by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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Project Quilting Bonus Challenge

February 4th, 2013 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)
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Kim from Persimmon Dreams is going to take over my blog today and tell you more about an extra challenge and a chance to win so you can participate.

Hello everyone! This is Kim from Persimon Dreams, www.PersimonDreams.com, and I’m so happy to be here sharing some exciting Project QUILTING news with you. We are currently in the midst of Season 4. The first two challenges inspired over 100 quilts to be created – so amazing! The third challenge went up on Sunday, February 3rd and I can’t wait to see what comes from it (still time for you to join in!) (more…)

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The first challenge of the season ended this Sunday, so here’s how it turned out…

There were more entries than ever before! Click the collage image at the bottom of the post to be brought to the Flickr Gallery and see them all. The only real direction given was to be inspired by Architecture. So my inspiration came from architecture close to home…the tiles on the Iowa State Capitol floor. I thought they were beautiful when I visited the capitol a few years ago and took lots of photos, because I knew I wanted to make a quilt from them someday. This challenge was the perfect opportunity! I almost copied the design, using a photo as a reference and enlarging the pattern at a copy shop. But I changed the colors a bit, to include a shiny gold lamé, to symbolize our favorite part of the state capitol, the gold dome. My boys love “the Shiny Place” as they call the capitol and Brennan helped me pick out the shiniest fabric we could find at Joann. (We didn’t consider what a pain in the butt it would be to use!)  The rest of the fabric had to come from my stash, but I seemed to have the perfect mix of marbley batiks and prints that had stonelike textures. The yellow even has metallic gold spots.

The Finished Size is 29″ square…don’t ask me why I made it so big! I was asking myself that all week!

I didn’t bother cropping out Conal’s head and hands, because I wanted to give you an idea of how big I made it! I guess I just got too excited that I could get an enlargement at the copy shop and went crazy with it! But thankfully it was smaller than the width of fabric!

Here are some photos of my inspiration!

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Project Quilting Off-season

May 12th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

I have been working on my challenge about the colors of my initials, but I just finished it last night, not by the Sunday deadline. I blame soccer and seam ripping!

But I thought you might be interested in seeing the Project Quilting pieces that were submitted…

Very pretty, huh?! From left to right, top row: Uniquely Nancy “Starry, Starry Night shoulder bag”, Marcia’s Crafty Sewing & Quilting “Marcia’s Tiny Treasures, ForQuiltsSake “Celebrate Your Differences” and bottom row: Kim Lapacek “The Tree”, AllthingsBelle “Garden Party, and Diane Lapacek “Pansy Fury”

I love the last two.

Middle bottom row, AllThingsBelle, said she had been wanting to try the “Sprockets” pattern. I think she’s talking about the same one I have on my ironing board (from Cluck, Cluck, Sew)…so that was fun to see. I love the embroidery hoop idea! I’ve also been wanting to try that as a mounting technique.

And lastly, Diane’s is gorgeous! She has been a judge for most (if not all) of PQ, so it was fun to see what she did with the challenge! It’s obvious she’s a great choice for a judge, her work is amazing. The color scheme is really cool, the design is interesting and the quilting intense! I’m not sure I like the lower left hand corner. She says it was for balance with the curves, but somehow it’s just too much of a contrast without anything tying them together in one composition. (except the intense colors, which by the way, she dyed herself!!)

The others are great too! I can’t believe Kim was still getting that quilt done just before her new baby was born!

So go read their stories and look closer if you’d like at Kim’s Crafty Apple….

I’ll show you mine tomorrow. Now I want to wait until after my small group meeting tonight to post a pic, so none of those friends see it here before they see it at our “reveal.”

Initials/Colors Challenge

May 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

Progress report…this is a really fun project!!

Step 1: Go to paint store and marvel at all the pretty colors! DONE!

Step 2: Try not to draw too much attention to yourself grabbing almost every swatch…too bad they don’t place all the swatches in the holders with their names showing. Anyway, DONE.

