Tag Archives: Rainbow

Rainbow-quilt-longarm-quilting

Longarm Quilting Ulla’s Quilt

At some point in August I was cruising Instagram and a German quilter I’d recently followed posted a gorgeous quilt top she’d just completed. In terms of design, the quilt was really simple – six solid horizontal stripes stretching across the left third of the quilt, in purple, blue, green, red, orange, and yellow, and the rest of it all white – but my god, it took my breath away! Without thinking twice I asked if I could quilt it, and for some reason she said yes and told me I could do whatever I wanted to! That is one trusting stranger, y’all. When she asked for the cost I said that I would do it for free for the practice, with the caveat that she gets what she paid for. Or at least that’s what I tried to explain in my rather pathetic German.

Ulla sent me the quilt with a whole bunch of goodies (including a bit of cash), and I held off until I returned from France to get started, hoping to get some ideas and inspiration while I was there. I had a pretty good idea about what to do with the stripes, but I agonized over all that negative space. In the end I decided to just load it on the frame and get on with it.

I decided to go with a bar graph design, extending each stripe into the negative space with a different-length frame. Each stripe then got a different quilting pattern, extending into the framed part of the negative space. This was a good opportunity to practice some ruler work.

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Extending the bars and filling them in.

Once the stripes where completed, I tackled the negative space. At first, I considered breaking it into smaller segments, but then I decided it was too much work and that I should just start filling in the white space with whatever struck my fancy. This was something we practiced in the Shape-by-Shape class with Angela Walters, but it’s also something I’d been practicing on paper for the better part of two years.

Longarm-quilting-negative-space

I love how the tear drops pop here.

I’d started doodling when I first decided I was going to get a longarm and much like with the longarm, I was TERRIBLE at this at first. But then I started doing it every day—on the commute to and from work, while sitting in the English Garden at lunch, or whenever I sat on my own in a café. I got better paper and better pens, and I started getting pretty damn good at it.

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An early doodle.

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A later doodle

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Starting to look familiar?

A lot of these shapes were also inspired by Graffiti Quilting by Karlee Porter, whose quilting style I absolutely adore.

So back to the quilt, I just started filling it in and stopped when I was done! There were pebbles, paisleys, ribbon candies, flowers, and all sorts of random shapes that I used to doodle or that just popped into my head as I quilted. Some worked great, some not so much, but with so much quilting, no one was going to notice what didn’t work.

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Doodling with thread.

I also incorporated some of the designs I learned from Angela, including the swirl chain and the bracketed frame. I relied on the the biggest (non-)secret she taught us:

Echo, echo, echo!

I echoed the crap out of this quilt ;).

All told this quilt took about 6-8 hours to quilt. Had I charged for it, we’d be looking at hundreds of euros, though I don’t look at it as money lost, but rather as valuable lessons learned. On this quilt I got to practice lots of quilting patterns and ruler work, learned to deal with tension issues, tried out different kinds of thread, used red snappers for the first time instead of pinning, learned how to remove blood from a pure white quilt (true story), and learned lots of other things.

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I love the way the back turned out!

I also learned that I’m ready to start charging customers market prices for quilting, so if you’re in Germany or Europe and need some longarm quilting done, get in touch!

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Quilts for Pulse Heart Quilt

It’s sad that we’re in September now and I had to think back to when the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando took place. It’s a short news-cycle world we live in. At any rate, I asked the members of the Munich Modern Quilt Guild (oh, yeah, did I mention I started an MQG in Munich?) if they’d like to make a few heart blocks to send and also held a sewing day at my house. The sewing day ended up being me and one other member, but we had a few blocks from another member for a start and a fourth member sent me some blocks in the mail, so between the four of us we managed to get enough blocks for an entire quilt, and since I missed the individual block deadline, I went ahead and finished the quilt.

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Ikea Britten Nummer fabric – I finally get the love

It took very little time to sew the blocks together. I then made a backing from Ikea Britten Nummer fabric and a colourful rainbowy stripe. Next, I popped the whole thing on the longarm and quilted it with a simple edge-to-edge design, which took about two hours including loading and unloading the quilt and a whole lot of playing around to get the tension just right. The quilt is machine bound, and though the binding is far from perfect, it’s sturdy and should hold up to some abuse.

Schnitzel and I both loved this block (made by guild member Martine) the most.

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Schnitzel has good taste

Do you have a favourite charity for quilts? If you’re looking for a good home for an orphan block, consider quilting it and sending it to Alison for her Soy Amado project.

