May 19, 2015 § 9 Comments
My current sewing project is reminding me of the stars at night when we were camping in North Dakota three years ago. (You really need to click on the photo for a larger view to get the full effect)
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Sometimes there isn’t much to say about what is going on around here. Life moves on without much fanfare. So, rather than not blogging at all during those times, I thought I’d start a project that might help me look for the lovely things in life and be thankful as well as give you something lovely to look at until I have more to say.
I’ll choose two photos to post in a diptych sort of manner. It will force me to get out my DSL camera more often, slow down and pay attention to the little details around me.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8
May 12, 2015 § 13 Comments
Some dear friends recently added a baby boy to their family. And when I saw this quilt made up in a local quilt shop I just couldn’t resist making it for them. The fabric is just SO stinkin’ cute! And it reminds me of my roots, growing up on a farm in Iowa.
The fabric is from Studio E and called Farm Friends. The center of the quilt is a book panel that is cut apart and sashed with coordinating fabric. The pattern is free. I couldn’t find it on the Studio E web site but did find it over at Fabric Depot.
The way that the sashing is cut to frame the book panels is goofy. It wastes some extra fabric. But it works. I recalculated the math so that it didn’t waste so much fabric. In addition, the shop where I purchased the kit gave extra yardage beyond the pattern requirements. So much so that I was able to piece it all together for the backing. I love the back as much as I love the front! And look! There is a black “Charlie” cat in the story that is making me grin.
May 8, 2015 § 8 Comments
This is the third quilt that I have made using the American Made Brand solids. I have to say that they are now my favorite solids to work with. They sew up nicely. They wash up nicely. The colors are vibrant and they don’t bleed when washed.
Summer Cabin is currently featured in Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts Summer 2015 issue. It is made of giant log cabin blocks that go together quickly. It would really be great made with all your leftover scraps! I have been cutting 2 1/2″ strips from any leftover fabrics from previous projects. Maybe one day I will make another quilt like this with all those leftover strips.
There really isn’t much to say about the inspiration behind this. I just love the traditional log cabin block. And there are so many possibilities with different sizes and arranged layouts. You’re sure to find a combination that fits your taste. This is a zig zag type of layout.
You just might find me napping in our hammock this summer with this quilt wrapped around me. Life just doesn’t get much better than that!
*photos courtesy of Fons & Porter
May 3, 2015 § 14 Comments
A year and a half ago, Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time sent out a call for folks to test out her improv quilting methods for a future book. Thinking that I might learn something, I signed up. As her book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters hits the shelves this week. I thought I might share my experience in making a test quilt.
The improv methods or techniques that Sherri uses to get you started are called “scores.” Something akin to a musical rhythm or classification like polka or waltz. Each of the test quilters filled out a questionnaire that included what they felt their current skill level was in terms of improvisational quilt making. I felt like a beginner, so I was assigned a score that was suitable for beginners.
At the same time that the instructions were being sent for our particular scores, my mother passed away. And my assignment quickly became a therapeutic outlet for processing my grief. I’m a little self-conscious about sharing my process because of this. But, then again, it’s a part of my quilting journey. While my quilt wasn’t chosen to be included in the book, I would really like to try this score again as well as develop my own version of some of the other scores in Sherri’s book. Her techniques for creating improvisational quilts are both directive and freeing. You’ll have to try one for yourself to experience just what I am talking about.
Below are a few photos that I took as I was making this quilt. I started with a limited color palette and it quickly morphed into so much more. Maybe too much for this simple score? My assigned score was called Floating Squares. Our rules included cutting fabric without rulers. That in itself was hard for me at the beginning. But it got easier as time went on. You can see more examples of Floating Squares from other test quilters in Sherri’s Floating Squares Flickr gallery.
As I went along cutting and sewing and remembering my mom, the old hymn It Is Well With My Soul kept running through my head. The first line of the song starts with “when peace, like a river, attendeth my way,” hence the name of this quilt. My sewing became more water-like as I went on. When I shared what I was doing with my dear friend, Letty, she shared a photo that she had taken of rippling water that was so much like the vision for this quilt that it was uncanny.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
April 24, 2015 § 6 Comments
By day I may play with fabric. But at night the yarn is calling my name. A few months ago I finished this Owls sweater (Ravelry link) and have been wearing it ever since. I had made it once before in a different yarn that didn’t wear very well. And I realized that the back shaping of the pattern didn’t suit my body shape. So, on this sweater I moved the shaping to the sides like the sweater vest I picked up in Iceland.
