Monday, September 29, 2014

New Mexico State Fair Results

I meant to post these results last week after picking up my quilts from the fair.  But the night before my 2.5 year old fell off a chair and busted out a tooth. 

The good news is the adult tooth was undamaged and should grow in normally in 2.5-5 years.  Also, she's recovered really well and is undaunted by the new gap in her mouth.

So, well here I am, a week behind, but oh well.  I entered 4 quilts to the New Mexico state fair this year and here they are with the judges sheets and my comments.

My first TARDIS quilt won first in it's category!  Hurray!

TARDIS quilt hanging next to the second and third place quilts in the category.

Judge's Comment Sheet--Best feature reads: Elegant design and choice of fabric, great background quilting.  Needs improvement reads: Quilting stitching could be smoother, starts and stops on back need attention.

I'm really glad the TARDIS quilt placed so well despite the areas it needs improvement.  I didn't make the quilt for shows, so I took a few shortcuts--like the starts and stops on the straight lines and the machine binding.  Regardless, I had two people ask if it was for sale during it's visit at the fair.

My Fuck Cancer quilt got second place in it's category, which I was very surprised at!  I thought they'd just hide it away due to the profanity.  But actually it generated a lot of discussion about free speech and art.  I was called by the assistant superintendent of the fair about it, she told me they wanted to display it since it was a ribbon winner, but her boss didn't think it was appropriate for a family event, and could they cover part of the word.  I said sure, but was a little disappointed to see the entire word covered.

The censored version of my Fuck Cancer quilt.

Judge's Comment Sheet--Best feature reads: bold message, exquisite quilting.  Improvements: none.

So here's what I don't get--I used the same binding method for all four of the quilts I entered, but only on two of them did she mention it needed improvement (I think maybe I just did a better job on the smaller ones?).  I also find it interesting that she said my quilting was exquisite, which I am honored by, but I feel like it could have been better, especially on the back.

My Orange Peel Snowflake quilt got third place in it's category, which I was also surprised at!  The applique is so simple, and honestly I just tried to get through it as quickly as possible.

Orange Peel Snowflake

Judge's Comment Sheet--Best feature reads: Elegant design and choice of fabrics. Great background quilting.  Needs improvement reads: quilting stitches could be smoother, starts and stops on the back need attention.

With the type of applique I did I frequently have issues with it catching on my FMQ foot, and then the quilting stitches go all crazy for a beat, so I wasn't surprised at the needs improvement note.  Also, for the applique I just back stitched at the beginning and end of each petal, which was really noticeable on the back--but I didn't (still don't) care because this quilt is for me and will hang on my sewing room wall and no one else will ever see (or care about) the back again.

So all those quilts had minor issues which I knew about in advance, and the notes about them didn't bother me.  But my Starry Night quilt didn't place at all, so it was folded up in a cabinet:

Sad quilt is sad.  Funny side story--I had to ask some police officers chatting in front of it to move so I could get a photo of it.  They said it didn't place because no body likes the police, and if I'd put a firetruck on it I would have won.  I laughed because my dad is a firefighter (retired this year after a 30+ year career!).

These are the winners for the category:

Pretty sure the one on the right got first.  Womp womp.

Judge's Comment Sheet--Best feature reads: fabulous original design, overall quilting design well executed.  Needs improvement reads: quilting stitch need attention to binding detail.

Okay, first--overall appearance only got a "good" followed by a note saying "fabulous design"?  I can assure you when I dropped off my quilt it was very neat and clean, so I don't know what they're talking about there!  And why did this quilt backing only get a "good" when the F.C. backing got an excellent??  I don't get that at all.  My applique only got a "good"--it was one thing on a mountain of a quilt!  One really detailed TARDIS that was hand stitched down.  Many grumblings.

I'm just a bit put out about the issues they found with my quilt and how they graded it.  I suppose the winning quilts may have been more technically "excellent" but I think I should get more credit for a novel design and dense overall quilting.

Oh well, overall I'm happy with how well my quilts did.  And the fact remains that I made the Starry Night quilt for my friend Andrea, and she loves it.

All those notes in mind, I am planning to enter quilts again in future shows.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Flight of the Bumblebees mini quilt

Flight of the Bumblebees: 14" x 18.5"

Last January I posted a Pay It Forward (PIF) on facebook, and my mom was one of the people that signed up.  Then earlier this year my mom and her husband (they've been married like 3.5 years and it's still weird to stay stepfather, ha) added bees to their little farm.  Around that same time my friend, Samantha at Making Life Prettier posted some hexie bee blocks on IG she was making for her mom.  Finally I had an idea for my mom's PIF gift!

Bee detail on the back.

I used the Free Hexy Bee pattern from badskirt to paper piece 8 little bees (two of them were turned into a pair of coasters for a friend that got bees this year too).

Paper piecing bees.

It was my first time piecing hexagons together, and didn't particularly enjoy it.  The best tips I found were from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Piecing the hexagons together.

 I decided to add an extra layer of batting to the bees before layering the quilt (a trapunto technique).

IG photo: Adding trapunto to the bees.  Top: pinning batting scraps to the back of the bees, then I stitched in the ditch around each bee.  Bottom: trimmed the extra batting off from the bees.

I used some Warm and Natural batting scraps for the trapunto, and Quilter's Dream wool batting (from a Massdrop deal!) for the rest of the quilt.  If I'd had little scraps of the wool, it would have been better for the trapunto.  Regardless, the results were pretty awesome:

Puffy little bees using trapunto. <3

I quilted it using Superior Threads, So Fine in #473.  I hand stitched the flight path and antenna using Aurifil 12wt.  I used Aurifil #2024 to quilt the flower area.