Bookshelf Mini Quilt

My friend Cathy, mother of Rachel and Louise, turned fifty recently and I had to commemorate the occasion. Cathy is an incredible writer, so I decided to make her a bookshelf mini, which hopefully she can hang in her writing shed.

Rainbow Bookshelf

Rainbow Bookshelf

I loosely followed the tutorial by Don’t Call Me Betsy and was fortunate to have lots of selvages, sent to me completely gratis by the lovely Alison of Little Island Quilting. (Speaking of Alison, go buy her book, it’s hilarious!)

Book titles

Book titles

The titles are fused on using double-sided fusible and then top-stitched.

I then took this baby to the longarm (which I have used embarrassingly little since forking over all of my savings) and went to town.

Quilting Detail 1

Quilting Detail above the shelf

Quilting Detail below the shelf

Quilting Detail below the shelf

AND! For the first time in nearly five years of quilting, I made a quilt label! My sources tells me it’ll fade because all I did was laser print directly on the fabric without any kind of fixative, but I left it to soak in water for a full day and there was no running or fading, so I’m hoping it’ll stay put. Names unskillfully removed via photo editing to protect the innocent.

Quilt label

Quilt! Label!

Tula Pink City Sampler Quilt – FIN.

Reading through my previous posts about the Tula Pink City Sampler I can see that I was just brimming with optimism about the whole process. It’s like I knew right from the start that I would absolutely hate making this quilt. But the thing is, even though I often wanted to stab myself in the eye with an ice pick rather than work on it, this quilt was an incredible learning experience. For starters, I learned–oh, who am I kidding? Like I didn’t already know–that I hate fiddly. These tiny, tiny pieces did not get any less annoying as I made my way through the quilt.

sneak peek 1

But the fiddly aside, I realised through the making of this quilt that I’m a pretty confident quilter and that I’ve seen and read enough about quilting to be willing to take some risks and to rely on my own intuition. I took a lot of chances with this quilt that could have ended badly, but didn’t.

sneak peek 2

The City Sampler book is laid out in sections. The introductory section gives basic instructions regarding how to read the cutting and piecing instructions. The piecing section, which is split into shape-based subsections, is arranged in two-page spreads and shows a photo of the finished block on the left side, and cutting instructions and a piecing illustration on the right side. The final section shows various layouts for the finished quilt.

Here’s how this quilt came together. I made about twenty five blocks in 2013, another twenty or so in mid-2014, and then over fifty blocks in a single weekend this past January (I really just wanted to get it over and done with already). I did not buy any fabric specifically for this quilt, and used mostly my scrap bins and some of my stash. As for the colour scheme, I knew I wanted to make the gridlock layout and that I wanted it in the same rainbow arrangement, so when I made my blocks I loosely kept to the colour scheme of the blocks in the book.

While I was sewing the blocks, I put them up on the design wall in the order they appeared in the book (pardon the iPhone photography, as usual. I tend to sew in the evening and the light in my sewing room is appalling).

From 1 to 100

From 1 to 100. At this point, I was still wholly unimpressed with the whole thing.

When all the blocks were done, I rearranged them in the same order as the gridlock layout in the book, and then I started playing around with them, since the colours and values of my blocks weren’t an exact match to the book, so some of the blocks just didn’t look right. After my first layout attempt, I brought the Germ in to consult.

Bringing in the consultants.

He had thoughts.

Schnitzel said she was no expert, but agreed to take a look.

Schnitzel said she was no expert, but agreed to take a look.

Eventually I settled on a final layout and even remade one block that was really bothering me.

I’m not a particularly skilled free-motion quilter and didn’t want my quilting to detract from the quilt. I was also pretty sure that I didn’t want to piece the entire top and then quilt it, because the quilting I had in mind would require me to turn the quilt around constantly, and I knew it would be too heavy for me to manage that easily. I decided to try the quilt-as-you-go method that Maureen Cracknell demonstrates in this tutorial.

I split the blocks into six segments and added the sashing to each segment. The segments were each five blocks across, with four segments made up of three rows, and the last two made up of four rows. Once the six segments were sashed and basted, I quilted each block, mostly echoing the shape of the pieces in each block.

A quilted segment

A quilted segment. Guest appearance by tracked kitty litter.

Next, I sewed together each pair of segments into three rows across, and quilted the horizontal sashing with straight lines about half an inch apart. After that I sewed together the three segments, and then quilted the vertical sashing with the same half-inch apart lines. At this point the quilt was already fairly large, but still manageable through my large machine.

