Thursday, 7 December 2017

Bee Blocks for Vicky

I love my Quilty Circle of Bees! We are such a diverse little group of quilters who always manage to get me out of my comfort zone.

Either by the sewing technique used (in two years we had everything from paper piecing, curved blocks, improv and precise piecing.. hm, just noticed there wasn't any applique yet, I'm counting on Allison on that one!) or by the fabric selection.


Vicky was our queen bee for October/ November and she picked a paper pieced version of a courthouse step block.

The colour scheme was caramel, tangerine, light blue and purple. I didn't think that would go together but the colours look so good!


The great thing about my Bee is that we sew with our own fabrics. In the blocks I receive for my quilts there is just such a great variety on colours and fabrics because so far my fellow bee mates always nailed it!


Vicky's request was to have a white solid square as the center square and then play around and don't stick with the traditional layout.


We were also only to use four different fabrics in one block and repeat the fabric choice in the next block with only little alteration.


By doing that all the blocks get a very cohesive look. This quilt will be so good, I really can't wait to see this finished!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Splinter

I feel very proud today. Proud of my self.
I think people, including me, are so overly critical with themselves and their work in particular. So today I feel very proud of myself because I have reached a goal I set for myself and accomplished it beyond my expectations.

This is Splinter. My best work yet.


With Splinter I wanted to create great tension between very precise vertical and horizontal piecing as opposed to improvisational diagonal piecing.

The improv pieced vertical off-centered 'splinter' is to divide the black and white fabric with what seems like great force. The name was quickly found.


I revisited this design after I made a back of a triangle quilt with left over half-triangles in a similar arrangement. 


With 'Splinter' there was a lot of editing and careful arrangement of colour and shape placement to achieve a high visual impact of negative space with indistinct edges. 

I quilted straight lines with white Aurifil 50wt thread first, creating diagonal lines from top right to bottom left. 


I then added dark grey thread in the opposite direction. Seams of the same colour never overlap. With having the seams in random angles they create this beautiful secondary pattern of the 'improv spikes'.


For the back I used a lot of orange solid fabric and arranged other left overs from the front in an interesting off-centered design. 


Even on the back the quilting looks so good!
I recently bought a Juki QVP 2200 Mini. Before that I was never able to quilt like this. I could never adjust my presser foot pressure, I had severe fabric shiftings. I could only dream of overlapping quilting seams like that. 

I did have some difficulties with the Juki though, it took me ages to get the thread tension right. But now I think the Juki and me are ok. 


I played with different coloured binding as well. The design of the quilt is extending into the binding which I like a lot. 

There are exactly three seams of orange thread in Splinter, one going through every orange fabric of the quilt. 


I hand sewed the binding again and really love how this turned out. 

The reason I feel that this is my best work yet is that Splinter is definitely the quilt with the highest visual impact in terms of simplicity, overall design and quilting.  The workman ship from start to finish is also the best to date. There is absolutely nothing I don't like or that could have been better.
So I cherish that feeling and be a bit proud of myself. Something we all should do more and be more gentle with ourselves.

I am entering Splinter into the 'Negative Space' category for QuiltCon 2018.

Here is a link of how I actually made Splinter. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

QuiP #8 - Splinter

Remember this quilt?

Porcupine Playground Front + Back
The back of my 'Porcupine Playground' quilt just never ceased to amaze me. I knew that someday I would have to revisit this design and make an actual front out of the back I initially designed. So the upcoming QuiltCon submission was a good opportunity to do so.


My plan was to achieve high visual impact with contrasting colours. So I opted for black and white solids, mixed with the ever so amazing cross hatched fabrics by Carolyn Friedlander and the same orange solid I used in 'Porcupine Playground'.


For the back of 'Porcupine Playground' I used left over half-triangles for the off-centered vertical strip. I now improvised the piecing for that dividing strip. I used this tutorial by Debbie of 'A Quilter's Table' to make 'improv spikes'. First back ones.


Then white ones.  My aim was to use a lot of negative space beside that vertical strip of spikes and have indistinct edges, so basically you don't see where the black fabric ends and where the white fabric starts.


I repeated the idea of having little orange areas in the quilt as focal points to add a little interest.


Whereas the back of my 'Porcupine Playground' quilt was to use up scraps and left over fabrics there was a lot of editing and careful arrangement of colour and fabric placement this time round.


I quilted straight lines with white Aurifil 40wt thread first and wanted to quilt with black thread as well, but that didn't go according to plan. I don't know of you have ever tried to sew with black thread on white fabric, but it just doesn't look good.

I spent an entire weekend trying to figure this out. I thought it's my thread tension (which was a bit off) but it seems as though a lot of people had similar difficulties. Apparently the loop from the bobbin thread is so visible on the white fabric that it just looks odd.


So I used dark grey thread instead, and I was so happy that I did. Black thread on black fabric is invisible. Not so the dark grey, it created a such nice texture. Exactly what I wanted.


I used a lot of orange solids for the back. The different coloured thread looks so good on it!
And I applied the binding again by hand. Three evenings. That seems to be the standard time frame for my size of quilts. This one is rather big though with 60 x 84" (1.52 x 2.33m).

I just finished it in time for the QuiltCon submissions. Fingers crossed that it gets accepted!
Stay tuned for the full reveal of  'Splinter'.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Emerald City Quilt PART 2

I started this quilt in a workshop with Katie Pedersen in her beautiful design studio in Seattle. You can read all about it here.

I couldn't be happier with this quilt. I love the colours and the interesting contrast they create.


The improvisational/ wonky piecing and what looks like random colour placement makes it very vibrant. Katie referred to this as 'controlled chaos' and that works so well. I think there is just so much to look at in this quilt.


