Glacier Star wins 2013 Grand Champion quilt Frase Coast show

I will say right now that my biggest joy is seeing my quilting clients win ribbons, I am so pleased for every one of them, when you quilt their projects knowing that they will go in the show, you try so hard to get everything just right to give them the best chance of ribboning they can have, to have them get Champion quilt is a celebration for me.  This year there were a few quilts that I became emotionally involved in and had very high hopes for them, and they got some ribbons to let them know the judge appreciated their efforts.
I have mixed feelings about my Grand Champion, I know it sounds shallow, immature and pouty to say so, but I do, if you want to find out why, read on……
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Glacier Star is a nice quilt, it has plenty of visual appeal, makes you take a good second look etc.  It’s a beautiful design by Judy Neimeyer, and the fabric was bought as a kit from Pinwheels and Posies in the USA as I had to make a quilt fast or miss out on getting a piece in the show.  I redid the centre star 3 times as I wanted a contrasting centre, so it’s a bit wonky if you get up close for a look. I quilted it freehand in 2 days of hard work, got a piped binding on in record time with help from a friend (thanks Wendy, you saved the day!!) and we were ready to go to the show.
I made a wholecloth quilt that took more than 150 hours to redesign and stitch, and it was awesome, I had high hopes for it as I knew how hard I worked to get it made.  The show does not have a wholecloth section/class despite my strong hints over the past few years so my quilt went into the ‘any other item” section, where handbags, toys, and “other items” get put.  This quilt didn’t get a ribbon, I was so dissapointed.  I suspect that I was done by a stuffed toy and a handbag, you have to laugh at the irony of the situation, but the judges decision is final and is above question, they make the tough decisions. I can take being beaten as it’s not about winning, definately not about that, it’s showing your work in the public arena that is the whole point as someone may become inspired and start making quilts from that day on what they see displayed somewhere.   It’s about sharing the love of quilting and inspiring others to start for themselves.  The quilting family is quite large and welcoming.
Oh well, next year they might be able to deal with a wholecloth, may as well try for the third time to get a wholecloth section at Maryborough, I am waiting…
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Glacier Star quilted

I have finished quilting glacier star, now I need to trim and bind and it’s done. I quilted it with intense wavy lines to accentuate the spiky points, added McTavishing behind the flying geese and used a lot of thread to get the effect just right. I would never have chosen intense orange in a quilt like this, but now I love orange!!!
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I quilted sun symbols in each of the diamonds, so when you get up close for a look it’s a nice surprise, I wonder who will notice?

Disaster strikes again!

When disaster strikes while doing your second version of a wholecloth quilt, it is devestating.  I have an IntelliQuilter on my new longarm, and have been having a great time learning new tricks.  I am the person that always tries to push the boundaries of what is possible, although not always easy to accomplish.  After a year of learning the how to’s of my IQ, I bought a couple of sets of a high profile designers digital designs, I hate to say this but I spent around $300.  I meticulously laid out a wholecloth design and began to stitch it out, and then it happened, disaster!  Unfortunately her digital designs are poorly threadpathed and cannot line themselves up with the elements within the design, leaving a 3/4″ space in the feather plumes and massive overlaps in other places that totally ruined my day.  I persevered to see exactly what other parts of the designs would stitch out like and am disappointed to say that her designs truly suck!  The pathing is hopelessly erratic and impossible to realign.  I love the design look, so spent 8-10 hours splitting each element and re-doing the design completely so they could be sitched in a way that you could tweak and get realigned successfully. I contacted the designer and was very constructive in my criticism hoping that they would upload corrections that would “reinvent” the designs, but really wasn’t satisfied when I was told that the software she uses allows her to ignore or select the  best threapathing.  Lesson learned! stick with good designers that know their stuff, we know what designers make great patterns that stitch out smoothly and give perfection.  As for wasting $300 of designs, and knowing that Art & Stitch software is US$950, I might have to save my pennies so stay tuned. With my local quilt show less than 3 weeks away, I’m going to have to rethink what I will do as this was version 2 of the quilt, the first one I sacraficed to see how each design element stitched out, this was supposed to be the serious one. Two lots of batting, backing and expensive extra wide cotton sateen later and I have nothing to show for my efforts, I’m not sure if I have the heart to unpick and redesign the V2 then restitch.

Sampler quilt done!

Happiness is a finished quilt.  My husband Bill dropped Chris’s quilt in for her to pick up at Craft Cupboard, Maryborough. Chris was cyring tears of joy at seeing her quilt transformed.  A picture paints a thousand words, thank you Karen for taking this happy snap 🙂
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This sampler quilt was started 9 years ago.  There are so many things that a beginner quilter learns when doing a sampler quilt that it can be overwhelming and many give up.  With the help and encouragement of a friend this one got finished.  Here is the pictorial story…
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Harvest Spice V3

Harvest Spice fabric range was release back in 2006.  It was so gorgeous I made 2 as the first one a friend fell in love with and just had to have it, and of course I wanted my own HS.  Years later I have found a couple of full kits on the net and a new friend also fell in love with it, had to have it, and so I made V3 on the condition that I could find another kit for myself.  It all worked out just fine, a second kit was found and so V4 will soon be getting pieced and quilted.  Beautiful fabrics, nice border accents and the floral motifs for the centres are so pretty that 7 years later I still love HS enough to make up that V4.  V2 is living at a friends house which is for sale and a beautiful quilt makes quite a ststement so it might bring good luck to their mission.
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For those of you that have visited my workshed, you will have noticed the colour I painted my floor…. Harvest Spice….. it was no accident, Bill loves HS quilt  so when I sent him off on a mission to buy concrete paint, I said please get HS colours, and he chose exactly the right shade to do the job.  His mother is an artist, he has grown up with colour and I can send him off with an idea of what I want to achieve and he gets it perfect every time. I once asked him for “Hawaii blue” as I was making a quilt from fabrics I had bought there while on holiday, he came home with something stunning and perfect for the quilt.  I can even send him shopping for quilt fabrics, how lucky am I?

