I’ve been busy!

I have begun this year’s project – I’ve cut the pieces for 4 quilts. That’s all the further I’ve really been able to get. But I’ve been busy on other things….

I was going to speak at the Ft. Worth Quilt Guild in June, but was asked if instead I could come in February, to which of course, I responded a resounding YES. This, despite not having the presentation written yet, nor any of the quilts quilted. uh oh?

Nope, not for this girl. The actual presentation isn’t all that complicated. I just needed to get my notes from my brain onto paper in an order that people will understand what I am trying to convey. Then I’ll need to practice and time myself. But for now, I wanted to make sure the quilts were quilted. Mostly for their preservation and partly for my sanity (no one wants to see the backside of my quilt tops, believe me).

So I’ve been quilting them. AND… I’ve been using different battings every time. I have 2 more to go.

I had to special order a few of the batting types, as I don’t normally carry some of the brands and densities of cotton I wanted to use, but I’m almost there.

I thought I would share some photos of what I’ve completed!

January:

January overview, quilted

January overview, quilted

I used a poly cotton blend in this one. LOVE how it turned out!

February contains Quilters Dream Supreme Cotton (their thickest density):

February quilted, overview

February quilted, overview

Here’s a close up of the all over curls:

February all over curls

February all over curls

March, containing Hobbs cotton batting:

march overview, quilted

march overview, quilted

and a close up, just a simple meander:

close up march

close up march

Aprils quilt had issues, meaning I didn’t differentiate enough with the color values, which is what caused this to look like crayon box vomit rather than a distinguished pattern. So I just quilted it in a pattern I seem to love doing now, and the back looks REALLY cool! This one contains Hobbs black poly batting:

april overview, quilted

april overview, quilted

Check out the back of it!!!

back of april, quilted

back of april, quilted

May is not yet quilted. I strung up the back today and it wasn’t large enough for the top, so I used that back for a charity quilt instead and need to put a new back together for May. It will contain Warm & Natural cotton batting.

June contains 100% poly, medium loft:

june overview quilted

june overview quilted

And up close:

June up close, quilted

June up close, quilted

July’s quilt is very similar to June, but because of the lack of alternating blocks I thought the arrows were not as visible. So I quilted it in a meander, much like June’s, but for July’s quilt, I avoided quilting over the arrows:

July quilted overview

July quilted overview

I used recycled polyester batting in July’s quilt. It’s extremely light (like poly) and flat (like cotton). Good for a summer quilt. Here’s the close up:

july quilted close up

july quilted close up

August’s quilt contains a high loft polyester, so I quilted this in a VERY loose meander.

august quilted overview

august quilted overview

Here’s the close up – this thing is soooo puffy:

august quilted close up

august quilted close up

September I used Quilters Dream black polyester. It really is the same feel as Hobbs black poly but much softer to the touch. Once inside the quilt, it feels exactly the same.

September quilted overview

September quilted overview

Here’s the close up:

September quilted close up

September quilted close up

I just loved October’s quilt. I wanted to keep it fun, like the focus fabric, so I quilted it in wavy lines horizontally and vertically, alternating in purple and orange thread! This quilt contains Quilters Dream Deluxe cotton batting, their second highest density cotton:

October quilted overview

October quilted overview

Here’s the back, where you can REALLY see the thread and quilting pattern used!

October quilted

October quilted

November is not yet complete. Tomorrow will be her day.

December about killed me today. I decided to use a wool cotton blend by Hobbs. It quilted beautifully, and feels thin like the cotton. I may use it in Novembers quilt as well, and not quilt it as densely to see how that turns out. Anyway, here is December:

December quilted overview

December quilted overview

December up close quilted

December up close quilted

I quilted the center pinwheels a bit differently to try to make them show up a bit better, which was the whole reason I laid this quilt out like I did in the first place.

This photo shows the sashing and border.

close up December quilted

close up December quilted

But check out the backside!!!!

December quilted backside

December quilted backside

You can see the flower block centers I outlined. This might be my favorite…

OR, January might be my favorite! This is quilt #13, BONUS :). For a presentation, these folks aren’t going to be able to see me hold up a photo in a magazine that helped inspire this project, so I made this quilt to help with my display. Here it is quilted:

January quilted overview

January quilted overview

This one has Hobbs Silk batting. It had a lot rougher feel than I anticipated, but drapes nicely. Here is the close up:

January quilted close up

January quilted close up

So, as you can see, I’ve been busy. Doing my most favorite thing on the planet!

