Friday, June 9, 2017

The Seaweed Is Always Greener...

...in somebody else's lake. This quilt was so incredibly fun to make. Maybe it was the fun, asymmetric design that I'm not used to. Maybe it was the beautiful shot cottons I used to make this quilt. Or maybe it's just fun to quilt. I'm going with all of the above! Introducing "The Seaweed Is Always Greener" quilt.

I had a ton of fun making this quilt. I've always struggled with the mustard color seen in this quilt, so it's always a personal challenge to use it. I love the look of it in a lot of quilts, but I'm just not as into earth tones as I am jewel tones. At the same time, I am always in love with the quilts I make that use colors out of my comfort zone.

And like most of my quilts, this one was paper pieced. I designed it when playing with a parallelogram design and just adding in random lines. Sometimes freeform designing yields some of the best results, as is the case with this quilt. Because I used shot cottons, I made sure to really starch them first before piecing with them, as it's not good to use any form of liquid with the paper template.

As for the quilting, I matchstick quilted this using my HandiQuilter longarm. I used channel locks and took my time carefully avoiding quilting anything in the mustard yellow. I did that so the fabric would pop. I only used one layer of batting, but the 3-D effect still comes through loud and strong. I love the look of matchstick quilting. It sure uses up a ton of thread, but it's so worth it. In the end, I'm so in love with this quilt.

This quilt measures 33.5" x 44" and is available as a pattern in my Craftsy shop. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Nesting - What's Old is New Again

Wow, I'm not sure I ever thought I'd finish this quilt. I made the top what seems like ages ago, but was really about 5-6 years ago. I used some very precious Tula Pink Nest fabric (3 charm squares) to make the top, which is a modified version of a Weeks Ringle/Bill Kerr pattern that I thought would be good to showcase the charm packs and the fabric without having to cut into them. 

I ended up just quilting straight lines across the quilt about 1/2" to 3/4" apart. I didn't measure how far apart the lines were; I just went for it. I think the reason it took me so long to quilt and finish this quilt is that I had intentions of custom machine quilting it, but I could never get inspired by a particular design(s) to dive in. So it sat unfinished. Until I decided to just put the quilt on my longarm and go for it. 

My plan is to use this quilt as a beach blanket. Some of you might be gasping right now at the fact that I'm planning on using such rare, precious Tula Pink fabric on the beach, but I decided I'm going to use and love this quilt. I put a dark print from the collection on the back that I got on clearance for about $3 a yard when the line was out at the time. 

The quilt is slightly smaller than a twin size, but it's perfect for lying out at the beach and reading a good book. I bound the quilt in the same Nest fabric as the back since I had so much yardage of it. One of the reasons I'm excited to use this quilt is that it really shows how my style has changed through the years. I love that about myself. If I was still making the same type of quilts as I was five years ago, I'm not sure I'd be quilting. I love evolving my style and trying new things. That's the joy of quilting to me. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Alternate Way

Those of you that follow me on Instagram (@AQuiltingJewel) might have seen the flying geese blocks and quilts I've been working on lately. When I'm making these quilts, I tend to make extra blocks in case I want to alter my design. I find that having extra blocks comes in handy often. In this case I had 10 extra flying geese blocks, so I started playing around with them.


Using a design wall, I moved around the blocks until I realized what would happen if I organized the blocks around a square made of the same color as the goose. Wow, what a fun design. I knew I had to turn this into a little mini quilt right away. This mini isn't big - only about 15" square or so, but I just love the look.


One of the trends I noticed at QuiltCon was the increased use of faced bindings. I've been wanting to try a faced binding for a while and decided that I would go for it here. And what do you know, I was able to do it pretty easily after checking out a number of tutorials online. I can definitely say that you will see more faced bindings from me in the future for sure.

The best part of this quilt - every single piece is from my stash. From the solids and prints on the front (Cotton Couture and some Violet Craft prints) to the backing (an old Art Gallery print), binding, batting and thread (Aurifil 2024 50wt)... I didn't have to go out and purchase anything. Score! Or is it a bad thing that I've got so much fabric in my stash that I can just whip up a ton of quilts without going shopping? Nah!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Stumped

Every year for the Boston MQG Quilt Show, we have a mini quilt challenge. This year, the theme was Improv. We had to make a mini quilt that was no more than 36" x 36" using an improv technique. That's it! It's amazing how when given so much free reign, that it becomes difficult to get your mojo and make something. In fact, I was stumped (despite being the president and issuing the challenge...)


