Thursday, 15 October 2020

Green and Grunge

Initially, I planned a wallpapered focus wall for my new living room, then the plans changed. I decided to have a mural instead, but I kept it simple, a stylised line drawing forming a sort of a frame with an empty space in the middle of the wall. And that empty space was meant for... a quilt, of course.

So, here it is, all done, but it's not on the wall yet, so we'll have an interior design update later, and for today it's all about the quilt. 

It follows the bedroom quilt in being purely abstract, more or less Art Deco style art. This one is all about organic shapes and colours, hinting at some kind of plant life, but never totally clear - maybe it's not just plants, maybe it's Life itself? I wonder what you see in there.

For myself, I can say I totally enjoyed the process - from sketching to quilting and that I'm pleased with the result. I chose Moda Grunge fabrics to make it because they seem to fit the aesthetic of my living room and because I was hoping to finish it in time for the Moda Grunge Contest, which I didn't manage. 

It was fun to use so many different quilting motifs with my beloved YLI variegated threads, I had three different green mixes which worked brilliantly with the seven green fabrics, sometimes blending in, sometimes standing out. I even managed to quilt some decent feathers, which I normally find very hard, a confined shape probably made it easier.

One question still remains, though - what shall I call it? The working title is The Green Quilt, which doesn't quite do it justice. Any suggestions?

Linking up to:

Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, 9 October 2020

October Cushion of the Month for IPS

IPS Eastern Branch committee has come up with a brilliant idea to start a "Cushion of the Month" project for the members, in order to provide a sort of virtual connection while we cannot have our monthly meetings. I was asked to create the patterns and was really excited to do it, although I can feel the weight of responsibility, too. As curve piecing is not everybody's cup of tea, it was decided that the patterns should be appliqué featuring some seasonal highlights for every month. So, October = pumpkin, doesn't it?

I wanted to bring the same stylised Art Deco vibe into these patterns as in my recent quilts, and the colour contrast plays a big role in that - nothing like black background to make (almost) everything look classy. For my sample I used Moda Grunge Metallic, which has just the right combination of dress up and dress down.

I'm looking forward to seeing how other branch members interpret the pattern while I start working on the next month's sample. Speaking of which - choosing a symbol for November was not as straightforward, what would your choice be? I'll show mine when the November pattern is released.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina Marie
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

The Bedroom Allegory Quilt

This one has been mentioned a couple to times, you can see it in progress here and here, but it has since been quilted, so here's a little update on that.

I wanted to go totally Art Deco with it, pure abstract, although I do regard it as an allegory, I'm just not saying what of, suffice it to say it was meant for the bedroom.

As the shapes are quite simple I wanted to add detail with quilting using a lot of variations on pebbles, spirals, arches and s-curves.

The quilt design is symmetrical, so the quilting had to be symmetrical, too, but I went by the eye, without any templates, so it has "natural imperfections".

I used six shades of Aurifil for the coloured parts, they blended in nicely. Most of the background was quilted in black, with a little bit of colour "spillover" on top.

I even had a little late-night photoshoot with it, to bring out even more drama. Look how a different light direction highlights the quilting texture.

Linking up to:

Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, 21 August 2020

Harlequin Sunset

 To clear my backlog - here is one my favourite recent quilts, which has not made it to the blog for some reason yet.

I was very impressed by the possibilities of combining layer cakes with stack-and-whack techniques and thought I'd experiment with that some more. Previously, I had used a similar approach with improvised curve piecing, where each 4-piece stack was cut free hand in its own way, you can check out the Airways quilt and the Splash of Neon one. This time I wanted to cut all the squares in the exact same way to be able to mix all the colours more thoroughly.

I chose 16 squares from a layer cake of Fossil Fern, one of my all-time favourite collections, and cut them using a freezer paper template. Then came the most fun part - mixing and arranging and rearranging again.

Then I stitched them together without worrying much if the corners matched perfectly (they didn't!), but at least the whole thing came together reasonably flat. The blocks had to be trimmed, obviously, so it ended up under a meter, nor big at all.

The colours were gorgeous by themselves, but it still needed some focus, so I added some with FMQ,  stitching stylised alliums in variegated dark purple YLI thread.

The background was filled with variegated pinks in arched lines echoing the piecing.

All in all, I am really happy with this quilt - the sunset colours, the curvy shapes (I'm thinking of stained glass cathedral windows, what do you see?), flowers - what's not to love? I think I'll try and explore more grids of this kind.

Linking up to: Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, 31 July 2020

WIP and the Virtual Exhibition Season

I haven't posted anything for some time now, but I have three quilts in different stages of progress in the works now. I am supposed to be quilting the bedroom quilt, but I got carried away with an idea I had while waiting for the threads to arrive. 

