Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Guest Post: Tips for Combining Machine + Hand Quilting with Aurifil


Today I'm excited to share my newest orange peel quilt/passion project, Bouquet, with you, along with my entire process of quilting it! People are always asking me to explain how I decide to quilt something, so here's a chance to read more in depth. Plus, I wrote up 5 tips for quilting by machine and hand together and some more inspiration. I hope you enjoy the post, over on the Aurifil blog!

Thank you to Aurifil for sponsoring the threads for this quilt (below, the new Anna Maria Horner 12 weight collection). I absolutely loved hand quilting with them and I've already started using some on another hand quilting project!

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

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Starlight" - A Mini Quilt

This little quilt was a long time coming. So long, in fact, that it's been almost a year since the recipient was promised one - not for lack of making, but for lack of the perfect idea! My dear longtime blogging/quilting friend Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, somehow, became the random winner of my 6th Blogiversary Giveaway last year (look for a post about my 7th in the next couple of weeks!), and I promised her a custom mini quilt.

"Look at the stars, look how they shine for you" - from the song "Yellow" by Coldplay.

After she shared her likes (rainbow, approximate sizing, heavy quilting), the quilt sat on my mind for months. It's one thing to make someone a mini quilt and another thing entirely to make one for someone so special. It finally hit me a couple of months ago (Yvonne was very gracious as I took my time): I would make a quilt using lyrics from one of our shared favorite bands, Coldplay.

Once I decided on the lyrics (which took awhile - Coldplay rocks! - but I wanted something uplifting), the rest was a no-brainer. I enjoyed fussy-cutting the centers of several wonky stars and piecing them together even smaller than I'm used to (I love see it done, but don't  really enjoy small piecing myself). I used this tutorial from Jane's Fabric and Quilts to make 3" finished stars. For their final placement, I was heavily inspired by Renee's Ombre Stars quilt.

It always takes time to figure out how to quilt the words (and which fonts to use). Just like with the "Today I Feel" quilt, I marked lines with a hera marker and just went for it. I could certainly trace the letters and quilt over them, but what's life without a little risk? :) Quilting words with free motion is definitely one of my favorite things to do these days.

Then, I used Aurifil 2600 (Dove Gray) to quilt the stars, emphasizing their movement down the diagonal of the quilt. I quilted around the words in the same thread, but in straight lines (again to emphasize the middle), and at the last second decided to add some hand quilting. This ended up being my favorite part of the quilt.

I used some of my 12 weight Aurifil threads to quilt big stitches, purposefully leaving the tail ends for some flair (5022 Mustard, 2155 Cinnamon, 1125 Medium Teal, and 4662 Spotted variegated green). Thanks to Aurifil for letting me try these out (and I used them in a project for next week, too).

Yvonne says she loves the mini, and that's what I hoped for! This quilt wanted to stay here, but it's best in its new home. :) Plus... maybe more song quilts, sometime? Which lyrics would (or have you) made into a quilt?

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Recalibrating: Some Annoucements

Wow, did I need a break! One of my goals the last couple years has been teaching (and allowing) myself to relax. For as long as I can remember (high school?) I've been go, go, go. Even in the summer or on vacation, I'm not used to slowing down. Ha! This year, though, I had an extremely relaxing, exciting, and family-and-friend-filled summer. I'm grateful.

The online break brought me so much happiness. I've been hand-quilting, embroidering, making small projects for people (and NOT sharing much about it online! Gasp!), and reading a ton. As I mentioned on Instagram recently, I didn't mean to take a blogging break, but I did, and it felt good. Even though I have a list of topics I want to write about, writer's block came knocking at my door.

During my break, I made several important decisions.
  • I'll be blogging 1-2 times a week for the rest of the year, and I may skip a week here and there.
  • Don't worry, The Wonky Press newsletter will continue as scheduled: on the 1st and 15th of every month. The newsletter is a special format and place to interact with you, the community, and I absolutely love writing it! So if you want to hear the latest, the newsletter is the absolute best bet. You can subscribe here if you'd like to see it appear in your inbox (the most recent issue from last week, Issue #47, is right here).
  • I've changed up my workshop offerings for 2018 and added one whole new class! More of what I love, with the focus being brick-by-brick improvisation (my planned improv method), and free motion quilting. I'm also still giving lectures at quilt guilds and shows; so much excitement about my upcoming schedule and programs in the works! 
  • I'm considering teaching online classes at some point while also trying to figure out the best way to go about such an enormous task. Not sure when this will happen, but it's more on my mind than ever.
  • It's time to move on: I'm selling some quilts and samples, with plans to donate some of the proceeds to organizations of importance to me. More soon.
  • I'm not currently accepting more blog sponsors or affiliates, but I'm still happy to share opinions about products or companies that I admire in The Wonky Press (not paid, just my thoughts).
  • Again, in focusing on what I love most about quilting: I won't be designing patterns any longer, unless there's a really specific opportunity. This is not to say I won't host a quilt-a-long or block-of-the-month in the future, though. 

  • I'm taking a hiatus from applying for things, including magazine submissions and most quilt shows.
Some of you might be wondering where all this is coming from. I'm trying to focus more on the things that matter most to me and simplify. I've stretching myself too thin for too long. I'm excited to follow this path, teach, lecture, and MAKE a lot of things!

I hope you'll stick around, as I'm certainly not going away. I really value the blogging and quilting communities and the friendships I've forged here. Plus, I still love to write and share projects!

That being said, I have a couple of quilts and a compilation of links to share with you soon (one quilt coming up on Friday and one with a guest post next week), an announcement about my book, and five quilts to work on. Oh, and an audiobook to listen to!

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