Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Week Happenings

I have one quilt that I can now show.  It was a gift for my mom.  I started piecing these 20 scrappy blocks in late October, right before heading to Houston.  I think people think that just because blocks are scrappy, that they are fast to piece.  Not so much true.  I still cut strips off of nearly every pink fabric I own!  My niece pointed out that one of the seams looked crooked.  I had to gently tell her that they all were :-), intentionally!  It finishes at about 58"x 72".  It is fun for me to see all the different fabrics that I have used somewhere, or dreamed of using! 
My mom has had 3 of 4 of her chemo treatments for breast cancer.  We are lucky, as it is believed that it was really caught in early stage, despite it being in the lymph node.  It is hard to see, but the setting stones on the sashings is a subtle use of the breast cancer ribbon fabric.  I didn't want it to be "in your face", but that gentle reminder of why we must believe all will be fine was a requirement.  It is backed with a soft pink flannel.  This is just one of the many reasons why I have been on the blog less this fall.  Too many things to do, or to think about.  I will do better in 2014.
I tested out a plan and some dimensions for a faux piped binding on this quilt.  The brown "Believe" is from a Buggy Barn older print that I have intentionally hoarded.  It looks nice with the pink.  I love the subtle touch of the piping.  I will share the recipe for this later, as it is part of an article I will have published later this year.

Just before Christmas, I worked on a client's custom quilt.  She has a larger version of this Patchwork of the Crosses block which I have made a dozen or more of.  Her's are not fussy cut, but are of lovely bold prints. I won't show the entire quilt, but here are a couple snippets.  I love the colors in this block in particular.  If you know of the print at the corners (blue/green), or better yet have any to sell me, let me know.  I did have some, and really want some.  I believe it is Philip Jacobs.
This particular quilt was challenging.  The oddly-shaped white spaces were perplexing to design for.  I sort of ignored the piecing to some degree, and just quilted.  It was requested that the quilting be non-traditional and more edgy (like the modern, lively fabrics).  I hope my "outside the box" approach to the quilting fits this request.
I found another perfect quilt for the Aurifil thread I got last summer - who knew?! is the one below with the variegated colors - I used this predominantly on the printed areas.  There was some white thread and some aqua as well.  That Aurifil 40wt poly quilts like a dream, yes a freakin dream.  I wish it came in many more colors than it does (hint, hint!!).
So, tomorrow is NewYear's Eve.  No big plans here.  I have started on the client quilts again.  I have a couple early January finishes for some nice, patient clients of mine.  All others are being done, trust me.  I'm getting it all done... :-) I worked on my own quilt (the one I showed a week or so ago) a bit lately.  When I have kids home and knocking about, I hate to put a client quilt on the machine. I just don't have the attention span a custom quilt needs.  So...I put my own quilt on.  I am doing the ever-so-slow finishing touches to this show quilt, in hopes of having it done to enter in 31 days.  Fingers crossed.  For everything I finish, I discover something else that didn't get done right.  What a vicious cycle!  It's been too much work to settle for "good enough".  It will be finished right, or not at all.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

One Christmas Celebration Complete

Our family had our Christmas celebration with my husband's parents yesterday.  We were bumped up a day, with little warning after learning about the ice storm that is hitting us today.  This wouldn't be a safe day to be driving around.  I have been a very busy person the last few weeks.  I didn't even have this little runner quilted until last weekend.  Thank goodness the binding is a relatively quick sew.
This was started 2 years ago in a Harriet Hargrave class I took on invisible machine applique.  I had half of the appliques done way back when.  I'm not really sure why I never finished it, but I didn't make any Christmas presents last year so that probably has something to do with why it sat so long.  The other (and obvious) is that it really is not my color palate.  I was given a layer cake years ago at a retreat, and it just sat, and sat.  I didn't have anything to use it on, but I did bring it to this class, and this was started with it.  The background is made up of several white and red French-style toile prints.  When it came time to finish the applique, I am now on a new domestic machine, and I have no idea what stitch or what settings I was using 2 yrs ago!  The blind stitching on half if it is slightly different if you know to look for it.  Oh, well.  We call it blind for a doesn't really show much.  My MIL isn't much of a stitcher, and certainly not a quilter so I doubt it will be detected.  Then again, I'm not really sure she liked it whatsoever -- a risk always faced when making gifts.
The quilting is with Glide thread.  The background has the free-feathers all over it.  Fortunately, the appliques are simple and do just fine with ditching and simple quilting on them.  No need to overthink it.  And I do like a scrappy border, and the parallel lines are just what it needs.  I even did the binding in scraps of the darker reds.  It all works. I like it.  It is nice work.  Not my colors and designs, but nice.   It at the very least warranted those words, but as I said, people that don't make handmade gifts just don't always appreciate the time and investment we put into our work.  The lack of nice words is completely deflating.  So...even if you hate it, compliment that handmade gift!
Here's one last look at the little flower and heart.  She thinks it looks Pennsylvania Dutch.  I'm not sure.  It's Harriet's design, not mine.  I just hope to actually see it on her table sometime.

