Majesty – the silk quilt

I’m not good at naming quilts (we’ve been down this path before) but when I started this project and decided it was going to be something quite different than other things I’ve made I knew it needed a special name.  The fabric itself inspired me to come up with a name befitting the luxury that comes to mind when I think of silk, so this quilt was  called “Majesty” before the first stitch.  I was thinking of the things I’ve seen in movies about royalty; you know, those huge carved headboards and canopies with the fancy bedding? You admire it and then wonder who launders it!

I did a little planning ahead of time, only in the sense that I “planned” to do more of a traditional style whole cloth quilt (medallion in the centre, fancy borders, symmetry etc.) so it was more of an overall concept than a calculated design.  We know that for me, the plan evolves along the way!  Certainly that’s what happened here.

I started at the top centre, where I wanted to make a statement, and of course there were always going to be lots and lots of feathers, so that part flowed nicely.  I didn’t really have to do a lot of measuring until I happily finished one side and realized that I would then have to duplicate it to the best of my ability on the other! LOL  It was a challenge.  After laying down the foundation I went back in and added fillers, and then used this process throughout.

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For most of the quilt, I just picked one area at a time to focus on, keeping in mind that I was going for the illusion of a plan 🙂 I generally baste the whole quilt at the beginning so I can later roll it back and forth whenever I want to, and for this one that method proved very helpful, especially if I couldn’t quite remember something I had already stitched and wanted to repeat HAHA

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I built the structure I wanted in each area, stitched it out and filled it in, and eventually it all came together.  Not without a few mistakes and ripped stitches, mind you, but overall it was a very satisfying finish.

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And yes, I did have a little bit of that “do I keep this one or not?” going on in my head.  I designed this quilt for a couple of specific purposes, neither of which was to adorn something in my own house.  But again, as I worked on it and later held it in my lap while hand stitching the binding I wondered about whether or not I should keep it.  It is so soft and feels luxurious!

The truth is that this is probably the best work I’ve done in my quilting thus far.  I’m both very proud of it as an achievement of my goal, and humbled by it as a reminder that I’m blessed to have found this thing called machine quilting – or did it find me? – that brings me so much joy and gives me so many opportunities to grow and share.  This quilt represents some important things to me.

But aside from the philosophical aspects, it also made more clear to me the truth about what “makes my soul shine”: my process, what I do and why I do it, and the importance of knowing those things in my art and crafting life.

When I finished the binding, still feeling just a little bit of doubt as to whether or not I would part with it, I spread it out on my bed and stood back to look at it.  I was immediately detached from it.  I saw it for what it was and appreciated all of it, and at the same time I knew it was just fine to let it go because the process was over.

I know I mention it often, but I feel I cannot stress enough the value of knowing what your personal process is and allowing yourself to appreciate it!

If you would like a serious peek into some of the work I did on this one, check out the first video below.

If you would like a peek into what happens when things don’t go the way you hope they will, check out the second video below.

If you would like a peek into my real life goofy fun, check out the third video with my Happy Dance!

Wishing you all a great weekend!

 

 

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Simply Sweet

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I finished the second panel from Art Gallery fabrics and because much of the stitching is similar to the sheep quilt I recently posted, I won’t fill this up with a lot of photos!

Just wanted you to see it all done, and share a short video clip at the bottom of some stitching I did that was notably different on this one; I used an idea from Natalia Bonner for the narrow border framing the centre section.

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I was all set to try it, then suddenly had second thoughts about whether or not I could get it “right”.  But I tossed my doubt aside and went for it!  It wasn’t really hard at all – another good reminder to ignore the darn negative voice in my head that likes to bother me when I’m trying to be creative LOL

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I love the way this turned out.  Those large pebbles added great texture to that frame, and I love that simply drawn teddy bear in the middle reminding me that the simplest things can turn into the most beautiful things 🙂

 

 

Baa Baa Black Sheep

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Soooo…

I wanted to stray from the woodland animals baby quilt theme for a bit and do something fancier with more of a custom heirloom look and, of course, lots of white solid space.  This minimalist style panel is one of three I found in the “Nest” collection from Art Gallery Fabrics.  I love the simple print, the black & white color scheme, and the space to play and really make the quilting show 🙂

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There were only printed borders on two sides of the panel so I found another print to add to the top and bottom, making it relatively square.  I marked off the centre square frame I knew I wanted, planned for a feathered frame around that, and the rest of it happened as I went along.  I cannot say often enough how much I love white stitching on white fabric.  Even as I’m quilting it there is just something so serene and elegant about it.

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And the back is solid white.  I know, who wants a nearly all white baby quilt, right?  LOL but this one was sold before the binding went on…

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Once it was laundered and cuddly, the stitching really popped.  I’m working on another which will have similar stitching; maybe that one will make it into my shop! haha

The short video at the bottom show me stitching some of the filler inside the centre frame, just for fun.