Glacier Star quilt story continued…

I have now changed most of the orange centre star points with orange; note to self: decide on the right colour before stitching the pieces to the foundation, it was hard to unpick as I used a small stitch length to make removing the papers easier, and getting the new fabric to start and stop exactly where it should after the paper was removed was difficult.  It’s partially constructed and looks fantastic.  I have yet to make the extensions, hope to get some spare time to make them up as my schedule is getting busy. 
Other note to self; don’t change the construction order, this quilt has been meticulously planned and the instructions are very precise, any deviation of the work method will cause you grief, I know this now, LOL.

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I have spent a good deal of time stitching this quilt and have come to the conclusion that I need a thread cutter and automated presser foot lift to streamline the construction process as it seems I have spent more time doing these two things than actually stitching the pieces onto the foundation papers.  The next machine I buy will have both these features.  It’s almost ready to be put together as today I finished piecing all the flying geese pieces for the 60 inch version of the quilt. 

I will replace the centre of the feathered star with orange, I think it has too much purple in the centre without any zing to it.  I have removed the foundation papers from the centre so may have to do some adjustments as I go to make sure it sits flat when put together.  I would not have chosen orange, but it works brilliantly with the purple and autumn toned theme.  This colour scheme got me out of my safe zone and got me using a pre selected colour scheme that was in the quilt kit, so it has been a bit of an adventure.

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  007I am making the Judy Neimeyer paper pieced quilt Glacier Star. Paper piecing gives amazing accuracy that can’t be achieved with traditional piecing methods. Day 1 was spent prepping for the start, all the paper pieces were cut from their sheets and put into their bags that were marked for each technique and block part. Day 2 was cutting out all the fabrics for the quilt and put into those bags with their corresponding paper foundations. Quite a job just to get started I will say, and of course a lot of bed time reading of the instructions before I cut a single piece as I had a lot of fabric and didn’t want to make a huge and expensive error by moving into the project too hastily. I bought this as a kit and had no instruction on what fabric went where, so had to guess, which was hard, I did stuff something up completely, used the wrong colour, however I seemed to have a lot of fabric left over and managed to recut most of the parts from what I cut first time, so the day was saved… just. Day 3 and I stitched in a frenzy as I know that I have 3 show quilts to quilt before May, and in quilt-speak/time, that’s like tomorrow so I really had to get moving! I finished just a few of the blocks. This project is time consuming, and I have 3 of these quilts to make, next quilt I will take note of the hours spent working on it. It’s beautiful so far and I just know it’s going to look glorious when finished. I’m thinking of a quilting plan as I stitch, this is all autumn tones, so thread choice will be important, maybe lots of freehand feathers? I will prpobably not decide until it’s actually on the machine and ready to work on. I will post more as I go.

Wholecloth design test run.

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I have wanted to do a wholecloth quilt for ages, and finally selected designs I liked.  The stitch out was a nightmare as the design stitching pathways were horrendous and didn’t align correctly.  After 2 days unpicking the centre motif and one very late night editing the digital design, I was ready to try again.  Dark pink thread was used to define the motifs, and plain white thread was used for the simple stipple background fill.  The original lacey border design was scrapped as it was hopeless to align, the next version will have a border.  It was a fun test run, so will have to put aside time to do the next one.  The background fills could be McTavishing or bubbles etc, something fun to do?

On point scrappy oriental fabrics

King Tut Arabian Nights thread looks amazing on the purple and chocolate fabrics, it highlights the aqua cornerstones and really makes them jump out.  I underestimated and have more thread coming in the post, I can’t believe I let that happen, no backup spools in the thread stash!! groan.. Thankfully the owner is ok with a small delay as she badly wanted to see the quilting in progress, (remember we are still flooded) so it turned out to be good news as she will get to see the last couple of sashings and one border being done 🙂  Here is todays progress, simple quilting designs, awesome thread, luscious fabrics, yum.
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As the flooding rain comes down I have been working on getting the blocks together.
This is the progress so far, it is now on my machine, yay! It looks like a mosaic, now for the narrow border, chocloate or purple? chocolate with the aqua seems to look the best. At last the quilting has started!!!  King Tut Arabian Nights thread will be the perfect accent to harmonise all the colours, this has been a fun project.
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These scrappy blocks are all oriental fabrics with gold highlights, it looks luxurious.  they are surrounded by chocolate sashings, with aqua cornerstones.  Alternate blocks are Robert Kaufmann wineberry purple.  This is a layout audition.  I made an error calculating something on the piece of paper, my quilt map, can you see where I went wrong? Debbie ……. I know you will find it, LOL.
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There are more posts to come, to check back often to see how it progresses.