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).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ABQMQG Banner Progress II

It has been a crazy 3 weeks since I was last able to post about this banner, but I'm finally able to catch up on some blogging!  Here is the banner last you saw it:

ABQMQG banner progress.  Current size: about 105" x 65".

Here are the photos I took after each finished bobbin:

ABQMQG banner: chopped off bottom and finished the sun rays.

After a lot of debate and discussion with various people (several from my guild), I decided it would be best to chop off the bottom of the banner due to the waviness.  I thought it would fix the problem, it did not.

ABQMQG banner: swirls through the big letters and more filler

ABQMQG banner: swirls above the big letters and lots more filler.

ABQMQG banner: filled in around "modern quilt guild", more partial swirls and lots of filler.

ABQMQG banner: filled in center of the sun with pebbles and swirls and finished the filler.

ABQMQG banner: quilted more on the mountain and quilted "Ghost Mountain" in the bottom right.

I think after this photo I used one more bobbin, but forgot to get a photo of the progress.  I will be back soon with the finished quilt to share though!  Woo!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Wedding Medallion

spring 2015 BQF Button

This is my entry into the Large Quilts category:

Finished Museum Medallion quilt.

I used the Museum Medallion pattern, with quite a few changes.  It is an advanced hand piecing pattern that I machine pieced over 4+ months.  I spent 82 hours hands-on quilt making (and only 16 hours of that was spent quilting it).

Museum Medallion center.

I had never heard of or seen this pattern before, so the whole experience was very new to me of ordering an international pattern (I bought it from Alewives Fabrics in the states), translating a hand piecing pattern to machine piecing, and the many, many places I had to fudge what to do as the pattern is very slim on instructions, measurements, and general helpfulness.   This pattern is not for the faint of heart!

Museum Medallion detail.  The flying geese aren't in the pattern (it calls for a second row of diamonds).

The pattern is lacking (including all online content I could find), at best, and I would only recommend it for people who like a challenge and are already experienced with y-seams, curved piecing, fixing templates, fixing wobbly borders, precise piecing and pressing, and extensive quilt math (despite the pattern you will still need to figure the right size of blocks for each border, as she doesnt' include that, and you will inevitably need a different size than is given anyway).  See why the piecing alone took 63 hours?!  Never.again. 

Drunkard's Path circles and lemoyne star corner stone.

But despite all the setbacks and frustrations due to the pattern, it turned out fabulous, and beautifully flat (but only after hours spent making sure it would be!).  Some of my favorite details are the ones I added--the cornerstones, the quilting, the flying geese.

Large border detail--French Wallpaper in Spruce, by Amy Butler.  Love the quilting on it!

I had planned a simple back using some wide backing, but really wasn't drawn to any of the options I looked at.  Then I got the idea to incorporate a double wedding ring (I used this free pattern), and decided to just piece the whole thing.  You may notice the double wedding ring type quilting in the Arabesque Buds border on the front of the quilt too--I promised to incorporate it in the quilt.

Museum Medallion back, which is mostly Arabesque Buds in Ivory by Pat Bravo.

Back detail.  I love how the circular quilting from the front medallion is linked with both of these.  Totally happened by accident, I actually intended for the rings to be further down on the quilt.

I pieced and quilted it using only Aurifil in #2000 and #2310.  I used nearly 2 large spools for quilting, and another large spool just on piecing!  My sewing machine adores Aurifil, and by that I mean it very rarely has any issues with it, even during my crazy free motion quilting!  

Drunkard's Path circle quilting (before the wash, as I neglected to get a photo of them after the wash).

Back detail of the Drunkard's Path circles.  They remind me of portholes.

Quilt back, quilting detail.

Quilting texture.  On the last wide border I followed the design on the fabric (French Wallpaper in Spruce, by Amy Butler).

I laid the quilt over my bed to see how it would fall:

Museum Medallion laying on a queen sized bed.

Side view of the Museum Medallion laying on a queen sized bed.

Quilt stats:
Size: 86.75" square
Pieced and quilted by me, Renee Hoffman
Category: Large Quilt

You can see my entry into the Art Quilts here.

Don't forget to nominate your favorite 3 quilts for Viewer's Choice!

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Starry Night

spring 2015 BQF Button

This is my entry into the Art Quilt category!

Starry Night mini quilt, measures 8" x 9"

I decided to recreate Vincent Van Gogh's painting, Starry Night using thread.

Starry Night painting I used for reference on color and shading.

Making this quilt was a roller coaster--some moments I would feel confident about how it was coming together and other moments I would question every part of it.  It was tricky to plan ahead each layer of thread, and keep the vision in my mind of how it would look.

Starry Night swirl detail.

In the end I was completely in love with it.  I love quilts that have so many tiny details.

Starry Night tree detail.

The binding is Kona Pepper.  The backing is a large scrap of fabric--it is black with little flecks of blue.  Next time I'll just use a solid color, because it will just get coated in thread anyway:

Starry Night quilt back (the blue specks are on the backing fabric--not from poor thread tension).

This is a very stiff quilt, and had some warping.  I tried making it a damp and then pressing with something heavy overnight, but that only helped a little.  In the end I pressed the entire quilt with a warm iron and it laid flat perfectly.

Starry Night horizon detail

To see my process in creating this quilt go here

Starry Night moon detail

I used mostly Aurifil 50wt threads and didn't have any tension issue with them.  They layer really well and have the prettiest sheen in the sunlight!  Here is a full list of the Aurifil colors I used: 2740, 4241, 2800, 6010, 5004, 2887, 2360, 5022, 2150, 1148, 1135, 2130, 2715, and 2692.

Starry Night town detail.

The only colors of Aurifil I didn't have for this quilt were the redish brown in the tree and a medium blue, so I used some C+C I had on hand (the only medium blue I had was actually a variegated, which was a problem in a few areas).

Starry Night thread painted mini quilt.

If you see this and can only think of Dr Who, then go check out these quilts I made:
The Doctor's Starry Night pieced bed quilt and The Pandorica Opens quilt.

Quilt stats:
Size: 8" x 9"
Quilted by me, Renee Hoffman
Category: Art Quilt

You can see my entry into the Large Quilts here.

Don't forget to nominate your favorite 3 quilts for Viewer's Choice!