Rett’s Truck

I have a special quilt to share with you today.  I was asked to make this quilt for a new baby of a long-time family friend.  My family has known this family since before I was born (I’m now in my late 40s) and they are still very precious friends.  I take that back… they are family, pure and simple.

Another reason this quilt is special is because I’ve never made anything like it before.  It was a huge challenge.  I honestly didn’t know where to start.  But if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time at all, you know I like challenges. It intrigued me…  So I decided to give it a try.

I was asked to make a quilt of this truck, but with a green hood.  First I had to determine what details I wanted to include and which to leave out.  I didn’t feel comfortable with including every little detail, but obviously I needed to include enough to make the truck look good.

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Then finding fabric that would work was also a bit challenging.  What values of grey would work for the metal parts versus the chrome?  I didn’t want to use metallic. And what to use for the green hood?  I really wanted to find a fabric that was green with some rust spots but ended up settling with the Michael Miller painter’s canvas green there in the middle.  In fact, I used the painter’s canvas in several grey tones as well.  I really liked the texture it provided.  Eve went fabric shopping with me.  She was a great help!  .

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But, how do I actually put it together?  All my applique quilts up to now have been smaller pieces raw-edged appliqued onto a solid piece of fabric.  But in this case, the entire quilt needed to be appliqued since there wasn’t a background single piece of fabric to work with.  So, I decided I needed help.  I found a class on Craftsy called Pictorial Quilting Techniques by Wendy Butler Berns. I watched the whole class and then got busy planning the quilt.

I won’t tell you all the steps because I don’t want to give away any of Wendy’s steps, but many, many, many hours and a half-dozen glue sticks later, almost 100 pieces joined together to make this quilt . I embroidered the baby’s name onto the front license plate and added a hanging sleeve onto the back.  I am very pleased with how it turned out and so is the mom of a very sweet little one.  I heard there were tears when she opened it.  It measures 34″ x 45″ or so.  –

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And I won 2nd place at the local county fair.

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Linking up with Party Time at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

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Sunday Stash

Hello friends.  It’s been so long.  I am not posting as often as I would like.  Our internet has been having issues – really I think it’s just due to living in a small town in the mountains – and it is just too painful to have to wait for things to load.  Morning aren’t too bad… late afternoons and evenings it crawls.  It seems to be working well today though so I am taking advantage of it.

I have quite a bit new fabric in my stash which is nice since my stash is still in storage and I brought almost nothing with me to work with.  First up is this Michael Miller Glitz fat-eighth bundle that I got from the Modern Quilt Guild for the Michael Miller Challenge at the upcoming QuiltCon West in Feb 2016.  These are black and white fabrics with metallic silver designs.  The goal is to feature this fabric in a quilt of any size.  I can combine it with any Michael Miller solids for the quilt top, and any Michael Miller prints on the back.  So…

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I won a $50 gift certificate from Hawthorne Threads from my friend Michelle at Factotum of Arts.  With that I was able to buy these Michael Miller coordinates and matching Aurifil threads.  I picked this flowery print because it matched the honey and mint solids I picked for the front.  But, it has gold metallic accents, instead of silver.  Hmm… I’m going to have to think about this.IMG_2845

Then I won this fat quarter pack from The SewCanShe Sewcialites on Facebook.  These prints are from The Adventures line by Cori Dantini for Blend fabrics.  Aren’t they adorable?  They will make a great boy quilt.

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And lastly, remember Ethel, the elephant I made that won 2nd place in an Art Gallery Fabrics challenge.  Well, this is the half-yard bundle and set of Aurifil thread I won from that.  This fabric is the Hello Bear line from Bonnie Christine.  Another great line for a boy quilt.IMG_2642

The Lord has truly blessed me with free fabric lately, so I need to find some time to make some quilts to bless others.  I don’t think I’ll get to it this month, but maybe in December.  Hahaha… who am I kidding?  It will probably be after Christmas.  Of course, I’ll share them with you when I get around to it.

Linking up with Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles.

A Quest for Adventure

I don’t even know how long it’s been since my last blog posting. We’ve been busy doing a lot of work around the house, but I’ll tell you about that another time.

I really like challenges. I tend to do some of my more creative work when I have been presented with a challenge. And so it was another challenge, this time from the Modern Quilt Guild and Michael Miller, and a quest for adventure that sent me down the path of designing and creating this quilt.

Here are the Michael Miller fabrics I started with.  At first I thought I would make a wall hanging with modern flowers similar to the fabric there on top.  Then I decided that idea was very ‘un-creative’ and, although it would be beautiful hanging in my house, it just wasn’t good enough for a challenge.

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So, onto other, more adventurous ideas…

Then I started thinking about the shapes that are used in quilts.  There are quilts made of squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, hexagons, and octogons. There are quilts made of strips, scraps, and generally wonky pieces. But I don’t remember ever seeing a quilt made with pentagons. Oh, there are quilts where the center of a square is a pentagon, but then the pentagon is squared up and you’re sewing squares together. And I think maybe I’ve seen English paper piecing pentagons, but those are like 2″ in size. I wanted to do pentagons on a larger scale. Then I found a picture of a pentagon bookcase and the idea for this quilt was born.

