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Safari Moon Fractal Quilt {a finish}

Last month, I was digging around my WiP pile and found a finished 60 x 60″ quilt top. This is one of my early quilts from 2014, and one of a few made from a pattern. The pattern is Fractal from the book Quilt Lab.

Safari_Fractal_QuiltTop_Complete

I made a decision last year, that if I did not have a quilting plan for myself to execute on, it was ok to send quilts off to my LQS for long-arming. That is what I did with this one. I dropped it off to Cary Quilting Company, decided on an edge to edge Baptist fan design and ~$90 later (includes batting) I have a finished quilt.

SafariMoonFractalBack

It was perfect timing too, as a friend’s daughter just turned one, and she is now a proud owner of her own quilt.

SafariMoonFractalQuilt

I did find it interesting reflecting on where I started to where I am now, but relieved to say that this is off my WiP pile.

Details

Name: Safari Moon Fractal
Design:
Fractal from Quilt Lab (Alexandra Winston)
Fabric: Safari Moon, Frances Newcombe, Art Gallery Fabrics + Variety of solids
Backing: Tula Pink Free Fall wide back
Binding: Utopia, Frances Newcombe, Art Gallery Fabrics
Dimensions:  60 x 60″
Quilted: Baptist Fan @ Cary Quilting Company

 

 

 

 

Straight line quilting

I have to say I am a huge fan of my domestic machine walking foot and straight-line quilting. Its my preferred quilting technique, when choosing a quilt design for my quilts, which are mostly minimalistic in design. I do find it so versatile.

Neighbourhood_Finished_Front_Closeup

I hear so often from folks how easy it is or how quick it is to do straight-line quilting. The comment of easy or quick sometimes irks me, as it lessens the effort and design thought that can be required for quilting straight lines. So, I am going to respectfully disagree that its easy and quick. Here’s my view-point on straight-line quilting, keep in mind everything below are my experiences and I only use a domestic machine for quilting:

  • For long lines – it is not easy keeping that line straight. There is a skill involved in creating those straight lines even when using a guide. I tend to use 1/2 inch quilted lines or smaller, as I can use by foot as a guide. NegativeCrosswalks_Closeup_label
  • You are constantly checking and re-checking lines to make sure they are straight. This means every few lines taking the quilt out of the machine, measuring, remarking your guidelines. I use painter’s tape and a ruler every 4-5 inches or so, make sure I don’t go too far before correcting if some skewness appears. Most quilters will have a tendency to go right or left as they quilt their lines.  Funny enough, I have an issue of bowing where the center gets warp but my ends are in line.
     

  • What if your lines to not go edge to edge? I don’t always plan to submit my quilts to a show but just in case, I always try to bury my threads. This is different that most FMQ designs that can be used more continuous motion. I have been known to spend 8-15 hours in just burying threads, after starting lines from the inside and making my way out, ensuring my quilting does not cause any puckering on the front or back of the quilt. 

  • Lastly, I want the quilt design to add interest to the quilt and complement the quilt. The quilting for me is not usually the main focus but I do put a lot of thought into this aspect of the overall design. Choosing straight-line quilting, for me, is not just an after thought. Here are some examples where I hope you can see that.
    Fractions
    Fractions: 1 inch quilting of straight-lines. All thread was matched. Design was to make the inner square (on point) as one shape, as the corners of the lines converge where the triangles all meet. The outer quilting lines are color matched with the originating quilting lines, and the lines extend to through the border incorporating the border into the overall design. 

    Sunday Best: Variety techniques of straight line quilting was used to provide interest in the various shapes. In the orange peel like block 1/2 inch straight line and crosshatch was used. This was to pull the focus to the various layers and centers of the 4 curved blocks.

    Abstract Trio _1

     


    Abstract Triangle I: A variety of 1 inch and 1/4 inch lines were used to highlight the triangular aspects to the design. The 1/4 inch quilting, in particular, was denser on the negative space here as it is used to pull aspects of the other two designs into this design – The straight lines on the left in the first image above, and the edge of the pink triangle in the second image.

    Spoonflower Sampler Quilt
    Spoonflower Sampler: 1 inch straight line angled quilting. The goal for this angled quilting was all the lines point and meet at the centered square of the middle block of the bottom row. Pulling the eye from the center and giving it some movement.

    AltitudinalEcosystem_HighRes_Brand

     


    Altitudinal Ecosystem: Used a variety of straight lines depending on the substrate I was quilting. The 1/2 inch straight lines were used for the mountain to represent strength and rigidity. The lake (dark blue) has a variety of line widths and directions representing the movement and fluidity of the water. The air was still using my walking foot though using ultra wavy lines to represent how air waves move.

    ItTakesAVillage_Front
    Takes a Village: Used 1/2 inch straight line quilting lines to draw path ways around the village. The center circled lines represents the town square, meeting place and each of the triangles individual quilted with 3 varying straight lined designs represent the roofs of houses in the village.

