Thursday, October 20, 2016

WIP: Improv Fall Landscape Quilt


Fall/autumn is easily my favorite season. Sometimes I think about moving to a completely different part of the country, just to have the experience of living somewhere besides NJ/PA, and then I remember that I'd miss mid-Atlantic fall too much. Every time I see a colorful tree, I'll say, "Oh wow, look at that one!" and my husband says, "Yes, it's a tree!" He's just teasing since, after ten years, he's quite familiar with my fall behavior. :)

The best part of fall is when the trees are juuust starting to transition. Since last year, I've been thinking about this tree in my school's parking lot. Look at how it changes from the bottom - from green, to yellow, to orange, and finally to red. A full range of fall color that will become even more pronounced still. The color lover in me sighs in delight every time I see it. That is no exaggeration.

So, this fall, I set out to make a modern, improvised landscape quilt for my own satisfaction that can double as a class sample for my brick-by-brick improvisation method. At first, I was building my tree from the right corner, but I'm loving the idea of the colors actually progressing to the top like a full tree.

You'll notice that purple was an unexpected addition. On Instagram, @annettezee suggested that I add purple/wine to the mix. I love the idea that while the "tree" is brilliant at the moment, it's also becoming a little more muted (and purple - because purple is the best color ;) ).

I started building the quilt in half, so I can piece in some "branches" - I may take out the ones I've done to readjust the contrast. In the end, I'm looking for a no-applique piece.

I have more tree transition pictures to share in The Wonky Press to come, as well as in the future "finished quilt" post for this quilt! It's not a deadline project so I have a feeling that, at the very least, I will finish the top by the time fall is coming to a close. I might pause on the quilting so I can consider it a little more. Overall, though, it's been an exciting exercise in using scraps of fabric that somehow mesh as a whole.

Have you made any projects inspired by fall colors? If so, I'd love to hear about them and/or see them!

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Part of Your World": A Little Mermaid mini quilt

Every year for the last three years, I've made my sister a Disney-themed mini quilt. It's always been a fun and exciting detour from my typical quilting projects. Each one has been based loosely on a piece of artwork or promotional image from the movie or Broadway show (see all three quilts at the bottom of this post!). This year, Marisa requested The Little Mermaid, based on this simple, minimalist image from the Broadway show soundtrack.

It's so difficult to make one of these quilts because ALL I want to do is share with her! I started out pulling lots of scraps; it was completely scrap-made in the end... and then...

 ...pieced together an improvised sunset, because the original image begged for more depth...


...raw-edge appliqued a sun and added some improv curves as waves...


...quilted a ship after some drawing practice and lots of thinking about scale... 


...appliqued a rock and a mermaid in pieces (usually the heads and bodies look so strange until I add hair and quilted details, like a purple bathing suit/bra - which is all purple thread since it was just too small to applique :D)...

...quilted in the song, appliqued Flounder and Sebastian (accented with little FMQ bubbles and hand-stitching on Flounder [they are probably my favorite part of this piece; Marisa told me I couldn't add more people but she didn't mention sea-living sidekicks!])...


...appliqued clouds, and quilted the sky in countless different Aurifil 50 weight threads (they purposefully weave in and out of each other, and I wanted them to slightly contrast the curvy movement of the ocean).

The backing was special, too; I used the purple colorway of this Biology print by Sarah Watson for Marisa's pillowcase last year. Apparently her roommate also recognized it (HI, JEN!)!


Here's the happy recipient! My parents drove down to visit Marisa, who requested her birthday gift early, since it was already done (her birthday is in November, and she won't be home until mid-December). I wanted to be the one to give it to her but I was rewarded still with a hilarious video of her opening the gift! You can't make up smiles like that! Custom, handmade gifts have and always will be my favorite gifts to give.

And here are all three Disney mini quilts.  I can't think of anyone else I would have rather made them for. :)

 From left to right: "Let It Go" Frozen mini quilt (2015); "Part of Your World" Little Mermaid mini quilt (2016); "Tomorrow Night" Tangled mini quilt (2014).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Stash

Uh oh, two Sunday Stash posts in a row (here's last week)! This week, I loaded up on some important colors at my local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works. I love that I can visit my LQS, see all the fabric in person, and talk to other quilters. PQW also has an online shop, which I've utilized in the past. I realize that not every quilter has this option, but if you do and have a great LQS, I hope you visit soon!

