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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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WIP Wednesday: Last-Minute WIPing

Happy Wednesday! And welcome to my week of last-minute scrambling!

Quilt Con quilt

In case you haven’t heard, there’s going to be an epic modern quilt show at Quilt Con in February, and the deadline to enter is this Friday. Unfortunately, other commitments have kept me from making any quilts specifically to enter in the show—until a few days ago, that is. Five days to create a quilt for the most important modern quilt show to date, with thousands of dollars in prizes on the line? Sure, why not! I don’t know if it will be accepted (I don’t even know if I’ll finish it in time), but I have to at least try. Because yes, apparently I am that crazy.

What’s on your to-do list this week? Whatever you’re sewing, link it up here! Just remember the rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?

Have a great week—get those Quilt Con entries in!

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Shattered Spectrum Mini Quilt

Queen of the last-minute finish—that’s me! My mini for the Modern Mini Challenge is done, with just a few hours to spare.

In the spirit of using what I already have, more than half of the HSTs in this mini were made last year—they were the “bonus HSTs,” leftover from when I made my Supernova Quilt-Along quilt.  I trimmed them up, added a few more (mostly the greens), and ta-da, a mini was born! (But yes, it still took forever!)

The background and binding are Kona Coal, and I quilted it with simple straight lines along the seams. The completed mini measures about 20″ square and the HSTs are 1.75″ finished. I couldn’t be happier with it! Thanks, Jennifer, for organizing this great challenge!

 And one more thing—would you believe, after all of that, I still have more than 80 of these leftover HSTs? I think I’ve had my fill of them at this point, so would anybody else like to play with them? They’re mostly blues, pinks, oranges, and yellows, and they need to be squared up (I squared mine up to 2.25″ square). If you would like to give these HSTs a home, just tell me that in a comment, and I’ll pick somebody tomorrow. (THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.)



My Love Nest Entry

Gen X Quilters

I feel kind of bad posting about this quilt again, since I think most of you have seen it plenty of times already. But I want to enter AnneMarie’s fun Love Nest Quilt Contest, and I only have two bed-size quilts to choose from. Of those two, this was definitely my choice for the entry.

And the fact is, I get more questions about this quilt than I do about any other. People love this pattern, and they want to know how difficult it is to make. Plus, there’s been extra interest in Single Girl quilts lately, since Katy, Nova, and Megan announced their Single Girl quilt-along. So maybe another post about this quilt isn’t out of line.

“Nature Girl” Single Girl quilt
King size (106″ x 92″)
Fabric: Kona Bleached White, Cherish Nature by Deb Strain, Neptune by Tula Pink, Al Fresco by Marcus Brothers, a few other scraps
Quilting: Done by the long-arm quilter at my LQS in the “Bubbles” pattern
Pattern: Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt

How long did you work on this quilt?
Forever. Plus a month or two.

For me, the most difficult part of making this pattern was making the templates and cutting all the pieces. Tedious, boring work. And it took way longer than I expected. Since I was making mine king-size, I made 20 of the rings. That means there are 640 pieces in the rings alone! All drawn with templates and cut out with scissors. (I’m very glad I didn’t tally it up before I started, or this quilt might not exist today!)

The most important thing during the templating/cutting step, in my opinion, is organization. Make piles. And plan on those piles being undisturbed for many days—possibly weeks. I also found it helpful to write (in pencil) the template’s identifying letter on the back of every fabric piece I cut. Just in case those piles got mixed up or needed to be moved at any point in the process (and they did).

Any “a-ha” moments?
Piecing this quilt was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. The rings came together very quickly (especially compared to cutting all those pieces). And the curved part of the piecing (attaching the rings to the white background pieces) really wasn’t bad at all, once I got the hang of how to pin it. Hint: Use twice as many pins as you think you need. Then add a few more just for good measure. : ) There’s a very good diagram that comes with the pattern about how to pin your pieces.

What inspired you?
Well, it started with me just wanting to make a quilt for my king-size bed. I love modern quilt designs, but every pattern I considered just seemed too boxy and geometric for my not-very-modern bedroom furniture. My headboard is arched, so I wanted something that would work with that. That’s when I thought of the Single Girl. For some reason the idea of doing a king-size Single Girl didn’t scare me that much—I think it was early enough in my quilting career that I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. : ) Which, in the end, was probably a good thing.

Have you made a modern bed-size quilt? Head over to Gen X Quilters to enter AnneMarie’s contest—there are awesome prizes for the winners.