Mostly, all other details in my household are ready for Christmas.  Most gifts are wrapped.  Food is bought.  I started some homemade almond joy bars today.  Guess I'll be heading to the gym tomorrow!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Seeking Opinions

I'm getting down to the details on this quilt.  Well, actually it came off the frame a week ago so I could quilt some client pieces.  I will reload it when all design decisions are finalized (as is any needed pickout!) so I don't waste valuable time.  Outlining and background quilting are done.  What I am waffling on is how to quilt the silk ribbons and the flowers.  Some flowers really don't leave room for extraneous detail quilting, but some do.

Here are a couple options for this pink tulip-y flower, as well as the ribbon.  I can maybe throw in some pretty feathers...
 or do the flower simpler, just providing texture.  I don't have an alternate idea for the ribbon besides just echo quilting 1/4" from the edge and then backfilling the center.   This is not my favorite idea though.  I lean towards the feathers shown above.  They seem graceful.
 Here are 2 more flowers -- the one in the upper left and the one in the bottom right.  The lower left flower will get ditch stitched around each curve and that will be sufficient.
 Which do you prefer?...Above is the 1/4" echo and then fill the center of the petal (upper left flower) or the spikey swirls and row of pebbles on the center circle (shown below)?  I could also just do little veins (lower flower in above pic), but this seems kind of simple, and these petals may really need more quilting.
Generally speaking, I just love how this is coming out.  I am motivated to finish it, which is a good thing since there's only 6 weeks left until the MQX deadline to enter it.  I expect that this will be it's first showing.  It is one of those quilts that for me, just came together so effortlessly.  I started the piecing last March.  The applique was designed by start of the summer, and all stitched by early fall.  I have spent about 66 hours on the quilting thus far.  Gotta say, it is refreshing not to be working on a 100" quilt this time like I was this time last year!  Talk about not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  This quilt has many memories for me.  I went to Paducah last April, when I really didn't think I'd get to go.  I found the gold/olive fabric there for the outer border after an exhaustive search for something compatible.  When I saw this one, I knew it was the one.  I also bought several pieces of silk, cotton and batik in various shades from soft pink to deep cranberry.  The paler shades were earmarked for some appropriate dogwood blooms on the sides of this quilt.  Having lived in the South for years, the dogwoods are near and dear to my heart.  Fond memories, and sweet symbolisms included on this quilt.  Be patient, all will be shown eventually :-)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013 Somewhere close to the top 50

As 2013 is quickly coming to a close, I find myself reviewing the year, the accomplishments, failures, neglects, etc.  There is no doubt that this has been a pivotal year for the business and for my quilting.  I have been happy all 4 years that I have been quilting, but this year has certainly had some great rewards. A huge thank you to those of you that contributed to this accomplishment list.  The names are too many to list, but I know who you are.