Purple, Gray, and Yellow

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I thought the last wide strip quilt I made was funky, but this one – WOW!  The color combo was a suggestion from my daughter, based on my request for a trendy idea.  Apparently purple, gray and yellow are a thing.  They aren’t necessarily MY thing, but that’s not the point! LOL  I wanted to quilt on solids and I figured that dipping my toes into a wild color combo couldn’t hurt.  It’s interesting to observe the differences between the quilts I make specifically to sell online and those that I make for my home, or at least in keeping with a style I would have in my home.  Doing something wild once in a while is kind of fun.  It’s even more fun when someone buys it and I get to see where it’s going to end up (some people send me photos once the quilt arrives in their home and that is really cool!)

So if this is your style, enjoy the pictures, and if it isn’t, put your sunglasses on and just enjoy the stitching.  Most of this was not planned out at all before I started.  The main idea was to have a lot of lines going here and there.  The rest just happened as I went along! #designingonthefly

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I added a couple of videos at the bottom in case you want to see how I did some of what I did 🙂  First one is short, second one has some bouncy music in it.  It might make you want to dance…

 

Finding Joy

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You’ll probably recognize this general idea and color scheme from another recently finished quilt I wrote about; I’m not releasing a detailed pattern for the piecing process here, but I don’t mind if you just figure it out yourself and copy it…

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Some pictures have filters to enhance the stitching and make the colors more vibrant.  I can do that here as this one isn’t being advertised so accurate hues aren’t an issue!

I had a custom order for a smaller throw quilt in the same colors and I just happened to have enough left of two of them and a spare piece of Moda Grunge that was pretty close to the dove gray I used in the first quilt, so this came about and made my client very happy.  She’s also a huge fan of words on quilts, and I had a panel from the Thrive fabric line (Natalia Bonner & Kathleen Whiting, for Moda Fabrics) so we chose a suitable block and I pieced it in.

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I had free reign over the quilting designs which is always tons of fun, so I set about to use similar stitching to what I had already done in the first one.  However, as often happens, the plan changed not long after I got started 🙂

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I tried out some funky stuff here, used a stencil I recently purchased from Love Shack Quilts in one of the chevron areas, pulled out several of my circle rulers and experimented with various ideas that came to mind along the way.

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The result was a vivid modern super textured and fun lap quilt with a bit of inspiration popping out of the background and now that it’s all laundered and ready to go, it’s as cuddly as can be and I just know she’s going to love it!

I’ve included links below to a couple of videos I shot while quilting this: one is showing the greyish area with the chevron paths and the other is a time lapse of me finishing off the word block.  Most of the other things you have seen me do before haha.  Until next time…

 

 

Wavy Lines with Clouds

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Wavy lines and straight lines are popular on modern quilts and I like to find ways of embellishing them here and there to give a bit of extra interest to the overall look.

I thought this cute baby quilt could use some clouds in the stitching, and rather than over think the shape and the stitching path (sometimes clouds are intimidating! LOL) I decided to take my cue from the clouds on the printed fabric (DUH – why don’t I automatically think of this by now???) and they worked out great!  It pays to keep things simple 🙂

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Love all that texture!

There are so many possibilities for adding different elements to your otherwise basic lines.  Try drawing a few things out on paper and see what you like; then stitch it out and notice how cool it looks!  I usually do the extra thing on every second line going across the quilt and then just come back with a basic line, but of course this is completely up to each person to choose.

Check out the video below for a quick look at how I stitched the clouds.  Some days are for complex stitching and others are for simplicity 🙂  It was relaxing to complete this project with the flow of the stitching over those cute prints, being reminded every few inches of a favourite song with lots of personal meaning to me.  It’s just such a “happy” little quilt!

 

Playing Outside the Lines

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There’s always more to learn, more motifs to try, more fillers to practice.  The lists are endless.  So I have no shortage of available ideas, especially with access to the internet.

But I recently began to feel that I needed something else.  I’m not saying “something more” because I have access to “MORE”!  Something “ELSE” is different.

I wanted to start seeing spaces differently, to learn to look past the obvious and venture into new territory.  To “unlock my brain” so to speak, in the words of a quilt artist I recently spent a very productive and inspiring private training day with, Sharon Blackmore of Love Shack Quilts.  That was our goal: unlock my brain and take my quilting to the next level.

It’s not my nature to think outside the box; I can be lead there, but it doesn’t come naturally to me.  Thus the need to “unlock” my brain!  I can plan on the fly over a wide open space, and work within the confines of blocks to accent piecing, but I knew there was more to be done somewhere in between those two.

I had loaded this client quilt (pieced by Pam Fritsche) mid-week with a definite plan for a few of the areas, basted the whole quilt so I could roll it back and forth, and started stitching the designs that were clear in my mind.  I used some of my go-tos for the centre triangles, lots of straight lines for the modern look, I knew I needed to leave space for the initials requested, and I had the big feather border stitched out before I left it.

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After my lesson day, I came home to the quilt, thinking I would just finish this one up and then start using my new vision on the next one! haha But when I started stitching the second large area around the star with the big echoed circles I felt myself getting bored (that doesn’t usually happen!).  I hit the centre of the bottom edge and immediately experienced a shift when I saw the space.

