Ooops! Where did September go?

September 23, 2014 § 9 Comments

4-patch-chain

Oops!  Somehow nearly a month has flown by and I haven’t posted anything new on my blog.

And now it is Autumn.  YaY!  Autumn is my favorite time of the year.  But I refuse to think about the fact that the beginning of the crazy “holiday” craze is just another month or so away. With the decorating, the shopping, the cooking.  I’m. Not. Ready.  It all starts to fall apart just after halloween.  No thank you.

But I do love crunchy leaves, fires in the fireplace, soups on the stove.  Sign me up for that!  I’m ready.

4-patch-fabric

Based on the fact that I don’t really have anything to show for the month of September, this is the only news I could scrounge up for you.  I had a few of those mini charm packs, the 2 1/2″ square ones, sitting in my stash. Taking up space.  But I don’t NEED another project.  But I did need some mindless sewing. So I cut up some white & cream 2 1/2″ squares to sew them into 4-patches.

Then I got to thinking about what to do with the 4-patches once they are finished. They’re not finished yet.  But maybe they need to become something like this?  I was teaching a Liberated Sewing class yesterday and one of the students had a really cool cheddar colored fabric. You know, the Civil War cheddar color.  So I dug out a fat quarter just to see how they might look.

4-patch-cheddar

And then I quickly drew up a semi-plan in Electric Quilt.  Hmmm….  maybe.  We shall see.

And while we are talking about EQ, did you you know about the Random Recolor tool?  You have to go find it and add it to the tool bar.

Right click on that ziggy bar just below the arrow at the bottom of the quilt worktable tool bar on the right and select Add/Remove Buttons.  Click on the one that looks like a star on a magic wand. That’s the Random Recolor tool.  From there, you can select how you want to recolor your quilt in the pop up dialog box. And then click on the quilt to activate the recoloring.

I colored my quilt in solids and then chose the “Map to fabrics” option to recolor it.  You could do the opposite and go from fabrics to solid colors.  Or you could choose a shift in the hue, saturation or brightness to change the overall color theme. It’s quite fun to play around with recoloring your quilt and see what the program comes up with.

random-recolor

Well, that’s all I have for you today. But I realized that I never finished my summer Piecing 101 series. And now summer is over. I’d best work on finishing those psots!  Up next will be matching points. Just as soon as I can get a pointy block or two together to show you.

Happy Autumn!

Speak softly and snuggle up in bed

August 29, 2014 § 20 Comments

low-volume-front

Well, here it is.  My low volume quilt that was started on a quilt retreat in 2012 and finished just last week.  I’m quite happy that it is finally finished!  In all of it’s goodness and badness.  The goodness of all the different kinds of fabric that went into it.  Some scraps. Some swapped with other internet friends. And some from my stash or purchase specifically for this project. And the badness of my free-motion quilting. (read the last note under what I’ve learned) At the last minute I added that scrap of lemony green print to the top and bottom to make it a little bit bigger without having to create a whole other row to sew onto the quilt top.

low-volume-detail

I learned a few things with this quilt.

  • I need to make a habit of doing a little free-motion quilting regularly. It does get better the more one does it.
  • I’ve decided that ALL bed quilts must now have wool batting. It is the softest, most snuggly batting EVER to sleep under!
  • To become better at finishing things, I need to have only two or three projects at different stages to keep from getting overwhelmed or bored.
  • And there should always be one at the quilting stage so that I can do more of what I said at the beginning… quilt a little on a regular basis. The Lord knows I have plenty of UFO’s to keep this practice going.
  • It’s the texture of the quilting after it’s all washed up and ready to use that draws me in rather than the actual design that is quilted.  I need to remember this more often so that I don’t get so discouraged about my ability to do the quilting.  It’s the texture on this quilt that I love, by the way, in spite of my rocky start when I began the quilting.  SCORE!

low-volume-back

The backing is a combination of two different fabrics that I found on sale.  The bonus is that it makes for a fun “second quilt” in case I ever want to flip it over.  And it fulfills a little bit of that imaginary “need” to have a cross or plus quilt.

low-volume-back-2

As the summer is winding down, it feels strange to be wanting to throw such a thoroughly summer quilt onto our bed.  But that’s exactly what I am going to do. Put it on the bed and snuggle up underneath it.

low-volume-binding

When it came time to sew on the binding I was SURE that I had purchased some orange fabric specifically for this project.  I looked & looked & looked but couldn’t find it.  So my second choice was this older Denyse Schmidt print which I love.  When I had just 30-inches or so left to sew down I came across the orange polka dot that I intended to use. That was a very “doh!” moment.  I guess the orange dot was meant to be on a different quilt.

Project stats:

  • Approximate size – 90″ x 86″
  • Fabrics – scraps, stash, & swapped with friends
  • Batting – Quilter’s Dream wool

The state of my progress.. or is it procrastination..

August 11, 2014 § 7 Comments

August-state-of-studio

I know that many people join up with finishing parties to get them motivated to finish their projects.  But, I have a hard time committing to my LONG list of UFO’s.  It’s so intimidating to look at the list and then think about how much time & effort it is going to take to finish ALL of them!

