Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Flowing Lines Piece

I mentioned a few weeks ago, that the Pelham Quilter's were lucky enough to have Elizabeth Rosenberg teach a workshop on her Flowing Lines technique.  We had a blast and many have finished the work they started.

Well I am 99% done, just have to face the piece, but Teri and Elizabeth have been pushing for pics, so I thought I would share with you as well.

 As you can see, I added a boarder to the piece.  I've been dying to play with a paisley design I had been sketching.  I love these swirls, but as you may have read from an earlier post, they gave me quite a fit.  But, I really love them.  I echo quilted them and will definitely be doing more with paisley! 

Here is a close up of the quilting.  At first I tried just quilting lines along the curves of the seams.  I tried two different variegated threads.  But neither the quilting nor the thread really spoke to me.  So, I pulled it out --- twice and  went with a different thread for each fabric (matching thread color to the fabric).  I then quilted the same free motion pattern in each same colored section.....  feathers in the orange, swirls in the magenta, etc....

I like the varied quilting.  It adds to the texture of the piece.

I had fun...  and I definitely like the curved flowing lines.

Thanks Elizabeth!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dublin, Ireland

On the road and once again very much surprised at the lack of quilt shops in major European cities...  As you know I travel a bit for business and am always looking for a quilt shop to visit.  But as in London, Paris, Milan and Geneva, Dublin is another major city with no quilt / patchwork shop in the downtown area.  Why is that?  

In Paris at least I can head out to Le Rouvray which is close to Notre Dame Cathedral (even if it is owned by an American).  In London, I used to be able to take the Tube and hit 2 different shops in about 20 minutes from the downtown area....Creative Quilter and Stitch in Time.  Creative Quilter is still there, and is a nice little shop, but Stitch in Time which had become Tikki Patchwork has closed.  I am told that since my last trip in 2007, I can find one in  the outskirts of Milano, but not when I was there.

So why is this?  I know quilting is alive and well in Europe.  You can see the European Quilt Festival and many other quilt shows talked about in blogs and on forums.  Why are there so few quilt shops or are they all just in the countryside??

Oh well, I head back to the states tomorrow and am looking forward to the new AQS Show in Lancaster, PA this weekend.  My guild has a bus load of folks going on Saturday and I have my shopping list all made out :-).  Will you be there?

Friday, March 12, 2010

I should have known better!

I have had sooo much fun playing with a sketch of a paisley pattern lately, that I decided to use it as applique boarder for my Flowing Lines piece I did in Elizabeth Rosenberg's workshop.  So I sketched it out, resized it and pulled out my color pencils to decide on just the right color combination.  Sounds good so far...  right???

I was having so much fun, that I even posted about my date with paisley applique on facebook!   Using fusible interfacing I went ahead and traced, ironed and cut my pattern four times.  By the end of the date (;-)) I had a really nice looking applique boarder, all ready to stitch.  Woohoo!

But last night was I kicking myself.  Now I do alot of applique and I use wonder under as my fusible of choice. Well I forgot, that just because the fabric was the right color, that did not make it the right choice for the project at hand.  You see, when I am doing applique that has small curvy areas, I try as a rule to use batik.  Why, might you ask....  well batik has such a tight weave, that it doesn't matter if you are working with small curvy pieces of fabric that expose bias edges.  Batik doesn't fray and the stretch is minimal if you need to un-sew.

But no...  I used a regular woven fabric, because the color was right....  and yes...  I had my hands full with stretchy, unraveling fabric that didn't want to cooperate.  It took me 3 hours to get 3 small paisley designs raw edge appliqued....  and then I had to add fray check to all the edges, so the piece didn't just unravel when it gets quilted!!! 

Let's see if tonight I can get the last applique on without punching myself :!@!@! 

Ok, now I can breathe :-)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

NJ QuiltFest Pictures

6 of the Pelham Quilters and I had a great day yesterday at the NJ QuiltFest in Somerset, NJ.  It was a glorious day for the drive with the sun shining.  50 minutes down the NJ Turnpike and we walked into the show with the sun and smiles on our faces.

I was half way through the show when I remembered that I had my camera in my bag.  So I thought I would share my photos with you.  Of course, I wasn't smart enough to take photos of the names of the quilters, so my hats off to all, whether your quilt is included here or not....

