Friday, May 22, 2015

BQF: Voting now open!

Voting is now underway at Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival! I'd love if anyone wants to go vote for "Oceans of Love" in the Small Quilt Category, and then be sure to explore the other categories and vote for any other favorites!

BQF: Small Quilt Category

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sneak Peek: EQ7 Spring Cleaning Scrap Challenge

One of my favorite quilt blogs, "Do You EQ?" (hosted by Electric Quilt publisher/company, the publishers of the EQ7 Software I use in designing my quilts), is hosting a "Sew & Win" scrap quilt challenge. 

The instructions were to download one of three (or all three) patterns, color them in using your EQ7 software, and create the quilt from scrap fabric only.

I downloaded all three patterns, so that I could play around in my EQ7 until I decided on what would work with the scraps I have on hand.

I limited myself to just the bottom drawer of fabric, which is where I toss all my leftovers after any project. Now, most of my fabric in the top drawers (aside from the fat quarters) is also scrap, cut into pre-cut sizes (10" squares, 5" squares, and 2.5" & 1.5" strips), but for the heart of this challenge I wanted to use my actual scraps. Some of those are large pieces (the leftover edges I cut off after I finish quilting, for example), some are tiny bits. All are leftovers, scraps & remnants from other projects.

Here is a peek at what I've got started....the deadline, to be pieced, quilted & binding on, is May 31st. I hope I make it!

Friday, May 15, 2015

BQF: Oceans of Love

Time again for Blogger's Quilt Festival, which I like to participate in, when I can. This year, I have my Oceans of Love quilt --- I originally submitted this to the Sacred Threads exhibit, but it was not chosen, so I'm showing it off here instead.

I have to say, I am so insanely proud of this quilt. If you want to learn more about it, please follow the "Oceans of Love" tag at the bottom of this post (or click that link in the prior statement) and read up on how this quilt came to be, what all it means, and the ups and downs of the process of making this quilt.

This is a traditional Storm at Sea design, but all original coloring designed by me. I used EQ7 to work out the design and as my pattern for templates (for the diamond blocks) and coloring placement guide as I pieced the blocks, since the coloring is rather complex.

Every color placement is symbolic, which you can read about in detail in prior posts, but the basic meaning of the quilt is this:

The inspiration behind this quilt started with three songs. First, a song about the love of Christ, His gift to us; second, a song about compassion for those suffering, those we might otherwise ignore; lastly, a song reminding us that in the end, after all the tears have been cried, there is love. 

One day it hit me – together, these songs sum up Christianity. To love God with our whole heart, to love our neighbor as our self, to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

This quilt is my attempt to represent that in fabric. 

I did all of the quilting myself, on my domestic machine; it's not a large quilt -- it is 39.5" on each side, and was designed to fit in this little nook at the top of my stairs, thus the size.

The quilting is kept simple on purpose because I wanted the overall design itself to speak the loudest.

I echo quilted inside each separate element, as it were; inside the white of the cross, with pearly white thread; inside the central "drums" to echo and enhance that they are meant to be tribal style drums, along the center & radiating out from the flesh toned rays, and then inside the waves in the outer, primary-colored section to enhance the waves or curves formed by the Storm at Sea pattern.

I tailored the thread choices to the fabric, using white for the white, a Sulky gold thread for the flesh toned areas and for the drums in the center, and a variegated King Tut thread for the red/yellow/blue area; I used matching threads on the back as well, using solid white, gold or royal blue to coordinate with the top thread being used.

Binding was done in the traditional double-fold, attached to the back by machine then folded over & hand sewn to the front, using mitered corners.

I love seeing this at the top of my stairs every day; it was a tremendous challenge in precision quilting for me, and I'm very proud of the effort and the outcome put in.

I'm linking this up to the Small Quilts Category of the Spring 2015 Blogger's Quilt Festival; I hope you'll vote for my quilt or at least take a peek at the other entrants and vote for your favorite, whatever that might be!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

More Dining Room Decor

I still haven't finished quilting & binding the spoon/fork table runner/wall hanging, or even decided for sure what to do with it. I love it. Every inch of it. But I don't know that it fits with my dining room, which has a very distinct beach theme -- on the wall are photos of my family at various beaches around Brazil, a painting from our favorite beach town, beach-themed word-art and candles....beach, beach, beach. Which doesn't necessarily fit with bright, bright, bright spoon & fork, no matter how awesome they are.
notice the beachy artwork on the walls....