  1. approximately 100 client quilts
  2. 2/3 of which are custom
  3. 7 show quilts (and this does not count my own)
  4. 4 of my own show quilts...patience they will be revealed in due time
  5. OK, they will be finished in due time.
  6. The count also neglects several gift quilts
  7. I should have kept track of thread cones purchased.  It is greater!
  8. THAT would be my perfect gift (since I am a thread junkie)
  9. or a computer for the machine...
  10. OK, that one requires a $10k lottery first
  11. My daughter longarm quilted her first quilt this year.  
  12. She's only 7
  13. I sent 8 different quilts to 20 different shows this year
  14. They brought home five honorable mentions, two 3rds, six 2nds, six 1sts, one best machine quilting, and four Best of Shows
  15. and several other things like judge's choice and teacher's ribbons
  16. Yes, there are always a number of shows that your beloved quilt just comes home from, sans ribbon.
  17. But this was a tremendous year at the shows - more big wins than before
  18. I had a few ribbons also on client quilts.
  19. Memory is fuzzy, but there was a 1st at Jax Quiltfest, BOS at a prominent NJ guild show, best machine quilting at a prominent greater-Atlanta guild show, and a 3rd at NQA.
  20. My clients that dare to enter shows do well too.
  21. Handi Quilter asked me to be a part of their advertising again.
  22. A crazy 3-hr photo shoot lead to a great magazine ad that is still running in quilting magazines
  23. I am also on the side of a truck
  24. Crazy, huh?
  25. Zen Garden was chosen for the cover of MQU magazine
  26. There was also a nice article on my life in quilting inside, with pictures of my quilts
  27. Zen also graced the Vermont Quilt Festival class catalog cover
  28. Speaking of covers, sort of...Rainbow Nouveau was used for the Georgia Quilt Show's banners, catalogs and advertising this year.  How cool?!
  29. I wrote an article for MQU magazine about the design of a client's show quilt
  30. It came out in November
  31. I was asked to write 7 more articles for the magazine for next year.  Who could refuse?
  32. My quilts were also included in at least 3 other magazines this year as well.
  33. I got two quilts into AQS Paducah
  34. After not being accepted last year, this was a high accomplishment.
  35. After winning nice cash at the Lancaster show, I took myself to Paducah for the show.
  36. Zen Garden was sporting an HM, and hanging amongst the world's best quilts.
  37. Truly, this is the creme de la creme of quilts.  Yup, technically better than Houston.
  38. Summer brings a screeching halt to high-production quilting (kids home), so I changed focus to my own hand work
  39. One of next season's quilts is mostly hand appliqued, and nearing completion
  40. It's gorgeous, if I do toot my own horn, just a little.
  41. One of my new 2013 quilts, Big Bertha, was accepted into Houston this year.
  42. MQU magazine asked me to come to Houston to the show, and to work in the magazine's booth
  43. So, I got to experience Houston, and see my quilt in the show.
  44. Not sure I will enter this one again soon though.  Many rogue thoughts for a private discussion.
  45. So I leave this 2013 with quilt designs running rampant in my head.
  46. What will 2014 bring?...
  47. Use of more silk fabric
  48. I am considering several things from teaching to a book to publishing patterns, in no particular order
  49. ok, the book is a crazy pipe dream.  The others seem more tangible.
  50. But I do have one of my own quilts that is being published in someone else's book, as well as one I quilted for someone in a different book.  Not too shabby.
  51. I am grateful for all the wonderful client quilts you send me.  Keep making them.
  52. They give me creative license to practice what I love and to create new designs.
  53. I hope to actually quilt a couple of the tops that I seem to have been hoarding the last 12-18 months.
  54. I hope to post to this blog more frequently
  55. and waste less time staring at my friends facebook entries
  56. I've met several of my FB pals in real life this year at shows, and they are great people.
  57. What will you create this year?
  58. What are your goals?
  59. Have a great holiday

Friday, December 06, 2013

December progress

Only a couple more days in my schedule to putter with this beauty.  I have a few last quilts to finish off before Christmas.  I still have a lot to do on it, and some areas to take out thanks to tension that turned out to be less ideal.  But none the less, it is coming along very nicely.  here's a peek at a small (and almost completed section!).
Please don't repost this anywhere.  Thanks

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pondering a Design

This has been a long school vacation for me.  I am SO ready to get back to working on the quilt that is started on the machine.  It is hard to do dedicated quilting, though, when all my kids are home.  The distractions are many, and my concentration is not as focused as I'd like.  I have done a little, but I have spent more time trying to work on a couple other projects, as well as ponder the design that I will use on Carol's next quilt, shown here.  It is all hand pieced, and what the border fails to show is a 4 or 6" outer border.  I will start on the quilting of this in just a couple weeks, but it has most certainly taxed my creative brain for what to do!  The white is a fantastic way to set off the colored blocks, but it is proving quite a challenge with regards to how it is to be quilted.

