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.

Show Jury Results for AQS Daytona Beach and Road to California

Most major quilt shows require you to enter your quilts online well ahead of the actual show.  During this online entry, you upload two photos of your quilt, one full shot and one detail photo.  Using these photos, and sometimes the written description you provide, a group of jurors select the quilts that will be on display at the show.  Once the selected quilts are shipped to the shows, judges assess the quilts and choose the winners.  But a judge never sees the quilts that don’t get juried in, so this is a critical step in the life of a show quilt!

I always like it when show acceptances come in around the time I’m entering more shows.  Its encouraging to have something accepted when you’re putting yourself out there. This year both Road to California and AQS: Daytona Beach had jury results come in around late November, which is right before QuiltCon and AQS: Paducah entries are due.

This was my first time entering Road to California.  In 2020, I am hoping to add a couple new shows into the mix, and this is one of them.  I entered two quilts for my first attempt, and both were accepted! Complementary Convergence was will be in the Other Large Quilts category.

Lateral Ascension was accepted into the Abstract category.

AQS Daytona Beach had an entry deadline in October, and the notifications came in before Thanksgiving.  I entered two quilts, and they were both accepted!

This will be the first contest for Zoo Family Portrait!

Ice Cream on the Beach will also be making it’s first contest appearance!

Entering new contests and quilts is always exciting.  It will be fun to read the judges comments for a new show, and see how my new quilts do at a show I have entered before.

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.

Entries for QuiltCon 2020

The QuiltCon show entry deadline was earlier this week, and, as always, it seemed to sneak up on me.  This year I decided to aim for five entries, which is the maximum number of quilts that one person can have accepted to the show. I managed to get four entered in October, but one (there is always one) didn’t get entered until the last day.

My first entry is the only quilt that I have ever re-submitted.  Resonance was rejected from QuiltCon 2019, but I love this quilt, so I thought I would give it one more chance. It is entered in the Applique category.

This year we had 450 characters for the description of each quilt.  This is the description I submitted with Resonance:

Resonance uses colorful quilting thread to create a sense of outward movement and reverberation from central points.Thread that coordinates with each fabric creates a blending sensation as the quilting merges the appliquéd circles with each other and the background.This quilt was my first 100 day project that ran from New Year’s Day 2018 to my birthday, which fell on the 100th day of the year.

You can read more about Resonance here.

This year, the special challenge category was stripes.  All of my remaining entries could arguably be entered in this category, but I like to spread my entries out in different areas.  Stripe Club is the quilt I selected to enter in the American Patchwork and Quilting Stripes Quilt Challenge, and this was also the quilt that got submitted on the final day!

Submitted description:

All solid fabrics are cut and pieced into the stripes forming the basis for this semi-improvisational design.Stripes of various widths, and as small as 1/8 inch, were stitched together to create a piece of fabric before being cut and assembled into the blocks that make up the quilt top.The circular blocks were devised as stand alone units and placed on a design wall to develop the overall composition with the addition of more striped units.

You can read more about Stripe Club here.

34x34x34 is entered in the Negative Space category.

Submitted description:

This quilt is an exploration of randomness in the design process.An arbitrary line drawn on a sheet of graph paper was 34 squares long, and that determined the repeating numbers for the quilt.On a 34 x 34 square grid, I placed 34 colorful squares.The placement was determined by using a random number generator to decide the coordinates.Six colors were each assigned a number and a game die was rolled to select the colors for each square.

You can read more about 34x34x34 here.

Forward and Back is a mini quilt that I made for a guild challenge earlier this year, and it is entered in the Small Quilts category.

Submitted description:

Two simple blocks are cut into strips and reassembled to form this small quilt.The first block was a simple circle in warm colors. The second block was made of wedges in cool colors.Combined, the two blocks evoke the feeling of a sunset over the sea.

You can read more about Forward and Back here.

My fifth and final entry for QuiltCon 2020 is Zenith.  Zenith has been to several shows in the past year, and I am so excited to enter it in QuiltCon.  I submitted it in the Improvisation category.  I have never had a quilt accepted to this category, so my fingers are crossed.

