Monday, November 24, 2014

Blue Rhino Moon: the Paint Chip Challenge quilt

The Paint Chip Challenge:
Make a quilt using 3 paint chip colors whose names begin with the initials of your name.
Blue Rhino Moon (detail)
This was a parameter of my quilt guild's [the Choo Choo Quilters] Challenge this year along with a size guideline and a required hand technique. My guild had its Challenge reveal at the November guild meeting. My entry, "Blue Rhino Moon," tied for the First Place prize. Check out the other fabulous quilts here.
"Blue Rhino Moon"
33.5" x 43.25"
1st Place winner, Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge
After sorting and purging a huge pile of paint chips, I focussed on these three colors: Volcanic Ash, Hang Ten (turquoise), and Oh So Red. The charcoal gray offered a dark value that contrasted with the other two, near-compliment colors—(almost) blue-green / red-orange.
VHO: Volcanic Ash, Hang Ten, and Oh So Red paint chips.
Inspiration also came from a cotton/linen blend remnant from an Echino Decoro collection for Kokka fabrics.
Kokka cotton/linen print was an inspiration.
Since the focus of the Challenge was a color story—dictated by the paint chips—blender fabrics became indispensable in accomplishing the goal. Being tonal by nature, the eye is not distracted by a contrast in color and value that is found on coordinating prints or the variety of imagery on most focus fabrics.

For my fabric rep compatriots, included in my Challenge piece are Splash, Crushed, Fusion and Just Color blenders and two colors from the Peppered Cottons blender line by Pepper Cory: 23 carbon and 16 flame. Carbon and Flame matched the Volcanic Ash and Oh So Red paint chips perfectly so they became predominant fabrics in Blue Rhino Moon.
Blenders and coordinates included in "Blue Rhino Moon."
As many of you know, the [free-motion] quilting is one of my favorite aspects of the quilt-making process.
Free-motion quilting (detail).
The yarn-dyed Peppered Cottons are wonderful to stitch and quilt! These shot cottons are almost solid so they show off the texture and bas relief created by the free-motion stitching quite nicely. Aurifil Mako 50 wt. cotton threads were conducive to quilting the background fills and zig-zags.
Free-motion quilting on Peppered Cottons.
The handwork techniques that I incorporated were hand appliqué (the patchwork circle) and the addition of small surface embellishments that I needle-tatted and crocheted with perle cotton thread and cotton yarn. These motifs were hand sewn onto the quilt after it was quilted.
Embellished with tatted and crochet pieces.
Trapunto was used in the blue appliquéd circle and the backing fabric is Sparkle cherry 108" (this fabric is no longer available).
Sparkle cherry 108" wide backing.

Quilt Stats:
Finished size: 33.5" x 43.25"

Threads: Aurifil 50/2 cotton in the top and Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.
16 hours of quilting. 4 bobbins.

Batting: Hobbs Tuscany unbleached cotton with a piece of Tuscany polyester batting for the trapunto in the appliquéd circle.

This piece has a faced binding.
Many guild members commented how the caliber of our guild's Challenge pieces has elevated over the past few years. I couldn't agree more! See the other entries here.

During the evening's presentation, each quiltmaker gives a brief overview of her processes, color choices and then the floor is opened up for a short, informal Q&A for each piece. It's interesting to hear each quilt's story unfold. We often laugh about when our guild members actually start working on their Challenge quilts. Most admit to a very recent date. Then, we all chime in, "there's nothing like a deadline!"
Label for "Blue Rhino Moon"
My label (another Challenge requirement) was made from leftover patchwork bits and a strip from my inspiration fabric... with the rhino.

Now, I just have to make a pocket to hold the paint chips and sew it to the back—like two clever guild members did on their Challenge quilts. (Wish I had thought of that!)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Piecing Dresden plate blocks

I had a great group of quilters at the "So Easy Dresden" class last weekend. And, let me tell you, these women were nailing that quarter-inch seam! Whoa.
So Easy Dresden class
With sixteen 22.5-degree wedges that have to fit together exactly to form a circle, you have to get that 1/4-inch seam allowance pretty much on-the-money or your plate will not lie flat. They did it… waaaay better than I do when making these blocks.

The class fabric and color combinations were charming, colorful and festive. Students auditioned background and border possibilities. Some of these Dresdens will likely find their way to holiday tables and be used as decorations for the season.
Mary's Dresden
Martha's Dresden
Frances' Dresden
Lisa's Dresden
Judy's Dresden
Brenda's Dresden
My students made excellent progress on their Dresden plates. We discussed options for hand and machine appliqué and tips for quilting this dimension quilt block. This is a perfect small project for practicing free-motion quilting.
"So Easy Dresden" quilting class at Chattanooga Sewing Center
Chattanooga, TN
Very well done, ladies! I can't wait to see your finished projects. Thanks for an enjoyable class.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Easy Dresden class this Saturday

The Dresden Plate quilt block is a classic. Whether you make it with traditional style fabrics, '30s reproduction prints, popular blenders, batiks or even hand-dyed fabrics, the geometric nature of this block lends itself to just about any taste and style.
I'm teaching a "So Easy Dresden" class this Saturday at Chattanooga Sewing Center.
My personal quilting aesthetic tends to employ a bold, bright color palette as you can see by these Dresden examples.
"Sidewalk Surprises" (detail)
My first quilt soiree with this 3D Dresden block, however, was with Blank Quilting Corp's black and white pre-cut strip set paired with Blank's popular Splash blender (I had a Splash fat quarter bundle to pull colors for the Dresden centers).
"Moon Garden" (detail)
This quilt is called "Moon Garden" and you can read about it in this post.
Dresden Star 3-D quilt block.
Isn't this a cool block? Those sharp star points are actually 3-dimensional. It looks complex, but it's really easy. All done by machine—piecing and appliqué. And the petals and points are accurately cut with reusable acrylic templates. I'm telling you… it's "sew" easy.

Wanna try it? I'm teaching a Sew Easy Dresden class this Saturday, November 15, at Chattanooga Sewing Center. Call (423) 899-3664 to see if there are any spaces available. (It was almost full 2 weeks ago.)

How about using a collection of festive prints and whipping up a little tree skirt in time for the holidays? One of my students made this one last year (so, so, sooo cute!). Once you make one Dresden block… you'll want to make 5 more!
Dresden Star tree skirt.
Join me for a fun project this Saturday!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ATCs: Pumpkins

The Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays were on the minds of ATC (Artist Trading Card) artists this month with the October ATC theme of "Pumpkins." Here are their creations.
"Pumpkins" by Carlene Jacobsen
"Three Counted Cross-Stitch Pumpkins"
by Bonnie Stevens
"Pumpkins" by Marilyn League
"Pumpkin" by Debbie Joyner
Did you know that Henri Matisse painted a green pumpkin?
"Henri's Green Pumpkin"
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
"Pumpkins" by Lisa Howard
How about this pumpkin-carving artistry?
"Pumpkins. Thanks,  Dad" by Cathy Dillon
"Different kinds of Pumpkins"
by Liz Armstrong
Pumpkin seeds were a celebrated food among many Native American tribes. The pumpkin seed has been traced back to Aztec cultures of 1300 - 1500 AD.
"Pumpkin Seeds" by Sharon Joyner Griffith
This "pumpkin patch" can be put on your britches.
"Pumpkin Patch" by Karen Downer
One of the ATC artists also sent me Halloween candy… a treat I will savor for myself. 
Thanks for the Ghirardelli.
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