Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 coming to an end

For various reasons this has been a very special year for me. Rather than recapping every thing that happened, I will just mention the 2 that was the most exciting for me. I found out in May that my quilt Kutch Diamonds has won several categories in the UK Quilts show at Malvern and was also awarded the Best in Show. This was a lovely and timely special present for my 50th birthday which was a week later.

Now for an update on various projects I have been working on since Houston:

Dutch Treat

All 196 blocks are finished and sewn together, I have stitched the appliqué on the outside borders and just need to join the borders to the quilt top, then this one is ready for quilting. I am particularly pleased with this quilt, as this is my first reverse appliqué project. I started it in December 2012, so it has taken me just over 2 years to complete the top, a huge achievement, as I almost gave up after 6 months. Will I do another reverse appliqué quilt? Probably not. Glad I have mastered the technique and willing to use it in small projects but not ever again in a project this size. Very pleased with the result though

Rohan's quilt
Rohan's quilt was a bit of a challenge. You know how we all sit and sometimes just wish that we can be given a free hand when it comes to designing and quilting a quilt? Well, I was given a free hand with this quilt. The request was to make a quilt for a newborn baby boy with his name and date of birth on, in baby blue colours and was given a total budget. That's it, no other instructions. Trouble was, I did not know the customer all that well, I had no idea whether to do a wholecloth, something very traditional or very modern, off course I tried to explain the different types of quilts to the customer, who by the way, is not a sewer but got the response : "Just do what you think will be nicest".  I played with the idea of doing a traditional pieced, and do another one, a wholecloth, leaving the space for the name, then showing it to the customer and letting her choose which one she wanted. But time constraints meant I just had to make a decision and hope she liked it.  She was delighted so all ended well.

This is a Glacier Star pattern by Judy Niemeyer and is foundation pieced. The instructions look complicated but once you have read through them a couple of times and set up your work desk, it is really easy. Foundation piecing is not a quick way of piecing, but it does give the most accurate results for complicated designs. I have probably spent around 3 weeks piecing the quilt op together.

and then spent the best part of a week removing all the papers from the back! I am determined to find a better way of getting rid of the papers and am at the moment trying out some leave in dissolvable papers. Life is just to short to spent 5 evenings with a pair of tweezers!!!!

Then the fun bit started. I had so much fun quilting this, that I did not want it to get finished. 

That is, until got to quilting on the darker fabrics! As lovely as those fabrics are on their own, they are not the type of fabrics you would want to quilt on if you want the quilting to be a feature. The quilting gets completely lost. To solve this I had to play with several different threads, finally decided that a thread which is slightly darker and in the "wrong" shade of that colour, is the only way the quilting will be showing. Off course, every little mistake you make then shows up. There is also the danger that the quilting can be too prominent and dominate the quilt in a way that makes the design of the quilt (the overall look of the quilt) gets lost. Lesson learnt - before piecing think about how the fabric will change once it is quilted!

 I have now taken the quilt off the frame, I still have to do the micro stitching around the feathers in the darkest colours, but will load it back on the frame later on in January to finish it off. This is what it looks like so far:

Gabi's quilt
This is a "graffiti" style quilt for my youngest daughter, she will be taking it back to boarding school with her once the Christmas holidays are over. She does not particularly like girly colours as you can tell, she chose the fabrics below. The fabric is Grunge by Moda, the top is a denim blue colour, the backing is jade and the binding will be in tangerine.  I bought the threads from Linda Taylor and then came up with some suggestions for the words and motifs, which we then both agreed upon. Although she has seen the quilting that I have done so far and loves it, I have a surprise up my sleeve for her. Along the bottom of the quilt, there will be a few blocks in the style of a comic strip, with pictures on that is very relevant to her. I got the idea from a post on Facebook that a friend recently shared. I will post pictures here on my next post, but I am very excited about it.  

New project
I have been looking for a new hand sewing project as I knew that Dutch treat is coming to an end and then spotted this quilt at Houston. Whether I make the same or make up my own design or do another one altogether, I have not decided yet. I have however started cutting out and basting my hexes and have so far prepared 1300. Not bad for starting on 1st December and it is only 29 days in? But given that these are 1/2" hexes, I will probably need around 9000 to make a decent sized quilt.  Not a quick project then, it will keep me busy for most of 2015.

I just had to share this. I have never done any thread painting before and on a whim decided to take a break from the long arm classes on offer at Houston and sign up for one of Pam Holland's thread painting classes. Boy, am I now hooked! I can't wait to learn some more and am signing up for loads more classes to learn as much as possible about this. Didn't Abbey turn out really well? She is not finished yet, this is as far as I got in the class.

