Blogger and Sewing Designer Abby Glassenberg is hosting a series of interviews around this question, and it was the theme of the day for the #sewphotohop on Instagram today (organized by @houseofpinheiro).
Day 6 – The Pattern that changed my life
I considered highlighting my first quilt, but then I decided that this quilt set the course for my creative business.
The pattern in Nancy Chong’s Crumb Quilt. I took her class at Quilt Camp in the Pines back in 2005. (She is better known for Hawaiian applique…visit her website here.) She even complimented me on my fabric and color selection!
I had the good fortune to teach her methods when I got home from camp. But the life-changing aspect of this quilt was the quilting. I had an idea for the quilting design – circular Chinese symbols in the focus squares and something watery to fill the rest of the quilt. (Hopefully you can click on this picture to see the gold thread on the back of the quilt.)
This was the last quilt I quilted on my domestic machine, and it really cemented my desire for a longarm! I remember feeling like I could not see where I was going with my stitching, and I was so sore from pushing the quilt around. Thanks to a supportive husband, I got my wish for a longarm back in 2006. What an amazing journey!
I am definitely motivated by a challenge! For the past few years, I have participated in a group effort to finish those lingering quilt projects that seem to multiply in the closet. The second-ever quilt that I started back in 2005, the Underground Railroad sampler, is still not finished! So here is my list for the current Summer quarter:
I am starting with the Garden Twister and the Riley Blake fabric challenge. These are small wallhangings, so they will be loaded on the longarm together and hopefully done this weekend.
Next is the Starry Night for Josh QAL hosted by AlyciaQuilts. This will be a donation for Quilts of Valor.
Last summer I swapped Swoon blocks with other quilters. I requested patriotic colors so this will be another Quilt of Valor. It needs some border and finishing.
Here is the rest of my longarm pile:
Top row includes (L-R) 4-patch Posey, Star Chain, Star Light Star Bright, and 3Ps in a Pod.
Bottom Row (L-R) Grand Illusion, Talent Show Jelly Roll, Mardi Gras Barello, 3D Trees, Mystery QOV, and Square-in-Square QOV
As I get time between customer quilts, I hope to make a dent in this list before school starts. YIkes…that is in a month!!
I loaded one of my own projects on the longarm this morning. When I checked my notes, I found it this is the first time all year that I am working on something I will keep! It’s my Women of the Bible quilt. The blocks were sewn from October 2013 through September 2014. I decided on a simple stitch-in-the-ditch outline of the primary element in each block, with free-motion feathers in the borders.
I won’t win any awards for my ditch quilting becauseit gets pretty wobbly, but since this is not going to be judged I am not stressing over it. My plan is to hang the finished quilt in the room at church where my adult Sunday School class meets.
I made another block for my True Blue stars:
And I am still working on split 9-patch blocks as my “leader-ender” (in-between-other-things) project. I need to count them to see if I am halfway to a quilt top yet. My goal is a 60″x80″ quilt for QOV and that will take 120 blocks. Scrappy heaven!
My best customer is keeping me in business 😉 Thanks Mom! She is a certified Angle Play (TM) instructor, and this is a class sample.
(not wrinkled in real life, just laid on a chair for a quick photo)
I matched the thread to the rows and did a free motion swirl design across the blue sections and a fern feather across the yellow parts. Here is the back detail.
I think of the blue section as Landscape fill, since it can look like elevation lines on a contour map. Here is a sketch of how it is quilted. You can also search through Leah Day’s tutorials for a similar design.
First break your space into smaller sections, then go back and echo the line. I use alot of gentle S curves. You can add a swirl here and there for more interest. I also add a touch of McTavishing, which is a slightly different effect where one end of the curve always hits the same point. This is a good filler design for borders.
I want to mention that if you ever see a quilt you are interested in purchasing, please contact me. I am open to selling my work and I do quilt on commission. I can teach workshops too!
I finished a small quilt for my best customer…my mom 🙂 We agreed on a pantograph so it was quick and easy to get this done as a sample for a class she is teaching on using stripes.
I tried to get a close up of the panto design, swirly paisleys
I also made two more blocks for my True Blue 92 quilt. The pattern is Double Friendship Star (pattern from Quilter’s Cache website).
While my students were taking final exams, I sketched out a final layout, but of course now I can’t find the scrap of paper with my calculations! The plan is to make 92 star blocks to represent my college graduation back in 1992. I chose 9-inch blocks, and I will make 2 of most of them. Then I realized, the quilt will be HUGE, and I think I figured out a way to make some smaller blocks in the center and corners and keep the overall size around 90″ square.
My mom made an Aviatrix Medallion and I had the pleasure of quilting it for her. I am in love with her color scheme. It was so much fun to gaze at these beautiful prints up close for a few days!
I chose a different free motion design for each border and used a light blue thread that played nicely on all the fabrics. I usually pick a matching thread, but I am leaning towards using one color more often to speed up the process.
The medallion is a circle of birds, which I outlined and added a simple background of radiating circles. Most of the grey borders were just stitched in the ditch, but I did use a wavy line in the half square triangle section. Then I added feathers in the rectangle blocks.
The next border had X-Plus blocks, so I used some wavy lines and stitch-in-the-ditch.
The last two borders had framed squares and butterflies. I used a flower in the squares and wavy lines and bubbles to fill in the butterflies.
My next longarm challenge will be to learn to sew on the binding while the quilt is on the frame. That would certainly speed up the process! My mom still finishes her bindings by hand, while I do most of mine by machine using a tutorial from Judy at The Patchwork Times.
Working on this quilt was a calm oasis in the middle of a few hectic weeks. I think I will load a Christmas top next since we are heading into the holiday season. What is on your worktable today?
I am entering my Rainbow Twister in the ROYGBIV category.
I made this quilt in 2012, but this is the first time I have entered the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. This quilt was born out of a fabric swap. Each person chose a color and we swapped 5″ squares. I laid out the colors from light to dark, and I had enough squares to make two rows of each color, so I alternated the gradient with each row. Once I had the squares sewn together, I grabbed my Lil’ Twister ruler and cut it apart again. It was so fun watching the pinwheels appear!
The reward for chopping up a quilt top with the Twister ruler is the bonus squares. I put some of the leftover scraps to use in the corners, keeping everything in proper order.
Then it was time to choose quilting designs. I spent alot of time on Leah Day’s website for inspiration!
And I made little rainbows in the background:
Here are my names for the quilting designs. Each row had it’s own unique free motion design:
The quilt finished at about 33″ x 39″. It was machine pieced, then quilted on a Gammill longarm with rainbow variegated thread.