Rub my belly mom! The only thing that'll make this quilt better is drops of your blood!

Rub my belly mom! The only thing that’ll make this quilt better is drops of your blood! At this point the sashing was quilted and I was working on the borders.

Last, I added the wider borders and extended the quilting lines from the sashing to the edges of the quilt, and once all the borders were on, I circled the entire quilt with four half-inch apart lines.

And everything fit! I was able to line things up really well (using lots of pins), and the QAYG just worked! It was magical! The next picture shows how the segments were sewn together. I gave it all a good press before I started quilting, though the quilt is a little bumpy in the back where the segments are connected, but please, reader, ask me if I care. Go on, ask!  This picture also shows how I quilted each block. Lots of extra threads that I didn’t trim, but it doesn’t really matter since they’re hidden behind the quilt back.

Merging the segments

Merging the segments

For the back, I made a diagonal rainbow to more or less align with the rainbow on the front, and to attach the back to the front I simply stitched in the ditch along the sashing borders. Again, it was a fair bit of quilt to fit in my machine, but it was such quick and simple stitching that it didn’t seem at all unmanageable.

Echoing the front with a rainbow in the back.

Echoing the front with a rainbow in the back. You can see the bumps where the segments were connected.

The binding was also a rainbow, mostly lining up with the rainbow on the front.

And here it is in all it’s glory. And you know? I love this quilt so much. It was worth all of the annoyance and all of the itty-bitty pieces and all of the risk-taking.

All done! LOVE!

Here are some details of the quilting.

Quilting details 2

Quilting detail

And last but not least, I entered this quilt into a show! I finished it on Thursday and dropped it off the same day, and today it was on display for the day at the Patchwork Messe in Erding.

The woman on the left with the striped bag looked at it, turned to her friend, and said: "Now this is art." I squeed.

The woman on the left with the striped bag looked at it, turned to her friend, and said: “Now this is art.” I squeed.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Dreamweaver Quilt

On the fenceI’ve shown a couple of glimpses of the Dreamweaver quilt, but haven’t said much more about it. The summer before last, in my very early quilting days, I went to Liverpool for the day with a friend. My intention was to spend most of the time in the Tate Modern there, but my friend had other ideas so we ended up “shopping” on the high street. I absolutely detest shopping so when we came upon a big Waterstones I pulled her in so that I didn’t have to keep looking at clothes. I quickly found myself in the craft section and thus began my love affair with Tula Pink. I’d never even heard of her at that point, but one of the books I leafed through was Quilts From the House of Tula Pink, and I think we know how that story ends.

There are several quilts in that book that I’d like to make, but there was absolutely no question that I’d be making the Dreamweaver quilt first, and that this one would be for no one else. As it happened, ten days later my ghetto fabric shop was having its summer sale so I spent an evening there trying to pick the twenty different fabrics I needed for this quilt. In the end, I spent about £85 on fabric that I was no more than ambivalent about.

Meh. Mehmehmeh.

Meh. Mehmehmeh.

The Germ opined that since this is the quilt that will be on our bed, it would make me absolutely miserable to look at it every day if I didn’t absolutely love every aspect of it, and he was absolutely right. I’ve since used most of those fabrics in other projects and I quite like them in other contexts, but there are a couple of fabrics in there that still make me cringe and this quilt would have been no more than meh had I used them.

When I went to the Festival of Quilts a couple of months later, I had a couple of goals: Christmas fabric for an advent calendar and fabric for the Dreamweaver quilt. I spent two days at the show and was absolutely delighted to meet Tula Pink that year (this was 2012, before she became the headliner in 2013).

Me and Tula Pink. Apparently selfies make my face look twice as long as it actually is.

Me and Tula Pink. Apparently selfies* make my face look twice as long as it actually is. *Hate that word, swear I’ll never use it here again. SORRY.

She signed my book and tried to convince me to buy her Prince Charming line to use in the quilt, but I confess that I love her quilt designs more than her fabric (though I adore Saltwater and the newest line that just came out at Market this week–Fox Field–looks amazing), so I gently rebuffed the suggestion and kept looking. I roamed those halls for two days and didn’t settle on anything until the last hour of the show, when I accosted the poor ladies at the Doughty’s batik stand. Those poor, poor ladies. They were absolutely exhausted after four days on their feet and there I was, bouncing about pulling bolts and asking them what they thought. They were, nonetheless, delightfully kind and helped me come up with the twenty different fabrics I needed. So I spent another £85 or so, but I knew that this was it–I absolutely loved these fabrics.

