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. 

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.