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!

Travel Bag

This week will be my first Quilt Con, and to mark the occasion I made a new carry on bag.

Carry on Bag for QuiltCon 2016 front view

I drew up this pattern to work with a fat quarter bundle that I had of Tula Pink’s Elizabeth line along with some denim scraps that I had from another project.  The effect is unified, yet scrappy.  The front and back of the bag are identical with a zipper pocket and an open pocket behind it.  Behind each zipper pocket is a section of coordinating fabric that was pieced in to help stretch the main bag fabric.Carry on Bag for QuiltCon side view

The bag is quilted in sections to allow all of the raw edges to be enclosed as the bag came together.  The final construction seams attach the bag front and back to the side panel.  These seams are stitched with the seam allowances toward the exterior of the bag which will help to give a bit of extra structure to this soft case.  The raw edges are enclosed using a custom made bias tape from one of the striped fat quarters in the Tula Pink bundle.Carry On Bag for QuitlCon Interior

I am excited to take this bag on its inaugural voyage this week so I will have a better idea of what adjustments I should make if I were to create this design again.  If you are at QuiltCon, I hope to have a chance to meet you and perhaps exchange buttons!QuiltCon 2016 Buttons

Goal #8 is Complete!

Goal #8 is Complete!

Bionic Bag

Last year I made myself a Bionic bag, then I made one for my Mom, and at that point I was having so much fun with them I started another.  About 2/3 of the way through, I got distracted (that happens way too often!) and this bag ended up as a UFO for several months.  Bionic Bag Exterior

When it was time for the holiday party at my local quilt guild, I pulled the semi-finished bag out to finish for our gift exchange.

The pattern for the Bionic Bag is by RipStitcher and is available on Craftsy.  The directions are extensive, but the construction of the bag is pretty staight-forward, and there are a lot of photographs included in the instructions.  I love that this bag has room for practically every sewing notion you could ever need- it goes with me everywhere!  Bionic Bag Interior 1

I chose the fabric for the bag exterior first and used that color scheme to select the interior fabrics.  There are so many opportunities to play with color on this project, so I used a wide range of colors and prints.Bionic Bag Interior 2

My favorite wrapping paper came out for this gift, and I pulled out some scraps to make a flower decoration.

 

Wrapped Gift

Fabric Flower

It was a very popular item in our variation of “Bad Santa!”

Goal #28 is finished!

Goal #28 is finished!

 

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!

Star Crossed Triangles: An EZ Quilting Triangle Challenge Quilt

When the Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge sponsored by EZ Quilting, I couldn’t wait.  I was in the midst of a “triangle phase” so this was perfect timing.  I decided that if I was going to take on this challenge, I was going to really embrace triangles, and create a design pieced entirely with that shape.

Star Crossed Triangles:  A MQG EZ Quilt Triangle Challenge Quilt

Star Crossed Triangles: A MQG EZ Quilt Triangle Challenge Quilt

The 45 degree mini template arrived in the mail, and I began drafting./Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilting/My Quilts/Quilt Drafti

EZ Quilting Template and prepared triangles

EZ Quilting Template and prepared triangles

Triangles are intriguing in their ability to transform fabrics through careful cutting and reassembly.  I selected quite a few brightly colored, distinctively patterned fabrics to form octagons and stars that are the focal points of the quilt.  The overall design includes several blocks that are all low volume fabrics to give some areas for a visual rest.triangle blocks

Given the small scale of the pieces of the quilt, I decided to go with an English Paper Piecing technique to insure that the corners of each triangle would match up perfectly.  The majority of the 866 triangles in the quilt are cut with the provided template, but there are additional triangle shapes to fill in between blocks and around the edges.  When I took a step back to look at the completed top, I decided that the all-triangle approach was a bit too rigid.  I began experimenting with options to break up the field of triangles, and eventually landed on adding brightly colored appliqué circles.  Each circle is about the size of a dime and is hand appliquéd to the finished quilt top.

Quilt top with circles roughly placed

Quilt top with circles roughly placed

Each star and octagon is quilted with coordinating thread using ruler work on a longarm.  The spaces between each of these shapes is filled with wavy, swirling, organic free-motion quilting.Star Crossed Triangles detail D

Star Crossed Triangles detail C

Star Crossed Triangles detail B

Star Crossed Triangles detail A

This quilt was my second entry into the QuiltCon contest, and I also entered this quilt into the Paducah show of the American Quilter’s Society in the category: Small Wall Quilts, Longarm Quilted.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Star Crossed Triangles

Size:  36.75″ x 41″

Techniques:  English Paper Piecing, Hand Appliqué

Quilting:  Ruler work and free motion quilting on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Scrappy low volume and brightly colored prints

Batting:  Hobbs Heirloom cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with grey Decobob by Wonderfil, quilted with Aurifil in coordinating colors

Binding:  Scrappy low volume prints cut on the bias in 2″ wide strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

Goal #22 is finished!

Goal #22 is finished!