Friday, March 29, 2013

Baby Ric Rac Charm Quilt

I picked up a charm pack of Noteworthy a few weeks ago at my LQS. I set it aside, because my to do list was a mile long. And then one night I needed a fresh new project to play with, so I cut all of the charms into 4.5" 60* triangles. I got sort of stuck when I was playing with layout ideas, when suddenly I came up with this:

Baby Ric Rac Charm Quilt

I love the visual impact of creating diamonds from 2 charms of the same color, and by alternating their placement a fun zig zag forms, which I thought looked a lot like ric rac! Because the prints are all very soft in color, I added a thin, bright pink strip above and below the ric rac to set it apart a bit from the grey background.

Baby Ric Rac Charm Quilt

For the quilting, I played around a little more with the floral free motion design from Angela Walters' book. This time I echoed some of the flowers, which Angela showed us in her class at QuiltCon. I also added a few leaves throughout.

Baby Ric Rac Charm Quilt

The binding is the same bright pink that I used on the quilt front. The back is a large piece of a zig zag print plus some more of the bright pink.

Baby Ric Rac Charm Quilt

I love the grey thread on the bright pink! (Have I mentioned that I love Aurifil for free motion quilting??)

Baby Ric Rac Charm Quilt

Finished quilt size is 40" x 47".

I'm linking up to the Charm Madness over at Sew Lux! Be sure to check out all of the fun charm projects and link ups! Details are in this post!

Charm Madness at Sew Lux Fabric

Monday, March 25, 2013

For my little Valentine...

Thanks so much for all of the support in my last post! I really, truly wasn't digging for compliments, nor was I trying to bash the Modern Quilt Guild. I simply wanted to share my quilt and how I was feeling!
I don't know if I shared this in my last post, but when I first received the feedback on my quilts I was pretty hurt and upset. It honestly did not occur to me that others had received similar feedback and were feeling the same way. Reading about others' experiences really helped me, and I'm glad that they shared their stories as well!

Now, onto something more cheerful! I made this quilt for Addy for Valentine's Day this year. I was in a bit of a time crunch with a few customer orders plus Matt's quilt to finish, so I didn't start this quilt until the night before Valentine's Day!! Luck for me our family has a tradition of sharing gifts in the evening on special occasions, so I worked long into the night and nearly had the quilt finished before Addy got home from school. I did have to hide in my bathroom to hand stitch the binding corners and add the quilt label, though!

Hello Kitty Valentine - front

I started this quilt with 8 11" squares of different Hello Kitty prints that I bought from an Etsy seller in Japan. I initially chose several different solids to use, and even cut the triangles. But after some late night texting with my friend Steph we decided that the colors weren't working at all. In the end I went with all reds, pinks, and white with a cross-weave thrown into the mix. It helps that pink is Addy's favorite color!

Hello Kitty Valentine - front detail

I think this is my favorite print:

Hello Kitty Valentine- front detail

On the back I used a few large pieces of HK prints from my stash:

Hello Kitty Valentine - back

I went with straight line quilting, and I really like how it turned out! It did take a bit longer than I expected though, because my initial thought was to simply follow the piecing lines. I didn't think that was enough quilting, though, so quilted through the centers of the triangles as well! I'm glad that I did, because I really like the look now!

Hello Kitty Valentine - back

Some quilt stats:
Finished size: 48" x 58"
Triangles are 10" finished, 60*

I want to share one last photo, but first I'll explain. I've been quilting for 11 years now. I'm pretty type A, and I try to take great care in every step of the quilt making process. For some strange reason I *love* to baste - I pin baste, on my little kitchen floor! For this quilt, I used bamboo blend batting, which is really soft and has a delicate drape. I've used this batting before and didn't think anything of it. However, I ended up with several folds in my backing after quilting all of those straight lines (this photo is just a sampling, there were a few more!)!


All of the folds involved the polka dot fabric, which came from a thrifted bed sheet. I'm assuming that the bed sheet was made up of a polyester blend, so I *think* that it may have been the smooth batting + the poly blend sheet that caused the shifting. I honestly think I could count on one hand how many times this has happened to me! I tried not to beat myself up about it, though....these things happen to even the most careful crafters, and Addy loves it just the same.

Oh, and since then I've used this same batting and also the Dream Orient batting (the Dream Orient is SO nice!) without issue. I have been trying to pin baste a bit closer together when using these battings, though. Just a tip, in case you decide to give either of these products a try. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The one that I almost didn't blog about...

A few weeks ago I sat down to write about QuiltCon: the people I met, the classes I took, the tattoo that I got (true story!). Then a good friend arrived for a long weekend visit, and I saved what I had written as a draft. While my friend was visiting, my quilts arrived back from the QuiltCon show. I was anxiously awaiting them, as one of them is soon to be shipped off to the International Quilt Festival in Ireland.

