Friday, October 25, 2013

Hawaiian Memories

I found this wallhanging kit at one of my most favorite quilt stores, Quilt Passions of Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i. I made it first for my Aunt & Uncle, to commemorate our trip (with my parents) to Big Island, Hawai'i in March 2011:
Hawaiian Memories Wallhanging, Jessop-Taylor Trip 2011.
The kit contained all of the fabric (except for the binding & back), including the Quilt Passions custom turtle batik for the border. I used Printed Treasures to inkjet our trip pictures onto fabric, cut & pieced the wallhanging, sandwiched with Warm & Natural batting, and did minimal quilting with stitching in the ditch.

To commemorate my parents' time on Big Island when I lived in Hilo, I recently made a second wall-hanging using the same kit pattern:
Hawaiian Memories Wallhanging, Jessops 2006-2008.
I used a slightly larger border, and sandwiched with fusible fleece batting. I've been experimenting a lot lately with fusible battings, with mixed results. In this case the quilting process was easier, and I did less quilting, but I don't like the way some of the fabric of the top ripples from being glued down. I think from now on I'm going to go back to tried-and-true pinning for sandwiching. I found the 22-inch quilt hanger at Below are close up shots of each of the three blocks in the wallhanging:
Close up of top block, clockwise from top left: Holly & Mom in the marine science lab; Dad & Holly at Richardson Beach Park in Hilo; Lava entering the ocean near Kalapana; Mom & Dad at Waipio Valley Overlook. Middle: Mom, Dad, & Holly at the rim of Halema'uma'u Crater.
Close up of middle block: Hanging loose with the shaka sign in Pahala.
Close up of lower block, clockwise from top left: Dad at Kilauea Iki Overlook; Mom with Pele at Kilauea Art Center; Dad & Mom at the Kailua-Kona Coffee Festival; Dad on the Kona Coast. Middle: Holly at Pololu Valley Overlook.
Printing photos onto fabric was a rather frustrating endeavor. The sheets would often jam, rendering them unusable -- which was a rather expensive loss at $3+ per sheet. And, the photos would not always print in the location expected on the fabric sheet, despite trial and error using regular paper first. I used PhotoShop to darken the photos a bit before printing, because they tended to look a little washed out printed on fabric. Despite these difficulties, I'm glad I persevered with the photo printing! Our wallhanging is now hanging in the entryway.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Halloween

I recently made another little quilt for our table-top hanger, this one for Halloween! I was inspired by a strip "spider" quilt that I saw recently. I've never done a hexagon block either, so that was interesting! For some reason we don't have much orange fabric in the stash, so I picked up a variety of (cheap!) quarter yard cuts while at Walmart (which led to a math lesson because neither of the women at the fabric counter knew or could figure out that a "quarter of a yard" was "0.25*the-1-yard-price, sigh). To make the block, I pieced strips of random widths until I had the size I wanted, and used a 60-degree triangle ruler to cut out the triangle shapes. After arranging and piecing the triangles together, I machine appliqued the hexagon onto a black background. For quilting, I stitched in the ditch with black thread and added the spider's hanging web using a decorative machine stitch. And, I had enough left-over triangles to make a small table-topper. I adore the color combination of orange-and-black, so I really like how these came out.

The beaded spider came from Violin Stars Beaded Spiders -- a fundraiser that I very luckily found a few years ago when I was looking via a Google search for a quilt embellishment to represent a Hawaiian Happyface Spider! They are wonderful spiders, and I should probably get some more while they're still making them!
A spider-y wallhanging for Halloween. 
A spider-y table-topper for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Heron Pond Wallhanging

This was the first quilt kit that I ever bought (I think over ten years ago?)!: "Heron Pond" by McKenna Ryan Quilt Designs. I still love it, and this past January decided to finally make it. I mostly used the fabrics that came with the wallhanging kit, except for the border and the dragonflies. I think McKenna Ryan's finished version has better contrast, but I do absolutely love the water-y batik fabric that I used for my border. The fusible batting that I used is now causing a bit more rippling than I like, especially in the border fabric ... I'm hoping this might subside after awhile (I really don't want to wash it). So, this project was another experiment with fusible batting that wasn't a huge success. Although I suppose I could pretend that the rippling effects are an intended water-y artistic feature! I also experimented with getting "braver" in my free motion quilting attempts, and am a bit happier this time with the results. Finally, I used some flat-ish copper-like beads for embellishments: the small dragonfly and two leaves near the lily pad. The binding fabric was a bargain find at a recent quilt show.
"Heron Pond"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Raven Says Hello!

My Mom found this fabulous raven applique pattern during her travels in Alaska last summer, called "Raven Says Hello!", by Cindy Shake Designs. We both love all corvids, but especially ravens (if you've never read Bernd Heinrich's Mind of the Raven, check it out!). So, I decided to make this wallhanging for my Mom's birthday this year. I didn't quite make that deadline, but finally finished it recently. I chose Kaffe Fassett fabrics from the Millefiore collection, used buttons for the eye, and embellished the lower right corner with a cute house button. It finished about 15" square, and is hung from a quilt hanger that I recently purchased from Joann's.
Raven Says Hello!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Charity Quilt Top

I'm trying to get more involved with my local quilt guild, and so completed charity quilt tops this month and last. Each month my guild chooses a new pattern and makes kits available for members to complete. It's been fun to discover new fabrics and play with new patterns!
September 2013 charity quilt top.
October 2013 charity quilt top.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Black Opals & Ribbon Candy - Part III

Well, we took the plunge and finally quilted our 'Black Opals & Ribbon Candy' (Part I and II) wallhangings. My Mom finished hers a few months back, and now has it hanging above her bed, and I think it came out great:
Mom's Black Opals & Ribbon Candy wallhanging, August 2013.
I tried a polyester fusible batting, but was not happy with it because it just didn't fuse strongly enough. I did both stitch-in-the-ditch and free motion quilting ... but because the sandwich was shifting a bit, I had some troubles with puckering. But, I don't think it's too noticeable in the end. I was torn regarding what to do for quilting the border, but in the end went with a finished-is-better-than-perfect approach and just did some straight stitching with the walking foot. I think the geometry of that approach is unifying ... but then again, I also think it doesn't complement the border fabric very well. So, next time I'll try something different (like long-arm service!!). For displaying this piece and other finished quilts, I'm planning to install some drapery rods on my bedroom walls similar to the one that's above my Mom's bed (stay tuned for pics).
Holly's Black Opals & Ribbon Candy wallhanging, August 2013.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eastern Inspired Orchid Wallhanging

I happened to see this earth-tone orchid panel while doing some online fabric shopping (not an infrequent occurrence!), and decided to make it for a thank-you gift in January (2013). I cut up the panel to fit into a "Window To China" pattern that had been a freebie a few years back during a quilt shop hop in Honolulu, HI. The sashing is a batik that I also purchased online, to go with the panel. Part of the reason that it took SO long to finish this wallhanging is that I was undecided for a long time about what I wanted for the quilting and embellishing. To keep the wallhanging having clean lines, I ended up just doing simple stitch-in-the ditch for the quilting. And, after looking around for many months for embellishments, nothing "spoke to me". And, I decided that loading the wallhanging up with embellishments would detract from the minimalist feel that I wanted for the piece. So, I just ordered some dried willow branches (you truly can get anything online!), for use as a decorative hanger.
Eastern Inspired Orchid Wallhanging