Steampunk Baltimore

In my last episode of the podcast I promised that I would share photos from the Dallas Quilt Show that I went to a week and a half ago.  I finished up editing my photos this weekend and after looking through them I decided that I’m going to break this up into two posts.  In this post I want to share with you my favorite quilt of the show, and because it was my favorite I took a ton of photos.  In order to do this amazing quilt justice, I want to feature it in this post.  Look for my next post to see the other quilts that caught my eye at the show.

Here is the info about the quilter and her inspiration for this quilt.  Being that I love all things Steampunk, this quilt immediately stopped me in my tracks.  And the fact that it puts a twist on a very traditional style of quilt, a Baltimore album no less, just adds another layer of interest.  Baltimore album quilts have always intrigued me because of their beauty and the intricate appliquéd blocks.  And you’ll see in my next post that there were several beauties in this style that I loved.

Ok, so let’s look at the quilt.  Here’s the top half of it and you get a better look at the texture the quilting gives the quilt, especially in the borders with the gears.

The bottom half of the quilt.

And a closer look at the quilting in the borders.  I love the “screw heads” – they absolutely help to reinforce the spirit of this quilt.  And I love love love the bronze-colored thread used.  The other thing that really struck me about this quilt – notice the fabric she used for the sawtooth border.  Completely traditional fabric in a very unconventional quilt.

See how those screw heads pop, both in the outer border and also you can see them in the inner pieced border as well.

And here’s a closer look at the center of the quilt.  Notice the hoop in her left hand and the spool of thread in her right.

Closer look…

And of course you can see the heart locket opens, but I didn’t see a quilt angel nearby to give me a closer look.

And to the right of the lady is a little plackard with the name of the quilt.

Here is a closer look at her birdcage skirt.  The ribbon with the key dangling on it is attached to the quilt and is an actual ribbon and a key, not part of the quilt.

Now let’s look at the blocks, because they are masterpieces in and of themselves.

This one is unfortunately blurry, but was the only close up I had of this block.  The banner says “Industry”.

Imagination.  Notice the Edison bulbs that are in the center of the flowers.

The Steampunk goggles block that apparently were the leaping off point for the idea of this quilt.  And below the goggles is Hospitality.

Another blurry photo, unfortunately.  Loved the birdcage corset.

A ship on a barrel on wheels with fans at the back?

Friendship.  Notice the quilted key as well as how you can see the inner workings of the hand.

Mechanized eagle.

Harmony.

The textured quilting in the background of each of these blocks just make the appliquéd portions pop.

My favorite thing, a big stack of books!  Notice the key and keyhole.

Flight.

And here’s a last look at this beauty.  I could seriously sit and stare at this for hours.  Sure wish I could have brought it home with me!!!

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that this quilt was the Viewer’s Choice winner, as well as being a first place winner in the Master’s division.

I am grateful for something to aspire to.

Mini Quilt Swap

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Last summer I signed up for my first Instagram quilt swap – the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap.  I’d never done any kind of quilt swap before, so I was really excited about it.  When I got my partner assignment, I spent about a week stalking her on social media and brainstorming on what to make for her.  I could tell instantly that she loved all things ocean and sea-related and even had an anchor tattoo.  So, of course I decided that Tula Pink’s Saltwater line would be the perfect fabric to use for her mini.  I opted to go with just the aqua colorway and ordered  some half yard cuts from a couple of different shops.

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Then the next conundrum – what pattern to use?  I looked around and turned to Instagram for inspiration and finally decided on making a clamshell mini.  Perfect pairing of pattern and fabric!  Of course I’ve never made a clamshell quilt before, but I didn’t let that stop me.  I actually downloaded the pattern for Latifah Saafir’s Glam Clam quilt from Craftsy to use as a jumping off point.  I ended up resizing the clamshells to be a better size for the mini and then basically did some sort of weird made up plan for sewing the clamshells, which was kind of halfway applique and halfway just hand-piecing.  Because, you know, I can’t follow directions.

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So, I cut out my templates from freezer paper, ironed them to my fabric. cut out my fabric with a 1/4″ seam allowance added and then started laying them out for placement.  I cut a rectangle of fabric for the top to attach the first row of clamshells to as well.  And, as you can see, I decided that it needed a pop of color from one clamshell in the coral colorway.

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I basically just appliqued that first row down to the background fabric, then appliqued each subsequent row to the row above it.  I actually really enjoyed the applique and would love to make a larger sized clamshell quilt for myself one of these days.

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Once I finished sewing all the clamshells down, I squared up the piece and then added borders in a beautiful charcoal grey solid that coordinated with the Saltwater fabrics because it needed to be a bit larger.  I decided to use the octopus fabric on the back, so that she could really see that print, since she also had an octopus tattoo I thought she would appreciate it.  I chose the Sea Stripe print for the binding, because how could I not?

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Did the quilting on my machine and basically just quilted some wavy lines across the clamshell portion to look like waves, then did straight line quilting on the border to frame it.  I took it with me to an outdoor jazz concert and enjoyed the music and my handwork.

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And here is the finished product!!!  I love love love how it turned out!

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Wasn’t that pop of coral perfect?!  Plus…octopus!

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Another closeup of the quilting…

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Here’s the back…

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And the label…

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The best though, was her reaction when it arrived!

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And in return, I received this amazing mini from Marie, @reespieces1 on Instagram.  The pattern is called Hexadaisy and she used Tula Pink Fox Field for the fabric.  Isn’t it gorgeous?!

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Here’s a really bad photo of all the goodies she sent.  Both dumpling bags she made were full of yummy things from where she lives.

