Cosmic Yin and Yang…out of this world easy!

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If you want a quick, easy quilt to put together pick up a copy of the March/April QUILTY magazine and look for my Cosmic Yin and Yang quilt.

This stunning quilt is out of this world easy!  Starting with the 8 from a square technique for making half square triangles (HST), then cutting those HST in half to make the star points, I eliminate the need to cut small squares and sew them into strips to make star points.  Also, there are no set-in seams.  This quilt can easily be put together in a weekend.  One colored fat quarter makes up one of the squares.  So it would be easy to make additional blocks to enlarge this from a wall hanging to a lap or twin size quilt.

My inspiration for this quilt came from watching a Craftsy class, “Cut to It” by Debbie Caffrey.  She showed how to use HST to make the Delectable Mountain block.  I began to play around with HST to see what I could come up with.  The technique described in the magazine yielded a colored star and a dark star and using a non-traditional setting, I came up with a design  that has a more contemporary look.  The dark and light triangles  joined together make a whole unit as in  Yin and Yang.  As you can see in the close up, the quilting is representative of gravitational pull between celestial bodies, thus the “cosmic”.Pink Cosmic Yin and Yang 1800

I must say I am really impressed with the fresh modern quilts in QUILTY magazine. They are all beginner friendly, but don’t look simplistic.   I wish this magazine had been around when I first started quilting.  Be sure and pick up a copy and have some fun!  Apr_Cover-2

 

 

 

 

Chicago, Here We Come!

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I am very excited to announce that both quilts I submitted were juried into the special exhibit “A Celebration of Color” which is debuting at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago in April!  The quilts are “Playing Well Together” which I made for the Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine/Michael Miller fabric #mquOldisNew block and quilt challenge, and “Drunkard’s Bullseye WOW!” which was derived from one of the blocks from the #mquOldisNew challenge.    Take that QuiltCon!

This was such uplifting news as I am recovering from head trauma that I sustained the first week of January when I was bucked off of my young mare. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet, or I probably wouldn’t be able to write this at all.  I’m slowly recovering.  For someone who is normally an energizer bunny, this has been difficult.  I have been able to do some limited sewing and quilt designing, but find that I get really fatigued after an hour of concentration.  I am hoping that I will be able to make the trip to Chicago in early April and see if one will get a  ribbon.  But regardless, it is such an honor to have not only one but two  quilts chosen for such a prestigious show!

“Playing Well Together” is Michael Miller Fabrics Choice for the #OldisNewMQU Challenge

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I am so honored to have my quilt chosen as the winner of the Michael Miller Fabrics Choice Award! This was my very first challenge in which to participate, and it has been such an amazing creative adventure. I challenged myself to learn something new or try a new technique with each block. I became proficient at designing blocks on EQ7 and designing my layout and auditioning quilting for the blocks using my computer graphics program.  I would recommend everyone push their creative envelope by participating in challenges. You never know what you can do until you try!  Thank you to  Michael Miller Fabrics, to Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine for organizing the challenge, and thank you to the other sponsors: Superior Threads(I used Superior’s So Fine, Bottom Line, and Monopoly), Babylock, and Mountain Mist batting. I also want to congratulate all the other participants for making some very creative blocks and quilts! 

 

Liberated Rail Fence

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In September I posted about doing a Fun, Fast, and Liberated rail fence quilt inspired by Gwen Marston’s book Liberated  Quiltmaking.  I finished quilting it yesterday on SuziQ (aka my Bernina Q 24) and finished the binding this am.  The colors for this quilt were inspired by the dessert southwest…the adobe colors along with the reds, blues and turquoise.  The border was quilted to look like a wood frame surrounded by tiles using a variegated King Tut thread.  Up close, I thought it would look too busy, but you really don’t notice the variegation from a distance.  This was such a fun quilt to do, both the piecing and the whimsical quilting (see the close up). I love the colors!  This quilt makes me smile!

