Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Making Progress! EQ7 Scrap Challenge

While voting is still going on in the Blogger's Quilt Festival (you can still vote for my Oceans of Love quilt, if you haven't yet!), I've been busy trying to finish the EQ7 Spring Cleaning Scrap Challenge quilt.

Funny how the smaller the pieces, the longer it takes to put together!

To start with, I had to decide how to join all those little 2" squares (whether a solid square or a HST/Half Square Triangle unit) into the 4-patches that would then become the rows. I didn't want to just start sewing, so first I laid out all of the individual pieces according to the EQ7 diagram, and played with layout.

Did I want scrappy orange diamonds, or single fabric diamonds, distributed in a scrappy layout? What about the black arrows....? and how to distribute the various blues and such...? I counted how many pieces of each different color, sorted them into piles, then started laying them out in rows, making swaps and decisions as I went.


I decided on single-fabric orange diamonds, and let the blacks be mixed up; the rest didn't bother me (and there is actually only one fabric in the dark blue arrows, so that part was easy). 

Once I got it all laid out, it was time to turn individual pieces into 4-patches, which will then later become rows. I had to make sure the diagonals lined up on each one, which is not my favorite thing -- I'm more of a "good enough" quilt maker than a "precision is everything" quilt maker. When I get one just right, I get a little bit giddy and stop to take a picture.... ;) 


I'm still in that phase of construction right now....slow going! It took me a few rows to figure out a way to chain piece the 4-patches without mixing them up and getting things put together wrong; if I flip the top patch down onto the bottom one, and stack those, then carry them to the sewing machine **, then they are  oriented the right way for me to just take the top one and sew along the right-hand edge (which is the seam between top & bottom). 

Then I just have to keep them in order as I unfold them, finger press that seam, and sew into 4-patches. To help with this, I keep them stacked and only unfold one pair at a time, sew that one, then unfold the next one. 

It takes me roughly 20 minutes per row, so if I actually work on this today I should be able to finish. Then assembling the rows ought to go quickly, and then rows into a top just as fast. If I can get the top totally assembled today, that leaves me.....four whole days to get it layered, quilted, and binding on in time to submit. Egads.

Hope I can make it!

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!