I decided I just needed to dive in. I've toyed with the idea of an improv curved quilt, so I pulled a bundle of fabric and some coordinating solids and just started cutting and sewing. I had no idea where I was going with this when I started, but I ended up really enjoying the end result. The colors and process are definitely out of my comfort zone, but that's what I love about a challenge. It pushes me as a designer. 


I thought the quilt top looked like a tree stump (hence the name of the quilt), so I quilted concentric circles to enhance the design. I love the effect it gives the quilt. I quilted this using Aurifil 50wt (and pieced with it) in an all over moss green color to match the background. I love using a thin thread to really blend in with the fabric, regardless of the color.


The end result is a fun mini quilt that I really like. Now to think of a new challenge for myself!

Fabric: Alison Glass Handmade and Cotton Couture Solids
Thread: Aurifil 50wt
Batting: Quilters Dream Poly (from my QuiltCon goodie bag!)
Finished Size: 25" x 30"
Started and finished in March 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

All Seeing Eye

Oh man, am I in love with this quilt! How in love? Well, let's just say that I'm actually in love with all THREE of these quilts. Yup, I made three versions of this quilt. I started by making the quilt you see below, All Seeing Eye. Then I decided to use this pattern for my Modern Quilt Guild Mini Swap quilt. Except I couldn't just make that quilt and give it away. I've learned with swaps, if you really love a quilt, make a second one for yourself. So that's what I did and how I ended up making three versions of this quilt.

This is the quilt that started it all. These colors are so not what I usually gravitate to, but I love this quilt. It's so fun, vibrant and striking. The cream diamonds are actual a double knit that I bought at QuiltCon in 2016. The olive and reds are Michael Miller Cotton Couture and the Navy is a linen fabric. I love the effect using different textured fabrics has. It's so striking in person.

Here's a closeup with some details of the quilting. I actually quilted this (all three of them) on my domestic using a bunch of different Aurifil 50wt threads.

This version is the one that will go to my swap partner. She loves Alison Glass fabrics, so I went with these fabrics. The white center was fussy cut to showcase the suns and the bird.


Here's a closeup of the quilting. This was also quilted using some Aurifil 50 wt threads. I love how different quilting effects give the quilt a completely different look.


And if that wasn't enough, here's the third quilt that I made. I just made double the number of quilt blocks that I made for the mini quilt for the swap. I just swapped out the background for this jewel solid. I had a ton of fun quilting this one. As you can see, the background was a total change and I love the look.
Look at that texture! (The color is off here because I adjusted it to showcase the quilting. I just had to show it to you!!!)

All of these quilts measure 20" x 21.5". It's the perfect size for a wall hanging.

I did create a pattern for this quilt. It comes together so quilt even though it's paper pieced, has one Y-Seam and uses a few templates. But don't be intimidated, it's very easy.

You can get the pattern on Craftsy here. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Through The Looking Glass - A Complete Kaleidoscope BOM

Wow, I can't believe I managed to finish my Kaleidoscope BOM within a month of finishing the blocks. Those that know me know that I'm great at finishing quilt tops, but finishing them is another story. But I'm SO happy with how this quilt came out.

It took me a little while to settle on a layout. One tip that I tell people when trying to decide on layouts of quilts is to pull out your camera phone and put it on the black and white setting. Look at your quilt through your camera with that setting and see if you have a clustering of darks, mediums or lights in one area. Move blocks around until you find the right balance. You'll probably have to play around with color placement as well. Just remember - you can continue to make changes, OR you can sew the quilt together, quilt it and enjoy your quilt.

Anyone that knows me or has followed my quilting journey also knows how much I love some good custom quilting. But because the fabrics were busy and this quilt already had so much going on (and admittedly, I really just wanted it finished), I quilted this with straight lines about 1/2" apart.

I admit, I really want to try to make a quilt or two just using one block, repeated to see the secondary designs created as a result.

All of these blocks are still available on Craftsy as individual blocks. BUT, I also created a pattern with all of the blocks in one place for ease of download and use. Click here to check it all out.

For those that followed along with the entire BOM, thank you for joining me. I'd love to see your finished quilts. And if you're just joining now, welcome! There's never a bad time to start a quilt. Enjoy!