Thursday, December 31, 2015

Quilts of 2015

You can get the links to each of my quilts from my pinterest board.

 17 Mini quilts,  9 for swaps or giveaways.

It was another big year for mini quilts for me!  Even though I have 17 pictured about, one of them was actually made in 2014, but I painted it this year and count it as a new finish for the year.

8 larger quilts: baby to queen sized (yes, 2 commissioned fancy TARDIS quilts).

I made 1 queen sized quilt, 1 full sized quilt, 3 baby quilts and 2 TARDIS quilts (which are lap sized).  I also quilted the ABQMQG banner, which was pieced by other women in the guild, but considering I spent 40 hours quilting and finishing it I'll count it here as a big finish.

16 Mini-mini quilts, most of them are quilted paisleys.

This was also the year that the #miniminiquiltswap swept IG and I made fifteen 3-5" square quilts to swap with others through IG!  I found my niche in creating really detailed FMQ paisleys, especially with variegated threads.  They are so fun!  Unfortunately I'm still waiting to receive 2 tiny quilts, even though it's been over 3 months!    

Aeroplane Bag I (regular size)

I also made a bunch of bags and clothes this year, but didn't keep up with photographing them very well.  I should add that to my resolutions for next year: take better photos of all the clothes and bags I make!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rapunzel's Star Chart mini quilt

Rapunzel's Star Chart: measures 23.5" x 15"

This year Jess @Quilty Habit and I have discovered we both really like moon phase stuff (everything from quilts to wine bottles) and share new finds with each other.  At some point we casually agreed to swapping moon phase mini quilts.  I came up with an idea to make a moon phase table runner, but without a deadline it just kinda floated around my To-Do list.  Then for my birthday Jess sent me this:

Phases quilted table runner by Jess currently hangs from my design wall curtain rod (meant for hanging large quilt tops)  Other quilts on design wall: Pythagorean Spiral, Triangles, and In Memory of Jessica (thread painting)

She had the exact same idea!  But she did it first, so I felt like I needed to come up with something new.  And I decided her December birthday should be my deadline.  One day I was watching the Disney movie Tangled (a retelling of the Rapunzel story), and saw this mural with new eyes:

In the scene, Rapunzel is trying to convince Mother Gothel to let her go see the floating lights (which Jess made a quilt from, definitely go check it out: Tomorrow Night mini quilt).  Mother Gothel tries to tell Rapunzel that the floating lights are just stars.  Rapunzel replies with, "That's the thing, I charted stars and they're always constant." And she shows Mother Gothel this star chart mural.  You only see it for a second, but I knew it was the perfect Plan B for the quilt I would make for Jess. (and then this month she made a Frozen inspired quilt: Let It Go mini quilt).

I started with a scrap of Kona Purple fabric and layered my major design pieces onto it.

Rapunzel's Star Chart: beginnings

I actually started with drawing out the basic design and color blocks on paper and then used a light box (window with sunlight behind it) to trace the different sections onto the fabric pieces, then cut them out.  The tower and constellations I drew on freezer paper and then pressed onto the fabric and cut out. 

Rapunzel's Star Chart: Adding constellations, the fox still has the freezer paper attached.

I used a glue stick to hold everything in place temporarily and then used my FMQ foot to sketch-stitch around all the pieces:

Rapunzel's Star Chart: sketch stitching.

Then I added stars, constellation lines, and like a thousand other details:

Rapunzel's Star Chart: adding quilting details.

Here's a closer look at everything on the finished quilt (I forgot to take more in-progress photos):

Rapunzel's Star Chart: The Dove constellation.

Rapunzel's Star Chart: The Honeysuckle and Fox constellation.

Rapunzel's Star Chart: The tower and moon phases.

I used Aurifil 50wt threads for most of the quilting, but where I needed an extra thick line I used 12wt (the moon phase line, the red planet line, and the large blue and purple circle centered around the tower).

Rapunzel's Star Chart: finished quilt.

I used two layers of batting for stability and loft (also because my machine is due for a servicing/tune up and is very contrary with getting the tension just right.  Two layers of batting means more space for weird tension to hide, haha): one Warm and Natural and one Quilter's Dream orient.

Rapunzel's Star Chart: quilt back.

