Friday, 27 March 2015

Atria (a finished quilt)

This weekend I finished up this pixelated heart quilt which I started rather a long time ago.  The quilt top was made using Jolene's pixelated heart quilt tutorial, using 2.5" squares.  I've been waiting to quilt it for a long time.  I wanted to quilt feathers on this quilt, but I hadn't really quilted feathers before and I was nervous.


Even though it wasn't really meant to be included in Krista Withers' compositional quilting class, Krista taught us how to quilt feathers.  Feathers are notoriously tricky but Krista shared a technique for making them easier.


Anyway, I did this quilting on my Juki, mostly free motion, but also using my walking foot a little bit (for the stems of the feathers and the straight diagonal lines).  After I quilted the feathers, I added in the straight lines to divide up the space (one of the key concepts from Krista's class was dividing the space into different segments and using different quilting designs to fill them).  I then filled in the unquilted spaces using two different motifs - paisley with bubbles and straight(ish) lines.


I really had to throw a solid fabric on the back of this quilt.  Nothing else shows up detailed quilting as well as a solid!


I will pop a label on this quilt and then I really want to send it through the washing machine and see how it changes after washing.  At QuiltCon, I got to touch a couple of quilts that Leanne (shecanquilt) had quilted very densely and then washed a couple of times.  They were so much softer than I expected!  The paisley / bubble quilting is pretty dense so I think this quilt could use some softening up.


I am pretty thrilled with how this quilt came out.  I'm really inspired to keep working on my free motion quilting.  It's all about the practice!

Have you been working on your free motion quilting skills lately?

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Monday, 23 March 2015

QuiltCon Recap 3: The Classes

In this post I want to share a little about the classes I took at QuiltCon.  I was extremely fortunate and managed to get into every class I wanted to take.  I took a reasonable number of classes - I figured since I was at QuiltCon, I might as well do and learn as much as possible.

QuiltCon classes 

My first class was on Thursday, and was a long-arm quilting class with Krista Withers.  This is the set-up of the room - I guess there were about a dozen long-arm quilting machines in there with two students to each machine.  Krista taught her compositional quilting technique and I learned heaps! 

QuiltCon classes
Me with Krista Withers

I don't want to share too much about the content of the classes here.  As a teacher myself, I know how much hard work goes into preparing for a class and I think it's respectful to allow the teacher to chose how and when to share their work.  However, Krista's ideas about how to divide up the space in your quilt top, and make it look like different motifs were sitting in front of or behind each other were brilliant.  I also feel like this class gave me permission to free motion quilt straight lines, and not worry about whether they are perfectly straight. 

QuiltCon classes 

Above is the sample I worked on in class.  I brought it home and I think I'll throw some binding on it to keep as a reminder.  I have a quilt coming up later this week which I quilted using some of the ideas from Krista's class, and I find myself excited about the quilting part of creating a quilt again.  Krista was a really awesome teacher - she had clearly planned the class well, and we moved between receiving instruction, planning, working and receiving more instruction in a really nice way.  

QuiltCon classes 

My next class was Anna Maria Horner's Mod Corsage class.  This class included elements of fussy cutting, piecing, appliqué and broderie perse to create a modern corsage block or quilt.  I am a huge fan of Anna Maria Horner's fabrics so I was super excited to take a class with her.  

The class was great, and it was awesome to see the broderie perse quilt above which is from Denyse Schmidt's book Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration.  Anna Maria had just bought it from Denyse which was pretty awesome.  Also awesome was the fact that Denyse Schmidt herself was a student in the class (clearly she and Anna Maria are good friends and she got a bit of a ribbing from Anna Maria about how it was good she was finally learning patchwork).

QuiltCon classes
Anna Maria Horner and me.
It's a bit hard to see, but Anna Maria's quilt is hanging behind us.

QuiltCon classes 

I was lucky enough to sit next to Ashley from Wasn't Quilt in Day.  She is so lovely and the piece she was working on was amazing.  I thought about stealing it during the break but resisted temptation!

QuiltCon classes 

This is what I worked on.  I was feeling a bit more is more in the class!  This will mostly be needled turned appliqué, so don't hold your breath for a finish any time soon!

QuiltCon classes
Yoshiko Jinzenji and me.
My second to last class was with Yoshiko Jinzenji.  I've been a fan of Yoshiko's work since before I was quilting myself (my mum has a couple of her books), so I definitely had to do a class with her.  I enjoyed this class, which involved quilting a layered panel consisting of a shiny fabric, a few shapes and then a sheer fabric over the top.  Working with the sheer fabric wasn't as hard or scary as I thought it might be, and it's definitely something I would like to experiment with more.

