Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tale of Two Mermaids

 These two quilts began with the bright version on the left. It is a smaller replica of a mermaid quilt I made last summer for myself. Is basically the same minus a bottom row of blocks and I eliminated the lighthouse and plants. I call it "Lake Michigan Mermaid." My intention was to enter it in an exhibit in Milwaukee this spring but I don't think they are doing the exhibit in 2012 so I will try to sell it at a vendor show this summer, The brown muted mermaid is a gift to my friend Jan who invited me to her Florida home recently and I call this quilt "Winter Haven Mermaid" since the area is abundant in lakes. Would the alligators eat a mermaid??!! I was inspired by Jan's decorating using soft blues, yellows and the sand/tan tones. I used a medium brown to do the raw edged fused applique keeping in mind to have enough contrast to be able to see it but not too dark to veer away from the soft muted tones.
This is the close up of  Miss Lake Michigan and ever though I am using the same technique her face looks different from the first mermaid quilt I did and she looks like Lacey Schwimmer from Dancing With The Stars!! I enbellished with rhinestones, beads, buttons, Sculpy Clay fish buttons, fabric paint, glitter and nail polish.

Miss Winter Haven has embellishments of sea shells, since Jan had lots of shells as part of her Florida decor, a small amount of glitter from nail polish, fabric paint and rhinestones. I didn't go crazy with the bling because it seemed more calm/serene without it.

I like them both but the choice of bright or muted fabrics definitely chances the emotion of the quilt. Do you prefer one mermaid over the other??

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cabbage Rose Mandala

This quilt began with the picture in the second photo from a quilt book from 30 yrs. ago. I bought the book before I was a quilter and have always been fascinated with the mandala design but never attempted it. I was planning to do the Hoffman Challenge and drew up the design (third photo) using a 6" block and after cutting it all out and designing the blocks I actually read the Hoffman Challenge rules and discovered it was too big. "What did we learn from this experience??" READ THE RULES and READ THE RULES AGAIN!! So I made the Hoffman Challenge in the size that fit the rules and then decided to make this quilt anyway because I really wanted to and was up for the challenge of the mandala blocks. The challenge fabric is the cabbage rose floral.

There was no pattern in the book-just the little bit that you see in the photo. I drew it out on graph paper and decided to foundation piece the blocks. I drew the pattern and colored in the areas to the color scheme of purples, pinks and greens. (Photo Three) Some of the blocks were very complicated and to reduce the block size smaller than 6" would have been too crazy for me. This was fun but time consuming and I stopped and did other small projects in between to calm myself. Once the top was completed the hard part was over.

 I chose to quilt with a combination of straight and circular lines. The pieced top was very angular so I felt it needed some softness from the curved lines.
Photo Four is an example of the quilting.

I have some fun purple flower beads left over from the REAL Hoffman Challenge and used them in this quilt (photo five.) I also used a few pink tiny rhinestones as accents. The finished quilt is 53 x 53. I plan to enter it in a few upcoming regional quilt shows.  THe REAL Hoffman Challenge is due in July 2012 and I will wait until closer to July to display because I do not want anyone to copy my design.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Busy January: Florida

 My January at the hair salon was busy with bridal shows. As far as quilting, I have been working on a foundation pieced quilt sized 53 x 53 and it was very complicated in the piecing and the machine quilting I chose was plentiful. I have finished it and am blocking it as I blog and will do some minimal embellishments on it. As soon as it is finished I can post the photo of it. Then Last Monday I had the chance to visit a friend who winters in Winter Haven FL. She has been asking me for a few years now and I took her up on her offer. Granted this has been an easy winter in Upper Michigan but a chance to wear summer clothes, flip flops and enjoy the 70-80 degree weather was not to be passed up!! I found that Winter Haven had a quilt shop called Heart Felt and it was the biggest quilt shop I have ever seen outside of Mill House Quilts in Waunakee WI. Visual overload and very hard to choose fabric that I could still carry on the plane home. I was inspired to make one of my mermaid quilts for my friend Jan, who invited me,  in the colors she was decorating her FL home-beiges, tans, light blues and peachy pink. I will make the fused applique in a tan color dark enough to see it but light enough to stay with the color scheme. I found some fabrics for this quilt and some sea shell beads for embellishments.
This large doll called "Grandma" greets people as they enter the store. The owner told the story of how the former owner made the doll and the new owner had her in storage for a while. The shop carries a line of purse and tote patterns called Easy Peasy and the pattern designer made a pattern for a walker holder. She asked if she could bling the walker for a trade show and that's how "Grandma" has been ever since. Very colorful, eye catching and funny!

So I managed to hit 3 quilt shops in the area, visit a botanical garden, enjoy the Florida sun and eat some great regional food.