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?

Friday, June 12, 2015

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (mini quilt)

"She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" mini quilt, measures about 17" x 21"

I made this quilt for Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for a private swap.  I started with a different plan that included some dresden wedges, but ended up feeling uninspired by them.  I decided it wasn't worth forcing, and went back to the drawing board.  I came up with idea of a flower losing petals in the quiet moments before sleep.

Quilting detail.

I've been really itching to use some Alison Glass Handcrafted for a while now, and felt this burgundy with yellow and orange bits made for a nice flower. I chose the Tula Pink Pixeldot in Coral for the center since the colors were a pretty good match and the hexagons seemed like a good fit for the center of a flower.

Flower center detail--I love this quilted hexagon texture!

The background fabric is Kona Ash and the binding is Kona Charcoal.

Quilting detail.

The backing is some shot-cotton that was given to me, so I'm afraid I don't know anything about it.

Quilt back.

This type of quilting is probably my favorite, at least on small pieces like this.  I get to experiment with new designs and different ways of combining them.  Sometimes the results are not at all what I expected, and that is fun too.

Quilt back, quilting detail.

For this quilt my newest interest was incorporating little orange peels in, I love the new texture they added!

Quilt back, quilting detail.

I used Quilter's Dream Orient (bamboo-silk-cotton blend) batting, and added a wool batting layer under the flower and falling petals for extra loft.

Flower and petals have two layers of batting.

Despite the dense quilting, the quilt remained soft and pliable.  I will definitely be using this batting again.

Showing how nice the drape is for this heavily quilted mini using Quilter's Dream Orient batting.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not mini quilt.

I quilted it using mostly Aurifil #2600 (dove) for the background, but also used some #2311 for the center of the flower, #2545 for the flower petals, and a little bit of variegated #3817 for the petal flight paths:

Quilting detail using variegated thread.

I used Aurifil #2600 in the bobbin too so there would be a nice contrast with the blue backing:

Quilt back, quilting detail.  This one wasn't picked off, it's escaping, it's flying away!

You can go see the wonderful quilt Yvonne made for me over on her blog!

Quilt label.