As a distraction, I decided to photograph my blocks like this that I have pieced.  I started hand piecing mine on my trip to Houston last month.  I missed my flight in Newark and spent the night sitting in the airport so I got a couple of them done then.  Though I haven't measured, I think I am actually making mine smaller than Carol's quilt that started all this nonsense.  With the champagne silk outer border, they finish about 11" square.  So far, I have 7 nearly done, one more being pieced, and a couple more cut out.  Because the pieced are all fussy-cut, they take quite a while just to cut out the 24 printed pieces.  
 I have 8 to 10 large scale prints that I am using for these blocks.  I have the Foxgloves in 3 colorways, and I just love them.  I got a yard of something at Houston which coordinates well, but it turns out to never have but 3 repeats!  I cannot imagine a print that large scale that there are only 3 repeats in a yard.  I have used it for a couple blocks where you can get a 4th piece out of a close print, just not exact, but this piece will never work for the outer areas that need 8 pieces.
They are all in my favorite colors...purple, chartreuse, aqua and hints or orange.  Don't ask how they will all coordinate together.  That is a question for which I have no answer.  Ultimately, I think that I need 25 blocks.  I am hoping that when I get a few more, I will formulate a plan to either make so many that have green outers or so many that have orange centers, etc...or to just go completely random.  Time will tell how that pans out.
In the mean time, they are keeping me busy in the evenings, when I am not hand stitching a show quilt binding or beading on that particular quilt.  I like to have a small take-along project for when I visit my mom, or take my daughter to a tumbling class.  Bringing the silk quilt that I am binding there is impractical.

 This next block is my favorite so far.  I LOVE this deep russet orange, combined with the purple and green.  I will definitely make a few more blocks in these.  Heck, in order to make 25 I will make many more in all color combinations.  I'm not even near the halfway point.
 This didn't photograph true to color.  The middle that has beigh-ish leaves is really a bright, pretty green.
Unlike Carol's blocks, I have been planning all along to have mine set on point.  In my color choices, I have been attempting to make the 4 pieces at the points be more dominant if possible.  It's not always easy, but that is the goal.  I am sure you have also noticed that the blocks do not have squares in the corners yet either. I will determine the color/fabric for them after I see how each is oriented in the final quilt layout.  It may need some commonality to bring cohesion.  This fabric may be another silk; I haven't fully decided.  Only a couple of the blocks have the silk triangles stitched in.  It is a little fussy to do, but nothing I can't handle.  I am also planning to set the blocks alternating with plain blocks of the champagne silk.  This is where I will get to showoff pretty quilting.
After this fun distraction, I am no further along on working out the quilting plan for Carol's quilt, which she has been so patient waiting for.  Back to work for me!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Quilting on a Custom

I have loaded up my applique quilt for a few days of quilting.  Like all my own projects, it will get a few days in order to get it stabilized, and then I will have to move it off in order to get some other quilts finished.  All but one of my Christmas commitments are done, unless you count the quilts I say I will make every year as gifts and never actually get to.  Maybe next year.

Now, as I post these, you get to listen to me rant for a couple minutes.  I have discovered photos of one of my not-yet-finished show quilts out there on Pinterest -- pictures that were posted here on my blog with a large warning/request to NOT POST to PINTEREST.  I was pretty ticked to see those there, because this is an original design and the quilt has yet to go to it's first show.  So I will say this here once again...

PLEASE DO NOT POST TO PINTEREST.   These pictures are not your property, and only I have the right to say that it is or is not OK to post them.  I will report you this time if I find them posted.  Promise.

