Monday, September 30, 2013

What's inside Brown Bag #5...

This is the final rotation of the Brown Bag Challenge before the grand reveal at the October guild meeting... in a few short weeks. This owner is partial to the inserted strip technique, batiks and fabrics that "read like solid," string quilts, and something with a flavor of the Gee's Bend quilts.
The final Brown Bag of the 2013 Challenge.
I think I"ll revisit my notes from a Nancy Crow workshop I took a couple years ago. Sounds like innovative free-form piecing is in store... what fun!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Working with the Samsara collection

I'm working with yardage from one of Blank Quilting's new fabric collections, Samsara. The word in Sanskrit means "the ever turning wheel of life." Here is the plum colorway that will be hitting YLQS (your local quilt shop) later this fall.
Samsara fabric collection by Blank Quilting.
The plum, aubergene, and eggplant hues are reminiscent of the wild asters and fall crysanthemums that are blooming this time of year. These colors contrast the goldenrod in the paisley print and energize the collection.

I chose the block from the Square Daze pattern by Robin Jones at Cottontail Quilts. It has a graphic feel and shows off the paisley print.
Blocks from Square Daze pattern by Cottontail Quilts.
The dilemma is whether to go for a rectangular or square layout. What do you think?

I plan to introduce a few other fabrics—both from the collection and from blender collections, Isadora and Desiree.
Samsura collection with blenders.
Botton, from left: Isadora (eggplant and lavender) and Desiree (dijon).
The Desiree (dijon) gives the palette a little brightness and snap! I've used Desiree for the setting triangles of Moon Garden. It's a versatile print.

But first, I need to settle on the layout. Thoughts?

Friday, September 27, 2013

ATCs: A walk in the park

"A Walk in Overton Park"
by Marilyn League
Taking a leisurely stroll through a local park or an invigorating hike up and down the trails of a national park can be like having a personal conversation with nature.

"A walk in the park" was the theme for the September FIberAntics ATC [Artist Trading Card] swap. Here is how the participating artists illustrated a dialog with the outdoors... through a walk in the park.

"A walk in the park = Hiking!"
by Karen Downer
"A walk in the park along with the sunshine"
by Carlene Jacobsen
"A walk in the Park"
by Lisa Howard
"Take time to enjoy the flowers."
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
One of the bonuses of hosting monthly Artist Trading Card swaps is seeing the art, illustrations and graphics on current US commemorative postage stamps.
United States commemorative postage stamps.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fibonacci and Springsteen inspire free-motion quilting

During Show and Tell at a recent guild meeting, my friend Janet showed us her finished quilt based on the Fibonacci series. Remember Fibonacci from high school math class?
Janet's Fibonacci Series quilt.
It was a quite a large quilt, as those numbers get big quickly... 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55!
She started free-motion quilting it, but because of the large size, she was running low on ideas for quilting motifs.
Free-motion quilting in the large polka dots.
How about the Fibonacci sequence numbers? 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 ...

 and state abbreviations... KY, CO, GA, IL, IN, KS...

Take out the iPod and do some free-motion to music... yes! Why not quilt the song lyrics?
"Baby, we were born to run... "
Leonardo Fibonacci and Bruce Springsteen working together on a quilt. See, you can find quilting inspiration anywhere! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Orphan quilt blocks + Free-motion = Fabric baskets

Orphan quilt blocks. I think we all have a few. At the Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting this month, we had a demonstration on making a fabric basket.
Orphan blocks make their way into useful Fabric Baskets.
These little baskets are a perfect, practical and functional solution for orphan quilt blocks... or your free-motion warm-up samples (I have a stack of them!). These baskets make great gifts and, by using seasonal or novelty fabrics, you could make festive table centerpieces and decorations for every occasion and season.

Looking for a great little project on which to practice your free-motion quilting designs? This is a good one!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Radiant Triangles

"Radiant Triangles" 21" x 29"
Radiant by RaNae Merrill for Blank Quilting
One of the newer, more compelling, fabric collections from Blank Quilting is Radiant, by designer RaNae Merrill. This two-piece collection comes in four colorways, and the graduated, ombré panel can create dynamic results with simple patchwork.

This is a modified version of the pattern, "Infinite Triangles" by Tracey Brookshier at Brookshier Design Studio [of the Bento Box pattern fame]. As you can see, the quilt top is comprised of only half square triangles. How easy is that?

I have paired the amber color way of Radiant with Eclipse jet black and let the glow move across the quilt to create a backlit silhouette.

Five or six different variegated and solid 50 wt. cotton threads were used for the free-motion quilting.
Free-motion quilting with solid and variegated threads
by WonderFil and Aurifil.
On different areas of the quilt top, the top thread was changed to correspond with the color and value (brightness or darkness) of the patchwork.
Free-motion swirls and pods quilting pattern.
I also changed the bobbin thread so the color matched that of the top thread.
The bobbin thread [Superior Bottom Line] color
is changed to match the top thread color.
Finished size: 21" x 29". Thread: Aurifil 50/2 cotton and Wonderfil Tutti and Kotton 50 wt. in the top; and Superior Thread Bottom Line 60 wt. poly in the bobbin. 8.25 hours of free-motion quilting. Two bobbins. 