This Icelandic vest (Ravelry link) I finished knitting earlier this week. I have loved wearing the one from Iceland so much that I wanted to knit another for myself. It’s perfect for our dreary weather. It is a free pattern straight from the Lopi web site. Today, it is cold & raining so I am going to wear it!
Yesterday I had a crochet fest and worked on this adorable Red Riding Hood outfit for My Crochet Doll that I couldn’t resist making for my great niece. But crocheting is a lot more hand & wrist movement than knitting. My hands ached by the end of the day. Hand & wrist exercises, anyone?
Like quilting, this is just a sampling of my many UFO’s. Oh how I wish I could constrain my many projects a little more! But, I am working on reducing the many piles. It sure does take time to whittle them down! My personal goal (and my hubby is also on board with this across the whole house) is to reduce & simplify. Awhile ago I joined a local Buy Nothing group where trades, give-aways, and requests are shared so that we all can reduce the things we need to buy. My no long er used item may be just what someone else has been looking for. It’s a great way to make use of things long after you are done using them.
April 20, 2015 § 10 Comments
It’s sunny and warm and beautiful in the Pacific Northwest today!! Hurray! Don’t worry (those of you who are still waiting for spring weather), it’s supposed to rain later this week. But the weather this afternoon is perfect for a little shed exhibit of this quilt.
The blocks were made by the ladies of the Faith Circle for Do.Good.Stitches. And I assembled the blocks into a quilt. The inspiration for the quilt was an older fabric in my stash that I had found on sale. The roses of the backing fabric inspired a sort of floral trellis motif for the front created from basic 9-patch & snowball blocks, alternating, to create the diagonal pattern.
I quilted straight lines on the diagonal to emphasize the bright trellis grid of fabrics. And then added a very organic, folk-like flower motif in the white space. I am not the greatest free-motion quilter by any means. But, once washed, the imperfections seem to be soaked up into the wrinkles that make our favorite quilts so snuggle-worthy.
All of the quilts made by the ladies in the Faith Circle are donated to Restore Innocence, an organization that rescues girls from human trafficking. Thank you ladies for helping to make such a fabulous quilt!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” ~Matthew 6:25-26
April 3, 2015 § 14 Comments
I wish I was a 1 or 2 project-at-a-time kind of gal. But I’m not. There is always another project that draws me away from my current one. Lately, someone has been pinning lots of Dear Jane quilts on Pinterest which prompted me to take at look at what I’ve got. Only 61 out of 225. Sigh.
I started out pretty strong in the beginning, back in 2010. It was my original goal to have it done by now. Five years later! I think the last block I finished was in 2014. But that was the only block made in 2014. And I was using the book as a sort of diary, keeping track of when each block was finished and noting something that was going on in my life at the time.
When I posted the photo above on Instagram this week, we started talking about alternative layouts. So I played around in EQ this morning and drew up a few ideas.
This one uses a contemporary improv style layout and all 61 blocks that I have done. It is tempting to stop with what I have and finish them up! But it doesn’t stay within my original plan of only a red & white themed quilt.
This one uses 77 blocks and wouldn’t be that big of a stretch to finish. It’s definitely an option. And I have always loved the various versions of a plus or cross quilt. Very tempting…
This one uses 116 blocks which makes me approximately 53% finished. This one is tempting because it would give me an opportunity to make a few more of the blocks that make the Dear Jane quilt so unique & interesting. But it also means that I am a LONG ways away from finishing.
I originally started making the Dear Jane quilt with the goal of hand piecing all the blocks to overcome my intimidation of hand work and to improve what little skill I had. I feel like that original goal has been accomplished. But I also started with the most simplest of blocks. So some of the blocks that make Dear Jane so cool and intriguing have not yet been made. Which calls to me to make a few more blocks! Oh the dilemma!
Whatever I decide to do (and I could be persuaded in any direction)… At least they look pretty on my wall at the moment.