These first three are from the same quilter.  The tops are made of about 1" squares and the way th elight plays on the quilts is absolutely breathtaking.  Can you believe the leaves on these trees are all made with thread!  They looked like ribbons at first...

The next looks as if light was shining through the center of the quilt.....
Take a look at the detail in the base of the trees.  Totally amazing....

I was surprised this quilt was by the same artist.  While many of the techniques are the same, it didn't have the same moving spirit.  I like the quilt alot, but it showed a different dimension of the quilter.

As you can see trees were a common theme this year.  This is a different quilter, but I loved the depth in this piece and the way the birch trees continued right out of the top of the quilt.

There is so much to see in this piece.  First, those who know me know that I love circular points made via paper piecing.  But this quilt takes a twist, as the flowers are 3D...  the flowers come off of the black centers.  Then look at the background quilting...  omg...  the leaves and flowers quilted into the background.  I just love the detail.

Here are two detail shots of the bottom right hand side and corner..  and one of the detailed quilting of leaves and flowers....

So that's a quick glance.  I will share more tomorrow.
Hope you enjoyed a view of the quilt show....

A Star in Miami!

Many have followed my progress since October, when I started this piece at the Fall Quilt Escape Retreat hosted by The Country Quilter. I have many post as I worked along the way, with the first post back in November, here.

Well Raven...  I hope your Google Reader sends you an alert on this piece, but here it is finished and hung....  I know, it doesn't belong here... it has to make it's way to Miami, but I had to hang it to take a picture.
It needs to be hung properly, so that the waves continue gracefully across the 3 pieces of the tryptych.  But I really enjoy the way it looks.
Ricky Tims and Libby Lehman, a huge Thank You! for teaching me how to do the ribbons when I attended the Ricky Tims Super Seminar!  I will use this technique over and over again :-).

My friends are telling me that it shouldn't go to Miami just yet, that it needs to go to a few shows first, but we will see.....

P.S. I have started quilting my initials in my quilts...  really making me feel like an artist...uh oh :-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Playing with Aurifil... first time fpr pebbles

I just finished two major projects and haven't had a time to just sit and play at the machine for awhile.  So I did so last night.  Boy was it fun!

I decided to cut a piece of fabric and play with my free motion machine quilting.  I have a couple of designs I use over and over again.  But working on Raven's piece (yes I know I owe you guys a finished picture..  just need the right light.) I decided I needed to add to the designs that I do without thought.  I also decided that I needed to play with the Auriifil Thread I have, as I have really only used the 40wt cotton.

So this is what I came up with....
I love the little leaves in the center.  This was one of the designs I picked up from 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting.  I thought it was pretty.  DH loved the spins in each of the leaves.  Not sure mine really look like hers, but I like them anyway.  I love the way they swirl, so decided to add the circular design around the leaves.  Isn't it interesting how this makes a nice little center design for a circular piece.  I will definitely need to remember this the next time I work on a circular project.  Next I decided to play with free form feathers around the circle.  I have a hard time doing feathers with a spine first, then adding the feathers.  I can always make the right side look great, but can never match the look on the left.  If I start on the left, the feathers on the right are ok, but they don't match the look on the left.  So I practiced making feathers without a spine.  Wow!  what difference it made for me.  My free form feathers took on a totally different look and feel.  It gave me the freedom to turn them any way I wanted and my feathers looked more natural as I wasn't always trying to hit the spine at the right angle :-). 

As I got closer to the edge of the piece of fabric, I decided to try my hand a pebbles.  I always like the tight look and feel they have and the added dimension they give the feathers...  contrasting the big and free feathers with the small and tight circle of the pebbles.  Take a look... 
I really like the way the pebbles frame the other quilting.  Having never played with the pebble design before, I experimented with making them all the same size and then mixing the size.  I also had to stop doing them all in a line and change up on how I circled back over the stitching line to move in a different direction.  I didn't like leaving a gap, so I had to figure out a way to ease smaller pebbles in between larger existing ones.  Fun...  I think I will start adding pebbles into my work, but will have to be careful to make sure I have even quilting across the top, so it doesn't warp the piece.

