Monday, November 26, 2012

Big Stitch Quilting

One of the themes for this year is COMPLETION.  I have been working pretty diligently on finishing up quilts started many years ago.  This wall hanging, called simply "Fall", is one of the ones I decided to finish. 
    I think I started the quilt in a basic quilt making class - I don't even remember now where or when.  The pattern is from the book Backyard Treasures by Kansas Troubles.  Then quite a few years later (again I don't remember - there is a case here for better quilt documentation!) I took a class at Prairie Point from Linda Potter on what she called then Qwik Stitch Quilting. Since then Linda has changed the name and wrote a book about the technique. It is really cool - embellishing with big stitches, beads and quilting at the same time. So when I took the class I decided to use my Fall wall hanging as a practice piece for the big stitch quilting.  
    This year when I brought the wall hanging out to finish, it was about 2/3 done. I found some beautiful #12 purl cotton when I was in Seattle and it was just what I needed to finish this wall hanging.

    It was quite a learning process. I did some straight lines (with both regular stitches and long and short stitches), curves and swirls, and french knots, and . In some of the sections I got sort of carried away and did probably too much quilting. The section with the acorns was one of these. I ended up taking the stitching out (very easy to do with the big stitch) and just doing a simple shadow effect on each of the acorns. I think this looks much better.  

    I really enjoyed the big stitch and will certainly use it again on something. Perhaps a mix of big stitch and regular machine quilting! But for now the wall hanging is finished and hanging on the wall of my studio.
Curious about new techniques!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Color and Design Class #2 - Monochromatic Quilt

    So, I have let my obsessive nature get out of control - resulting in a week of worrying about what I am going to make for my second color and design class at Stitching Traditions
    I had started a quilt years ago called Bloomin' Nine Patch from Tradition with a Twist. I have it in a tub - a mix of calicoes (!!!), Asian fabrics, batiks, and florals in a red violet morphing into cream with some green thrown in. I liked it when I started it years ago, but now it just does not represent my taste. But could I use some of that fabric for my monochromatic quilt?
   That question sent me to the fabric store (in this case Sarah's - I'm an equal opportunity shopper!) to see what I could find to augment my older fabric. I came out with an assortment that was . . . OK . . .  but not great - in my opinion at least. I lined them up, snapped a pic, which helped me realize that I needed another fabric to ease the transition between the light and medium fabrics. I thought I wanted to do something that used a seamless flow from light to dark - I was thinking Bargello, Trip Around the World, or something like it.  I was afraid that such an ambitious quilt would not be done by next year, let alone next month. I was having all these doubts. What was going on?

    The whole reason I am taking this class is to stretch myself in terms of my color usage. Maybe my whole discomfort was because I was doing something new. I wanted to use the red-violet palette and sort of wanted to include all the facets - pure hue, tone, shade, and tint. But the fabrics I had just didn't look right to me. I couldn't make a decision. I even messaged my teacher Kathy to ask for a chat about my concerns. Then late last night it all came together.
   I went to bed dreaming about a monochromatic blue quilt I had seen on-line by Cassie using Kaffe Fassett's Jewel Sqaures pattern. I woke up sure that this is the quilt I should make. I can use all different aspects of red-violet and not worry about seamless color transitions.  I received my copy of Kaffe's book yesterday and so today I am off to the copy store to have the paper foundation patterns in the book enlarged. I don't have to have the whole quilt done by next month, perhaps just a quarter of it. Woo Hoo! I love when a plan finally comes together - at least in my mind.
Whew, another obsession catastrophe averted! Just in the nick of time too! Ill post pics of the quilt in progress.
Sometimes obsessively curious,

Friday, November 16, 2012

Color and Design Class - Project 1

    I am going to my Color and Design class tomorrow at Stitching Traditions in Topeka. The first assignment was to do a quilt in neutrals.
    I expect this class will really challenge me as I tend to get stuck in perfectionism - I would never be able to finish a quilt a month if I took my normal view of things. So I have decided not to worry about construction, but to do something simple that embodies the technique we are supposed to learn and to use the completed quilt top as a practice canvas for free motion quilting. I think I did that pretty well on my first project!
    As I was sitting on the plane on my way to Seattle a couple of weeks ago, I spent the time as a captive previewing some options for this first quilt assignment. I tried blacks and whites in a geometric quilt, an abstract something or other, and I finally settled on Morning Java - the name even came to me! Although I don't drink coffee (so it couldn't by MY morning java), I have always found the aroma and the effect of cream first entering the steamy surface appealing. Our teacher Kathy Pflaum said we could use white, grey, and black or ecru, tan and brown to represent neutrals, and as I thought about a graduated series of cream, mocha, and deep rich brown batiks, I knew exactly what I would do. We could also use one accent color - I debated between a red mug and a turquoise mug - well as you see, the turquoise won out.
    I found the cream to dark brown batiks at Over The Rainbow during my visit with Bobbie in Seattle. Over The Rainbow is an internet store that is open to the public on the first Saturday of the month. I got some really good deals on these batiks there - 8.75 per yard!
    So I did a rough sketch on freezer paper, cut the shapes and fused them to a backing of cream muslin. I practiced stippling, cross hatching and other shapes that I don't even know the name of. To make sure viewers knew what it is supposed to represent, I quilted "Morning Java" into the background. I am rather happy with the result! We'll see what feedback I get tomorrow in class.
Always curious,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quilting With BFF in Seattle

Hi from Seattle!
I am here visiting my BFF Bobbie. We're going to shop, sew, rest and talk for 9 wonderful days. We try to get together several times a year and really enjoy each others' company. 
    Today we went to one of my favorite quilt shops - Island Quilter on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. Last year when I was here I started collecting some bold Kaffe Fassett fabric for a quilt pattern called Star Struck by Maggie Ball for Dragonfly Quilts. They had a wonderful sample in the shop, but as usual, I wanted to change colors a bit. So I went with pinks, oranges, purples and teals. Today I completed purchasing the fabric for the quilt top.  I love the bright, bold colors. It's going to zing!

Curious about quilting in Seattle,