Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: A Quilt Retrospective, Part 2

Now to continue on with Part 2 of my quilt retrospective for this past year.

#15 Sew Berry Sweet mini

I made this mini for the IG #thestrawberryswap. This is a good example of how sometimes making it up as you go along just doesn't work. I used a mixture of techniques on this quilt and I really did not like the end result. I ended up making a redo quilt and sending both to my partner.

#16 Treasure Map baby quilt

This was a simple baby quilt for some childhood friends. Austin and Staci wanted a pirate theme for their little boy and we all fell in love with the Riley Blake Treasure Map line. I bordered the panel with simple rail fence blocks. The panel is outline quilted and the border is stippled.

#17 Strawberry Swap Redo mini

I found this free pattern, Banner Days Mini Quilt by Stitch Supply Co. and thought it was perfect for my redo. I left out the bottom and right sided borders by accident, but it still works. I quilted horizontal lines of alternating hearts and strawberries. I was finally happy with my swap offerings and my partner loved it too!

#18 Hardcore Quilting 

This is, by far, my favorite thing I've ever made. Somewhere along the way this year I discovered the Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild. We were issued a challenge to take a traditional quilt pattern and make it modern. I chose a 1930's Art Deco pattern called Cleopatra's Fan. As luck would have it, Robert Kaufman had just released a free pattern to go with a quilt showing in their booth at market. I downloaded it, traced out the pattern on template plastic, and got started. I was INSANELY nervous about this quilt because the pattern was labeled "Advanced Expert" and I was an Advanced Beginner, at best. I plugged away and finally got my base fans completed. The knucks design is one I initially saw on IG months prior to thinking about this quilt, then again in a Google search. I could not find a source for the original artist. The fists are raw edge applique, white on black on base. The thick line of the letters are also black raw edge applique. All of the hand detail and the stems of the letters are free motion embroidery/quilting. I kept this project secret until the reveal at FWMQG. I'm super proud to say that there was an audible gasp in the room when I presented my quilt. I feel like this truly exemplifies who I am as a quilt artist.

#19 Cherry Mini

 This is another swap creation made for the #verycherryswap on IG. I improv pieced low volume fabrics for the background. Then did my fabric architecture thing to build the cherries. The cherries are raw edge applique. I like the way they pop over the more traditional crosshatch quilting design. I based this design off of a beautiful watercolor I once saw online somewhere....Etsy maybe?

#20 Blume Family Quilt

One of my previous quilts ended up being a prop in my friend's family photo session. The photographer liked it so much that she wanted me to create something for her family. We worked out a trade where I created a quilt for her and she will doing family portraits for us in the new year. I can't say that this is my design. I saw a picture of a barn quilt painting that featured this particular star. I did do all of the quilt math myself though. This is quilted with a boxy corner stipple (I totally just made up that name) and features the Blume kiddos names in two of the star points.

#21 Solar System Fundraiser Quilt

This is another one of those times where I just couldn't resist a cute panel. I used P&B textiles space fabric to create this fun quilt. We donated the quilt to Ro's class to include in the basket they would raffle off at the Fall Carnival as a fundraiser for the PTA. I don't know who ended up with the basket in the end, but I hope the quilt gets lots of love and use.

#22 Mark Lambert's 10th Doctor

I have been fortunate enough to win some cool IG giveaways this year. As a thank you I hosted one of my own. I asked people to tell me about their favorite nerdom and chose a winner to receive a custom mini quilt based on their picks. I chose two winners and this is my first creation (I'm still working on the second). @thesplendidstarling told me she loved Doctor Who and that the 10th Doctor was her absolute favorite. I had seen a series of graphic art designs of the modern Doctors by UK based artist Mark Lambert and fallen in love with their simplicity. I recreated his image and added some of my characteristic wonky piecing. I'm really happy with the result. The improv piecing both provides a base for and competes with the fluid lines of the Doctor's silhouette. There is chaos behind the calm facade and I think that represents who the Doctor is pretty well.

#23 The #epicbabyquilt

I don't have a single picture of this quilt (finished) that doesn't have EB in it. One of my best childhood friends asked me to create something for her new daughter. Morgan is a phenomenal tattoo artist (and owner of Classic Tattoo in San Marcos, TX) and has a very definite style. She requested southwestern reds, blues and yellows for her little girl's quilt. The design is another barn quilt that I adapted to my needs.  I'm seriously considering writing up the pattern this next year and posting here on the blog because it was just a dynamic and easy quilt to make.

