December 09, 2014

FMQ Weekly: Wildfire Quilting design

This is a simple design that has a lot of elegance.

I found myself stitching it on the quilt that I posted about last week and I thought, I should do a tutorial on that one! It catches the light so nicely. 

So you start with a drop shape and echo it once. 

Then you make a leaf shape around that drop. 

Echo that leaf shape one or two more times (depending on where you want to end up) and then start the next motif. 

When you get biggish spaces between the motifs fill them in with little echoed drops. 

Want to see me stitching it? Great, here's a video!

This is an emerging type of design (one of the design styles I cover in my Craftsy class) so if you're comfortable with other emerging designs (like the paisley pattern) you should be able to adjust to this pattern pretty well. 

Speaking of the Craftsy class, WOW! So many of you have taken it, and left the kindest reviews! It would take me years to teach this many people in person, I'm just thrilled that we can connect online like that. Thanks for all the support and enthusiasm. I love helping people feel confident and adventurous in their FMQ and hearing that I'm doing that gives me such a good feeling. Happy stitching everyone!

December 02, 2014

FMQ weekly: try it!

I don't have a tutorial today, because this Thanksgiving weekend I was completely possessed by quilting. I mean in a way I haven't felt in over a year. I've been putting a lot of time into teaching quilting or writing patterns lately, but this was for no one else but me and it felt delicious.

The quilt I recently finished cracked open a new part of my brain I guess because

a) this quilt is going to have about 80 different designs in it when it's finished.
b) I was hoping to make the deadline for submitting it to the show at QuiltCon.

That's new for me. I can't even explain what happened, just a flash of inspiration to make a quilt with a quilt block by my grandma in the center and the realization that the Quilt Con deadline was in reach. Everything went so quickly and smoothly, utter "Flow" state. It's the time when being an artist feels more like being a conduit than anything else. I felt gratitude for my grandma over and over as I worked on it. I missed the QuiltCon deadline but it didn't really matter. This quilt has changed me.

It needed lots of variety in the quilting and also freedom in the designs. So I tried lots of new things. I'm so happy I did, they are looking great! I guess that's the point in today's post. Try the new things. Even if you're not sure how they will turn out. If you see quilting out in the world that intrigues you and you want to try it, you should. You might amaze yourself!

I'll be back next week with a tutorial. Happy stitching everyone!

November 24, 2014

FMQ weekly: Windswept quilting design

Such a nice lot of supportive comments on my last post, thank you all! Today I want to share one of the designs I used on that quilt. I asked my Instagram followers to help me name it. I heard a lot of wind and hair references so I'm going with Windswept!

I like really flowing designs and I'm hoping that I share this in a way that it makes sense to you. This is an "emerging" type of design, it starts at a point and each new motif emerges from between two others, which you can probably see above if you look for the start of each new swirl. It's not hard, it just looks hard. I had a new quilter in a class this week who did great with it.

So here is how I make the basic motif:

a. Make a loose spiral/swirl
b. Come back to the point along the inside of the spiral.
c. Echo back around the outside of the spiral to the far point.
d. Echo back along the inside of the spiral to the starting point.

e. Then take a short line up to the curve of the spiral, travel along it a little way and then go back down to the point.

That's it. Do it over and over again! You can make your four-spiral unit in whatever order you want. It doesn't matter whether you're coming back on the inside or the outside of the spiral. The explanation above is just the way I've been doing it, and the way that I stitch it in the video below.

The only other thing you need to be prepared for is that where the round ends of your shapes come together they will leave some odd shaped open spaces between them. Unless those are tiny you'll probably want to fill them with some evenly spaced lines to keep the texture consistent and avoid those areas "popping" forward in your design.

You can see me stitching the design in this video. You can also maybe hear my 2 year old waking up from his nap at the end, so it did get cut a little short. If you watch it I think you'll get the idea of how the design flows.

Here's a shot from the quilt I posted about in my last post. Windswept is in the upper left corner in this picture.

Hope you get some use out of this one quilters. Happy stitching!

November 21, 2014

Trying new things

I usually just quilt my quilts with all over designs. I'm just not very fancy. I don't enter my quilts in shows or anything, it's not something that has felt important to me so far. I like finishing my quilts so I can give them to people I love, and I like helping other people do the same thing. 

So when I agreed to quilt one of the Monaluna challenge tops for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild I thought I would just do something all over. Right? Uhhhhh....wrong. Suzanne had pieced these blocks from guild members in this really unique way, lining up strips of the same print in different blocks. "I was hoping the quilting could highlight that" she told me. I felt stumped. It felt out of my league. It felt like a job for a longarmer. I thought about it for two weeks. 

And then I got busy. I didn't get great pictures before handing it off for binding (that made me feel like a princess!) but you can maybe see a little of the quilting above in the negative space. I left these "pipes" that joined the strips unquilted, so they would pop forward, and I made some circles connecting the pipes. I traced around bowls for that part. Here you see my high tech tools.

In the different sections created by the pipes I used different all over patterns.

It worked really well!

I got a great picture of one section in the sunlight.

I'm grateful for being stretched a little out of my comfort zone.  Thank you PMQG and Suzanne! It's wonderful how a community of quilters improves everyone's skills in ways like this. I doubt I'll get this fancy very often but I know I can when I want to!

November 18, 2014

FMQ weekly: pebble power

I recently made this little sample to show the power of pebbling. It's just a plain piece of fabric and the whole thing is quilted in pebbles. I marked a circle (by tracing around a bowl) in the center of the piece and quilted that in a bright contrasting thread. The rest was quilted in a thread that almost matched the background. I love when you can make a plain piece of fabric amazing with quilting.

In each section I occasionally did something fancy inside the pebbles: a spiral in the center section and an asterisk in the background. I think that's my favorite way to dress up pebbling, just adding an occasional fancy one.

If you need a little free-motion quilting time this week and don't have a project ready, try something like this! Ours is now a little pillow. I've made so many pillows and small quilts lately I might do a craft fair booth this season, I need to make some space in here!

November 11, 2014

Gently Down the Stream

I can't believe I'm saying this, but a quilt of mine is in a special issue of Quilter's Newsletter!

This is their new release, Best Fat Quarter Quilts. I didn't know they had put my quilt on the cover and when I opened my mail and saw it I gasped. What a fabulous surprise. I showed it to pretty much everyone I know. Sorry, coworkers.

Maybe you remember when I was geeking out about 60 degree triangles? Well this quilt is what came out of that playing around. It's called Gently Down the Stream. When a quilt name comes to me out of the blue like that one did, I don't question it. It's perfect for this little 40" x 48" quilt.

Because it has all the colors of the rainbow, my five year old has claimed it as her bed quilt. I do love seeing its happy colors enwrapping her little body every evening at bedtime. It's also the best quilt we have for play-sleeping with, it would appear.

I'm glad I challenged myself with a design requiring more precision than I usually use. It was a fun experience and it worked well. If you read my blog on the web or follow me on Facebook (yes that's new!) you might have noticed that my new profile picture is in front of this very quilt. And of course, a close up of the quilting...

Happily, I get to select a commenter to win a fat quarter bundle. Thanks, Quilter's Newsletter! And if you check out the blog hop you can find more giveaways to get your name into. To enter mine, please leave a comment on this post and I will pick a winner tomorrow, Nov 12.  The giveaway is now closed and I have emailed the winner, Diane H!

Thanks for the lovely comments about this quilt. Happy stitching to you!

November 10, 2014

FMQ weekly: Peapods quilting design

I like to name my free-motion designs, even though I always wonder if I'll choose one that someone else has used, or even one that I've already used and forgotten about. I need a system to keep track of them. I totally lack a system.

For this one I picked Wishes. Then I posted a picture on Instagram and Instagram renamed it for me. Instagram called it Peapods and obviously that's a better description than Wishes. I should have checked with you all first! What was I thinking?

Did I stitch this one in a no-narration video? Heck yes I did. I'm really liking the video thing. It's like we're hanging out and quilting together. Here's the video link for those of you who subscribe by email.

These peapods are kind of fat but I've also stitched it with skinnier ones and that looks great too.

And of course, for those who just want a description:

a. You start with a line and make a leaf shape.
b. Make a smaller leaf inside that leaf (making sure to go all the way to the points)
c. Then come up with a string of pebbles in that inner leaf
d. Travel up the side of the inner leaf to the tip of the leaf and continue your line

You repeat that all the way to the edge of your piece, then come back with another column. Consecutive columns are offset so they nestle together. Then you put some echoing lines between the columns for maximum quilting oomph. If that's confusing just watch the first couple minutes of the video.

I hope you get some use out of this one, quilters.

P.S. Portland folks: I have some upcoming FMQ classes at Modern Domestic!