Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Flower in a Pot #5 - Part One

Back to the Flower in a Pot Series today with Flower in a Pot #5.  This is truly one of my favorites in the series.  I fell in love with the chevron batik for the pot.  I decided on a lot of different purples for the feathers and then worked from there.  You can see that as I cut out pieces I place them on my pattern to test them.

Most of these pieces fell into place easily (this doesn't always happen).  I had fun fussy cutting the fabric for the green stem as well.  I later changed this fabric because I felt that the two green fabrics read too much the same and it made the greens boring.  If you look at the next picture you can see that I changed the stem to a light green and it adds some interest to the block.

I got so excited about stitching this block that I completely forgot to take pictures!  I decided to stitch all the purple petals in different shades of purple thread.  It makes it really fun to look at.  It also made me realize that I need more purple threads!  I ended up having to repeat thread for the center petal.

Here you can really see the different purple threads on the petals!

More on Saturday!  Don't forget to join my Machine Applique Adventures Group on Facebook.

Monday, March 28, 2016

All Fired Up - The Quilting and Binding

"All Fired Up" is my second quilt as an Island Batik Ambassador.  It uses their new Fire Island line of fabrics coming soon to a quilt store near you!  Be sure to look back and see the other three parts of the series on how I made this miniature quilt!

When we last left off, the quilt was marked and ready for quilting.

I knew I wanted this quilt to be a show quilt, so I decided to use two layers of batting.  The bottom layers is Hobbs 80/20 and the top layer is Hobbs Heirloom wool. Many show quilters use two batts with wool on top to make their quilting pop.  I generally don't do this on my large quilts because it makes them really heavy, but I love to do it on my miniatures.

I then pin-basted the quilt.  It's my favorite way to baste.  Admittedly, I am a bit of an over-pinner, but my backs are FLAT.

Here is the quilt once it was quilted.  I was able to do all the feathers and outlining with just over one bobbin and the outside fill around the edges too a second bobbin!  I recently took Wild Quilting from Cristina Cameli on Craftsy and she talked about combining designs in one area which I did on the outer border.  I combined pebbles, swirled large pebbles, and outlined teardrops.  It makes the edge more interesting.

I was planning to put these feather designs pointing towards the center of the quilt, however my mom suggested that having them pointing towards each other would add an interesting design element.  I'm really glad I did it that way instead!

Here is a closeup of the feathers in the center of the quilt.  It's the first time I've not marked my feathers on a competition piece.  I am super happy with the results.

Here is a picture of the trimmed quilt before I added the binding.  You can see that I decided to do an interestingly shaped binding treatment on the edge of the quilt.  I took a class on binding in Houston a few years ago and have a great binding book to use as a reference.

Putting the binding around this shape was a challenge, but it turned out to be easier than I expected.  What was REALLY CHALLENGING was dealing with these little bitty inside points and making sure to overlap the binding in the points like you see on scalloped edged quilts.  Needless to say, this was extraordinarily hard and I decided that a mini was definitely NOT the place to learn this technique.  I finally made the decision to rip off this binding after an hour of frustration.

I then took an oval template and adjusted the edging of the quilt so it was all a flowy curve with no inside points.  I actually really like the shape and am quite happy I changed it.  I then cut new binding and sewed it on.  It was much easier the second time around!  Since the binding needed to stretch around curves I used a single layer of bias binding.

You can see that I use binding clips to hold down my binding while I sew.

TA DA!  The finished quilt.  It only took me a little over an hour to tack down the binding by hand.  It was MUCH easier to do flowy curves in the binding than points and I am VERY happy with the final results!  Off to show it goes soon.

Back to my Flower in a Pot Series on Wednesday!  Happy Quilting!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

All Fired Up - Designing the Quilting

Time to do some quilting on "All Fired Up," my miniature quilt for the Island Batik Ambassador's Mini Madness!  To read part one click here.  To read part two click here.

Now...time for the quilting!  One thing I always challenge myself to do is to try something new in each quilt.  I just finished taking a class on iquilt by Judi Madsen.  It was wonderful and I highly recommend it.  It was called Quilting Makes a Difference.  In the class, Judi talks about how she makes different kinds of feathers in a series.  First a regular feather, then a hook, etc.  I decided I had to try this because it's something I've never done before.  AND if you are following my blog you know that I think you can never have enough feathers!

So, that decided, I started playing around.  I drew outlines of my leaf shapes on tracing paper.  I then filled the outline with various ideas.  Here are some pictures of possibilities.

The first picture is some feather combinations I drew to get a feel for what I might like.  You can also see I was plyaing with what fill to put behind the feathers to make them show up.

I decided against this design because it seemed to be too much for such a small space.

The diamond above had an outline filled with circles.  It's been done plenty.  I wanted something more "mine."

Again, this burst of feathers has been done and it would create a really big buildup of thread in the center.

I like this combination, minus the pearls in the center.  They'd be too small to see easily.

I love this design alternating a regular feather, spiral end feather, and hook feather.  I decided against the pearls, but the rest of the design stuck out and I decided it would be perfect!  Now to draw something to go with it for the outside edge of the quilt

Here is the inside design I liked and the outside I designed to go with it.  Perfection!

This is another possibility I considered and rejected along the way.  I wanted something other than just filling the whole space with feathers. 

Again, I rejected this whole feather fill.

I didn't end up using this idea here, but I LOVE IT!  It's so modern.  It's not the direction the quilting in this quilt went, but it is something I definitely might use later.  Hopefully on a bigger scale!  I discovered that 1/8" lines on a small scale are hard to see if you do them in matching thread.  You see the stitches more than the design.