The color extends into the binding so there is no break in the design. The binding has butted corners rather than mitered. (Thanks to Geri, Mary and Karen, my design critique group, for the input on this aspect of the composition.) 
The color break extends into the binding. 
The backing is Blank Quilting's Fusion Illusion 108" wide backing (color: cherry). Yes, this quilt didn't need  the 108" width, but I have become so spoiled using wide backings, so even my smaller quilts use fabric from these collections. The cherry color complemented the front and the subtle, tone-on-tone pattern allows the quilting pattern to show. You can see the "swirls and pods" pattern on the back as well as the color change of the bobbin thread.
"Radiant Triangles," back view.
To see other examples of RaNae Merrill's Radiant quilts, visit her web site. A free pattern using this collection can be found on the Blank Quilting web site.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quilting is alive and well in Chattanooga!

It was a busy weekend for me... as well as for the local quilters in Chattanooga. And, I must say that quilting is alive and well in Chattanooga, Tennessee! 

On Saturday, I taught my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class to a group of exuberant quilters at the new quilt shop, Pins and Needles Quilt Shop.
Dawn P. and Dawn J., friends from the Choo Choo Quilters,
attended my free-motion quilting class.
Stacy, the owner, has gotten the shop in ship-shape "quilter-ly" condition since my initial visit a few short weeks ago. We had a packed classroom and these quilters were fearless in tackling free-motion!
Kim and Allison.
I also had the pleasure of having three members on my quilt guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, in my class. (Thank you Kim, Dawn and Dawn for attending my class!) What a treat to have friends and fellow guild members in the classroom with me!
Kitty and Stacy.
You can tell by the intense concentration on their faces that these students were focussed on mastering this new skill. The day flew by.
Stacy and Rachel.
With a little investment of time and practice, I know there will be many free-motion quilted quilts in their future. 
"Intro to Free-motion Quilting" at Pins and Needles Quilt Shop in Hixson, TN.
During our class, Brad, Stacy's husband, managed the store and helped shoppers. Here he is assembling a 3D fabric pumpkin for the shop. He is quite adept with a needle and thread... and the rotary cutter!
Brad working on a project for the shop.

Photo courtesy of a Spool photographer.
On Friday evening, I was invited to the preview party for the Grand Opening of another new quilt shop in Chattanooga, Spool.

This new shop has a more "edgy with attitude" flavor, as owner, Maddie Kertay, puts it. The shop's web site is still a work in progress, but if you stop by the shop in person, you'll find several pre-cut Fabrications strip collections from Blank Quilting—including the new collections, "Pretty in Pink" and "Spring Bouquet"—a large selection of solids, Cherrywood hand-dyed cottons, cute little hand embroidery kits (so glad that hand stitching is becoming so popular again!) by Penguin and Fish, and other quilty delights.

The shop has a shotgun house layout, high ceilings with dropped lighting fixtures, and the exposed brick walls are graced by an eclectic mix of quilts made by Maddie and many Chattanooga area quilters. Go in and be inspired!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blueberries, watermelon and feathers!

Kim's red/white/blue Twister quilt top that I showed you in this post, has been quilted. I still love the red-and-white checkerboard that appears only on two sides.
Red, white and blue twister quilt. Approsimately 55" x 63".
Free-form feathers in a rich Christmas red thread [Wonderfil Kotton, 50 wt. cotton] were quilted throughout the center.
Twister center with blueberry and watermelon fabrics.
The feathers spilled into the second inner border.
Free-form feathers spilling into the white border.
The thread was changed for the white border. And changed again for an outer feathered border.
Free-motion quilting in the inner and outer border. 
 Here is the back—which really shows the quilting since Kim chose a solid fabric.
Detail of quilting from the back: outside border and corner.
Free-form feathers intertwine and meander through the center of the quilt.
 This is a happy quilt!
What color do you think she will use for the binding?

Monday, September 2, 2013

ATCs: On the fence

"On the Fence (about to get OFF)"
By Marilyn L.
What's climbing, hanging or sitting on your fence? A a petal-packed climbing rose or lush green ivy? There could be a bluebird, cardinal or gold finch temporarily perched on a post, or a chattering squirrel or raccoon has climbed up for a better view. Maybe you're pondering a particular predicament and you're on the fence yourself... hmmmm...

ATC [Artist Trading Cards] artists considered "On the fence" both literally and figuratively for the August card swap.

Take a look.

"Temptation" by Carlene J.

"On the Fence" by Lisa H.
Two of our ATC traders were on the fence about quilting. Hand or machine?
"On the fence... hand vs. Machine Quilting."
By Karen D. 
Straight line quilting or free-motion?
"How should I quilt the quilt: Straight line or Free-motion?"
By Veronica Hofman-Ortega
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