Festive Baubles

I made a Christmas quilt this year, and I only missed finishing it for Christmas by two days! Maybe I’ll just consider it 364 days early for next year!  Festive Baubles is a reinterpretation of the Baubles quilt I made a few years ago.  A lot of people really loved this quilt, and wanted a pattern for it.  The initial version had areas of the construction that were too challenging for the result, so I set out to create a design that has a similar aesthetic with a more user friendly construction.  The pattern isn’t complete yet, but I’m hoping to do a Christmas in July sew along in 2020!

There are six different foundation paper pieced blocks in the design.  Three of these designs have two color versions in the finished quilt, which gives us nine blocks total.

Block one has two color versions with a classic “round” shape and a center design of squares.  Foundation paper piecing is a great way to create the illusion of curves while only stitching straight lines!

Block two also has two color versions, and the central design is created with triangles.

Block three moves away from the round shape to create an elongated ornament.

Block four is the final block with two color versions.

Block five is the last elongated block design.

The final block also has the most detail with a star formed in the center of the bauble.

For the quilting, I decided to use organic feather motifs.  I like the juxtaposition of bright, shiny ornaments against the natural shape of a tree, and I thought that organic quilting would set off these baubles nicely.  The background fabric is a Ruby Star print that is mostly green with turquoise starbursts.  For the background quilting I selected 50wt Aurifil 2810 (Turquoise) to coordinate with the turquoise part of the print.

The ornaments are quilted with 50wt Aurifil 2225 (Salmon), and the “strings” the ornaments appear to hang from are quilted lines of Aurifil 2600 (Dove) with 12wt on the top and 50wt in the bobbin.  This line of quilting was the last thing added to the quilt prior to trimming and binding the edges.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Festive Baubles

Size: 53″x 62.5″

Techniques:  Foundation Paper Piecing, traditional piecing

Quilting:  Free Motion quilting on an A-1 longarm

Fabric:  Background print is Ruby Star Society, other assorted prints from my fabric stash

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool and Hobbs 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in three colors, and 12 wt Aurifil in Dove

Binding:  Bias binding made with Tula Pink stripe, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Least Favorite Color and How I Use It

Yesterday for the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge we talked about our favorite color, so today we are discussing our least favorite color. I think all colors have their place in design, but in the world of fabric, brown is hands down my least favorite color.  It only has a minor representation in my fabric stash, but I do use it from time to time.

No color is truly ugly if it is used in conjunction with appropriate colors and in the right proportions. The first way I incorporate my least favorite color is to use it in very small amounts to provide a moment of contrast to the overall design. In Synthesized Slivers there are quite a few pieces of brown, but they are only exposed in 1/8″ wide strips.

Brown also played the role as a minor accent color in this Marsala Mini Quilt.  In this instance, the print on the tan fabric helped to tie it into the overall design.

Marsala Mini Quilt

On very rare occasions, a project needs to use brown to tell the story of an image.  This was the case in my π, pi, PIE! mini Quilt.  (I do think that, in most instances, you can use colors other than brown to depict things such as tree trunks. But I like to do some out of the box color schemes!)

π, pi, PIE!

Sometimes you just have to jump in and embrace the color you don’t care for.  Upward Perspective was created for a Curated Quilts mini quilt challenge, and the color palette was part of the challenge.  In this instance, I just went with it.  This isn’t a go-to color scheme for me, but the colors balanced well enough to make a successful quilt.

I just realized I only use brown fabric in mini quilts! Maybe I’ll have to try incorporating it into a larger scale project. What is your least favorite fabric color? Have you ever made yourself give it a try?

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Favorite Color Palette

Today the prompt for the 31 Day Blogging Challenge was our favorite color, and it will come as no surprise to most of you that my go-to color is pink. The exact tone of pink that is my favorite varies over time, but it is always pink!  This year Pantone agreed with my aesthetic and made Living Coral the 2019 color of the year.

Pink appears frequently as a key color in my quilts, and I thought it would be fun to see how I’ve used it in the past year.  I used the Pantone Living Coral color in a dominant manor in two quilts, The Value of Coral and Forward and Back.

 

Hot pink is another favorite hue, and I used it in the Row by Row design I did this year.

It also appeared in the wall quilt version of the block, Ice Cream on the Beach.

I even managed to make a couple animals in my Zoo Family Portrait quilt bright pink!

Pink plays a dominant role in one of my matchstick quilting panels as well.

