Orange you glad?

Recently I had a request for an orange colored quilt for a baby. [that started out as “orange baby quilt”- hmm]  Anyway, I thought it might be fun, so I went to my stash and found it surprisingly lacking in orange selections.  I found this cute orange with bunnies print, it was on sale and I added it on to a fabric order that was for a different project.  When it got here, I was able to find some nice contrasting and complimentary colored scraps and FQs.  The pattern is a knock off from one I saw on Instagram, I think from The Fat Quarter shop, yeah, it’s called “Somersaults Quilt”.  My version uses 2 ½ Squares and HSTs, and wider sashing/borders.

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I started out with the focus fabric, the orange bunnies and made a bunch more of the four patch blocks.  The white toned down the orange a bit, but it wasn’t really working as the sashing.  I tried pink, bleh, then more orange print, too busy.

Then I figured I should just go with more orange.  I had to order it, as I didn’t have the right shade.  I have a Moda Bella Solids fabric swatch card/folder, which I got a few years ago, and still seems to be up to date.  The right orange was “Amelia orange”.  I used some of the extra block pieces for corner stones and added a print border and then it was done.  The quilting is Spring flower E2E, in orange, of course.

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This week I also finished the quilting on the Seaside quilt and got the red and green fig tree scrap quilt (needs a better name) on the frame.

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Also I finished the feathered star quilt top last week.  I’m ready to swear off Judy Niemeyer quilts for a while, especially after pulling off all the foundation papers.  It’s hanging on my design wall while I’m waiting for the inspiration to quilt it.

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Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese for Put Your Foot Down #26.

Ruminations

Now that PIQF and Houston are over, I have been thinking a lot about quilt designing and quilt artistry.  Seeing the quilts in person and Instagram/FB posts, it starts to get overwhelming.  I find myself going back and re-looking at the pictured quilts, categorizing them and picking them apart.  What is special about each one, what “makes it” special?

From there I am thinking about the difference in traditional quilt and innovative quilt categories, the prevalence of photo realism, digital fabric print quilts.

Traditional quilts, pieced, common angles (30,45,60,90), usually cotton fabrics, distinct patterns/designs and sub-patterns and designs. Curved piecing to some extent.  Crystals and beads (although crystal use seems to be waning).  Interesting color combinations, pattern geometry, tessellation, 3-D effects. Applique, raw edge, fused, or machine/hand done. Machine quilted, hand quilted.  Quilted to death or not.  Texture from quilting, trapunto, pantographic, tied (heaven forbid 🙄) big stitches, micro-stitches, colored thread, mono-poly.  Usually bound and finished edges.

Innovative/Art quilts, all of the above, some, or none of the above.  Photo realism, collage techniques, appliqué, raw edge usually.  Let’s not forget embellished, painted, inked, rusted, dyed.  Beads anyone? Imagery, statement pieces, emotion grabbing pieces, also fun stuff, plays on words and ideas.

Photo realism, should it be a separate category? Maybe, it’s a collage, it’s made from fabric, it’s quilted.  I enjoy pieces that are a study in value and hue, sort of like a Monet painting.  This also opens up the category of pointillism, OY!  Fabric used like paint, to make a picture/quilt, like landscapes.  This flexibility of fabric is one of the things about quilting that really interests me.  The ability to use a piece of printed fabric to represent texture or shadow, or movement.  But what about quilts that are a digital fabric print that is quilted on?  Does the quilting actually add to the finished quilt, or does it serve to make it a quilt? This area is a bit gray to me.  I enjoy seeing the finished pieces, but rarely do I revisit and want to get up close and visually dissect it.  These quilts are often like posters of art to me.  I used to have a poster of Georgia O’Keefe’s Orange Poppy.  It was pretty, but then when I saw the real painting, I took that poster down, it was hollow and lifeless in comparison.

Lastly, I am trying to come up with inspiration for next year’s quilt.  Right now I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of talent out there.  I am trying to balance my joy in creating with my artistic side.  How to combine them with out loosing the balance.  Self doubt figures in here, unfortunately.  The technical stuff, I have down, I can sew a 1/4″ seam with my eyes closed.  I’m mastering pattern creation with EQ8 and have a sizable stash of “inspiration”.  Maybe it’s that next step that’s scary, the falling-off-the-cliff step.  Is it time to start a masterwork, or think more? Do I need to make a few more sub-masters, to reach to top?  When I see the ‘best in show’ quilts, I feel that I am a fledgling, but when I see the quilts of my peers, I feel confident.  Practice or stretch?

