Quilts of Valor #3 – Quilt Pattern Autitions

So I would really like to do some ruler work on this quilt because I think it would really accent the block shapes nicely. Like echoed lines (ok, so I did the lines free hand, on the quilt I would use a ruler. Believe me!).
Ruler concepts
Or radiating lines, or radiating arcs.
Ruler conceptsWhile these would look good, I worry about how long they will take. And I need to get this done quickly. I know that I can do feathers FAST. But, how do I fit feathers in these odd shapes?

Feather concepts Feather concepts Feather concepts
I like all 3 concepts. And since all the blocks are different, I think I’ll mix it up on the quilt and do all different feathers too. So that works for the backgrounds on the blocks. But what about inside the odd shapes?
Feather concepts

Feather concepts
Yea, those will work. Ok, getting closer!!! I’ll do the feathers in the white / lighter areas. But I am thinking different fill patterns for the colored areas.

Fill Concepts - paisleys Fill Concepts - pebbles Fill Concepts - swirls Fill Concepts - Hook swirls Fill Concepts - Wavy Cross HatchYep, I think this will work! Now I just need to put needle to fabric!!!!

QOV #3

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Triple Quilting Challenge – FINISHED!!!!!!

I decided to bind the quilt in plain brown. I thought about sewing stripes on the binding with the varigated thread, but I was worried it would distract from the quilt.
I needed a sleeve on the quilt to hang it. Now, what I haven’t told you is I dislike hand stitching. And by dislike I mean ABSOLUTELY refuse to hand stitch. My binding is machine sewn front and back. And as for sleeves, the top gets sewn on when I sew on the binding. And I usually make sleeve wide enough that the bottom can be stitched on in the seam of a border. Alas, this quilt didn’t really have a border that I could use.

So, I had to bite the bullet and hand stitch on the sleeve. I am telling you that if I hadn’t wanted so badly to hang this in my office, I would have changed plans and make it a table topper!

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But all that hand work (and seriously it took about 45 min, but it seemed like DAYS!) paid off. And here it hangs in my office.
Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com
I love how this quilt looks great at a distance, but close up you can see all the detail and I think it looks even better.
Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com

Thanks for taking this trip with me. It has been a fun learning process! I hope you learned something too!

Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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Quilts of Valor #3 – Squarez

I was so excited. My third Quilt of Valor came in the mail a few days ago. When I opened the package and opened the quilt – and drew a blank.

Oh, the quilt was gorgeous. Nicely pieced. Nice colors. All three that I have gotten have been.

Whole quilt top

But, oh my. How am I going to quilt this? Each block is different. Various quadrangles, triangles, and stars. Block DetailsI have a few ideas. But none of them are “shouting” at me yet. So I’ll have to let it stew a little bit more. I can’t wait too long. This one has to be done by the end of the month.

Oh, and why is the post called Squarz? That’s what the quilt is named.

QOV #3:

 

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Triple Quilting Challenge – Part 7 Fill

I haven’t had a chance to work on my whole cloth quilt. I have been busy with a week of long arm classes, getting both N and Ms M ready for school, and getting ready for N’s Police Birthday party. Phew.

But I just got news that there are some more Quilt of Valor quilts that need to be finished. So it’s time to get my whole cloth finished! Here’s where I ended. All the motifs, painting and feathers are done. I just need to add some fill.
Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com
I wanted to use three different fill patterns: one in the center medallion, one in the corner blocks, and one in the outer border. I couldn’t decide what patterns to use, and that is also part of why I haven’t finished. But, shesh, I need to jump and pick some.

So, I sat down at the machine and just went for it. For the center medallion I decided to  use my favorite – a paisley. I had wanted to try something new. But, going with a tried and true pattern got me started.
20140831-195225.jpgIn the corner blocks I ended up using pebbles. Pebbles are super popular right now in modern quilting. They give GREAT texture, but to me they are so tedious to stitch. But I figured there wasn’t much space in those corner blocks and could probably finish before I got bored.

20140831-195201.jpg
In the outer border I really wanted to try some McTavishing. I have been practicing every chance I get in my sketch book or, eh hem, my work notes. But there just really isn’t enough room between the leaves and tendrils for McTavishing. So, I decided to go with some echoing. My echoing needs work, and what better place to practice, right?
Echo fill
echo fillI finished all of the medalion and corner blocks, but I still have 3 of the borders to finish up. I am hoping to be able to finish those up tomorrow. Then to figure out binding.

Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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Busy as a Quilting Bee

So I know I have been gone for a while, but I promise I have a good reason! No really I do.

