Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FFMQAL: Presenting the "Tied Down" Quilt!

I'm so excited to reveal another quilt from my upcoming book, Paper Pieced Modern. You can pre-order a signed copy here or a regular copy here (Amazon affiliate link: see disclaimer at bottom of site).

This quilt is called Tied Down because everyone I showed it to immediately said "They look like men's ties!"
In addition to the shapes of this quilt pattern, I think it's the Parson Gray fabrics' motifs, print scale, and colors that are reminiscent of ties.
And once again, can I just say how perfect Parson Gary and Carolyn Friedlander are together? Oooooh yes.
I love a good masculine quilt. I think we need more of them in this world!
There's something wonderful about using a very subtly textured fabric in place of a solid.
This was also quilted by Angela Walters. I'm sharing this in conjunction with my Feather Free-Motion QAL because she quilted it with some of her "Modern Feather" methods that she talks about in Lesson 10. The feathers both travel behind the tie strips, and wrap around in front of them.
The ties themselves are quilted with straight lines and occasional wishbones.
The fillers that Angela used around and between the feathers are gorgeous. I'm just in awe of her quilting.
I asked for feathers cascading down, behind, and through the ties, and I couldn't be more pleased with the result! I think they are perfect. They compliment the vertical flow of the quilt very well.
Even though they are feathers on a manly quilt, they don't seem out of place at all.
This quilt is nice and large - finishing at 68" x 85" (a nice full size or large twin), but fairly easy to sew up since there's a lot of background space. The paper pieced sections are also quite simple.
There's a feeling about this quilt that's hard for me to capture - it simply glows in the sunlight. I think it has a lot to do with the Carolyn Friedlander print I used for the background - even though the darker color stands out at first, the lighter color picks up and reflects light fabulously.
This is a quilt that feels and looks the way I would like my home interior to feel and look - if that makes any sense! I'm absolutely in love with the overall vibe as the quilt. Still very modern, but also very natural and warm.
I'm getting more and more excited about the release of this book (coming up in March 2015) and showing you all of the quilts in it! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Time Constraints & Awesome Fabric

I will admit that it's hard for me to not start new quilts. Really, really hard. I went to bed last night feeling itchy creative. And woke up this morning feeling the same. I sure would love to start a new project, cut into new fabric, and develop a fresh, new idea.
There's reality: Way too many quilts to finish. A pig sty of a studio. And a commitment to cut back.
I for sure would love to start another quilt. Sometimes being an artist means saying "screw it" to your ongoing projects, starting something new, and working late into the middle of the night when you have a thousand other things you have to finish.
But sometimes being an artist means saying no to yourself. Learning to hone creative ideas and choosing to start only the best ones, not every little idea that comes my way. Making sure I really am starting things that are worth finishing. Making sure I'm not wasting time and fabric on fancies, but delving into deeper, more significant projects.
Sure, sometimes it's good just to go for it. But I have to balance that out with my mothering responsibilities, my personal needs, taking care of the house, and the annoying fact that there are only 24 hours in every day and I have to sleep during some of those.
I don't have anything much else to say on that other than, sometimes achieving that balance sucks. It means saying no to myself. No to new projects. Yes to cleaning. Yes to dirty diapers. There's important things about the balance. But it's ok to admit that balance can be really hard to achieve because of the things we have to give up in order to reach it.
So instead of starting a new project just now, I'm going to show you a quick look at some awesome fabric and move on my merry way to regularly scheduled programming. I'll get to new ideas another day :)
There was a lot of eye candy on Instagram from Quilt Market this weekend, and I hope you were able to see a few peeks of my friend Heather's first fabric line!!
She gave me some smaller cuts to play with, and I made a pillow that was at her booth. You can see that here. I'll be sharing a tutorial for that sometime in the future. I felt very blessed to be a part of her fabric line launch!! It's been very exciting to see the various stages and emotions that she's been working through. I'm so happy for her!!
Her fabric line was inspired by succulents (obviously!) and this border print was especially adorable:
I really wanted to use it for the pillow back enclosure, but was just a little short. I can't wait to use more of it in the future! If you're interested in looking at more, check out her lookbook here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FFMQAL: Adding a Modern Twist

In a more practical sense, let's talk about how to use feathers on modern quilts. Angela Walters is the queen of this, so I suggest watching Lesson 10 of her Craftsy course and checking out photos of the quilts she has quilted.

