Hoffman Challenge 2013-DONE!

Holy Moly!

The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of sewing and ironing and quilting. Spare time has been practically non-existent. I have been so wrapped up in this challenge, its been mind boggling. To make matters even more exciting, I got a second job, and I thought the deadline for entry was next week. Turns out its Friday. Thankfully my quilt is winging its way to Colorado as we speak on the back of a UPS truck! Guaranteed to be there on time, hurray!

I could fill your ears with all the tales of trial and error, hard work and late nights, but I am so thankful that I was able to finish on time. I could not have done it without the support of my family and friends. My husband, who barely saw me, my mom for coming for a weekend so i could work 10 in a row, and my friend Naomi who babysits for me so I can work and sew.

This years fabric was my favorite out of all the challenge fabrics to date. I knew from the moment I saw it that I would be making the Imperial Dragon Quilt. I had always wanted to make it again. There were many things I wanted to tweak, and new techniques I wanted to try. I was able to do them all.

Imperial Splendor

Imperial Splendor

Imperial Splendor!

I used Shiva Paintsticks to add highlights and shading to the dragons body. The mane is an eyelash yarn that I chain stitched with a 3mm crochet needle into a long rope, careful to keep the ‘eyelashes’ all to one side. It worked out very well because the eyelashes lay directional naturally.

Highlights

Highlights

I used a Hoffman 1985 Watercolors batik for the dragons body, and cut each scale out individually. Then I fused them all down. There are more than 500 scales in the whole dragon. I quilted his body with a meandering stipple in a matching color. The leg, head and tail feathers were layered and quilted using a variegated aqua to green, then a dark plum in the darkest parts of the tail and head.

Dragon tail detail

Dragon tail detail

Dragon head detail

Dragon head detail

I quilted the background to mimic the tail, using the large leaves as the base for each.

quilting detail

Quilting Detail

For the white background I used the back side of a tone on tone white fabric, the motif was really overwhelming, but looks really good  from the back, quilted with an orange peel motif.

July 040

I am so super duper happy with how this quilt turned out. I think it is my all time favorite ever!

 

Keep on Sewing!!

 

Stacey

Bottled Rainbows Quilt by Maureen Cracknell Handmade

Today I would like to share a quilt from Maureen Cracknell Handmade. Maureen’s blog is one of my favorites. She always has something creative, fun and inspiring to share with us. That she does it with 3 children makes it even more amazing!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade, Bottled Rainbows

Image courtesy of Maureen Cracknell Handmade

The Bottled Rainbows tutorial is one that many modern quilters know. It inspired one of our VMQG Challenges last year, and the resulting quilts are always beautiful and colorful. Maureen took Bottled Rainbows to the next level by using shapes and motifs instead of just squares and rectangles. You can read more about Maureen and her Bottled Rainbows Quilt here : Maureen Cracknell Handmade: My Bottled Rainbows Quilt : :. I love her construction techniques. You can also find the original Bottles Rainbows Post and Tutorial here.

Thank you Maureen for allowing me to share your work!

 

Where Does the Time Go?

Holy Cow.

Is it almost September already? Yup, apparently it is according to my phone, computer, and AQS wall Calender.

August always seems to fly by for me. There were the 10 days on vacation, 5 days waiting for a new video card after the crash of my computer, starting a new quilt for the 2013 CQA Quilt Show (in Penticton this year, only a 5 hour drive! Woo-hoo!), <—- Apparently Woo-hoo is not in the spell check dictionary but woo-bop is. Go figure. I also started the blocks for the 3×6 block swap I am participating in, and the name tag for the RATZ Swap. For those who want to know, RATZ stands for Rapid Tiny Zakka. Zakka means many tiny things in Japanese, so that’s what we make. The last month was needle-books, month before that was key chain tags. I am sorry I missed the needle-books because they look so cute. I am looking forward to the future swaps though. I actually finished my name tag on time and sent it to my partner in New York state. I hope she likes it.

 

I also received my packets from the Hoffman Challenge. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the challenge, so to celebrate for every 25 entries they would pull a name out of a hat and send off a packet of Hoffman Batiks and Sulky Threads. I got home from vacation to find this package at my door! I love the colors, especially the peacock thread! Batiks are my favorite fabrics, so I was giddy when I got the email saying I had won a prize draw!

I also found a second packet from Hoffman with my letter of acceptance into the trunk show and the goodies they send along: a beautiful cloche pin,  Sulky thread, and a fat quarter of a Hoffman screen print.

I am always excited when my quilts are chosen to be in a show. Even though I don’t win ribbons it is an honor to have my work displayed with some of the best from around the world. I was very excited in 2010 because my quilt Starfire was in the same traveling trunk as Fly Away by Jaqueline de Jonge, who you all know if one of my favorite inspiring quilters! Solaris, an original design, was also chosen to travel in 2011. It should be arriving home in October.

I have been participating since 2010, and I look forward to the new fabric each year. When 2012 was revealed, I was aghast. Its not that the fabric was terrible, its just not my thing. Right up Grandma’s alley, but definitely a few blocks and a kitty corner from mine. But that’s why they call it a challenge, right? Last year, when I had lots of time to sit and draft, I replicated the pieced inner panel from the Claudia Clark Myers/Marilyn Badger collaboration Greensleeves. (I did not include the applique.) Then I emailed Claudia Clark Myers and received permission to sew it up and enter it into the challenge.

