Nine Square custom quilt

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I just finished this custom quilt and I really love these colors! I live in Gainesville–home of the Florida Gators–where bright orange and royal blue are everywhere you look. Yep, there are entire houses painted orange and blue. I like the Gators well enough–Go Gators!–but I get weary of orange and blue, even though it’s a rock solid color combo. That is what I love about getting a custom order–I have to set my color prejudices aside and I often love the result. In fact, the custom quilt I made before this one was totally orange and blue–gorgeous!

What I Learned at QuiltCon

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I completely missed the boat to register for any classes at QuiltCon–classes really do fill up in less than an hour–so I spent most of my time looking at the quilts in the exhibit, for hours and hours. The range of styles and needle craft on display was astounding. I posted a few of my favorite quilts in Instagram but there was something to love in each quilt. I had never appreciated dense quilting until I saw some of the amazing work in person. My own little quilt was hanging among the minimal design quilts and that was somewhat humbling–even though I was very proud (and frankly amazed) to be included in the show. I came away with three lessons: 1. Kona snow, which is my go-to white looks sort of quaint in an exhibit. I still love it, but would maybe not use again for a show. 2. A crib size quilt (40×50 inches in my case) is a neither here nor there size. I loved the scale of the larger quilts and the mini quilts are a whole new concept for me that I am excited to try. But, I’ll definitely go bigger or smaller next time. 3. Do not pre-wash an exhibit quilt. My quilt looked a little homey and crinkled next to all the super smooth finished works.

This leads me to my greatest quilting discovery of late–the Hera marker. I’ve known about this wonderful tool for years but never tried it, until I made this Modern Hexie pillow, pattern by modernhandcraft.

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For my first attempt, I used a water soluable pencil that I’ve used for many projects, but this time the lines did not disappear despite a thorough soaking. Fortunately, those little hexies are so fun to make I did not mind starting over. The pattern suggests using a Hera marker so I did for my second attempt, and I love it! The tool has a sharp, smooth edge that makes a crease in your fabric that serves as a quilting line-so much faster than marking pens or pencils and really accurate. Plus, no need to wash a finished quilt to remove marking lines–provided I keep my kitty from snuggling with works-in-progress.

What’s next for me? I think I’ll make a mini quilt to try out some new ideas–matchstick quilting? intricate piecing? bold colors? I have no idea, which is the best place to start, I think.

QuiltCon 2017

I was so happy to find out that this quilt was accepted into QuiltCon 2017. I named the quilt “Gentle X” mostly because I am pretty terrible at naming quilts, and much prefer to call it “the one with all the tiny squares.” This will my first trip to QuiltCon so I am super excited!

Savannah here I come!

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Hidden picture quilt

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I haven’t blogged in a really long time, but I just finished this quilt, which I’ve been working on slowly for a while. Each (of the 225!) colored squares is one inch. I picked the size because it was so easy to translate from my graph paper sketch. I made the sketch quickly–just coloring squares without a whole lot of thought and ended up with a surprising sort-of hidden pattern that reminded me a little of fair isle knitting. I wasn’t sure how the sketch would translate to a quilt, but I followed it almost exactly. The top is made of 25 blocks with 9  colored squares each. I first thought about making long strips, but breaking the design into blocks really helped keep the grid neat.

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Here are some close-ups where the pattern disappears.

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Big cushion

bigcushionI’ve had this cushion on my to-make list for months. It always takes me a really long time to make design decisions for my own house–lots of sketches and fabric piles are involved. This cushion is in our home office (which is also where I sew), on the couch/guest bed (yep, the room is also our guest bedroom). This room is a busy place so I really wanted the design to be just right. I played around with lots of ideas, but inspiration struck when I ordered some of Carolyn Friedlander‘s new collection Carkai. I almost never buy a collection of prints, but I snatched up a bundle of half yards in Carkai and Doe. I really love subtle palettes of primary colors, if that makes sense. I ended up going with trusty flying geese (after all that thinking and sketching …)–I think they really show off the prints and keep the colors from being overwhelming. The cushion is a whopping 26×26, perfect relaxing and dreaming up my next project!

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First finish of 2016!

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The palette for this quilt was inspired by the Pantone colors for 2016–rose quartz and serenity. The colors are unabashedly pretty and seemed just right for a baby quilt. The background fabric is handkerchief linen in a soft white and the center square is a Liberty print–gray Betsy, which I one of my absolute favorites. I added a smidge to the pink binding. I am tempted to make a quilt using the colors in the print–the olive green and coral are so unexpected and wonderful.

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This simple, pretty quilt was a nice way to start the new year. Now I’m ready to tackle some of my goals for 2016. My Etsy shop (etsy.com/shop/BrigitGail) has been growing–slowly, but steadily–without much nurturing, so this year I want to see how I can help it along. I really struggle with social media and marketing–but I am determined to get better at this. I think the trick is to find platforms that work for your personality. Instagram is a friendly space for introverts–pretty pictures of quilts I can manage! I also want to try a few new things–submitting a project to a magazine is first on my list. Are you looking to try something new in 2016? I’d love to hear what’s on your list!

This quilt is available in my Etsy shop.

Finished wedding ring quilt

 

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I finished this modern version of a double wedding ring quilt just in time for my parents’ 50th anniversary. As much as I love making gifts for my family and friends, I always find it a little worrying. With the exception of baby knits, which can’t fail to charm if you are a halfway decent knitter, I worry that the gift will be a burden or somehow attention hogging–look what I made! Despite my worries, my parents seemed genuinely to like the quilt, and I was really pleased with how it turned out.

The quilt is a throw-size (60×60), which was about the maximum size my little Janome Gem can handle with ease. Then, like “The Gift of the Magi” but much happier, my parents gave me a wonderful new (full-size, super fantastic) sewing machine for Christmas, one week after their anniversary. Truly, the most amazing gift! Especially, since I never would have bought a new machine myself.

I am a classic late-adopter and tend to be resistant to products intended to make life easier. (Yes, I ran a marathon in an old cotton t-shirt despite a preponderance of evidence that microfibers are much better for this sort of activity. I finally broke down and bought some “real” running gear during a New York City heatwave, and had to admit that, hey, product designers might know a thing or two. So nice not to run in a giant, sodden garment!)

All this to say, when my sewing friends gently suggested that trying to run a quilting business using what is essentially a pocket-sized machine was perhaps a little foolish, I protested that my little Janome was just perfect. While I adore my trusty old machine, this new machine (a Juki TL2010Q) is a revelation. I can’t believe how precisely and quickly it sews. How was I to know that a machine could make such a difference? (Hmm, perhaps by listening to people?) I think the heaviness of all the parts and the machine itself must keep everything steady. I feel so professional, and I have already completed three quilts–a new one for my shop and two custom quilts. But, I have to say, my little machine did a pretty good job on my parents’ quilt–some of the curves don’t quite meet up but the overall effect is pretty pleasing.

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