Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Three is a lovely number

Quilt Therapy, my minigroup, issued a challenge to create a small quilt by 9/19/2012 for an upcoming community show. That's what I'm working on. 

Challenge parameters:
  • size: 18x18
  • colors: 50% to match three paint chips, and
  • theme: three. 
Paint chips, mostly randomly selected:
red-oranges, yellow-oranges, & darkest neutral purples
Fabrics to match. In keeping with the theme, I'm using a 3x3 format - aka 9-patch. 
 paired squares
The number "3" makes a great shape. I selected a font, printed it large, enlarged it further on the copier, then cropped and traced for interesting mix of related shapes and positive/negative spaces:
Then I randomly paired patterns with fabric and outlined shapes with free motion stitches. Trimmed extra layers away - a raw edge reverse applique technique.

Then the fun part - arranging the squares in a 3 x3 format. This is similar to an exercise in the June shapes workshop with Terry Jarrard-Dimond posted here and here. From the trimmed layers, I made a polar twin 3x3 and arranged it in the same order:
arrangements v1, polar twin on left
Then rearranged in a dissimilar order:
 arrangement v2, related but not twins
Rearranged again in dissimilar order with some parts traded:
arrangement v3, traded parts
I really enjoy this design-play part of the process and could go on forever. Play more? or go with one of these? I've gotta put it together soon and get quilting. That deadline is looming!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Succumb to fmq practice

I thought free motion quilting was for others, not for me, but I've changed my tune. Admittedly I'd resisted for a long time. How to get there without so much work?! Now that I've succumbed to daily fmq practice, I'll get there eventually. Here's proof that it has ruled my studio time.

You'd think a simple change in direction to create a checkerboard effect would be easy. It was.Until I spaced out and discovered many squares later they didn't alternate properly anymore. Then it got ugly. In the few tedious hours it took to un-stitch several squares, I could've finished them all! Thenceforth I marked the direction of each square and quilted in one direction only. Thus avoiding or aborting further mishaps. It's now ready for binding:
fmq'd mini whole cloth with trapunto
This Ohio Star would make a good pillow:
fmq'd Ohio Star
The pink one just needs a filler around the perimeter . . .
waiting for fmq around perimeter
. . . or maybe not. 

Now is a good time to get moving on a group challenge due in mid-September. An opportunity for design-play once again plus another opportunity for fmq, of course. 

Really good news: the machine quilting workshop with Sandy Ciolino is a go! Yay! This also means a get together with a Michigan friend for a trip to Toronto! Yay for that too!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

FMQ habit

I've fmq'd every single day since 7/7/2012! It has become an(other) obsession.

I've continued with Leah Day's beginner-intermediate filler designs, designs I learned about in last month's machine quilting class with Jill Schumacher and played with my own variations as well.
beginner-intermediate filler samples & more
Here's what the mini trapunto whole cloth  looks like now:
mini trapunto whole cloth in progress
Not much progress but many trial samples. On the left are the designs I'll use: from top to bottom, Jill's Waffles in the middle, Martha's Marshmallows in the hearts and Seven Treasures of Buddha around the outside.

And here's the Ohio Star:
Ohio Star in progress
Though Jill had advised me to quilt a simple border pattern because any fancy quilting won't show up, I saw it as an ideal opportunity to practice spirals and hide any wobbles. Those samples to the left are more spirals which I'll quilt in the solid blue and white areas around the star. The design is Leah Day's Swirling Water. It took multiple attempts to get this intermediate level (woot!) design right.

Since these two projects are stalled waiting for thread, I am working on this one:
pink mini whole cloth in progress
I'd barely started this one in a long-ago workshop with Sue Nickels and had shown it here, before I'd removed all the straight stitches. Not too much thinking needed since I'll quilt it similarly to this practice one:
practice for the pink one
All this practice has certainly helped my stitch quality but I'm still clueless about quilting my own improvisational work.

In mid-October I am going to the Crow Barn in Ohio for a machine quilting workshop and further fmq education from Sandy Ciolino. Check out Sandy's website and read what good things Kathy Loomis and Annette Guerrero say about her.

If you want to quilt your own non-traditional projects and improve your fmq, then you really must join me there. A great environment. We'll laugh, eat well, and learn lots too!

Friday, August 3, 2012