Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thoughts - a reality check.

Whiny post ahead.

Life has been busy lately.  Isn't that everyone's complaint?   I'm trying to balance home, life, kids,  pets, marriage, activities, groceries, cooking, cleaning, quilting,  and now...exercise.     It is one of those last pieces of the health puzzle that was not included in my routine.  

I have been feeling pretty burned out lately with quilting.    I'm not sure if it is the other half of life that is trying to fit in,  the lack of my own personal creativity or what.   I adore quilting on my longarm, but I'm finding I need to balance it a bit more.   I really really miss the design aspect-  I have this whole metropolitan man quilt series idea sitting in the back of my head for the past year that has not come to fruition.    I am 4 baby quilts behind- at this rate, the babies will be in kindergarten by the time I get to them.    I have a bunch of ideas for the Moda Bake Shop and I have yet to design and make  a quilt for my own bed.   All of my scraps are still sitting in scrap bins.   My modern quilt guild quilt along will never get started.  As much as I love quilting for others - and I do, I love it -  I need to find a better balance of the amount I am doing for others vs doing for myself.       When my kids ask if I can volunteer for a class field trip (2 in one week) and I get anxious thinking I cannot do it because of the quilts in my queue- then I know I've bitten more than I can chew.

There's a reason this blog has been neglected.   I hate the fact that I don't have anything interesting to post about -  I just post photos of what I have done, kind of like a factory post.   I dislike that.  I dislike that I used to follow and comment and keep up with a number of blogs and friendships.  And now I don't - because it's just one more thing to do.

I love the challenge of longarm quilting -  I love how I have taught myself to do this on my own, that each quilt gets better and I feel accomplished and rewarded by the results.  I am so proud of what I have built up.   But I'm feeling unbalanced.   Does this mean I am not cut out for this?  I don't want to be quilting 24 hours a day.  I want to go to the gym, I want to go to the dog park,  I want to watch that awful shocking episode of Grey's Anatomy.   I want to attend a SewDay.    I want to design quilts and make quilts.  I want to longarm quilt!   I want to just hang with my kids.

When I look at blogs and instagram and see these amazing quilters doing it all -  how do they do it all?      If I get the urge to do some piecing in my studio I feel sudden guilt - as that queue of quilts whispers at me.   People are waiting for them.  Don't make them wait.

How on earth does one do it all?   I feel like I have the most flexible life ever, but I am bouncing around like a pinball!    Do I not have enough grit?  

Sorry for the rambles.   These are the thoughts that have been burning through my mind in the past month.

I've done some pretty awesome quilts in the last month - will post another day in my typical factory post.  For now, you get the raw rambling thoughts going through my head.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Modern Custom Quilting...

 Stacey and her mom Lynn brought this beautifully pieced quilt to me.  (Carolina Patchworks - Sweet Garden Pattern)  I think I drooled a little...
 The colours were stunning,  so perfectly pieced,  and perfectly placed.  Every print that had a special direction, was placed in a uniform direction.   
 I did a figure 8/wishbone design in one direction of the sashing, and ribbon candy in the other.  
Some of the blocks I did swirls, pebbles, straight line details..
Each block was outlined with stitching for best definition:
 ...some of them I left on their own like these wee ones....they look like little pillows! 
 Some blocks I kept simple....
 ...and some blocks I used the print to dictate my quilting,..
 with outlines...
or following the detail in the print to give it texture...

The backing was just as beautiful -   the piecing, again,  perfect.  Here is a sample where it has been pieced: 

That's right -  where?!  

Hobbs 80/20 batting
Glide thread in white
Wonderfil Decobob grey thread for bobbins

Pattern:  Carolina Patchworks Sweet Garden

Quilted by me on my APQS machine

Monday, March 09, 2015

Modern straight line quilting

Tracy pieced this phenomenal quilt:
 The pattern is by Amy Ellis called Whispered Lace, in her book called Modern Neutrals. 

 I used the piecing as a springboard for some straight line quilting.  I marked registration lines to help with the quilting, using my ruler in some areas, and my channel locks in others.  

I used alternating designs of 1/2'' straight lines and 1'' lines, trying to emphasize that cream coloured desgin in the sashing. 
 It really helped to have meticulous piecing of these blocks, otherwise the straight line quilting would have looked very wonky!

This quilt is just gorgeous, and I love the design of the pattern!  

Glide thread top- cream
Wonderfil Decobob bobbin - taupe

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do I have to give it back?

Ashley, from Yellowknife pieced this beautiful hexagon top.