From right to left: "Rose Silhouette" in Purple from Rosealea by Nel Whatmore for FreeSpirit; Dottie in Brown from Cotton and Steel Basics; Bear Essentials 3 by P&B Textiles

Last week, I mentioned on Instagram that I lack nice, rich, dark greens (like an evergreen shade) in my stash. I haven't seen them much in modern day fabrics, either. Turns out I'm not the only one looking for a good green. The small prints above are just what I need to work on my Improv Fall Landscape quilt. I now know that P&B has several great, modern, small print basics in their Bear Essentials 3 fabric line (so I may have to check those out sometime - in fact, PQW has them, so I'll be looking in person next time I'm there!). By the way, I happen to love Cotton and Steel's unique selections of greens, though I didn't get my hands on any more this time around.

I've always had minor problems with brown (not necessarily that I don't like it, but I find it difficult to incorporate into my usual color schemes). I'm making a special quilt for my brother (he already knows about it) that requires a lot of brown, so I was on the lookout. I ended up purchasing Dottie Cotton and Steel so I could effectively cut it up for the scrappy quilt.

Finally, well, my ardor for purple always wins, and when I saw this brand new lavender on deep purple rose print, it jumped onto the cutting table before I could even think about how much purple fabric I have. This print reminds me a lot of Anna Maria Horner's gorgeous, saturated roses.

A successful trip for sure - especially since only one was an impulse buy!

Linking up to Sunday Stash.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Birthday Giveaway - The Wonky Press Newsletter

The Wonky Press modern quilting newsletter has been going out to email subscribers for an entire year! I honestly can't believe it. In my excitement, I even drew my ideal birthday cake in Paint.

When I first started out, my goals were to spread a love for modern/contemporary quilting and community, write educational articles and editorials, and keep readers abreast with things going on in my world (including my "Currently" tab, which used to be a feature on the blog). It's such an intimate and exciting way to share news with you, separate from the blog.

I try my best to compile relevant links, inspiring quilts, and news in the quilting world every two weeks. This month, all subscribers have a chance to win the birthday giveaway - 6 fat quarters of Imprint by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery!

If you're already subscribed to receive the newsletter, you're entered! If you aren't, fill out the form below to subscribe. I'll randomly choose a winner for the Nov. 1 issue.

You can also read the latest issue here, which came out on October 1 (I talk more about the future of The Wonky Press, plus share the usual links and inspiration - right now, we're exploring modern traditionalism). The next issue will arrive in subscribers' mailboxes on Saturday, October 15,* and you can also view past issues here.

*Please note that it usually gets sent out at 10 or 11 pm the night before the 1st or 15th, EST.

Thank you for your support and for traveling with me on this journey. I truly enjoy compiling and writing the newsletter and I hope to continue for a long while!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Quilt The Life Into It - Wholecloth Quilt

I made another practice quilt for the wholecloth challenge with Renee @quiltsnfeathers - and I surprised Renee herself with it, for her birthday! This is one of our catchphrases, along with Yvonne @quiltingjetgirl; we all love dense quilting and the LIFE it brings to a quilt. So, we've been cataloging our quilting quests on the hashtag #quiltthelifeintoit.

I made the majority of this little quilt before I made my first wholecloth Hamilton quote quilt, so I consider myself much improved since. However, this quilt made me fall in love with tiny, tiny quilting and changing thread colors. It's textured but subtle until you look closer.

I added two of my characteristic appliqued orange peels so that it was crystal clear to Renee that I had made it! :) So I guess, in a way, it's not completely a wholecloth quilt. Oh well. I quilted some favorite motifs around them, including pebbles of all sizes and ribbons (which I'll be teaching this coming weekend in Beginner Free Motion Quilting with the Colonial Quilters of Bethlehem, PA!).

It's quilted all in 50 weight Aurifil thread; sometimes I quilted over motifs so they stuck out more. I used 2600 (dove gray) for the letters, plus 2024 (white), 2850 (green), 2540 (medium purple), 2805 (blue green), and finally 2715 (light blue) for the word "life."

This was the first time I tried actually quilting orange peels. They came out much better in the Hamilton quilt! The more you practice, the better you get. No one is perfect. Remember that especially when you free motion quilt!

I also just made this teeny quilt for my husband to commemorate our 4th wedding anniversary. It's a silly play on words using these beautiful lyrics from the musical Hamilton (written by Lin Manuel-Miranda). The story goes that I sang the song to him ("That Would Be Enough") and in response, he said, "I ketchup being your husband," to which I burst out laughing. And yes, those are our cake toppers from the wedding. We love cats (though we don't yet have one). :) I also love writing on quilts apparently!

I'll write up a post soon about the 40 and 28 weight threads that I've been playing with (thanks to Aurifil), one MORE practice wholecloth quilt that's almost done (sneak peeks are on my IG account), and an update about the large wholecloth project. These quilts have been my most fun experiments since I went orange peel crazy back in 2014. I don't really see them coming to an end; I've even started a list of lyrics and quotes I'd like to memorialize in quilt form.

What words would YOU like to quilt to life in a wholecloth quilt?

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts.


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