Thursday, November 30, 2023

Mary's Turquoise Stars Quilt, Preeti's Syzygy Quilt + December Quilting Goals

Good morning, quilting friends!  I have a folder on my computer desktop containing a huge backlog of gorgeous clients' quilts waiting to be shared with you, and every time I open that folder I waste at least 45 minutes trying to decide which quilts deserve to be chosen for their moment in the spotlight.  When I started long arm quilting for clients I was really good about posting each finish right away, but either I quilt too fast (not!) or I write too slow (more likely!) and at this points I have photos of at least 150 quilts in that folder and more photos of more quilts get getting added every week...

The quilts I'm sharing today were both quilted quite awhile ago and I can't believe I never wrote about them because I LOVE them so much.  Without further ado:

Mary's Turquoise Stars

Mary is one of my favorite clients to quilt for -- she ships her quilt tops to me all the way from New Mexico even though there must be a thousand long arm quilters closer to her, she chooses striking, modern patterns and beautiful fabrics, and she often reinterprets the pattern creatively to create something fresh and unique, as she did with her Turquoise Stars quilt, shown below.  Mary used the star block from the Chevron Star Quilt pattern by Lee Heinrich Designs (formerly known as Freshly Pieced, available here on Etsy (this pot contains affiliate links).  

Mary's 67 x 87 Turquoise Stars Quilt with Billowy Combo E2E Quilting

One reason I didn't share this quilt immediately is that I was frustrated with my inability to get accurate color representation in my photos -- I was probably taking these shots late at night and trying to color correct in software, with limited success.  Mary's fabrics for this quilt are Art Gallery PURE Solids, and her background fabric is a deep, muted navy blue with a gray undertone called Night Sea.  The color is a little better in the photo below, but it's still too vivid and royal blue looking: 

Billowy Combo Custom Layout E2E Quilting

More to love about Mary: She lets me do fun things with the quilting!  Instead of just picking one allover E2E ("edge-to-edge") quilting design for Turquoise Stars, I combined nine different design motifs from Karlee Porter's "Billowy" collection, setting them up to alternate in three separate rows.  It took a lot longer to set that up in the computer, but it essentially created a larger scale design repeat, exceeding the depth of the throat of my long arm machine even, that creates more interest in the vast negative space of Mary's quilt than we would have if we'd chosen just one of these motifs to repeat over and over again across the entire surface of the quilt.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

FrankenWhiggish Setting Options: To Further Complicate, Or To Finish In This Lifetime?

Hello, Quilting Friends, and Happy Thanksgiving weekend to those of you in the United States!  In between the cooking and the baking and the holiday decorating of the past few days, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time in my EQ8 quilting design software, exploring my options for the Frankenwhiggish Rose hand stitched needle turn appliqué blocks that I started in March of 2014 (you'll find that post from nearly a decade ago here).  

At this point, all that stands between me and the end of making the nine identical Whig Rose appliqué blocks is 48 broderie perse rosebuds and 96 fussy-cut stuffed berries.  However, I remain undecided about what I'm going to do with those nine blocks once they are finished.  I have tried out so many options in EQ8, each one more complicated than the last:

70 x 70 On-Point with Mariner's Compass and Pieced Setting Triangles

In the EQ8 rendering above, I've just duplicated a photo of one finished appliqué block and the EQ8 software lets me see how all nine appliqué blocks will look together when they are finished, combined with any combination of thousands of other blocks, borders, sashings, etc.  It's one of my favorite ways to use EQ8 software, and although designing on the computer can suck up a lot of time, every 10 minutes trying something out on the computer saves me weeks/months/years of cutting up fabric, sewing it together, putting it all together on the wall and then hating what it looks like!  So in this version of the quilt, I'd be making four mariner's compass blocks using scraps of my applique block fabrics mixed with other fabric scraps from the same color family and style.  The centers of the mariner's compass blocks could even be the birds from my Vervain Monado-Havana fabric, the luxe drapery fabric I've been chopping up for my broderie perse rosebuds.  Although the mariner's compass blocks look complicated, the EQ8 software lets me print out foundation paper piecing templates in exactly the right size for my quilt, directly onto newsprint paper (I get mine on Amazon here; this post contains affiliate links), which makes it so easy to get sharp, crisp, perfect points.  I'd appliqué the center circle to each compass.  As of right now, I like the way the pieced setting triangles create an illusion of scallop curves to frame the body of the quilt, but they feel a little heavy -- might reduce the scale and use smaller strips and squares for those so as not to overpower the dainty rosebuds and berries.  

But how nice it would be to just be FINISHED with this already once I have the blocks done?  This quilt, like the 8-year skirt project I finished a couple weeks ago, really has no purpose other than educational.  I wanted to try needle turn appliqué, and I know how to do it now, so it's a "win" for me already and I'd like to move on to something else!  So this is the other, simpler option I'm considering:

Keeping It Simple, 66 x 66 Straight Set with Harlequin Border

In this version, I trim my appliqué blocks to finish at 16" square and set them straight with a harlequin border and little X corner blocks to repeat the X shape of the tulip stems in the appliqué blocks.  Then I've slapped on a 6" wide plain outer border, for feather quilting or whatever.

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