#24 Vashta Nerada mini

In 2014 I organized my own Instagram swap for the first time. #makeadalekmakeafriend started out as a joke referenceing the Schnitzel and Boo swap in a conversation I had with fellow Whovians on IG. Eventually we decided that a Doctor Who themed craft swap was a brilliant idea and made our little joke a reality. My partner was Jessee from over at Art School Dropout (I'm totally using her photo up there). She is super nerdy, super crafty, and has a killer, awe-inspiring collection of geek stuffs. I knew I was going to have to bring my A game with her package. My inspiration was the Silence in the Library episode where the 10th Doctor first meets River Song and saves her from the Vashta Nerada. I used glow in the dark thread and free motion quilted "Who turned out the lights?" over and over on the base of the quilt. The astronauts helmet is all free motion embroidery that has been raw edge appliqued to the quilt.
I used 4 different colors of grey to free motion the floating skull, then highlighted it with one line of the glow in the dark thread. I think the end result is satisfyingly creepy. Don't forget to count the shadows. 

#25 Liberty Jane mini

I'm really sad that I don't have a better picture of this quilt. I made this for a Jane Austen themed swap. I finally cut into my store of Liberty of London that I won from Duckadilly Fabrics. I made Liberty and linen nine patches, designed the central embroidered monogram, pieced it all together, then hand quilted it with variegated perle cotton. I'm very proud of this piece and my husband has suggested that I recreate the embroidered monogram on a piece for our home :)

#26 Woodland Friends/Psychedelic Mushrooms

This is essentially a redo of my Boy Squared quilt made for a coworker's niece. She likes to call it the Psychedelic Mushroom quilt because I doodle quilted mushrooms and hearts into the quilt. 

#27 Handmade Modern

I'm really proud of this quilt. Here I experimented with hand painting my own fabric with watercolors. I improv pieced the painted fabric together with Essex linen in black. The quilting is color full match stick that complements the separate design elements. I enjoyed the experiment of using lots of different techniques and I couldn't be happier with the end result. 

On a side note, I don't know that I would recommend using watercolor for all your quilt painting. It works here because I wanted soft colors and I don't anticipate the mini ever being washed. I plan on trying out some other ideas for fabric painting and I'll blog my results at that time.

#28 Texture Quilt

In January I found a tutorial for a quilt sampler that explored texture in fabric by TeresaDownUnder. I resolved to make that my year-long project. As the weeks progressed I realized that, though I loved the quilt design, I did not love the color scheme and abandoned the project. I picked it up again last week and decided to turn it into a wall hanging. I took my favorite blocks of all that I had completed and made this mini quilt. The border fabrics are densely quilted with tiny stippling so that the central texture design draws the eye. I think I would still like to make this quilt in it's entirety; maybe in blues and greens instead of the grey/red/aqua combo.

So, that's it. My quilt-year in review is complete. I've made a mountain of mistakes, grown my skills, defined my aesthetic, made lasting crafty friendships, and created tons of quilty goodness. I can only hope that 2015 treats me half as well. 

2014: A Quilt Retrospective, Part 1

I love this time of the year. It's a time of endings and new beginnings; a time to reflect on all that you've accomplished and the things you hope to start. It's a time to complete old lists and set new goals.

This particular new year marks the completion of my first calendar year as a quilter. Over the past few days I've been looking back over my social media pages and reflecting on what I managed to create in 2014. I thought I had done a really great job of keeping a mental running tally of my work (I thought I had made 18 quilts) but in reality I was WAY off. I made 28 quilts in 2014; 14 mini quilts and 14 usable quilts. I managed to get at least one picture of each quilt. I'll be sharing those and a little blurb about each quilt over the next two blog posts. I hope you'll enjoy looking back with me.

#1 Green Jay 

This marked my first step in what I like to call fabric architecture. My oldest daughter loves to bird watch. We spend hours looking through birding books and walking the parks to see what we can see. We still haven't seen a green jay in the wild, but we'll always have this one on our walls.

#2 Girl Star and #3 Boy Squared

These two quilts were made for my brother and sister-in-law's gender reveal party.

