Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Instant smile: Picnic in the Park

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A few days ago on my Facebook page I shared this teaser photo of one of the most recent quilts that I finished quilting:

I could only post a teaser because it is the next pattern cover for designer and friend, Melissa Stramel.  Now, before I get into this particular quilt, I have to tell you another very exciting thing. 

Melissa wrote a book! The poor thing has been busting her hump for the last couple of months trying to scramble everything together to get it finished by a pretty tight deadline.  She initially thought that the book would be available for pre-sale at Spring International Quilt Market in KC next month.  But noooooo.  It will be available!  It is a great book.  I don't want to say too much about it.  But it is a great book.  So if you're planning to be at Market you should drop by her booth and visit with her.  She'd love having lots of visitors.  Wouldn't you?

Okay, enough with the book for now. 
This quilt.  I love this quilt.  It is the last in a line of quilts for her that I had to get done with the quickness and while I adore the other ones I did for her, well no I can't pick a favorite.  I digress.  This pattern is now available for your purchasing pleasure!

Melissa loves cross stitch - and any hand embroidery, and has been doing it since she was a child so it's only fitting that she came out with a hand embroidery quilt pattern.  The bicycles and flowers are just adorable, and hand stitched on 28 count linen.  So pretty.  You should visit her website and her blog.  Today is her birthday so you should absolutely leave her some love!

Now since I quilted this beauty, I have more pictures to share.  And a little about the process, too (I did take the process challenge, after all).
I knew this quilt was coming, I even knew the design of it and pretty much exactly what it would look like well in advance.  However when she brought it to me and I looked at it, the first words out of my mouth were, "holy crap I gotta figure out how to quilt all of that empty space!"  Melissa can vouch for that.  It was really kind of funny.

I tried several different things.  None of them really worked because I don't have the rulers to do what I wanted to do.  So I had to improvise and started dividing all of that white into sections.  I went with the non-plan-plan once again and I think it turned out pretty okay.

First I did a little curved cross-hatching... And then I had a little fun playing off the angles and curves of that, adding some tiny straight-line quilting.

Then I had no idea yet what to do with the rest of the white space so I took a break from it and did my triple line stitch that I'm crazy enough to love in the setting triangles around the blocks.  From there I decided to do a little curvy corner frame around the blocks and I stippled the rest of the block (with the exception of the embroidery) just so that it was somewhat consistently quilted with the rest of the quilt.

Then there was nothing left to do and I was forced to finish the white areas.  Luckily it didn't take me long to come up with this idea.  There were really a million things that could've been done but I loooove how this turned out. Melissa loves all things girly and pretty so I thought she would like the elegance of this design.

I love it.  And I'm pretty sure Melissa does too.  So head on over to her site, send her some birthday love and pick up a copy of the pattern for yourself! 

Stay tuned for more quilterly fun.  I'm finally working on the one that I can share.  Really, I am!

Monday, April 16, 2012


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I totally forgot to blog about the finished product of this quilt.  I think this was the third quilt that I did for Thomas, right after the Cover Girl quilt for American Patchwork & Quilting.
But Jo (actual name is Chimera) is one of my favorite quilts in the history of forever.  Tons of white space to play with on this one.
When I was in the planning stages for quilting, there was a lot of emailing back and forth between Thomas and myself (as there usually is).  I call this quilt Jo because it is made from Kona Snow and Elizabethtown by Jo Morton.  Thomas absolutely adores her, but I have yet to actually meet her.  It's interesting to see a small snippet of Thomas's thoughts in making this quilt.  I definitely didn't want to let him down on the quilting.
I had been tossing around the idea of pulling some motif out of the fabric to use in the quilting.  He quickly emailed me two images to use:

I was SO GLAD that the first motif was one that he sent as a possibility because for whatever reason, I really, really liked that one and was totally drawn to it.
So there was my motif.  Now what?  I kept trying different angles and combos and couldn't figure out why nothing was working.  Well duh, I thought I was dealing with squares but they were actually rectangles!  Once I realized that, progress was much faster.
In one of our email exchanges, Thomas mentioned trapunto.  I wasn't sure if he was joking or not, but I secretly really wanted to trapunto this motif to add a little to the traditionalist feel of it, then trick it out in modern-ish quilting to the background.  So trapunto, I did.

