Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'm still here!

I've been absent from blog-land for a long time now -- still quilting, still taking photos, just not at the computer. You know how life sometimes gets in the way!

But I'm still at it!

It has been over a year. Yikes! About the time I was posting the last quilts I was also getting two quilts of my own completed and ready for entry at MQS 2013 (Machine Quilter's Showcase). I pieced and quilted both of them and shipped those babies off to Wichita (at the last possible minute, of course.) I know many of you know the outcome of that show, but the photos never made it here, so that is where I am going to pick up.

The first quilt, Let Your Light Shine, was one of those designs that danced in my head for a while before I cut into the first piece of fabric. I wanted to play with the water color effect of lights and darks and chose to build that around a cross. I really had the quilting in mind before this was even pieced. I wanted rays coming out from the center and a quote quilted into the border.

Once the main body was pieced (quick squares and strip piecing) I made the asymmetrical border. I actually traced the lettering on before it was attached. I printed my quote, "Within each heart is a spark of the Divine" on my computer the exact size I wanted it and taped the multiple pages together. I then used a blue water-erase marker to trace that onto my white fabric. This may not have worked with any other fabric, but the white was translucent enough to see through. It was then attached to the main body of the quilt and ready for quilting.

I started in the cross and drew rays towards the outside of the quilt. I then alternated different fills between the rays. The cross itself was quilted like wood grain.

I used four different shades of blue thread and worked lightest to darkest from the center outward. (This is more evident on the back of the quilt.)

The color gradation spilled onto the white border where I outlined the lettering and then pebbled around that. Just F.Y.I. Pebbling. Takes. Forever. It is also much prettier (in my opinion) if the thread color matches the fabric. Mine did not.

This photo was taken after returning from the show. Originally, the lettering did not show up near enough in the quilting so I painted it a pale yellow. That is how it went to MQS. Several months after that I went back and made the yellow darker and added the navy shadow effect. It is still a little subtle and the font I chose made the quote difficult to read. I'll know better next time.

To finish the quilt I added a gold flange at the edges to complement the gold in the lettering and gold rays (very subtle) in the quilting. It seems to get lost in the busy fabrics, but I made the binding gradated as well. It is lightest at the top left and changes to dark in the lower right. That was one of my favorite features but is hardly noticeable unless it is pointed out. Again, I'll know better next time.

I'm glad I completed this quilt and that it hung in a major show. It definitely forced me out of my comfort zone. I knew going in it was nowhere near the amazing quilts that hung around it. The whole process taught me a great deal. And isn't learning and growing what it is all about?

Sorry this got so long. In the next post I'll share quilt number two that went to MQS!