Step 3: Find all the color names that start with my initials. I’m working with Emma Lea Thomas-McGinnis. E L T M.

Step 4: Start looking at color combinations. Then start matching the swatches to my fabrics and finding combinations of fabrics I already have. (Can’t do another trip to JoAnn today, so I have to find the right fabrics here!)

I actually found way more close matches than I thought I would!!

Making combinations with only one of each initial was tricky. (I really wanted to use Mermaid Water Dance AND Monet Lily at the same time, but that wouldn’t fit the challenge!)

Picking names I liked was almost as much fun as picking colors. Some of my favorites…

Elephant Skin
Lullaby Green
Tropical Lagoon
Medieval Forest
Mirage Lake

but those were the ones I didn’t have fabrics for. Twilight chimes, egg yolk, maple leaf and Maine Lobster were pretty good too!

The chosen color scheme was finalized when I saw this perfect complementary floral, a great blender for all the colors.

So, Everlasting, Lantana, Mermaid Water Dance, Traditional it is.
And here’s the pattern I’m designing…

I’m not sure now, if the sashing fabric will give it enough contrast with the blocks. It might all match too well, if you know what I mean!! Maybe I’ll have to add some kind of embellishment. It’s also a pretty straightforward design and a little traditional. Something I haven’t done in a while with other Project Quilting projects, so it’s refreshing and new in that way. Should be pleasing and pretty.

Weird that the teal is not showing up in the photos as green as I see it. It really pops in real life. I can’t decide yet if the blocks need one or two leaves.

But there’s my progress. Hope to show you a completed quilt soon!

Happy Spring!

oh, almost forgot Step 5: Enjoy spring with some real life lavender-colored flowers! (and a sweet boy!)

Off Season Challenge Coincidence

April 25th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Project Quilting and my “Seams Sew Easy” small group have collided this month by issuing the same challenge!!!

So I’m thinking about color names and my initials…ELTM (project quilting doesn’t allow 5 initials, though I have them!) The only difference in the two challenges is that my small group specified I find the color names on paint chips! So I’m not using Lavender, I’m going to find something exotic like “Elite Wisteria” or “Little Pond.” (those are actual names I just found using Behr.com’s ColorSmart tool! This is going to be fun.

Here’s the link to the Project Quilting Off-season Challenge if you’d like to join me. You never have to commit to the whole season to join Project Quilting, but this is even more low-key…so if you’ve been waiting to join in, now’s the time!!

p.s. I hope my Seams Sew Easy friends post their projects on the Project Quilting group!

 

Butterfly Beauty

April 18th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Inspiration | Quilting - (1 Comments)

I want to share a project that was made by my mom, Ginny Thomas, and featured on a blog recently! Congrats, Mom, for your mention. I am so proud of you and your beautiful quilts!

Paintstik butterflies by Ginny Thomas
Be sure to visit this link to read about the challenge that brought about this beautiful quilt! I love challenges for bringing out our creative thinking!!

http://cedarcanyontextiles.com/crossing-borders-with-divas/

She used wonderful, creative techniques to make this quilt really special, the words are thread calligraphy and the butterflies use Shiva Paintstiks and notice her beautiful free-motion quilting!!

Project Quilting 2:5

March 27th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (3 Comments)

Flying Geese Challenge

So, very sadly, I missed Challenge 5 because we had to go out of town on Thursday and I just couldn’t get this project done in time. But I had started it on the Sunday of the challenge and tried really hard to get it done in time, so I decided I just had to finish it as soon as I finished Challenge 6. Besides, I promised this one to Brennan, so I couldn’t leave it unfinished forever.

The challenge was to use the traditional flying geese quilt block in some way AND to use a complementary color scheme.

So, instead of just using the block, I decided that “Flying Geese” would be the WHOLE story behind my project. I took those flying geese triangles and turned them into REAL little flying birds in a mobile!!

Each triangle was given a beak and stuffed lightly to be a stylized goose.