We found out that Norah Jane would join us mid-summer! Mom and Dad both love the quilt and our little girl looks so beautiful snuggled up in it. The boy quilt was then personalized and given to a co-worker for her new son.

#4 Sailboat Quilt 
 This quilt is the first that I designed myself. I don't think I could have made it any more difficult for myself. That quilt block IS NOT paper pieced. It took forever and the finished quilt top was seriously wonky, but it turned out super cute and the sweet little one it belongs to loves it as is.

Just in case you're wondering, that pattern got tossed and will not be revisited. :)

#5 Hunter's Star

This quilt started in an effort to try to love my job again. In January my ER moved into a new building. We more than doubled our capacity and to walk from one end to the other is to walk the length of a football field. We had to create and recreate new process in order to function in our giant new space. On top of that we had a critical increase in census and a major turnover in staff. I was very unhappy at work and contemplated quitting almost daily. After being in our new building for almost 3 months, we started making preparations for ED Doctor's Day. I decided I would make a quilt that would be given away to one of our ED physicians as a Thank You for all the work they do. I hated almost everything about this quilt. I hated the fabric (it was given to me), I hated the pattern (in reality it was too advanced for me at the time), I hated how time consuming it was. It was a perfect match to my unhappiness at work. Then, one day it was finally finished. Dr. Chase received the quilt in the drawing and was very appreciative. He shared some memories of his mother and grandmother quilting with me and I could see that my efforts had touched him. And just like that, my feelings about the quilt changed. My feelings about work took a little more time and effort, but I'm not near as unhappy as I was in March.

#6 Flower Baby Quilt

This was a quick baby quilt for a coworker. I used a panel and some of the line coordinates and used free motion quilting to make the designs really pop. I loved these bright colors. This quilt was started and finished in under two days.

#7 Little Apples Baby Quilt

I had several charm packs of Aneela Hoey's Little Apples and made this large baby quilt for a coworker. This is the quilt where I fell in love with simple doodle quilting. 

#8 Honor the Texas Flag

I made this mini quilt for a fellow member of the #hive7eleven of the #moderninstabee2014 group on Instagram. She is a native Texan living in Florida who loves quilting. When the idea for this mini came to me, I knew immediately that I would send it to her. I'm proud to say that she loves it!

#9 Abby and Boyfriend's Wedding Quilt

When Ro was little we found the world's best babysitter. Miss Abby was a TCU student who worked in the church nursery and dated an awesome man that Ro called Boyfriend. Miss Abby became our as needed nanny after EB was born. Now Miss Abby is all grown up with a real life job and doesn't babysit anymore. However, she and Boyfriend remain close to the girls (they arrange play dates with them, so cute). Abby asked the girls to be the flower girls in her wedding and they were both thrilled (she even made their dresses!!). In a nod to her fun modern style and TCU purple, I made her this quilt as a wedding gift:

#10 Edit mini

This was also made for a bee mate who happens to be an editor. I used the scraps from Abby and Boyfriend's wedding quilt and improv pieced this together. This was my first attempt at echo quilting.

#11 EB's Quilt

 This quilt was a "make it up as you go along" design for my youngest daughter's bed. I love the juxtaposition of bright, modern fabrics with a traditional design. I also did some more free motion doodle quilting. I loved watching EB discover all the flowers and butterflies in the quilting and point them out to Daddy.

#12 Barthomeow's Baby Quilt

This quilt was made for a college fraternity friend for his first son. I used a free Fat Quarter Shop pattern and quilted varying sizes of simple waves across it.

#13 Sabrina's Advice mini
This mini quilt was made for my very first swap, Round 2 of the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap. I'm sad to say I never heard from my partner but I had a great outpouring of support for my work on Instagram. I love the movie Sabrina and she says "Paris is always a good idea". I took that idea and created this mini.

The base is all low-volume squares with random line quilting. I used raw-edge applique for the fleur-de-lis, Eiffel Tower, and bunting, then free motion quilted the words and bunting cord.

#14 Scrap Mini Mini

This tiny mini started as an exercise to see what I could create with the scraps on the table in one evening. It's improv pieced and the very first thing I ever matchstick quilted.

That's it for Part 1 of my Quilt Retrospective. I'm enjoying looking back at my work from this year and remember why and how they were made. I hope to get Part 2 completed tonight and posted no later than tomorrow. I hope to see you soon!

Rae :)