RJR Fabrics: What Shade Are You Blog Hop

Hey guys! Welcome to my corner of the world.  If this is your first time visiting, welcome!  I’m a full time professional longarm quilter and wanna be pattern designer. You should follow along with all my craziness over on Instagram (@OrchidOwlQuilts) and Facebook (Orchid Owl Quilts).   I spend most of my days with my INNOVA longarm machines quilting for other people.  Longarm quilting is truly my passion.

Today I have the pleasure of sharing my Argyle Gone Wild quilt that I made using RJR Fabrics Cotton Supreme Solids. I was so excited when Rachael contacted me about joining in on the What Shade Are You Blog Hop.   My brain instantly started racing with ideas of what quilt I should make.

Without further ado…here’s a look at Arglye Gone Wild.

It took me awhile to decide on a color palette. I toyed around with going outside my normal faves but I just couldn’t do it. After all, this hop is all about what shade I am. And anyone who knows me knows I’m all about the aqua.   I think almost everything I make has some form of aqua in it unless I force myself not to use it.

I finally landed on using neon green as the background paired with various shades of pink and aqua. Because every quilt that has aqua really needs a little hot pink!

Here’s a list of the colors I used:

Neon (background)
Hot pink
Lip gloss
Rhododendron
Pink sapphire
Raging ruby
Rio
Sunset Ruby
Jam Jar
Turks and Caicos
Toy boat
Riviera
Proud as a peacock
Horizon
Bora Bora

Seriously, could it get any better? I don’t think so. The next huge obstacle was what pattern I’d use. This was a big decision because I really like doing my own designs but I wanted to make sure I did something really cool. I started browsing my EQ7 files to see what I had and found the perfect drawing. Here’s a look at the original EQ file.

My friends, who know me well, know I don’t really enjoy piecing. I actually kind of hate it. I love quilting. So I wanted to make sure my pattern would showcase the solids and my quilting.   My quilt varied a bit from the original design as far as color placement.

It all started with the piecing. What a chore! It’s always a great idea to make a quilt that has 1 bajllion pieces when you’re on a super tight deadline. There may have been a few choice words along the way. After several days of cutting and piecing I finally had a complete top. I finally got to the part I love. The quilting.

But I was a little stumped because I wanted it to be good. Really good. So the top sat for several days as I pretended the deadline wasn’t looming over my head like a black cloud. I finally loaded it and just started. Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Am I right?

I knew how I wanted to quilt the little aqua and pink squares that formed the chains. And I was pretty sure I needed to use rulers. Hey, why not? Rulers are not my thing. I’m slow, inefficient and usually frustrated by rulers. I generally look like a terrible contortionist as I try to navigate the ruler work. No pressure at all.

Here’s a ruler tip…I marked all my lines to make my ruler work easier. I know I’m not great at getting evenly spaced lines and marking them eliminated the guessing. This added a little time to the process but I feel it was worth it. I used a Dritz Mark B Gone water-soluble pen and removed the lines when the quilt was finished and off the frame. I lightly spritzed with water to erase the marks.

Needless to say the quilting started out slow and continued at a turtle’s pace, for three days. Three long days. After the first day I was certain it would only take 1.2 million hours to quilt it. In reality, it took about 15 hours. That’s practically the same.

This pic shows a close up of the tiny quilting. Those are size 13 stitches. Thank goodness I didn’t have to pick out any stitches. I may have just burned the quilt instead.

I was very deep in the “this is crap” phase of the creative process for most of those 15 hours. It’s very hard to love the quilt during the quilting process. You can’t see the quilt as a whole. You aren’t quite sure if the quilting design is being executed the way you visualized. It’s stressful and makes a person question her abilities.

Naturally I thought this would be a great time to also practice my stitch in the ditch abilities. This was probably not the best idea. I am not a fan of stitch in the ditch. I usually avoid it all costs. But, I forced myself to suck it up and do it. I managed to stay in the ditch most of the time. Ok, some of the time.   Maybe I was practicing my “this is how my stitch in the ditch would look if I were drunk” technique. Sigh. It’s definitely not perfect but it’s not terrible.

I tried another new thing with this quilt. I decided to fuse the label on to the back before the quilting. I hate hand stitching the labels and I figured this would eliminate that step. It was sort of a bust and the label is pretty much a hot mess. The edges lifted and got folded over and quilted down. I’m not sure I’ll do this again unless I piece the label into the backing.   However, that sounds equally as awful as hand stitching a label.

If you look closely you can see I ripped out a few stitches. Of course those stitches were on the label and they left super noticeable holes. Awesome. Maybe I’ll not be lazy and simply hand stitch my labels from now on. Maybe I’ll just use a pen and write directly on the quilt. You never know.

You might be wondering why the quilting looks so defined. I love to double batt my quilts. For this particular quilt I used a layer of Quilter’s Dream orient batting on the bottom with a layer of dream wool batting on top. The wool adds definition and loft to the quilting and really pops it.

Contrary to what most believe, using double batting doesn’t make the quilt as stiff as cardboard. It does add a little weight but I promise it’s still foldable. I normally use cotton batting as the bottom layer of batting but I wanted to experiment with a different combination. I’m hopeful that the dream orient won’t hold a crease when it’s folded. I won’t know for sure until I ship it and see what happens. I’ll let you know. That means you should probably sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out on the verdict.  Also, my newsletter needs a name so leave a comment with a suggestion if you have one.

I used my favorite thread for the quilting, Superior Threads Omni on top with Bottom Line in the bobbin. I really love this thread combo and I use it 95% of the time.  I get very sad when I can’t. I need Bob, from Superior Threads, to make Bottom Line in all the colors! I matched the thread to the fabrics, neon green, light aqua, dark aqua, hot pink, and light pink. Changing threads isn’t always fun but it’s worth it in the end.

I love the back as much as the front. The quilting really looks amazing if I do say so myself.

In the end, I love this quilt. I actually love it more each time I look at it.   I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share my process with all of you. Rachael and RJR Fabrics have a fan for life. If you haven’t tried the cotton supreme solids, you should! They are amazing.   The rich colors and soft hand make these solids my favorite. I can’t wait to start my next project.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my creation and learning a bit more about my process.

Let’s stay in touch!

Vicki

24 thoughts on “RJR Fabrics: What Shade Are You Blog Hop

  1. Your quilt is beautiful! It would be hard for me to select a shade–I’m every color! Your quilt is wild and controlled at the same time. I enjoyed your quilting process. One thing about the label… You could fuse and then stitch around the edges of it before quilting. If a label is quilted in the process and your quilt is ever lost, or worse lifted, no one would be able to rip the label off and claim it as their own… the label would always be there even if someone placed a label over it. It’s a great security method if you travel or show it a lot.

    1. Hi Miriam

      I actually did stitch around the edges of the label before the loaded the backing. I stitched about 1/8″ away from the edge so maybe next time I need to get closer to the edge. Thanks for the suggestion.

    2. So I Do I am French
      A beautiful work of quilting. I have no longarm Just a home sewing machine. But your designs inspire me

  2. Oh wow, this is amazing! And quilting so beautiful (in under 20hrs!) is amazing too. Happy St. Patty’s day Vicki!

  3. The quilting is absolutely gorgeous! I have a quilt top that needs quilted, please let me know how to get in touch with you to find out pricing and if you have time on your schedule to do it.

  4. This is fantastic, Vicki! I understand so much about starting being the hardest step sometimes. I love your first photo of the quilt with the spring blossoms; it is a beautiful backdrop and pulls out the colors in the quilt perfectly.

    As for a name for your newsletter… I don’t know if it would be too much infringement on the Harry Potter brand, but Orchid Owl Post makes sense to me (perhaps just avoid having an owl with a letter in its beak). 🙂

  5. Vicki i think that quilt is just STUNNING what a lot of work !! Love the colors and the back of the quilt is almost as pretty as the
    front i love all the patterns you used to quilt the individual sections. Truly a masterpiece! You are an artist with a LOT of talent you definitely are an inspiration to me! thanks for sharing

  6. Despite all of the imperfections that you see in this quilt, it is a pretty awesome quilt in my opinion. The colors look awesome together, the quilting shows as awesome and the label hiccups are barely noticeable. Our so called bobbles, to me, are what makes hand made creations so much more special.

  7. Gorgeous. Like you, I almost ‘hate’ the piecing and can’t wait to get to the quilting… And I love how you quilted this. I also love the humour that runs through this post like thread (Superior thread?!). I just signed up for your newsletter. Thanks for starting off my day with a smile.

  8. What a gorgeous quilt! I really appreciate hearing about your process, and your candor about your struggles and doubt. I think knowing that will certainly help me push through the process next time. Your quilting is simply amazing, and I love your color selection. I love piecing and struggle with the quilting process. I just signed up for your newsletter, and so look forward to seeing them in the future. Great work!

  9. I love your quilt. I’m inspired to mimic some of your designs. Hope that’s ok. I too love aqua. I noticed at backing threads are all the same. Did you use different colors on the top thread?

  10. Your quilt is awesome and beautiful! Thanks for your comments regarding how you question and worry about the quilting during the quilting process. I am a longarmer and always complain to my family at how awful each quilt is going and then magically, when it comes off the frame, it always looks way better than I had thought : )

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