On the top half of the quilt, the colored blocks and pieces are supposed to look as if they were sitting on a shelf of the bookcase.  So the blocks are stacked, the books are laying at an angle, and the flower arrangement is lying on an angled shelf but not at the very edge.

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I made these blocks and a few others and they sat on my design wall for about 6 weeks while I just stared at them.  As I stared, I thought that an entire quilt made like this might be boring.  You can only have so many books on a shelf before the eye gets bored and you’re ready to move on to other things.  So I designed the small wonky diamonds that would be small bursts of color on the right side, and stared some more.

 

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I wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of the quilt.  As the deadline for the challenge drew closer and closer (it is today by the way), I decided that I likely wasn’t going to make it.  Then this past Sunday night around 9pm, in a burst of creativity, I decided I was going to finish the quilt in time for the challege.  I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the rest of the quilt, but I decided I could figure it out as I went along.  I was up ’till 2am that night, cutting and measuring, designing and sewing, and by the time I went to bed I knew how I was going to finish the top.  I took a half-day off work on Monday on finish the top and put the sandwiches together, and then spent the last several nights quilting and binding.  And voila, after a stare down contest and lots of freezer paper, it’s done and just in time to be submitted before the deadline.

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What I learned in the process… there is good reason no one uses pentagons in a quilt.  Hahaha!  The horizontal pentagons are a different size than the vertical pentagons, otherwise they wouldn’t sandwich together properly.  And then sewing them together requires Y-seams at strange angles, which is not exactly easy.  And then what do you do with the edges?  As you can see, I chose to leave mine as angles and have a zig-zag type quilt rather than a rectangular quilt.  Which created a whole different problem… how do you bind inside corners?  Thanks to you tube I figured it out!

I really like how the quilt turned out.  It is risky.  It’s definitely not your run of the mill quilt.  But I learned a lot and it was a huge step in boosting my creativity, so I think it was a good project in the long run.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Madrona Road Challenge – How Ideas are Born

This past February I joined the Triangle MQG and decided to participate in my first challenge with the group.  We were given seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics.

2013-05-13Our challenge was to make something, anything really, from these 7 fat eights.  And the only real rule was that you could only add other solids.  No other prints were allowed.  To make this even more challenging, I didn’t particularly care for this fabric.  I liked the black with the writing, and the blue with the lighter blue criss-cross lines (I think it’s called haystack).  But overall, the rest of the fabric is definitely not something I would have picked out.  But it was free and I just couldn’t pass up free fabric or the challenge — I really do like to be challenged.  The unveiling was planned for the May meeting — just 3 months away.

Oh, what should I make?  When I first got the fabric I was working a lot and didn’t have much time to think about it, but it was still in the back of my mind.  A month later, I still didn’t have a clue.  I thought I might want to turn it into a full size lap quilt, but seven fat eighths didn’t leave me much to work with.  But work was slowing down just a bit, so I had a little time to play around.

I played with squares…

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I played with circles…  I even colored the circles to match the fabric hoping that would help.

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Did I want to make a stuffed toy?  Did I want to make a skirt, or a bag, or a _____ (file in the blank)?

But, nothing seemed to be ‘just right’.  So, I put it aside for another couple of weeks while I got through the next deadline for work, and while I waited for the fabric to ‘talk’ to me.  Maybe if I listened hard enough, it would tell me what it wanted to be.  So I would look at it and think about it, and look at it and think about it…  This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured out what it wanted to be…

This blue haystack I decided wanted to be an elephant.

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Cool, I could do an elephant on a baby quilt.  I like baby quilts.  I can be just as creative as I want to be, they don’t take too much time to make or quilt, and they make great baby gifts. But how do I fit the other fabrics into this?  I could make an elephant parade, or elephants stacked on top of each other, or I could simply make just one elephant and use the other fabrics as a border.  Or… the one elephant could be holding something in his trunk.  Yes, that’s it!  And the idea for my challenge quilt was born.  It was designed, appliqued, quilted, and bound in about a week, and weeks before the unveiling at the meeting yesterday.

Meet Elijah Elephant.  (He’s a nice elephant, so we can give him a nice strong Bible name.)

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This is the back.

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I also free motion quilted smaller elephants onto the background.

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I’m very pleased with how he turned out.  If I had planned to make an elephant from the very beginning, I don’t think it would have been as good.  I think my brain needed to go through the process of figuring out the personality of the fabric.

And that’s how ideas are born… many weeks and months of planning, thinking, designing, and thinking some more.  Then the idea is finally formed and the plan implemented, usually in a much quicker manner than what it took to come up with the idea to start with.

Linking up with Plum & June Blossom Art Quilts for Let’s Get Acquainted. (Hope I”m doing this right)

Let's get acquainted