Monday, 30 April 2012

Colour My World Yellow

Happy Monday, all! As I mentioned last week, I was finding this month a challenge. Upon reflection, I don't think it was so much the colour yellow that I was struggling with, but more what I wanted to do with it. Once I got going though, there was no stopping!

Little Ms. Sunshine
I've been wanting to try some of the techniques that Gloria Loughman shares in her book Quilted Symphony. This is definitely a book I'd recommend. Lots of ideas and techniques to make your own, as well as great eye candy quilts. That woman is one talented quilter!

One thing I don't think I've shared is that I'm trying to use fabrics from my stash for these monthly challenges. As I hadn't tried Gloria's techniques before, I wasn't sure how all the different fabrics would look layered together. Would there be enough contrast? Too much contrast? As I sat staring at my yellow stash, afraid of picking the wrong values or shades or tints or whatever of yellow, I finally just let go and kind of gave myself permission for it 'not to work'. It's an experiment and I should not worry too much about the outcome, I thought to myself. So with that stern talking to, I relaxed and just had fun with it.

So here's my Little Ms. Sunshine. Like my other Colour My World challenge pieces, this one measures 14.5" square with just a zigzag stitch finish. It has foundation piecing on tearaway stabilizer, machine fusible appliqué, decorative stitching, free motion quilting and probably something else that I can't remember right now. I really love this layered collage/mosaic look so you'll probably see more of this in the future.

Detail of the sun rays
For the decorative stitching and quilting, I also used whatever yellow thread I had in my stash and decided to use the 'shiny' stuff as much as possible. I have to say that the 'shiny' stuff is a pain in the arse to use! It kept sliding off the spool and getting caught underneath the spool, causing annoying tension issues. I tried putting the spool in a jar and changing the orientation of the spool so it fed sideway, but it just kept getting stuck. What finally worked was transferring the thread to a bobbin. Not a perfect solution, but by far the best one I found.

For the machine quilting, I added free motion flames between the sun rays and echoed them right out to the edge.

Detail of the sun rays and the free motion pebbles in the sun
Some other lessons learned/reinforced:
- Learned how to get nice points in satin stitching by slowly reducing the stitch width as I came towards the point of the sun rays and slowly increasing it as I went away from the point.
- The pretty fabrics won't necessarily get the job done. Sometimes, it's the fugly ones that work better. Plus, with so much layering or collage of fabrics, it's not about the print or design of the fabric, it's really just about the colour.
- Play with different weights and types of threads -- with something as busy as this, it will probably all blend in.
- More contrast is needed between the sun rays and the background.

All in all though, I'm super pleased with this month's challenge. I learned a lot that I can use on other projects and I find my Ms. Sunshine rather cheerful!

[Edited: I'm linking this up to TGIFF!, which is being hosted by Laura of Quokka Quilts this week. She found a clever way to spell out TGIFF this week -- with her quilt. Check it out and the other finishes this week. As always, you are more than welcome to link up one of your own recent finishes!]

For those participating this month, how did you find this colour?

May's colour is Cyan. I'll do a post later this week with some tidbits about this fun colour.

I'll post this week's Modern Block tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Red and Cream Amish Wedding Quilt - A Work in Progress

Red and Cream Amish Wedding Ring Top
Not quite sure how I scored an afternoon to myself on the weekend, but I'll take it! This is my sister and brother-in-law's wedding gift. It is the only outstanding quilt present that I owe now, thankfully. As my sister has made a couple quilts herself now, she is super understanding. Yay for awesome sisters! It's coming, sis, I swear it's coming!

This quilt is the same Quiltmaker pattern as my 10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow quilt. What a difference, eh? Because the rings and stars are so colourful in this one, I never found the need to quilt in the centre black blocks beyond one echo of rainbow coloured thread.

10 Years and Still
Over the Rainbow

The red and cream wedding ring quilt is another story. If something stays on my On hold list for a while, it's because I was/am stumped about some aspect of it. For a lot of them, it's my skill level. For others, it's that something isn't working well with it, whether it's the colours, the values, etc.

Can you see what problem I was having with this one? There's not a lot of contrast between the reds so they read as one and make the centre cream blocks very obvious, at least to me. Once I'd pieced the top (paper pieced stars and hand pieced rings) though, it was clear that I couldn't leave those spots blank.

Appliqué? Some fancy free motion quilting (FMQ)? I couldn't FMQ at all when I made this top, let alone try something fancy. Same quilting that I did with 10 Years (ie. flying geese by walking foot -- hell no!)? I kind of thought trapunto would look good, but I didn't know how to do it.

When I pulled this quilt out last week -- setting off a small avalanche of WIPs/UFOs, I might add -- and looked at it again, I have to say that I'm still thinking trapunto. Now that I've done it successfully with my Colour My World Black challenge, I think I can probably give this a proper go now.