I hand embroidered the little bee antennae and flight path on after the other quilting.

The flower print is Wild Carrot from the Madrona Road line.  I got a tiny piece in a scrap pack and used up just about all of it for this quilt.  The rest of the blue fabric is Kona Cornflower.  The binding is also Kona, but I don't know which.

Flight of the Bumblebees back.
I meant for them to be honey bees, but as I was putting the last little hand stitches in my husband said I should call it Flight of the Bumblebees.  I was like, haha of course!  Seems like such an obvious name now ;-)

Label from TagsToGo on etsy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World blog hop: 6th one's the charm.

I've been resisting joining in on this blog hop for a couple months now--it's been a busy summer and I didn't find the questions very inspiring.  Regardless, on the 6th invitation I finally relented:

1. What am I working on?
Trying to finish up these months-long WIPs before I start on another large commission:

A feather mini.

Bee mini, still trying to decide on backing fabric.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I really don't look for the differences or similarities between my work and others.  I am constantly inspired and affected by what I see others do, and I try to cite those that have inspired my work by linking to them.  I think this question might be better answered by my followers--what do YOU think makes my work different than the other quilt bloggers out there?

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
Because it fulfills my creative tendencies and challenges and focuses me mentally.  It also gives me something productive to do outside of the normal Mom duties.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
In simple terms: Daydream, research, design/draw, work through the construction, research, quilt, bind, photograph, blog, done.  

Rather than tag a bunch of new people, I'm going to link back to the friendly bloggers that invited me to join in and have supported my blogging--some of them are more active on IG, so I've included their user names there too (please let me know if I've missed any!):

I love that these ladies thought of me and have been apart of my community of quilty friends!  I'm frequently blown away by their kindness and generosity.  And continuously thankful for their support!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Orange Peel Quilt Along voting!
Orange Peel Quilt Along

Voting for the Viewer's Choice award is now open for the Orange Peel Quilt Along I participated in.  Click over and vote for your favorite!  If you haven't seen my entry before you can go read all about it here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Washi Tunic and Black Bird Tunic

Washi tunic (on me) and Black Bird Tunic on Aurelia, both in Nani Iro fabric.

I bought this Nani Iro fabric (Field Star) with a gift card I won to Jones & Vandermeer back in April, with the sole intention of making a Washi tunic with it.  Well, finally I have!  And there was enough left over to make a Black Bird Tunic for my daughter!

First, the Washi:

Washi Tunic, using Nani Iro double gauze.

I bought a paper pattern from my local quilt shop, and as per Rae's suggestion I also got some Swedish tracing paper to trace the pattern size I needed.  I posted my progress photos along the way on instagram (@quiltsnfeathers), here's a collage of them:

Washi tunic construction.  Top: shirring and pleats.  Bottom: traced pattern ready to cut out, pondering bodice placement and more shirring.

Since I wanted to use my Nani Iro fabric for my first Washi, I decided to make a muslin first to check the fit.  I tried a large, which was too big, then a medium, which was too small.  Then I graded the pattern from a medium in the shoulders to a large in the bust--but still had a big gape at the neck.  Thankfully a follower on IG suggested I alter the pattern using this tutorial on how to remove the neck gape.  I'd never done anything like that with a pattern, but it was fairly simple and it worked! (you can see how I altered my bodice pattern in the center photo above)

Washi bodice muslins. 

After making so many muslins I needed a break from the pattern.  But when I finally came back to it, it came together so smoothly!  I followed Rae's video tutorials to add a bodice lining, instead of facing and bias tape binding at the arms.

Washi tunic, side view.

I shortened the pattern by an inch because I used the factory edge instead of hemming it at the bottom.  I also lowered the armed pit by about 1/4 inch--I freaking hate when there is fabric up in my armpits!  I shirred the back, and it was so easy!  It really makes for a flattering and comfortable fit!

Washi tunic back.

 I've already purchased yards more fabric to make a dress and another tunic from this pattern and look forward to trying some of the variations next time!

Washi Tunic.  See how nicely the neckline lays now?  So worth the effort of getting the fit right!

Now on to the Black Bird tunic!  I need to find a pattern like this for me!  

Black Bird tunic

I love this style of shirt on little girls!  That large round collar and big button are so cute!  And the pleats add such a feminine element and really help bring the whole thing together.

Black Bird tunic.

 I didn't make any changes to the pattern, except I didn't do any piping.  I kept the pattern length as is, and again used the factory edge instead of hemming.  I like that it adds a little length to this shirt--I'm sure she'll be wearing it still next summer!

Black Bird tunic back.

I made biased binding for the arms and really like how they turned out.  I like that the arm holes are large enough to fit over a long sleeve shirt for winter fashion, yet small enough they're not gaping.

 She loves the shirt--it's comfortable and lightweight, and I think she likes to match me!  We had a lot of fun taking pictures together!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WIP list

My autumn is filling up with deadlines already, so I am trying to finish up these summer-long WIP this month so I can finally cross them off my list!

Hexie bees, Washi tunic and raven feathers.

I made the raven feathers back in May, intending to make a mini quilt out of them.  Really all I need to do is add a border and quilt it.

The hexie bees are also from May--I need to decide on a layout, piece and quilt it.  

The Washi tunic is almost done!  I've been working on it for a couple of days, and pleased with how quickly it's come together after getting the muslin to fit nicely.  You'll be seeing it for TGIFF for sure!