by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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Strawberry Fields Forever!

January 28th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)
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Project Quilting 3:2 – be inspired by the title of a song

I had a piano book called “The Most Beautiful Songs Ever” open on my lap and thought that was a good place to choose a title from. There were lots of very cheesy, mucky titles about love and beauty and willow and stars…but then I asked Dave for a “visual” song title and this was his first idea. Brilliant!! I’m so glad I asked him. I wanted to make a totally recognizable “Strawberry Fields” quilt and I think I love it!  I listened to the song at least six times through while working on this.

It’s mostly improvisational. I just cut some rolling hills and arranged them right onto the batting and quilted them together. I didn’t even have the size nailed down when I started. Then I cut out a bunch of little strawberry parts while on the phone with my mom! I arranged them and stitched them on in a deliberatively sketchy way. I practiced that first on a separate piece, because I really loved my hills and didn’t want to wreck them. It almost could have been complete without the strawberries. But when I placed a strawberry on the fields, it made me smile and giggle out loud, so I knew it was right!

Then I had just a small chunk of that perfectly psychedelic binding fabric. So I chose to do a single layer, fused binding cut with a wavy rotary cutter, because I had to make it fit!  The finished quilt is 10.5″ x 18″ I made a challenge to myself that no side could be more than 20″ this time, because last time I started too big! Then I had to trim the sides a little because the binding fabric was too short! But I only used scraps and I’m proud of it!

Ok, so if you aren’t playing along with Project Quilting, I just have to tell you…on a Tuesday night, when usually I would be sitting around watching tv or cleaning the house I decided to start thinking about PQ and launched into this truly wonderful evening of quilting and being creative with time I otherwise wouldn’t have used for myself. It was a real treat, got my creative juices flowing and really energized my whole week!  The one week deadline may sound crazy, but it sure eliminates the UFO problem and I end up really enjoying the process from start to FINISH!

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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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Happy Anniversary to Us

December 13th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)
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Sunday was my twelfth wedding anniversary! I love you, Dave!

I made this pillow for my husband. I used Tonya Ricucci’s method of improvisational piecing to make the letters in colors that look great with our couch and other couch cushions. It’s a standard size pillow, but I still made it like a quilted pillow sham, not just a standard floppy pillow case.

The close up shows the quilting. I chose to use one of Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Designs, called “Heart Ripples.” It’s ok to be cheesy on your Anniversary! Dave loved his gift!!

He got me the sweetest gift yet, a “new” clarinet! I’ve had a broken down old clarinet since I stopped playing after college, but would keep trying to get back into music over the years with no luck because it was so broken. Now, I have a perfectly working clarinet and I can play music again. It’s fun to play with my fifth grade son who is learning the trombone!

…and here’s the photo of Brennan with my creation! Like I said before, he sees the camera and wants to be in the picture! Gotta love it, I know many a kid who would rather hide or make goofy faces, so I love Brennan for his smiles!

Lil Monsters

November 5th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (3 Comments)
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I’m working on a super-fun project and I’ve been dying to show you my progress, but I had to wait for my replacement camera cord to arrive in the mail. It did just 10 minutes ago!! Here’s what I’ve been working on!

There! Those were the most fun pics! Before you start thinking I’m that clever, know that Kellie of “Don’t Look Now” is the author of this very fun pattern called “Lil Monsters” here’s her blog post about it. Please click the link to see the whole quilt pattern, it’s pretty great!

Here’s a few in progress pics, which I had hoped to show you last weekend.

I used my fiskars circle cutter to cut a whole lot of freezer paper circles.

See!

I had fun making striped fabric out of plain fabrics.This will be cut into triangles for the border.

The most fun, of course, are the monsters!

I’m loving Lite Steam a Seam 2 fusible web. I’ll have to write a post about that later, but it is the best stuff for making fusible applique easy!

Hope you’re liking it too, Paxton’s Mommy!

Sashiko Round Take 2

October 16th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)
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As soon as I finished the purple and blue “Violet Sashiko” quilt (or probably even before I was done), I knew I wanted to make another in a different colorway! It was so much fun to make and I could just see the possibilities before me.

So here is the next version!

With yo yos and an appliqué instead of folded flowers, it’s a little different, but still alot of fun, I think!

Here was the first version, in case you missed it.

I’m working on writing the pattern for it. I hope to share it with you soon!!

Violets

July 9th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

My violets are constantly multiplying…a chore when they start filling up their pots and need to be divided…

A really messy job Tiny pot from a garage sale Pot that I painted
Pot that Brennan painted! Another pot I painted Beautiful violets!