The next decision will be what to trapunto here...thoughts? I have a couple of ideas, but I really love hearing what you guys think so I won't prejudice your creativity by sharing mine just yet. :)

Once I decide what to trapunto, I'll take photos of how I do it and share them in a tutorial. Sound good?

Tomorrow is the Colour My World Yellow challenge linky party for those of you participating. I can't wait to see what people have done with yellow. I've finished my piece and I'm doing the happy dance again.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, 27 April 2012

TGIFF! - Night Flowers

Yay, my modern mini quilt series (don't I sound all artist-like saying 'series'?) is done! And it's even already hanging in my sewing room! A little TGIFF! gig going on over here. :)

I finished the black one, Night Flowers, this week. Of all the minis, this is the colour palette I'm most comfortable with. This one features yellow, purple, orange and red on a black background.

Night Flowers - Front
For the quilting, I had originally planned to do horizontal straight-line stitching (Semaphore has vertical straight-line stitching), but decided to try a corner around the blocks and then just echo that outwards and inwards.

It looks okay, but I find the vertical part of the quilting is more dominant, which makes it look very similar to Semaphore (the white one). I wish I had stuck to my original plan, but I'm not unhappy enough to rip out the stitches that's for sure!

Like the others in the series, this finishes at 12" by 28".

Speaking of the others, here they all are hanging in my studio (again with the lingo, eh?). Don't they look happy together? The grey one is Grey Squared and the cream one is the one I finished last week, Spring Pebbles.

This is also one of my projects for the Finish-A-Long so this will be linked up with Quilter in the Gap eventually. [Edited: I'm also linking to Sew Modern Monday with Canoe Ridge Creations.]

Christine from a Quilt Monster in My Closet is hosting this week's TGIFF! I'm linking up and hope you do too! Now I'm heading over to check out some quilted goodness.

Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Works in Progress Wednesday - April 25, 2012

Busy, fun week and lots to share (yay for hockey playoffs)!

New Projects: 
Colour My World Yellow challenge: I didn't think it was possible, but I'm finding yellow a bigger challenge than black. It wasn't until last night that I made myself sit down and sketch out something. I wanted to do something à la Gloria Loughman's Quilted Symphony. I've had the book for over a year and love it, but have been too chicken to actually try it. Well, I think a 14.5" unfinished block/mini quilt is the perfect opportunity, right? Right! Here's a close up of the centre...we'll see if it turns out like this or morphs into something else in the making.

The end of the month is coming up fast so this will be the priority now. The linky party will go up on Monday for those of you participating. 

Completed Projects: 
Spring Pebbles (Cream modern mini quilt) - Done!
Spring Pebbles
Current Projects:
Modern Block Monday Sampler - I think this one is my favourite so far. It's the Diamond Ripples block by Lara Finlayson in 99 Modern Blocks. 

Black modern mini - Just. about. done. Will share on Friday for TGIFF!

FMQQAYGQAL/QAYGFMQQAL - I finished the last row, which was Choose Your Own Adventure. Thanks for the advice on sashing, folks! I've started on it, but the hand stitching the last seam on each sash is going to take a while. Fingers are already sore, but I'm enjoying the TV time. :)

Chop Suey - no progress.

Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Spiral/Spring seta colour
Wedding quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday Recap:
New projects: 1
Completed projects: 1
Current projects: 4
On Hold/UFO: 15

I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks, wonderful women, for hosting such great parties!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Right Click to Save Image

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Business in the Front, Party in the Back?

A few weeks ago, I shared the EQ design of a Hudson's Bay point blanket quilt that I wanted to make.

Originally, I was thinking about having the quilt be the same on the back as the front, but then I worried about trying to line up the stripes correctly for the tight horizontal straight line quilting I wanted to do. 

So then I played around with the idea of making the back like this on the vertical and changing up the order of the colours: 

I really want to do horizontal straight line quilting in cream and the stripe colours, but I'm now thinking that it would look funny on the vertical stripes if I did this back. Plus, I might get pops of the stripe colour thread through on the back.

Hmmm, any thoughts?

Monday, 23 April 2012

Modern Block Monday - Diamond Ripples

Holy freaking WOO HOO do I love this block! I feel like the girl in this video, only I'm saying, "I like the purples, I like the layout, I like the triangles, I like the yellows, I like the black background..."

This is Lara Finlayson's Diamond Ripples from 99 Modern Blocks, compiled by Susanne Woods. Lara did her block in some beautiful modern prints with a white background. Here is mine:

I had to do some stitch ripping and not all of the seams fit perfectly, but most do so I'm pretty happy with that. Yay!

Completed blocks to date:
Next week's block is Four Acres by Solidia Hubbard.

Happy (snowy) Monday, all! At least for those in the Ottawa area. Snow?! I knew we weren't done with winter yet. ;)
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