Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wonderlust Benartex Blog Hop & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Wonderlust Blog Hop for Benartex Fabrics! I am thrilled to have the chance to create something with Paula's incredible fabric. The 'prima donna' fabrics are like looking at stained glass, or tapestry, perhaps scrollwork, maybe all three! The 'solids' (anything but!) or blenders remind me of mixing colour into paint; they're saturated, prints with a depth and richness that makes me want to lick them, ha! I knew immediately that I would kaleidoscope these, something I haven't done for a long time, but that continues to call me.

I have loved and admired Paula Nadelstern's work for a very long time. I've mentioned before that I took a kaleidoscope course from a protégée of hers, Deb Tilley, at Earthly Goods in Edmonton back in 2000, and bought her book.

I had the privilege of hearing her presentation at the Edmonton Quilt Guild back in July 2004...
"REMEMBER, when it comes to fabric, more is MORE!"
First of all, this is not going to be a tutorial in how to make a kaleidoscope; for that you really need to either buy Paula's book and work through the detailed instructions to make one, or take a course from her. She is still teaching, around the world; in fact the main fabric, Tapestry, is inspired by a tower she saw in Muscat, Oman, before she taught in Dubai! Go to Sew in Love With Fabric, Benartex's blog, where you can read the full interview with Paula.

I'll show you the basics of what I did: I got to work, using my quilter's mirrors. The main fabric, Tapestry, was stunning. It, as well as another, Electric Slide, both have bi-lateral symmetry, meaning you could cut a triangle on the horizontal or vertical axis and have each side of the triangle identical. This creates the continuous kaleidoscope effect you see in the photos below, Tapestry in the first, and
Good Vibrations, both the centre triangles. I love the names! Another piece of Tapestry is the hexagonal shape below the triangle.

Beginning of kaleidoscope 2
In an attempt to speed up the process of creating a kaleidoscope, something which takes a long time, as you audition different fabrics and let the kaleidoscope find its own way, I tried something I haven't  done before in the construction of these, paper-piecing. (It is not as accurate as her method.) I did make templates for the symmetrical patches I needed though. I love paper-piecing for its accuracy, and thought for some of the sections it might work. I don't sew through the paper. You can find a detailed description of that process here.) For the purple kaleidoscope, you see the parts below:
This results in a 45° wedge shape.
Trimming, using the main template I drafted

Once you determine that the wedge is accurate (you can see where I needed to do a little finessing on mine) you then cut the rest of your pieces and assembly-line sew everything together. Once I had a second one and had tweaked it, I sewed the two together to get a right angle:
Getting excited as to what it will look like!
Here is the same stage of the second one:

This is what the templates and cutting looks like for the second kaleidoscope. The pentagon shapes are what I'd already cut for the first one.
Swiss cheese fabric... I still have a hard time with that! Plastic template has registration marks for accurately lining up the fabric
And after all the pieces for the both kaleidoscopes and the small hexagon, here is what's left of the yard of Tapestry!

Pretty soon you will have your kaleidoscope (centre seam hasn't been sewn because it hadn't told me it did not want to be a table runner but the star of its own show):

To get the octagon to a square shape, I laid it down on my cutting mat to determine the diameter, which was approximately 16.5" across. I then measured what I'd need for a corner, in my case about 5"on the two right angles sides, and cut a bit bigger of a square, two of them, so that I could cut in half across the diagonal and have four HSTs to add to the four corners:

From here, I added 2.5" strips to each of the four sides so that I had a 19.5 square.
I contemplated making a bag, with each one one side of the bag, but they said, no...cushions! Then you can see us every single day.

Both cushion tops complete
I layered the purple one and started quilting, first stitching in the ditch across the seams to anchor the piece and then FMQ-ing with Sulky Holoshimmer and metallic threads:

I was again (was there every a doubt?) very very pleased with the threads, and my darling Bernina, who sews wonderfully with these. I used Aurifil 50 wt in the bobbin at times and Superior The Bottom Line at others.

Here is the back before construction into the cushion cover:

And all done!