And then nearly six months went by before I got started. Last Christmas we drove to Germany for Christmas (funny story–as I was driving on the horrid bumpy roads in Belgium I pictured us arriving into Germany with nothing but the chassis left. Luckily, this didn’t happen, since the car broke down in Holland and we had to be towed into Germany) and since I had ten days to get through without much English and without the Internet, I took the sewing machine with me and got the quilt top cut and pieced. It came together quickly and beautifully, turning from a fabric stash to a finished king-sized quilt top in two days.

Chop chop!

Chop chop!

I find these left over strips really endearing. I think I have a photo like this for every quilt I've made.

I find these leftover strips really endearing. I think I have a photo like this for every quilt I’ve made.

Then I sat on it for another few months, until a weekend in April when I pieced the back, basted, and quilted the whole thing. Have I mentioned this thing is HUGE? Sheleg popped in to supervise. The back is mostly off-white, with three strips of the twenty fabrics in the order they appear in the front, each a different width. The quilting is simple vertical straight-line stitching.

That's a bit crooked, don't you think?

That’s a bit crooked, don’t you think?

A week or two later I took it with me to the Yorkshire Dales for a proper photoshoot.

On the grass.

On the grass.

On the fence

On the fence.

On the fence some more

On the fence some more.

And on the fence still some more.

And on the fence still some more.

She was right. It was crooked.

She was right. It was crooked.

And now that it’s been on our bed for about six months, not a day goes by where I don’t look at it and delight in how much I love it.

On the bed.

On the bed.

AmysCreativeSideLinking this one over at Blogger’s Quilt Festival under the Roy G. Biv category, where I stand no chance of winning, because have you SEEN what I’m up against? I am awed, quilters–AWED!

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Half-Square Triangle Chevron Quilt

When you’re new to quilting everything looks daunting. You start out making lots of mistakes and doing a lot more work than you need to because you’re guessing how to do things that others have figured out long before you.

I’ve not done a tremendous amount of angled sewing. It’s pretty much been straight lines for me so far, so chevron quilts looked quite complicated, until I came across this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

A couple of years ago, right after I’d learned to sew, I went to a quilt shop with my mom and sister and bought a Tonga Treats 2.5” strip pack, which turned into this (cat not included)(unless you want her; she’s a bit of a beast). My sister bought the matching layer cake, but nearly two years later it had turned into nothing at all. I convinced her that she wasn’t going to do anything with it anyway, so she may as well just give it to me! And she did! And it’s just perfect for this chevron quilt, isn’t it?!

Finished half-square triangles.

Finished half-square triangles.

I didn’t have a white layer cake, so I cut out squares from some white-on-white fabric I had in my stash and got to work. Piecing this quilt took no time at all. I did it piecemeal but I estimate that I had a finished top in about 6-7 hours, including the (minimal) cutting time. You could probably save an hour if you’re working with two sets of layer cakes.

Finished chevron quilt top

Finished chevron quilt top. Special appearance: My piggy slippers.

For the quilting, I followed along the chevron with straight lines, though I admit I just sort of went at it without measuring (I used the sewing guide), so things got a little squishy towards the bottom of each chevron. I used white thread in the white spaces, and matching colours in the coloured sections. It probably took me longer to quilt this quilt than it did to piece it. It just seemed endless, particularly on my sewing machine, which has a tiny, TINY harp.

Quilted chevron quilt

Quilted chevron quilt.

Quilting detail.

Quilting detail.

For the back I used a colourful polka dot fabric. I normally add an extra touch to the back of a quilt to connect it to the top (usually a patched strip using the fabrics from the top) but I had a deadline, plus the backing fabric, though colourful, didn’t really match the colours of the batiks on the front nor was it white, which would have clashed with the leftovers I had.

It's not really finished unless Schnitzel has supervised the quilting.

It’s not really finished unless Schnitzel has planted herself on it while I’m working.

I made the binding out of the leftover strips I had from my sofa project and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. I originally intended to fully machine bind, but it was taking too long and was looking pretty dodgy, so I hand finished it.

Binding detail. That's the same polka dot as the quilt back.

Binding detail. That’s the same polka dot as the quilt back.

The deadline I mentioned for this quilt was a visit to Toronto, where I left the quilt behind at my parents’ house. I didn’t cajole that layer cake out of my sister because I’m mean, I did it so I could make her a quilt to welcome her to her new/old home in Toronto, to which she’ll be returning after having lived in Israel for over a decade.