February 1, 2018

Place mats for... winter?

My wife requested place mats to go with our Christmas dishes; I had hoped to have them ready by this past Christmas, but I did not quite make it.

I was really attracted to Minick and Simpson's Snowfall fabric, and their Lake Effect quilt pattern, with its holly and mistletoe, reminded me of our dishes.  I decided to come up with my own design for place mats and a table runner, using their applique and the dishes as inspiration.


I used a couple of charm packs of the Snowfall wovens for the place mats.  I trimmed the charm squares to 4.5" since the original cuts were not quite square.


I used a charm pack of the Snowfall prints for the applique shapes, and yardage for the table runner.


For the applique, I tried Lara Buccella's Crafted Applique technique for the first time.  This allowed me to cut small pieces, such as the berries, without concern for fraying.


I used Soft and Stable for the batting, hoping the place mats would hold their shape through washing better than cotton.  We've not washed them yet, but I like the feel of the place mats.  On the other hand, the table runner doesn't want to lie flat.  I believe that is because I used an inconsistent quilting density.  Here's a photo before the quilting was complete; you can see how the quilting density affects the shape:


After quilting the white background and trimming the edges, it is better, but still not entirely flat.  Would blocking work with Soft and Stable?  It seems unlikely to me.  Any other suggestions?


I also used some of the wovens to make a set of napkins, using this tutorial.


One of my favorite prints from this line is the pale blue and white stripe with scattered berries, but I couldn't find a place for this print in these designs.  So I used it for backing, as you can see in the top of this photo:


The wavy quilting played some funny tricks with the smaller plaids.  Here's a straight-on view of one of the squares:


And here's the same square as viewed from an angle:


Here's another view of the applique on the table runner.  The leaf shapes were all cut free-hand, while the berries were marked with a circle template.


And here is the complete set of place mats:


I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

January 9, 2018

Modern Quilts: Designs of a New Century

The Modern Quilt Guild has produced a beautiful hardcover book, Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century, featuring color photos of over 200 modern quilts.  Thirty-two contributors to the book -- including myself -- are celebrating with a blog tour, and today is my day on the tour.


I am honored to have my "New Star Rising II" quilt featured in this collection.  You can find my quilt on page 25 of the book.  My quilt will also be featured in a touring exhibit associated with the book; this tour opens April 1 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio.  A full schedule for the touring exhibit will be updated here.


My quilt design is an exploration into transparency effects.  The original New Star Rising quilt was featured at Quiltcon 2013, where it won an award, quite unexpectedly.  That quilt was also purchased at the show, so I no longer have access to it.  The version of the quilt which is featured in the book is the second incarnation of the design; I made this version to keep for myself, and I was thrilled when it was accepted into this book in place of the quilt which was at Quiltcon.


It is an honor to be among such great company within this book.  I received my copy just the other day, and I am impressed with the quality of the book itself, along with the wonderful quilts on display.

The book was curated by Riane Manardi, Alissa Haight Carlton, and Heather Grant of the Modern Quilt Guild.  In addition to so many beautifully inspiring quilts, the book also gives a brief history of the modern quilting movement.  The quilts themselves are organized into categories which highlight various aspects of modern quilting.

In honor of the book release, my newly-released New Star Rising quilt pattern is available at a reduced price in my Craftsy shop, through the end of the blog tour.


Be sure to visit the other stops along the tour:

12/13/2017
Amber Corcoran
12/14/2017
Heidi Parkes
12/15/2017
Melissa Cory
12/16/2017
Penny Gold
12/18/2017
Shruti Dandekar
12/19/2017
Amy Friend
12/20/2017
Paige Alexander
12/21/2017
Angela Bowman
12/22/2017
Lysa Flower
12/27/2017
Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill
12/28/2017
Jacquie Gering
12/29/2017
Christa Watson
12/30/2017
Heather Black
1/2/2018
Kristin Shields
1/3/2018
Krista Hennebury
1/4/2018
Cinzia Allocca
1/5/2018
Suzanne Paquette
1/6/2018
Yvonne Fuchs
1/9/2018
Ben Darby
1/10/2018
Nicole Daksiewicz
1/11/2018
Kristi Schroeder
1/12/2018
Kathy York
1/13/2018
Marla Varner
1/15/2018
Brigette Heitland
1/16/2018
Stacey Sharman
1/17/2018
Stacey O'Malley
1/18/2018
Kim Soper
1/19/2018
Steph Skardal
1/20/2018
Cheryl Brickey
1/22/2018
Shea Henderson
1/23/2018
Katie Larson
1/24/2018
Katie Pedersen

December 22, 2017

Pattern Release: New Star Rising

I am happy to announce the release of my first full quilt pattern.  My "New Star Rising" pattern is now available as a PDF download in my Craftsy shop.