    PhasedCirclesComplete
    Phased circles: Uses all straight lines either as matchstick, crosshatch or 1 inch quilting designs. This quilt took 80  hours to quilt . Thread color matches the background fabrics.  The 1 inch lines were used on the border to incorporate the differences between volume of the border and the centers. The center squares densely quilted, as I wanted a flatter look so that the circles are popping out more, and have the low-volume prints stand out. This denser quilting pulls you in closer to look at the details.

    Neighbourhood_Finished_Front_Closeup

    Neighbourhood: Is a quilt that represents the house and fences in the neighbourhood. The angled quilting in this quilt was designed to add movement to the quilt. Your eye will travel each of the shapes that are formed with the quilting. To add to that movement variegated thread is used.

I know that straight line quilting is not as complicated as various free-motion quilting designs, especially compared to designs by folks like Angela Waters or Kathleen Riggins (who I have used in the past for other quilts). However, I think straight-line quilting does require skill and can be time-consuming (depending on your design). It should get the respect it deserves, and what it does bring to the design.

 

Improving my Instagram feed

I have been working bit by bit to improve my photo’s for my Instagram feed, to grow interest in my feed. I see such alluring images from others that I wanted to step up my game. I am by no means an expert, here are some of my experiments so far.

Staging photos, adding interest

The first thing was actually work on the staging of my photos. Everyone tells you how important staging is, and it is amazing how it drives a different interest in the photo. For example, I have two photos  of the same quilt that are similar, both taken and posted around the same time of day, same day of the week. Both, showing stages in my quilting process of one particular quilt.  The response of the photos were completely different.

The first uses no props. it just shows the quilt and the stage it is in. The topic of this photo was that it was time to start burying threads.

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The second, I added the Auriful thread options and the painters tape I was using for the straight line quilting, to the picture as the prop. The topic of this photo was I continue to do 1/2″ straight line quilting.
IMG_8280

The response was doubled in the second shot over the first shot.

Photo Quality

I have to admit, I had switched to using my iPhone full-time for taking pictures. This is mainly for convenience, I always have my phone. Also, my phone had higher pixels than my older digital SLR.

I was lucky enough, that my fabulous husband bought me a new Nikon digital SLR camera at Christmas. Oh, what a difference!!! The pictures are clearer, the colors more vibrant. I love it.

I am using these Campbell’s soup can’s as color palette inspiration. I wanted a quick shot and started off with my iPhone (5s). Note, these are photos before any editing. Not bad, but I wasn’t getting those vibrant colors as my eye was seeing. Also, I knew I will need higher resolution photo’s if I wanted to put these in my upcoming book.
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So, I switched to my SLR and was able to control the zoom, the color and crispness was improved. Note, I just point and click and use the camera’s defaults for this image, and again no editing yet.
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What has made using my SLR with Instagram so much easier, is my new SLR has a bluetooth feature and downloads from my camera to my phone. There is no need to move the photos from my camera to my laptop to my cloud and then to my phone.

Framing the Photo

I have loved my friend, Nicole @mamalovequilts, Instagram feed for the longest time. I have realized it has a lot to do with her staging and photo quality of her images. It also has to do with how she uses white negative space to frame her photos. I mentioned this to her the other day, and asked how she did this, whether it was with IG or another program. She uses an app PicTapGo ($1.99). I downloaded it yesterday and I love it already!!

I use it mostly for the framing of the picture, but have been playing around with their set of filters too. Let’s just focus on framing a picture, though. I find that framing the picture with more white negative space actually focuses my eye to the image more.

Here is the photo I posted yesterday, a closeup of a pineapple, which I love (border added around the screenshot so you can see the visual space in IG). This one has no negative space around the image.

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The second image is what I posted from PicTapGo with a IG Square Floating effect added. This adds negative space around all four sides of the image so its floating.
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Another image, of my new media stand. This is the image of what I posted in Instagram. IMG_8721

However, I like it much better with the floating negative space. To me it gives it a crisper and cleaner look.
IMG_8728

Today’s photo out on Instagram, is using a slightly different border effect. It is the IG Square Full, which adds borders to the long sides of the image but the short sides reach the full length of the space within Instagram.

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I am definitely no expert, as I mentioned. I still have steps to go to increase interest on my Instagram page. If you are with the MQG, here is a recent article by Christopher @the_tattooed_quilter on social media and photography. 

Some of the other Instagram feeds that I find inspiring (not all are quilting related):
Nicole @modernhandcraft
Hillary @entropyalwayswins
Kate @teaandkate
Giuseppe @Giucy_Giuce
Helen @helen_dardik
Nicole  @mamalovequilts
Christopher @the_tattooed_quilter

I’ll keep you posted how things go, I am looking into videos next. I would love to hear how or what has worked for you.

