Crystalized Citrus: A Hoffman Challenge Quilt

Crystalized Citrus is my first Hoffman Challenge quilt, and I am thrilled with the result!  I was cutting it really close time wise, so it was quite a relief when they extended the deadline by a week- it saved me a late night getting the binding on!
Crystalized Citrus full view

For many years I had seen the Hoffman Challenge quilts exhibited at the Rotary Quilt Show that coincided with the AQS show in Paducah.  It was my first introduction to the concept of a challenge quilt, and I was intrigued.  This year was the first time I was able to find the fabric in a local shop before it completely sold out, and it is the best fabric challenge print yet!  The butterfly print on the right is the required challenge fabric and the print on the left was an optional coordinate that I really liked, but didn’t end up using in the finished design.  Both of these fabrics are printed digitally so there is an almost infinite range of colors since the process isn’t limited by traditional printing processes.

Hoffman Challenge Fabric

When I’m designing with a specific print in mind, I like to alter it to see it in a new way.  I had thought about creating a “Butterfly Garden” by turning the wings into flower petals, but as I was starting the idea of vibrant citrus came to mind.  The butterfly wings turned into the flesh of the fruit and the neutral space of the print became the membranes.  I pulled a variety of prints from my stash to create the skin of the fruits.  My main goal was to keep the challenge fabric the star of the show.

Crystalized Citrus detail



I intentionally chose to balance the representational aspects of this design with the abstract.  The pieces of fruit do not overlap and the improv piecing in the flesh of the citrus doesn’t create an ultra realistic image.  These aspects of the design allowed for quilting that defies realism and creates a more abstract overall design.

The primary quilting design is matchstick quilting going both horizontally and vertically.  Most of the horizontal quilting is done in white with guest appearances from purple and the local color of each fruit to create a grounding shadow.  The color of each piece of citrus infuses the background above it with colorful vertical matchstick quilting.  Free motion quilting further defines each piece of fruit in the composition.

Crystalized Citrus


Quilt Stats

Title: Crystalized Citrus

Size: 24″x21″

Techniques:  Machine Improv Piecing, hand appliqué

Quilting:  Matchstick and free motion quilting done on my A-1 Elite longarm

Fabric:  Hoffman Crystalia digitally printed fabric in opal, assorted cotton prints and solids.

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 cotton blend

Thread:  Pieced and appliquéd with Gutermann Mara 100 in coordinating colors, Quilted with six colors of 50wt Aurifil cotton thread

Binding:  Facing done with the same white fabric used for the background and backing of the quilt

Goal #1 is Finished!

Goal #1 is Finished!

Color Challenge Mini Quilt

In February the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild began its first member challenge, and I was excited that it was based on color.  Each participant drew two crayons from a bag and combined them with their tints/shades and a single neutral to create a quilted project.  I pulled out carnation pink and cornflower blue crayons and this mini is the result.  For an added bonus, these colors are pretty much the Pantone colors of the year!Finished EPP Challenge Quilt

The initial designing was done on AutoCad, and from there I was able to print out my templates for English paper piecing (EPP).  Pattern Drafting

I debated about which technique to use for assembling this design, but ultimately I decided that EPP would allow me to eliminate some of the seams, creating a more streamlined visual design.EPP on Challenge Quilt

I was intrigued by the idea of embracing the color gradients as a design element for this project, so I decided that the most effective way to achieve this look would be to dye a set of fabrics in each color.  Since this was not a particularly difficult dye process, I went with the relatively simple (and mostly mess-free) liquid RIT dye.  I had a large piece of white American Brand Cotton, and used it throughout the project.Detail Finished EPP Challenge Quilt

Recently I have done quite a bit of ruler work with lots of starts and stops in my quilting, so for this project I challenged myself to quilt with no rulers and no design based starts and stops.  This was a lot of fun, turned out cute, and went super fast!Back EPP Challenge Quilt

We have had lots of wind this month which has made it challenging to get decent photos, but this shot of the quilt trying to blow away does show the quilting off nicely!EPP Challenge Back Detail

Quilt Stats

Title: Gradient Geese

Size:  24″ x 24″

Techniques:  English Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Free motion quilting with A-1 Longarm

Fabrics:  American Brand Cotton Solid, dyed in gradients with RIT dye

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  White Aurifil

Binding:  Dyed blue bias, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

This project was my One Monthly Goal for April.


Goal #19 is Finished!

