Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Winter is Coming" - A Game of Thrones Wall-hanging

The "Winter Is Coming" quilt has been gifted, so I can share! It hung on my design wall for a couple of weeks and shocked me every time I turned around (that wolf's head is no joke - it's larger than it looks!).

 "You know nothing, Jon Snow." (*giggle*)

This quilt was made for my brother Sean's birthday upon his request. What really made this project fun is that I also appreciate Game of Thrones, its complex storyline, and actors (not so much the unending violence, though). Sean asked for the Stark family sigil (the direwolf) and the popular show/book catchphrase, "Winter is Coming."

The appliqued head came out better than I hoped. I cut it out of black fabric with my rotary cutter, loosely following the outline of a wolf's head I found on Google (though I'm having trouble finding the link now, sorry). I didn't print it out and trace because I enjoy the challenge of cutting and drawing things to scale. My first attempt didn't turn out great but the second was this!

I didn't use interfacing to give the head more stability or for bonding - mostly because I made it during the blizzard of 2016 and I couldn't go anywhere! I glued the wolf's head down and just raw-edge appliqued around it. The fraying fabric makes it look a bit rough and furry, so that works.

I thought about quilting in the details of the wolf (eyes, fur, etc.) but the black shadow on gray looked so awesomely ominous. I went with an echoing curve instead, which you can see below.

 From the back: a bit linty (that's black fabric for you) but cool quilting effect!

In a recent WIP Wednesday post, I used two new-to-me quilting motifs: sketch letter quilting (I made up a method) and brick by brick. I'm itching to try sketch letter quilting again soon - the tutorial is here in case you'd like to try as well! I used Aurifil threads the whole way through from my "basics" collection, which gets a ton of use around here.

For the background, I purposefully pieced together two different shades of gray to give the quilt some depth. Using my Hera marker, I centered the letters on the intersection of the bottom two grays. I created the letters myself with free motion. Finally, I quilted the dark gray with my own version of the "bear claw" motif by Christina Cameli for extra fierceness. Rar.

Overall, I was thoroughly pleased with how this quilt came out. My brother was thrilled and he'll be hanging it up in his bachelor pad just about now! Update: it's officially hung up! I love seeing quilts in their homes.

It's so fulfilling and exciting to be able to CREATE anything I can dream up. Well, almost anything. :)

P.S. I'll be back to blogging a couple more times this week! Yay! I missed it (I only took a week's break... sheesh... but really, I love to write).

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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sunshine: An Orange Peel Mini Quilt

For my 5 year blogiversary celebration back in September, I gave away the chance to win a custom mini quilt. I chose the winner, Rina, using the Random Number Generator. I was thrilled with Rina's original comment: "I like bright happy colors that make you smile, no matter how rotten the day." Upon further investigation through email, I found out that she loves improvisation, orange peels, and dense quilting (much like myself, plus bright yellows and teal blues.

Based on her likes, I pulled out blues and yellow to make a cheerful, unique orange peel mini quilt. I never would have chosen these colors without her, and I'm so pleased with the result!

This design was one of the many, many orange peel ideas in my sketchbook (yes, there are several more orange peel quilts coming this year! I can feel it!). It features two different sizes of orange peels, using two different white fabrics. I sewed together strips and scraps so that the colors morph vertically down the quilt from light to dark to light.

Here, I integrated one of the only scraps I have of this long out-of-print yellow Outfoxed fabric by Lizzy House. It seemed like the perfect use, so I was happy to use it in Rina's quilt. Even though this scrap features a few darker colors, it doesn't detract from the overall design. At least, I don't think it does. :)

The quilting was simple and exciting to execute. I used Aurifil #2600 (Dove) to echo the path of the orange peels, like the wind, and I interspersed swirls here and there. As I often do, I left the orange peels unquilted so that they "pop" off the surface.

Rina emailed me to tell me that winning this quilt was better than winning the lottery. She made my whole week! Thank you, Rina!

In case you'd like to hear more about my approach to choosing quilting motifs for modern quilts, feel free to watch my scope from Periscope this weekend:

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

In case you'd like to see all the orange peel quilts I've made so far, check out the hashtag on Instagram: #jsorangepeelcollection.