It is so hard to get a shot that shows the truly magnificent Sulky threads, glinting in the early morning sun, but I tried a few times...

A little different angle...

Here are the four Sulky threads I used, three Holoshimmer and one Metallic. The Metallic is used for the dot to dot work in the purple border, the Holoshimmer for the FMQ on the kaleidoscope.

The back where I used the Good Vibrations print:
I did the envelope back and machine stitched the binding to the front, then turned it to the back, gluing it down (love that) and stitched in the ditch from the front, catching the edge on the underside. This is my preferred way of machine-applying a binding as it most closely resembles my favourite, hand-stitching it to the back, and there are no lines of stitching showing on either the front or the back.
A close-up of my label😊

and another more detailed note inside!

Think I'm going to have tea with my cushion later today...

If you want something a wee bit simpler, and you just want to play with the symmetry of the fabric, you can make a one-patch hexagon using 60° triangles:

This will grow up into a nice-sized pincushion or a mug rug! Have no fear, the red kaleidoscope is under the Bernina's needle as I madly type, and I'll be sure to show you her when she's all done.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design kaleidoscope
Size: 19" square
Fabric:  'Wonderlust' by Paula Nadelstern for Benartex fabrics
Batting: Fairfield Soft n Crafty 80/20 (new to me and I liked it)
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Sulky Holoshimmer and Metallic, ditch-stitched with Aurifil 2600; Aurifil 2600 and Superior The Bottom Line and Gütermann 6217 in the bobbin

This is project #7 on my Q1FAL List which is here!

If you would like to win a fat quarter bundle of 8-10 of these fabulous fabrics, sent to US residents only please, due to postage costs, leave me a comment below, telling me if you've ever played with the kaleidoscope or perhaps the stack 'n whack methods. Followers of mine can have a second entry simply by telling me how you follow me. New followers welcome! Deadline is Saturday, February 3 at 7:00 am EST. I'll announce the winner on my Saturday post which has the details of the 30 Designs Challenge I'm hosting again this year on Instagram. Please remember to include your email address if you are a no-reply blogger.

The winner was #108 Janine! She has been notified by email.

There are multiple opportunities to win. I hope you will visit the other bloggers throughout this week, as well as visit Benartex's blog, Sew in Love With Fabric, and maybe download their beautiful free digital e-zine, 😉 Modern By the Yard.
Monday: Sew in Love With Fabric (interview with Paula and a look at the Wonderlust line)
Tuesday: Sarah Goer Quilts
Wednesday: mmm! quilts (you are here!)
Thursday: Little Bunny Quilts
Friday: Stitched Together Studios

Tomorrow is the opening for registration for the New Quilt Bloggers Hop! If your blog is more than 2 months old but less than 3 years, I'd highly recommend signing up for this most worthwhile event, of which I am pleased and honoured to be a co-host this year. As a result, Throwback Thursday will be moved this month to Friday.

Monday, January 29, 2018

This Week!

Is going to be a whirlwind!

Here's what is coming up:

1.  The Benartex Blog Hop featuring Wonderlust by Paula Nadelstern starts today with an interview with Paula and closer look at these fabulous fabrics, and runs this week with projects using this incredibly gorgeous fabric. This is fabric I want to lick, quite literally. My turn is Wednesday.

2.  Thursday is the opening day to sign up for the New Quilt Bloggers Hop, and, as you may recall, I agreed to be one of the four co-hosts...who knew all these events would come together this week! If your quilt blog is more than 2 months, but less than 3 years old, then I would strongly encourage you to sign up for this enriching experience. It sounds cliché, but it truly changed my life, not just my quilt blog life, but also my quilting life, and unexpectedly and most rewardingly, my IRL friends life. 😊

3.  Thursday was scheduled to be Throwback Thursday, a linky I am hosting where we photograph and tell the story, because every quilt has one, behind quilts from our quilty past, pre-blogging ones. If you want to revisit an old blog post, then Val at Val's Quilting Studio has a great linky party called Tuesday Archives, for that. Because Thursday is the opening of the NQBH, I am moving TBT, Throwback Thursday, to Friday this month.

