Sunday, July 19, 2015

Totem Quilt

I use my blog to catalog all my quilts especially the ones that don't remain with me.  Long after the quilt is gone I can look back at the pictures and reminiscence about it's making - the inspiration, the process and the lessons learnt along the way. A completed quilt provides a sense of achievement that energizes you to tackle the next project.

I made this quilt for a friend who loves dark blue and has wanted a quilt for a long time. IMO it's extremely satisfying to make a quilt for a person who you know will appreciate the effort. When I saw Carolyn Friedlander's Doe collection earlier this year I immediately thought - sophisticated and masculine. I thought of all the guys I wanted to make a quilt for and his name stuck out as he was the only one who had proactively mentioned to me that he wanted one. All others would have appreciated the effort if I made them one but were not actively seeking one out. So by that criteria he made it to the top of the list.

I made a collage of possible designs using EQ7 and he picked the one in the far right corner. It's 'Totem' pattern by Carolyn Friedlander. Fabric and pattern by the same person, that is quite a tribute to her design acumen.




I ordered the pattern and when it arrived realized it involved foundation paper piecing and not 'stack and whack' as I had expected. Oh well since I had already made a commitment I set about ordering the fabric and got started. 62 blocks required for a bed sized quilt. It was slow going as I tried to evenly distribute the colors across the center but the effort was definitely worth it in the end.


I quilted it on my home sewing machine with a bold angular meandering pattern in matching thread. Love the texture of the quilt. I increased the stitch length on the Bernina to 3.5 and used size 90/14 Schmetz Microtek needles for quilting. The thread is 40 wt by Connecting Threads in Light Gray and Denim.





For the back I had originally planned to use just one fabric - Blue from the Architextures collection - but I later increased the width of the quilt top for a more proportionate look and was too lazy to get more fabric for the back. I compensated by adding another print in blue. I think it gives the back a bit of visual interest. ;)


This picture cracks me up as there are 2 adults and 2 kids hiding behind it. Apparently none of them wanted to be in the picture.:)

I matched the binding to the quilt top. Having done matched binding a few times now I can now accurately match the seams with little effort. If you are new to it you can look up Debbie's excellent tutorial here

The completed quilt measures at 86" x 81". It is one of the larger quilts I have attempted on my sewing machine but the key is to go slow and stay relaxed. After a bit you kind of get into a rhythm.

Here are few more in progress pictures:





Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday

Friday, June 12, 2015

My Project in Print

I have a project in the summer 2015 edition of Modern Patchwork Magazine. Last week I received a picture of the cover and a link to table of contents


Even though the official release date is June 23, I believe the issue is already available at retailers for purchase. Allison, a fellow SMQG guild mate had brought a copy to the June meeting last Wednesday and I was so excited to finally see the article in print. I am definitely picking up a few copies this weekend. 

There are 25 amazing projects in the issue and each one is really well illustrated and comes with a complete set of instructions. I am thankful to the publishers at FW Media for including my project and I can only imagine the amount of effort required to put each magazine edition together.

If you are curious about submitting your own projects for publication, this issue has a detailed account of submission guidelines.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wintry Terrain

The sole existence of certain things in life is just to teach you a lesson - this is how I feel about this quilt. 

When I first looked at the bundle of fabric we received for The Modern Quilt Guild's fabric challenge, the colors reminded me of trees and mixed with white of ski slopes and snow covered hills. I ran with the idea and decided to piece rows of triangles on a white background that would depict a wintry landscape. 

I had a vision. I wanted it to be organic and natural looking (words heard a lot since moving to the west coast ;)) I wanted to create stacked arcs of triangles in various sizes like trees on gentle curve of hills. In my mind's eye it was a picture perfect setting.


As an engineer I am often told what limits a vision are the laws of physics. In this case it turned out that the proverbial laws of physics reared their ugly head all along the way. Paper piecing triangles on a curve would have been a more experienced quilter's preference, but I was hot off a class by Sherri Lynn Wood and wanted to embrace carefree improv piecing. Let it flow from the heart she said. I figured out a way to create arcs of triangles by cutting one set of triangles wider than the opposing row. I made a ton of such arcs in varying sizes and was feeling rather puffed up.

Next came the task of putting the arcs together.....this is where the proverbial laws of physics kicked in. The arcs didn't quite fit together and I didn't want to insert pieces of fabric in the middle to make them fit because it interfered with my vision. It's fabric so I managed to wrangle it into submission with the help of my friend 'Best Press'. Once I finished it would not lie flat and the seams were all over the place. 

My solution, just quilt it to death. Quilting will hold all the pieces together and I can ease out all the uneven parts if I strategize the quilting properly. How about match stick quilting? The perfect antidote to uneven piecing. Hours of tedious straight line quilting seemed to calm my mood and it was almost proving to be therapeutic when I noticed that the quilt had not only begin to have a wave like quality but the seams were all over the place so as I quilted I could see the dark colored seam through the white fabric. 

No worries, just a small hitch. I undid the basting around the area I was quilting so I could put my hand under the quilt top and push the seam over towards the lighter colored fabric before quilting over it. This did not completely solve the problem but at least reduced it. The quilting now was going much slower than expected and I was getting tired of handling the seams. 

Over handling the fabric at the seams causes fraying. Another proverbial law of physics was beginning to become apparent. Now I had bits of colored thread on my batting in addition to uneven seams showing through the white top. Undoing the basting around the quilting turned out not to be a great idea either. The quilt was acquiring a 3D look. It no longer lay flat by any measure. This was not supposed to happen. Stick to the vision.

Perseverance in trying times is what separates the men from the boys...I made an appeal to the gods of quilting on Instagram and they came with answers. All good ones. I felt heartened and finished the quilting. It soon became obvious to me that I would have to trim off some of the edges on the side. The quilt would no longer be a perfect square. No worries. I added more white to the top and bottom and decided the length would make up for the lack of width.

Once I finished quilting, armed with my 'Best Press' and my Eurosteam iron I decided to tackle the wave problem. I almost soaked the quilt with 'Best Press' and steamed it to submission. I went over the quilt a few times till the fibers began to relax and the quilt began to rest flat on the carpet. I must say the iron really saved the day. It paid for itself on this one. Once I was done it was still a little damp so I moved some unopened boxes from my move on top of the quilt and let it dry out. A day later it was dry and flat. I cut out the sides that felt as if they would wave up, but was still left with a substantial flat piece to call a quilt.

I have never bound something so stiff before. My hands hurt from hand binding as the quilt is not very pliable. However all in all I am done, this quilt is behind me and I lived to quilt another day. 




If your are still reading this, thanks for letting me vent. Appreciate your much needed support.  



This is just in time for Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side. I am entering it in the original design category. Hop over and see all the amazing entries that continue to inspire us to keep quilting despite the occasional bump in the road.


AmysCreativeSide.com

Quilt Stats:
Name: Wintry Terrain
Size: 23" x 54"
Category: Original Design
Pieced and quilted on home machine

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