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Monday, February 8, 2016

Stems and Stones

This is one of those fabric and pattern combinations that I love so much that I have been working nonstop, absolutely obsessed with finishing it.  I had been thinking that I needed to find a new quilt photo setting, and yesterday after church, as I passed our little prayer garden, I realized that it would be perfect!   I love, love, LOVE this quilt.  The vivid colors in the fabrics against the crisp Kona white make me so happy.  Let me go ahead and apologize for the picture heavy post.  I just couldn't stop photographing it!

In my last post, I mentioned my personal weakness for Amy Butler fabrics, and recalled the 40-yard(!!) Amy Butler stash that I powered through almost two years ago.  I don't know that there will ever be a time when I'm not mesmerized by her fabrics, but I have learned to not let them accumulate so much before using them up.

Not every print in this quilt is AB, but many of the others are fabrics that I have purchased and just couldn't fit them into another quilt.  I was happy to find a home for them in this one.  Sometimes, bold colors and prints only work well with other bold colors and prints.

I used all of my extra fabric on the backing, and I decided to improv piece it to keep the leftovers intact as much as possible.  I didn't want to waste any fabric at all trying to cut them to a uniform size.  Although I always use up my scraps on the backing, I haven't done an improv pieced backing in awhile.  I really love the way this one turned out.

I stippled this (of course-it's my favorite) with the tightest quilting I have ever done.  I'm not a lover of super-dense quilting, so you'll probably never see matchstick quilting or micro-stippling on my quilts.  The spaces between my quilting lines on this one are 1/2 to 3/4 inch apart, and as much as I like the result, it's probably the smallest I'll ever go for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, I like the drape of quilts that have quilting that is a little bit wider.  For minis and wall hangings, or quilts for display only, stiffer quilting is really stunning (and I can totally appreciate the artistry and skill involved in creating such intricate motifs), but for sheer snuggle-factor, I like the softness that wider quilting gives.  My second reason is purely selfish.  When I get into the rhythm of stippling smooth curves, it is a very relaxing process (unless I'm quilting a huge quilt).  The tighter quilting definitely required movement that was much less natural for me, so quilting this one was not very relaxing.  As a result, even though I'm still really pleased with it, I don't think my curves are quite as fluid as usual.

I chose an orchid fabric for the binding that was actually intended for my Interference quilt, but it turned out to be too purple.  I think it creates a perfect frame for this one though!

Formal gardens are simply gorgeous, with their lovely pathways of stones and tiles meandering through perfectly shaped flower beds and topiaries.  The tile shape in this pattern, paired with the flowers created in the negative space, immediately made me think of a walk through a beautifully manicured formal garden; so I'm calling this one Stems and Stones.

  The pattern is already in the works, and it's easier than you might think!

Friday, February 5, 2016

My Kryptonite

No, your eyes do not deceive you.  This new quilt is filled with lots and lots of Amy Butler fabrics (plus a few Art Gallery, Dear Stella, and Anna Maria Horner prints for good measure); and yes, I am completely in love with it.

In case you don't remember, about 1.5 years ago, I had accumulated an AB stash containing 30 different prints, totaling almost 40 (gasp!) yards- you can see that whole glorious stash in the post HERE, and I couldn't help but make a little collage of some of the quilts I made with all of those delicious prints-

It took awhile, but I used every bit of those 40 yards.  Well, Amy Butler fabrics are my kryptonite.  I am powerless against their vibrant colors and bold prints, and so, as the opportunities presented themselves in the form of swaps, sales, and indulgences here and there, I have slowly but surely amassed a new (considerably smaller) hoard.  There are prints from Soul Blossoms, Lark, Love, Hapi, Lotus, and Cameo collections in this quilt, and they all play so well together, (and with the AMH and Art Gallery fabrics too).  I think that's one reason why I love her fabrics so much.  The beauty in putting them all together is that they don't match, but have unity in their color saturation and print scale.

So, back to the new quilt at hand- this pattern is one that I am SO excited about.  I sketch new designs all the time, and many of the patterns I sketch never make it out of my book.  As soon as I sketched a few blocks of this one though, I knew I had to make it, and I knew exactly which fabrics I needed to pull to show it off.

I am calling this pattern Stems and Stones, because it reminds me of a stroll through a formal garden with defined flower beds, surrounded by beautiful hardscape.  The design is a different take on an interlocking tile print, and I think the flowers created in the negative space interlocked with the tiles, gives the pattern a little extra dimension.  I absolutely cannot wait to finish it!