Jess received this quilt today and loves it!  You can go read her reaction here on IG.  :-)

Friday, December 18, 2015

2016 Quilty Resolutions


When Yvonne @QuiltingJetGirl announced doing a link up for 2016 Quilty Resolutions I had already started on my list.  Before I get to the new list I want to review my list for 2015:

1.  I want to get a longarm (quilting machine) this year!  [this did not happen, like I so hoped.  But I am committed to making it happen in 2016!]
2.  No more big swaps! [I think I did pretty good with this, with a couple of fairly disappointing exceptions]
3. Give back by making and donating a quilt.  [you can see the Ocean Study baby quilt I made and donated here]
4. Go on a quilting retreat!  [I went to QuiltBliss and had a blast!]
5.  Make more clothes. [I made a Ginger skirt, Sorbetto top, City Gym shorts, a washi and a date night dress.]
6.  Balance: this is so hard with a young family. [This is an on going work in progress!]
7.  Saying NO--[pleased to say I did say no to quite a few things, and also stepped down from positions that were stressful and draining]
8. Continue to develop relationships with other quilters both online through my blog and IG and in real life through my local guilds.  [Definitely have accomplished this!]
9.  Stop making quilts to enter in shows!  [I did really good on this, except for the QuiltCon EZ challenge]
10.  Make myself a new bed quilt!  [UGH, nope]

Teal and grey fabric stash.

11.  Enter my quilts in at least two quilt show (state fair doesn't count).  [QuiltCon and MQX NE]
12. Buy fabric with more intention.  What I mean by this is to think more critically about the fabric I want. [I think I did better about this this year!  The problem is there is so much lovely fabric coming out constantly!]
13.  Continue with this motto: "Start where you are, use what you have." [Definitely been following this]
14. Destash some fabric! [I was able to destash some, but have a new pile I need to sell or get rid of]
15.  Start teaching! [I taught a program at one ABQMQG meeting, but I am still looking for other good opportunities to teach what I love]

Okay, so overall I think pretty good with my 2015 resolutions!  Here are my goals and resolutions for the new year:

1. "Do not give from the depths of your own well; give only from its overflow."  This quote resonated with me so much, which brings us to #2:

2.  NO new swaps.  I have one swap to finish this year, one for next month and a one later in the year.  I hope to refrain from signing up for any more!  I really want to have the freedom of time and creativity to make things for myself.

2015 swap and giveaway quilts (plus 2 I'm working on right now!).

3. Get a Longarm machine!  For realz this year!  Honestly this is really intimidating to me.  I want to do a lot of research and get the right machine for me, I want to price my quilting service right to support the time I spend and the materials used.  But I think it will be worth it, and just hope that the community and market for longarm quilting will be able to support me!

In an Angela Walter's class at QuiltCon.

4. No challenge quilts unless the challenge fulfills a quilt idea I already have and want to explore.

Crystal City at the state fair.

5. Submit quilts to at least 3 shows other than the State Fair (ie QuiltCon, MQX, APS, HMQS, etc).

6. Donate another quilt!  I love that this has been a tradition for me since 2012.

7. Make the grey and teal bed quilt!  

My teal and grey fabrics today.  Ready to be made into an epic quilt!

8. Continue to cultivate genuine friendships with people within the quilty community, both in person (I'll be at QuiltCon West!) and online.

9. Write and release the paper piecing pattern for the Pythagorean Spiral quilt:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt

10.  Listen to and follow my inner Quilty Spirit more and stay away from the trends and hype that are not in line with my interests.

So, have you thought about what your goals or resolutions for the next year?  Link them up with Quilting Jetgirl!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt

Pythagorean Spiral, 28.5" x 21"

This quilt was inspired, imagined, created and quilted last month between everything else I did.  But it was the type of inspiration that grabs you and won't let you go until you've finished the project.

First, I saw this image online (and despite numerous and detailed digging, I have been unable to find the original artist!  If you know anything, please let me know!):

Artist unknown.

You can read more on what is a Pythagorean Spiral (also called Spiral of Theodorus) here.  If you want to draw your own spiral there are lots of great YouTube tutorials.  I wanted to create my own at first, but when it came to duplicating the inner lines and shapes of the above spiral it became very complicated!  I created this pattern on a really short timeline so I could take it with me to the QuiltBliss retreat, and finally realized that simply tracing the above image and then having it enlarged at a print shop would be much faster and simpler.

I then brought the 250% enlargement home, and worked out how to turn it in a very bare paper piecing pattern (no seam allowances, just used a highlighter to mark where I needed to leave enough fabric for the seam allowence) and cut it up, using a paperclip to keep the pieces from each wedge together:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt pattern: 17 wedges, 4 of those wedges have 2 pieces, the rest have 3 pieces = 47 pieces to this pattern!  You can see a marker and a rotary cutter on the left for size reference.