4.  Thursday was also my planned date (without properly consulting my planner, I have since realized), to begin the second annual 30 Quilt Designs Challenge. Like how could three major events all fall on the same day?! So this is being started on Saturday, Feb. 3! Instead of ending April 15, it will now end April 17. That allows 10.5 weeks so roughly three designs per week, a nice pace. There are prizes!
I am excited to announce that Melody, owner of The Red Hen Shop, who sponsored the challenge last year; such a lovely surprise for her to email me about it, is again sponsoring this year's challenge. She is offering three prizes which will be drawn around the 10, 20, and final 30 designs marks. The first two are $15 gift certificates and the grand prize is a $50 gift certificate! Sweet! Melody's brick and mortar store is in Iowa, USA.

I am also excited that I have a second sponsor for this year's challenge. Darla at Clinton Modern Creative a Saskatchewan, Canada, online store, contacted me about being a sponsor for the New Quilt Bloggers Hop. I later asked her if she'd like to sponsor this challenge as well, and she said yes! Cool!

She'll be offering a $25 prize as another one of the grand prize draws. I'll post more details about the stores and about the challenge which runs on Instagram on Saturday when the challenge begins, but basically it's where you design a block or a quilt, (if it's a block then you put a few together so we see what a quilt may look like). You add it to the hashtag which I'll set up for this year's challenge, on Instagram. More details, as I said, on Saturday.

I hope you'll check out these two fabulous stores, and maybe show them some quilty love; note that I am not affiliated with either.

5. I finally hit upon a project for the RSC2018 Challenge with Angela at soscrappy. My 2.5" squares tray has been getting rather full, so I wanted to do something with those. I saw Ariane's quilt top all finished on Instagram and knew that was IT! Between piecing my project for Wonderlust, I made my two January blocks.

6. One other note is a follow-up to a previous announcement about Postcard from Sweden, which begins February 14. I am blown away by the interest that has ensued! I got an email from Tayva at StitchStashDiva, saying she'd tracked me down, because she'd sold five kits for the quilt that day alone, so she knew someone must be hosting a QAL. 😀 Well, I am ecstatic to announce that I am now going to have a grand prize for this QAL!! She is offering a quilt backing and binding set to one lucky winner of a finished quilt, free shipping! I am tickled all kinds of pink, well all those in the Postcard quilt for sure!! If you are now caving, and thinking of joining in, go here to snag a kit from Tayva's shop. The price is just excellent, and note that you'll qualify for free shipping if your order is $60 or over... I know, I'm a baaaad enabler... If her kits run out, I got several half yard cuts from Missouri Star (no affiliation) and split them with my good friend Helen of Midget Gem Quilts. They arrived very quickly too.

All right that's it for today. I apologize in advance, but I will not be on top of responding to comments unless it is of a more urgent nature, as I have the Wonderlust quilt to finish and write up for Wednesday.😉 As Beth says, I am crushing on these fabrics, hard, and hoping to do them justice. I am also crushing on having all these wonderful sponsors, woo hoo!

Linking up with
Cooking Up Quilts

Saturday, January 27, 2018

DREAMi! #12 and 2018 Schedule

Welcome to the first DREAMi! link up for 2018! If you're new to my blog and have no clue what a DREAMi! is, it's short for DRop Everything And Make it!

I'm sure you've have moments like those where something catches your eye, be it off someone else's blog, in a store, off Pinterest, at a guild meeting, in a magazine, in your email, on YouTube, in short any source, and you feel totally so consumed by that fabulous project that you have to push your current project, heck forget meals and housework, and make that sucker, and make it now, not stopping until it is done and out of your head!

It happens to me a lot. But this month it didn't, although there are a certain two projects, one on the desktop of my laptop that stares at me each time I open the computer, the other in my graph paper design notebook, both enticing me to throw caution to the wind and make them. I know I am going to succumb about mid-week when this current deadline happens, which is the reason I'm being rather focused, and the current project will be done and blogged about for Thursday (hint!).

For now, I got nuttin'...

If you post on Instagram, use the hashtag #dreamimoment and tag me, @mmmquilts so I'll be sure to see it!