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I absolutely love the back – stars are one of my favorite things, and the combo of the star fabric from Fox Field plus the quilting pattern makes my heart sing!

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Here’s a better pic of the two dumpling bags she made and she also included some Fox Field fat quarters too.  So beautiful, and I use those little pouches all the time for notions and stuff.  And look at the bright, vibrant colors.  I can’t get enough!!

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Too beautiful for words!!!

Anyway, it was so much fun to participate in the mini quilt swap and I may sign up to do another one in the future.  I loved being a part of this particular swap and it was so fun to stalk the IG hashtag to see what everyone was making and see the finished products when they arrived at their destination.  So fun!!

I am grateful for mini quilts that brighten up my walls!

My True Love Gave to Me

In 2002 a little quilt shop opened near me and I decided to do something that I’d dreamed of doing for years.  I signed up for a beginning quilting class.  I bought a sewing machine specifically so I could take the class and barely even knew how to thread it when I showed up on that first night of class.  Our goal was to do a sampler quilt that would teach us a variety of piecing techniques – strips, curves, applique, squares, triangles, you name it.  When I went to pick out my fabric, the shop suggested I choose a focal print and then choose coordinating fabrics from the colors in that print.  I chose a beautiful Christmas fabric that was full of partridges and pears, a little metallic gold accent, purple ribbon, and so on.  A decidedly Christmas subject, but not at all in the realm of traditional Christmas colors.  But I loved it.  I still love it, even though the fabrics are not something I would choose today.

Because I was a complete beginner, I wanted to practice my skills as much as possible so I chose to make two quilts.  That second quilt I worked on at home and I completed both tops about the same time.  You may recall my Pigwidgeon quilt (so named after the owl fabric I chose).     The Pigwidgeon quilt has long since been quilted and bound (I sent it out for longarm quilting), but my sad partridges remained unfinished.  I intended from the beginning to quilt this one on my machine, just doing a simple in the ditch quilting.  But being new to sewing I had no idea what the reality of wrestling a quilt this size through my machine would be like.  And all those angles and direction changes.  Ugh!  So, it languished in the closet for years.  At Christmas this past year I decided it was high time to get it out and finish it.  I knew it was going to be a huge pain in the butt to quilt, but I resolved to just take a deep breath and take it one block at a time.  Amazingly, it only took two afternoons.  And then I quickly sewed that binding on, and its label, and voila, c’est finis!

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have this one finished.  My very first quilt.  And as is often the case, the name for the quilt came to me while I was quilting it.  During the month of December I read the most wonderful book of short stories called My True Love Gave to Me.  I also got the best Christmas gift – Eric took me to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Twelve Days of Christmas display, which was wonderful!  So, it seemed appropriate that this quilt should be officially named My True Love Gave to Me.

After finishing the quilt, I think I drove around with it in my car for over a month waiting for inspiration to strike on the perfect location to take some photos.  And on a cold day in February, my wish came true.  We got snow!  So, I bundled up and trekked out to the park behind our house to take a few photos of my quilt.  And, while they are not birds that are featured in that wonderful Christmas carol, I had the good fortune to see a group of five cardinals.  I only managed to catch three of them in a photo, but what a gift to see so many together.

I’m so happy with my quilt.  It’s by no means perfect, and it’s by no means “modern”, but it’s my first quilt.  And it’s finished.  I couldn’t ask for more.

It even was christened with some snowflakes while I was out on my walk.  It is for sure a quilt, and a day, I will treasure and a wonderful reminder of my Christmas.

I am grateful for a snowy walk. 

Turning

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Stitching is non-existent right now, unfortunately. In fact, reading (other than my trusty CAPM/PMP Exam Guide) is non-existent right now too. But, occasionally there is a little mini vacation in the middle of this long boat ride through the river Styx. A while back, I signed up to take a needleturn applique class with a very good friend of mine, anticipating that it would be a great way to celebrate being done with school. (Ok the fact that I am still not done with school makes that entire sentence right there suck.) But, nonetheless we spent Saturday at our applique class as scheduled.

Back in 2002 when I took my beginning quilting class, I was taught to applique via the freezer paper method, not needleturn. So, needleturn has been one of those things I’ve been promising myself I would learn. So, when the class was suggested, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a day with my friend learning a new technique. Our class was good, and I think I got the hang of it after a little while. Our class piece was learning to applique a heart onto some background fabric. I didn’t get a whole lot done in class.

But, I came home Saturday night and went right back to work on it. I was able to finish it up that night and viola, I have a slightly asymetrical appliqued heart. Not bad for a first try, I think.

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Our class piece is basically just the heart appliqued on our background fabric and then borders out of that black sunflower fabric will be sewn on later. I should have enough of the fabric for backing too.

I was feeling so confident of my newly acquired skillz that I decided to pull out a long-lost applique project. You may remember?

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I had begun collecting fabrics a while back to do the Bunny Hill “A Tisket A Tasket” blocks.

I had cut out freezer paper templates for my applique pieces even in preparation. But, after attempting to teach myself needleturn applique and attempting to sew down that basket base three times, I gave up.

But on Sunday night, I thought I’d give it another shot.

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I managed to get my basket completely appliqued (sorry no photo), but I appliqued it perfectly crooked on my background fabric. So, I’m thinking I may detach it one last time and try again with a little tip from my quilting angels.

But, I’m happy with what I learned in class and I can’t wait to work on my basket some more. Of course, it may be awhile before that happens, but it will give me something to look forward to.

Do you think it’s too soon to start planning on making this basket quilt?

I am grateful for a lovely spring day sewing with a wonderful friend for company. (And the Mexican food was good too!)