However…  my piles of unfinished or half started projects is getting out of control.  So, I’ve come up with a plan to trick my procrastination thought process and make some finishing progress.  I just can’t bear the thought of counting all of my projects in process.  But I can handle choosing two or three to work on at the same time with specific achievable goals.

low-volume-quilting

Ironically,  and really, I should already know this…. but while trudging through the quilting of my low volume quilt I have found that my quilting is improving and I am becoming more relaxed about it.  I only commit to quilting two rows each day.  One across and one back.  This has been accomplishing two things. First, I am slowly making progress towards finishing this HUGE quilt.  And secondly,  it really is putting into practice that sage advice that we all know but hate to admit… that practice does make perfect.  It takes about 30-40 minutes to stitch across the quilt and back.  And that allotted amount of time is enough to be able to stitch a little each day without becoming overwhelmed.  And if I’m feeling ambitious, I stitch one session in the morning and one session in the afternoon.  I’m only 2-3 days away from finishing this baby!!!

steam-punk-blocks

Another discovery that I made is that focusing on one project makes for quickly becoming bored and dreading the finishing of it.  I begin to hate what I originally loved.  So a little piecing breaks up the monotony of free-motion quilting. And I make a little progress on another project in process.

Gathering Fabric, the shop where I work, was going to do a fabric exchange for the Steam Punk quilt in the 100th issue of QuiltMania.  But we need a few more folks to sign up!!  So  here’s a shout out to all you local peeps who were thinking about it.  Come join us in exchanging fabrics to make this fabulous quilt!!

- – – – -

Projects in process in top photo:

Design wall top to bottom -
scrappy log cabin, Do.Good.Stitches castle blocks, Kaleidoscope II with printed fabrics

Ironing board top to bottom -
Crazy Snowflakes, Random Sampler, Brrrr Park, Garden Medallion in French General fabrics

 

Sharing quilts

May 9, 2014 § 9 Comments

quilt-wall-church
quilt-church
Sometimes our heart & soul are stitched into the quilts we make.  It’s a little bit uncomfortable to share the story behind the quilt. What inspired it. Or what we were thinking about as we were making it.

I have a little mini quilt show hanging at our church at the moment.  My first ever art installation.  And probably my last!  I don’t feel like a quilt artist… more like a quilt maker.   It is kind of exciting, but intimidating at the same time.  I chose some of the more meaningful quilts that I’ve made and it feels weird to be sharing them with the (sort of) public. At least the public/people at my church.  The quilting world feels like a whole other planet sometimes.  It’s hard to explain my quilting to non-quilters.

I’ve been stitching away on my 4-Letter Words quilt but it’s still not done!  Just done enough to hang for a bit.  Then I’ll finish it properly when it comes home again.

How do you feel when you show your quilts to other people?

I finally finished something

May 1, 2014 § 11 Comments

DGS-Dec2013-4

Woohoo! I finished something!  How about that?  On top of that it is an unusually gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest.  I am getting tired of take photos of quilts on our shed. But I just haven’t found any other location that works as well.  I need an old barn like this for photo shoots.

The blocks were made by the ladies in the Faith Circle of Do.Good.Stitches.  And I assembled them into a quilt.  I asked them to make wonky log cabin blocks similar to those I found in this inspiring quilt.

DGS-Dec2013-3

Then I put three borders around the blocks. The first one is Kona Cotton, color lime, from Robert Kaufman. The second one is Kaffe Fassett’s Spots in China Blue. And the third one is Kaffe Fassett’s Radiation in Pastel.  All of the border fabrics were left over from other projects. Even the binding was a stash fabric.

I decided to straight line quilt it in a diamond grid.  It seemed like a good choice with all of the busy, wonky fabrics in the middle.

DGS-Dec2013-2

Then I had this crazy flamingo fabric that I wanted to included on the back. But there wasn’t enough for the whole back. So I added some Denys Schmidt Chicopee that I found at the shop where I work.  And two more blocks that came in after I had already sewn the front together.

DGS-Dec2013

Here’s a shot of the whole back.  The quilts we make in the Faith Circle are all sent to Restore Innocence, an organization that rescues young girls from human trafficking.

Hmm… which unfinished project should I work on next?

Star of Chamblie

April 23, 2014 § 6 Comments

Red-Chamblie

Remember this quilt?  Well…. it’s now a kit available at my LQS, Gathering Fabric.  The kit includes:

  • all the fabric for the top & the binding (Clothworks’ American Made Brand solids)
  • Marsha McCloskey’s Star of Chamblie pattern booklet
  • the color key (the light & dark values have been reversed)
  • the Feathered Star ruler
  • and the Precision Trimmer ruler.

If you are interested in a kit, give the shop a call or send an email and they will set you up.

I just brought mine home today!  The shop is going to try to set up a class on how to use the rulers and tips for sewing feathered stars.  I hope my piecing skills have improved since my first attempt at a feathered star block long, long ago!  Because I can’t wait to see this one finished!

star-of-chamblie-kit

A little bit of all of us

March 28, 2014 § 9 Comments

Woohoo!  I finished the quilt top, backing & binding for this quilt. I just need to make a a label today.

It was started by my mom, finished by me… going to be quilted by my sister-in-law and then given to my youngest brother.  There is a little bit of all of us in this quilt. I wish we had done more of this collaborating while my mom was still around. But she continues on in our memories and in fabric as we finish some of her projects that we knew she was making for other people.

And this makes me want to finish & sew for other people even more.  Sewing for the sake of sewing is nice. But when the purpose includes giving to others it is even better.  It makes my heart glad.

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