If you have a finish, I hosted TGIFF yesterday, and the link remains open until midnight tonight, so be sure to link that up. You can also see one of the two latest quilts I finished (the other that had to get done before we left for Florida is here) that made me put my quilty blinders on this past month.

Here is the 2018 schedule! (updated with links as the year progresses)

January 27 - you are here!
February 24
March 31
April 28
May 26
June 23
July 28
August 25
September 29
October 27
November 24
December 29

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Flow - A Friday Finish

How's that for lots of 'f' words?! I am so pleased to show you all my Wayward Transparency finish, and to welcome everyone, new readers and regular ones, to TGIFF, coming to you from Kingsville, Ontario, Canada, and from North Port, Florida, USA. (explanation to follow) This is my first time hosting this linky party, so I am pretty excited!
If you aren't familiar with TGIFF, it's a Friday finish linky party where you can showcase your finished quilt. Various bloggers host each week. Interested in hosting? Visit the info page here; it's super-easy to do.

Here is my finish, Yvonne's Wayward Transparency quilt along, which I've named 'Flow':

It is on my Q1 FAL list which is here, or ha, there on that link. You may be thinking, wait, what? Snow? I thought she was in Florida now. Well I am. No, there's no snow here. I took these photos before we left Ontario so that I didn't have to bring the quilt with me. I'm writing from Florida. 😉

All right, on with things... I wasn't sure about what layout to do; I didn't want borders, and the layouts with points in, or points out, or two in/two out, didn't sit right with me. When Tish showed me a layout she'd come up with, ding!ding!ding! the lightbulb went on and I knew this was it.
Late afternoon light to capture that texture! I haven't washed it yet, so it's bound to crinkle up more!

I love watching birds, have done for many years. When we lived in Alberta, we were on the migratory path for sandhill cranes. They fly WAY HIGH up; often so high it takes a while to find them, although you can hear their distinct calls. They will circle, waiting for an updraft, which, when they catch, flings them off south, much like a kid shoots out of a waterslide. Here in southern Ontario, I love watching turkey vultures float on the updrafts, lazily flapping their albatross-worthy wings every once in awhile, kind of like me floating in a pool, waving my arms in an 's' motion every once in a while.

So the circular movement of the 'geese' I see in this quilt felt right. Also feeling right was knowing I'd do a spiral quilting design, something I've not done over an entire quilt top, kind of like ripples made by tossing a pebble into some water.

I started in the centre of the quilt with a circle that spiralled outwards, doing the first several rounds FMQ-style so I didn't have to maneuver the bulk of the quilt. I marked 1/2" intervals so I had something to aim for. Here's a short video of that beginning:

After that, I switched to my walking foot, using the edge of it as my 1/2" guide.

Going around in circles did take a lot longer than I'd figured!
I love that the circle and triangles in the main background fabric can be found in the piecing and quilting.

What thread was I using? You might be able to tell it's a variegated one from the above photo. Bella picked it:
Sulky for the win!

It not only gives the quilt more movement, it also gives great texture.

TIP: I found about half way through the spiral quilting, that the quilt was starting to get a bit distorted from continually quilting in the same direction. I hadn't done something I always do on quilts, stitch in the ditch to stabilize. I'd figured with this dense of quilting, I wouldn't need to... Ditch-stitching also helps to prevent ripples on the back, a problem I read that a lot of quilters who pin-baste have. I don't pin baste anymore; it's glue basting all the way baby, never a problem since 1998 or '99 when I first had my quilting life changed by it. However, this quilt, though glue-basted, was getting distorted. So I stopped spiralling, and ditch-stitched along both central axes (plural of axis; I checked!), and then added more ditched lines along the largest long edge of two opposing triangles, and then went back to spiralling. It blends right in; you don't see these lines on the front or even on the back as the spiral takes front and centre. This is also why I am a press-to-one-side, usually the dark side, girl. The ditch-stitching will disappear in the 'valley' of that tiny ridge since you stitch on the low side of it. With seams pressed open, your ditch-stitching falls between the fabrics, not stabilizing the top at all, because your stitching is on top of the threads holding the two fabrics together. Hope that makes sense, and hope that helps to stabilize your quilt. I still plan to wash and block this quilt once we're back home.

