Thursday, July 29, 2010

DONE is Good!

If I had half a brain I'd go to bed instead of posting this, but I just finished quilting my first "real" quilt on the longarm! Taking off the "sacrificial" muslin was a big hurdle, but now I'm past that I can work on improving my technique. Hooray (just don't look too closely!!!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Dance! I Love Free Stuff!!!

If you're on Facebook and haven't become a Fan of Superior Threads yet, I encourage you to sign up now -- I just won $100 in free thread!!! I am a happy little camper today!

My Bernina loves the 40wt. trilobal polyester (Highlights, Rainbows, Art Studio Colors), King Tut and Masterpiece as a bobbin thread. I'm sure the longarm will love Rainbows as well...

Things I Never Thought I'd Say...

My workout got canceled today so I'm off to practice on The Beast (the longarm). Yes, willingly, without being dragged kicking and screaming! I've got a long way to go to feel really comfortable at the machine (my hearts look more like potatoes!), but I'm actually enjoying it, probably because I know that my free-motion is even worse! Silliness aside, certain patterns are starting to feel pretty natural -- I "own" loop-de-loops! Maybe I'll have photos for you one of these days...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work in Progress (Blue-Violet Color Quilt)

Ah, the "joys" of pushing the limits of one's comfort zone... Sometimes learning new techniques is a great experience, and sometimes it stinks! I am generally not a raw-edge applique kind of gal -- I like crisp, clean turned edges, even if they take longer. Using a fusible web generally helps tame the raw edges enough that I don't feel sick working on a project, but I didn't use any on the free-motion "Vincent" quilt I mentioned back in November. Live and learn: it is now in the garbage...

My new design uses the same colors and I love it already. It is based on one of the sample projects from Gloria Loughman's new book. I kept the parts I like, added some in from another project and traced the mirror image to get the length I need. My hand-painted fabric is a fun addition, and it will be fun to embellish. I will have to put it aside for a couple of weeks while I work on my challenge quilt, but I won't dread working on this one like I did "Vincent."

Gloria's technique builds everything on a tear-away stabilizer background. The embellished areas are fused and finished with satin or blanket-stitch applique, and the units are secured with turned-edge, invisible hem stitch applique. My large light box is useful for positioning the pieces and is bright enough that I can see the outlines through all but the darkest fabric.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Painting We Will Go...

I have had a couple of fun but frustrating days painting fabric for a new quilt. I need blue-violet for a specific project, and Setacolor "ultramarine" is a great starting point since it is a deep blue with just a hint of warmth -- when used full-strength, that is. I need lights, but it becomes cooler and closer toward true blue when it is diluted. I haven't found the right mix of violet and ultramarine to make a cool lavender. Ha ha, I am forced to play until I get it right!

I started with dampened Kona white PFD. I dunked it in a dilute bath of ultramarine and spread it on my work surface. While it was still wet, I drew diagonal lines of violet straight from the bottle (mixed 1:1 with water). Some of the lines are still visible, but there was a lot of color migration, too. Once it was dry, I stenciled through sequin waste with a mixture of Lumiere blue pearl and Neopaque violet, then added texture with the same mixture on a sea sponge. Even though it is a bit cool and blue to be my target color, it will make a fun background in my project.

Crabcakes, Anyone?

I got a wee bit snarky in guild today when one of our members felt the need to educate us in the fine art of making scrappy quilts. Her quilt was based on a "layer cake" of 10" squares from a single fabric line.

I do buy pre-cuts (jelly rolls, charm square packs, etc.) and sometimes use them as the starting point for a quilt, but I don't enjoy restricting myself to a single fabric line. They're just too "matchy-matchy" for me. If one green is good, 12 are better (and 50 are better yet!), especially when the choices expand the range of green into olive, blue-green or anything just a bit different. That doesn't happen in most fabric lines so I add my own goodies to get the color range I want.

Which begs the question: is a quilt made from a single jelly roll/charm square pack/layer cake truly scrappy? Pre-cuts do provide a bit more variety than is typical in a lot of patterns since they mix up the colors and prints. But are they successful? The honey bun I used in the little quilt below had about 10 different prints/solids, but without a few additions, it felt boring. So maybe the answer is that a layer cake quilt is indeed scrappy, but could have been made so much more interesting with a few strategic additions.

And that's what I think. I feel better, no more Mrs. Crabcakes for me today! :-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

P.S. -- Fabric Postcards

My "Sing" postcard raised $170 for charity. It was beautifully framed and in a great spot on the auction table -- hooray! "Bloom" was up to $70 when I saw it this morning.

Another Successful Quilt Show

Survived teaching 4 classes in 4 days at Quilters Affair, then relaxed at the Picnic in the Park and the quilt show today. I had so many great students this year -- especially the ones who helped clean up all the gooey paint jars! Almost everything is put away and I can start thinking about new projects.

Met some wonderful people at the KOA in Sisters (my home away from home during Quilters Affair -- that 30min extra sleep is so worth it!). Three couples from Georgia out for the quilt show. Betty is a long-arm quilter and her encouragement has me psyched to tackle The Beast... (catching up with Quilting Arts has made it clear I have to improve my quilting!) That should keep me busy while my Bernina is in the shop getting a new brain.

Now that I've said it, I guess I have to do it...