So, place mats. Many years ago now I made place mats for us out of recycled denim and some bright strips of fabric. I still have those and love them, but they are all wonky shaped and the bump down the middle makes eating off of them hard. Also, the wonky shapes mean some are too large to sit next to each other, so they just don't work with our new table.

I decided I need round(-ish) place mats to serve more as quilted chargers than actual large crumb catching place mats. I don't mind wiping up the table, but I do want our Fiestaware to not scratch the table. And I need them to match the dishes, and the beach theme.

What they look like with a plate on...

So, I dug through the stash and pulled strips upon strips upon strips of fabric. Sewed them up, and am now working my way through the pile, quilting them on the diagonal then cutting them into circle-ish shapes.
all the strip sets, sewn together....

the backing fabric
The backing fabric is a fun, bright diagonal stripe, so for the quilting I am using a blue thread and following the blue diagonal lines (yes, I am quilting them "upside down"). I'm quilting them wavy to give a bit of sea feel or beach feel, and I've used a mix of brights and beach-themed fabrics in each place mat to bring together the brights of the dishes and the beach feel of the dining room.
Turns out the quilting lines go straight (but wavy) and the stripes of the different colors go diagonal, which I like even better. This was accidental, when the first circle I cut ended up squashed on one side, which I decided should be the bottom. Just like that, diagonal became straight, and straight became diagonal, and all I can say is I'm glad it was the first one that did that because now I've done the rest that way on purpose and I love it. The slightly squashed circle shape gives almost a seashell vibe, which is even better.

One down, eleven to go! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Craft Swap

I mentioned in my last post that friends and I participated in a craft swap. I love doing these, because it gives me a chance to try something new, get a small project done (which gives me a nice break from whatever large project is consuming my time...), and I get something fun in the mail later on! Win-win!

For my swap item, I chose to use a template I got at IQF in Houston last fall; it's a cutting template that allows you to fussy cut for a cathedral window block, and a method of completing the block completely by machine. Awesome!

I chose my same Brazilian butterfly fabric, and fussy-cut a butterfly in the recipients preferred colors. I selected fabrics from my stash that would coordinate and enhance the butterfly, yet still go with the recipients preferences as well.

Tried out my template, and voila!, a pretty cathedral window hot pad for the kitchen!

I used Insul-Bright with the batting so it would be heat resistant and safe to use for taking things out of the oven, placing under hot dishes, etc; this way it is pretty and practical all at once.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

So, what else is new?

In the midst of all the rush to get my Oceans of Love quilt done, I also have been working on place mats for my dining table, a craft swap with friends, and planning for a future quilt project.

My mother-in-law has requested a lap quilt, in purples, as her Christmas gift this year. Now, I don't normally start working on or even thinking about Christmas before Easter, but Fat Quarter Shop has a daily 24-hour flash sale, which I check....well, daily! So when the Kool Aid Bali Crackers went on sale, a gorgeous layer cake of pink and purple batiks, I knew they would be perfect for her quilt and snatched them up.

I checked Moda Bake Shop first for quilts using only one layer cake, to make sure it would make a decent sized lap quilt; it did, or would, so I bought it, no hesitation. I'm planning to follow the Basic Math Quilt Tutorial for this quilt; looks fun and easy!

the layer cake, all spread out, and backing fabric in the middle
A few weeks later, this beautiful coordinating print also went on sale; it's flower blossoms, and she loves gardening, and it seemed to be the right color, but I wasn't sure.....I called Fat Quarter Shop, and they actually pulled both fabrics to compare and let me know that yes, what seemed to go well on my computer screen (looking at the images with each listing), did in fact work well in real life. Sweet! So I ordered the backing fabric as well (with a little extra just in case) and now I'm all set for her Christmas gift. Awesome!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Oceans of Love....Final Peek!

One more peek, then I'm submitting to Sacred Threads and won't post again until I find out if I was accepted or not.....meanwhile I'll update on what else I've been working on in between. ha!