This weeks quilt

I have been steadily working on this quilt that I bought as a kit.  I stated earlier that I was channeling Judy Niemeyer methods, but now that I have progressed I find I’m really channeling Bonnie Hunter.  If you’ve ever done one of her annual mystery quilts, you can relate.  Each week there is a clue, like make 150 HST’s or 250 flying geese.  It seems overwhelming at first, however if you divide it up over the seven days, it’s not too bad. For this quilt I’m making, There are 150 nine patches made from 1 ½” squares, then you make them into 25 larger nine patches with plain 3 ½” squares.  The vertical sashing has 40 small four patches set on point.  I put it all together today, yay – Quilt in a week.  Thankfully we still have electricity, PG&E spared us from the mandatory shut down.  As you can imagine not much sewing gets done without electricity.fullsizeoutput_230

On my frame this week is the butterfly wall hanging.  I made this about 4 years ago, started quilting it and took it off the frame for some reason.  I am going to finish it this month.  I’d say week, but I have obligations this weekend, which involve cleaning and entertaining. Bleh.  I also fixed the green and red quilt, so its up next for quilting. IMG_4663 I was going to put the Growing up Odd (pattern from Wedding Dress Blue ) top on, but its huge, (110 X 110) and I don’t know what I’m going to quilt on it.  Panto or graffiti or feathers or ???

Linking up with Sarah over at Confessions of a Quilt Addict for Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? this friday.

Something old

Something new, and something blue.  My DS was here for the weekend to attend a high school friends wedding.  Maybe that’s why the saying popped into my head this morning.

The something old is a finish, the Unicorn Playground quilt is bound and finished.  So sparkly and sweet.  I think I should have used light pink thread to quilt it, the white isn’t really visible.  They are secret unicorns. IMG_4660

Something new is a quilt kit I’m working on.  Got it all cut out and I’m ready to put 150 little nine patches together.  I think the organization skills from the Judy Niemeyer quilt are blending into my work habits.  It’s an improvement to be sure.  I didn’t work on sewing the star this past weekend, just got the pieces cut for the next section.IMG_4653

The “something blue” is exciting, a blue ribbon for Sew She Did.  I was so surprised to get the email Thursday that my quilt had won Best Interpretation of Theme at PIQF this year.  I entered the show first as a challenge to my creative self, and secondly thinking that I could get some exposure for my LA quilting.  It worked out that way.  My quilt was displayed in a central location, right next to the Cherrywood Prince exhibit.  The lighting was good and it was hung singly, with nothing next to it.  So fun to watch people looking at it and admiring it.  I was very proud, and happy to share it.IMG_4606

When I went to pick it up yesterday, the man who was giving them back announced that I had won a ribbon to everyone else who was waiting for their own quilts.  Everyone applauded me, it was very, well, nice and felt really good too.  You can see all the winners for 2019 here PIQF 2019

 

Cutting and Piecing

IMG_4598Last week I cut and pieced this quilt top.  I had seen the pattern somewhere on a surfing expedition, and made a similar pattern in EQ8.  The borders were my addition and the color selection.  I wanted to use up the scraps from the Christmas Figs sampler that I finished up earlier this past summer.  I was able to cut all the pieces with the Accuquilt Go.  It was quick and easy, and now I have another top to quilt.  UGH!  looking at the picture I see a green triangle out of place.  I fix it later.

I dropped off “Sew She Did” at the Santa Clara Convention Center yesterday.  I’m planning on going Friday to shop and then Sunday to really look at the show. Of course I’ll look for my quilt first thing when I get there :).  I really don’t need *ANYTHING* for myself, so my strategies may include only bringing a small bag for purchases, making lists of what I have (thread colors) and bringing only cash.  I have to go back Sunday to pick up my quilt after the show.  It always amazes me how quickly they take the show down.  It closes at 4;00pm, the vendors are packing up at 4:01 (sooner if they can) and runners are taking down the quilts and bringing them up to the lobby area for pick up.  Last year mine was in the last bunch to come out.  It’s fun to wait with all the other locals, talking about the show and what they bought.

IMG_4597The feathered star quilt is taking shape.  I started chapter two yesterday, which is the second round of pointy feather thingies. This one is green and tan, I am enjoying working with the batiks.  There is something that satisfies my need for order and straight lines.

Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese for “Put Your Foot Down #22” today.

More foundation paper piecing

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I have started a new project.  It’s an older Judy Niemeyer pattern called “Feathered Star”.  I found the fabric kit for it on sale earlier this summer, and the pattern was on sale too.  I’ve been chipping away at each “chapter” of this quilt.  If you’ve never made a Quiltworx pattern, they have a system, and it is very effective, helps you organize and it breaks down each step of their complex patterns.  I find it comforting in a methodical way, but first I have to let go of my need to do it my way.

This week I promised a friend that I would help her make a halloween costume.  She wants to be a magical mushroom.  Yeah, not your typical cape or jump suit costume, It mostly involves a hat, shaped like a mushroom cap.  I am trying to come up with a way to make it light, as no one needs more weight on their head, and she needs to fly with it to NY.  There will be upholstery foam and glue gun work involved.

I finished off the hand sewing on “So She Did”.  The binding, ugh black on black, I used quilting thread.  It’s a full binding, and I knew if I used regular thread, it would pop with the stress.  It worked well, and it was easy to thread the needles.  I also had to sew the hanging sleeve on and make a label with my name and address on it.  I’ve gotten out of the habit of making quilt labels.  I think its because I sign most of them with my initials and date when I long arm.  But most of my quilts are for sale or donations, and no one is interested in that.  I think if I ever make that quilt that is in my head, it’ll have a label on it.

Last week I got the unicorn quilt back on the long arm.  I had taken it off before I started “Sew She Did” and then the Lions club donation had to be quilted.  When I first put the sparkle Minky backing on the frame, I did what I always do with Minky, I pinned the selvedge edges to the leaders.  However I didn’t orient the quilt top so that the long side was parallel to the long side of the Minky.  I  found this out the hard way as I advanced the quilt to the last rows of the pantograph.  The backing was eleven inches too short, Minky is 60 wide, quilt is 71 long.  I was able to cut the extra backing from the side and add it to the bottom.   Thankfully I hadn’t centered the quilt top on the backing, as I wanted to have a decent sized scrap left over when the quilting was done.  One side was 4 inches and the other was 12.  Phew.

I want to start quilting the Christmas figs quilt after the Unicorn is done.  I also saw a quilt that will use up most of the scraps from it.  I drafted it on EQ8, and it is mostly HSTs, squares, and HSTs with one part split into two ( is there a name for them?).  Recently I signed up for an online class with Kari Schell at On Point Quilter to further my knowledge of EQ8.  It’s really helpful so far, Kari is a good teacher, and along with the handout PDFs and videos I feel like I getting a better understanding of the software and what it can do.

 

Keeping tabs

IMG_4563I finished the RW&B quilt for the Lions club event.  This quilt was a lesson in time management and following/interpreting/reading a pattern.  Well, the latter part isn’t really what I did, because there wasn’t a pattern to read, only a EQ8 picture and drawing.  Measure twice then cut and sew once is my new mantra.  This is the first quilt that I kept a record of the actual time I spent making it and the cost of materials.

Here’s the break down:

Yards of material for top – 11 ($98.00)

Backing – 3 yards ($49.00)

Queen size Batting – $40.00

Thread – $15.00

Cost $202.00 (retail)

Time spent cutting and piecing – 49 ½ hours

Time spent Long arm quilting – 6 3/4 hours

Time spent binding and finishing – 2 hours

Labor rates for my area

13.50 minimum wage – $786.00

25.00 artisan rate/skilled labor – $1456.00

All together it comes to $988.00 or $1658.00.  Obviously, one would like to get the skilled labor rate, but yeah, not gonna happen.  I really should factor in additional costs like wear and tear on equipment, electricity usage, costs for maintaining my studio etc.  But, realistically, the most I could probably get for this quilt is about 450.00.  It’s a labor of love :).

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance

I got my acceptance letter for “Sew She Did” from PIQF Monday.  I’m excited!  I’m proud of it, and happy to be able to share it with the quilting community.  I really don’t expect to win anything, but getting into a juried show is a prize in itself.

A few people I follow on instagram have been showing quilts from the recent AQS show at Grand Rapids.  Wow. There are/were some beautiful and masterful quilts on display.  Jenny K Lyon was a teacher there and posted a bunch of photos on her blog Quilt Skipper.  A few of those pictured, are works of such creativity that one may forget they are made of fabric.

