Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My latest quilt

If you read my last post about my awesome trip to Virginia, you will have seen a peek picture of my latest quilt.  I know, it was just a teaser photo, you really couldn't see the entire quilt.  So here it is - meet Gods Eye.
And a detail pic:

So why Gods Eye...
well, when I was growing up I went to summer camp.  Every year we would make those little yarn ornaments, which were called Gods Eye.  The dye patterns of this piece totally reminded me of them!

Now, I'll share the story behind this quilt... if you know me, you know something happened, right?  Nothing I do can ever go smoothly, there's always a whoopsie.  Don't worry, I'll get to all that *good* stuff in a bit.

Two years ago, yes two years as in 2015, I purchased this beautiful piece of hand-dyed Armani silk from Debra Linker.

As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to create a design for it - just look at how gorgeous it was - and the lighting in this photo didn't even come close to doing it justice.

I started with some stabilizer, because silk... it's slippery!

Then I slowly transferred the design with chalk.

About this time last year, I started stitching the design.  I started with gold metallic thread and did a sort of bean stitch.  So now comes the whoopsie... oh no!  Yep, as I'm stitching all my chalk is bouncing off the silk.  And I mean bouncing as in gone.  The back and forth motion of quilting the bean stitch was just too much.  Yes, I know you can spray the chalk with hairspray to make it stay better, but... silk.  I really didn't want to spray this beautiful piece with hairspray and risk any staining.  So quick, stitch the marked lines as quickly as possible with a single line of stitching.  No... the thread literally sunk into the fabric and was barely visible.  Okay, plan 2 (or 3 actually) - switch out the metallic thread with a thicker thread that won't sink.  Okay, that worked, continue stitching away and finish the design.  Remove quilt from frame and go back life, this will have to wait for another day.

Fast forward a few months... now that all the stitching is there and nothing is moving, put the gold metallic back in and bean stitch over all that thick thread.  Oh no... the gold over the thicker thread doesn't look very good.  Like eww, more of a tarnished gold than gold.  Hmm... okay, lets take a few more months to think about this one.  No really, I had an idea but, no time to work on it.

Fast forward a few more months.  Couching!  Yes, I would couch beautiful yarn over all that yuckiness.  Well... since I'm couching, I might as well change from gold to copper.  Ooohhh ahhh - so pretty.  BUT... well really two buts... 1) my new couching foot, as amazing as it is, was too thick to see the tiny little areas, and 2) I can't see exactly where I'm stitching with the yarn so this is gonna be a crazy mess on the back -- backtracking perfectly was nearly impossible.  So... couch manually and then when I'm finished... wait for it... add another backing and quilt the design again and then add the background fills.  Yep...

So I started manually couching - yes, holding the yarn with one hand while moving the machine with very tiny zigzag type stitches with the other.  I used Candlelight thread by YLI - sparkly and super great coverage.

Couching completed -

Yay!  Okay, now a new backing fabric, restitch all those lines and onto the background quilting...

I finished quilting this beauty the night before we were leaving for Virginia... I quickly folded it up and squished it into a tub and after a week of teaching I was able to block this beauty.

And after two days under a fan it was ready for facing! 

Yes, this quilt had to be faced.  As there was no more of this hand-dyed fabric I wasn't able to make binding - so facing it was!

So while I was vacationing, I did manage, with a full day to spare, to make the AQS Daytona deadline.  So, we'll have to wait and see if it gets accepted.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Quilty & not-so-quilty catch-up...

What a blast I had teaching at the Gammill Mid-Atlantic Longarm Machines (hosted by Threads Run Thru It).  Here are just a few pics:

Let me tell you -- this is an awesome classroom setting!!!

Even Emily was in on learning to design her own quilt:

And their mascot, Wingnut... he's really a dog.

Here's me and Lori during a couple of downtime moments (no, I didn't teach the entire time):

After the classes I spent some much-needed downtime working on a few of my own things.  I finished up a long-overdue class sample:

I also stitched-up this super cute panel (Hoffman-Supernova Snowflake/Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero) for the Threads Run Thru It shop (and yes, they have panels available at the shop) - 

and shopping.... an entire day of shopping, well, and lunch!

I also finished my latest competition piece while I was there (you'll have to wait a few more days for that post though) - until then, here's a peek:

Productive I tell you... because I also pieced my first modern piece.  My Facebook followers will remember this pic:

Well, it turned into something... umm yeah, improv piecing... not my favorite thing, but it turned out okay.  Sorry, that will be another post as well... soon though.  I'm hoping my quilting makes it awesome, because as I said, right now it is okay.  But it was super fun piecing it on this awesome machine:

And... if that wasn't enough, I totally designed a future applique quilt... yeah, F U T U R E... like forever from now!

Okay, now a bunch of FUN pics:

Block Breakdown #3 - Square in a Square

Every month on the Gammill YouTube channel I'll be sharing a different block showing several quilting variations. I'll make sure to share the link here as well. You can always click on the Block Breakdown links (located in sidebar) to check if you've missed any.

Here is Block Breakdown #3 - Square in a Square:

Remember, let me know if there are any specific blocks you'd like to see - happy stitching!