Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Wishes and New Beginnings

My wish is that you had as wonderful a Christmas as we did. Everything was perfect, noisy, cluttered, wet and snowy, so much to be thankful for, topped off with a beautiful church service celebrating Jesus, the Light of the World.

Now, I can't wait to break into my sewing studio which was cleaned and things put away before Christmas. I was lucky enough to win a pack of threads from Aurifil and fabrics from Moda just before Christmas and I've been WAITING to plunge into them. I just love the colors.

I couldn't wait any longer and cut into them. It's so fun to see what can be done with a 2- 1/2" square of fabric (or two).  These became windows or are they gifts wrapped in colorful ribbons (a hold-over from Christmas gifts)?

Add some half-square triangles to the mix.

Do I see city lights in my future quilt making?

A few larger pieces of fabric may be in order. Come back and see where I go from here.
Celebrate a wonderful New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nine Patch Quad Completed

Nine Patch Quad
21" x 21"
©2012 Sharon V. Rotz

With your words of encouragement from last Friday's post, I continued on free-motion machine quilting around my pods shapes.

Soon the surface was quilted and I enjoyed the moment. I'm so happy that I jumped in with this design. When I started quilting, I didn't draw out the motifs, I just let it all happen. Once I started, I was committed as removing the stitching would damage, or at least scar, the fabric.

In some open areas, I added bending lines to fill in and even the spacing between the quilting lines.

I didn't want the binding to show on the edge of the quilt, so I chose to finish the edge with a faced binding.  I had just enough fabric left to cut strips for my binding. I used the same size strips as I would if I were making a traditional binding. The strips were folded lengthwise and pressed, again as I would for a traditional binding.

Then I stitched the strips together matching the sizes needed for the quilt. I mitered the corners and ended up with a frame shaped facing. I laid this on the front of the quilt and stitched around the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance. The facing was then pressed to the back of the quilt and finished with hand stitching.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - At Least It's Not Orange

Quilter's Tile - Frosty Leaves
8" x 8"
©2012 - Sharon V. Rotz

This tile started nicely with a demonstration to a small group of quilters. I wanted to share the fun I was having creating freeform small feathers. I was even using red (another of my favorite colors) thinking this is so right for the Christmas season.

After the demo, I came home with my sample, ready to finish it. This could be an example of machine quilting, nothing more.

And then the trouble began.............

Out of my cabinet, jumped a tube of paint and a leaf shaped stamp. 

And the next thing I knew, there were white leaves on my lovely red, half quilted project.

Again, I'm working backward or side-ways, at least. My project is half quilted and now I've gone back to the beginning. 

Of course, there was only one solution and that was to continue on. 

Actually, the quilting above and below the stamped leaves brings an interesting transparency to the piece.

To complete the tile, I found some glittery thread to add to the binding edge. 

 Just a little side note: Don't forget to change your needle plate from the single hole one that works so well for free-motion quilting to a wider one for zig-zagging.

I bet you think I forgot, didn't you. 

Not this time and and, at the last moment, saved myself from breaking my needle. 
It's a good day!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Snow and Orange? Oh, my!

As they say "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and indeed it is after a snowfall that blanketed our little corner of the world. Nothing can rival God's beauty.

But, inside I am still thinking orange as I work to finish my Nine Patch Quad (as you can see the name stuck).

I searched through my fabric and came up with this option for the borders. The dark color sets off the quilt top and makes the darker colors in the center pop up. The border also helps to control the brilliance of all that beautiful orange.

I squared off the top and was surprised at how little needed to be trimmed considering the unevenness of the blocks.

After sandwiching the top, batting and backing, I dove into quilting. At this point, I think all the quilting will be vertical. Will that work? I quilted some pod shapes. I don't know, are they good or bad?

Even with all my questions unanswered, I do love the way that the satin weave of the Kaufman Radiance picks up the light and emphasizes the hills and valleys created by the quilting.

Continuing on................

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - El Pumpkin

Quilter's Tile - El Pumpkin
8" x 8"
©2012 - Sharon V. Rotz

As of last Tuesday, I had my quilter's tile sandwiched and ready to quilt. All I needed was the right inspiration for the quilting. Looking back at other tiles, I was most attracted to the small feathers I had done on a previous tile called "Songs of Autumn".

This became my quilting inspiration and I enjoyed quilting these small feathers. Again, these are not hard to do. The most important part of this design is a smooth curving line. After that, it is relatively easy to add the small loops for the feathers. Try it yourself and you will see.  In a freeform design such as this, small irregularities are not noticed.