I have been learning!

Now what you have to picture is me jumping up and down, clapping my hands like a kid seeing all the presents under the tree on Christmas. Do you have that image in your mind? Ok, then lets try again.

I have been learning!

Oh yeah baby! I got to go to a whole FIVE DAYS of long arm classes! FIVE DAYS! Now do you see why I am jumping up and down???!!!!

I got to take 3 different classes on feathers from 3 different instructors. Each one had a totally different approach and I learned things from each instructor.

I took a feather sampler class from Pam Clarke. She had us do traditional feathers and I have only ever done bump-bump feathers. I was pretty happy with how they looked for my 1st time sewing them.

Feather SamplerBut then I took a feather class with Jamie Wallen. And boy oh boy the traditional feathers started to feel good.

Mystical FeathersAnd yes, I giggled like a little kid when I drew those. They FINALLY clicked!

My last feather class was with Dawn Cavanaugh. On think I have NEVER been able to look good were feathers on a tight inside curve, like a wreath. And all of a sudden THEY MADE SENSE!!!!

Inside curve feathersAnd then I went crazy. How about a double curve?

Inside curve feathers
And since I could do feathers on an inside curve, how about a meander? SURE!!!

Meandering feathers
I have to say my legs were tired after class. You know from all the jumping up and down with excitement!!!!

I would have been thrilled with just that! Oh, but there was so much more!!!! There were different techniques that I had been wanting to learn and try out.

One technique was thread play. Dusty Farrell showed us how to use variegated thread and watch for the color change to make some awesome images.

Thread play

We also did some reverse applique right on the long arm. FUN! I can so see doing this to make some dinosaurs for Miss M.

Reverse appliqueBut my favorite was thread painting. We started with an image outline.

Thread Painting OutlineThen we added yellow-orange-red variegated thread.

Thread PaintingThen yellow variegated, and some red variegated. And ended up with this!

Thread PaintingI love how this turned out. And of course N wants me to make him a car with flames using these same colors and same technique. I really shouldn’t have been surprised.

Another of my favorite classes I took was Drawn to Mastery by Sue Heinz. She started with a really simple sashing design. Like this.
Sashing design
Then she showed us about a million ways to embellish them. (Ok so it was more like dozens of ways, but still it was a LOT!)

And then if that weren’t awesome enough she showed us how to create the designs in a round.
Sashing in a round

Pretty much by the end of the week my brain was FULL! And the ideas of what I wanted to try first were all fighting with each other to get out!

Now I just have to get my whole cloth quilt finished up so I can try out some of these new skills!!!

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Triple Quilting Challenge – New Thread & DIY Spool Holder for a Gammill

One thing my co-workers know is never trust me if I give you a number. I always start running thru the list and then come up with more. More things we have to fix. More uses for a tool. More whatever. And, yes, I did it with this quilt.

Yes I told you that I had three challenges on this quilt. My first:

  1. Whole cloth
  2. Painted quilt
  3. Use of high contrast thread for quilting.

Yea, well. There are two more. (Trust me this time? I wouldn’t. There will probably be more. There always is!)

A) It is the first time I have tried using a double layer of batting. I have read lots of blogs where quilters do that to get more loft. And I wanted to see how it looked.

B) Have only used Superior Thread Omni on Millie. Now that I am more comfortable with her, I wanted to try out some of the other wonderful threads that are out there. Besides the fill that I want to do is going to be pretty tight. So I thought it would be good to use one of the thinner threads. So I ordered some Bottom Line from Superior to use in both the top and bobbin.

Only one problem. The size I ordered came on a spool, not a cone. I don’t have a spool holder for Millie. And the spool doesn’t fit on my cone holder. Now what?!

So I reached out to a friend who also has a Gammill and asked her what she does. She was a huge help. Between her response and a bunch of Google searches I came up with a solution.

It turns out that Gammill makes a double spool holder that mounts to the vertical rod on the of sewing head. However, I really didn’t want to order one. What if I didn’t like the thread? Then I’d have just spent money on a tool I wouldn’t use. And frankly, I barely had the patience to wait for the thread to show up. Waiting for a spool holder might send me over the edge!!!! Can’t have that now, can we?!

This is what I came up with.

DIY Horizontal thread mount for a Gammill DIY Horizontal thread mount for a GammillI took off the laser pointer. I remove the laser from the mount and rod. I put the rod back on the machine at the back, as it was too big a diameter for the spool. But I did use the laser mount and put that on the top post of the machine.

