and balloon for the three sizes.  It was fairly time consuming, but so worth it.

Quilted hot air balloon detail, piloted by a wee snail (on the basket), Aurifil #5817.

Quilted hot air balloon detail, Aurifil #4657.

I spent a total of 40 hours working on this quilt, 30 of which were on the quilting!  The other 10 hours were spent basting, trimming, binding, washing, blocking and the hanging sleeve.  When I was finally done and dropped it off I was so relieved!  But I was also super burnt out on working on it and all quilting projects in general (I haven't done anything since!).

Mountain quilting detail.  Note the tram lines and a snail in the grey pebbles.

The mountain quilting was quite involved (who am I kidding, the whole thing was really involved!)--I quilted every color and block orientation differently.  For example, all of the red half square triangles that point to the right have feathers, and all the red half square triangles pointing up have echo lines.  There are 3-4 different shades of red, and I tried to quilt each shade differently.  I spent a lot of time looking up inspiration for fillers and marking them on the quilt!  I even included a vine patch and a watermelon in one HST, since sandia mean watermelon in Spanish (and I quilted a wee snail on top of the watermelon, but forgot to get a photo of it).

Mountain quilting detail, the orange-ish peak has a Zia quilted in it--the New Mexico state flag symbol.

Another fun detail I wanted to add right away is the Sandia Peak Tramway (or as we call it, the Tram)--it is the longest tramway in North America and has the third longest span in the world.

Quilting detail of the Sandia Peak Tramway.

Something I voted for on the ABQMQG logo was more mountain peaks--specifically South Peak, which is just above where I live and I see it every time I drive home.  But it didn't make the cut, so I decided to add a quilted version (which I named Ghost Mountain):

Quilting detail of Ghost Mountain.  There is a snail in the letter Q and in the ghost pebbles.

The swirly air current quilting is one of my favorite sky patterns, but all the sketches I made didn't come out right.  It wasn't until Yvonne from Quilting JetGirl showed me how she made the ones on her Out of the Woods quilt that it all clicked!  I drew the swirls on the quilt to keep them going kind of straight, and to keep the flow of them consistent "behind" the letters and sun rays.  This meant a lot of extra line breaks and threads to bury, but I really wanted the letters to be independent of the quilting designs and the wind quilting to feel continuous (yes it is often quite windy here!):

ABQMQG letters and air current quilting detail.

The last thing I quilted was the green area around the word 'Albuquerque'--I quilted a 1/4" echo around each letter to help define them and then did FMQ matchstick quilting to contrast the rest of the quilt:

Match stick quilting detail.

I used a ton of thread on this quilt!  I really wanted the logo to be the first thing people noticed, so I chose matching threads or subtle colors for the quilt.  The colors of Aurifil I used (from left to right in the photo below) are: front row-1148, 2887, 2130, 5009, 2310, 2021, 2600, 4241, 2692, back row-1147, 1103, 2420, 2360, 2311, 2024, 2605, 5004 (the cone), variegated threads- 4654, 5817, 4657, and 4647.

Aurifil threads used in the ABQMQG banner.

I was glad to have all the colors of Aurifil I needed for the quilt (I did order the variegated specifically for the balloons though), it made the quilting go a lot smoother since I didn't have to fiddle with the tension with every color change!

ABQMQG banner back.

I used Aurifil #2024 in the bobbin to contrast with the red back--I really wanted all of my quilting to show up somewhere!

The back of Ghost Mountain quilting detail.  There is a snail in the pebbles and in the Q at the top of the photo.

The back of the highest peak and tram quilting detail.  There is a snail in the pebbles.
More mountain quilting detail.  You can just barely see the balloon pilot snail at the top of the photo.
ABQMQG banner label and quilting detail.

I left the sun points unquilted, which was totally inspired by Krista Wither's quilting on Sew Katie Did's Opposing Triangles quilt

Back of the sun quilting detail.  There is a snail in the swirl right under the sun--I call it an air snail.
Back of the Albuquerque match stick quilting detail.  Another air snail can be seen on the far left, and there are snails in each of the Q's.

Whew, that's a lot of photos!  I'll leave you with these before and after shots (you can see more of the progress photos here and here) that really illustrate the effect of my quilting:

ABQMQG banner pre-quilting.
ABQMQG banner after quilting (still pinned to my design wall for blocking).