Happy quilting my friends! Don’t forget to check out my website for more photos and inspiration! www.charmingprintsquilting.com. XO, maria

 

Advertisements

Some recent quilting photos

So at the moment I have this awful emphysema sounding cough. It makes my throat hurt and my chest sore and I sound like a troll. The good news is that otherwise I am fine. No fever, chills, headache, nausea, aches or anything. WHEW. If this is what I’m getting sick with for the season, I’ll take it!

It does make me feel tired quickly, but if I lay down, I very quickly feel rested and bored. I’ve been doing quite a bit of quilting still, and figured doing some writing would be a great way to ‘rest’ and still feel like I’m being productive.

I haven’t started this year’s project yet. The pattern is so beautiful but SOOOOOOO complicated! I have trouble enough with simple patterns! So I decided tonight that I would re-evaluate before cutting a thing and see if I can find another similar pattern that isn’t so convoluted.

Last year’s project is wrapping up well. I’m getting everything quilted in anticipation of my first presentation in February!

So what to post about? Well, who doesn’t like seeing pictures of quilting? 🙂 I like seeing pictures of quilting, so I’m going to share some of my recent work:

paisley swirl feather

paisley swirl feather

The quilt above is a charity quilt, and the top was beautiful, so I wanted to quilt it in a beautifully elegant manner.

backside of a quilt

backside of a quilt

This is the backside of another quilt, which is made from the K. Fassett fabrics in the pieced blocks here on the back. I did mostly swirls, but mirrored some of the squares and it shows up really cool on the back! Here is the front:

K Fassett front

K Fassett front

This was a cute little project I put in my Etsy store. It’s all over swirls with pearls in the center. The black fabric is the backside:

swirls front and back

swirls front and back

Here’s a better shot of the whole front:

swirl w pearl top

swirl w pearl top

And this one is the last quilt from last years project. I used variegated thread and did these little flowers and tiny loops, keeping the quilting a bit loose. I love how it turned out:

loops and flowers

loops and flowers

I wish my lighting was better on that photo, but you get the idea.

I’ve got a few all over and a big custom job coming up, as well as a whole lot of charity quilts and project quilts to get through, so I am sure I’ll have more photos in the near future.

In the meantime, happy quilting my friends. 🙂

swirl play

I haven’t spent time on my long arm machine in probably two weeks. So before I get back into the grind, I need to take time getting back into the groove. Charity quilts are a perfect way to get the kinks out and get myself warmed up.

So today I spent some time on charity quilts, small ones (which is how I could get so many finished). The next customer quilt I’m going to do (I’m 90% sure) will involve swirls, so I decided to practice them.

In the past, I have executed two different swirls – one with points in the center and the other without, which I call cinnamon bun. I saw another one on the internet recently that had a bit of a tiny circle in the center and thought I would try that one too. I call that one swirls with a pearl.

After quilting and trimming each one, I took a photo of the whole top, the top up close and the backside. So here are the trials:

Quilt 1 (swirls with pearls):

swirls with pearls 1

swirls with pearls 1

swirls with pearls up close

swirls with pearls up close 1

swirls with pearls backside

swirls with pearls backside 1

Quilt 2 (swirls with pointed centers):

swirls w points

swirls w points

swirls w points close up

swirls w points close up

swirls w points back

swirls w points back

Quilt 3 (cinnamon buns):

cinnamon buns

cinnamon buns

cinnamon buns close up

cinnamon buns close up

cinnamon buns back

cinnamon buns back

Now that I’ve warmed up, I quilted the swirls with pearls again. So here is quilt 4:

swirls w pearls 2

swirls w pearls 2

swirls w pearls 2 close up

swirls w pearls 2 close up

swirls w pearls 2 back

swirls w pearls 2 back

I did one more of the ‘pearls’ after that and for the most part I liked it. I feel like ALL of them still need some work. Good news is I have a tub full of charity quilts I can work out my kinks with!!!

But the point here is that swirls can mean different things, not just one look. Just like loops can be big or tiny or mixed with flowers or dense or loose or double!

Any quilting pattern can really be morphed just a little bit into something else.

Akin to swirls is thumbprints

thumbprints

or escargot

escargot

Just use your imagination, and who knows what you’ll come up with next! Happy quilting!!

Monthly Block – January (BONUS)

Thought I was done, didn’t ya? Thought it was over? Me too, until I realized a few things.