Youngest daughter gave this to me for Christmas. Brilliant present and it was done on boxing day.  So glad I know my teal from my turquoise otherwise this could have been a very difficult jigsaw :-)

I know I missed posting a post before Christmas, but I do wish every one a very happy New Year

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Houston 2014 The Quilts

I know it is a bit overdue, but here they finally are. First off, I apologise that I did not get photos of all the category winners. My photos were taken after the award ceremony and it was quite hard trying to get photos without lots of people in them. I intended to take more and better photos later on once they were on display in the main exhibition hall, but never managed to go round all the quilts on display. Some of the photos do not have all the information, if I have not given the relevant credits and you would like to add it, please let me know. Hopefully you will get a taste of the quality of work on show, so enjoy.

"Bike boys" by Lea McComas - Master award for thread artistry

"Panning for gold" Lea McComas - Art-people, portraits and figures

"Revolution 9" Robin Gausebeck - Mixed Technique 

Close up of "Revolution 9"

Another close up of "Revolution 9"
"Hurricane" Janneke De Vries-Bodzinga - Art-abstract, large

Close up of "Hurricane"


"Beneath my wing" David Taylor - Master award for Contemporary artistry

"Reptile wisdom" Karen Stone - Traditional pieced

"Eloise joins the circus" Janet Fogg - Art-Whimsical

Close up of "Eloise joins the circus"

"One fine day" Laurie Britt - Art-painted surface

"Argentum" Susan Stewart - Miniature quilts

Detail on "Argentum"

"British Garden" Anna Maria Schipper Vermeiren- Judge's choice

Detail of "British Garden"

"Springtime in the geisha's garden" Margaret Solomon Gunn - Judge's choice

Detail of "Springtime in the geisha's garden"

"Gift of appreciation" Kyoko Yamauchi -World of beauty award

"Zeruah's legacy" Barbara Korengold - Founders award

"Stars on Mars" Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison - Master award for machine artistry

Detail of "Stars on Mars"

Detail on "Stars on Mars"

"Majestic Mosaic" Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin - Traditional applique

"Majestic Mosaic"

Detail of "Majestic Mosaic"

"Magnolia" Sylvia Gegaregian - Innovative applique

Detail on "Magnolia"

"Vivaldi by moonlight" Sandra Leichner - Merit quilting, machine

Detail on "Vivaldi by moonlight"

"Fuji and Sakura" Masako Sakagami - Art-Naturescapes

Detail on "Fuji and ~Sakura"

"Georgetown wedding" Ann Peterson - Innovative pieced

Detail on "Georgetown wedding"
"Georgetown wedding"

"Admiration" Sachiko Chiba - Merit quilting, hand

"Summer wind" Marina Landi and Maria Lucia Azara - Master award for innovative artistry

"Healing waters" Hollis Chatelain - Judge's choice

"After Hadrian" Sue McCarty - Embellished

Detail of "After Hadrian" Sue McCarty - Embellished

"After Hadrian"

"After Hadrian"

"After Hadrian"

"The landing" Joanne Baeth - Art, pictorial

"On this winter day" Nancy Prince and Linda French - Best of show

 There were some absolutely amazing quilts in the exhibition, but a large number of them are not allowed to be photographed. The next photos are of some of my favourite quilts that I was able to photograph:

by Donna James 
Simply stunning!

"The inner journey" Jan Reed

"Gamilla" Sue McCarty

Detail of "Gamilla"

"Frozen Margarita" Susan Stewart

"Midnight garden" Elaine Class

"Dance to the music" Jenifer Day

"The jewel box" Anne Jones

"Poppy Pods" Judi MacLeod

"Love at first sight" Sheri Salo

"Mated for life" Sally G Wright

"Radiance" Carol Moellers

Detail of "Radiance"

"She's a wildflower" Joanna Wilczynska

"Seneca" Ferret

"Fly away butterflies" Charlotte Hickman

"Moody beach, Maine 1957" Morgot McDonnell

"More than a memory" Kathy McNeil

"Waratha" Melinda Bula

"Can you feel the spirit?" Cathy Pilcher-Sperry

"Crown jewels" Lisa Calle

"Butterfly wishes" Valeria Hill

"A little bit of this and a little bit of that" Janet Sturdevant Stuart

Detail of "A little bit of this and a little bit of that" 

"Autumn's surrender" Margaret Solomon Gunn
Detail of "Autumn's surrender"

Detail of "Autumn's surrender"

 Display of quilts in the Red and White Challenge

Spotted a "Dear Jane"

 and inside the vendor's hall:

Looking to the right from Level 2

Looking to the left from Level 2

An unforgettable experience, hoping to go again next year.