I opted for straight line grid quilting to create interest and almost a bit of visual tension between the piecing and the quilting. I also used three different colours of beautiful 50wt and 40wt Aurifil thread, I love to play with colours!


I had originally planned to make the quilt one row longer but that looked somehow out of proportion so I scrapped that idea. I instead cut up the excess blocks and created a zig zag with these smaller blocks which also works well for the back I think. The quilt finishes at 55x70"(1,50 x 1,95m) which makes it a nice lap quilt to snuggle up.


I love to mix solids with some graphic print fabrics, I used the 'Squared Elements' print also for the binding.


Oh, that binding! This was the second time I ever hand sewed a binding to a quilt and the first time to a large quilt like this one. I never thought I would do that! It took me three evenings to sew the binding on while sitting on the couch enjoying the process. 


Katie and Marla were so kind to show me how hand stitched binding is done after the workshop. I have honestly been converted to be a hand binding sewist, seriously, it looks so much better!


That quilt will be forever cherished. It holds those happy memories of our trip to Seattle, but it's not only that that. I also associate quilty friends with this quilt and this awesome community I can proudly say I am part of.


Seattle is also called 'The Emerald City'. I didn't need to think long how to name that quilt. In the photo above the quilt is in a beautiful bag I got in Seattle (fabric shopping) with kind of a similar colour scheme. Go figure!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Emerald City Quilt PART 1/ Workshop with Katie Pedersen

In the beginning of this year my husband asked me if I would like to accompany him on a business trip to Seattle. I didn't need to think twice. Well, firstly Seattle has always been on my list of 'Places To Go' and secondly I knew that Katie Pedersen lives in Seattle and that she holds workshops in her design studio. (Quilts! Of course the first thing that comes to mind... what are we quilters like, he?)

Sew Katie Did - Seattle design studio
I contacted Katie and inquired about a workshop at the end of April/ beginning of May and she was kind enough to let me choose a date and a workshop to suit my overseas travel. How nice is that! I booked the workshop before we even booked our flights!

Sew Katie Did - Quilty Goodness
As I met Katie in her beautiful studio I think I just stared at her for the first couple of minutes. She has been one of my favourite quilters ever since I started my quilting endeavours and seeing my quilty hero in person was just so exciting. I couldn't help myself but staring in awe, I guess.

Me and Katie Pedersen of Sew Katie Did
Luckily that stage didn't last long because Katie is such a nice and lovely person and so down to earth.

Sew Katie Did - On-Target Quilt
I signed up for the 'Psychedelic Baby Block/ Improv strip piecing' workshop and Katie showed us some examples of her beautiful work. This 'On-Target Quilt' was especially nice.

Sew Katie Did - Skewed Symmetry Quilt
The technique of this block is so diverse. I was lucky enough to see Katie's Skewed Symmetry Quilt already at QuiltCon in Savannah in February.


So this is my fabric choice. I bought these beautiful Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids at QuiltCon in Savannah and mixed them with these lovely 'Squared Elements' prints by Art Gallery Fabrics. Both fabric lines have a beautiful soft feel.


And that's the first block I made during the workshop. I love to mix solids with graphic prints, it just adds so much interest.


Being in an artist design studio surrounded by beautiful quilts and fabrics is such a great experience!

I cannot highly enough recommend to do a workshop with Katie or any other artist/ quilter who is willing to give workshops in their own studio. Doing classes somewhere with an artist is great but being in their design studio is beyond inspiring. There are so many little things to discover like this quote from a magazine Katie put up on her design wall.


These were the three blocks I made in Seattle and I really liked where this was heading. The improv strips and randomly arranged colours work so well,  Katie called that 'controlled chaos'.

I really enjoyed my day in Seattle not only because of Katie's workshop but also because I also got to spend the day with Marla of Penny Lane Quilts. We met at QuiltCon in February in Savannah where I told Marla that I would be in Seattle later that year doing that workshop. Marla had booked the same workshop at a different date originally but changed it so we could  spend the day together. How awesome is that!

Marla @PennyLaneQuilts and me in Katie's design studio
Marla also made me this super nice pin cushion. Quilty friends are the best!
Could this day be any better?


Back home I continued to sew blocks and kept adding to reach a twin size quilt top.


Oh, I really love those colours!


I decided to quilt straight lines in a regular cross pattern. I used three different colours of the beautiful Aurifil thread, I love the depth that is given to a quilt by using more than one colour of thread.


And that's a sneak peak of the yet unwashed finished quilt.
Stay tuned for PART 2! 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Summer Smoothie Bee Blocks for Allison

It's been a little quiet around here, but that doesn't mean I wasn't sewing. I really enjoyed summer and did a lot of outdoor activities hence no sewing inside for a good while (and also no blogging).

Allison was our queen bee for the months of July/ August and I still need to share the blocks I made for her.
I always enjoy working on bee blocks, my bee mates come up with the most inspiring colour palettes and block designs that sometimes gets me out of my comfort zone.


Like curved piecing for example. I think these are my very first drunkards path blocks!


Allison designed these blocks herself, they are called 'Summer Smoothie' and you can find the free tutorial on Allison's blog here. Aren't they gorgeous?


They came together rather quickly and were actually very enjoyable to sew.
I needed to figure out in what direction to press the curved seams though, I kind of let the fabric decide where the seams wanted to be pressed, you know, this kind of happens sometimes. But I figured it is best to press them to one side.


I also really liked the colour palette Allison picked.


That's all blocks together. Can't wait to see the finished quilt!

My quilting bee is called Quilty Circle of Bees and we are mostly German based and sew every two months but then mostly more than one block with our own fabrics.

Linking this to Let's Bee Social at 'Sew Fresh Quilts'.