Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Merry Christmas to One and All!

Full to the brim with Christmas cheer, this mystery quilt was designed by a small local quilt club ... 

At their first Christmas Mystery Quilt meeting, five women set guidelines: block dimensions, fabric color and a deadline to submit the blocks (as sewn into 5 identical rows) to the group organizer. They could select any block pattern as long as it was Christmas-themed. Before the reveal at the last meeting, the rows were distributed equally and sewn into five separate quilt tops by the organizer. 

Scroll down for a representation of the kinds of blocks they submitted, and the mystery reveal!

Some blocks came with tree lights and even some snow ...
Blocks with sage wisdom and gifts ready to go ...
Blocks with gay stockings danced with stars in the sky ... 
 Blocks sewn in whipped cream and red cherry pie ...
 Blocks sewn in the likeness we know as St. Nick ...
 ... with snowmen remarking "Let it snow, and be quick"!
 (We'll pause to look a moment before the reveal ...
At ornaments on the tree we like a great deal):

The reveal!

I hope their creativity inspires you to gather a few friends to make a mystery quilt next year!

My heart is full of gratitude for my many gifted clients who not only bring me incredible quilt tops, but real-life stories of caring, life and love. It's truly the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Color Theory Batik Sampler

My self-imposed lesson on color theory takes shape in this batik sampler!

What is color theory? Basically, it's guidance  on the visual effects of color combinations. Categories of colors are used based on the color wheel: primary color (red, yellow & blue), complementary color (green, orange & purple) and analogous colors (yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green). In creating this quilt with batiks, I used the color wheel to achieve harmony, or a pleasing arrangement. You be the judge as to whether I achieved 'dynamic equilibrium'!

I'm already well under way in organizing 52 blocks in various sizes (6.5", 8.5", 10.5" and 12.5") after spending weeks planning colors and sewing them together. Not to mention gathering the batiks in the first place (that's the easy part). Notice the dark blue coping strips that are used to marry all these blocks into one cohesive unit. This same dark blue batik is used in three different sizes (1.5", 2.5" and 6.5") for borders - not easily seen here since the outside borders aren't in this shot...

...but once the quilt top is entirely pieced and ready to be loaded, you can see them. In-between these inner and outer dark blue borders is a 4.5' bow-tie border that easily swallowed scraps from making the blocks. They were also time guzzlers to make. Spare time, anyone?!

With my quilt top finished, I leave it on my quilting table for a while. The main reason being I have no earthly clue as to what to quilt. After marinating a few days, it hits!!! Since it's a sampler, I'm going to quilt it 'sampler style': a different block treatment for each and every block. That's 52 blocks, remember, but I have dozens, if not hundreds of digitized patterns.

Here's a sampling of just a few:

Now, all these blocks have been digitized, but I couldn't envision the quilting pattern on the 6.5" border, shown above. So I disengaged the computer belts and quilted 'whale flukes', since this is pretty much a Hawaiian-flavored quilt, anyway.

 These shots aren't the best to reveal the quilting, but when you click on any of these pictures and zoom in, you'll see quilting texture much better.

The center of the quilt, featuring the only 12.5" block in the very middle.

The finished quilt - something you won't likely fall asleep underneath, so it brightens up my 11' wall in my home studio entry. The cool part of the quilting on this quilt is the variety of quilting designs. It almost serves as a handy index to many of the patterns I own! Just keep it hung up and clients choose the block pattern they want on their quilt, and it's a wrap! Seriously. It's happened a couple times.

The quilting pattern is an oldie but a goodie, and is called "Scrappy Sampler" from Quilt Country. I've had the pattern over 8 years and finally got around to getting 'er done. 

Who doesn't have batik scraps!? Set them to this great sampler and brighten your hallway, bed or a special someone's life by gifting it!