I ended up going a different direction last year, but I found for 2012 it was the perfect pattern to showcase and at the same time hide this fabric. Again let me emphasize that while the fabric is nice, it is just REALLY not to my taste. The effect was charming, and I named the quilt My Secret Garden.

The fabric for 2013 is stunning, and I am so happy that it is in my palette. It has quite a large repeat as well as a huge amount of visual content in the repeat. I have an Idea forming for what I want to do. Now the waiting game begins until I can pre-order my fabric from one more of the online retailers. This one will sell out fast!

While I was away I started working on my entry for the Canadian Quilters Association Juried Quilt Show. I am making the Jaqueline de Jonge pattern Listen With Your Eyes. Here is a sneak peek at what I have completed so far! My color wheel has more than 100 different fabrics, not a single fabric repeats! I pulled all but 9 from my stash, somehow I was a tad low on yellow/lime and aqua. This is the original quilt, and I got the pattern here.

 

I also received my Glacier Star quilt back from Julie House of Sculptured Threads Quilting in Arizona. She did an amazing job and I highly recommend her. You can check our her work on Facebook. I am going to enter this quilt into the Georgia Quilt Show. I need to think of a name, any suggestions?

 

Thanks for being so patient with me! The gallery should be up and running in a week or so. As always, Happy Quilting!

This little fellow was out on my parents deck. The Mountain Bluebirds were out full force one evening, and he had a small run in with the window. I picked him up so he could get over the deck, and he is now happily living in the back  forest.

The Threads that Weave

I have been sewing and crafting since I was 6 years old. All my life I have been surrounded by talented, creative women like my mother Sue, my Grandma Shirley, and my Auntie Pat. Every holiday, celebration or special occasion a quilt was gifted or created, and I always loved how the colors flowed, and how you could convey an emotion using nothing but little pieces of fabric.  Little did I know then, but I had been bitten by the quilt bug.

The first quilt I ever made on my own was one I had a dream about. My mom always tells the story best. “Why don’t you start with something small first, and see how it goes?” was her advice, but when it comes to quilting and art I have never really been one to test the waters before jumping right in. After a month of drawing up the design, picking the perfect colors, and some “Let’s see if this works…”, I showed my completed quilt to mom. After a minute of stunned silence, she gave me a hug and then introduced me to the website of Carol Bryer Fallert. I took one look at her quilt New Dawn and I was forever hooked.

To me, quilting is freedom. I have heard there are rules, but I would be hard pressed to tell you what they are. I love the smell of fabric, the feel and texture, and the stunning array of colors I can’t even put names to.  My favorite fabrics are batiks, and often I am inspired by a single piece of fabric that sings to me in a tune I can only answer with a needle and thread. I create my own patterns, drawn from the inspiration I find in countless books, magazines and other quilters. I am greatly influenced by the work of Sharon Schamber, Jacqueline De Jonge, Judy Niemeyer, Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers.  I have many of their patterns in my library, and look forward to someday completing them all at least once.

I wouldn’t be able to quilt the way I do without the love and support I find in my family. My wonderful husband has been known to make surprise stops at local quilt stores when we are on vacation, and doesn’t raise too much of a fuss when I spend a little bit more than I planned on a beautiful piece of fabric. He doesn’t like to admit it, but the man does have an eye for color!

The best part about quilting is the fellowship and commonality that quilters have. Quilting is a language all its own, and you can walk into any local quilt shop and find a friendly face and even friendlier advice.  I am honored to be able to share my quilt story with everyone, and I look forward to meeting many fellow quilters!

Circa 2003, one of my first quilts.

Welcome to my Quilty World!

Welcome to Stacey in Stitches!

I have finally started The Blog. Blogging is a new experience. I had never read a blog until a few months ago, even though my fellow guild members all talk about all the wonderful things they find and friendships they have made. I kept thinking that bloggers were mostly angst-ridden teenagers who never grew up and use blogging as a medium to vent. I am sure many still do, BUT, to my delight and surprise (and embarrassment that it took me FOREVER to actually discover this), it is a wonderful way to meet people with new and inspiring ideas, and to learn new things about the things you already love! Like QUILTING!

I love to quilt. I have been quilting for 10 years now, and there is no foreseeable point in the far future when I might ever stop. Maybe if I lose both hands, but as long as they have helper monkeys to run the fabric through for me I will be fine! I can’t even run out of room for my fabric stash, because let’s face it, that is what Rubbermaid containers and crawl spaces were made for! Thank goodness for understanding husbands and partners, though I think they all secretly think if they complain too loudly that we will hem all their pants 3 inches too short!

So about me…..I am a founding member of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, an although my quilts are not what many would call modern, they certainly aren’t “traditional” either. I design and sell quilts and quilt patterns.  I am also a new Mom to my cute-as-a-button needs-more-quilts son who was born in March of this year, so if I devote a blog post or two please bear with me. He is my first after all.

As I get started into the world of Modern Quilting, blogging, and all that fun crafty stuff, I hope you enjoy the journey with me!