Alright, with the ugliness out there, let's get on to the good stuff.  It would appear that the last time I showed a progress shot of this quilt was here, and it was not yet finished.  You get the idea though.  The other two sides just needed their applique.  Fast forward 6 months, the top was finished, and one quilter had a crazy hair to try to finish it before a February 1 deadline in order to get it entered into a show.  Time will tell if that is even possible.  Said quilter has a full January lineup of client customs, so this holiday time is my window of opportunity.  Yikes.

I have made it to the center Dahlia.  That should in no way imply that I am halfway (ha!).  There are sections to rip out and redo.  Yea, I do sadly change my mind after the fact all too often.  But, having the design defined is a large part of the process, and I have large chunks of this one in my head or on paper.  Because there are pretty silk ribbons that go around the outer border of floral applique, I have chosen to quilt them into the center background around the dahlia too.
Yesterday, I started to quilt the dahlia too.  It has a bit to go still, but is coming.  Unfortunately, the dense fill that I chose to place in 3 of the triangles around the dahlia is coming out.  I'll do that off-frame.  It could take a while.  I don't like it and need an alternative.  The remainder of the dahlia will get quilting that is more floral - petals to be exact.  I love to intermix different textures, but it is a big flower and should read as a flower.  Afterall, this quilt is little more than a big flower garden.
For those of you that are curious, I am using a Hobbs 80/20 batting with a QD wool over that.  This is the reason that such dense quilting will still yield lovely loft beneath the appliques.  I do not like to put a lot of effort into hand appliqueing only to have the appliques look flat and wrinkled, as they will with only a cotton batting.  I am also very painstakingly ditch quilting every applique and line that I want to look crisp with a clear thread.  The other quilting on the quilt is stitched with a variety of silk100 threads - gold, ivory, pink, green and brown.
 Last - a peek at the outer border.  There is considerable applique so there is not much space for developing complicated designs.  The inner section above is getting just a cross-hatch and pumpkin seed.  There is more space here, but because the fabric is a busier print, I am opting to do this to help to ground it.  The outer border is a different story.  There is no space, but I am sticking complex quilting there anyways!  The fabric is mostly solid, and the design shows perfectly.  I am avoiding traditional feathers on this quilt.  The leafy feathers fit the design better. And it looks like there might be a scalloped border in this quilt's future...

Have a Happy Turkey day.  ...and please do not post these pictures anywhere. thanks

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Applique Quilts

I recently quilted a couple of machine embroidered-applique quilts.  This first one is a small wall-hanging, about 36" square (yea, I cut off the side borders in the picture).  It has wool batting, and mostly Invisifil thread.  I toyed with using a gold Glide, but waffled on that decision the day I loaded the quilt.  I think that was my personal choice over-riding the preference of the client, who favors thinner, non-showing threads. The Invisifil sinks into the top, becoming mostly invisible, but for this type of quilt, which has a thick tear-away stabilizer near the appliques, the thinner, less robust thread proved to be a complete pain in the neck. It broke about a zillion times on me to the tune of stop, knot, bury, rethread, repeat... Live and learn!
Given the size of the top, there wasn't too much of my usual designing of secondary patterns.  Those require more space.  On the border, I pulled out a cranberry Glide thread because that was the best  match.  The border is mostly geometric.  Sometimes the borders that are not very wide, and have piecings like this one does prove to be harder to design for.
 Here is a second quilt.  It is in the vicinity of 62".  It is another colorful applique by machine embroidery quilt.  This one was even harder to work in secondary designs.  There just isn't space around the appliques to create additional designs.  I know that this isn't at the forefront of many other quilters, but when I get a top, I specifically ponder how I can work such things into the quilting.  It adds nice visual interest.
I spent something like 5-6 hours ditch quilting this beast with clear Monolon thread.  The appliques are enough apart that there's a TON of stop and start on the ditching.  It does make all the difference, though, by defining the applique edge.  This quilt also has a wool batting, but the loft is sort of lost because the entire top has a layer of a fusible interfacing.  I realize the purpose of the interfacing, but it really makes a stiffer top that just does not show the relief of the quilting as well.
 I chose several different threads...the teal areas got a 50wt So Fine - it matched the best.  It's relatively fine and easier to use than the Invisifil.  The purple setting triangles are quilted with Glide.  It also matches, but shows a small amount of sheen.  The gold (or are they green??!) squares are quilted with a tarnished-gold Glide thread.  It does show a little, but I think the sheen is pretty because this is the only area I was able to put any design into the quilting.  Hopefully the small bit of pebbling is OK.  The backgrounds of the birds are all a little different, but the overall fill is fairly consistent from one to the other.
 Lastly, here are a couple sneak peeks of a quilt I am butchering quilting.  I am far from thrilled with it right now, but I will give it another day.  Why does "Modern" have to be so far from my box of skills?
 one more peek...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recent Interesting Quilts