Now this is how you know how much I adore that guy:  I USED MY AIRTEX BATTING FOR HIM.  That stuff is like my version of gold.  Nobody gets my Airtex.
So once the trimming was done I was finally able to load the top with the backing and batting for round two of quilting.  I still hadn't really determined how I was going to do the rest of the quilting, I just had a sort of general idea.
I ended up doing a sort of antique-looking frame around the motif, and filling that in with pebbles, or "sand" as everyone is calling it.

After that I decided that I wanted to do straight line quilting at diagonals to form giant diamonds working their way out.  But I didn't want to do just straight lines.  I wanted to do a double line to make it look pin-tucked.  But what I really wanted to do, was some boutis trapunto in those little pin-tuck-y looking channels.  There was no time for that.  So rather than a double line stitch, I did a triple line stitch to give it more texture.
Bottom right corner:

Now, I've been asked by several people how I managed this.  I will not lie to you, it was no easy task and it took forever, but the results are well worth it.  I ended up using packing tape to tape together my Janet-Lee's Favorite and my regular OmniGrip ruler.  Why did I do this?  Well, because they were REALLY LONG LINES and while the Janet-Lee's Favorite has wonderful etchings on it to use as a guide, if you're not looking straight down on it, then your lines will be terribly off.  With the use of my OmniGrip I could make sure that my lines were pretty evenly spaced.  But it's only 1/8" thick, and my hopping foot clears it, so I taped my 3/8" thick Janet-Lee's Favorite on top and voila, problem solved.
I started by stitching single lines, 1/2" apart, then worked my way back by eyeballing a good distance from that line on each side.

I filled in the windmill and outer edges beyond the windmill with simple 1/4" lines.

Annnnnnd done!
Simple?  Yes.  Easy?  Most certainly not.  Stunning?  Absolutely!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Going global, y'all - secret two revealed

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I've had a kind of really crappy few weeks. I know it could be worse so I'm not complaining in the least. But I thought to raise my spirits a bit I would share something that is pretty exciting to me.
MQX is being held this week. The winners were announced officially last night. I was not one of them! However my BeDazzled quilt's next destination (unless I decide to enter another show, which I doubt) is a pretty big one.
From what I've read the European Patchwork Meeting, held in Alsace, France is the largest quilting show in all of Europe. This year they are featuring an exhibit of Sarah Vedeler's quilts. Mine has been invited to be in this exhibit as well!
So come the end of August I'll be prepping it to ship off to Sarah so she can pack it up with the rest of them.
I have to admit that I'm a little jealous of my little quilt. I haven't been to France since 1999 and don't even have a passport anymore. Why does my quilt get to have all of the fun?! I suppose I can forgive it.
I'm thinking that when it makes its way back across the pond and back into my possession I will retire it early and give it a permanent home on one of the walls in the studio. I mean really- how can you top FRANCE???

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sneak peak preview

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So again I'm working on stuff that I can't show.  However, this quilt that I finished yesterday, I absolutely adore it.  So much so that I was able to talk the designer into letting me show some sneak peaks of the back (I didn't have to try *too* terribly hard).  This is my favorite quilt that she has ever made and I can't wait to see what she does with photography for it!  It's stinkin' pretty, y'all!

I'm glad I finished it during daylight because I finally found a place in the shop that has excellent  light.  I was so excited I didn't even wait to trim it to take pictures.  In a few weeks we can reveal the front!

The next one I'm quilting is absolutely gorgeous and I CAN SHARE IT.  In fact the lovely lady that sent it to me told me that I can "share the shit out of this quilt".  I fully intend to do so!  It's a doozy!
Have a happy Easter everyone!

******** edit. She came and picked this up today and brought two more that need to be done with the quickness so that stuff I said about getting to share the next one? Not so much. But soon!