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.
March 27, 2015 § 6 Comments
We spent the week helping out my sister-in-law who had a partial thyroidectomy. Her surgery went well and she is doing great! The above photos are some of the highlights from the week. It was good to spend the week with her and now it is good to be home.
March 20, 2015 § 6 Comments
Hooray! I finished the second side of my Random Sampler. This section consists of two original Sampler blocks, some leftover blocks and few new blocks. I thought it might loosely follow a textile theme like the first side was loosely a garden theme. But you would really have to stretch your imagination to link all the blocks to textiles. No matter! This is what I ended up with.
- a Squash Blossom block
- a Spools block – arranged as an “X” instead of the traditional layout
- some mini spools that sort of look like a variation of the attic window block
- a couple of 4-patch blocks with leftover squares from another project
- some more square-in-a-square blocks leftover from my Merry Merry Snowmen redo
- a couple of leftover blocks from my Modern Chain quilt. They look a little bland so I might add some embroidery to these as well.
- a leftover block from a baby quilt that was gifted last summer.
I’m going to use the leftover baby quilt block as the quilt label. I just haven’t put anything in the center of the block yet. But I am envisioning a wee bit of embroidery to fill up all that white space.
It’s going to take a little more time than I had originally planned to finish up the 3rd and 4th sides . But I am please to see this coming together. Finally. Hooray for all of you that are also making progress on your Random Samplers!
March 10, 2015 § 8 Comments
Well… that took a little bit longer than I had anticipated. The first side section of my Random Sampler is now done. Whew! I decided to stick with the loosely imagined garden theme that was going on. I had originally made three Basket blocks and one Wagon Wheel block. So I made another Wagon Wheel and another Greek Cross block. (The first Greek Cross block is going to live in another section of the quilt.) Then I filled in with some square-in-a-square blocks from my Merry Merry Snowman quilt that were discarded when I decided to change color themes. I also made some Butterfly blocks from Lori Holt’s book Quilty Fun and a Pinwheel block that I drafted in Electric Quilt. And finally, I found some leftover Half-Square Triangle blocks that are so old that I don’t even remember where they came from. Maybe they were trimmed off of something?? Who knows. But they worked nicely to fill in that space next to the Greek Cross block.
I’m thinking that finishing this thing may take a little longer than I had originally anticipated. But aside from that, I am happy with this minor finish.
Next week I’m moving on to side two. Which seems to be the sparsest side of the quilt. And it feels like it might taking on a textile theme. Or maybe a hobby theme? So who knows what I will come up with.
How are your Random Samplers shaping up this week?