by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter

Project Quilting 1:2

May 31st, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

So, I forgot to take in progress photos of my latest “Project Quilting” challenge…but I definitely want to show you the finished project! And here’s the story….

The challenge: The theme is “Road Trip” and must use at least 12 different fabrics on the front of your quilt.

My inspiration: An old, metal, red cooler that my family had when I was growing up. We went on lots of family road trips and camping trips and decorated that cooler with souvenir stickers from the places we visited. I’m pretty sure my parents started the collection before I was born, because some of those stickers I just heard the stories about. It was a fascinating cooler.

So this tote bag is symbolic of that very special cooler! So, I found images of souvenir stickers online and tried out a new transfer paper I had called “TAP – Transfer Artist Paper”. It was pretty easy to use. It went through my inkjet printer really smoothly. Then I ironed it onto a piece of white cotton and the backing peeled right off. It was working a little too well, as I wanted the transfers to be rough around the edges. Many of those stickers had been through a lot, and were in various stages of faded and rubbing off, so I tried to mimic that by distressing the transfers a little and printing some of them more faded then others.

Click the image for a close-up of the patches.

Here’s one in progress photo I remembered to take.  I quilted diagonal lines on the outsides of the bag.  I also stitched around the patches.

The top border has a story too, I needed to include 12 fabrics, so I decided to go all out with scraps. I dug through and found any scraps I had that looked like scenery of a road trip; flowers, stones, starry skies and leaves. They are arranged in two strips on either side of a road-like dashed yellow line.

I wanted this to be a nice tote bag to use for future road trips, so I quilted the sides, lined it, made a gusset in the bottom so it’s really roomy and added nice thick handles, so it’s a really functional bag.
My mom doesn’t know where that old cooler is anymore…but the memory of it will live on in this project!

It’s already time to vote, so if you like my project, please go to Kim’s Crafty Apple and vote for it. But if you have a chance, go there to see all the other entries, too. There are some really talented quilters participating in these challenges. I don’t even know which I’m going to vote for! :)  You should actually go to the Flickr site to see all of the entries in more detail.

Project Quilting 1:1

May 13th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

Yes, this is my third Project Quilting project, but they’re now calling this one Season 1, Challenge 1. I got third place last round, so I decided to keep up the momentum and try again. I made another successful project in just three days! The first day all I did was think about it. The second day I designed the blocks, cut them out and started piecing them. The third day I figured out a good way to present them all in one quilt….

So, the challenge is this: Cut 50 3″ x 5″ rectangles of any fabric and add up to 2 half-yard cuts to those for the entire quilt, including the backing and binding. You can manipulate, cut, or sew those rectangles in any way (including throwing parts out), you just need to start with those rectangles.

I chose my fabric first, some pretty batiks and a Floragrafix print. I chose 2 darks and two lights for the rectangles and two multicolor medium for the borders, backing and binding.

Then I designed my block. I turned under a 3/8″ seam allowance and folded the darks into prairie points which I decided to use for pinwheels. Then I made blocks around them with the light rectangles. After playing around a while, I decided to use the Floragrafix print for some of the light rectangles in the blocks to add interest and depth to the blocks.  I had to trim the rectangle pairs into squares before assembling, then I lined them up like a rail fence.

So now I just had the one mottled multicolor for all the backing/binding/borders, which I thought would work well, but I still cut it into two half-yard cuts to follow the challenge rules. I experimented with lots of arrangements of these four blocks. But I was somewhat stumped by the 1/2 yard pieces for the back/binding. That’s really not much fabric, and it’s long and skinny! So I decided to go with the flow and line them up on that 1/2 yard. They fit just perfectly!

I did screw it up a little by adding triangles to the end, but I really wanted it to look complete and well-finished as a table-runner. So I pieced the back to make it a little longer, added some borders to show off that multicolor batik and then sandwiched it Quiltie-style, sewing around the edges and turning it. That way I didn’t have to find enough fabric for binding strips!

I got all that done with a whole evening left to do the quilting, so I had some fun with free-motion, creating swirly wind around the pinwheels. (Click to see it bigger)

Finished piece is 48″ x 12″

Project Quilting Challenge

April 18th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Kim Lapacek from Kim’s Crafty Apple issued a challenge on her blog called Project Quilting. In the spirit of “Project Runway” she gave a tight deadline (a week), limited budget ($10) and an inspiration (the shoofly block) and this is the project I came up with…

(Click photo to see it bigger)

I used some funky, highly-contrasty, geometric prints I had in my stash. The design is a large shoofly block in the center, turned on point and then surrounded with smaller shoofly blocks and one in the center. The challenge also specified that it had to include a stripe. I was originally just going to bind it with the stripe, but I am glad I decided to really highlight that stripe in the large shoofly block.

I’m excited to say that I learned a new technique for the quilting of this project!! Charlotte Warr Anderson’s Book “One Line at a Time” described how to quilt those repetitive geometric quilting lines, following a template and stitching around it one line at a time. It was really fun to do and I like the way the quilting echos the geometric qualities of the fabric prints.

Here’s a look at the back so you can really see the quilting lines.

I’m so proud to have gotten this done in a week, that is highly unlike me! I usually let things sit a while in between stages and flit between projects before getting anything done. This one was a straight through, plow! (reminiscent of the retreat…perhaps I should run with this new trend!)

If you’d like to see what other quilters did with Kim’s Challenge, here is the link to the Flickr Pool.