I completely forgot that my quilts would arrive back home with the judges' feedback from the show. I won't share the dirty little details, but suffice it to say that the feedback was quite disappointing. Each quilt had 1 positive comment, which I took as the token "we better say *something* nice". The rest of the feedback was not just negative, but completely lacking in direction. I realize that my quilts are not the best, and they are just that....quilts. But, they are also an expression of me as a person, and I took the comments very personally.

I threw a bit of a pity party (complete with a quilt shop trip and several mini cupcakes), but in the end I still love my quilts as much as I did when they were first accepted into the show. I know that my craftsmanship is good (that was even one of the positive comments, ha!!), and design is subjective. I don't love some of the things that the "big name" quilters create, even when many other people do. So, while it did upset me that my quilts were not well received by the judges, I do want to continue to share what I create.

And if you've read this far, here is my "My Tribe" quilt:

"My Tribe" Quilt - front

I originally made this quilt to play with some extra blocks, and once it was complete I thought it looked quite like a totem pole. I named the quilt "My Tribe", referring to the quilting community. Some people really seem to enjoy the online quilting community and develop lasting friendships. Others have a hard time breaking through. My experience has been somewhere between the two...I've made some friends and I do feel that the relationships that I made through the online community have helped me through two cross country moves and countless other life experiences. Having said that, I don't feel that I've really found my place in the online world and I have only a handful of (totally awesome!) friends that I've made in the online community. So I suppose in some ways the negative feedback on this quilt just fit too well?

"My Tribe" Quilt - front detail

I quilted each color with a different pattern. I had a lot of fun with it, and I like the look. The dark sections (kona cotton in pepper) that infiltrate the colored area where quilted with straight lines to flow with the negative space on either side of the colored area. (Colors are various shades of Kona: curry, berry, olive, steel, pomegranate, tomato, and I can't remember the two blues!)

The only printed fabric that I used on the quilt front was the binding, which is a Kaffe Fassett print. I stumbled on this print one day and I loved that it included so many of the colors in the quilt top.

"My Tribe" Quilt - back

The quilt back includes left over solids and a feather print that really seemed to go well with the rest of the quilt.

"My Tribe" Quilt - back detail

On the back you can see some of the quilting a bit better. I almost wish the entire back was this grey color so that the quilting would really shine!

I have to admit, I'm a little nervous to hit "publish" on this post. But really, writing all of this out was quite therapeutic for me. Just about everything that I love about this quilt was criticized by the judges, but I hadn't fully realized that until I actually wrote it down!

And just so that I don't sound like a whiny wimp, I *do* appreciate constructive criticism. I like to hear what people do AND don't like about my quilts. I also realize that it is hard to give constructive criticism, and I'm certainly not the best at it. I guess I just expected a more supportive response, especially when my quilts could have simply not been chosen for the show in the first place. (The other quilt that I had in the show was my solids version of the "9-Patch Puzzle".)

Oh, and because I'm sure someone will ask, here's my tattoo (it's on the inside of my right forearm)!

New Tattoo!

Getting to know my friend Mandy better and spending an entire evening in a tattoo studio together were certainly the highlights of QuiltCon for me!

Oh, and hop on over to Mandy's blog, she has started a "Technique Tuesday"!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Have you heard?

Google Reader will be extinct soon! I'm so sad to hear that, as I love to have all of my "stuff" (i.e. blog, reader, email, calendar, etc) in one place, and I'm a big fan of most google products.

A techy friend recommended The Old Reader as a replacement, and I really like it so far. It looks and operates much like google reader (which I guess is the point, ha!). You can import your subscriptions from google reader, although it does take a few more steps than some of the other readers that I've seen. Adding new subscriptions is very easy though!

I've also see bloglovin mentioned by quite a few bloggers.
If you prefer that, you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Let me know if you find a solution that you like more than either of these!

And in quilty news, we had some nice sunshine today, so I was able to snap pictures of a few new quilts! I'll try to find time to share them soon!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Challenge Link Up!

So, how did everyone do with their February Challenges?

My February Challenge was to open up to people at Quilt Con, and I think that I did pretty well! There are lots of people who I should have approached, and didn't. But I did connect with several people! I met Jen (in the airport in Chicago, before we even got to QuiltCon!!), Charlotte, Emily, Emily, Erika, Felicity (again!), Jacquie (she even remembered who I was!!!) and so many more people! It was a fun experience, which I partially credit to the fact that I traveled with and roomed with my awesome friend, Mandy. I'll chat more about our adventures and the QC experience in a few days, but suffice it to say I'm glad that I challenged my introverted self!

For my March challenge, I am going to push myself to write a class series, to be presented to a few of my local quilt shops. I'm really excited about the ideas that I have, I just hope that people will be interested enough in the material to take the classes!

The Girl Who Quilts

Now let's talk about YOUR challenges! Leave me a comment and let me know how you did in February. Then link up with a new (or continued *wink*) challenge for March!

The link up will close at the end of the day on March 5th!