All those violets were an inspiration to my next art quilt/challenge project. The challenge is from my small group to use exclusively solid colored fabrics in a project. A tough one for all of us, since we love our prints so much! I keep getting tempted to look for some bridging floral print, but I’m resisting the urge and keeping this one simple. I hope it will be elegant in its simplicity…not boring!

I do love the way the solids show off the folding technique!

This was just a sneak peek, finished project yet to come!

UFOs and Yo Yos

July 4th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I’ve been working on two fun projects the last few days. One is an old UFO, I think the oldest one I have, a “Double Irish Chain.” I want to show you some in progress shots, because I think it will be quite a while before I finish either of these two projects.

The second project is yo yos! I’ve been making them whenever I sit outside watching the boys play in the pool, or ride bikes in the cul de sac, at my garage sale, and even a little bit of tv watching. One of the most recent issues of American Patchwork & Quilting has a great pattern I plan to make, where yo yos are appliqued to strips of solid fabric to make a full yo yo quilt. And it looks so cute and like so much fun!I don’t have a background color chosen yet. (The sample is a snappy turquoise, which I might try!) But I’m already up to 110+ yo yos, well on my way to the 409 I will need!

Here’s a peek…

Both of these projects use fabrics that have been in my stash forever, just a little neglected even, the cute and flowery calicoes. They’re a little old fashion and some of them even really clash when they get side-by-side, but I love the scrappy look they have when they get together!

Tiger Quilt

June 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (5 Comments)

Just before Father’s Day, I watched the latest episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims and was immediately struck by a great project to make for my husband’s gift! Here’s a preview of the episode (#812, June 6, 2011)…

and here’s the project that I just couldn’t resist…the tiger behind him. My husband is a teacher at a school with high school spirit standards and a tiger for a mascot! I knew this would be perfect for him to hang in his large classroom and get a lot of attention!

Photos above by Gregory Case

I ordered the pattern at RobAppell.com and therefore supported the Endangered Species Quilt Project! The pattern came really quickly, so I was able to get started just a few days later!

I wanted to show your work-in-progress shots but it went together so quickly, I didn’t take many photos, I just kept working! It’s raw-edge fusible applique. The designs came full-sized, ready to trace onto fusible web, fuse to fabric and cut out. It was a lot of pieces, but that part was really fun. The most difficult part was laying out all those pieces. There was a numbered diagram to follow, but it felt a lot like drawing, seeing where everything aligned by eye.

Ok, I can’t type any more, I just can’t wait to put in the finished photo RIGHT NOW!!!
Be sure to click it to see a larger view!

Notice that I didn’t follow Rob’s quilting suggestions. I looked at photos of tigers online and free-motion quilted lines to indicate tiger fur and give it dimension and a little realism. It was really fun to do, but did take quite a bit of time!

The main thing is that Dave LOVES it! But it was also fun to bring it to my guild meeting last night and get lots of compliments! I love having a guild meeting as an incentive to getting projects finished. I was binding in front of my computer yesterday, but I got it finished. Without the guild meeting to keep me going, I might not have finished it until September!

If I can get permission from the owner, I’ll enter it in the Iowa State Fair! He will be out of town during the fair anyway, so maybe he won’t mind. That would sure be fun!

Thanks for looking and please leave me a comment if you like it.

Whew! I almost missed this…

Here’s another chance to surf through lots of amazing quilts all in one easy set of links. Amy’s Creative Side is the hostess with the mostest. Go check out all beautiful quilts (and maybe find a few favorite new bloggers to follow.)

For any guests who have found me from the festival…WELCOME!! I hope you enjoy this one quilt and even have a little extra time to browse the rest of my blog. Please leave a comment or join me with facebook or google friend connect to let me know you’re here. Happy Quilting!!

My quilt is called “Buttonwillow.” It is an original-design, small, quilted wall-hanging I  made it as part of Project Quilting (at Kim’s Crafty Apple). The challenge was to make a quilt with the same name as a city. Buttonwillow, CA was the city name that I chose and the piece is a pretty literal interpretation of that…but in itself is also just a really nice piece. I love that it is still a nice quilt even if you know nothing about the challenge. I even sold it in my Etsy shop, so I kind of miss it, but am happy to know that it is being enjoyed by someone out there!

I especially like the three-dimensional details of this quilt and learned that audiences really do too. It won first place in the contest and got lots of great feedback from people who loved the buttons (who doesn’t love buttons?! the more the better!), the way the leaves come out of the border and even off the edge of the quilt and the frayed edges of the inner background. I also really like the hanging tabs, something I think I’d like to try on other mini quilts I make in the future. Previously I had only used them for curtains, you know!

Thanks for visiting! And thank you, Amy, for the fun, quilty festival! Click the button above to see the rest of the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival.

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!