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?


  1. I love how bright the colors are now (and on a selfish note I wish there was more of that deep blue - yum!). :) Good luck on your submission... I don't know if I am feeling up for submitting at the moment (and I don't have time left to consider it much, huh?).

  2. The quilt is a thousand times better. I love how the paint sticks have warmed the whole thing up. It looks a completely different quilt

  3. From drab to fab. It was OK before, but it looks much more fun now.

  4. WOW, what a difference! I think it is definitely more reflective of its name now with the facet quilting and the jewel tone colors. Will you be able to wash it after the paint sets? or is going to be a display only quilt?

  5. You know those jewel tones are the best! LOVE IT so much. The quilting really looks amazing too. I thought I liked the jewels puffy but I like them even more now. Those pastels are pretty icky lol. Hence why I didn't complete the challenge. ;)

  6. OMG! Renee, it turned out fabulously!! What a dramatic change!I And the quilting! YES YES YES!! The triangle zentagle quilting looks so incredibly awesome!

    Did you heat set the paint? Be careful as the wool will mash down with heat and it won't regain it's poof. . . My piece does not smell at all - after it was heat set.

  7. Wow!! I think your colour choice is fantastic! I love how changing the colours change the effect of the quilt design and the quilting as well. I don't like pastels much either so this quilt definitely speaks for me. Great job- LOVE it!!!

  8. What an ingenious fix; I am SO impressed that you took paint to your quilt...but was it ever worth it. Being a person who doesn't mind pastels, at first I was like, no, it is fine (fabulous with the zentangle quilting, actually) but then seeing it painted---! Awesome. Now the black background appears grey...is it just the light or did you paint that too? Your work is so beautiful, such an inspiration. :-)

  9. I liked your quilt well enough before, but I love the changes you have made. I expect to see it hanging in Houston in the fall. My quilt made from those pastels is still unquilted, in part, because I was hit by a car last fall when I was walking across the street and lost my momentum, but also because I am also not a fan of the pastel palette ... maybe I will pull out some shiva sticks and play–thanks for the great idea and inspirational example of what's possible.

  10. Love the new colors! The quilting is great, especially the big triangles...they just jump to life with the quilting/

  11. Wow! I love both the added quilting and added color. It definitely looks more like gems to me.

  12. Wooh! Great outcome! I hope you will start to love it now :)

  13. I really liked the addition of the crystal quilting. But then with the addition of the paint sticks, Wow!! Beautiful. I have a friend who has used paint sticks on several quilt. I never noticed a smell so either she heat set it or the smell fades away with time. Thanks for sharing that wonderful quilt.

  14. What a change!!!! That's so exciting, and I must say I really do like the newly quilted areas. :) I think all of the changes have been positive ones. As for the judge...so much of that is personal preference which is why I will never, personally, enter a quilt into a show. I know if I like or don't like my quilts, so I don't want or need someone else to tell me if they do. lol ;)

  15. So, when I saw on IG that you were painting it I felt a little nervous about the end result...but it's amazing! I love the added quilting and the new colours are so much more exciting. Good for you for being brave enough to take paint to a quilt!

  16. The more intense colors definitely and very pleasingly grab and hold the eye, while the quilting draws one close and for a much longer period of time. Really nice!

  17. The colors look better for sure but I'm still not sold on the design. There is too much going on. Anyway I like the additional quilting a lot but I absolutely don't get the original spiral which distract me for some reason, sorry.

  18. I ADORE the zendoodle quilting in the triangles!!! And the re-coloring really makes her pop :)
    Ps just an FYI, I find that with wool batting, you need to increase your stitch length so as to not get pulls and puckers, as well :)

  19. Adding the quilting to the triangles and crystals made a big difference; I love the way you did the triangles. And then the paint - wow!! Those colors are terrific and really make the quilt pop now. Great job!

  20. I don't know much about the judging process as I have only entered a quilt once to a show where it would be judged and there were no written comments. I can see where they would be helpful, but the judges always have their own perspective too, I think. That's why they are chosen for a certain show/event. Choosing a challenge that used fabric colors you didn't really like made it even more challenging for you, so I say kudos to you for going outside your comfort zone. You used many types of quilting which set off the different areas of the quilt, and I could see why you left the triangles unquilted. Of course now I love what you did with the zentangle quilting....It is awesome. I like what you did with the paint sticks too. It really changed the look of the quilt. Did you also recolor the charcoal, or is it just the lighting in the pictures?

  21. I love the brighter colours. Definitely an improvement.
    I have never used fabric paints. I think I probably will not - simply because I have no more room for a new set of craft supplies in my overflowing craft space!