Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: More Machine Quilting

Now that my Dazzling Diamonds quilt is all finished, I'm rushing to finish my Octagonal Orb, or Dreaming in Color Quilt as I'm now calling it, in time for the quilt festival next month.   You can see the backing fabric here in this picture.  It's just something from my stash that I got at Marden's a while back for less than $4 a yard! 
The first step, and the most tedious, is to quilt all of the dark grey.  I'm about 1/2 way done with that part and then I need to move onto the octagons.  I'd say I'm about 1/4 of the way done with all of the quilting so far.  I need to just sit down for one whole day and bust it out. 
The octagons won't be quilted as densely, so they should go faster.
Here's a picture of the full quilt before it was basted and quilted.

Wish me luck in finishing the quilting!  I may need it.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dazzling Diamonds Finished

Last weekend I finished quilting and binding my Dazzling Diamonds quilt for the Boston Modern Quilt Guild's mini quilt challenge at the Lowell Quilt Festival.  You can read all about how I designed this quilt here.
I'm REALLY pleased with how it came out.  This might be my best machine quilting work thus far. It's also, easily, one of my favorite quilts, although I feel like that's claiming you have a favorite child. 
See what I mean?  It's far from show-quality machine quilting, but I still think it's awesome. 

Before I got to work on machine quilting this, I used a printed version of the quilt and tested some designs for each different section.  I tried a bunch of combinations and settled on what you see above and below as my first choice.  I also had a second choice for each section.  Why?  Because I needed to see if I could actually quilt what I wanted to.  Sure I've done straight lines before, and pebbles.  But I needed to make sure I could quilt the pebbles on such a small square.  It was also my first time doing the figure-eight quilting motif.  By planning, I was able to relieve some of the stress that I associate with free motion quilting.  I was able to practice the quilting on some scrap fabric and batting before jumping to the quilt.

I really love how the back of the quilt came out.  I love when you can tell what the quilt pattern is by looking at the quilting from the back.  As usual, I used just one fabric on the back as opposed to a pieced back.  While I love the look of some pieced backs to quilts, I have always preferred to use a single fabric for the back.  In this case, I think it really shows off the quilting.

I will say that over the past year, my confidence in my machine quilting skills has grown exponentially.  Practicing really does help, and I've been practicing for quite some time now.  One of the things I love about quilting is the ability to try something new and move out of my comfort zone.  Last year I really spent some time learning needle turn applique.  This year I've really honed my machine quilting skills.
The fabrics are all Kona solids and the thread is all So Fine! by Superior Threads. I love the way So Fine! thread blends with the fabric but you can still see the quilting details.  It's one of my favorites. 

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lowell Quilt Festival - BMQG Exhibit

Next month, at the Lowell Quilt Festival, the Boston Modern Quilt Guild will host a special exhibit at the Appleton Mills.  If you're in the area, come on by!  There will be some great quilts on display. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

QuiltCon Challenge Block

As I sit around waiting for my thread to arrive in the mail to finish quilting my Dazzling Diamond quilt, I managed to whip up another quilt block to submit for the QuiltCon block challenge.  I still love this block, even after making it again.
Maybe if I have some extra time before the deadline I'll throw together another block that's more improv. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dazzling Quilting

I'm in the middle of quilting my Dazzling Diamond mini quilt and I thought I'd share my progress. 
Wait, you mean you can't really tell what I've done from this picture?  Okay, let me show you more details.
First, I stitched in the ditch around all of the grey stars and I echo quilted in the stars three times. I wanted to treat the grey stars as one piece rather than calling out the light and the dark separately. 
After that I did some pebble quilting in the green and I have to tell you, I really like how it's coming out so far.  After I quilted an entire quilt using pebble quilting (something I will NEVER do again) I vowed not to do pebble quilting for a while.  With just this small amount of pebble quilting I went through one and a half bobbins of green thread for this mini quilt.  Yikes!
Doesn't it look awesome from the back?  I always match my bobbin thread to my top thread, so this back, despite being a solid grey, will be mighty colorful once quilted. 

Now for my orange and blue thread to arrive so that I can finish it.  Maybe I'll make one of these blocks for the QuiltCon challenge or figure out what my backing will be for the octagonal quilt.  That's next on my to-do list - quilt it.  Time's ticking away until the show.  EEK!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Octagonal Orb Top Finished

Last night I put the final stitch on my Octagonal Orb quilt top.  It just might be one of my all time favorite quilts.  I feel like claiming A favorite quilt is like picking a favorite child, so I'll just say it's one of my favorites. 
Can you blame me for loving this quilt so much?  I had the hardest time getting the colors right in the pictures.  The teal in the middle left is darker than it appears and the aqua in the upper right is also darker.

I will say, it was pretty hard to get all of the blocks to be the same size.  With all of the pieces and the angle of each triangle to form the orb, things shifted quite a bit.  I ended up doing what the pattern said and focused on making each block square rather than all of the blocks the same size.  As a result, the sashing doesn't quite line up, but because it's all the same color, it's hard to tell.  It's going to require some heavy quilting to mask it.

Now to finish the quilting before the Quilt Festival in August.  I'm still crossing my fingers.  I know I'm going to have to head on another business trip this month, so its crunch time. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

BMQG Mini Quilt Challenge - Dazzling Diamonds

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is having a mini quilt challenge for its members to create mini quilts, no more than 24" on any side, in the colors of QuiltCon, the inaugural conference and show for The Modern Quilt Guild.  The quilts will be displayed at our special exhibit at the Lowell Quilt Festival this year.  I designed a 6" quilt block for my quilt and made a mini quilt that measures 24" square for the challenge that I call Dazzling Diamonds.

Of course it's paper pieced, my favorite quilting technique.  I wanted to do something with diamonds on the diagonal, but I also wanted something more than just diamonds.  I love stars as well, so I thought about incorporating some sort of star into the block as well.  I determined that if I made the diamond fat, a nice star was formed when you put multiple blocks together.  I thought a giant diamond with a star in between would be boring, so I framed the diamond and added yet another star point to the block.  Voila, you have the block that you see above and below.

Here is the finished quilt top.  I really love how this turned out.  The colors in the above photo are the closest to what they really are. I'm not a huge fan of orange, but used in the right way, I don't mind it.  In this quilt, I actually really like it. 

I love the idea of a pattern creating a secondary pattern.  In this instance, you have the diamonds that form the diagonal lines, the Orange stars, and the grey stars are formed when you put multiple blocks together.  In my quilt you also have the darker grey that forms a pinwheel.

In this mockup, I used one color for the background, which really makes the background stars pop.  I also turned the four center points around to create a medallion effect.

And in this mockup, I rotated the blocks so that the points of the stars inside the diamonds all pointed towards the corner instead of creating stars.  You lose the background star with this layout, but you get this really cool visual effect where you eye is automatically drawn to the center of the quilt.  As you can see, just playing with color and the layout of the block can really give it a different feel.

I'm off to go make another one of these blocks so that I can send it in for the QuiltCon block challenge.

I created a pattern for this quilt block and mini quilt which you can purchase on Craftsy.