Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waves of Gratitude

I am so happy that it is finally time for another Blogger's Quilt Festival!  Hooray!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I think I may have mentioned a couple weeks ago that I am obsessed with bargello quilts.  I made my first early this year.  This is my second and I just love the combination of the smaller pieces and the wave effect of the fabrics as they move through the quilt.  It will not be my last either.

I picked out the majority of the fabrics in one trip to the fabric store.  It makes for a long trip, but for me it is really important to have all the fabrics together as you pick them out so you can more easily eliminate ones that don't belong and make sure one will flow well with the next.

As usual, I did not use a pattern. Basically, bargellos are made by sewing strips of one width together in some order and then cutting the sewn together strips again in the other direction at varying widths. I cut the first set of strips at 2 inches (so the finished width would be 1.5") and then cut those pieces again anywhere from 1" to 4". When you piece the strips together, you just stagger them by one block. For this particular one, I added one more step by having the image turn back out on itself from the center. They're not nearly as complicated as they look - one day I'll write a pattern or tutorial for it, but probably not for a little while.

It took me quite a while to decide on how I would quilt it.  I wanted the quilting to have curves to soften the geometry of the piecing and I also knew I wanted the quilting to follow along the waves.  In the end I decided on feathers.

I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it off, not having a long arm, but I'm happy with it.  Which is good, because I almost ripped it all out on several occassions.

The quilt measures roughly 67" square and I backed it with flannel to make it extra snuggly. 

I named this quilt "Waves of Gratitude," because I actually made it for Quilts of Valor.  Their mission is "to cover all service members and veterans touched by war with wartime quilts called Quilts of Valor.  This foundation is not about politics.  It's about people."

Throughout the quilting process, even as I was first choosing fabrics, I was thinking about the person that would eventually get to take this quilt home.  I can hardly imagine what they may have seen or done in service of their country, but I thank them for it.  And I probably won't ever meet him or her, but hopefully they will know that they are appreciated.

Now that the quilt is finished and I've taken what feels like 4,000 pictures of it, I'll be taking it to my friend, Rita, who runs our local Quilts of Valor group called LOLQOV

I'll also be parading this quilt all through blogland via some of my favorite link parties, including Met Monday!  Check out my link parties page - they're all awesome! 

And I can't wait to check out all of your entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catching up & Carbon Neutral

My Upcycled Baby Quilt was featured on Under the Table and Dreaming last week!  Thanks, Stephanie Lynn!  I'm sure you're familiar with her blog, but JUST IN CASE you're not you should go check it out - it's gorgeous.

I also have been cleaning up my blog over the last couple weeks.  I finally posted some dedicated pages and organized all of my link party buttons.  I'm a big fan of link parties and there's not a one that I participate in that I don't also love the blog.  If you're ever looking for a great party, just check out my Link Parties tab.

I also wanted to take a minute to share something I think is pretty cool, particularly if you're interested in environmental issues.  While blog surfing recently, I came across this button...

... on Zibeline Knits.  It caught my curiousity and leads to a site that will plant a tree in honor of your blog, thereby offsetting the carbon emissions produced by your blog.  Now, frankly, I have no idea how much carbon emissions my blog produces, but I do think it's pretty cool that there is now a tree planted in Germany in honor of Craftopotamus.

Which leads me to my next point.  When you click on the button, it will take you to button page that is in English, but the rest of the sight is entirely in German.  Don't freak out!  You can use google's translator to translate any of the pages by just copying and pasting the text into the translator.  I went to the "Dein Sticker!" page, filled in 4 lines of info and that was it.  I wasn't sure if it was still going on so I asked them about that in the message field.  When I got the response back last week saying that my blog was officially carbon neutral, the woman said that they still had trees looking for sponsors.  Go claim some trees, people!  :)

And since I just don't believe in posts without pictures, I'll share this one with you...

That, my friends, is the first quilt I ever started (technically the second one I finished).  It is 120" square, which is kinda crazy for a first quilt, but I think I've mentioned that I like to jump in head first...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making Progress

I've been working pretty hard to get this quilt finished up for the Blogger's Quilt Festival later this week.  A week ago, I signed myself up for Amy's One Thing, One Week Challenge with the goal of finishing the borders on the quilt and getting the quilt sandwich together.

Amy's Creative Side

And I made my goal!  Not only did I get the layers together, but last night I was able to finish the quilting and am already working on the binding.  I am pretty excited!

I took this next one while I was working on the quilting...

I think that's enough peeking for now.  I've got to get back to quilting and paper writing!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fabric Love

So these are just a few swatches of a stack of oriental prints that I've been hoarding collecting for a while now and I finally have enough to start planning something out. 

I scanned them all into my computer and then uploaded them to Electric Quilt 7 (EQ7) and started to play.  I came up with a couple versions of what I am envisioning, but there are no guarantees that whatever I finally end up making will even remotely resemble either of these.  That is the beauty of the planning stage - anything is possible.  And I'm still not sure this is the best way to show off the fabrics... we'll see.

So... a scrappy version:

And a more ordered version:

What do you think?  I like the second better, but it will be more complicated to ensure that I have enough of each fabric since the bulk of them are fat quarters.  I think it should work though.  The center of each of these is 72" square the way I've been playing with it, but I could make it a more manageable wall size (like 48" square).  I just have a feeling that if I ever actually make a lone star quilt that I'll want to have it on my bed.  Of course, I already have two finished queen size quilts for my bed so I really don't need another one, but it sure is nice to have the option... I always gravitate toward bigger quilts - I think it must be a form of self-torture.

Of course, something with large blocks would showcase more of the fabrics and be easier, but I kinda like the juxtaposition of modern fabrics with traditional quilt patterns.

Anyway, just thought I'd try and share part of my planning process - it's the part of quilting that I think I enjoy the most.  Any suggestions are welcome.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prairie Star Quiltfest

Have I ever mentioned that I love bargello quilts?  I went to a local quilt show this weekend, the Praire Star Quiltfest, and was thrilled to find these.  I don't know what it is about bargellos, but I could just stare at them for hours.  Love them!

Love the fabrics and patterns of these two (above) and also thought they were unexpected.

This lovely quilt was made using fabrics from clothes the designer found at a thrift store!  Way to upcycle!  And her embellishments are just lovely.

Um... Wow.


This next group of five is all about bold colors and high contrast...

This was a huge cathedral windows quilt (easily a queen size)...

I think the color placement in these are just amazing...

I think the quilting on this next one is just divine.

And a few more that were just too good to pass up...

And last, but not least... my local Quilts of Valor group, LOLQOV, had a booth at the show.  You can see Rita in the pic - she is the head of our chapter and is a glowing new grandmother to a beautiful baby girl.

And if you are wondering what quilt I am desperately trying to finish for the Blogger's Quilt Festival, here's a hint: it's one I've been working on for Quilts of Valor.