1. This is now a guild presentation. It would be very hard for me to ensure everyone in the audience sees the block when I hold this up in front of a large group:

"THE" block

“THE” block

2. I have seen ‘modern’ quilts represented as giant blocks that only a few blocks are needed to make an entire quilt. So I thought I’d see what happened if I did that.

The result was interesting. Here is my sketch (looks a lot like the rest of them, but simpler):

sketch

sketch

My focus fabric was the flowers in the center, and the border is the same fabric, but without the flowers on top. I have fabric in many colors that match the colors within that focus fabric, and my drawing shows use of them all, but that looked too mish-mashy to me. I wanted it cleaner, so I went with one for the arrows, one for the off-setting triangles, and blue as the background for the arrows so they’d really stand out.

My secondary plan was to use NOT blue. Maybe purple or brown, but I really liked the blue there. And I was going to use a green to frame the center square and then go around the arrows but inside the border, like 1″ thin border. But I didn’t like how it looked when I laid it out. So I didn’t do it.

green inner border

green inner border

I can say this thing went together lightning fast! The toughest part was cutting the triangles, since the hypotenuse was bigger than my ruler! Each block (there are 9 blocks within the border) measures 18″ finished).

OK ONE more note – lighting ENTIRELY makes the difference. I wanted to post this last night, but took my photos after dark, and here is the result of THAT:

dark photo

dark photo

Light photo (this morning):

January 15 quilt

January 15 quilt

So let’s compare!

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result – different center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is like closure for your eyes. I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

September:

September monthly version

September monthly version

October:

October quilt

October quilt

November:

November quilt top

November quilt top

December:

December quilt

December quilt

And January:

January 15 quilt

January 15 quilt

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! Or change the setting, add alternating blocks even! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!

I can’t guarantee this will be the last one…. I’m sort of hooked at this point!

 

Monthly Block – December (just under the wire)

Ahhhhhhhh. I MADE IT THROUGH DECEMBER! Like I said last month, this time of year is ridiculously busy for a long arm quilter. Add in family that wants to spend time together and suddenly there is NO time left for projects.

I panicked about this project last week and tried to work with the panel I’d picked out (see last post). No go. Changed my plan to this:

December plan b

December plan b

Gray, blue and sashing between a set of 4 blocks, because I LOVE how the pinwheels show and really wanted to include them.

As I wasn’t sure what I’d use as that center, I looked through my stash and found this pinkish red and gray, so I switched out the main color. Once I measured the flowers, I saw I needed to not only fussy cut them (blech), but I also needed to make the blocks bigger.

bigger blocks, fatter arrows

bigger blocks, fatter arrows

I also wanted the arrows to REALLY come out, so I changed the ratio and made that center strip wider, for a fatter arrow.

Once the blocks came together, I was sorely disappointed at how the arrows looked. They really just didn’t pop out!

pinwheel fail

pinwheel fail

I did like how the creamy sashing popped out, but didn’t love the quilt (except the colors). So I decided to take the left over strips, cut a few more and make a piano key border with the flower fabric in the corners.

December border

December border

I LOVE how it turned out with this border. If I wasn’t exhausted I might have added another round of the cream sashing to the outside of the piano keys. But I was done so here it is :). I think it’s really amazing how spending a bit of extra time on the border completely turned around how I felt about this quilt!

December quilt

December quilt

Now, I know this began as a 12 month challenge, but the thing is, I have 2 more planned that I feel compelled to make. But I ALSO have a challenge already set for 2015. That will take a while to execute, so I may continue sharing this project as long as it interests me :).

Happy quilting my friends. And Happy New Year!

So let’s compare again:

“The” block –

"THE" block

“THE” block

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result – different center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is like closure for your eyes. I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

September:

September monthly version

September monthly version

October:

October quilt

October quilt

November:

November quilt top

November quilt top

And December:

December quilt

December quilt

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! Or change the setting, add alternating blocks even! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!

 

 

Monthly Block – November!

So here we are… FINALLY!

November quilt top

November quilt top

November is quite a busy time for a longarm quilter, so it was a really difficult for me to fit this in, on top of being quite unsure as to what I was even going to make!

Originally I thought fall colors, because they’re my favorite, but I’ve really already done that. Someone suggested a panel with the blocks around it, so I envisioned a cornucopia in the center with coordinating blocks around it. Couldn’t find a panel I liked at all.

