Bohemian Rhapsody

So, nearly a year ago, I posted about my Garnets and Gold quilt top. It sat and waited patiently while I did a million other things, but this awesome clashy riot finally got the quilting it deserved.

There's a Thread: Garnets and Gold Quilt

From a distance it doesn’t look that different than before, because the prints disguise the quilting. Here’s a look at the back where you can get a better view.

There's a Thread: Garnets and Gold Quilt Back

I did a back and forth wiggle on the red/pink/yellow strips, and a loopy ribbon candy pattern through the diamonds. I love the texture this gave. The bright colors and ripply texture remind me of party streamers.

A shot of the whole quilt:

There's A Thread: Garnets and Gold Quilt

I need a design/photo wall for these photographing big quilts!  Last week I floated the idea with Jason of getting rid of the couch in our living room and installing a giant design wall like this one. Of course, we couldn’t actually sit in there anymore, but that space has been operating as a weird hybrid of my sewing space and his office for some time now. This would just be the next natural step in that evolution, really.

In case you don’t remember my posts from last year (ha!), I made a paper-piecing template for my version of this quilt; the original is in the book Little Bits Quilting Bee. The points look really excellent using this method, if I do say so myself. :)

There's A Thread: Garnets and Gold Quilt

I quilted this at Sue Fox’s long arm studio in Berkeley, where I have been spending a lot of time lately. I’ve been hard at work quilting the Irish Chain quilt I mentioned last week. This involved a days-long delay during which Sue had to reassure me, “You did not break the machine.” Yep, the machine malfunctioned in a scary, potentially-never-fixable-loooking kind of way while I was working. But all has been fixed and I should have some exciting machine quilting to show you soon!

Meanwhile, Garnets and Gold has gone to live with Liz, my guru in all things dyeing/textiles/color as well as one of the sweetest, most wonderful people I know. Love ya Liz!

It Doesn’t Look Epic, But It Is

Just a single in-progress photo today. I’m super-excited about this one, which is going to be a crib-sized Irish Chain quilt. Believe it or not, it’s almost done, I just need to add some solid blocks and a border.

Irish Chain quilt blocks

I have completely fallen in love with Judi Madsen‘s book Quilting Wide Open Spaces, and this Irish Chain I’m making is a scaled-down version of one of the quilts in the book. The thing I really love about this book is that she walks you through, step-by-step, how she would quilt each quilt. It really demystifies the complex quilting she does. I mean, check out this photo. This is the quilting for the quilt I’m making, and Judi Madsen has me convinced that I can do it! We shall see….

Finished: The Missing U

I have a special quilt to share today, one that’s been finished for a while but I can share now that it’s been gifted. This quilt went to my sister-in-law Ann and her husband Jason to celebrate their wedding.

The Missing U Quilt

The basic idea for this quilt comes from the Sunday Morning Quilts book, a favorite of mine. I know a scrappy quilt is a little non-traditional for a wedding, but knew that Ann likes bright colors, and I thought a quilt for snuggling on the couch with their dogs was probably a safer bet than a big formal bed quilt.

The Missing U Quilt

The idea of having a small white block in each scrappy block was a design element in original quilt in the book, and I added a few others. The first was that I incorporated a big stripe of fabric down one side of each block, working mainly from a fat eighth bundle of Anna Maria Horner’s True Colors. I also added a single low-volume block, repeating the idea of the small white blocks at a larger scale.

The Missing U Quilt

These blocks were really fun to make and came together fairly quickly. It was gratifying to see each block on its own, and even more fun to start putting them together. I have this theory that a “Rainbow Minus One” color scheme looks a little more polished than a completely rainbow scheme. Red is the missing color here (I think the hot pink makes up for it!), and I incorporated a little more green and purple, since those were Ann and Jason’s wedding colors. I did something similar with my gradient HST baby quilt last week, which is also a rainbow color scheme but with purple as the missing color.

The Missing U Quilt Back

I went for a rainbow gradient on the back. The black fabric shows the quilting really well, though you wouldn’t know it by this photo. The binding is some Architextures black-on-white text, which I realized I needed to stop hoarding and just use already.

Oh, and the name of the quilt is from the book, a reference to Color vs. Colour. But I thought it could be interpreted in a romantic way as well. :)

WIP Wednesday: I hate piecing edition

I have a confession to make: I don’t like piecing all that much. I enjoy the first few hours of piecing a new project. But if I could stop at that point and have the rest just appear by magic, that would be AWESOME.

Paper Piecing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about focusing on what I do well and what I enjoy. Stacey had a great post recently over at The Tilted Quilt in which she talked about sending some quilts out to be long-arm quilted, and getting over the idea that “legitimate quilters” don’t do that. It made me think about wanting to focus on the things I like best, which are choosing/creating the design, selecting the fabrics, and the quilting.

The thing is, you can’t send out your quilt to get pieced the way you can send it out to get quilted. However, as I was mulling this over, I had a mini-epiphany, which was: NEGATIVE SPACE. This is all the rage in modern quilting anyway, right? Why don’t I just leave some wide open spaces in my quilt and save myself some time?!?

So, here’s my first foray into this style of quilt.

Scrappy Diamonds Baby Quilt

I drafted some paper-piecing templates (fun), chose some fabrics from my scrap bin (fun), pieced the blocks (not too many, so still fun), and now I’m ready for some (fun) quilting!

I heard an interesting interview with this guy Gay Hendricks in which he talked about what he called the “Zone of Genius.” I know it sounds cheesy, but for some reason that idea stuck with me. Why waste time in your “Zone of Incompetence” (things other people could do better) or even your “Zone of Excellence” (things you’re good at but don’t love), when you could be doing things you both excel at and enjoy? Sometimes it makes sense, like if you’re learning a new skill, or you decide it’s easier just to do a thing rather than recruiting someone else to do it. But basing these choices on guilt or an idea of what a “real ____” (quilter, woman, whatever) does? I no longer see the virtue in that.

I do still see the virtue in quilts with lots of tiny pieces, though, so clearly my negative space epiphany is not the solution to all my piecing woes. Anyone else thinking about how to spend more time in their Zone of Quilting Genius?

Triangle Madness In Miniature

Thanks for all the lovely feedback on my HST color gradient code earlier this week! Here’s how it turned out, in the baby quilt version.

HST Color Gradient Baby Quilt

I echoed the layout of the colors in the main block in the pieced binding. This was the first time I did my binding entirely by machine. There seem to be a couple methods of doing this, depending on whether you sew the final seam from the front or the back of the quilt. Since the front of this quilt is really the showcase, I decided to sew from the front. It was fairly easy to catch the binding on a small quilt like this. I’m debating whether to try it on my next big quilt. Strange to say, I think I have more patience for hand-sewing the binding, even though it takes longer.

HST Color Gradient Quilt

And the back:

HST Color Gradient Quilt Back

Several of these fabrics (the mottled looking ones) are ones I hand-dyed using this method. The fish print comes from a fat quarter I bought on a whim in Hawaii when Jason and I were first dating. I think perhaps the island air overwhelmed my usual, slightly more restrained design sensibilities. I have to admit I kind of love it even now.

I don’t have a ton of great photographs of this quilt yet. I’ve decided I need to co-opt some friends’ kids’ cribs and stuffed animals to give the proper context. :) For now you’ll have to settle for artful draping.

HST Color Gradient Baby Quilt

This quilt is still in search of a name. The bigger (unfinished) version already has a name: “The Human Element,” because after its nerdy origins and lots of work so far, it already feels like a quilt that needs a ponderous, kinda pretentious name. Any thoughts on what The Human Element’s little sibling should be called?