 I may not post again until the end of the week (we'll see) - I'll be at Byrne Sewing Connection in Doylestown, PA, lecturing on Improvisation from Tuesday to Wednesday! I'll be posting updates on Instagram (@quiltyhabit). I can't wait!

Friday, January 29, 2016

On Sew Mama Sew: Round Robin Bee Tips and Troubleshooting

I've written another article for Sew Mama Sew about the sewing community: how to start and participate in a round robin bee, along with troubleshooting suggestions. I've participated full-force in two different round robins, one online and one in person; they've changed the way that I sew and how I view the quilting community (for the better).

Neutral Log Cabins – made at Mid-Atlantic Mod Retreat 2015 by Neva Asinari, Laura Bennett, Nicole Folino, Elizabeth Jones, Jessica Levitt, Carrie Maria, Sheila Randall, Summer Rankin, Jordyn Rush, Janet Schoenfeld, Jessica Skultety, and Amy Verne. Quilted by Jessica Levitt. Picture by Amy Verne.

Thanks to Kristin and Beth for this opportunity!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Free Motion Quilting Experiments

This week, I've been working on a bunch of projects, thanks to three days snowed in - like much of the east coast. I feel much more confident going into February!

My brother's birthday is soon. He's a minimalist kind of guy, and while he often encourages my crafting and appreciates my quilts, he insists he doesn't need anything else but the t-shirt quilt I made him a couple years ago. We started talking once when he was visiting, and he admitted that a Game of Thrones wall-hanging would be pretty rad. I said "I'LL MAKE IT" faster than he could even consider his words.

He left the colors up to me ("uh... whatever is normal" - his response when I texted him - fine with me :) ). Black seemed especially captivating for the wolf head and words. I sewed together two different Northcott solid grays (they are SO SOFT) for a bit of a background contrast effect.

The big fun for this mini quilt was the background quilting. Instead of taking the time to applique letters, I decided to "wing it" (my favorite) by tracing the letters with my Hera marker and quilting them instead. I came up with a pretty easy way to make them stand out more with sketch quilting (I'm sure I haven't invented this particular method, but I haven't read anything about my approach before). It's easy and fun, but it does require some intermediate free motion quilting control. Practice, practice!!

You can view my sketch letter quilting tutorial (#sketchletterquilting) right here from Periscope and Katch:

I decided to quilt another part of the background with this building bricks motif. I love the look of sharp, angular quilting for this fierce quilt (literally fierce - that's a wolf head, people). I will happily film and/or write up a tutorial for this if anyone is interested!

More on the inspiration/choices behind this quilt once it's gifted... I've just got the binding and label left!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Letter to Purple + Sewing Challenge

Dear Purple,

You are my favorite color with no exceptions. Ever since I was a little girl, I've preferred purple to pink (and, let's face it, every other color). I gravitate towards wearing purple gloves, scarves, sweatshirts, shirts, and jewelry every day. That poem by Jenny Joseph, "When I'm an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple?" Oh, that applies to me every day, and I'm 26.

You're also cooler (literally - a cool color). A rainbow isn't complete without violet, but it doesn't need pink. See? Even rainbows find your essential.

Some of my favorite purple projects from the past.

As a quilter building her fabric stash, I've always gone out of my way to purchase a "good" purple. A print that doesn't have too many other colors involved. A rainbow of solid purples in all the shades. Purples that go well with black, white, and especially gray. Purples that illuminate a sunset.

Sunset - Misdirection pattern by Jess @elvengardenquilts, coming soon

One day in the distant future, if I give birth to a girl, I can only hope that people will keep all of this in mind. Those purple baby clothes are out there, right? Also, I've found purple to look quite fetching on men (namely, my husband). So, if I have a boy, I also hope to purchase and make purple things for me AND baby. Because the selfish sewing with purple shall never end.

Because I love you so much (and because others seem to as well), Sarah @sarahmgoer, Meg @myteaandbrie and myself (@quiltyhabit) are hosting a Purple Sewing Challenge on Instagram.


You're pleased, right? It's all just for fun sewing and pretty pictures. Hopefully you'll look in on the hashtag (#purplesewingchallenge) from now until March 1 and maybe even work on your own purple project. I know I will be.

Anyway, purple, never change. I'll always be here, seeking out true purple fabrics to use in my quilts, and starting random purple projects just because I love you to no end.



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