If the design changes as we move along, it only adds more interest to the quilting. 

I couldn't resist some super close-up photos. Isn't this what we all want to do at a quilt show? Really stick our noses in and see how it's done.

 If we could only tilt our heads and position our glasses in just the right place.......

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tile

 What could I do? There it was.

After I finished putting together my nine patch blocks that I showed you last Friday, there was one extra piece. It was a colorful, fun piece that called to me. Over and over again.....

I mean, could you resist this piece?

Well, actually, it was accompanied by a second piece.

My project top was completed. Shouldn't I just throw these remnants away and be done?

The piece that I am fighting with grew too large for my nine patch, but...
when I measured it, it was just the right size for a Quilter's Tile.

OK, Little Scrap, you win!

You will become a Quilter's Tile.

A bit more piecing was needed to enlarge the solid piece of Kaufman Radiance fabric to the needed 8" size.

Another scrap would provide the width to make a tile 8" x 8".

After stitching the sections together I realized there was bubbling along one seam line. On more forgiving cotton patterned fabrics, this may not be a problem. On the Radiance that catches the light so beautifully, this area will always stand out as a mistake. There would be no camouflaging it with my quilting stitches. 

So the stitching came out.

And was restitched.

Now, how will I quilt this?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Moving Straight From A to B?

Do you move straight from A to B? Do you continue from start to finish on one project at a time? There are moments when I do. There are times when the task needs to be done in a certain time frame and there can be no deviations.

More often, I wander. I wander from one project to another. It could be due to a creative stumbling block. It could be due to a lack of a certain material needed to complete the project. Or it could be the project simply got crowded out by another more pressing job.

This week, I wandered back to my improv nine patch.

It was time to add to this project by making more 9 patch blocks. This was such a fun project, why did I leave it? What pulled me away?

No worry, I am back again. Back at making fun little squares to alternate with my pumpkin Radiance fabric.

Another mate to the first.

Then a block with opposite placement

and a second.

Then put them all together into a Nine Patch Quad.  

Oh, I think it just named itself. We'll see if the name sticks.

Now back to the corner for you. I have some Christmas shopping to do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - Adding Beads

Quilter's Tile - Red Leaves with Beads
8" x 8"
©2012 Sharon V. Rotz

I am in awe of the exquisite beaded works of Sharon L. Wright exhibited at the Form and Function gallery exhibit at the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau, WI.

After seeing her work, I knew I wanted to try adding beads to my own art projects. My attempts would be a far cry from her level of expertise but you learn by doing and I was ready "to do".

I had a finished quilter's tile that I felt could use additional interest and adding beads would provide it.  Out came a small container of mixed red beads that I was saving. (No, I didn't know when I purchased the beads that I needed it for this project, but it is so apparent now.)

I randomly added beads to the corner, building out to more scattered beads. 

Between and around the beads, I added french knots using embroidery floss. I had never combined beads and embroidery before. Again, thanks to Sharon, for the inspiration.

I used six strands for the heavier knots and three strands for the finer knots.

I'm happy with the combination of beads, knots, and the row of dots on the printed fabric.

Who inspired you today?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Art 4 Charity

In between the mad dash of Black Friday Specials and feverish Christmas shopping, it also a good time to reflect on the wonderful things in our lives. It is also a wonderful time to donate to charities that help those around us.

I am happy to be part of Art 4 Charity going on at Originals, Etc. in Waupaca WI. Several artists have donated a piece of art that will be sold with the entire proceeds from the sale going to the charity of the purchaser's choice. Isn't this a fantastic way to get a gift for you, a friend or family member and make your money double it's worth?

Stop by and see David. He will help you on your way to a perfect gift-giving Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - Pods

Quilter's Tile - Pods
8" x 8"
©2012 - Sharon V. Rotz

Last Tuesday, I had completed the top for this tile but was unsure of how I would finish it. There are always so many options for quilting and finishing a piece. Often, I am unsure of the final result until I dive in and start.

Because this blue section resembled a pod, I went with that in mind and quilted little round seeds. Here I am using a variegated Sulky 40 weight rayon thread. I loved how the colors changed across the length of the seed pod.

I built up visual interest by the repeat of the fabric pattern and the quilting. To compliment this, I used a batting filled tube of the striped silk. Using the directions from my Fasturn®, fabric tube turning system, I added in a narrow strip of batting as I turned the tube. This gave me a soft and pliable tube which was perfect for this project.

What would you have done to finish this project? Would you have added more, less, or gone in an entirely different direction?

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