Speaking of patterns, I am also thrilled to let you know that my Interference pattern is all finished, and is now available in my Craftsy and Etsy shops.  This pattern is simple, but all together, the blocks have such great movement.  It's perfect for a beginner, or even for an experienced quilter looking for some stress-free sewing.  Check it out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Themed But Not Themed, and NTT

I'm guilty of a blogging no-no this week.  That is, I finished this entire little baby quilt without taking a single process photo, or even mentioning it in a post at all.  I didn't mean for it to happen that way; it's just that after finishing my huge Interference quilt, I was ready to work on something small, and I jumped right into this one.  It went together so quickly, I didn't even think about the fact that I had not shared it until I was already halfway through the quilting.  Oops!

My aunt is hosting a shower for a friend's daughter, and the nursery is decorated with a nautical theme.  My aunt asked for a quilt that had the soothing colors of the sea, with a few nautical fabrics thrown in; but she did not want a quilt that was overly themed- which was totally fine with me.  I'm just not a theme-quilt person (with a few exceptions).  I prefer to make baby quilts that will grow with the child and be useful for many years, rather than quilts that are so babyish and kitschy that they may not get used after a year or two.

The only overtly nautical fabric in the quilt is the little whale print.  The whales really are adorable, and add the perfect touch of whimsy.  There is also a tiny, very soft blue and gray print that looks a little like waves (top middle-ish), one of the navy prints gives the impression of a chain or a fishing net (on the right side of the backing), and a darker tonal blue that looks like bubbles (top left corner).  Even the two chevron fabrics look like a choppy sea.  

I chose a very modern pattern to give a little bit of balance to the cutesy.  I made quarter log cabin blocks, and varied the width of the strips, so the asymmetry would add a lot of cool movement.

Aside from the whale print, I would use any one of these fabrics in a non-themed quilt (and I have used several of them in the past).  So, even though I didn't fill the quilt with lots of novelty fabrics, I was intentional in choosing fabrics that were not only the right colors, but would add to the overall feel I was trying to achieve, and together, I think they really get the job done.

I know that some quilters love using novelty fabrics, and I have definitely seen some super adorable quilts made with them.  A themed quilt that is a bit more subtle fits my personal style a little better though, and I'm so pleased with the way it turned out.

I'm not going to make the same mistake twice, so before we party, here's a peek at the bundle that I'm about to cut into.  These fabrics are so delectable, and I am SO excited about the quilt I'm making next!

 Okay then, let's check out the highlights from last week's party, and boy, there were lots of beauties shared!  Like this sweet Star Cakes quilt from That Crafty Cara-

This bright bear paw quilt from Empress Charlotte looks awesome against that dark background!

and this On the Bright Side quilt is from Made by Chrissie D, and it is so much fun!

I've noticed that there have been several new friends sharing at NTT lately, and I am so thrilled to welcome you to the party!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Interference and a New Venture

As big as this quilt is (88" x 99"), it was really fun to make.  I don't often feel that way about queen-sized quilts because they are just so heavy and difficult to maneuver through my machine.  Well, cumbersome or not, this quilt includes the most stunning combination of colors, and even though I worried at first that it might be a little too dark, once I started pulling the fabrics, I was smitten with them.

The direction of the strips creates a cool, disjointed look, kind of like the quilt has been scrambled, and I've decided to name the quilt and pattern Interference.  The block is pretty straightforward, but I love the effect.

I must say that the trickiest part of this quilt was finding enough fabric variety in that shade of dark berry, which is in that perfect sweet spot between pink and purple (navy, aqua, gray, and teal were easy).  Not very long ago, that berry color seemed to be everywhere, but not so much now.  Everything I found in my local shops was either too pink, too red, or too purple.  I ended up ordering a few things online and hoping for the best, but also consulting with one of the best local sources of awesome, modern fabric I know- Janet at Simply Pieced. That girl has a stash that can make you go weak in the knees, and unless she is saving fabric for a specific project, she is always willing to stash-swap to help out a friend.

Although Janet has stepped back from her blog a little bit lately, she is still very involved in our local guild activities, and I knew she would come to the rescue in my hour of fabric need.  And let me tell you- she did not disappoint.  Many of the berry fabrics in this quilt are from her.

I used the leftover WOF strips on the backing, because you know I can't help myself.  I have to have lots and lots of print variety, which means lots and lots of leftovers.  Without a solid plan to use all of that fabric, I might have to start buying less (not going to happen).

And on the binding, there's that beautiful berry again.  Kona Berry to be precise, which is the deepest shade of berry in the quilt.  I thought that binding in the deepest shade would contain some of the crazy going on in the quilt, and I think it definitely does!