Notice more of the circles motif in the deepest pink? That's all that's left of Masterpiece Mixers by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics. The medium pink is an older leftovers fabric, one that looks like a batik, but isn't. It has a hand like an AGF fabric. The lightest pink was a purchase, a Joel Dewberry on sale, bought a few months ago with no project in mind. I love blending newer and older fabrics.

When it came to the backing, I rifled through my pinks to see if I had anything that would work, and found the pink floral, purchased a winter or two ago in the sale section of Alma Sue's Quilt Shop in Sarasota, but of course there was not enough...
I love the sugary snow that ended up here and there on the quilt!

Then I spied a fabric I just love: that Nancy Crow deep fuchsia and orange tropical print, but hesitated to use it on the back of a quilt (it's another leftover, from the same quilt as the pink batik-like one). Then I thought uh hello? This leftover has sat for how long waiting to become the front of a quilt for me? So part of the back it became. Still not enough, so I added nearly all that was left of the medium pink. Perfect.

Binding fabric had to be the only fabric I had enough of, the medium pink. I sewed it to the front, and hand-stitched it down on the back, my favourite, albeit slowest, method.

I always sign my quilts somewhere, but I didn't want to detract from the spiral, so I FMQ-ed just my initials in the one corner.

Here's the label, a triangle.😉

A deeper meaning to this quilt
I started the quilt along in October. I'd chosen two colours, first, my favourite, blues, and second, because I'd only just got the Joel Dewberry, the pinks. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so pinks seemed fitting. Then, near the beginning of October, and throughout the entire month and beyond, actors were coming forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein. It got me thinking more about women.  Our power.  Our sisterhood. How we've been 'beneath' men forever. All through the making of this quilt during the quilt along, more and more women were coming forward with allegations against big names, men abusing their power, taking advantage of girls and women. Then, a BBC news presenter, Carrie Gracie, quit her job in China when she found out she wasn't being paid equally for equal work; she's since exposed the BBS for doing this repeatedly and secretively despite the Equality Act. E! host Catt Sadler quit when she discovered her male co-host was making double her salary... While finishing the quilt, the Larry Nassar trial was going on, and again, I was struck by the strength and resilience of women, many of his victims mere girls when he assaulted them, who found the courage to speak out and hopefully stop this behaviour, once and for all. I'll never part with this quilt; it holds all these events in its vibrant pink heart.

We were at our friends' house for supper last weekend, and I took the quilt with me to get a shot of it in the setting sun, Lake Erie in the background...the wind had other ideas, (it flew out horizontally in my quilt holder's hands!!) so I had to prop it against this tree and snap a quick shot. 
This quilt will go to yoga with me, already has done to one class, as my sit-upon quilt, its vibrant pinks reminding me of these courageous women, the flowing images reminding me of the birds I so love. Together, I think of how much lighter these women must feel, finally being listened to, believed, and finally seeing a monster gone from society forever.
Just look at that incredible sky and sunset! The peaks formed by the winds blowing snow where the lake had started to freeze, dune-like.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Wayward Transparency
Size: 48" square
Fabric:  'Wander' by Joel Dewberry, scraps and stash
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Sulky variegated pink rayon, Aurifil 2600 in the bobbin

What have you finished this week? You may link up your blog post, Flickr or Instagram post using the link up below. Remember to visit a few blogs and spread some quilty love and encouragement. Please include a link to this blog post and/or the TGIFF button, so your followers can come here to view all the great finishes! You never know, you may have your quilter ADD kick in, and have to go DRop Everything And Make It, aka DREAMi! (Come back for that link up on Saturday; see sidebar for the button which will take you to the explanation post.)

I'll be linking up my finish:
Quilting JETgirl

and to some of the other Friday Finish parties in QBL:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Busy Hands Quilts
Tish 'n Wonderland - because this was on my Quilting Confessions UFO List and now it's off that list!
Dizzy Quilts for the Q1 FAL