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I still need to finish the 5 pieces I created at the retreat at MISA with Gwen and Pam Beale, and then will post those.  I have a lot of UFO’s to work on, and although I’m itching to do something new, I have to stay focused on finishing what I’ve already started.  Stay on TASK will be my motto for the rest of December!

My First Quilt quilted on my New Bernina Q24

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I finished my first quilt on my new Bernina Q 24 and have entered it in QuiltCon 2017!  This is actually my first quilt submitted to a show.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be juried in.   Drunkard’s Bullseye WOW! is an enlarged version (58×58″) of one of the blocks I designed on EQ7 for the Modern Quilts Unlimited/Michael Miller Fabrics “Everything Old is New Again” (#OldisNewMQU) block and quilt challenge.drunkards-bulls-eye-1800-p-300-ppi-copy-2

I have to say that I really LOVE this new machine.  Even though it was new to me, it made things so much easier.  I did do some practice pieces prior to loading the quilt top.  I tried a variety of thread combinations and played with the top tension….Oh, yeah!  You can digitally adjust the top tension!  No turning a tension dial and hoping it is approximately where you want it.  Did I say, I LOVE my Suzi Q?  (BTW, you are supposed to name your machine, so I dubbed mine Suzi Q because the tag that came with the machine said she was made by a woman in Switzerland named Suzi.)   There are so many things I love about this machine….I love the digital display showing the different programs, plus I can set a specific program for the thread and tension that I am using, along with specifying SPI and BSR.   While I was working,  I could easily go from manual (doing small circles), to BSR 2 for doing ruler work, and then BSR 1 stitch regulated mode and automatically it would bring up the speed I had been using.  This may not make all that much sense to you, but compared to my  A-1, the Bernina Q24 is  like  Lamborghini and  my A-1 was a VW Beetle.

I also loved that I can sew from right  to left and from left to right and from botton right to top left and no thread breakage!   And I was using Superior’s So Fine thread.

I’m not sure what I love the most, but I love that the stitch regulator is truly a stitch regulator!  There are sensors on the foot plate on either side of the needle that determine how fast the fabric is moving and it adjusts the speed so that the length of the stitches stay consitent and  are truly accurate.  The quality and consistency of the stitches in BSR 1 and BSR2 is absolutely amazing.

Another thing I love is that threading the machine is done at the front  and there is a great built-in bobbin winder at the front.  You can easily exchange hopping feet.  They just pop on.  You use regular sewing machine needles which is nice…no special order.  Oh, and the lighting is great.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but I will keep you updated on my progress with Suzi Q.

Next week we install the computer…another adventure and learning curve begin!

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Playing Well Together

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17 months ago I started participating in The Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine/Michael Miller Fabric “Old is New” block challenge.  This has been such an amazing growth experience for me with regard to developing my creative side as well as my technical abilities.  Each month we were presented with a traditional block and had to come up with a more modern “new” version, and in the end put them all together in a quilt.   I played with many variations of setting the blocks using my graphics program trying to come up with a version that maximized negative space.  When I thought of staggering them on point and looked at how the piecing would be, I realized I could create an optical illusion of depth by using three shades of green.

I had a blast quilting it…and quilt it, I did!  For months I had been auditioning quilting designs on the blocks again using my graphics program, so for almost all of the blocks, I knew what I was going to do.  I used three variations of circles and lines in the staggered sashing, and really like the Yin and Yang circle on the last sashing.

I used Superior threads monopoly in clear or So Fine, and Bottom Line in  the bobbin.  The batting was Hobbs 80/20 topped with Hobbs Tuscany collection cotton/wool blend.  Size was 60 x 60″, the max size.

I’m concerned that for the final quilt competition, this might not be considered “modern enough” by the Modern Quilt Police.  But in the end, I love it!  This is what I would consider “modern traditionalism”.  What do you think?

I named this quilt “Playing Well Together” (which is a bit of a political statement considering the current political climate) in that even though the blocks are all very diverse, the group works well together.