I had also printed 10 coloring pages to work out colors and fabrics.  I used this DreamsTime image as color inspiration:


I pulled all my coordinating fabrics and packed them in my suitcase.  It wasn't until I was on the airplane that I worked out how to use the colors on my spiral:
Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: colors and fabrics

But my stash was missing anything orangey-pink, which I really wanted to use.  So I mentioned that to my friend Yvonne (from Quilting Jetgirl, she went on the retreat with me, which made the retreat so much more fun!) and she said she'd bring all her orangey-pink fabrics for me to use!

Moose selfies with Yvonne!

I also ended up using some of her oranges, yellows, purples and pinks by the time I finished.  What I'm saying is my finished quilt wouldn't be quite as colorful and awesome without her fabric assistance!  Here is a collage of it being pieced:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt piecing.

During the retreat I spent every free-sewing time working on piecing this and think it was around 10 hours total?  I finished it up minutes before the last show and tell and was so excited to finally get to share something!  Here is what the back looked like:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: the back of the paper pieced quilt top.

Then I rolled it up and came home.  I had so many other projects to work on and finish by the end of November.  But a little bird suggested I enter it to QuiltCon and the idea stuck.  So it became my stretch goal for the month: if I could finish everything else I would try to finish this to meet the QuiltCon entry deadline.  And I made the deadline,with 12 hours to spare even!

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: 28.5" x 21"

But if it doesn't get in, that's okay.  I made this quilt for me and am so thrilled with how it turned out!  Every part of it was a labor of love, but fulfilled a deep rooted creative need.  When I started quilting it I planned to keep it simple, but quickly realized the quilt demanded more than just stitch-in-the-ditch and a few background squiggles:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: quilt back.

I used all Aurifil threads, and was so happy to realize I had all the right (or close enough) colors:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: Aurifil threads used on the spiral

The background was only quilted with some wavy lines in Aurifil Dove at first, but I added more lines using the colors about (and a few extras):

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: background quilting using 9 colors of Aurifil.

I only quilted the spiral in the ditch to start, but after finishing the background I realized the spiral really needed a little more quilting (and it still needed to be blocked to make it lay flat!).  I kept it fairly simple, but did a lot of thread changes so the quilting wouldn't draw too much attention:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: quilting detail.

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: back quilting detail

The center of the triangle is 17 points, and all of those seam allowances make it very bulky--like quilting over it was not possible.  After a lot of discussion with my quilting friends/consultants I ended up going with some designs from my quilted paisleys:

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: center quilting detail.

Pythagorean Spiral Quilt: back center detail.

Other details
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient (bamboo-silk-cotton blend that has an amazing hand/softness, even after all my dense quilting!).
Binding: Handcrafted by Alison Glass
Backing: Kona Purple
Backing thread: Aurifil Dove (2600)

So maybe you're wondering if I'm going to create a pattern so you can make your very own?  YES.  I am working on making this into a pattern that does have seam allowances, piecing guide, tips, and coloring pages and will let everyone know when it is available to purchase!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Counterbalance (Quiltcon EZ challenge quilt).

EDIT: changed the name of this quilt from "You Know It When You See It" to "Counterbalance"

Counterbalance: 37" x 52"

You can read about the making of this quilt in my previous post.

Counterbalance: back

I made this specifically to enter it to QuiltCon West and will have to wait a few weeks to hear back on whether or not it go in.  I don't know how many triangle challenge quilts were submitted, but the overall number was about 1800 (about 500 more than last year), so I'm not going to hold my breath.

Counterbalance: quilting detail.  Each triangle is quilted differently.

I am considering entering it in another quilt show later in the year, plus the NM state fair.  And in the end I'm going to use it as a lap quilt and it will inevitably be covered in white dog hair (while making it I was like why did I pick black?  For visual effect for showing is why, and later for dog hair viewing haha).

Counterbalance: quilting detail

I was hoping the quilting would help camouflage the fact that I used two different dye lots of Kona Black, but alas:

Counterbalance: ghost triangles and flower of life quilting.  Kona black dye lot differences.

I guess my opinion of this quilt is it should meet the requires of being considered "modern" but I'm pretty sure it doesn't have what it takes to be a winner. 

Counterbalance: triangle quilting detail.

 But I mean, Aurifil Magenta (#2535) on black?  How could I not love that! 

Counterbalance: flower of life quilting detail. 

The binding and center triangles are Kona Berry.  The greys used in the triangle block gradient are from my stash and include Kona Charcoal, Coal, Ash, and White, as well as several Free Spirit solids from the Denyse Schmidt collection.  I used Quilter's Dream green batting for the first time and overall liked the loft and working with it.

Counterbalance: back detail.

And lastly (but not least), I'd like to thank my design consultants for their advice and patience: Sara, Yvonne and Jess.  I really appreciate each of them for their honest opinions and constructive criticism.  Also for their help in naming this quilt, fingers crossed it can live up to it!