August 16, 2018

Hoffman Fabrics Challenge 2018

I love entering the Hoffman Fabric Challenge. This year, 2018, is the 30th year they have sponsored the challenge.  The focus fabric they choose each year is always beautiful and a delight to work with.  This year's fabric, Shine On!, is one of the most vibrant and colorful ones they have chosen so far.  Just like last year, you could choose one or both colorways of the challenge fabric.  I decided to use both.

Aurifil threads, who sponsors three of the prizes, also designed a gorgeous 12-spool collection of coordinating 50 wt. threads that match the Shine On! fabrics perfectly. 

Another really great idea by Hoffman Fabrics this year was to create and print a panel that had a small piece of each of the challenge fabrics from all thirty years.  This was perfect for an idea I had for the border of my quilt!  I wanted to showcase all thirty years in my quilt without taking away from this years challenge fabric. 

Here are some pictures of my progress on the quilt itself!  As always, I have to thank Chantell and Mia for their hard work and talent.  They seem to always be able to digitize exactly what I sketch out for them.  Let's start with some of the 'border' diamonds.  Chantell digitized these for me.  I made them using pieces of the panel so each diamond has a different challenge fabric from a previous year.   

Next I needed a 'diamond' themed background.  Chantell also digitized this panel for me.  I used some of the other Shine On! collections fabrics for the background and for some of the diamonds.

Mia then digitized 'Lucy' for me.  Lucy is appliqued on top of the panel in four separate hoopings.  I used my Babylock Destiny embroidery machine's cameras to make sure that all the pieces aligned perfect.

I am pretty sure you have figured out the theme I chose by now.  The title of the quilt is 'Lucy in the Sky with 30 Years of Diamonds'.  It is hard to see all of the details in this picture, but there is a lot of bling involved.  There are a ton of rhinestones glued on it in different shapes and sizes which took several days to get them all on.  You also can't see it, but the quilting design is little stars and I quilted it all with several metallic threads from Aurifil.  Here it is!
And the best news?  It WON!!!  1st Place in the 'Best Use of Aurifil' category!!! 

If you want to see some of the other quilts that won, you can go to Hoffman California Fabrics Facebook page.  Another piece of interesting news that Hoffman posted on their Facebook page, was the following statement:

The Hoffman Challenge is in its 30th year and what a blast it has been! We have seen thousands of incredible works of art and enjoyed sponsoring the Hoffman Challenge. We thank you for your contribution to making the Challenge successful and fun.
As Hoffman strives to lead the industry in change and innovation, we have decided to make this 30th anniversary the final year of The Hoffman Challenge as you know it. We have a collective goal to bring you a new and innovated Hoffman Challenge in the future.
Again, thank you for you loyalty and support of The Hoffman Challenge! We hope you enjoy seeing the 2018 Shine On! Projects travel though September 2019, and we look forward to bringing you a new Hoffman Challenge in the future.
Happy Quilting and Sewing,
The Hoffman Family

Makes me think they will not even have a contest next year which would be sad.  Hopefully they will continue with some kind of fun contest for us to enter!

December 26, 2017

2017 in Review - Did I Accomplish Anything?

As 2017 is almost over, I am doing what most people do at years end, contemplating just exactly what did I accomplish this year.  As this was my first full year after retirement, I was hoping that I would get a good start on all the projects that I had been putting off while working a full time job.  My first goal was to enter three quilt contests this year.

I started out with the Kaffe Fassett 'I Am An Artisan' quilt contest.  The fabrics that we had to use were absolutely spectacular.  Such a great color palette to work with.  The added embroidery designs from Mia and Chantell made the quilt.

Blue Plate Special
Not only did this quilt win the Viewer's Choice Award, it also was published in the 2017 Quilt Festival Quilt Scene magazine, and it was hanging in the Houston Quilt Show.  I also just got notice that it will be hanging in the International Quilt Festival in Chicago April 12-14 2018.  A couple of the prizes I won have been either mailed or collected.  I received my prize fabric in the mail and then I picked up my new sewing/embroidery machine at the local Janome dealer Boutique 4 Quilters.  I also took some of the fabric I won and made zipper bags in the embroidery machine for some of my friends.  I am calling this success number one for the year!

Boutique 4 Quilters

Kaffe Fassett Artisan fabrics

Machine Embroidery Zipper Bags
Next up is the Hoffman Challenge that I enter almost every year.  It's a fun contest and the fabrics are usually very interesting and inspiring.  This years was especially fun because it just wanted to be made into a Hawaiian themed quilt.  It won the Hoffman Choice award! That was pretty exciting but then I found out that Mr. Hoffman loved it so much that he bought it and it now hangs in his office in Southern California.  It didn't get to travel with the other quilts this year, but Mr. Hoffman says that he will display it at a few major shows.