Instructions are provided to create the quilt in lap size (64 inches x 80 inches) or baby size (32 inches x 40 inches).  The design uses transparency effects to superimpose a large star on a field of smaller sawtooth stars.

My original New Star Rising quilt was shown at Quiltcon 2013, where it was awarded first prize in the Modern Traditionalism category.


My second version of New Star Rising was selected for the book Modern Quilts: Designs for a New Century, and will also be featured in the associated touring exhibit.



The quilt comes together quickly, and with "floating" star points the design is suitable for relatively new quilters.  The key to this design is in fabric selection; the pattern includes a small test block which can be used to evaluate the transparency effect for candidate fabrics.  The pattern also includes multiple color scheme suggestions and a blank coloring sheet.


The pattern consists of 25 full-size pages of (hopefully) clear instructions and illustrations, with tips for efficient cutting and suggestions for quilting.


Many thanks to my pattern testers, including Carole S. who shared this photo of her baby-size top:



If you make a quilt using my pattern, I'd love to see.  Please use #newstarrisingquilt to share on social media.

September 23, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2017 - Xbox

For my second entry in this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival, I am featuring my Xbox quilt:



You can read more about this quilt here.

We have a balcony with a railing in our home, and I often hang quilts across the rail.  The natural lighting from the balcony side is very angular, which highlights the texture of the quilting.  For this post, I thought I'd share a couple of new shots from this spot:



The fabrics are all by Tim Holtz.


I hope you will check out all the quilts at the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2017 - Dreamweaver

I shared about my Dreamweaver quilt in this post, but I was not fully satisfied with my photos at that time (primarily due to the lighting).  This fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival seems a good opportunity to share some updated images.


My recently purchased backdrop stand comes in handy to hang the quilt in decent lighting.


Here's a view of the back:



The quilt pattern is by Gudrun Erla,and the print fabrics are all by Parson Gray.  The background fabrics are Art Gallery Smooth Denims.



Be sure to check out all the quilts at the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

June 29, 2017

Xbox quilt

About a year and a half ago, I entered a block in the Tim Holtz Creative Journey challenge.  I was one of 24 winners, which resulted in my block being pieced into a quilt alongside the other winners.  I also won a design roll of Eclectic Elements fabric; this design roll became the basis for the quilt I am sharing today.


I started with the idea of making 16-patch units from the strips in the design roll, then played with a few different ideas for a block to alternate with the 16-patch.  I settled on an "X" block; I'm not sure if there is an official name for this particular block, but when combined with the 16-patches the result becomes an Arkansas Crossroads quilt.


I supplemented the design roll with some scraps, and also purchased a few newer pieces, but the entire quilt is made from Tim Holtz fabric, other than a strip of chambray on the back.


The background fabric is Model Airplanes from the Correspondence collection.  There is not a lot of contrast between this fabric and some of the design roll fabrics; I chose to use them all anyway.  The design might not be as distinct this way, but I like the result.


I used a ruler to quilt a curve design in the print areas; this was inspired by an online class with Lisa Calle.  I repeated the curves in each block, but used a variety of background fills.  This one with matchstick quilting is one of my favorites, but I only did one block like this because of the time involved.  (I did several with a more relaxed back-and-forth fill.)


Here's a photo showing the border quilting and the bias binding:


And here is a view of the quilting from the back:


I used two different fabrics for the back; they seemed to want something to separate them, so I inserted a strip of chambray.


I like both fabrics, but I really like the one on the right, and I sort of regret not using it for the entire backing.


This quilt started out to be a quick project with minimum investment, but I ended up spending so much time on the quilting that I'm a little more attached to it now.


I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

June 9, 2017

New photo setup

I borrowed a photography backdrop stand a few months ago for some quilt photographs, and decided I should have one of my own.  The setup consists of two vertical supports with a cross bar, and is adjustable in height and (somewhat) in width.


(I could have removed one of the top support sections for the above photo, but I didn't think of it at the time.  You'll see below why it is set to the maximum width.)

When I placed the order, it was worthwhile to add enough to my cart to qualify for free shipping.  The daily special was for a 10x10 muslin backdrop, so I added this to my order, along with a set of hanging clips.  (I'll use the hanging clips for quilts without a sleeve, unless I use the muslin.)



To use the muslin backdrop, I guess it would be best to use two stands.  But I simply pinned the quilt to the muslin, using basting-type safety pins from the back and pinning so that the pins do not show from the front.


The muslin makes for a cleaner background in the photos:


I think this setup will be especially helpful for entering contests, where sometimes the rules require that the entire front of the quilt be visible, with no clips or hands showing.

I also like that I can take photos without having to enlist multiple helpers, although it is still useful to have someone help thread the quilt or muslin onto the bar, and to keep things from toppling if a breeze stirs up.  (This is not a setup to use in the wind!)

Here's another new photo using the equipment, although these are quilts I have shared before (here and here).


UPDATE: Here's a photo showing the hanging clips in use: