Friday, September 2, 2016

Friendship - A Goodbye gift

Update on my adjustment to German life - I have my license and can now drive, which isn't too difficult other than the ridiculously narrow roads and some interesting ideas about right-of-way. Still, much easier to learn to drive here than it was in Turkey.

We have found a house to rent and will be moving in with temporary loaner furniture and our 25 suitcases next week. The hotel has been nice but we're all looking forward to have a bit more room to spread out.

Okay, so quilt number two that I saved to blog about later:


This quilt is called Friendship and was made from a jelly roll of Simple Marks by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda. I pieced the strips together in sets of four, trimmed them into squares and then created half square triangles with other strip set squares. As always, I threw in a few solids for visual rest. When I had pieced together all my HSTs, the top wasn't quite as big as I was hoping for so I added two borders of Simple Marks yardage to top and bottom.

I think this line has a funky, modern vibe and wanted the overall quilt design to be in tune with that. It was also important that the quilting be modern as well so I chose a freehand striped seed pod pattern for the body of the quilt and then just echoed the wavy lines of the borders.

For the backing I used a dark green batik and as always, added my Spoonflower-made label.

The quilt was for my friend Ruth. Have you ever had God put someone in your life for a specific purpose? Ruth and I, in many ways, are not alike. But it became clear fairly quickly that God had put Ruth in my life. It was like He was saying, "Here. You two are going to need each other. So reach out and hold on."

Ruth became an anchor for me during some pretty rough storms and a light in a dark time. She taught me about healing and energy and how to work through pain. She is one of the most intuitive people I have every known. And one of the most real. She has a lovely soul.


And she's willing to get a turban wrap with me at an Indian Food and Culture festival both our families attended. (Yes, I totally wore this the rest of the day, even to the grocery store.)

We knew that saying goodbye was going to be hard for both of us. So we kind of avoided it. Ruth was going to be at a family reunion when we actually left so we went to lunch a few days before her trip and chatted like we always do. We hugged when she dropped me off and tried not to tear up.
And I didn't give her the quilt.

Because I knew that if I had given it to her then and tried to explain what she had meant to me during the past three years, we would both be blubbering messes. So I had entrusted Maria, the friend I made  Purple Pretties for, with a mission.  After I had moved away and once Ruth was back in town, she was to deliver the quilt. I included a simple card that read, "You blessed my life in so many ways. Thank you."

Sometimes a few words have to stand in for all the words you can't find.

And often a quilt has to stand in for all the hugs you won't be there to give.




Thursday, August 18, 2016

Purple Pretties (Hello from Germany!)

Bit of a news flash - I moved to Germany. And as a result, I haven't sewn a stitch for six weeks. SIX WEEKS!! And I'm really recognizing how true the saying, "Quilting is my therapy" is cuz without it, the stress of this move is just about to do me in!

But I did save a few finishes for this down time (....and I didn't have time to blog in the pre-move busyness) so I could get a quilting fix through blogging about it.

Meet Purple Pretties:
This beauty was a commissioned quilt for my good friend Maria Rodriguez Fuentes, maker of all amazing food, Mexican and otherwise.  A few months before our move, Maria asked if I would make her a quilt to remember us by. (Awww!)

Maria's favorite color is purple, something I don't have a lot of in my stash. But Northcott fabric had sent me a few yards of their Artisan Spirit Ambience Violet to test and I still had a quite a bit of it left. Perfect!


The pattern is Craftsman by Amy Smart. Now I think Craftsman tools from Sears when I read that but she meant windows in craftsman style houses. Either way, its a really great pattern to show off larger scale prints that you don't want to cut up too tiny and it works up fast.

I added a couple of prints from Typography from Cloud9 Fabric, a lovely Gelato ombre, and a random batik that I've had in my stash forever. They all played nicely together and both Maria and I were very pleased with how it turned out.


I had lots of fun with Olga finding different patterns to quilt in each large block. After washing, we had all kinds of yummy texture.


I had purchased some wide quilt backing fabric for the back in a nice lavender. Did the binding by machine but hand stitched on my label.


Did you notice these aren't my normal brown desert photos? We took the quilt with us on a picnic up to Mount Charleston where it was green and beautiful. Well, green compared to the desert around Vegas anyway.

Purple Pretties was my next-to-last quilt made in Las Vegas. The final quilt was a gift for a dear friend's daughter who is getting married in 2 days!! I shipped it off to her without taking many pics but they have promised to send me some. So stay tuned for a blog post about that quilt. And send some prayers my way that Olga and Helga make it across the ocean with no damage.

Till then,
Auf Wiedersehen!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Northcott fabric Chip Challenge - Spiral Dresdens

Back at Quiltcon 2016 in February, I met some lovely people from Northcott who were sponsoring a challenge - take 5 charms of solid dark purple, combine with a limited array of background solids in whites and greys, and make a 30 inch square modern quilt. We took an armful of chip packs back to our local Las Vegas MQG and got as many people involved as we could.

May 1st was the deadline to submit your entry online. Here is mine:


A bit about my process. The spiral dresden block is a free paper piecing pattern from Orchid Owl quilts, aka my bestie Vicki Rueble. She calls it Swirly Twirly Dresden. You can get it here.  (It's super easy and fun to make.)

I did a test block to see how much of the block I could do with five charm squares. It turned out cute and colorful.
In this case, I was using a few shades of green charm squares. I figured out that I could make almost two full dresdens with five charms. I used my permitted background colors to make two more, overlapping them to cover the missing purple strips. (Can you tell where they are? or are not, in this case?) 

Then I went a little off the rails.  I decided that not only would I double batt my quilt with cotton and wool, but I would also put a layer of cotton batting inside the dresdens. Three layers of batting made those dresdens really puffy, and rather thick. My Innova didn't have any trouble sewing through all those layers but it did struggle to get them squished between the machine head and the dead bar. 


But we managed. I also used some silk thread from Superior Threads. I've used silk before on Helga and loved it. But on Olga I snapped a needle.  Which is terrifying on a longarm. No horrible thud like you hit something metal. Just a broken needle.  After some deep breaths I put in a new needle and tried again.  Good for a bit and then snapped another one. Lots of trouble shooting later, I came to the conclusion that I had no idea. I think it might have been a bad cone since when it snapped the thread would be tight all the way back to the cone. But despite that frustration and an unsolved mystery, I got through the quilting and finished in time to take to show and tell at my local MQG, where there were so many fun variations, and to submit it for the challenge. 
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Robot Pals

Ready for simple practice quilt number 3?  I promise I have something a little more complicated and visually stimulating in the works. Coming soon.

But in the meantime, here's the third of my novice Innovian practice quilts.
I've had these fabrics stashed for a long long time, thinking that one day I would make a cute baby boy quilt from them. And then I did.

I tried a new quilting design from the talented Tracey Russell. It looks like an alien hand with a swirl popped into the middle of it.  I was amazed how quickly this all over design covered the quilt. So fun! And the little bit of shine on the Magnifico Thread really makes it pop, even with a matching color.

The center section was a checkerboard print and I had planned on doing some some of square quilting design. But then another Tracey Russell video (Whirls N Swirls on FB) caught my fancy and I decided to try it out. The great thing about quilting on fabric with printed lines is that you don't have to mark anything to get evenly spaced designs. It's amazing how the quilting design can so drastically alter the look of fabric. You almost can't tell this is a checkerboard anymore.

The back is pieced, which is fun. My Bottom Line bobbin thread was a yellow, which disappears into the yellow multi but really shows up nicely on that red brick.

Quilt facts: finished at 41" by 35". Yellow fabric is Moda Silly Safari, Red brick is RJR Salina Yoon Trains. No info on the Robots or the blue checkerboard.  'Robot Pals' will be gifted to my oldest nephew and his wife, who are expecting a baby boy this summer.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Happy" - A Cheater Panel quilt

This is number two of Olga the Innova's offspring, so to speak.  Once I finished Turkish Poppies, I loaded another of the simple practice quilts I had prepared for my first weeks with my new longarm.


This one was a bright and cheerful cheater panel called Rhapsody Bop by Adornit Fabrics.  I ordered it here from Fort Worth Fabric Studio. It cost me all of $7.

There was a method to my cheapness  madness though.  I knew a cheater panel would give me lots of different shapes and styles of 'blocks' to quilt. And a chance to practice ruler work while I stitched all the faux ditches. And that is pretty much how it went. Triangles, squares, skinny rectangles - this panel had it all.



Here's a shot of the back, a pretty Ana Davis blender that matched my Omni thread wonderfully.
Quilt facts: finished at 47" by 43". Single layer cotton Quilter's Dream batting. Omni and Bottom line thread by Superior Thread. No intended recipient so will probably go to charity.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meet Olga the Innova and Turkish Poppies, her first quilt

Remember back when I tried out my friend Vicki's longarm to quilt New Beginnings and she was trying to convince me to get one of my own?

Meet Olga, my new 26 inch Innova Longarm with Lightning Stitch. She's so boss! Hubs and I drove to Albuquerque to get her and some training on how to assemble, maintain, and use her. Then she came home with us and took up residence in our newly built loft. Learning to use her has been fun, and only a little scary.

Her name is Olga because she will be sharing studio space with my Husqvarna Viking whose name is Helga. But you have to say Olga the Innova with a Swedish accent {think the Swedish chef from the Muppet Show.}

Before heading to Albuquerque to get Olga, I had prepared several simple quilt tops to practice on once I got her set up. The first of these was just a large piece of Turkish fabric. Remember that Turkish cottons are about 96 inches wide so this had several faux borders on either side of the main print. I cut it down to just two borders on each side and came up with this:

The red binding is made from one of the sections I cut off and the backing is another bit of Turkish cotton in some fun coordinating colors.

I did swirls in the pink border, a long feather in the grey border, and graffiti quilting in the main flower print. I do LOVE graffiti quilting.

It's just soooo fun to figure out what to quilt next and how to fit it all together.


I still have lots to learn. Some of my spirals were a bit on the squarish side, and my feather plumes didn't always tuck nicely back into the spine.  But on the whole, I'm pretty happy. I think Olga and I are going to be great friends!!

Quilt facts: Turkish Poppies finished at 52" by 39". I used Omni and Bottom Line thread, both by Superior Threads and a single layer of Quilter's Dream cotton batting. Fabric selvage on the poppies say it is the Sarar Collection, made in Turkey. As of now, this quilt does not have an intended recipient so it may stay around the studio for a bit as an example of graffiti quilting, and then will probably go to charity.

Linking to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Busy Boy Baby Quilt


Another baby quilt in the books! You know I'm a big fan of the baby quilt - they go together fast (especially when you leave yourself lots of negative play space) and they are the perfect project to try new techniques without too much commitment. Plus - babies!! Right? 


I wanted to play with a new toy for this quilt - the Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Have you seen this? So many fun things you can do with it. I just went with a simple block to try it out.  The ruler is awesome, easy to use and also works as a square up ruler. You don't use pins when you sew the curved pieces together. That was a tad tricky but I think will get easier with practice. 

As I love to do with a baby quilt, I pieced a double row of focus blocks and then added large pieces of fabric top and bottom for negative space. In this case, I had a small scale and a medium scale of the same print and used those to border the focus blocks. 


The large scale print I quilted with Angela Walter's signature design, modifying it a little to keep the quilting scale nice and open.  I learned this design from her book, Shape by Shape and it's a keeper! I've used it on Little Guppy and Set Sail and it always looks great. 

Did you know that Angela Walters and Christa Watson have a new joint book coming out? It's called the Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, on sale on Amazon April 19th. I'm so excited!!


For the bottom portion I did some sketchbook quilting, also called graffiti quilting, ala Sari Ditty and Darla Hall. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this kind of quilting. But it's still hard for me. And practice is good. I know it is hard to see the quilting on this busy print but it is mostly just randomly put together shapes and patterns. So much fun to do, even if it does strain the brain a bit. 




The backing is the same small scale print, just in a white colorway. Honestly, my backings are not usually this coordinating, but in this case, I'm loving it. The fabric line, by the way, is Oh Boy! by FreeSpirit. 

Once I finished the project I had some fabric and some partial blocks left over. So I grabbed a pack of  pre-fold cotton diapers (okay, I ordered them from Amazon Prime but that almost the same thing) and made some custom burp cloths. 


Once those were done, I placed the quilt, the burpcloths, a plushy with coordinating book, and two meals in a jar into a wicker laundry basket. Cause you know a new baby means more laundry. 


And this baby quilt is all ready to go meet its new owner next week, a little boy named Conner born to a member of my husband's work family. 

I know I'm a bit late this week but linking to Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?