I tried several different ideas for the horizontal bar. My friend suggested the center post from my spool holder. But I couldn’t get that to come out. The laser rod was too thick as I already stated. The thread guide from my spool holder was too thin. I finally found a dowel rod that was just the right diameter.

I snagged the spool caps from Bernie to hold the spool in place. I never use them because Bernie always is fed from the spool holder.

It holds the spool nicely. Right now I have modify the tension. But I think this might just work. I’ll be back in a few days to let you know!

Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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Triple Quilting Challenge – Part 6 Border Feathers

With the paint finished I was excited to finish putting the border feathers on. Mr. Steam usually makes a nice breakfast on the weekends. This gave me just the right amount of time to get the feathers finished on the border.

So I got Millie loaded up with the variegated thread and got to sewing.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comIt amazes me how fast feathers can go. I have my machine set pretty slow and they still go fast. I probably got ALL the feathers done, even with all the starts and stops where they ran into the flowers, in less time than it took me to paint 2 flowers.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comNow I just have to wait for the thread I ordered to start putting in the fill.

Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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Triple Quilting Challenge – Part 5 Painting

So far, so good. Most of the motifs were on the quilt. Now it was time to start adding some paint. I still needed to finish the rainbow variegated feathers on the outside borders. But I wanted to paint the flowers and stems to make it easier to see them and not sew over them.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com
Ok, really it was way more because I wanted to start PAINTING! How cool. Painting on a quilt! I figured that it would be easiest to start with the greens. After all there were more stems than anything else. And I already knew they were going to be green. I only have two of the three greens in the Lumiere line: Pearlescent Emerald and Metallic Olive Green. I started with the Metallic Olive Green and LOVED it. The paint has different effects depending on the angle you look at it and the angle the light hits it. Its some olive, some gold, some silver. It’s really hard to see in the picture. If you click on it to make it bigger you can see it better, but you still don’t get the full effect.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comI was worried that if I painted all the stems, leaves and tendrils the same color green that it was going to be overwhelming on the quilt. So I used the Pearlescent Emerald for the stems. For the tendrils I mixed the Pearlescent Emerald with some of the Pearlescent White to get a lighter shade of the green. Here is the quilt with almost all of the green painted. I still have some of the top leaves and tendrils. I have pearl head pins stuck in the tendrils that are left so that I don’t forget them.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comNext up were the flowers. This was harder. Should I used only one color? Two colors? Four colors? Random colors? Before I decided I thought it would help to look at some samples. So I took some scraps and glued them to a piece of paper. I pained each of the colors and as I painted them I wrote down the color and the paint number. The top strip was left so that I could try out mixed colors.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comI decided I really wanted to do 4 different color flowers to pull out the rainbow effects of the feathers. I picked one of the gold / yellows and painted all the flower centers.

For sure there was going to be red (Metallic Russet), blue (Pearlescent Blue), purple(Pearlescent Violet), but there wasn’t a good options for a 4th color. So, I did what I always do, start with what I know and let my brain stew on the thought for a while. So I got started on the blue and red flowers.
Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com
It doesn’t take much paint. That little drop was enough to do two whole flowers. But the paint dries SUPER fast. I had to work quickly or the brush got crunchy with dried paint. And I tried to not put more paint than that little drop so it woulnd’t dry out.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comI decided that I didn’t want pink or lavender. I didn’t want to go into pastels, I wanted to keep the colors bright and vivid. So that pretty much left orange. Unfortunately, there was no good orange. The oranges that I did have were too close to the red.

These paints are VERY opaque, and dry SUPER fast, so they don’t blend well on the fabric. So my only option for orange was to mix it. It took about six tries to get and orange that I was happy with. It took mixing 5 colors to get it. Why not just use the red and yellow on the right? Because they are designed for white fabric and don’t show up on the brown. So I used them to get the orange color, but had to use the metallic and pearl paints to get the opaqueness.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comSo the only problem was, I would NEVER be able to get a second mixed batch to match. So I had to do all the orange flowers at one time and hope that I had enough paint to get them all done. Thankfully, I had JUST enough.

It took me about a week to get the whole thing painted. I was only able to grab 20 min here, 1 hr there. But, all the painting is done. I am SUPER excited about how it turned out.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com
Here’s a detail of the flowers. This is the only time I was able to get the purple to look purple.
Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com Now I can finish the rainbow feathers. Then get started on the fills. Gulp.

Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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Triple Quilting Challenge – Part 4 Stitching the Motifs

All right, now we are cooking with gas (although Mr. Steam does prefer coal). The top is marked it was time to get it loaded on Millie and start SEWING!