What makes feathers modern? Well, sometimes, it's easier to start defining things in the negative - So what makes feathers look more traditional?

Here's what I think pushes a feather toward traditional (of course, you might think differently!):

- Extremely perfect/uniform feathers (looks as though stencils were used), complemented with extremely perfect and simple background fillers (like pebbles or cross-hatching). For me, this look evokes the style of antique wholecloth quilts.

- Feathers fitting neatly inside patchwork and never crossing over different fabrics. For example, using feathers that fit neatly inside borders, using a triangle-shaped feather in triangle blocks, etc.

In contrast, here are some variations I think might work in less formal, modern quilts:

- Feathers with petals of varying lengths. Not only do I find these far easier to quilt because every little mess-up isn't apparent, but I find them more fun and interesting to look at.

- Feathers that cross over different fabrics in the quilt pattern, or go "behind" quilt blocks, so to speak.

- Interesting backgrounds, like Angela demonstrated in her lesson.

- Integrating feathers with other quilting patterns of the same scale, so that the feathers are not treated as the main/highlighted feature.

Here's some more sketching I did with these concepts in mind:

This is the kind of quilting I did on my Dyed quilt - curly, twirly feathers with petals of varying lengths. I found that varying the lengths of petals does two things for me - one, the feather looks a little more fun & flirty, and two, mistakes blend in more easily. I especially love that second one :)

Just a few notes on how I did this - sometimes, I would have a section of petals were smaller (top, middle arrow), followed by a section of longer petals, than a section of smaller (next arrow), etc. In other arrows, I would vary the length of individual or just a few petals at a time (lower arrows). There wasn't much rhyme or reason, but when it got awkward/difficult to quilt long petals, I just switched to shorter ones, and vice versa. I also made sure I didn't have too long of a stretch without switching lengths.

As I was working on this feather, I thought it looked pretty cool with the petals only on one side - so I decided to give that a try:

I decided to wing a different background:

It was begging for some pebbles, and I love the result!!

All the straight lines might be a pain to really quilt, but I'm thinking this one is worth a try sometime!

I also played around a little bit with some more angular options:

And this:

Anyway, that's what I've been up to!! What do you think might help make feathers look more modern? Do you have any suggestions for me to try out?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Dyed

I'm entering my second quilt, Dyed, into the Home Machine Quilted category. I really had a blast quilting this one.

dyed quilt 069 copy

The white portion was quilted in a style that I have heard referred to as both "improv quilting" and "graffiti quilting" - basically a mash-up of a ton of different designs.

In an effort to keep the quilted from looking overwhelming, I FMQed some larger portions of it with orange peel quilting.

I wrote more detailed tutorials about this kind of quilting here and here.

In the red portion, I quilted feathers branching upwards. In between the feathers, I matchstick quilted straight lines.

The feathers are super frilly and curly, which balances out the very angular nature of the quilt top.

I named this quilt "Dyed". I had a couple different inspirations that merged together in my imagination to create this design, but one of them - don't laugh too hard! - was the commercial where Conan was in India, hand-dying the fabric for his new show curtains a deep red. This quilt was meant to represent a white fabric being dipped and stained in red, if that makes sense.
And so there you have it. The Dyed quilt.


Blogger's Quilt Festival: Icy Waters

The two quilts I'm showing for BQF this season are ones that my regular readers know well, so hopefully they don't mind seeing them again!

For my "Modern" category entry, I'm sharing with you the cover quilt for my upcoming book, Paper Pieced Modern. This quilt is entitled Icy Waters and is meant to mimic chunks of ice breaking off of an iceberg into cold water.

It is a paper pieced pattern, made entirely from one block. I rotated and reflected the block, and played with color placement, in order to create a dynamic ombre.

The quilting was done by the fabulous Angela Walters - and her work is positively amazing! She did so much more than I expected. I love her work even more in person!!

You can read more about this quilt here. For now, way too many photos :)