I have had this sunset colours fat quarter pack since last year's Black Friday:

It was about a week ago that I had a vision of an Art Deco-style owl in these colours, and I just had to drop everything and draw the pattern and then start piecing. Most of it is already pieced, and I hope to do a separate post on it next week.

Lots of small pieces, but the curves are quite easy.

The main thing I wanted to write about (because I just can't contain my excitement) is the fact that my Mad Tea Party quilt was shortlisted in the Pictorial category in the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham (the competition is virtual this year).

If you want to take a look at all the competition entires, please visit the festival's website - you'll be in for a real treat, 655 quilts they say, and one better than the next. The competition is real feast for the eyes, and they are taking votes for the Visitors' Choice award at the moment. 

Here's to madness of it all:

Another virtual exhibition on at the moment is held by Tomomi at her website. She usually organises the Quilt Marquee at the Tinahely Show and as the event was cancelled, she decided to have a virtual analogue. There is still time to enter a quilt for anybody living in Ireland and the voting starts next week. I sent a couple of quilts in as well, one was my latest finish - Varvara's owl quilt - and the other, I just realised, I had never published on the blog, so that's another post due soon.

So, there's a lot going on at the moment, considering the doubly quiet season! If you know any other virtual quilting events that are on, please share in the comments.

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, 10 July 2020

Owls and Feathers

Ta-da! A big finish:

This is a bed quilt for my daughter's owl-themed room and I'm so excited to finish it as it has a lot of new-to-me aspects.

As I'm concentrating of curve piecing and developing a kind of Art-Deco inspired style with clean shapes and high contrast colours, I wanted to see how this style can translate to bed quilts. Me daughter's room already has curtains with an owl pattern that I designed and had printed at Spoonflower, and she said she would like a quilt in owl fabrics, too. I searched the Internet for fabrics that would suit the colour and style of our owls and discovered the "Where the Wise Things Are" collection by Quilting Treasures. I ordered two fabrics from it and complemented them by two from "Stonehenge Solstice" collection by Northcott, and I really love how they play together.

I wanted the blocks to have a stylised feather shape as I had the backing fabric with feathers and I am still planning to have wallpaper printed with the same feather pattern. After a lot of sketching and fiddling in Illustrator I came up with a block shape that repeats in rows in opposite directions, so that half of the blocks are in one colour way and the other half in a different one.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Template for Lily The Dragon

Several people have asked me for a pattern for Lily the Dragon quilt and I replied that it is an improvisational technique that does not require a pattern per se. However, I decided I can share the outline, let's call it a template, which can be a starting point for anybody who wants to make their own dragon, so here you go.

You can find a lot of tutorials on the "ticker-tape technique" online, I can recommend one by Ruth from Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner as I learned this technique in her workshop. I'll just quickly outline the process here, with the differences I made.

  • So, to begin with, you can download the template and print it out (use "poster" setting in the Acrobat printing menu if you are printing it on a home printer and it will split the image onto multiple pages which you'll have to glue together). The image is 30'' by 50'', but if you want a different size, you can tinker with image scale, just bear in mind that if you make it too small it will get too fiddly.

  • Next, you'll need to transfer the template onto your background fabric. I used black background, and this is what makes her really pop and creates a stained glass effect, but it will also make image transfer trickier. I can suggest making holes along the lines in the paper template and tracing them with chalk. Alternatively, just cut out the large shapes and trace them around with a white pencil or washable marker (in this case you can just freehand the spines). I didn't stitch around the outline as I thought it would not go with the stained glass effect.
  • Assemble your quilt sandwich and baste it in your preferred method.
  • Now you can get out your scrap basket and start playing. If you go for a black background, bright and light-coloured fabrics are best, in my case I used patterned ones for the body and blenders for the wing and the spines. The exact shape and positioning of the pieces will depend on the scraps you have, you'll just need to trim them to follow the line of the template on the outside. Leave from 1/8'' to 1/4'' between the pieces. Ones you fit several pieces in place, secure them with pins, glue or fusible tape and take the sandwich to the machine. I used quite loose zigzag stick with a neutral thread to stitch around all the pieces. Again, check out Ruth's tutorial for the details.
  • Continue the process bit by bit until you fill in the outline. Because you are stitching through the quilt sandwich, it will also mean you have already quilted the dragon shape!
  • So, all that is left is quilting the space around her, and here the sky is the limit -  you can create a whimsical landscape around her or just go for echo quilting. I tried to use Angela Walter's Swirl hook pattern, it didn't turn out great, to be honest, but I still love the overall effect created by the bright variegated thread (it was one of YLI machine quilting threads).
I really hope this is helpful, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and if you make your own dragon, please send a pic or tag me on Instagram, I'd be thrilled to see it!

Lily the Dragon quilt pattern

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Devoted Quilter
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