Thursday, January 14, 2016

Update - Landscape Art Quilt Challenge

It's been 7 months since I launched my Monthly Landscape Art Quilt Challenge. This is where I challenged myself to complete one landscape art quilt per month. A little ambitious? Maybe....

"How's it going?" I can hear you ask. Well, here are the results to date.

June 17, 2015: Monthly Landscape Art Quilt Challenge Announcement
July 3, 2015: June Landscape - the Lone Tree
June's The Lone Tree (8" x 11")
July 29, 2015: Fireworks for July's Landscape Art Quilt
July's Fireworks for July (14" x 8")
September 14, 2015: Yellow Kayak Landscape Quilt

August's Yellow Kayak (11½" x 12½")
November 30, 2015: Fall Tree Project
September, October and November's Fall Tree (19.5" x 25.5")
January 13, 2016
December's Project
December's Mountainscape Project
Thread Paining and Beads
Thread Paining and Beads
I started December's Mountainscape Landscape Art Quilt on November 11 (Remembrance Day in Canada) when I attended a workshop with quilter Hilary Rice. Here's the post about the workshop.

Once the pinning was done, I left it until my Christmas holidays to complete. I didn't know how to thread paint and quilt it because the colours didn't bring anything to mind. It's more of a desert landscape but with a river. I ended up finding a few pictures of mountains and rivers on the internet and thread painting it as best as I could. Two of the hills are covered with trees while a third one has rocks or sand. The big brown hill had a pale area that I thread painted around. It could be a glacier or, in a desert area, a hill without vegetation.

I added metallic thread in the river. This was done by sewing from the back of the piece, with the metallic thread in the bobbin.

Metallic thread and beading in the river

Once I had finished, I found the piece a little dull, so I added bling to bring it to life. The river and one of the hills has beads while I added some birds in the sky.

What I learned:

Tape at the edges so that I could stop quilting
  • I seem to need a specific idea for my landscape before I start, and choosing the fabrics is an important part of this. I found this project very difficult because I didn't know what it was supposed to represent and I hadn't chosen the fabrics.
  • I know that the landscapes don't have to represent real things and that I can make things up. It was only when I allowed forced myself to do this that I was able to keep going on this piece.
  • I did put one of my former recommendations in practice - I marked off the edges of the piece with tape so that I didn't quilt or sew much past it. It really helped.
  • Sewing on the metallic thread through the bobbin went well, but I should have checked my tension!

Mountainscape Landscape Quilt (17"x 11")
This is my 100th post on this blog. How cool is that - time sure goes by quickly!
Here are my linky parties: Let's Bee Social, Fabric Tuesday, Freemotion by the RiverOff the Wall Friday, Free Motion Mavericks, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Can I get a Whoop! Whoop!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Bali Back Flip Quilt

In September 2013 I went to Philadelphia on a bus trip to see a quilt show and of course, to shop. After the trip, all of the participants made two beige and brown blocks using the Bali Back Flip pattern. Our trip organiser put the quilt together and quilted it for Jay, our bus driver.

After making the two blocks, I decided to make my own version, also using beige and browns. I decided to make it a little more structured by placing the lightest blocks in the middle and the darkest near the edges.
Bali Back Flip Quilt in beiges and browns
Bali Back Flip Quilt in beige and browns
The 6 middle blocks all have a beige that has a fairly prominent light brown pattern in it. For visual interest, I turned these blocks 90 degrees.
One of the middle blocks
I found it difficult to work with beige and brown since there are so many variations of each. Some beige are more cream while others have more yellow in them. The browns range from light to dark and chocolate to taupe. Some have more yellow or orange in them while others are more grey or green. In choosing the fabrics, I tried to stay away from anything too yellow or orange.  I didn't know if these would play nicely together, but they seem to!

This wasn't an easy quilt for me to do because I find neutrals rather dull. Adding structure helped me make it more visually appealing. It's hard for me to work on a quilt when I'm not in love with it - and that's mostly about colour. 
Chevy modeling with the quilt 
I started this quilt over two years ago, but didn't put it together until a few weeks ago. I decided a while back that this would be a perfect gift for my sister-in-law's mother, Kirsten. I know that she loves neutrals and will appreciate it. Since she lives in Denmark, I waited until she came to Canada to give it to her. She is leaving in a few days, so the quilt was finished just in time for her journey. It`s a lap size (48 by 56 inches), perfect for bundling up on the couch to read.

To make the back interesting without too much piecing, I enlarged the Back Flip block while using beige and a brown fabric that has a touch of blue. I had to add colour somewhere :-)
The back is a large version of the block
Quilted block
Quilted block

I wanted to FMQ the lap quilt with something interesting that would also make it soft and cozy. I stitched-in-the-ditch around each block and then used a stencil (SCL-354-06 from The Stencil Company). This time, I followed one of my lessons learned and practiced drawing the pattern before quilting it. It made a big difference in my confidence to quilt the pattern and was well worth the 10 or 15 minutes it took.

This morning, before bringing over the quilt, I made the label. Since I had spent so much time thinking the project through, I wanted a nice label to go with it. I made a 4 inch paper pieced cup from Quilting on the Square's Miniature Collection 2. To receive their free paper piece patterns, just sign up for their newsletter.

What I learned:
  • It's great when I put into practice lessons learned from previous projects, such as drawing the free motion pattern from the stencil before quilting it. It's even better when doing so really pays off.
  • I learned early in my quilting journey that there are many types of pinks. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there are as many types of beige and browns!
  • If I don't love the colours in the quilt then it's important to find other ways to make the project interesting. 
  • I was tempted to add more colour within the quilt but in the end, it's about the recipient liking the quilt, not me. I just have to like it enough to get it done!
  • The continuous teardrop stencil was perfect for the project. I didn't want anything too complicated since it's not very visible against the fabrics. It's just enough quilting to give it interest without making it stiff.
Here's wishing you the best in the new year!