Though I have been quilting like a mad-woman lately, I have slacked off in my blogging frequency.  I had a few minutes this morning, so I pulled a couple of client quilts from October to show.  These are all quilted with a single layer of Hobbs 80/20.

This is Cuzco, designed by Kate Spain.  My client made it using Kate's fabrics too, and specifically requested that the quilting resemble how Kate's quilt from spring Market looked (was quilted by somebody else).  It is for her daughter, and she likes the Aztec-look which she feels that the rays and curves give.  The quilting on the reference quilt is really quite simple, so I did just what she wanted.  Besides, if I don't have to design the quilting, it takes a chunk of time off of my palate.  Nobody was complaining.
This 56" (or so) quilt has Omni white thread. I had to mark the rays, but the rest of it is free-handed.  It has a good bit of ditch stitching to keep all of the saw-toothed edges pointy.  That is just my preference.  Too many quilters these days omit the ditch quilting to expedite their jobs (or they just don't like doing it).  It's a fun, graphic quilt, and the client liked it.
 Now, here's a quilt that I had never seen.  How 'bout you?!...
 I think it comes from a Material Obsession book, and is made with lots of Kaffe and modern fabrics.  Though the style is definitely not me, this job certainly affords me the fun of seeing all kinds of styles and designs.  I love the infinite creativity of each and every quilter I work for.  This is also made as a gift for someone.  It has lots of scrappy-style stars in every possible color palate (the solids are shot cottons, which are just gorgeous up close!).  The setting triangles are (below) this assemblage of fussy-cut flowers, fused and machine edge stitched down.
 Here's a better look.  I just further outlined them.  And yes, this was a very thick section with the many layers of fusible.
 The four corners each have a simple NYB star, each from different fabrics.  I made these look like suns (not all were yellow though).
 The "feathering" as in the triangles above was kept light and playful, rather than the traditional variety.  No part of this quilt screams for traditional.  I repeated that feather style on the larger triangles below.  The scrappy stars have a simple curve treatment.  The were harder to decide what to do with because they are scrappy.
 This center medallion is something I have never seen.  I have no idea where the panel comes from.  She is interesting.  The outlining is partly in the mono-filament, and partly in coordinating threads.  In general, I used a deep peach Omni thread on the majority of the quilt.  Much of it was ditch stitched in clear nylon.  
A very large edge-to-edge is calling right now, so I will leave you with these pictures for now.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Missing for a while...

It is now November, hard to believe.  I quilted these table runners last month in my pre-Houston frenzy. This local client had her finger operated on last week, and needed to get them to have them bound before the holidays (hand is now in a cast!).  Though it rarely thrills me to have my schedule take the proverbial monkey-wrench, as this and a week in Houston did, there are certain clients I'd do it for any day of the week.
 The piecing is simple, and pretty.  It just needed quilting that kept it all real.  Nothing too dense or over the top was needed.  I like quilts like that.  I used a blue Glide thread and 80/20 batting.
 This 36" square table topper has a whole bunch of prairie points.  They always make me rethink how to quilt them.  My instinct is to stitch those little buggers down, but I assured her I would not!
 Again, the quilting is simpler, but pretty.  There's a little ruler work, and some freehand too.  This has a SoFine thread in a peachy color.

