Thursday, May 31, 2012

MQS 2012: 2 of 2

Sorry for the week of blog silence!  I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend.  Becky and Anna came to visit for a couple of days and we did some sewing and playing.  On Monday Mike and I finally went to see the Hunger Games movie.  I really enjoyed it and it prompted me to spend the rest of the holiday reading the second two books of the trilogy.

Anyhow, I have been doing a bunch of sewing and crafting, and should have more fun stuff coming up soon. For today though I just wanted to show a few more pictures from MQS.  Last week I posted a bunch of pictures from the Under the Sea theme category at MQS.  Today I just want to show a few of my favorites from the rest of the show.  There were so many gorgeous quilts, it's a bit overwhelming, so the ones I picked are just ones that I liked in particular for some reason.

I just love the pattern in the piecing on this one and then up close the quilting is absolutely fabulous. This quilt is by Clem Buzick and Ann Helbling.

Love the modern appliqued flowers here along with the fabulous quilting and the not-too-much style of embellishments.  This one won 1st place in innovative custom.  By Renae Haddadin and Karen K Buckley

I love the luminosity in this one.  By Cheryl Olson

I couldn't pass up this rainbow zebra or his babar-look-alike friend.  By Kristin Vierra

This was one of my favorite quilts at the show and I'm pretty sad I only got one terrible out-of-focus picture of it.  By Lori Olek.

I loved all the textures in this one, she used upholstery-like fabric to add depth to the stone wall and it looked great.  I also love the colors and perspectives in the woven doormat.  By Monika Scola

This one was part of an special exhibit of quilts inspired by Kandinsky paintings.  I love the bright colors and abstract design.  By Mary Kay Fosnacht

I thought these hollyhocks were beautiful.  The underlying fabric is painted and the depth and texture is all added with quilting.  By JoAnn Hoffman

I love all the wool embroidery and applique here! By Bonnie Bosma and Mary Tim Griffin

I'm not usually a horse person, but something about the looks in the faces in this one caught my eye.  By Ann Horton

And finally, how can you pass up awesome semi-abstract pieced cows in a cornfield!  Totally wonderful.  By Diane Weigand

Hope you enjoy seeing the fun, inspiring things I liked!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Curve Stitching

When I was a kid, my mom taught me to use graph paper to draw these really fun curvy designs using only straight lines.  I used to really enjoy making as many different shapes as I could.  A few years later, my mom got me this book, Curve Stitching, which incorporates both specific designs, tips for drawing your own designs, and instructions to stitch them.  As a kid, I never sewed any of the designs I drew, but something possessed me to get the book back out the other day and try stitching one of them.

I drew the design on freezer paper and then ironed it on to some linen-like fabric I'd previously bonded to a layer of fusible interfacing.  I put the whole thick thing into an embroidery hoop and stitched from the back (the freezer paper side.  I used a variety of different green threads and tried to keep them straight to make a pattern.  It was really fun to stitch since I couldn't see the right side.  I'd turn it over every so often to watch the pattern emerge.

After finishing the curved stitching, I decided to set it into a foundation pieced spiky New York Beauty style ring.  I used a bunch of different green/yellow scraps and the linen to piece it.  Sadly, my points are pretty terrible.  From afar, they look ok, but not so much up close.  I quilted it with more or less straight line echo quilting. It got weirdly rumpled so the center sticks out a bit like a plate.

It's pretty modern looking, so I think I'm actually considering it my first modern (mini) quilt.  Hooray.  It's for my mom for mother's day.  I hope she likes it in spite of its imperfections!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MQS 2012: Under the Sea

My mom and I just got back from MQS and we had a blast.  It was actually at the same time and in the same city as quilt market, which was a weird coincidence.

Both of us entered quilts in the Just for Me (amateur) division and were pleased to win prizes.  Seeing all the phenomenal quilts made me realize just how far I have to go to compete with the professionals.  In addition to seeing all the quilts and doing a bunch of shopping (yay vendors), we both took several classes.  I'll talk more about them in future posts.

