Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Challenged, again!

Every quilt is a challenge, some much more than others. This piece was on my design wall for 3 months before I had a glimmer of how to quilt it. And, here's why: The heart shape is made up of many, tiny flowers, leaves, buds and tendrils that seem to float on the background. Some of the embroidery was done with a single thread!

I figured I had two options. Plan A would be to outline each and every little piece. I knew I had to come up with a Plan B!

And, that's what took so much time...what would be Plan B? I finally decided to quilt the heart shape as a single unit, even though it is made up of many parts. So, I ran a quilt line ¼ inch from the pieces, following around the heart. Then, the same thing on the interior of the heart.

McTavishing fills the background. But, that's a lot of space at the bottom, on either side of the heart's point. So, I found a little heart-shaped scroll from one of Karen McTavish's books to help fill the space, and tie into the heart theme.

My customer thought Victorian feathers would look nice in the border, and she was right! This piece is called Ladybug Labyrinth and there really is a ladybug in there, but you have to look long and hard as it is so tiny. I'm sorry you can't see it in these pictures.

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!

                                                 Dr. Suess

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tequila Sunset

I took a little time to finish my feather sampler. I found a kit called Crescendo by Toadusew Creative Concepts which uses a wonderful gradated fabric by Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry. It was hanging in the vendor's booth, quilted with glorious feathers in gold thread. This is the full piece.

My feather plan is quite a bit different, in that I started with overlapping circles to break up the space.

And, then I started filling everything in with lots of feather styles. I wanted a more contemporary kind of wholecloth quilt. And, while lots of wholecloth quilts have feathers spilling out of quilted urns, I decided to pour them out of a pitcher.

I turned one of the circles into a sunflower with curved crosshatching. And, there is a peacock feather in the space where the circles overlap. And, of course, one must have a feathered heart and some continuous curve gridwork.

Then, more filling of the space. I tried to use a variety of quilting density for variety, some large and loopy, others tightly done.

It's a funny thing about life;
if you refuse to accept anything but the best,
you very often get it.

Somerset Maugham

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Really Big Quilts

Really big quilts with really big empty spaces need really big motifs! The funky feathers in the corners of this quilt (I borrowed this design from Karen Marchetti – it's only stealing if you don't give credit!) are 18 inches tall! I think they look like rooster tails, so that's what I'm going to call them. Quilted in three different colors, this design gives the massive black space some much needed character.

The black thread background quilting is what Karen McTavish calls clam shelling, a form of her McTavishing filler that she's not really fond of. She thinks it looks too congested. But, when it is done large, it is much better than meandering! And, the wool batting gives this clam shelling more dimension than you would get with a simpler meander and a flatter batting.

For the rooster tail feathers that go on top of the paper-pieced diamonds of each cube, I chose a gold Glide thread called Cleopatra. I have found the best thread color for multiple fabric colors is a gold. It's not really metallic, but the Glide thread has a nice sheen to it so it looks almost metallic. And, the gold color does not clash with any of the rainbow array of fabric colors.

My customer hand-dyed just about every piece of fabric for this quilt. Careful placement of colors gives the cubes the 3-D effect they need. I'm very impressed, aren't you?!

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the full piece. It's too large to get up on my design wall!

Pattern is Peacock Window by Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert.

If you only do one thing today,
make sure it is that you believe in yourself.