Sunday, November 30, 2014


November is NOT the month to wait for things to settle down. Sit back, grab a coffee, this might take awhile.

First there was the International Quilt Festival Houston (saw amazing quilts, made new friends)

The Astronomical Quilts, 28 separate quilts made from the Astronomical star block challenge. I found my block. Thank you NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg for being out of this world!
All the Beautiful red and white quilts, displayed in a fun in the round tiered interactive way.

I know all these quilters, Leanne (shecanquilt), Jacquie (tallgrass prarie studio) and Debbie (aquilterstable). Debbie's quilt was at the "reception desk for the Modern Quilt Guild)- way to go Debbie!


2 quilts not in the MQG exhibit that I loved (r- Kelp by Sheila Frampton-Cooper; l- Tuning Fork #13 by Heather Pregger).

and then I had a couple quilts on display. (I even did some show and tell, look Ma, no white gloves!)

a big thank you passer-by for taking the photo of me and my mother-in-law, Lydia Ruyle.

I made some in-person introductions while I was there:

Perhaps no introduction is necessary, but what the heck: Alex Veronelli from Aurifil, me;  and Karen (capitolaquilter), Alex, me and Elena Gregotti (also Aurifil). I don't have a picture of Latifah Saafir (the quilt engineer) even though we did meet up for a bit after she finished teaching, thank you Melissa (weshallsew) for the introduction.

Then do.good stitches block designed by Courtiepie.

And birthdays to celebrate- Happy birthday Jan (stampqnjlr)
a improv paper-pieced holiday pillow in situ with 4 improv luggage tags.
I used Superior metallic thread in silver and Aurifil cotton thread #2021 to quilt the top.
 The snow is not a prop!

I loved this Holiday Cheer fabric by Jan Shade Beach for Henry Glass & Co. 

Close up of the crazy metallic thread used for the quilting so it will sparkle even indoors!

and class samples to make with the pattern by Miss Print (again).
scrappy pieced string block table runner for Fabricate Boulder
More on the table runner a bit later as there is a hidden surprise that I need to say more about.

Classes to attend and guests to host

DAM interior

A trip to the DAM with Guest lecturer  Thomas Knauer.
My car was packed and ready to go. Took only essential quilting supplies and inspiration. Sewing machine,-check; awesome up cycled mail bag by Hillary (entropyalwayswins)- check; personal quilt by Whitney (scrappy_lamm)- check. (Doesn't everyone travel with their own personal quilt made just for them by a dear, dear friend??) 

And more classes to attend
I'd ask Santa to let me quilt like Angela Walters for Christmas, but I know THAT'S not gonna happen.

And quilts to make

A pale to gray and white-on-white wonder for my special girl. There are several metallic fabrics and metallic threads will be featured heavily in the quilting. More later……

And coming soon,  holidays to prepare for (hint Christmas).
it's just around the corner you know!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Binding- my favorite part of making a quilt

Look carefully and NOT at how cold it is outside!

There has been lots of talk about binding lately. Debbie (A Quilters Table) has done a remarkable job of collecting and sorting all things binding. There are dozens of binding techniques out there. so many to choose from. For me, I'm just happy to be binding. It means I'm on the home-stretch, almost done and it's literally palpable. I've made bias binding, pieced binding, gradient binding and even tried (on small projects) faced "binding".
Often, I want the quilt to look cohesive, to have a binding that it well executed but camouflaged. I have used bindings to literally match the negative space on my quilts and even pulled in tiny (less than 1/4") pieces of color to make the quilt design appear to bleed to the edges.
Read between the lines

 But lately, I've wanted the binding to be boulder. That thing on a quilt that drew your eye and made you wonder. Can I do that? The binding is such a small quilting detail but it is what wraps the quilt up, signifying both an ending(quilt finish) and also a beginning (quilt ready for gifting).

I had the pleasure of making a store sample for Fabricate Boulder- a class I will be teaching. It's a medium sized project and it was the perfect opportunity to try "the binding". (The on line tutorial for the string pieced blocks can be found here).
The binding was done in the same fabric as the sashing, a beautiful solid eggplant purple.
I used 5 different threads quilting the project top. The piecing is busy and the colored threads really made the quilting both stand out and blend at the same time. I applied the same quilting to a 2" straight-of-grain same colored binding. I even added one line of metallic silver. I used a deep purple in the bobbin only changing the thread colors on one side of the binding. After "quilting" the binding I applied it like I always do, simple and straight forward.  It actually went on beautifully acting as a single piece of fabric instead of a folded piece.
I used a walking foot to keep fabric movement to a minimum.  Folded edge to the left

even at a distance you can "see" the binding
I think having the binding both blend and pop really makes this quilted piece fun. The binding gets to be the thing you notice, wonder how it got that way, make you ponder your next project. Just what I was hoping would happen.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sending you 25 hugs and a kiss, OK 26 hugs...