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Grey: Guest Posts {Nydia Kehnle + Nicole Daksiewicz}

This month’s color is Grey. We have two amazing guests this month. I am so excited for you to read their posts.

First up, is Nydia Kehnle. I met Nydia during Quiltcon 2015 and have always loved her work. Her improvisation quilt that included both machine quilting and hand quilting, won an award that year.  She is an amazing designer, and photographer. I have been so excited to see her quilt pattern/design collaboration with Alison Glass, her releases of embroidery designs and experimentation with improvisation. Recently, she has been teaching some of her techniques at Glamp Stitchalot and next year at Quiltcon. Check out her thoughts on photography and how it influences her use of Grey.

Blog: http://www.nydiakehnle.com/
Instagram: @nydiak
Shop: http://nydiakehnle.bigcartel.com/

Nicole, from Modern Handcraft, was one of the first people I met in this virtual crafting world. If you don’t know her, she has a great sense for modern design and craft beers/ciders. You might know her from her Hexie projects but she has recently been releasing some amazing new quilt patterns. Grey is one of her favorite neutrals. Find out how she uses grey in her projects and in naming her son ;-).

Blog: http://modernhandcraft.com/blog/IG: @modernhandcraft
Shop: https://shop.modernhandcraft.com/

 

Black + White: Guest Post {Christa Watson}

This month’s color for the Colour Blog Series is Black + White. Christa Watson (IG: christaquilts) is our guest this month.

Christa’s blog was one of the first blogs I started to follow, when I started on this quilting journey. I finally got to meet her at Quiltcon 2015, a highlight for me of the show. She has since showed her flare and brilliance with Domestic Machine Quilting with the following book releases : Machine Quilting with Style and The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Both of which I can highly recommend.

Today, on her blog she talks about her choices and makes using black and white. Her use of black and white is very graphical and she uses pops of color to add additional interest. It’s a great read.

I’ll be back later this week with my perspective of using black + white in quilts.

IGQuiltfest

I had such a blast last week, participating in Amy’s IGQuiltfest.  For those that are not on Instagram (IG) or missed it last week, Amy came up with 5 daily prompts in which you posted photos relating to those prompts.

Monday – Finally Finished

My finally finished quilt was my Spoonflower Sampler Quilt, which I posted about yesterday.
Spoonflower Sampler Quilt

Tuesday – Recently Finished

Cherie D’Amour is another long-time WiP, that I just recently finished. I plan to post about it next week so stay tuned!!
Cheri DAmour

Wednesday – Quilts in the Wild

The idea of quilts in the wild to see how quilts are used. This is my son’s room. He loves making his own cave out of my finished quilts. On display here are:

Quilt tents

Thursday – Fast Finish

My fast finishes include these mini quilts that I have on my wall at work. They keep me calm and a smile on my face. My quilts on my wall include (Left – Right):

 

Mini Wall Hanging Quilts

Friday – WiP (Work in Progress)

On Friday, it was about your WiPs. I have 4 featured here in my sewing studio:

  • Mum’s Quilt (front),  which I tried table basting and loved it. I think this is my way forward with basting
  • Push me, Pull me quilt (on chair), ready to be sent off for quilting
  • Treehouse Ladders (left on design wall) is my entry for the Michael Miller Challenge for Sewtopia Atlanta. It’s me, channeling Pop Art Theme.
  • Beating Heart Quilt (right on design wall), my minimalism of a heart made from Ruby Red Oakshott Cotton Bundle.

WiP_Sewing Studio

I hope those who did participate had a great time. There was so much inspiration, check out #igquiltfest on Instagram.

Bright Prints | a color study

Last year, I did a design that I thought would be perfect to play with prints. I like using solids and prints, but what I wanted to do is step outside my comfort zone and use a variety bright and loud prints. I was inspired by designers like Anna Maria Horner, Alison Glass, Tula Pink and Amy Butler, as their prints are so amazing.
SquarewithinSquares_stripes_Solids

I chose Alison Glass prints from Field Day, Ex Libris, Clover Sunshine and Lucky Penny to play with.

LPQ 30 - Square in Square
[Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting]

I love how it turned out. I stressed the whole time while this was in the making. I had to change my inner background fabrics as the print I wanted to use was out of print (OOP) and I could not find it anywhere. The Ex Libris prints I did go with were much “noisier” than I was wanting. I was not sure until it was finished that it was what I wanted.

ColorStudyFront

The back was made from left over straps from the front of the quilt.ColorStudy_back

You too can make this pattern, if you like it. This project was ultimately done for Love Patchwork and Quilting. It is in this month’s magazine (Issue 30) and it actually made the cover. So, I am ecstatic that they loved it as much as I did.

LPQ 30 - Front Cover
[Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting]

Not to bad for my first finish of 2016. Looking forward to the rest of the year.