Now onto the thread.  I used Aurifil 50 wt with a Topstitch 90/14 needle.  On my Bernina 830, I dropped my tension to 1.5, which is typical for what I use with other threads.  To be honest, I wanted to use up bobbins, so there is a mix of bobbin threads.  Well to my surprise, I had NO tension problems.  I ended up using three different bobbins, with three different threads and each stitched as nicely as the last. I have never been able to do this with any other brand of thread....  NEVER!   Oh yeah, these was also almost NO LINT in the bobbin area.  Wow...  what a shock.  I usually have to clean out the lint in the bobbin area after an hour of quilting.  Not with Aurifil :-) 

I did not use the BSR functionality, I just used my round open toe applique foot and had at it!

Here comes one of my 'inquiring minds' questions....  How many people use Aurifil thread?  Do you like it?  What weight do you find works best for free motion quilting?  Do you find one needle size or type works better than the other?  Do you use the same thread in the bobbin?

Let me know.....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pelham Quilter's 2010 Round Robin... progress report...

As promised, here are the pictures of not only the round robin top I have been working on, but also the other two tops being done by the group.

I will start with the one you have seen already....
If you remember, this top was started by Cheryl, with the black/white and red center, with curvy sides.  We were all anxious to see what the next person would do with those sides.  Well, Donna added the wonderful women appliqued onto to the grey background.  Each women has different jewelry that was created using a thread painting technique with silver metallic thread.  Next, Jean added the bold black/white/red boarder using Drunkards Path as it's design inspiration.  I like the way she added the corner stones.  I think the curves of the Drunkards Path compliment the curves of Cheryl's original 'square'.  This group is ahead of schedule, as it already has it's final boarder added, which was done by Evelyn.  Evelyn enveloped the piece nicely with the grey narrow boarder, followed by the red wide boarder.  I think it was a perfect finish, as it said, ok...  this top is DONE.  Nice job ladies!

Next is a piece that I don't believe I have showed any pictures of, as I wasn't at either of the meetings where it was passed on.
This piece was started by Joanne M. with the center block composed of a blue/green/teal star.  I am not sure what the pattern is called, but I like the way it also has the appearance of a circle.  I can imagine a couple of these blocks linked together..  should create an interesting secondary pattern.  Anyone know the name of the center star?  Anyway, next Joanne S. added the light grey/powder blue/teal boarder, giving a nice frame to the star.  Lorraine, our guild President, added the outer round.  I like the way she brought the fabric from the center star out to the third round, while also introducing a new complimentary fabric.  The burgundy in the batik introduces the opportunity for the next quilter to add another color into the final boarder.  Can't wait to see what Cathy comes up with as she works on the last round....  anticipation.  Guess I will have to wait until May just like everyone else!

Last, this is the top I worked on.  You will remember my challenge to figure out how to treat the piece.  it kept talking circle to me....

If you followed my earlier posts, you will remember that Teri created the fused center with diamonds creating a starburst outlined with the blue stripe on a black background.  We all loved the center, but had no idea of where to take it.  Doris added the print pieced boarder and black fused boarder that used both circles and diamonds. So my quandary was what to do next...  we had a square with diamonds in the center, then outlined with more diamonds and circles.  So, I decided to follow where my heart kept taking me...  put the square center into a circular hole.  And to do so why not add another shape, so I added triangles via circular flying geese.   I decided that I needed to add orange to the center of the piece, so I used a thin orange piping around the square from Doris, before adding it to the lime green circle.  Then I felt it needed the print brought from the center, so I found a similar print and added another thing piping before adding the flying geese.  Lucky for me, Teri and I have similar tastes, so I had all of the fabric she used in the starburst in my stash.  WooHoo!  Anne gets this top next.  Funny thing is she said when she saw the top after Doris, it screamed 'circle' to her as well.  Now the question is, will she leave it as a circle....  Hmmmmm....  I wonder?

Well that is the current status of our 2010 Round Robin.  Stay tuned....  all three tops will be finished by our May meeting.  We will draw names from those who worked on each top for a 'winner' of the top.  Then we ask each quilter to come back in September with the top quilted for us to gaze at and enjoy the completed process....

Oh yes, then it will be time for Pelham Quilters 2011 Round Robin...  boy does time fly....