Here's my mom with her winning quilt, called ABC-Zoo.  She made it for Anna, and it features paper pieced animals for every alphabet letter and paper pieced letters in alternate blocks.  Many of the paper pieced animals she designed herself and most are embellished with embroidery.  The icing on the cake is that in the background of each letter block, she quilted lovely even rows of cursive letters (whatever letter the block was).  Someday I'll do a whole post on it when I have better pictures.  And, for good measure, another picture of my mom standing by the archway at the entrance to the conference.  We took this shot because we were looking at all the quilts printed on the archway and spotted one of hers from a previous year! So exciting.  My quilt that won a ribbon is one you've seen before.

The theme this year was "Under the Sea" and the theme category was huge and filled with gorgeous quilts.  I made two flickr slideshows (to help avoid scrollingitis) for the category and even still am showing only about half the quilts entered.  The first slide show is the winners in that category and the second features my favorites.  It really seemed like the vast majority of winning quilts this year were really heavily embellished (lots of texture, crystals, beading etc.) and employed different surface design techniques, (painting, inking, shiva paint sticks), and use of alternate fabrics (lots of shiny sateens, organzas, handmade thread "lace", leather etc.)

Quilts that won in the theme category include those by:
Claudia Pfeil-Claudia won the whole show Solitaire award which wasn't specific to the theme category.
Cathy Franks
Shelli Ricci
Cathy Wiggins
Judith Woodworth
Deborah Levy

The "my favorites" slideshow features theme category quilts by:
Janet Fogg
Margaret Solomon Gunn
Karla Dahms
Brian Fackler
Jo Ann Blade
Laura Wertwijin
Jill Schoen
Janet Hoeltzel

If your quilt is featured and I couldn't find your blog or website, just let me know and I'll add a link.

That Janet Fogg striped sea horse quilt was my pick for viewers choice.  I've always loved her quilts, and this one was so large, you really had to step way back to appreciate it.  The quilting especially was really effective:  on the sea horse, the first layer of quilting was shimmery white, in alternating paterns to give curvature and a subtle checkerboard effect.  Then she went back in and quilted over it again in a light blue to give the effect of scales.  Just wonderful.

I'll be back on Friday with pictures of my favorites from the other categories.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Super Secret Embroidery Come to Light

Way back in my New Year post for 2012 I mentioned a super secret embroidery project.  Well, the time has finally come to reveal it.  I really liked LuloBird's fabulous pillows, seriously you guys should check out her etsy shop.  Her embroidery is so much nicer than mine.  Anyway, I decided to make some state embroideries inspired by hers.  I made one New Mexico for my dad's birthday which was yesterday, so I thought I'd finally show them on here.  

I made the other New Mexico for me and then made two Oklahomas one for me and one for Mike's daughter Michelle who had to move to Wyoming with her family.  I thought she'd like having a little something to remind her of home.  

These were my first project to use perl cotton, it was easy to use, and I was glad to finally have some project for it.  I picked out a few skeins in Eureka Springs last fall, but hadn't made anything with it yet.  Hope you guys enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spring 2012 Bloggers Quilt Festival: Purple People Eater

Purple People Eaters

Welcome anybody clicking through from the wonderful Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I hope you'll check out some of my other quilts (you can see them by clicking the tabs above).

Some of you have probably seen this quilt before as I wrote several posts about it last fall, but I've decided it should be my Bloggers Quilt Festival Quilt for this year so here it is again.  The bright colors and geometric pattern are very me, and even though I started this many years ago (like maybe 2007?), I just finished it up a few months ago.

It was inspired by the floor in one of the (relatively) newer wings of the Seville Cathedral, but the central medallion pattern is a fairly common one in quilting and Norah McMeeking has also written a book that  features it.  I drafted the pattern and paper-pieced the center medallion, and then picked several traditional quilt blocks for the top and bottom borders.  I pieced them in purple-on-purple so they would add some visual interest but not detract from the center medallion.

I free-motion quilted it on my mother's Innova long-arm, and enjoyed doing lots of fun different fillers in the center medallion as well as some feathers in the pieced blocks and leaves on the border.  In a potentially ill-advised fit of whimsy, I FMQed octopuses in the corners around the medallion.