Aloha Hoffman 2017
I have received both my prize and the ribbon from Hoffman which are very nice.  This is accomplishment number two!  And yes, I do plan on entering in 2018!  Thank you Chantell and Mia for your embroidery designs!

Next was the Moda Bella Solids challenge.  This was a huge project.  One of the biggest quilts that I have ever completed.  Unfortunately it was not picked as a finalist for the Moda Bella contest.  But the great news is that Bella Windows - Peeks of Nature was a better fit for the 2018 World Quilt Florida competition in Orlando January 18-20, and it is a finalist in their competition!  I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be my first win in 2018!!  I still can't believe that Mia drew and digitized 80 different designs for this quilt.  And the quilt of course couldn't have been made without Chantell's modified log cabin block!

Bella Windows - Peeks of Nature

Since all three quilts were completed as planned and each one of them has had great success, I am calling my first goal of 2017 complete.

My next goal was to find something 'to do' that would earn a little cash and also share my talent as an embroidery artist.  I feel that I have accomplished that goal by teaching many classes at Quilts and Lace.  I seem to have become the Kimberbell expert.  I have taught many different projects that have required different levels of embroidery skills from beginner to advanced.  But the biggest project that I taught was the 'Jingle All The Way' quilt.  I think it was my favorite Kimberbell project for the year.

Jingle All The Way
I seem to have caught the 'competition' bug because I went ahead and entered a couple more contests.  The first one was a Moda mini quilt competition and the requirements were to use some of the Moda Primitive Gatherings fabrics.  I had a few different categories to chose from and I of course chose applique.  Everyone who entered ended up sending their quilts to Lisa's shop where she displayed them for the holidays.  She just announced the winners about a week ago, and I was very excited to learn that my little Lumberjack quilt won the prize for Applique!  You can see the other winners here on Lisa's blog.  She has a wonderful shop and sells beautiful things.  I just received my very nice prize package and my quilt back.  Since the quilt was being gifted to Jackie as part of her Christmas present, it arrived just in time.


Lumberjacks Prizes

The next little mini quilt contest that I entered required a Moda/Aurifil thread combination.  We had to use both a precut Moda fabric package and Aurifil threads.  I didn't realize at the time that it would not be a 'real' competition. What I mean is that they just threw in a hat all of the names of everyone who entered and picked the winner out of the hat.  So it really didn't have anything to do with talent, just perseverance in finishing your mini quilt.  But that was ok because I ended up with a really knock out mini quilt!  I love it and its going up on my wall!  I used Moda Sweetwater Authentic fabric and of course the Aurifil threads.

Authentic Stars

Sweetwater fabric and Aurifil thread
I also completed a few other miscellaneous projects, quilts, and I did a lot of test stitching for Chantell.  I even took a few classes myself, after all, there is always something new to learn.  I think I am going to call the year a major success! Not only did I complete and surpass all of my quilting goals, but I am now an AWARD winning quilter and I have been PUBLISHED in a magazine!  I am thinking that makes for a very successful 2017!

I don't know what my goals are for 2018 yet, but I will really have to work very hard if I plan on accomplishing even half this much next year!  

Here are a couple more finished projects:

Bubby kitty even got his own quilt this year.

Houses made from Log Cabin blocks

December 19, 2017

Bella Windows - Peeks of Nature

I thought I would share some pictures of the quilt that has been accepted into the World Quilt Florida quilt competition in 2018.  It is 72 inches wide by 90 inches high, making it one of the biggest quilts that I have completed.  It proved to be quite a challenge to quilt it on my Babylock.  I actually quilted it on a small fold out table with my machine sitting on top.  Not an ideal set up! But I got the job done and it turned out perfect.

This is the statement that I provided about my quilt.  "I wanted to give the impression that each block was a window and each window would give you a view of a little piece of nature.  I feel that we don't spend enough time outside so I wanted people to have peeks of what they were missing.  The whole completed quilt was pieced, quilted, and embroidered on my Babylock Destiny machine."

First is a picture of the whole quilt:

Bella Windows - Peeks of Nature

Then a close up of a few areas:

Close up of Bella quilt

Close up of 4 blocks

  And then just some close ups of random blocks:

There are a total of 80 blocks, each with a different embroidery design in the middle.  Thank you Mia for all the drawing and digitizing you did.  Everything turned out perfect and just as I had envisioned it.  A big thank you also to Chantell for digitizing the exact block I needed.  Without both of these talented women all of my quilts would still be just thoughts and dreams floating around in my head!

And most important of all, thank you to the judges at the World Quilt Florida quilt competition for choosing my quilt to be shown in Orlando in January!