Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 A year in Quilts

2014- 17- I don't think I can ever do this again…….

Snap shots of 17 quilts (fronts) finished in 2104. From left to right, top to bottom:  At the Crossroads (Pantone quilt challenge); Gypsy Sunshine (birthday gift for my mom); Colorado 4x4 (Colorful Colorado quilt challenge, 1st place and selected as part of the Modern Quilt Guild special exhibit at the International Quilt show, Houston; QuiltCon 2015, Austin TX,); Shues and Ladders (a baby quilt); Do you see what I see? (a wedding quilt for Robert and Kevin); Fade into Gray (college graduation quilt for Grayson Heppe, selected as part of the Modern Quilt Guild special exhibit at the International Quilt show, Houston; QuiltCon 2015, Austin, TX); One of these is not like the others (Always Bee learning Group Quilt); Twenty Questions, Derived Inspiration Quilt No.1 (for Whitney); Stitched ( Bad Ass Quilter's Society special exhibit, Des Moines); Outside the boxes (50th birthday quilt for Ruchi); Knock your socks off (Christmas quilt for my brother, Chris); 25 hugs and a kiss; All you need is LOVE (birthday quilt for Karoline); Read Between the lines (RJR Fabric challenge quilt, QuiltCon 2015); Serindipity; White Out (Christmas Quilt for Remington); Staggered (Picnic Quilt)

And because I believe that the backs are just as special, here are the pairings! (They follow the same layout as listed above)






Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I'm working outside the box, way, way outside.

OK, confession, I'm not sure I ever worked inside the box, but…..

This year has been the year of the quilt for me. I had birthdays, and graduations, weddings, friends, guild challenges and babies to quilt for and it was wonderful. I had help with the tops on 2 of the quilts (Always Bee Learning and The Jane Austen Bee and Book club).  I even received a quilt as a gift from a very special and dear friend. And you'd think with all that, I'd have quilts coming out of my ears, but I don't. And that's good too. Each quilt is where it should be, which brings me to the last quilt of 2014. It will be a birthday gift for one of my dearest friends. It's a 50th birthday quilt and I hope she loves it. It took 2 tries to get it just right, I really, really like this person. I was able to do something I've never done before in the process and loved the journey all the while.

 "Outside the Boxes"
92" x 71"
50th Birthday quilt for Ruchi
This entire quilt was made from the special fabric pieces of another quilt. The 2 quilts couldn't be more different and I LOVE that. (more on this later)
The back.
 I repeated a "box" pattern here, the colored fabric "lines" take me outside the box, figuratively and literally.
Fabric (front): please see  fabric for "25 hugs and a kiss". In addition, I added the metallic boxes fabric in gray and turquoise.
Fabric (back): Just Color! by Studioe and Kona black, coal. Also fabric scraps from quilt front.
Threads: Aurifil 50 wt. Mako cotton in Variegated 4665 and solid dark gray, 2630. Sulky silver metallic.
Batting: 100% cotton Warm and Natural
Binding: straight of grain cut at 2" in Wine Lovers Wine words, black.
Quilting: Bernina swiggle stitch #4, with a walking foot, on my Bernina 180, set at 5 mm and stitch length of 2.5
before basting, everything looks perfectly "smooth"

before basting

the metallics really make the top sparkle

the obligatory pin basting photo

one of the "blocks"
Something I've never done before (and likely will never do again): This quilt was made, entirely from the fabric remnants from another quilt. I actually had an entirely different quilt in mind for the recipient, made the other quilt and well, when complete,  it just didn't feel like Ruchi. The design didn't sing to me but the individual fabrics were, however, perfect, and at this point, "precut"(there is no nice way to describe little bits and pieces) for the other quilt. So, I literally had to work with what I had, outside my proverbial box, and make something beautiful in the process. You can go see the other quilt here .
The back of this quilt, like all my other quilt backs this year, had to be constructed from what little was left. I am happy to report that there are no left overs.
My helper (you'd think sleeping on pins would be uncomfortable).
BIG Lesson learned… never despair if you make something and it's not entirely what you envisioned. Pick up the bits and pieces, (literally and figuratively) and make something even more wonderful. Push the box, and if you can step outside it. Be a bit unsure of where the journey will go, but go none the less. I'm pretty sure that you will learn much about yourself in the process, I know I did.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

We all get by with a little help from our friends, and when you do, they knock your socks off….

Group love, again. The Jane Austen Bee and Book club helped me with my month's block featured here
We made the Knee Socks Block by Elizabeth Hartman. I loved the strong lines in this block and the restricted use of just a few colors really makes this block perfect for the quilt I had in mind. This one is  for my brother. He's a product of that era, he probably even owned some of those socks. So, cheers Chris.