Voting starts today and goes through Nov 30th.  Click on this link to go to the voting site.  Scroll down the page past “rules” and check out all the really beautiful quilts.  Click on the VOTE box next to your favorite (hopefully mine!).  https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fa.pgtb.me%2FMfCtTr%2Fh5Cj1%3Fw%3D36927840%26e%3D140583845

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  And let’s all Play Well Together.

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Out with the Old and In with the New!

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Congratulations to Sarah Rothwell on the purchase of my A-1 longarm quilting machine.  Sarah and her dad showed up with a flatbed all the way from Lubbock to pick up her new A-1 longarm.  I quickly showed her the ropes and she got to test drive it…fortunately she loved how it handled.   Jerry and I, and Sarah and her dad, Gary, began  the arduous process of disassembling it. About 3 hours later we had it down and loaded with lots and lots of bubble wrap and blankets.  Sarah owns a fabric store in Lubbock called RahRah’s Fabric and Quilting.  She plans to rent the machine to customers to do their own quilts.   I’m thrilled that this really nice young woman will be using my machine.  It has been a good one!

Now that the upstairs “sweat shop” is devoid of the longarm, we are having the carpet removed and replaced with a vinyl plank flooring that looks just like our hand-scraped  wood floors down stairs.

All of this is to make way for the new machine…the Bernina Q24!  ( I think “Q” stands for Queen of quilting).  Right now my new baby is sitting in the garage waiting.  Friday, the Bernina folks from Sew it Up in Grapevine, Linda Davis and her husband, will be coming out to set it up.  I can’t wait!

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The hard part is that I’m leaving for a quilting retreat on Sunday in Wisconsin at the Madeline Island School of the Arts for Gwen Marston’s last retreat before retirement.  That was a stroke of luck as I got the last spot available in the retreat!  It will focus on “Small Studies”.  Gwen was doing “modern quilting” before anyone called it modern quilting.  I’m really looking forward to the retreat, but also anxious to get back and get acquainted with The Queen.  I have a couple of tops ready to quilt and have been waiting to do them. Stay tuned for more about the new Q24!

Saying “Goodbye” to my Longarm!

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Are you tired of moving all that fabric and batting through the throat of your domestic machine?  or thinking about doing quilting for a business?  I have a great machine for you!  I’m selling my 2011 A-1 923 Elite  longarm machine.  It has a 23” x 9” throat space with Stitch Rite Stitch Regulator and Ergo-grip adjustable Handlebars.  You are able to adjust the handle bars to an infinite variety of settings…and the right and left adjust independently of each other.  It is on a  10’ steel table with swivel castors, a batting access lifting lever, a batting storage bar, and has the Ergo Lift hydraulic lift system with remote control so you can sit on a stool or stand while quilting.   If you want to do pantograph work, it has a laser light and stylus and I will throw in a dozen or so pantographs.  It comes with the king base for ruler work and a ruler hopping foot and I can provide a few rulers and circle templates.  It uses the larger Type M bobbins so you don’t have to change bobbins as frequently. There is a separate bobbin winder that just needs a belt to work.  Included is  an assortment of needles (dozens) from 14’s to use for monofilament, silk, or bottom line, 16’s for SoFine, 18’s for 40wt such as Glide, King Tut, etc,  Jamie Wallen’s excellent DVD on “The care and feeding of you’re A-1 machine” which does a terrific job of explaining care and trouble shooting, a set of “leader grips” for pinless and quick loading of your quilt, and side clamps for side tension. That is hundreds of dollars of extras!   This was my personal machine and only used for my quilts and a few friends’ quilts. It is a very smooth running machine and has been well cared for.  I will be taking it down next week to make room for my new Bernina Q24.  Purchaser is responsible pickup, transportation and setup costs.  Location:  Paradise, TX.   $5,000.  If you are interested or have more questions email me at  jackie.wildoaksranch@gmail.com.

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Fun, Fast, & Liberated Quiltmaking!