A, (I thought at the time), well thought out, sketched, documented, photographed, fabric especially selected project. I had a plan. I had the perfect fabrics, I even sketched out and thought about piecing the top so I wouldn't get myself into any "y" seaming "situations" and I almost pulled it all off. Almost, almost.

"25 hugs and a kiss"
you don't notice the binding because it changes color with the quilt top.

96" x 96", original design

Fabrics (top): Maude Asbury Crabtastic by Blend, Dictionary Eclectic Elements by Jim Holtz, Riley Blake Remember Words grey, April in Paris French Words natural, Letter from Paris Script cream, Michael Miller Old Script black, On time words grey, Sunprint text white/black, Timeless Treasures Wine Lovers Wine Words black, Back to School Cursive Alphabet white, Premier Prints Penmanship Primary neutral, Objects Newspaper Page, Kona solids (Snow, Steel, Medium gray, Iron Gray, Ash, Coal, Charcoal) Noir Timeless Treasures of Sotto, Donna Wilder for Fabric Traditions, Pixel Dot Freespirit , Westminster Fibers, Bungalow by Joel Dewbery Freespirit, Brandon Mably for Rowan Westminster Fibers, Primitiva by Jane Dixon for Andover Fabrics, Should Blossoms by Amy Butler for Rowan, The Culture Club Anastia (green/orange/red) by Robert Kaufman, Aviary 2 Joel Dewbury for Free spirit, Little Elephants by Michale Miller, Architextures by Robert Kaufman, Adornit Basics in Burnish, Subway signs by Eclectic Elements, The Dressmaking Collection- Vintage Notions for Red Rooster Fabrics, Metro Liviing Circles black, Downton Abbey Lady Mary tonal black, Quilters Linen Print Dots Charcoal, and various other quilting cottons from my stash.
pin basted, ready to go!

Fabrics (back): 108" wide, Spot on by Robert Kaufman in gray. And an "orphan" hug block from the front. Couldn't help it, HAD to use the left over block even thought the beautiful wide fabric of the backing seemed to be screaming to be left alone.

orphan block pieced into quilt back

Threads: Changed, top to bottom to compliment the deepening background piecing that was happening on the pieced top. All Aurifil 50 wt. mako cotton in 2630, 2612, 2600, 2605, 1198, 4241 and 2021. (Literally the gray scale spectrum from white to black).
the quilting is hidden and lends texture only

Binding: 2" straight of grain, pieced light to dark, complimenting the threading choice and the fabric choices.
Hand sewing the binding to the back.
At this point it's almost done and this is one of my favorite parts of the quilt!

Quilting: Bernina #4 stitch, 5mm wide, 2.5 stitch length, stretched 4X. Quilted with a walking foot on a Bernina 180.
The quilting adds texture only

Batting: 100% cotton warm and natural.

Ideas, lessons learned etc., etc. - the final idea is that for this quilt,  the quilting style, the thread selection and the pieced binding don't stand out on their own. They repeat, and reinforce the process of the light to dark gradation of the quilt top. Having those elements align make the top a cohesive statement, each part complimenting but not competing with the overall design. The binding, and the threads and the actual quilting was not a preplanned part of this quilt. When I was sketching and fabric buying I wasn't even considering how to finish the quilt. I only had the top in mind. I just love as you create how something that was unknown becomes clear. And with clarity comes completion.

2014 has been a journey of epic proportions for me so far. I have much to do in 2015. I hope it's at least as much fun and fulfilling as 2014 has been.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

October, feels like fall

Lots of finishes in October. But not much to share, 'cause some of those quilts are Holiday gifts……
Here is what I can share:

Kenya Charity quilt through the Metro Denver Modern Quilt guild, 6, 8.5" string pieced blocks for a twin quilt. {My pathetic attempt at a photo before they went away}.

A few scrappy 9 patch blocks for the Front Range Modern Quilt guild baby quilts for our guild members. (I'm doing a great job of getting things out the door before photographing them this month).

Denver Quilt Guild, RJR Fabric Challenge Quilt (read about it here if you missed it).

Birthday Bandy swap for Raquel. I really enjoyed making these tote bags and using some really fun little fabric scraps.

Haven at Do.Good stitches- October paper pieced arrow blocks. This quilt is going to be beautiful and I can't wait to see it done.
there are 11 blocks because I had a paper piecing moment on one of them…..

Lastly, Halloween….. it almost snuck up on me….. I will be on a plane on Halloween but thought it would be fun to leave behind treats for my family while I was away. These cute little drawstring bags in fun Halloween fabrics seemed like just the thing. The pattern is by s.o.t.a.k handmade.
Zombie fabric and jars with "ghoulish" stuff in them….. bring on Halloween!
Fabrics by Riley Blake and Michael Miller

Beginning the Christmas crafting/sewing. I think this year, warm flannel pillow cases are on order. I'm not sure why I haven't gifted these before. Especially good for college students because we all know how much they wash their sheets!

And lastly, a fun trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston TX. More to come on this later…. or just check out the photos on my IG feed @spontaneousthreads