Enter another “gulp” moment. I have no clue what I was doing! Do I need to worry about the quilt top distorting? Should I baste it loosely? Should I work from the top down like I normally do? Should I do all the motifs at once and come back for the fill?

I couldn’t find any answers on the internet. Ok, how about more old fashioned? The library! Nope, no books on whole cloth quilting. Nor did my local quilt shop. Yea both the library and my local shop would have ordered one, but I wanted to start NOW!

So I guess I will try and learn either from success or failure! This is a learning process anyway. No guts, no glory!

1st decision -Do all the motifs first – feathers, flowers, stems. Then come back and do the fill work. That should stabilize the quilt and keep it from getting wonky. At least I think it will, we’ll see.

This decision forced….

2nd decision – Baste the edges all the way around. The quilt is small, it’s only 24″ x 24′. But I only have about 14″ of quilt space. Since I am going to do all the motif work first and go back to do the fill work I am going to need to be moving the quilt back and forth quite a bit. That meant not having the top attached to the top bar. So basting it was.

3rd decision – Sew the square between the border and the medallion.

All right, here we go. Medallion block and medallion flowers were sewn. Somehow I forgot to sew the right hand side of the square. Ooops. Have to go back and get that.

After I sewed the north, south, east and west flowers in the very center of the medallion there was A LOT of open space. I really didn’t want to have to background fill quite that much space – so I put in another 4 flowers on the 45 deg. So far so good.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com

Next up was to switch the machine over to variegated thread. And do the feathers. How ever I was a little nervous about using variegated thread on the feathers. I (so far) can only do hump and bump feathers. Which means back tracking. And with variegated thread that might look muddy.

I decided to test it on my domestic machine to see how it would look. Now keep in mind I have NEVER done feathers on my domestic. I have quilted plenty with it, but never feathers. But, if I can do it on the long arm I should be able to do it on my domestic right? Eh. Here goes.

Long arm vs domestic feathersThe feathers on the right on the lighter fabric are on my domestic machine, the ones on the left are on my long arm. The right hand ones are some rough looking feathers! WOW, what a difference trying to quilt on my domestic. But the purpose was served. The backtracking didn’t look TOO bad. So let’s make it official!

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comPretty happy with how that worked. It added a nice pop of color. So far the quilt seems to be doing ok. One trouble wrinkle / pucker on the bottom left. But I’ll live with that (mostly because I have no idea how to fix it).

You can see the color on the variegated thread better here. It’s rainbow colored, and I thought it was perfect for a flower garden quilt. What do you think?

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comNow it was time to work on the border. Here’s the flower portion of the cable.

Whole Cloth Challenge - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.com
Again, here’s the original sketch. It has some differences, but I still like how it’s coming out.
Whole cloth designI still needed to add the variegated feather cable, however, I decided to not add them at this point. I was worried that as I was sewing the feathers I wouldn’t see the flowers and stems and stitch over them. That it would be easier to see them if I painted them first. Besides, I was REALLY REALLY wanting to try out the paints and see how they turned out.
Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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Triple Quilting Challenge – Part 3 Marking the Top

After finishing the design for my whole cloth quilt it took me several weeks to get the nerve up to actually start marking the quilt. I am not sure why I was so nervous about it, but I was.

Remember this is the design I was working from. But in those several weeks between finishing the design and starting to mark the quilt Miss M had covered the design with dinosaur stickers and then spilled juice on it (see why no white quilts?). So this picture was all I had left. My original plan had been to use a light box and mark the quilt, but now I had to recreate the design.

Whole cloth design

Deep breath. (Ok, several deep breaths).

First I marked the edges of the quilted space and found the center.

Whole cloth markedNext I marked off the border. The tough part was finding a wavy curve that looked good for the center medallion. Two different rulers got the shape I was looking for. You may notice I didn’t leave any space for the feathers on the outside of the medallion shape. I wish I had noticed that. I had to remark the shape AFTER it was loaded on Millie.

Getting a good cable curve that would fit in the border was also a challenge, but I finally got that to fit. On the cables I remembered to leave space for the feathers. How I forgot that on the medallion is beyond me. Sigh.
Whole cloth markedThis is as much as the quilt was marked before it was loaded. After I loaded the quilt top I also decided to mark the circle for the flower centers and the outer boundary of the flowers. I was worried that the flowers would shrink and grow as I went around the quilt. However I did not mark the vines or the leaves. I wanted the quilt to be somewhat organic and uneven.

Whole Cloth Quilt Design Process:

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