Saturday, 18 April 2015

April Sewing Space

If you've been following my blog for a few months, you might have realized that a "Sewing Space" post is what comes when I have a few projects on the go but no finishes to show for them yet. This one is no different.

I've made some progress on my Map Quilt. In the last post, I had just pieced together my compass. Since then, I've sewn the compass and a blank legend block into the quilt top. Then I decided I didn't like the spacing, so ripped out and moved the compass.  I stencilled on the writing for the legend and hand embroidered one whole letter. I appliqued on the islands and birds, which I keep thinking of as flying geese. Then I added the borders. The inner one is intended to look like a scale on a map. Unfortunately, my pieced border ended up a bit small and then I was tired measuring and sewing on the outer border and it ended up a bit big. So the quilt doesn't want to lay flat for me. Or be square. So I'm debating how much I have to rip out. Probably both borders, plus re-sew the grey and white strips together to make them the right length. I see a seam ripper in my near future.

In this one, without the overhead lights on, you can really see the texture in the quilting on the island.

Not-so-square corners. But pretty Botanics fabric by Carolyn Friedlander.

I also bought the EQ 7 software, to help me with some pattern writing. I've been playing around and have designed the quilt I sketched out on the plane over March Break. Then I started writing out the pattern for it. Eight pages later (without diagrams or images), I seem to have all the steps and instructions figured out. Which has me wondering, am I including too much information and how long are patterns usually, anyway? It also made me realize how much I've learned about quilting along the way and how much work goes into a pattern. This is all before the quilt is even made.

I usually have a plan when I start, but this is the first time I've actually figured out how to do all of the steps efficiently and in order before I start. It might be kind of nice to follow my own instructions. I'm hoping it turns out as planned, though I'm sure there is more tweaking and revising to come.

I'm still planning to start another Jewel Burst quilt soon, but need to write up a pattern first. I thought it might be a bit more complicated to design digitally, so I started with the easier one. Now I'm starting to get comfortable with the EQ7, I'd like to tackle it soon.

So little time, so many ideas. Happy creating!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Grandma's Jelly Roll Race

Here's a quilt that my Grandma sewed up, using a jelly roll of Zen Chic's Barcelona line. She used one jelly roll plus the borders, so the quilt measures about 70 x 75. It's a wedding gift for one of her nieces - bright and colourful! She worked hard to finish it before flying out for the wedding. She pieced it, then we worked together to baste it so that I could quilt it for her. Then she finished it off with the binding. For the quilting, I went with the same rounded rectangle pattern I used on the baby quilt. I got into a bit of a flow there for a while, I'm making progress on this free-motion quilting thing!

The outer border is one of my favourite fabrics. I've used it before too, in a quilt and a bag.

It has quite the wild orange back :)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

All Quilted - The Jewel Burst Quilt

Here it is, my finished Jewel Burst Quilt :)

I'm pretty excited about this one. It's the first quilt that I've done creative quilting on. It's fun to make a quilt all the way through, from choosing fabrics, to designing a pattern, piecing, and then quilting and binding. 

I used spray adhesive to baste it and it held remarkably well considering how much I handled it. The quilting in the centre involved a lot of nearly 180° turns with a lot of bulk. In the beginning I had the quilt rolled, but found it made it more difficult to turn, so I ended up just leaving it flat and bunching it up as I went.  

I know some people are all about improvisation and seeing where the quilting takes you, but I'm more into planning and visualizing. I like to see what it's going to look like ahead of time. Knowing where I'm going helps me get there. I sketched out my designs ahead of time and played with a few options. I got advice at a quilting class too, with a design for the triangle border that didn't involve burying 60 threads ;) I'm glad I asked for help on that one, as I'm thrilled with how that border turned out. 

Here's a better picture of how the colours look in person
I didn't follow my plans exactly, mainly because I forgot a few things, but I still mostly stuck with my plan. The straight line quilting I marked with a Frixion pen and a ruler, then followed the lines, which made it pretty simple.* For the negative space inside the border, I free-motion quilted some sharp scribbles. I practiced with a pencil on paper many times before I started, so that I had a bit of a rhythm before I got to using thread. The design is sort of three Vs, then changing directions with a triangle. In the beginning, it didn't flow with the needle like it did on paper, but in the end, when I stepped back from it, I liked the effect. 

*Sidenote - the Frixion pen doesn't seem to stay erased as much as I would like. It sat in my car overnight and some of the lines came back.

I'm so excited about this quilt. I love how the thread blends in on the front and the way the white thread stands out on the back. I wish I could capture the bright colours on camera better, but I'm grateful for having lots of family nearby with fences and clotheslines ;)

Kona Bay Hibiscus
A pop of purple binding to finish it off!

I previously posted about this quilt here, designed with the help of the Hex n' More ruler, and I'm planning on a pattern for this one - I have the next fabrics picked out already to test the pattern out. Anyone else interested in testing it when it's ready? I also bought EQ7 on the weekend, so once I have some time, I'm think I'm going to have a lot of fun playing! Stay tuned for another quilt post later in the week.

Happy sewing!

I've linked up at My Quilt InfatuationFree Motion Mavericks and Thankful Thursday

Friday, 3 April 2015

A Quilt for MJ

I completely forgot that I could share this baby quilt with you now! Good friends of mine had a baby girl this week. They knew about the quilt in advance and so I sent it in the mail so it would be ready and waiting for her. I like to give baby gifts in person once the baby's born, so I can get some snuggles in, but sometimes when they live far away, it doesn't happen.

I made the quilt using a couple of V & Co.'s Simply Style charm packs I had on hand, waiting for the right project. This was my first time using pre-cuts and they ended up working perfectly for a simple baby quilt. I used most of two packs, omitting the yellow prints. When I picked up the charm packs, I had also got a metre of the print I ended up using for the backing. I had already cut into it for an infinity scarf, so I had to piece the back. My friend loves apple green (as does the owner of my local quilt shop) so I went for that colour along with some more squares. I realized just how much apple green I have in my stash, too! I'm more of a blue and green kind of girl, though I've grown to appreciate a little pink.

I used a variegated blue and green thread for the quilting and did some simple free-motion quilting. I'm still a little wobbly, but it's getting there. I need more patience - precision over speed. I finished off with some green binding (of course) with a strip of white.

I see all these beautiful finished quilt photos in nature - pinned on rustic barns, hanging over wooden fences, stretched out on frozen lakes. ( I also often question whether or not people ask permission before pinning their quilts on someone's private property). So I had grand ideas when I took the baby quilt snowshoeing down the road with me. I left it in the car and thought I'd photograph it when I came back. Twenty minutes into the walk I found the perfect fence. Not going back now. So I found a tree branch to hang it on, thinking it could look artistic. Instead, it just looks like a quilt on a tree branch. Oh well, you take what you can get.

I hope baby MJ enjoys her new quilt :)

And now that most of this snow has melted, I hope the weather warms up so we can get some buds on these trees.