Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: ABQMQG Banner

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2015

This is my entry into the Home Machine Quilted category (quilted on my Janome 6300):

ABQMQG (Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild) quilted banner.

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 (see if you can find them all in the photos!).

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, and I loved the idea so much I immediately made an order of 4 small spools of variegated Aurifil:

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 30 hours marking and quilting this banner!

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 HSTs that point to the right have feathers, and all the red HSTs 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:

Matchstick quilting detail.

I used a ton of Aurifil 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 matchstick 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).
Quilt Stats:
Pieced by Lois Warwick, applique by Sally Williams and Lauri Moody, quilted by me, Renee Hoffman
Size: 86"x42

Sun and sky quilting detail


  1. Your quilting brought so much life to the banner, Renee! I just love all the photos of the back; it really does show off all your hard work. And the pilot snail is probably my favorite, but I love the idea of an air snail, too! The before and after photos side by side are amazing. The bloggers quilt festival is awesome because we get a chance to see such amazing work like this again. :)

  2. You know I adore your work, right?! I have seen this quilt become a reality, followed every step in its construction. It is really a stunner!

  3. Beautiful quilting, and great banner!!

  4. This is seriously amazing. I didn't realize before you used all those colors of thread. Love it.

  5. Bellissimo, quiltatura perfetta :)

  6. It is beyond me how it all got to completion , what a piece of true art. Love it. Thanks for the share.

  7. Absolutely STUNNING. Your MQG must be floating on air (pun intended) Good luck with the bloggers hop

  8. WOW! The detail in your quilting is amazing! Beautiful work!

  9. What an incredibly gorgeous quilt! I love the significance in all the symbols you used!