Goal #19 is Finished!

Baubles Quilt Finish

Baubles is one of my oldest UFOs, and I am thrilled that I finally finished it up this week!Baubles Front View

The blocks were designed on EQ7 when I was first experimenting with the program.  These are some of the first paper piecing blocks that I designed from scratch.  Once they were assembled, they got set aside, and I didn’t touch them for nearly a year.Baubles Blocks

From the start, I didn’t have a particular plan for the blocks, but eventually I brought them together in a configuration resembling hanging ornaments.Baubles Flimsy

The quilting was probably the most fun of the entire project.  I really enjoy doing all over free motion quilting, and this quilt is done almost entirely with this technique. Baubles Front Detail 2


Baubles Front Detail 1

The only exception is that each bauble is quilted with coordinating thread and a combination of free motion and ruler work specific to each block.Baubles back detail

Once the quilting was finished, I embroidered silver hanging strings for each ornament.Baubles Front Detail 3

I decided to keep the binding white to allow the illusion of the baubles floating in space.

Baubles back view

Quilt Stats

Title:  Baubles

Size:  44″x53″

Techniques:  Foundation paper piecing, traditional piecing, hand embroidery

Quilting:  Hand guided longarm quilted on an A-1 Elite using free motion and ruler work techniques

Fabric:  White Kona cotton and assorted pink, red, blue, and turquoise cotton prints

Batting:  Warm and White cotton blend batting

Thread:  Pieced using white Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with white, bright pink, and blue Aurifil 50wt cotton thread, embroidered with silver Wonderfil and Gutermann Metallics

Binding:  White Kona, cut in 2″ wide strips on the bias, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched on the back.

This quilt was my One Monthly Goal for January!


Goal #1 is Complete!

Goal #1 is Complete!

January One Monthly Goal

I was very excited to see the new One Monthly Goal link up hosted by Red Letter Quilts.  I enjoyed participating in the 2015 Finish Along, and am currently working on my goal list for the first quarter of 2016.  One Monthly Goal caught my attention because I sometimes (ok-frequently) get distracted, and I am hoping that this helps me to focus on completing at least one project each month.

For the first month I am going to focus on one of my oldest WIP.  The only reason I’m not calling a UFO is that I have had brief moments of progress on it over the last few months.  Please meet my bauble quilt:

Baubles Quilted Process Shot

Baubles: Quilted and waiting for thread tails to be buried and trimmed

This project started in November 2014 when I made the blocks, and in December 2015 I did all over free motion longarm quilting on this quilt.  I’m in love with it!Baubles Blocks

It has been squared up, and I buried the threads tonight.  The only things left to do are adding binding and embroidering “hanging string” lines for the baubles.


The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

I want to start 2016 off on a high note, so I decided the perfect first post of the year would be to share the quilt that will be heading to QuiltCon.Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

“The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts” is based on a Mini Quilt that I designed last summer, and is constructed in a similar manner.

Violet Calm

Violet Calm Mini Quilt

The central circle is created by assembling rectangles with strips of the white background fabric between the pieces.  Once this initial construction is complete, I cut the circle out of the assembled fabrics.  I used extra wide backing fabric for both the front and back of the quilt.  A circle with a 1/2″ smaller radius is cut from the quilt front, allowing for the seam allowance required to machine piece the circle in the quilt top.Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts detail C

Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts detail B

I used matchstick quilting in colors matching the fabrics the stitching passes through to draw the centralized design out to the edges of the quilt.  Most of the quilting is horizontal, but one section of vertical quilting add energy to the piece.Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts detail A


I really love the way the quilting looks, but this technique did result in thousands of thread tails to bury- I’m pretty sure that took longer than the actual quilting!Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts detail D

The binding is made of bias strips comprised of violet fabrics that are used in the central circle.  In the next couple of days I will be adding a hanging sleeve and label so it can head off to Pasadena!

I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Please stop by to see all of the lovely work being shared!

Quilt Stats

Title:  The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Size:  63.25″ x 66″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Matchstick quilting done with a walking foot on a domestic Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Quilt shop quality prints in shades of violet and magenta, extra wide white cotton

Batting: Warm and White Cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with white Gutermann Mara 100.  Quilted with 50wt cotton Aurifil in colors to coordinate with the fabrics they are stitching through

Binding:  Scrappy Violet fabrics, cut on the bias in 2″ wide strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

Goal #24 is finished!

Goal #24 is finished!