Hoffman Challenge 2015- Mariposa

Phew!

The last few months have been a whirlwind! Thank goodness for Instagram, or no one would ever see anything! (I am @staceyinstitches for those of you on IG)

Waaaaaaay back in July, I finished up and sent off my Hoffman Challenge Quilt. for the first time ever, my challenge quilt was finished and mailed more than three days before the deadline. Did you know it’s way less stressful to send things before the deadline? Cuz I do now!

Usually I mail so close to the deadline there is no time for pictures or ground shipping, its a 3-day or bust nail biting marathon of RUSH.

So this year was an immense pleasure. And, I also LOVE the quilt!

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My quilt, Mariposa, is a super enlarged version of the Lillyella Stitchery “Take Wing” pattern. The original finishes at 18″x 24″, a perfect mini quilt size. My version finished at 35″x50″!

One of the biggest factors in finishing early was being able to quilt this on the longarm myself, and some excellent color and design advice/support from my friends. I agonize over color choices sometimes, and this was a doozy. There are over 32 different prints!

2015 fabric texture

2015 Challenge Fabric

I knew I wanted to play up the base colors of the Challenge Fabric. I was drawn to the bright fuchsia pink the most. Then I wanted to contrast and play with the prints until I had an ombre effect, with the body the darkest and the wings the lightest. I pulled about 55 fabrics and had to start paring down from there.

selection

The first pull

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Finale, finally!

This was the last of about 15 different photos. Amy, Anne, Gillian and Kim (My QDAD peeps) were hugely patient and helpful in narrowing it down to this.

And then I started sewing. First the body, because it was small and easy for me to work my way into. I fussy cut the different textured indigo areas of the challenge fabric to create  different sections of the body, and threw in some of the prints. I used and indog Hoffman 1895 batik to make the textured pieces stand out.

body

Next came the wings. I started with the bottom wings because there were less pieces,and the color gradient for that was a bit easier. i incorporated some more of the indigo into the wings to balance out the center.

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And then the big part, the top wings. It took me a week to make each wing, because the pattern pieces were huge, and each section was very large. I don’t normally use pins when paper piecing, but I had to with these pieces. It helped keep the large pieces of fabric steady.There are a lot of bias edges, and some of the pieces were as long as 22″. I could only piece one or two sections at a time before it got too ungainly and I moved on to other things.

But finally, FINALLY! I finished the top wing sections.  And. I. hated. it.

The fabric that I had pulled for the central wing focus, section 1 of 24, did not work at all. It was a print I LOVE for things ( my Rubix quilt, which I will talk more about in a few days, uses it for the background and it’s amazing)

For a split second I panicked. And then I remembered a technique taught to me at Quiltcon by Cristy Fincher, paperless paper piecing! Part of this technique involves glue baste and piecing from the outside in. So in that vein, section 1 would be the last section pieced. So with that in mind I removed some paper, firmly grasped my seam ripper, sent up a small prayer, and began some quilt surgery.

quilt surgery

Once the offending fabric was removed, I carefully grafted in the new section. I used the main print from Tula Pink’s Foxfield collection. I have tons of it, and it had both the pink and aqua accents in it. I fussy cut the fabric to show off my favorite parts. It worked perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier! I then took my new sugical skills ot the body, where I replaced the accent fabric with more of the fussy cut challenge fabric.

wing

Then I took the quilt off to the long arm. I froze for a bit, I knew what I wanted in the wig sections, but the background had me stymied. After a quick consultation with the amazingly talented Mandy Liens I outlined the butterfly and then used my favorite background filler from Christina Cameli’s book Step-by-Step Free Motion Quilting. This particular design is called Effervescent. Its super simple,and super effective.

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Following Mandy’s advice, I made curled feathers. I love how they look like feathers, but don’t require all the back and forth outlining of real feathers.

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The body I had fun with. I used contrasting thread to create patterns and used mostly straight lines. SUper effective!

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I used a custom box of Aurifil Threads that I picked up at a quilt show on the Sunshine Coast, from Carola’s Quilt Shop booth. I love that you get to build the box yourself from any thread in the shop!

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Then it was binding, labeling, and off to the front yard for photos. I thought in front of the rose tree would be lovely, but alas, no roses in bloom at the time. (you should see that tree now!)

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I mailed it off and waited. Then in late August the winners list was published, and there was Mariposa in Third place in the Pieced Category! I couldn’t believe it! I got this lovely ribbon (new for the challenge), letter, and two boxes of Aurifil thread as well as the participant packet of fabric and a beautiful enameled pin.

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I am so happy with Mariposa. She is winging her way around the USA for the next year as part of the Hoffman Challenge Trunk Show. If you spot her in the wild, snap a picture and sent it to me! or tag me on instagram @staceyinstitches #gianttakewingquilt

Happy Stitching!

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WIP Wednesday-Vacation Edition

So this week finds me in the sunny Okanagan visiting family. Lots of fun for the little guy, and lots of fabric shopping for me! I found some solids at a quilt shop in Oliver. (Sadly, it is closing due to illness. It was one of my favorite stops.) They are by Northcott. I didn’t even know they made solids, but let me tell you, Oh My Goodness! The COLOR! It’s so rich and vibrant!

I can’t even photograph it, not with my phone or my good camera. The colors are so rich and saturated in person I couldn’t leave without them.

My pretties

My pretties

I also picked up some Waterfront Park and some Folklore in my favorite color/print.

 

My Hoffman challenge quilt is at Joan’s to be quilted. I am so happy with how it turn ed out an due equipping is always perfect. She translates my half formed impressions and psychobabble and turns it into perfection.

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I can’t wait to get my hands on this beauty. Deadline is next Friday! Eeek!

Stacey

Linking up with Lee@freshly pieced (hopefully!)

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.

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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

The UFO Problem

I don’t mean unidentified flying objects, I mean UnFinished Objects. And I have a lot. A LOT….the rule of thumb is no more than 3. Lately my brain has been in quilting overtime. I have so many ideas floating around and they are all coming out in different ways. The chaos of my sewing room is overwhelming to everyone but me.

Organized chaos is the key here……

I do love my sewing room. There is a special spot for baby H, a wonderful peg board installed by my father, a ton of space to stuff bins of fabric ( there are 10) and my Precious. A Janome 1600P Professional semi industrial sewing machine. It is a straight stitch only machine with 3 speeds: Fast, faster, and holy cow.

At the moment I have 5 projects going (that I can remember O.o;)

1. A reproduction of Claudia Clark Myers and Marylin Badger’s quilt Sparkle Plenty

2. Listen With Your Eyes by Jacqueline de Jonge

3. A wholecloth quilt design

4. A modern quilt for Quilt Con

5. 3×6 Bee blocks, Stars and Pinwheels

I also have the fabric collected for another Jacqueline de Jonge project, Circle of Life, and I have sketches for a quilt series (more on that to come!)

I am excited about the modern quilt. I have recently discovered a love of hexagons. I have ordered the Hexa-Go-Go book, written by the very talented Tacha Bruecher. She is a founding member of Fat Quarterly ezine (I highly recommend subscribing), and you can find her blog here. My block idea combines hexagons with my love of paper-pieced stars. There will be a sneak peak at the end of the month!

I also received a call from the Georgia Quilt Show. They received my entry. Fingers crossed that it gets juried in! I finally named the quilt Sapphire Star.

My patient husband acting as a display rack

Quilted by Julie House of Sculptured Threads Quilting

Until next time!

Happy Quilting!

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.