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I have loved every minute of the 12 month journey of Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine/Michael Miller fabric block  challenge; and have grown leaps and bounds with regards to my creativity as well as expanding my skill set; however, after finishing the intense piecing and quilting on my final quilt composition I needed to do something creative, fun, fast and immediately gratifying!  I had gotten Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quiltmaking II some time ago and had been watching her class on iQuilt, so I decided to do a liberated rail fence!  I dove into my pile of fabrics and scraps  and in two days had the main body of the quilt done.  It is such a fun and free process, designing and improvising as you go.  And it is liberating!  I haven’t finished adding the final border, but wanted to share what I have done so far:fullsizerender-18

One of my goals for the next year is to work on doing more minimal quilts (that sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it!), so  earlier this week I got Gwen’s book Minimal Guiltmaking.  I have poured over this, and have been very inspired.  There were many of her students’ beautiful works in the book and I thought what fun to do a retreat with her.  Looking at her website, I found that this is her last year of teaching, and on a whim looked to see what her schedule was.  Unbelievably, her last retreat before retiring will be in 3 weeks at the MADELINE ISLAND SCHOOL OF THE ARTS (MISA) in Wisconsin and there was one spot left!  I think this is fate!  The topic is “Small Studies” and I am going!

Final Blocks of the Modern Quilts Unlimited Mag/Michael Miller Fabrics Block Challenge!

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With the last few blocks to do, the challenge was to  design blocks that would complement the patterns and colors of the other 9 blocks and create a harmonious and cohesive quilt.   The final quilt challenge will determine whether I succeeded in this task.  The quilts will be posted by Nov 15th and voting will go from Nov 16th -30th.

June’s block was Drunkard’s Path (below left).   This traditional block is simply a quarter of a  circle set within a square.  There are many, many ways that these can be set to make a block or quilt.  As you can see in my modern version (below right), Drunkard’s Bull’s Eye, there are numerous drunkard’s path subunits  in each quarter circle gradually enlarging from the center outward with alternating light and dark.  The light colored fabrics were graded from light to darker as you moved from the center outward  which gives it incredible depth and a luminous quality.  It just seems to jump out at you  while at the same time it recedes into the distance.  This was my favorite block of the 12, and  I can see a large one-block quilt in my future!

The final block of the challenge was Jacob’s ladder.

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This block when put together in a quilt, can create some beautiful secondary patterns.  Just search Pinterest for Jacob’s ladder quilts and you will see a beautiful mix of traditional and modern takes on this classic block.

 

I played around quite a bit with this one, and below are several drafts of potential blocks designed in EQ7.

But in the end, I decided to make it a little simpler than the original and give it the look of an actual ladder.  I reversed the colors on either side of the ladder and I love the contrast.   The turquoise,  purple, and orange also complement two of the other blocks…Sailing the Chevron Sea and ZigZag BowTie.  My version of Jacob’s ladder won the last block challenge.

Contemporary Jacob's ladder

I had one last block to create.  I wasn’t able to do the rail fence block during the month it was featured, so I had a chance to design a block to balance the colors and pattern of my Spiral Pinwheel block.  The “Rail Fence in a Rail Fence” does a great job of complementing the pinwheel block, and I was very happy with the result.  What do you think?

Rail Fence in a Rail Fence                          Spiral Pinwheel

TaDa!  Below are my twelve blocks!

 

Ironically, I thought the due date was Sept 10th, so I was frantically working to get it finished. For the last few months of the challenge I was already playing around with  the layout on my graphics program, and was doodling with the the quilting motifs for each block on my iPad.  That sped things up a lot.   The piece was on the frame and I was quilting it when I checked the site to see if anyone had already posted a finished quilt and low and behold, found that it was not due until Nov 15th!  I was so relieved!  I had to go to Maryland to help my daughter haul two horses to North Carolina, so I had plenty of time after my trip to finish it.   I’m super happy with it and can’t wait for the big reveal in November.    Here is a sneak peek of some of the quilting:

Stay tuned for voting Nov 16th to Nov 30th to vote in the final Quilt Challenge!