For the top of the mobile,  I made a quilted circle of flying geese using paper-piecing. (I think it’s the same pattern that Dashasel used in the winning piece, although I didn’t know that at the time I was making it!!)

So, I made that circle of flying geese, sandwiched it like a real quilt, with peltex stiff interfacing to make it stiff. Then I wrapped a wooden embroidery hoop with blue satin ribbon, to really reinforce the circle and ensure it stayed stiff. I hot glued the quilted circle to the hoop. Here you can see the hanging. It was a windy day this morning, so you can’t tell, but it really hangs straight!

This photo shows how much Brennan really loves it!! I think we’ll hang it down in the play room in the basement…but he wants in the living room so we can see it “ALL THE TIME”, isn’t that sweet?!

I’m sad that I didn’t get to enter the Project Quilting contest for this round, but at least I got this great project done because of it!! Project Quilting is so great!!

Project Quilting 2:6

March 26th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

Large Scale Fabrics Challenge

Finally, I have a project to tell you about!!! I have had a rough March as far as getting things done, but I’ve had lots of things in the works. I’ll tell you about more of them later, first I have to show you this challenge project, I love it!

The challenge was to use a large scale fabric. Here’s mine. I loved that white mum in the center and the very elegant leaves.

So I came up with a plan to make a three-dimensional version of the mum. I had socked away this “Snow Mum” pattern from Amy Butler a while ago, so I had to go search it out. I also had this paper-piecing pattern for a circle of flying geese I made for another project. (I’ll show you that whole project later!)

I modified it to have more background and eliminated the geese to make this background.

Here you can also see that I quilted around the designs in the background fabric, since they were so subtle in contrast, but the real story behind the quilt, so I had to make them stand out more. I think it really worked. Even white leaves on cream are visible when quilted around!

Here’s the mum placed on the background! It’s made from two layers of wool blend felt fused together, then the individual petals cut out, sewn down the centers a little to give them curve and then sewn to a circle one by one. My sewing machine couldn’t stitch through all those layers of felt without skipping a lot of stitches, so I ended up stitching them all on by hand. The center has some stained brown wooden beads, because the fabric design had those brown seedy centers, too.

I loved it! It fit perfectly to make just those spinning orange star points pop, but still shows plenty of the background fabric! Then I thought it was getting a little too symmetrical and circular, so I added a little interest with a blue leaf branch. I made those out of felt with a real nice blue/green cotton coordinate fused on, then cut out and sewn to florist wire, so I could make them pose just perfectly!

The last finishing touch was part of the challenge, it required a stripe or plaid to be used somewhere in the piece. Perfect, I love stripe bindings and this pretty peach/orange subtle stripe coordinated perfectly and added a little more spin yet. I cut it on the bias, so the stripes slant like a candy cane AND it wrapped around the circle perfectly smooth without any tucks!!

I’m so proud!

And it looks really beautiful in my studio.

Hardware CHALLENGE!

February 28th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

I just finished another Project Quilting weekend…and it was a toughy! I’ve had trouble with this one from the very beginning. I started thoughts on about three different projects and when I had a great idea…it still didn’t go very smoothly! BUT, the results were really worth it!! So, oh well, better luck next time!

Here’s the finished quilt.
The voting is up here.

and the story…

Why does spray paint come in such basic colors? That’s the thought I had in the hardware store looking at the rows of red, yellow, blue, and white. Moving a little further down the aisle, yes, there are the paint chips that offer a wider rainbow of colors…but still, I started thinking about my stash of fabric and the wide range of possibilities there in comparison to that aisle of spray paint!! How lucky are quilters?!

This quilt is 45″ x 33″. It is all pieced. There is a clear vinyl pocket on the bottom, holding real paint swatches from the hardware store (who can resist grabbing those as you walk by?!) The 1″ inner blue border is the exact blue of painter’s tape (the third item from the challenge).

Here are some other photos. The inspiration:

Here are some of the working stages. I started with the center, an abstracted version of the spray paint cans on the shelves of the hardware store. I sketched it unto a big piece of brown paper and then started to piece it. It was basically free-style piecing…making stripes and then laying them down on the sketch and trimming to the right size.