Despite the busy season, I had signed up for a retreat with some friends I hadn’t retreated with in forever (okay, like 2 years) at a center that was rumored to be fabulous. So I decided to make it there.

I had toyed with the idea of alternating blocks, and maybe making the center of ‘the’ blocks into tiny 9 patches. When I drew that up it looked too busy, so I decided to do a 9 patch as the alternating block. Still unsure of my colors though.

Two days before going on retreat I was packing up my baggies of scraps and potential projects and suddenly decided that I wanted to use the leftover black and white fabric I had from making a rag quilt for a customer. I thought about gray accents, but ultimately ruled that out. So I cut up the black and white and brought some red and black print, thinking that would be a great border.

I was a little concerned that the black with white and white with black would blend too well and end up looking a mess. But when I put the top together, I REALLY liked how it was coming along.

November arrows

November arrows

November close up

November close up

With the blocks together I decided it needed a small inner white border to be like a break in the action, and then grabbed my “Plaster of Paris” line of fabrics, which are bright, rich colors that aren’t quite solids – they almost look like colored stucco. The turquoise was undeniable, so that became the middle border = the pop of color. I decided plain black was the best outer border, as it was a calm frame.

November borders

November borders

So let’s compare again:

“The” block –

"THE" block

“THE” block

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result – different center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is like closure for your eyes. I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

September:

September monthly version

September monthly version

October:

October quilt

October quilt

November

November quilt top

November quilt top

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! Or change the setting, add alternating blocks even! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!

Can’t wait to see December? Well, I HAVE a plan, AND I HAVE the fabric, so hopefully it won’t take me another 30 days to get this one done!! Also, I have a special surprise for you in January! Stay tuned, and happy quilting my friends!

 

Monthly Block – October

October quilt

October quilt

I saw something, can’t remember exactly what, but I think it was a movie where they were trying to decipher some problem. The advice given was to change only one thing at a time so that they could determine the root cause of the issue. Well this month I didn’t follow that advice.

I had already decided to use Halloween colors, and when I drew up my plan, I thought this month could be different if I offset the blocks.

october drawing

october drawing

The result is that there are partial blocks along the edges (which, because I sew by memory, equated to a lot of seam ripping because I sewed whole blocks when I should not have). You can see from the photos I switched the purple and orange. I just happened to like the orange I had (sparkly) and the purple (solid) not so much.

But I ALSO made the blocks bigger. That wasn’t the plan, originally. I did it because when I cut the squares of the focus fabric, I realized the full cuteness of the fabric was lost, so I needed to cut bigger squares to show more of the whole pattern (which is why it is also the border). I had to do a little quick math to figure out what size I needed the other parts to be, but it worked out pretty well.

In fact, I LOVE how it turned out! The only thing I’m not over the top about is that the black with orange dots reads more as a brown…

black with orange dots

black with orange dots

The larger blocks also helped me to not have to make as many blocks, but have a good sized quilt in the end. Something to consider…

cute fabric

cute fabric

So let’s compare again:

“The” block –

"THE" block

“THE” block

January result – all scraps in turquoise, bright pink and green (and white)

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February result – scrap white and purple dyed, sashing matches center blocks (focal fabric)

February quilt

February quilt

March result – different center, but magenta and purple and white match it. I placed the white and purple triangles specifically to ensure the pinwheel came out

march quilt

march quilt

April result – crayon box threw up. center squares were inspiration, all brights were scraps that matched lines in center squares. totally random placement

april quilt

april quilt

May’s version – I think this should be called sunburst

may version of monthly block

may version of monthly block

Here is the quilt WITH the border –

may quilt top with border

may quilt top with border

I keep these two photos in here because I think it’s SO important to include a border on quilts. It makes a frame, which is like closure for your eyes. I think it makes a quilt look finished.

And here’s June –

June version quilt top

June version quilt top

And, July

Julys quilt top

Julys quilt top

While I like the more complete/less sparse look of July over June, I think if I made this quilt top in different colors, with something lighter than the red, that I might like the finished product even more.

August:

August monthly version

August monthly version

September:

September monthly version

September monthly version

And, October:

October quilt

October quilt

I think I have a new favorite…

See how many different quilts can be made with just one block and a little imagination? Don’t be put off by a quilt pattern photo in colors you don’t like – give the pattern a good, hearty look, and consider how YOU could make it with fabric you DO like! Or change the setting, add alternating blocks even! It might end up becoming your favorite quilt!