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Modern Mirage Quilt

Modern Mirage

Well, I made it! I completed my new quilt in time to enter it into the Quilt Con show, and with a few hours to spare, no less.

Quilt Con quilt
It was not without its challenges. This quilt fought me tooth and nail into existence. First of all, piecing it was a BEAST. I knew extreme accuracy was going to be crucial, so I paper-pieced some of the small units, but when it came time to do the traditional piecing, it was still tough to get all those seams and points lined up. I didn’t count the number of times I had to tear out stitches and re-do, but I can assure you it was a lot. The top took forever!

Modern Mirage
Then, I started quilting it by outlining the vertical wavy pattern the design makes between the stars. But straight-line quilting isn’t my strong suit, and this type of quilting was kind of straight-line plus. Straight enough to require a walking foot, but with some turns that were so slight, it was hard to decide whether to turn as sharply as possible or to make it more curvy and flowing. And it ended up looking like a mish-mash of both. : ) So after four rows, I decided to change strategies and do loose wavy lines instead. That meant all the previous quilting stitches had to come out. You should have seen my family room yesterday. It was seriously covered in all these tiny little pieces of thread! Ugh!

Then, just because I apparently needed an extra challenge, when I finished my wavy line quilting yesterday morning, I turned over the quilt and found this—a huge crease on the back! Really??? The feeling when you work your butt off and then discover something like that is The. Worst.

This was my first real spray-basting fail. For some reason the 505 I use just didn’t seem all that sticky this time around. After basting, I noticed I didn’t have to clean up nearly as much overspray residue as I usually do—I guess that should have been a warning sign. Then the whole back of the quilt seemed to come loose during quilting. It’s totally weird, I’ve never had that happen with 505. Maybe I didn’t shake the can enough? It was a new can, so I hope the entire thing isn’t defective. Or worse yet, that there’s been some sort of formula change. Anybody have a similar problem with 505 lately?

(Updated to add: I just heard from my friend Katie at Swim Bike Quilt that she often has basting problems with Art Gallery fabric—and that is exactly what I used on the back of this quilt. Ironically, I think it’s the fact that Art Gallery is so high-quality and has such a nice sheen to it that accounts for this problem—spray-basting doesn’t work on voiles either, probably for the same reason. But at any rate, if you’re using a lot of Art Gallery fabric in a quilt, be aware that you may want to pin-baste.)

So I ripped out 5 more rows of quilting and re-did it all, and finally finished the quilt with no further incidents at around 3 p.m. Whew. So here it is—I’m calling it Modern Mirage. I entered it in the “Modern Traditionalism” category, which is the category I was most excited to see included in the show.

Modern Mirage
The design originally started with a variation on a traditional star block. I set that on point and liked the vaguely “Storm at Sea” feel it gave to the quilt. To modernize it, I gave the design some negative space on each side, but off-center (because I love me some off-center designs!). Then, when I was playing around with the colors, I came up with this palette, which gives it sort of a transparency effect, and I loved it! And I thought the wavy line quilting added sort of a “heat-haze” feeling, so that’s where the “Mirage” name came from.

For those who have asked about a pattern—um, we’ll see. : ) I have to admit, I’m a little sick of this design at the moment! It would be quite the complicated pattern to write up, with all the strategic color placement and what-not. And I don’t know how many people want to buy a pattern with such nit-picky piecing! But give me a few months, and then maybe I’ll want to revisit it.

As far as Quilt Con, since we were allowed up to three entries, I decided to throw two older quilts into the mix as well.

Shattered Spectrum
I’m now calling this one “Shattered Spectrum,” since “HST Mini” didn’t quite have that show ring to it. I entered it in the Modern In Miniature Challenge sponsored by Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine. I gave this little quilt to the lovely Susanne earlier this year as a thank-you for driving all the way from Madison to take my headshots and pictures of my family. But she was nice enough to give me permission to enter it and said she would ship it back to me if it gets accepted into the show. Thanks again, Susanne! Here’s the full blog post about this quilt.

Third Quilt Con entry
And I’m also entering my Lifesavers mini, since that one did so well for me in the EZ Dresden Challenge. I entered Lifesavers in the “Minimalist Design” category. Honestly, I’m not sure if it really qualifies as minimalist, but since I’d already entered something in the mini challenge, it seemed like the best fit for this one. Here’s the full blog post with more information on Lifesavers.

I was quilter #435 to enter the show, and my quilts were #587, #595, and lucky number #600! Wow! That’s a lot of competition for this show. I’m just hoping that at least one of mine gets accepted, and I cannot wait to see the entire show in Austin in February. Good luck to everybody who entered!

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Hexy Quilt for Do Good Stitches

My hexy quilt for Do. Good Stitches is finished and looking great. But it was quite the ordeal getting it there.

I was so happy when I pulled this one out of the dryer yesterday. This is definitely my best free-motion quilting to date—my stitch lengths are starting to even up and my stippling is getting more curvy and flowing. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the design (which uses my Hexing Around block tutorial), not to mention the color palette. The ladies of the Do. Good Stitches Love Circle did a fabulous job on these blocks.

And then …

… I saw this.

And this.

And THIS!

Um, horrified! I’ve never had color-bleeding problems before. Just to be on the safe side, I wash all of my quilts with Shout Color Catchers. And they do often catch some dye. An amazing amount of red ended up on the Color Catcher when I washed my Warm/Cool quilt. But I’ve never had anything like this happen—and the Color Catcher that was in the wash with this quilt only came out with a tiny amount of blue on it! I don’t know how foolproof Color Catchers are supposed to be, but this one clearly didn’t do its job at all.

It wasn’t just one fabric that was the culprit, but appears to be at least two—one of which was in my own block, and it was a Park Slope print from Free Spirit! I am stunned that a high-end designer print like this would bleed so badly. If anyone has any thoughts as to why this may have happened on this particular quilt, please share. Because I’m stumped.

But thanks to wonderful advice from Jeni and several other ladies on Flickr, I’ve managed to clean up this disaster pretty well. Shout Ultra Gel stain remover, a bottle of Oxi-Clean, and three trips through the washing machine later, and the dye stains have faded considerably. In fact, it might be difficult to find them if you don’t know where to look. I hope so, anyway! And this quilt is nothing if not extremely clean, after four launderings. : )

I’m super happy with the back. I love the blue, green, and orange floral plaid from Meadowsweet, but it’s not the most usable print in the world. But on a back? Perfection! And it works great with my palette for this quilt.

This quilt is off to Wrap Them In Love, which distributes quilts to needy children around the world. Thank you, Love Circle, for contributing! I also was conveniently able to do this as part of Lynne’s Hex-a-Long at Lily’s Quilts, which you can check out here. Thank you, Lynne!

Hexalong

Quilt stats
Design: My own—see Hexing Around block tutorial here

Size: 44″ x 61″

Quilting: FMQ stippling by me on my home machine
Completed: September 2011