Submitted description:

Using improvisational construction, Zenith combines the 2018 Pantone color of the year, Ultra Violet, with the Kona color of the year, Tiger Lily. With these colors as a starting point, the overall palette was expanded to incorporate the hues found in a vibrant sunset. The inclusion of strong diagonal lines, triangular shapes, and a combination of hand and machine quilting further enhances the energy of the quilt.

You can read more about Zenith here.

Waiting for the jury results is always hard, but I’m very grateful that QuiltCon has a relatively short turnover time.  I will let you know the results in the next few weeks!

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.

Zoo Family Portrait Block of the Month

This year’s block of the month is my best pattern yet- at least I think it is! This is my third year designing a block of the month for Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio, and the animal theme is proving to be a hit!

The quilt is designed using photographs I have taken at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium over the course of four years.  If I was lucky, each zoo visit would yield one or two good animal photos, and I ultimately ended up with about two dozen potential animals to incorporate.  In selecting animals for the final design, I wanted to make sure different types of animals and different regions of the world were represented.  Compositionally, it also became important to have animals of different sizes to make the overall design interesting to look at.

Value is an important aspect to the success of the design.  Pictorial quilts can sometimes flatten the image they are depicting, so every color used in the quilt has a dark, medium, and light version. There is also a very dark blue and a very dark red to add even more depth to the animals.  I have never been a person tied to the literal color of things, so the palette I selected has bright, whimsical colors.  If bright colors aren’t your thing, you can use any color palette as long as you pay attention to the value of your fabric choices. If you like the fabrics I used, you can order the optional Painter’s Palette Solids Kit to go with the pattern.

All of these blocks are created using foundation paper piecing, and anyone with a general understanding of the technique will be able to construct the quilt.  If you have little or no FPP experience, that fine too! We made a YouTube video explaining foundation paper piecing and there are general instructions included in the pattern.  We started the block of the month in August, but you can jump in anytime!

Let’s do a quick walkthrough of the blocks.  We have been joking that this is more of a polygon of the month more than a block of the month since none of the blocks are square!

We kick things off with the Koala block.  This one of the most challenging photos to get since koalas sleep most of the day.  This koala was reaching for some eucalyptus, but in this design it appears to be reaching out to touch the flamingo.

The backs of the flamingo and tortoise are next.  I was so excited when the tortoises decided to come to the front of their enclosure for a photo. The flamingos, on the other hand, were always happy to show off their plumage!

Next is the flamingo head and the body of the bear.

In the fourth block, we construct the tortoise head and the body of the frog. Yes, the frog is actually blue!

It was an unseasonably warm winter day that I captured this lion in the perfect pose.

The penguins at the zoo love to pose for the guests and there are so many to choose from, I could probably do an all penguin quilt!

When I started this project, I would have thought monkey photos would be easy, but it was more challenging since most are in glass enclosures.  I finally found success with the Vervet Monkey.

The bear in this quilt is a brown bear who resides at the zoo with his brother.

The red pandas spend most of their time resting high above in the trees, but it is such a treat when they come down to play!

Giraffes are among my favorite animals, so I thoroughly enjoyed watching them for extended periods of time while waiting to capture the perfect pose.

The kangaroo enclosure at the zoo has an open walkway, so a kangaroo may cross your path.  This kangaroo had been an ambassador animal until this year, so it loves to show off for the humans!

The cockatoos at the zoo share an enclosure with the kangaroos, and it is so fun to see them up close.

I loved making this quilt so much that I’m making a second one!  If you would like to join us for this block of the month adventure, you can purchase the pattern and optional kit from Dabble and Stitch!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Zoo Family Portrait Quilt

Size: 58″ x 83.5″

Techniques:  Foundation Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Free Motion quilting on an A-1 longarm

Fabric:  Painter’s Palette Solids by Paintbrush Studios in 25 colors

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

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in 19 colors

Binding:  Bias binding, 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.