I have been continuing the piecing of the Free spirit Melody quilt.  I received my needed yardage and got all the pieces cut for the Flying Dutchman block.  Along with printing the foundation papers.  Wouldn’t you know that both printers were out of ink?  A trip to the office supply store was needed too.  I discovered I had an AccuQuilt cutting die that was the right size for the triangles of this block.  That made cutting the 208 white triangles a bit easier.  I got one block done that day, only 12 more to go.  The picture on the right shows how the FD block combines with the sawtooth and big goose to form the secondary design.

I should be able to make some headway into this construction this weekend.  Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese for Put Your Foot Down #17 today.

 

 

RW&B

Got back from vacation last Thursday and started back in on the donation quilt.  Its called “Free Spirt Medley” and the pattern is part of a Judy Martin pattern add on for EQ8.  I have always liked Judy Martins patterns and her way of writing/laying them out.  They are very logical with piece counts and yardages, units needed etc.  The EQ8 version isn’t all that, I have a few issues with it, and thankfully, I can deal with them, but I feel that another person with perhaps less experience, wouldn’t cope as well.

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The first issue was/is with the yardage needed.  EQ8 has a option that will tell you how much fabric you need for a design.  The requirement for the red in this quilt was 2 ½ yards.  I should have checked that before I ordered it.  I have just finished the red pinwheel with stripes border – 36 blocks.  I have less than ½ yard of red left.  I ordered more red and blue, just in case.  Next up, the white and blue saw tooth blocks in the center section.  They are actually a sashing surrounding the Flying Dutchman blocks.  Each one has a large flying goose on the top and bottom of the saw tooth to combine with the FD block to form the blue outline around it.  These blocks are in the pattern as 3″ x 3″ squares.  If you’ve worked with EQ8, there is a a function it does that will morph the block you’re inserting in a quilt to the right size.  It’ll let you put a 3″ x 3″ block in a 6″ x 3″ space and make it “look” right.  The issue is that when looking at the block sizes to make, it shows the 3″x 3″ should be made, not the 6″x3″. Luckily I caught that one before making those.  The next blocks I have to make are the Flying Dutchman.  Not too complicated, except that they are on point, and the flying geese aren’t a common size.  They are 2 1/3 high.  The program does give foundation paper patterns to make these, but doesn’t really tell you which method to use as there are options for templates and rotary cutting too.   I’m planning on finishing the pinwheels today and moving on to the Dutchman blocks.

My design wall is looking pretty sparse.

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Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday today.

Whew

I finally finished the quilting on “Sew She Did” yesterday morning.  I had a quilting marathon this past weekend I think I clocked 10 or more hours.  Yesterday I did a final check of the quilt before unpinning it from the frame, and found a few places I had missed.  I brought it in to the sewing room and squared it up and got ready to bind it. Then, for some reason, I felt that I needed to check the registration form, and there I saw that it was due the 27th, not the 28th.  Oh NO! But Oh Good! at the same time.  I came up with a plan.  I sewed the binding on to the front and was going to glue baste it to the back. This way I could take the two photos I needed and then finish the binding and hanging sleeve at leisure.  The glue thing was a fiasco, first, this quilt has two layers of batting, cotton with wool on top.  Second, I cut my binding to fit tightly, and the glue couldn’t hold it to the backing well enough.  So I pinned it, with many pins.  I set up my quilt rack and got the pictures and filled out the form and sent it in (digitally).  By 4:30pm I was done.  I really though I would have finished this quilt last week and had an early-ish entry, but the stars weren’t aligned for me this year.  Between a vacation, a house guest and even a day without electricity, time was not on my side.  I started this quilt on June 24th, and semi finished August 26th, nine weeks.  I wish I could get paid by the hour😏fullsizeoutput_4d.jpeg

Just have to wait until 9/9 to hear back if I’m in for PIQF 2019.

I have a new deadline to meet October 19th.  I agreed to donate a quilt for a Lions Club auction to benefit veterans.  I am going to make Judy Martins “Free Spirit Melody” from her Star Power quilts collection on EQ8.  It’s red white and blue, doesn’t look too tedious, and thankfully I can do a panto on it, no more custom quilting for a bit.  I need to recover  from “Sew She Did”.  Fabric is ordered and I’m ready to get started, after a quick vacation – insert eye roll -.IMG_4982