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I wanted a big change that would make a statement right there and decided I could easily build a triangle and fill it.  That was the start – yes I’ve done something like this before in wide open space, but not in the middle of a border as a contrasting element.  I stitched it out, finished off the big circles and advanced the quilt.

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I was planning to stitch a piano key border in the outside white space, but those darn grey half square triangle were mocking me.  I stared at them for a bit, trying to come up with designs to fill them in some ordered kind of way – typical! – but it suddenly hit me that I could ignore all of them and that bright orange sashing, and make my triangle a square!

This might not seem like a light bulb moment to everyone, but for me it was a breakthrough because I was seeing the space differently than usual, ignoring what was already there and making something new right on top of it.  I was playing outside the lines!  (and the angels sang… LOL)

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From there, of course, I needed to up the anti in the rest of the final area too.

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The whole time I was enjoying my new inspiration I was wishing I could go back in and change the first areas I had stitched because they would have been different at that point, but the end result was still pretty cool and I’m looking forward to my next detailed project so I can put to use more of what I learned 🙂

When I take a quilt off the frame I like to get a really good look at all the texture from various angles.  And that white on white gets me every time!

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I love that square and I love how it draws all the attention to itself.

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Do you play outside the lines? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Let it Flow

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Naming quilts isn’t my forte.

By nature, I feel the pressure to somehow come up with an inspired and interesting name for each of the more technical quilts I finish now, moreso than when I first started.

I remember when numbering them seemed like a good idea even if just for my own reference – since I make my own labels it was easy to add numbers to each one – and I only made “special” labels when giving a gift or when a customer requested some personalization after the quilt was finished.

However, I’ve now progressed to wanting special labels on most of my bigger quilts with more intricate stitching – not only for posterity but also because there’s something beautiful about a custom label on a handmade item.  No matter where the quilt ends up (and most of mine are sold) there will be a part of it that tells people who made it and when, along with where it fits in my story (numbers).  It gives me room to include a favourite quote or information about the pattern, whether it was original or not etc.

I like to sew this type onto the backing fabric before the quilting is done so my stitching goes right through the label, making it a part of the quilt itself rather than an “add-on”.  BUT I’m still not at the point where I actually remember to do that every time, and this quilt is an example of that!

So when I took this quilt off the frame and went to bind it, I noticed I had forgotten to make a label.  And if I’m going to make a label I need a name.  That little glitch then interrupted my routine of trimming and binding immediately after unloading and I had to sit down and really think about what the heck I was going to call it!  I could go on about the various things that came to mind and the mental blocks that caused delay, bit I eventually settled on “Let it Flow” because that’s exactly what I did while quilting it.

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Some of the stitching on this was practice using ideas I’ve seen and liked and wanted to try, and some of it was a complete deviation from the original plan because that’s what happens when I am in “the zone”.  So I let it flow.  No regulation (except for the ruler work), just free motion in manual mode, me and my machine learning to work together in our own unique rhythm, which is getting more fine tuned as we go along 🙂

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It was fun and therapeutic and on the practical side it gave me ideas for more quilts like this where I can work on the solid areas I love to play in with a bit of structure (using the seam lines to define my spaces) and combine colors that are trendy and fun for modern whole cloth quilt results.

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There’s a short video at the bottom showing a bit of stitching just for fun; most of this you have probably seen before in my other videos so I didn’t record a lot of detail work, just enough to give you an idea of the process I used 🙂

 

 

Painted Ladies Quilt Project

A lot of photos appear as I’m scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed each day, and many of them are crafty things because, of course, Facebook knows what I look at online and makes sure to flash me more of the same!  I see various quilt-y pictures, especially when friends share patterns and such, and one day I was particularly glued to a post about the Painted Ladies Quilt.  The design is based on the row houses of San Francisco.

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I think house quilts are cute in general, but I’ve never felt like I had to make one, until I saw the one my friend shared; I was immediately drawn to the rows of feathers quilted between the rows of houses, and the fact that these houses were on an angle.  I clicked the link and ended up finding Love Shack Quilts and Sharon Blackmore (she quilted the one in my friend’s photo) who I didn’t know before but have now met in person.  You can hear more about that in the video at the end of this post 🙂

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It was a stretch for me to track down the pattern and purchase it, not being an avid buyer of books or patterns myself, but I found it and started looking for fabrics.  I had a color palette in mind but just couldn’t quite get it together; I wanted to use pre-cuts to get a wide variety of prints so I finally decided to go with the most appealing collection I could find instead of waiting forever to find exactly what I’m still looking for and end up not making the quilt at all! LOL  I’m pretty sure I will be making this one again 🙂

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It turned out pretty cute and, as my above mentioned friend calls it, “folksy”.  It wasn’t an intense piecing project so I got through it without incident and I do recommend the pattern!  I kept track of the hours on this one because I’m often asked how long it takes me to make a quilt from start to finish and I thought it would be fun to record some clips of my process and have a complete video documenting the whole project.  That video is below, so check it out if you’re interested in seeing how it all came together!  The details are at the end so grab a coffee before you start…