The Interference pattern is already in the works, and here's a peek at the cover!

So...the new venture.  You know, sometimes an idea just has to stew until it's good and ready to be shared, and I've been stewing on this one for quite awhile.  I don't know if you've noticed (because it has only been there for a couple of days), but I have a new "Teaching" page button.  I have decided to start presenting lectures/trunk shows, and classes, because you know, I am a teacher, after all!  Several people have asked me about it over the past few months, and I just had to wrap my head around it before jumping in. That being said, I would love to be able to present/teach at one of your guild meetings or retreats, meet you in person, and create something amazing.  Just send me an email for details.  You can check out the lectures/trunk shows and classes I'm offering HERE.  Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

As Promised

I just couldn't help myself.  I really love the Gemstones quilt that I finished last week, so the thought of leaving the less than stellar pictures was definitely not an option.  As tempted as I was to go back and edit last week's post to replace the rainy weather, indoor photos with the ones I took in the glorious sunshine today, I decided that another quick (mostly wordless) post was in order to really show this finish.

If you want to read the full story on this quilt, my pattern, the fabrics, and my temptation with the binding, you can read the original post HERE, but today's post is all about the photos.

I love, love, LOVE this quilt, and I'm so glad I was finally able to get some pictures of it that really do the colors justice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NTT and a Wedding Quilt

Happy Needle and Thread Thursday!  I have been working on a huge quilt for a friend for the past several days.  She is getting married in a couple of months, and she and her fiancĂ© asked for a quilt made in the colors they are using in their wedding, to use on their bed in their home when they are married.  Remember that luscious berry fabric that tempted me so much with the binding of my Gemstones quilt?  Well, this was its intended purpose-

When someone has very specific colors in mind for a quilt, I always ask for photographs including the colors and style they like, or I even have them create a pinterest board to be sure that the vision they have in their mind matches my own.  Color can be so tricky to describe with words, because descriptors like light, soft, dark, deep, bright, and muted are so subjective.  The way these words are interpreted can change the look of the entire quilt.

Lately, I've found that asking for paint chips in the desired colors is a great way to make sure that the colors I include are exactly what a client wants.  While shopping for fabric, the paint chips are easy to hold against the bolts to make sure that my choices are just the right shades, and I can keep them clipped to the project notes in my planner so they're always at hand.  Another great thing about the paint chips is that they also include several shades within the same color family.  We all know that without some variation in colors, a quilt ends up looking flat, so those additional shades are important to give the quilt enough contrast.

*Edited to add (since several have asked, and I can't believe I forgot to mention it)- Yes!  I am already working on the pattern for this quilt!  I am calling it Interference.

The paint chips for this quilt included navy, aqua, teal, and gray, but my friend asked if I could include one additional color to add some pop.  I gave a few options that I thought would look pretty with the palette, but we both decided that this shade of rich berry was perfect.  Berry is a tricky color, because it's hard to go lighter without it looking too pink or purple, but I do love how well these colors play together.  I can't wait for her to see it!

There was all kinds of awesomeness linked up at last week's NTT.   Here's a little sampling some of that amazing creativity!  These diamonds by Sew Preeti Quilts are absolutely gorgeous!

Young Texan Mama's Advent Calendar finish is too cute!  I love seeing Christmas projects pop up throughout the year!

and The Easy Quilter showed off several charity quilt tops in her post, but this scrappy rainbow bowtie is my favorite by far!

Okay y'all;  it's time to party!  Just remember-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*Welcome to any new quilty friends joining this week's party!  Here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I Owe You Some Winners!

Winner, winner, winner!  I get to announce three giveaway winners today!  Just an FYI- when I have more than one giveaway in a post, I always choose the winners in the order that the giveaways were listed in my original post.  So, let's get to it!

First, the charm pack of Lil' Red, generously provided by Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  The winner is comment number 73, OhioLori!

Would love the Lil' Red!! the fabrics are Awesome! & the lil' Grangirlie here asked if I could make her that doll.. Awww,,,gotta bless her for sure! Love the My Lil'Lady too! Thanks for chance to win any of the Prizes..such an amazing give-a-way! 

Next, the winner of the $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop is Chiska, comment number 60.

                 ChiskaJanuary 16, 2016 at 8:20 AM
                   Oh I love lil red! So much to wish for!

And finally, Anita, comment number 48, is the winner of the $100 gift certificate from FinerRibbon!

All the prizes are great, but I like the labels best!

Congratulations to all of you, ladies!  These really are some awesome prizes.  I'll be contacting you by email soon about your goodies!

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