The details:
"Knock your socks off"
83"x 76.5"
Block Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, blocks quadrants received disassembled by request, remixed by me and constructed as per original block pattern instructions. Side by side grid layout for blocks,  asymmetrical final layout with quilters details (repeating stripes).

Back- original design with some of my brothers favorite things (you can probably guess what they are).
      Fabric front: Group Bee stash fabrics. I asked Bee mates to use white/ white on white and add just a pinch of red. Prints were OK as long as they "read" solid. I added, Kona snow, Kaffe Fasset Aboriginal dot, Hammer and nails by Blend, and Tina Higgins designs, cycles.
      Fabric Back: Striped fabric- Emmie Ruta by Ikea, Versatiles by Matthew de Lanoy (red), Hammer and Nails by Blend and Tina Higgins designs, cycles (gray).
      Threads: Aurifil 50 wt, 100% Mako cotton, quilted to match fabric: 1158 (dark gray), 2606 (medium gray), 2250 (red) and a silver gray from my stash by One Cotton.
      Batting:Warm and Natural 100% cotton
      Quilting: Bernina #4 swiggle stitch with walking foot. 5mm wide, 2.5 stitch length. Quilted on a 180 machine.
      Binding: Hammer and Nails by Blend, cut 2" straight of grain
pin basting the quilt, close up of some of the fabrics used

      New ideas/techniques: I used a deconstructed duvet cover in 100% cotton by Ikea for the backing. I cut into the twin size duvet using only one side (the other side was check). Since the duvet was not wide enough, I widened it by adding (and repeating) the striped detail. The effect is subtle but really is the best finish for the back, and in keeping with my quilt back philosophy, I got to use leftover material from the front in the back as well. The back, while striped, is visually different from the front, also something I reach for in all of my quilts. I also used "matching" threads on the quilt top, so the quilting compliments the top without making its own statement.

And finally, along the lines of "Derived Inspiration", I actually used Elizabeth Hartman's quilt block as the inspiration for the quilt. The linear aspect of the block and it's lending itself to a restricted color palette really paved the way to add the large full length stripes to the top and inset the stripes into the otherwise striped fabric back. I'm a believer that you can find inspiration anywhere! Since the block design is Elizabeth's and not mine, the quilt design is not totally of my own creation, but I did add some of me to it, and I hope she likes what I did with her block!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

December is here

It's a busy month with all the excitement about the upcoming Holiday and New Year. Can't believe 2014 has come and is almost gone. I've done much this year and have much to be thankful for. Looking back,  I seemed to do everything slightly over the top in 2014.
Travel (Spain, Bolivia, Houston, Hawaii, Florida).  Quilt (14 more or less- that's almost 1 a month, but who am I kidding, some months were busier than others). Friends (celebrating new ones and old ones- here's to all of you). Planning (exciting new Bees and quilt designs, it's not even 2015 and I'm looking most forward to Bee Sewcial- you can follow our crazy antics on Instagram: look for #BeeSewcial). I can't post too many photos yet but soon the barrage will come.

So as not to have a post without pictures, here are some December highlights.

Birthday Bandy December is for Jennifer. Thankfully she let us all in on the wish list a little early. (Thank goodness, I want to keep those Holiday trips to the post office at a minimum).
Here is the deal on these pictures, I used some beautiful Italian linen and precious Japanese linen prints. I improv and curved pieced and then quilted my way to a few fun bags. Jennifer said she liked metallics. So do I. So metallic quilting was definitely going to happen (again).
2 pouches, one metal clasped the other with a drawstring. (Drawstring pattern by sotakhandmade)

interior shots, love the reds!
A Holiday pillow from our Dachshund to the family who looks after her when we travel.

And a few more pictures from the "White Out" quilt-in-progress. Metallic fabrics and threads in this beauty for my special girl. All in all I think I'll use 4 different metallic threads on the top and kept the bobbins filled with my go to Aurifil 100% cotton (this time I'm using a pale variegated spool).

I've made some more progress but you'll have to wait just a bit more to get the full story behind the quilt. Let's just say it will be Derived Inspiration No.3 "White Out" when all is said and done. And I will have done a few new things with this quilt too. Although I wish I had the mad skills to quilt this like Angela, I'm daring to use only metallic threads and I don't want to cause any problems, so I'm sticking to the straight and narrow. I may over quilt in a few places, but we'll see how much I'm still liking metallic thread when I'm done. (It's a queen sized quilt).

May the remainder of 2014 be good to all of you and I look forward to hearing from you in 2015!