Now it's time to mark the design on the quilt.  I know I could've marked it with a white Clover pen, you can see it if you go over the area a few times, but I didn't want to hurt my eyeballs, so I chose to mark my designs with a new blue washout marker.  I know they can sometimes be tricky for people, but as long as you wash or rinse the quilt with cold water before you do anything else to it, I've had great luck.

I got out a piece of graph paper to mark my final design on.  I drew my leaf shapes in pink and my quilting designs I needed to mark in purple.

Next, I used my trusty mirrors to make sure I liked the design once it had been replicated in all four corners.

Finally I taped the design to my light box.  Then I rolled a few pieces of tape and stuck them on top to hold my fabric in place when I put it down to trace the lines.   I did all four quadrants lining up the design to the pattern.

Now the quilt was ready to layer and stitch!

Come back on Monday to see the quilting, binding, and finished piece!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

All Fired Up - Part Two

I am so excited to be an Island Batik Ambassador!  I've been working on a miniature quilt for the March Mini Madness challenge!

You can read Part One here.

The next step was to choose thread to do the double blanket with.  Behind the picture above you can see see the white stabilizer I like to use when doing double blanket stitch.  My machine is much happier when I use stabilizer and my piece turns out much flatter and smoother.  I currently use Rinsaway by HTC, but I am almost out of my bolt and will have to try some new things or see if I can get another!

Above are the threads I was considering for my blanket stitching.  The far left is a Fufu machine embroidery thread.  It's black, but reads dark gray so I decided against it.  The second choice is a Madeira polyneon thread.  It has a lot of sheen and is 40 weight which will leave a nice thick line.  The third choice is a YLI bobbin thread in black that is 60 weight.  I decided against it because it wasn't quite as shiny as I wanted.  The last choice was a black Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread.  I decided I wanted some sheen to the stitches so they would show up against the black background of the batiks.  In the end, I chose the Madeia polyneon because it would give me a nice thick line and plenty of sheen.

Here are two pictures of the blanket stitching.  A close up and a full view.  I used a 2.0 width and length for my stitching and was able to weave my way in and out of the pieces to finish the stitching in one pass.  I thought a lot about how to do this before starting.

Once I was done with the blanket stitching I ripped it away from the back of the quilt leaving it only behind the leaf shapes.

I also took this opportunity to stitch around the outer-most marked line.  I wanted this to be the edge of the quilt.  I stitched it in purple thread so I could see where it was going to be.  This was helpful in planning my machine quilting designs.

I'll tell you more about the quilting on Saturday!  Be sure to check out my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook group too!

Monday, March 21, 2016

All Fired Up - Part One

I am literally all fired up to be an Island Batik Ambassador!  So, it seems fitting that my second quilt for them, a miniature, be called "All Fired Up" after the line of fabrics called Fire Island.

I received all these beautiful black fabrics above.  Black isn't usually my color in my quilts though I do wear a ton of black and white.  I was scrolling through my Facebook feed thinking about what I wanted to do when I saw a picture of a traditional pumpkin seed and/or orange peel quilt.  I knew it would really showcase some of these black fabrics.

However, I can never do anything the easy way, so I had to adapt it somehow and make it my own. So I went into Electric Quilter 7 and started playing.  Here are the four designs I came up with:

I decided on the third idea above because I really liked the circle in the center.  I figured out I needed 40 of the orange peel shapes.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to draw 40 of those leaf shapes and have them come out symmetrical.  So what did I do?  I called my mom.

My mother is also a quilter and she happens to have an ink-jet printer.  I don't, we have laser.  I knew that I could put my favorite Steam-a-Seam 2 through an ink-jet printer (no laser because they heat it!) and get symmetrical shapes.  I simply cut 1/2" off the 9" inch wide sheet of Steam-a-Seam 2 and it went right through the printer without any troubles!  I will definitely be doing this again.

I knew I also needed a grid on my background fabric to help me align the leaves so I drew one with a white iron-off marker that would come off when I ironed on the pieces.

Once that was done I started putting on the pieces!  It was so much fun.  I knew I needed a little more light to see the white lines on the yellow fabric, so I found a great new use for my LED light box:

 Here is the progression as I added more pieces!

Come back on Wednesday to check out the next step!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Flower in a Pot Quilt Along - Pattern #4

It's National Quilting Day!  YAY!  What better way that to share my next pattern?  My friend Shawn says it looks like a pomegranate.  I didn't design it that way on purpose, but it works.

You should also check out my posts about how I made this block:

And be sure to join my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook group to share your progress on the blocks and any other applique too!

In case you missed it, here are the other blocks in this series:
Flower in a Pot Pattern #3
Flower in a Pot Pattern #2
Flower in a Pot Pattern #1

Here's what the lovely Margaret did with Flower in a Pot #3:

Time to go quilt!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Island Batik Mini Madness!

I am so excited to be an Island Batik Ambassador! My fellow bloggers have been posting some AMAZING miniature quilts this month!

I decided to do a Dresden Plate since I've never done one before. My mother had Marti Michell's Dresden Plate Template Set so I decided to try it. It worked very well to make my block.

I'm use Island Batik's Fire Island line of batiks. They are fiery and luscious! All those lovely black batiks....what to do?

I love the warm fabrics too.

Since I started with five inch squares, I had to use two different blacks to have enough pieces to complete my Dresden Plate. Below are the two batiks I was considering for the center of the block. I cut a two inch circle from Steam-a-Seam 2 and fused the center onto the block.

Here is the final quilt! I was playing with combining different kind of feathers together with lovely Aurifil 50 weight thread. This quilt has two layers of Hobbs Heirloom Wool inside it to make the feathers really poof. The Dresden Plate stands out nicely too.

I love miniature quilts!