Then I wanted to incorporate the paint swatches from the hardware store and I wanted to include the actual swatches, they were just so beautiful. At the hardware store they are stored in clear slots so they make a beautiful visual impact, so I did the same thing with a vinyl pocket!

The painter’s tape border was pretty fun! I needed some tape for quilt-sandwiching anyway, so I picked some up at the hardware store and held it up at the fabric store until I found the perfect blue. The size is 1″, because that was the most common size tape to buy at the hardware store!

Lastly the outer border was to be a wide array of quilting fabric. I started just trimming the size I wanted out of all my scraps and laying them out in a nice sequence. Before you know it I had a rainbow going and started to get obsessive about making it a continuous rainbow around the quilt!! This ended up taking the most time and I was really feeling crazy while working on it. But now I know that it really made the quilt spectacular!

You could say that I was really crazy when I went to my computer and drafted the corner pieces for paper-piecing so that they would turn around so nicely! But I think that was worth it for the wow factor too!

I don’t know why I can’t just think of quick and easy projects! Next challenge, my extra challenge to myself will be to come up with something so clever and brilliant because of it’s simplicity and ease of construction, not necessarily the coolest idea.

’til then, I’m proud of what I accomplished last week!

Go see the other entries and vote for your favorite too.
Kim's Crafty Apple

Project Quilting Winner!

February 5th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

My Buttonwillow quilt won first place “Judges Choice” in Project Quilting this week!! Yippee!

Here’s the link to the announcement.

“And in First place taking home $10 to FabricsNQuilts AND $15 to FabricFascination with an average score of 9.4375 is:

Buttonwillow, CA

Quilties!

Here’s what the Judges had to say about ‘Buttonwillow’:

Judge 1: This is a very clever use of the name of your town. Great play on the word, love it.

I love the button border and am glad you opted for the extra color. Your 3D leaves are great.

Judge 2: I really like how you chose to go tall and narrow, and focus on a macro view instead of the entire tree. The tan fabric gives a great sense of place. Keeping the leaves rough-edged gives a natural feel and they are cohesive with the fringed edges of the linen, which is a great texture. I love the layering of the leaves and how they go 3-d at the bottom. The randomness of the button colors, sizes, and placement gives nice pop to the piece.

Judge 3: Great project. The dimension of the willow leaves is wonderful and I love the way they float over the edges of your quilt. The brown linen with the fringed edge gives another dimension. The buttons make a great frame. I’m glad you mixed the colors.

Judge 4: What a beautiful little wall hanging. “Buttonwillow” certainly lends itself to a literal approach to the challenge, and I love the fact that it bridges nature and craftiness! Your technique for creating the willow branches and leaves was spot-on – you achieved a very realistic and yet stylized design. The buttons around the outside add a lot of character to this piece, and I believe your decision to introduce a wider variety of color was the right one. My favorite part of this piece was your choice of the brown linen and the decision to fray the edges. It’s not an “in your face” detail but, once noticed, it adds that special little touch. Great work!”


I love what the judges said! I really like what Judge 4 said, that it “bridges nature and craftiness” because that’s something that describes me a lot. I love nature and often choose to celebrate it in my quilts!

Kim didn’t include one of the judges criticisms in her summation, so I will. Judge 3 said “My one criticism is that the edges seem to wave a little.  Maybe it could be blocked?” and that is really true. It was straight until I sewed on all those buttons!! I think I will “block” it and see if I can fix that. That means I will wet it down and lay it out flat to dry, stretching it straight if I need to. I read someplace that one blogger blocks all her quilts! I don’t know if I’ll start doing that, but when I need to, at least there’s a fix that won’t involve cutting it up and starting over!  Here’s one of the tutorials I read about quilt blocking. And here’s what Leah Day has to say about blocking your quilt.

Now I get to go pick out some new fabric with my gift certificates for winning! Yeah!!