This quilt is far from technically perfect;  there are many non-matching points and much of the FMQ is terrible.  My mom will tell you I nearly (or actually) had a meltdown while working on the long arm and was about ready to toss the whole thing away.  But now, every time I look at this quilt it makes me happy.  I just love the pattern and the fabrics and the way it came together.  For some reason this quilt in particular reminds me that I really do love sewing and quilting and crafting.  I hadn't seen the quilt in a couple of months because I'd entered it in the Dallas Quilt Show (no ribbons) and it had been waiting at my sister's house for me to retrieve it.  When I got it home last weekend, I was just going to put it in the closet but upon unfolding it, I just fell in love all over again.  I decided to keep it out; it's a perfect throw size, good for cuddling on the sofa (although this isn't really throw weather), and I thought I'd share it with you guys!

For anyone wondering, my grandmother's rocking chair isn't usually in my front yard, but I love the look of everyone's natural outdoor quilt photos but I don't have a nearby park bench or scenic railing, so the rocking chair it is!

Many thanks to Amy for hosting the Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival, so many wonderful, inspiring things to see!

Amy's Creative Side

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WIP Wednesday: the dinosaurs are coming!

Well, they aren't coming very far to be perfectly honest.  I've been (and will continue to be) traveling a bunch, so Seymour has not yet fully materialized.

I did finish assembling (fusing but not sewing) the background, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.  I almost feel like I should stop now, lest I ruin the whole thing.

The next step is to make the skeleton, and I've done some test bones to see how I want to proceed.  The "bone" fabric I'm using is some sort of pseudo-suede stuff I found a JoAnns.  It's a woven fabric though, so I guess it's not even really "real" pseudo-suede (is that even possible?).  It seems to ravel about like quilting cotton though, not nearly as bad as silk or organza, so that's a bonus.  My plan is to trace all the bones onto the fabric, add some shading, then fuse the fabric to fusible before cutting the bones out.

In an attempt to determine what would be the best thing to use for subtle shading, I made a test block. The red arrows show where I shaded with different colored crayons, the green arrows are "shading" with sharpie (less successful), and the blue arrows are shading with colored pencil.

I was going to go with the colored pencil as I thought it gave a pretty nice subtle look, but then my mom suggested India ink.  She's just come back from a class with the fabulous Betty Busby, and apparently that's one of the things she uses for shading faces.  So I got a bottle, diluted a little bit, and applied it to another test bone.  I definitely prefer the look of the ink, so I'm glad I tried it out!

Up next, actually tracing and shading all the bones.  Could take a while, there are a bunch of them!  Linking up with Lee as usual!  Hope you guys are having fun and making progress on your WIPs!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Flowers

I spent the weekend in Dallas with my sister, her husband, and my darling niece Anna-Banana.  She is absolutely adorable and getting sturdier by the second.  Becky says I'm still not allowed to throw her into the air, but soon I will!  Just a month has made so much difference in how alert and responsive she is.

My mom and I are going to MQS later this week, so we'll get to spend some quality time together, but I thought I'd quickly show the small crafty goodness I made for Becky for her first Mother's Day.

I saw these fun paper hearts and I thought they'd look great in a "bouquet" of sorts so I made some up out of fun scrapbooking paper and glued them to shish kebab skewers I'd painted green.  I made a few leaves as well, and then stuck all of them into a styrofoam ball inside a decorated can so that the arrangement would hold its shape. I stuffed some green felt in the top to look like grass and I think the whole thing came out cute. I figured she could use the can as a pencil cup later on if she gets tired of the flower arrangement.

I know you were all expecting a picture of the whole thing, but because I'm an idiot, I apparently forgot to take a picture of it before giving it to Becky.  So here are the hearts, and probably you can all imagine how cute they would look nicely arranged with leaves etc.  This is just the latest in my ongoing series of brain farts.  In a similar vein, I actually did find my missing SD card this morning; it was in the SD slot of my laptop (where it was supposed to be) the whole time.  Yes, total Shannon fail.

Anyhow, I sewed across the top and bottom of the hearts, but you could probably glue them just as easily.  I used four lengths of strips for each one, 12", 9.5", 7", and 5.5" plus one short piece to hold the middle together.  The middle piece can be whatever length you want to give more or less curvature to the heart, although it should be less than half the length of the shortest strip or else it won't make a heart shape.  My strips were ~3/4" and ~1 1/2" in width, but you can really do whatever width suits you.

I think these would make lots of other fun shapes, and would make especially fun magic wands, should any of those be needed in your household.  Hope you guys had a good weekend and a fun Mother's Day!