And pink in a huge range of specific hues played a role in creating my Stripe Club quilt.

Did you have a color that dominated your personal palette this year?

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

QuiltCon Jury Results

I’m always impressed with the quick turnaround that QuiltCon manages with their jury process, and this year’s results are in even faster than usual!  Modern Quilt Guild members create amazing work, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the jury to select which quilts will be included in QuiltCon each year.  I have never had all of my submissions accepted, and this year was no exception.  I am ecstatic that four of my five quilts will be included in the 2020 show! (Check out this post to see detail shots and the descriptions I submitted for each quilt.)

Zenith is the first quilt that I have had accepted in the Improv category! At one point I read that this category tends to receive the most submissions.  I don’t know if this was true this year, but I was nervous submitting one of my all time favorite quilts into a category that give the jurors so many amazing choices.

Resonance was my 2018 100 Day Project, and the only quilt I have ever re-submitted to QuiltCon.  I have a tendency to move on after a quilt is rejected.  I will often enter them in other shows, but I don’t usually go back to the same shows.  This time I just had to give it one more chance, and I am so happy that I did!

Forward and Back was started as part of a guild challenge that also included the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year.  I was happy with the resulting mini quilt, and I am thrilled to have it included in the show.

Stripe Club was my last minute finish, so I was very happy that the last minute push to add more hand quilting was worth it! I entered it in the evening of the final day, so I really cut it close.

34x34x34 was my only rejection this year, which is really lucky.  I love this quilt, and it will maintain its role in my trunk show, but it has received a few rejections now, so I think its show entry days are probably over.

The quilt I entered on the last day has a number of 1489, so I am assuming that there are approximately 1500 entries for only a few hundred spots.  I hope you will all consider entering your quilts in other shows as well as next year’s QuiltCon.  It is wonderful to walk into a quilt show and see the modern aesthetic well represented.

When I was first entering shows, I had one quilt rejected from a show after I had already submitted it to the next show hosted by the same organization.  Not only did it get into the second show, it got into several more hosted by multiple organizations. That quilt went on to receive a second place and a third place at shows with the original sponsoring organization. Just because a quilt doesn’t get in the first time, doesn’t mean it won’t be loved by another show or in another year. Please don’t give up on your amazing creations!

Congratulations to everyone who had a quilt accepted to QuiltCon 2020!  Please send lots of pictures- my quilts are going, but I can’t make it this year!

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

The Pressing Matter of Pressing

At some point in their creative process, most quilters try to refine their technique and increase their precision.  Achieving an accurate seam allowance is the first place we tend to go when looking at precision, but pressing seams properly is just as crucial.  Today for the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge we were asked for our top tip, and I am going to talk about a few tools to help make your pressing easier.

  1. A starch alternative gives your fabric a slightly firmer hand that makes it easier to sew without stretching.  This is great for all forms of piecing, but it is especially useful for fabrics that will include piecing or applique on bias edges.  I pour my starch alternative into a mist dispenser to get a more even spray across the fabric I am pressing.
  2. This flat metal hem gauge is great for turning back a specific amount of fabric along the edge of a piece of fabric. As a quilter, I use this most when turning back the edges of quilt labels, but I find it extremely useful in constructing garments and bags.
  3. A wool pressing mat allows you to press seam allowances with very little distortion to the block.  The wool holds it in place just enough to prevent movement as you press that seam allowance flat.  The wool also has just enough give to it to absorb the thickness of the seam and prevent an unsightly bump in the quilt top.
  4. Go with the best quality iron that you can get. I recommend one that can be used dry or with steam.  This is a Hot Steam gravity fed iron. This means that a water reservoir is suspended above the iron, and you get steam by tapping a button with your thumb. This is a fantastic iron choice if you have a place you can permanently set up your ironing space.
  5. If you make clothes or bags, a tailor’s ham helps to emulate all sorts of curves to make your pressing look great!
  6. There are certain instances that you need to press a seam in a long narrow tube, such as a quilt sleeve. At these times, I use a large dowel rod on the inside of the tube to press the seam allowance open.
  7. My newest favorite pressing tool is a wool pressing bar and clapper. It is perfect for pressing any seam allowances open, and the wooden base also functions as a clapper to set a seam allowance.  If you press a seam with steam, you can help it set nicely by holding the clapper over it as it cools, similar to using the cool air function on your hair dryer.

I hope that these tools help you up your pressing game!

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.