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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Game of Quilts

I signed up to participate in a fun quilt challenge sponsored by Bad Ass Quilters Society. There were two color ways to chose from and I chose Blood, Bone, Steel & Fire, these were the only fabrics we could use in our mini quilt.

Sorry this is on its side!  These are the fabrics.

The theme (in case you haven't figured) was Game of Thrones. I wanted to focus on the Starks of Winterfell and their Sigil or shield, the grey Dire Wolf.

The Starks have not had a good run, so one of the themes for my mini quilt is the horrific turn in the scene called
 'The Red Wedding' 

The Dire Wolf and blood are lightly fused, the flying geese are pieced and I traced the quote (by Jon Snow, the bastard Stark) with a light box and I will fill in the letters with quilting. 

Under the quote and the Sigil is an extra layer of batting to add dimension. I quilted around the Sigil and blood before trimming the batting around the dire wolf head. 

This could be the beginning of a mini quilt wall of all the Game of Thrones families. 

'Starks of Winterfell'
18"x 18" mini quilt
Aurifil thread for quilting, a bit of metallic thread thrown in

**Edited - I feel I should explain for avid Game of Thrones fans, I realize the quote I have used is from the Nights Watch, not the Stark family.  However, Jon Snow is a Stark (although a bastard member) and a member of the Nights Watch.  This is an interpretation of the Starks, there is no blood on the Sigil of the Stark family, and their motto is "Winter is Coming".  I imagined Jon Snow's feelings finding out that his family had been brutally murdered, and unable to avenge them due to his duty to the Watch.  I wanted to include Jon in my interpretation of the family.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Matchstick Quilting

Recently I was asked if matchstick quilting is the only type of quilting I will do.  And the answer to that is no and yes.  I have used matchstick quilting almost exclusively for the last year.  I like the way it looks, I like the technique, I like that it adds to the design of the quilt, I like the way the quilting thread show on top of the quilt.    

Do I like other styles of quilting?  Of course, sometimes I am in awe of what a quilter has added to a quilt.  Their designs, the time they took, the passion they have for their craft.  I can free motion quilt, and I would say my skill at that is average.  If I used that technique a lot more frequently I would be better at it.  

What I think about (semi) straight line quilting is that it is a style that is suited for the modern quilts that I make.  The only style? Absolutely not.  Matchstick quilting is tedious, it is time consuming, and takes diligence.  If you want to try it out, start on a small project so you can see how you like the technique.

I start with finding a straight edge on the quilt top, preferably a seam that goes all the way across the quilt.  I make a straight line of quilting along that seam, the next quilting line I line up with the edge of my walking foot.  I do this for 6" or so, and then fill in the lines with more quilting.  I don't worry about being straight at this point, a little wiggle looks organic and not industrial.  But both ways are fine, it is your preference.  My matchstick quilting lines are about 1/8" apart, as you can see on the above mini though, it depends on the piece.  The quilt below, which was accepted into International Quilt Show Houston, Modern Exhibit, was matchstick quilted with two different color threads, the centers of the orbs are quilted in a circular pattern.  

I will sometimes use different color threads and different weight threads in the same quilt.  I quilt on my home machine, a Bernina 750.  Some people chose to send their quilts out to be quilted, I think I have sent out one, ever.  But if I did send them out, I would have a lot less quilt tops and maybe a few more finished quilts.  There are also sit down long arms that I have had an eye on, but for now I have my home machine and it suits me just fine.  

A long time ago I quilted with monofilament only.  I thought that was the way to go.  So I realize that quilting this style will probably not last forever, but for the moment it is my preferred method and I love it.  The quilts I've washed with this quilting are soft and supple, drape lovely.  I'm not sure I would use this method on a quilt that would just be a couch quilt or a baby quilt, I may want quilting that is less dense.  Styles change, color preferences change (although mine has remained the same for my personal taste), methods change