QuiltCon classes

My last class for the trip was with the quilters of Gee's Bend.  Anne and I decided to do a collaborative piece, which you can see above.  One of our local guild members who often works with shirts curated a bundle of old shirt fabrics for Anne, and we both added a few fabrics from stash (and a few bits and pieces from the scrap bin in the classroom).  This was a really enjoyable class and a chance to just sew.

QuiltCon classes

The Gee's Bend quilters mostly wandered round disbursing little bits of advice, but they also shared a few songs with us - very beautiful.

So there we go, my QuiltCon learning experience.  The classes were uniformly inspiring and had me excited to get back to my sewing machine.

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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Caturday Wisdom #112

When trying a new task, remember to have patience. Ralph
This is me if I tried knitting for more than 5 seconds.
Somehow Ralph always knows where to find wool, I don't even know where it's kept and yet Ralph will find it.
Wool is pretty good but currently Ralph is loving bubble wrap the most of all. I'm dying to get a photo or video of him but he doesn't make it easy. There's a big piece in the house at the moment and he likes to make a tunnel and get right inside it, make little squeaky sounds (while also purring) so that you come over and then comes out for a pat as soon as you do.

Friday, 20 March 2015

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge - an update

I've been working away on my Marsala quilt, and I know Anne has been working on hers too.  We thought it was time to remind everyone about the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, since the deadline for entries is coming up pretty quickly!

Marsala medallion progress

This is where I'm at with my Marsala quilt.  If you're interested, you can check out my last post on this quilt.  I've made a lot of progress, with all 12 of the 12" traditional blocks finished (although the one in the bottom left corner is really bugging me so I may well end up re-making it).  I'm hoping to work on the border in between the central block and the traditional blocks this weekend, but I also need to get all the appliqué in the central block stitched down before I add to it.

As always, feel free to grab the button and share it!

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

You can find all the details on my 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge page.

The key dates are:

- April 17, 2015 - linky party opens
- April 24, 2015, at 11pm PST - entries close
- April 29, 2015 - winners announced

I've been loving seeing all the progress on people's quilts on Instagram - it's really exciting to see all the different things people are doing with Marsala.  We are sharing quilts there using the tag #pantonequilt2015.  I really cannot wait to see the quilts that are linked up in April.  Even if you haven't started anything yet, I definitely reckon there's still time - especially for a mini quilt or a quilt top.

I feel like pushing myself to use Marsala, a colour that's definitely out of my usual comfort zone, has really helped me be more creative and try things that I perhaps wouldn't otherwise have thought of.  That's why I love these challenges, and I encourage you to give it a go even if Marsala isn't your favourite colour!

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Grandmother's Fan quilt - an acquisition

When I was in Austin for QuiltCon, I heard that Danielle (@petitselefants) bought a beautiful antique quilt from a shop not too far away.  Antique quilts are few and far between in New Zealand so I had to investigate the shop (Uncommon Objects) and see for myself.  I ended up visiting twice - the first time I saw this quilt but didn't buy it, and I kept thinking about it all through QuiltCon.  On our very last day in Austin I stopped in and picked it up.  I couldn't resist! 

Vintage Quilt (bought in Austin, TX) 

It's a beautiful grandmother's fan design, made with what are probably genuine 1930's fabrics, scalloped edging and a couple of interesting solid fabrics.

Vintage Quilt (bought in Austin, TX) 

It's a pretty big quilt - the photo above is my brother and my dad holding it "landscape" because it was too long for them to hold it "portrait".  It's in amazingly good condition as well - there are a few places where the quilting has come undone but the fabrics are not particularly worn or stained.  The guy who sold it to me didn't know its provenance (and it doesn't have a label on it), but he thought the fabrics were from the 1930's and the quilt was probably made in the 1940's or 1950's.

Vintage Quilt (bought in Austin, TX) 

The quilt appears to be pretty much entirely hand pieced, and it's definitely hand quilted.  That scalloped edging must have taken forever!

Vintage Quilt (bought in Austin, TX)

I could just stare at it for ages.  You can tell its really vintage - there are a few places where two pieces of the same fabric have been joined together (for example, to make a dresden blade), where the quilter obviously didn't have a single piece of fabric that was big enough.

Vintage Quilt (bought in Austin, TX)

Since this quilt has survived so long relatively undamaged, I'm keen to keep it in good condition (probably best not to let the cats claw it then).  My plan is to stitch a hanging sleeve to the back and then hang it in a space at the end of my hallway.  It doesn't really get any sun so it should be a good place for a quilt.

Have you ever bought a vintage or antique quilt?  What did you do with it?

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