Thursday, June 22, 2017

Artful Elegance - Finally!

I have been waiting SOOOOOO long to share this quilt, and let's just say waiting is NOT my strong suit.

You guys! My quilting has been PUBLISHED!

 This project came to me veiled in secrecy and anticipation. Linda from Rumpled Quilt Skins, in Okotoks, Alberta, had submitted a quilt pattern to be considered by Better Homes & Gardens "Quilt Sampler" magazine. They periodically feature profiles on various quilt shops in their publication, along with a pattern developed by the store owner.

Linda emailed me and asked if I would be interested in quilting her original design, but it had to be absolutely secret and that it would be a quick turn-around, due to production schedules with the magazine. Her pattern had to go through revisions with the editorial staff before it could even be appliqued. And each time she changed the pattern, she'd send me a new version, for me to work up some sketches on how I thought the quilting might look. She gave input on which ideas she liked or didn't and offered suggestions for designs that I hadn't thought of. Linda is always lovingly challenging me. She encourages me to try new things (aka drags me into new territory, even if sometimes I cling to my old comfort zone while kicking and screaming! Ha!). 

When I finally received the quilt top in my hands, I had less than a week to get it quilted, so that her crew could get it bound and shipped off to Iowa for professional photographing. Pressure! In the end, I think it only took me a few days. Since we had done such intense pre-planning and marking on the quilt top, it basically quilted itself.

Here are some preliminary sketches I did as the pattern was going through the design stages.

Even after doing more pre-planning than my usual, I still had to change course mid-journey. I had intended to leave those areas pictured below unquilted, to give the quilt some 3D pop. But after quilting, I just felt it was too big of an area to be left naked and worried that it would be susceptible to creasing. So I ripped it out and inverted the designs in those areas.

The photo below shows an area that was all Linda's idea. An example of her pushing me to expand my comfort zone. I had just planned to fill around those appliqued areas with a dense filler. But she wanted this echoing feature idea. And I have to admit that she was right. I'm really happy with how it turned out.


Congrats to Linda and crew on this stunning design and great feature article! Pick up your copy of the June-July 2017 issue of Quilt Sampler Magazine (by Better Homes & Gardens) today. Stop by Rumpled Quilt Skins in Okotoks, AB, to see this beautiful piece in person and purchase a pattern to create your own version! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Splendoriffic Spring quilt

Isn't this quilt enchanting? So dainty and fresh. It just FEELS like spring! I'm so pleased that Jane brought it to me for quilting. She wanted a custom quilting job, but not too dense. The more intricate the quilting, the stiffer the quilt will be, and it was important to Jane that the quilt remain supple and soft.

I put simple stippling in the floral outer border. You can't even really see it, on that busy fabric. In the yellow border, I used large ribbon candy. Nothing at all in the blue inner border or in the sashing strips. Then in the blocks, I incorporated orange peel (aka continuous curve) and more stippling. Simple, understated, but I think effective.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Baby Animals quilt

True to form, here's another quilt that Rosemarie made to give to someone else. This is for a new baby in her family. My little girls were really tickled by all the baby animal panels. It's so fun for me when a quilt strikes their fancy. Maybe I'll have future quilters!

Rosemarie wanted a simple edge-to-edge design, and I went with interlocking square shapes, a sorta meandering rectangles idea. This will be a really serviceable quilt for the little guy, for sure!

My quilting is all free-motion, hand-guided on a longarm quilting machine.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rosemarie's Pineapple Quilt

Many of the projects I've quilted for Rosemarie have been gifts that she's made for others in her life. But this one was for her own house, which I love, because as I was quilting it, I knew that she'd get to enjoy her own handiwork and revel in the beauty of this piece.

She wanted a full-on custom job, and told me she didn't mind a little more intense than her usual order. I did a bunch of ruler work in the striking, pointy pineapple shapes. Narrow swirls in the inner and outer borders. I'm glad I didn't spend too much time putting an intricate design in those areas, because the fabrics have enough variation that you can't really see the quilting anyway. But I'm glad I put a little extra time in the center-most cream-colored area. It shows up well, and I think it looks really classy and elegant with an undulating spine with swirly feathers.

The thing that took the most time was all the outer cream background areas, with the twisted grid pattern. It was a stencil that I traced onto the fabric with water-soluble marker. The marking took FOREVER. I chose to do the grid on a 45º angle, which made it really difficult to keep track of where the "repeat" was happening, each time I picked up the stencil to mark the next open area. After a while, I was wondering if my eyes were crossing! But I got through, and I think it's a really nice effect - reminiscent of the grid-ish pattern on the outside of a fresh pineapple, in my opinion. I like it!

And it makes me happy that Rosemarie liked it, too. She wasn't in love with the quilt top, when she brought it to me. She was second-guessing the color choices. It happens more than you might think. So many decisions go into making the work of art that is a quilt, and it's not uncommon that quilters will fall out of love with their project as it comes together and takes shape. And it's such a shame when that happens, after all the hours and money spent cutting, piecing, and pressing. But sometimes (like this time), the quilting can actually help re-kindle the magic! Here's what Rosemarie texted me after she got home with this finished project...

"I just spread the big quilt out on a bed, and for sure the quilting is what makes it!!!! Fabulous job. I like it now - LOL! Thank you for your originality in quilting it. Rosemarie"

Woohoo! That's what any quilter would love to hear!! Thanks, Rosemarie! CB