Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

Nothing like waiting to the last day to post my challenge pictures.  I actually finished these pieces much earlier in the month, but have been busy preparing for a local exhibit and working on my next large quilt.  I know, excuses, excuses, excuses.

I used this month's challenge to start something I have been thinking about for a while - a stitch library.  When I get ready to quilt either a traditional pieced quilt or a non-landscape quilt I am usually stuck for ideas on how to get started on the quilting.

I used Ann Fahl's tutorial to start creating little blocks of quilt designs.  I started with the ever present stippling design.  I get very bored with stippling so I started at a medium stipple and then went smaller and then smaller still.

The I used Ann's loops and hearts and stars.  More interesting and much faster to cover the same area of a quilt.
I then moved on to headbands, a Diane Gaudynski technique, and echo quilting.  I like the different texture this design creates and again much more interesting the stippling.
Next I used a grid format that I have used many times - but now have a sample to show.  This is quilted by marking lines horizontally and vertically 1" apart.  Then you start a one intersection and sew in a curve to the next intersection.  It goes very fast and if you have smooth curves - it looks impressive - like you are quilting circles!

Lastly I did a study of leaves for a quilt I just finished - which I will blog about separately in my next post.  I tried varies forms of leaves from oak to birch to a few made up ones.

In each sample I sewed a round button hole - I plan on using a loose-leaf ring to collect these samples so that the next time I need an idea how to quilt a project - I will have a library to look at.  I hope to create additional samples as I work on new projects.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Challenging Knitting Project

I have been working on the most difficult knitting project to date in my short knitting career - Catkin by Carina Spencer.  I finished the swatch for it a few weeks ago - but unfortunately only took its picture this morning.  It came out exactly the right size and looked wonderful - before it was eaten by my vacuum cleaner.  Note to self:  Take pictures as soon as you finish something and don't vacuum where you can't see in case something has fallen to the floor unnoticed.

It looks a little sad now - but I am very proud of the fact I figured out some very difficult stitches (and using a chart no less.)

The yarn I am using is Classic Merino Supersock by Knitting Notions in Azure and Pumpkin Spice.

I am finished with the first 70 rows of the shawl now - the easy part and am getting ready to work from charts - a very new experience for me.

  Currently at 233 stitches - a circular needle with a longer cord will be required soon.  

The only problem I can see with the pattern is that it starts with 5 stitches and at the end there are 545stitches.      So every row takes longer, and longer, and longer . . .

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quilt Show/Quilt Jewels

The last few weeks have been very busy - the biannual quilt show for my local guild, spring break for my kids, and teaching two classes.

The Cobblestone Quilters Guild Show was great fun - I had the opportunity to assist in the judging (holding up quilts for the most part) and it was a fascinating experience.  I really learned a lot from the comments the judge made on the various quilts entered in the show.

My two quilts, Work Out Buddy and Sunny Side Up did very well.

Work Out Buddy 
Work Out Buddy won a third place ribbon in the pictorial/landscape category.  The first and second place pieces also won a judges choice award and a best use of color award- so it was a tough category.

Sunny Side UP
Sunny Side Up received an honorable mention - in a very competitive art quilt group - every quilt in the group came home with a ribbon.

In addition to helping with the judging, set-up and white gloving for the show, I also had some of my work for sale in the boutique.  I made journals, Kneat Knits, and Quilt Jewels.  

Quilt Jewels (necklaces and pins) are a continuation of my series of work on how small can I piece without resorting to paper-piecing.  Work Out Buddy has one inch square pieces, Sunny Side Up has 1/2" pieces and the Quilt Jewels contain 1/4" pieces.

A Quilt Jewel Pin

A Quilt Jewel Necklace
For the necklaces, I am creating the cords using a knitting I-cord.  Its a great way to incorporate my long time love of quilting with my new love of knitting.