Monday, July 21, 2014

Quilting update

It's been a while since I posted my first quilting project, and I've been working steadily on several others. If you're here for technical boat details, you may skip this entry.

This quilt was finished quite a while ago, but I couldn't blog about it because it was a gift for my Mom's birthday. Now that she has it in her hands, I can share the details. I called it "Floral Gallery" and it is made primarily of fabric from the Indigo Nature line by Daphne B. Each picture frame block is quilted differently in straight line patterns such as cross hatching, zig zags, plaids, and concentric rectangles. That was a lot of work and I probably won't do it again for a while, but the little frames seemed well suited for the effort. As a bonus, this fabric is particularly soft to the hand, so I hope my Mom finds it particularly snuggly.

Sean is modeling the quilt in what we affectionately call the "Kilroy pose." Quilting blogs are full of photos of quilters' husbands' feet and knuckles. Few capture such a charming glower, though.

This one is called "Bright Remainder" and is also lap blanket size. The pattern is a Disappearing Nine Patch, which looks much more complicated than it actually is. It's pieced from batiks in saturated colors, solid yellow, and a subtle dark blue tone-on-tone background called River Mist that I really like. Modern quilting often uses solid colors for the negative space, but I like fabrics that read as solid but are really a more interesting texture when you look up close.

This photo shows it before I added an outer border of navy blue with a dense metallic gold swirly print. I've since quilted it in a sort of plaid pattern, easy straight lines that intersect on all the small yellow squares. All that's left is to pick a binding fabric and attach it. Binding can be sewn on completely by machine, but I like how clean a hand-finished binding looks both front and back. Hand sewing is a great activity for at-sea days, too.

The photo also shows the sewing machine set up in the salon. We've since moved it down into the VIP stateroom, where I'm experimenting with a folding table setup. It's nice to get the fabric mess out of the living space, but I have not dialed in the right combination of table and chair downstairs yet. More on that, and fabric storage, in a future post.

I was motivated to piece this Christmas lap quilt while we were waiting out the tropical storm conditions in Portsmouth. It's called "Arthur's Holiday." I purchased the pre-cut fabric squares as a kit from The Quilt Place in Rockledge, FL. The store had put together fabrics from many different manufacturers and lines, all in shades of blue and cream. There are stars, trees, ornaments, angels, snowflakes, and other festive and wintry motifs. The quilt is still waiting for another contrasting border, backing and finishing. It really got me in the Christmas fabric groove. I've since ordered more sparkly metallic fun stuff in more traditional reds and greens, and I'm looking forward to more holiday projects.

These two little stars were made for the Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge. NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg is a quilter and hand-sewed a small quilt block in zero G while serving on the International Space Station. I chose a yellow fabric with a concentric circle print that looks a bit like either the solar system or the Bohr atom, and a deep blue fabric with subtle black swirls on it that represents Dark Matter. If my block is chosen, it will be part of a quilt that will be displayed in Houston next year. Even if it isn't selected, though, this was a fun project and the first time I tried a pattern with triangles and matching points. It was a great learning exercise, which is why there are two blocks. Turns out it isn't all that easy to re-size a block, and I screwed up both the math and the construction, resulting in a block too small to be submitted. Don't worry, though: the little brother block on the left has found a new home in another quilt. That one is also a gift, so I'll reveal it after the giftee has seen it.

Finally, a little wall hanging called "The Persistence of Light." The prismatic rainbows are super bright batiks, set in a background of solid muted blues. The quilting all emanates from a single point on the left hand side. I designed it to be vertical, but have since decided I like it horizontal, with the lighter blue on top.