When I received it, I laid it out on my design wall and had a good thinking session.  The photo below shows what a quilt looks like when I receive it -  it is flimsy...a flat sheet of fabric. 
There was a lot of negative space in here...and a lot of beautiful piecing to showcase as well.  
 I did continuous curves in the hand pieced hexagons ...
 I did some ribbon candy,  c's, and wishbone quilting.  I also stitched down all the seams of the little 2''squares.  You can see what a difference it makes in texture...the right side strip has been stitched in between each square. The left strip, not(this is an in progress photo)   Love the extra pouf personality you get with this!
In the large empty spaces,  I quilted....
swirls, pebbles, uturns,
hexagons of different sizes, 
hexagons with different fills.

This quilt measures 84'' x 88'' 
Batting  is Hobbs 80/20 
I used SoFine 50 in cream,  super bobs in the bobbin
Quilted on my APQS machine.  

How do I tell my client I don't want to give it back?   

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In the studio...

Linda brought in a few amazing quilts for me to work on this week -   I love the bold batiks anchored by the black sashing on this one.   We chose a pantograph pattern called Dazzle, and a fuchsia variegated thread by Aurifil.   
Better shot of the pantograph design Dazzle on the backing...
 The thread colour by Aurifil just sings on this top -  it melts right into the variety of colours, and then on the black sashing you see pops of the colour.  Love the colour choice!
This batik beauty was quilted with a looser overall design using leafs and swirls.
This design was fun to work on after a lot of dense quilting earlier on in the week.

 Tamara brought in this lovely batik quilt - Willow Stonehenge -The Pond pattern.   I quilted a long wavy grass texture in the darker areas, and a watery meander in and around the lily pads to represent the pond.  I used an incredible thread by Glide called Fool's Gold -  it is kind of a metallic army green and it really goes well with those brown and taupe batiks.   Need to order more! 
 I have learned that brown quilts are almost impossible to photograph!  I find it really hard to get the lighting right to show the quilting!  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Neutral quilt with modern style...

Beautiful modern quilt pieced by Linda.  I love the neutral colours she chose.   
It was pretty easy for me to see how I would want to quilt it -  emphasizing the piecing and the contrast of light and dark....and Linda was all for it.  
 I densely quilted the inner white areas and the border, using a variety of simple fills like u-turns, swirls, pebbles.   This photo doesn't show it but  I also quilted down the centre white diamond shapes and stitched between the blocks for more definition. 

 The outer border of this quilt was a scallop print. It was carefully pieced with perfect matching edges.  I just quilted along the lines to give it some texture.  

 Clamshell fill
 swirl flower fill
 a mix of swirls and pebbles I like to call jewelled swirls.
 Backing -  I also stitched the ditch area of the outer blocks to show definition of the piecing and stabilize the fabric some more.  

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Karlee Porter - Graffiti Quilting Class

This looks like it will be a good and inexpensive class to attend.  It's a half day workshop, lunch optional for $50!   or  $75 includes lunch and a trunkshow.  

Saturday May 2 -   morning or afternoon session at Bow Bench Retreat just south of Calgary.

Karlee is a modern quilter and her work is inspired by urban graffiti artists.   You can view her website at www.karleeporter.com

This class will be great for machine quilting practice on a home sewing machine or a long arm -  she does much of her work on her HQ16 sit down machine such as in this video: 

If you are interested in attending this class,  contact Deb at LoopyD Quilting..her contact info is at the bottom of her webpage :-) 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Urban 9 Patch quilt

This beauty was pieced by Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork  in Lethbridge.   Isn't it stunning?
Based on SewKindofWonderful's Quick Curve ruler and patterns.  I love how this one was done with an assortment of solids, framed in a dark navy blue. It's so pretty!

I lightened the photos a bit to show some of the quilting on the navy blue. 

 close up of some of the blocks as I was working on them - note some of the areas are not complete yet 

The backing is pretty too - I love how the quilting shows up.  

One thing that is always difficult is to pick a bobbin thread that will work for your top threads, especially when there are so many colours in your quilt.  This is especially true when you have a solid colour fabric backing....it will show every single thing! Because the backing was a green and navy solid,  I chose navy as my main bobbin colour.  Contrasting top and bottom threads are risky in that you may see evidence of them on either side of your quilt.   So,  I chose a navy bobbin thread for the majority of the quilt - except for the white top/white bobbin areas. 

I loved working on this quilt!

Quilted on my apqs machine
Hobbs 80/20 batting
Assortment of Glide and Superior Magnifico threads on top to match colours
Navy blue, white Decobob prewound bobbins from Wonderfil

I have some pretty amazing quilt tops in queue for the next while....stay tuned!