 The last one happened to have a backing with barely enough fabric - it was not enough to bother doing a custom.  I knew I'd be constantly cursing the clamps as the machine base hit them.  I opted for a pretty and dense Splash panto in a gold Glide thread.  It looks nice, and nobody would ever guess it was not what I really wanted to quilt on it.
 I got home Friday from 6 days in Houston.  I was so lucky to have Meander Publishing offer to give me a room for the week in exchange for working in their booth a few days.  Here's the booth...I just love that my Zen Garden quilt is front and center.  How awesome is that?! With a vendor badge, I was able to see the quilt show before Market and Festival opened each day, so I did not have to fight any crowds.
I got to spend time with several great quilters, and meet some others too.  The awards ceremony was quite extravagant - guess it should be when nearly 30K is given away to the top 8 winners!  I have many photos from the show, but feel a bit overwhelmed about my feelings of the show, the quilts and the judging.  At this time, I think I prefer to just leave things in my head, rather than write thoughts here which some might find controversial.  Many of my illusions of this show have been busted.
Big Bertha didn't win a ribbon, but then, many other best of show winners from around the country didn't either.  It's that kind of show.  I know that this quilt will have it's day again.  It has horrible fold creases that I now need to somehow remove, but otherwise it looked to be in good shape considering they have had it since early August.

Life is busy now.  I came home to a magazine deadline.  Fortunately, that was mostly finished before I left.   I am getting back to completing the Christmas orders.  Looks like I will probably find myself in the same pickle as last year and having no time to make any of my own Xmas presents.  I really need to think about these things in March!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crazy is as Crazy does

This is one of the craziest weeks for me.  I have kids home a day and a half, we spent all yesterday morning at the dentist.  I have Christmas quilts that must get done.  I am leaving for Houston in 3 days for a week. And what I am thinking about doing??...(insert lobotomy) I am busy spying a new quilt to start.  Yes, I know.  You all remember that I have my falling leaves quilt started (the quilting that is), and my floral applique quilt is all done, just waiting it's turn in line for the longarm.  Maybe the printed bug has bitten me, who knows.  Hold on and that will make more sense.
This is my client Carol's quilt (above).  The photo is from the Jax Quiltfest last month, where we earned a 1st place in the duo category.  I quilted this last spring.  It was a real challenge because I wanted the quilting to show since it was going to show, but since it is about 100 modern prints smacked down on the 74" canvas, I had my doubts that I could pull it off.  Must have done something right though :-)

After completing the quilting, I decided I'd pitch the idea to Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine for their "Challenging Quilts" article segment.  They loved the idea.  The article has just come out, in the magazine that will be at Houston next week too!  Here's the opening page.  You'll have to wait for your copy to see all the great photos of how I transformed this busy and colorful quilt, which many quilters might prefer to E2E, into a winning show quilt.
So with that introduction, the fact that I have dug out some very busy prints of my own should be no surprise.  Truth be told, I rarely buy fabrics and use them immediately.  As a quilter (and I am sure many of you understand this to your core), I am a bit of a fabric hoarder.  I had bought the green Martha Negley (top left) yardage and the coordinating orange/peach fabrics probably 3-4 years ago.  I think I found them for $3 per yard at Mardens, a local salvage-type store.  And then time passed and I had absolutely no idea what I'd do with them.  
Then I got another busy quilt from Carol.  This one, though does have lots of white and will be stunning when quilted.  And then I had the bug planted in my ear.  I want to play with the elongated hexagon design.  This happens to be the pattern that she used, but her's are not all done in a kaleidoscope fashion.  It is an Inklingo design, but I cannot use this because every piece is fussy cut.   After cutting out enough pieces for a few blocks, I realized how very many repeats and different prints it takes to get a good look.  I picked up 4 more of my older faves from Phillip Jacobs from Jackie Kunkel's shop, and have one waiting for me in Houston from another.  I think I have a good variety of colors, but won't know til they are cut!  I will definitely do mine different from Carol's.  I have champagne silk to use as the setting blocks and sashings.  I have to have a plain backdrop to really quilt the heck out of this.  The colors and prints are great, but alone they are just too much for me to create a competitive show quilt for the machine quilting shows.  The combination of these with the silk will be perfect.  
Crazy?.  Yup, without a doubt.  I have a couple of these to take on my trip.  I will hand piece these.  I love the hand work, and without an applique project, this will be good.  See you when I get back from the greatest quilt show!