Friday, August 29, 2014

Off the UFO wagon

I was doing so well.

In early 2012 I had 14 UFO projects - and last month I had 5 left, with 3 of them being group quilts (like round robin, etc) that were currently in someone else's hands.  In my mind, that means two, TWO projects left to knock off the list.  My giraffe blocks are ready for the two-side low volume borders that I have planned, and my medallion quilt is getting bigger and bigger:


But then I went crazy and started 4 new projects within about a month.  The good thing about starting so many new things is that I have lots to show you!

I offered to design and piece an opportunity quilt for my guild.  The fabric kits are ready for that (blocks will be done by guild members and then I'll put it together) and I'm super excited about the colors:

I took back-to-back workshops from Jacquie Gering (uh... no regrets there, though.  She is such an awesome teacher) and I started a new quilt in each one.  My quilt from the first class is still just a start, but hopefully it won't be sitting that way for too long:

The second class I went for simpler design in baby quilt size and I finished that top in one more sewing session after the class was over.  I'm thinking I might quilt this one with squiggly lines to soften it up a little:

And lastly, I have the opportunity through my guild to enter an Amish inspired Modern quilt for display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  I had been pondering this for a while, then during one restless night I came up with a concept that got me super excited.  It's sort of a mashup of a modern HST quilt and an Amish Roman Stripes quilt:

Yes, it is already basted!  In fact, this quilt is currently in the washing machine getting all gorgeous and crinkly - that's how long it takes me to write a blog post.  I've got a lot to say about this one, so stay tuned. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Happy Scrappy Giveaway!

Edit:  The giveaway is now closed!  I'll be contacting the winner by email.  

I'm sure you guys know this already, but it bears repeating... the online quilting community is so, so nice!  When I was making this quilt:

I really wanted it to have lots and lots of different fabrics, but also be very color coordinated.  I got tons of help from friends and strangers to collect scraps in my colors, including people who just shipped stuff to me without asking anything in exchange.  So as a thank you to all of those kind folks, today I'm paying it forward and giving away some of the extra scrappy bits from this quilt.  

This is a photo showing the scrap colors.  You may receive some of these fabrics and you will definitely receive a lot of others.
I will ship domestically in the US, one small flat rate box stuffed to the brim with scraps in rainbow colors.  To enter, leave me a comment to say what you're working on OR post a link to your favorite thing that you have ever made. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My oldest UFO

This month I finished up my oldest UFO.  I'm happy to have it completed... it is 1/3 as old as I am!  Don't get the wrong idea here - this poor guy has spent most of his life in a drawer.  I busted him out recently and got to work so that I could start a new knitting project.  When it comes to yarn, I'm committed 100% to just one project at a time and no stash.  After all, I've got plenty of stash and UFOs around from my sewing projects without adding more crafts to the bins.

Pattern from the book Color-Bright Creatures by Anne Halliday.  

I started crocheting when I was a kid, and by the time I graduated high school I had made a crocheted blanket for each of my sisters.  I never got to making one for myself, so I guess this little guy is mine!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Snowflake Things

Inspiration on a walk

Plans and sketches

Make for a new quilt design

The fabric is from the Color Me Happy line, which I love because I adore those beautiful sketchy flowers and so many low volume prints.  I backed it with a lightweight Japanese print that I bought several years ago at a local shop and pieced a binding from little pink dots and my favorite aqua floral print.  I wrote up a tutorial for this quilt design, and you can find it on The Intrepid Thread's blog. Happy quilting everybody!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Charity quilting, 2014

I decided to make it my goal this year to finish at least 10 charity quilts.  This is my third charity quilt for the year (I don't always show them when it's not a new pattern - I always have postage stamp quilt just like this one going on that I use as leaders and enders). 

Happy prints in pinwheels.

Backed with a Jenean Morrison print that I've been hoarding, quilted vertical straight lines, and bound in a teal solid.  

7 to go!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Improv, Baby!

When we came up with the idea to do an all-day improv quilting event in my local guild, I'll admit that I had some mixed feelings about it.  People were pretty excited about the idea, and a day of sewing sounded fun.  Buuuut... improvising means working spontaneously and/or without preparation.  I have the impression that with true improv you kind of go about willy-nilly sewing things, and there is a very real chance of creating something that doesn't appeal to you in the slightest.   Kind of like what happened with this improv quilt.  I'm trying to clear out old UFOs that got derailed along the way, so the thought of creating another quilt top that would just be a problem child was no bueno. 

Besides that... I really love planning!  If I head into sewing without a plan or goal, I'm just pushing fabric through my machine.  Good for therapy, maybe, but who needs therapy when you're spending the whole day hanging out with your quilty buddies? 

In the end I came up with a plan, which was to have a plan.  At least, a loose plan.  I love the design of this rug, so I decided to make a few square-in-square blocks and few stripey blocks and then add some solid pieces to create a similar look.  I was pretty confident that if I kept it simple and used a color palette that really grabbed me, I would be happy with the end result. While I don't feel like I went "aggressively improv," I assembled my blocks with no pre-determined pattern, block size, or quantity, and then worked through arranging them and putting together the top. 

I love how it turned out.  I did re-discover something that irks me a little about improv piecing.  It really is more work to get everything fitting together when you don't plan it from the beginning.  Curvy, wonky improv takes doubly long because you have to custom cut every piece to match what's already been added.  Ah well. 

I free motion quilted the top with Leah Day's pipe maze pattern.  She has it marked for beginners, and it's true that it was really easy - plus it has amazing texture.  Free motion hasn't been my favorite in the past, but I think as I improve my skill I will also like it more.  It's a little easier on your body than straight line since you don't have to haul the quilt around as much.  So, I'm working on it.

This was *ahem* supposed to be a donation quilt for charity, but I fell in love with it and ended up making a different quilt to donate in its place.  This guy is going to hang on the wall in my sewing room - I've just finished painting in there and am waiting for the fumes to clear.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marci's round robin quilt

It's hard to believe it, but my guild round robin group has only one round left.  I'm a little sad because I have really enjoyed these challenges - but on the other hand I couldn't be more excited about the quilt top they have been creating for me.  I believe that I will have that back sometime around April, and I can't wait to show it off here. 

Marci's round robin quilt is one of my favorite in our little group - with some stringy lines running around, bursting stars and an asymmetrical layout.  I was really digging the 50's style diner kind of groove that it has going on.  So, I was pretty eager to get my hands on it!  It came to me like this:

I love how all of the initial rounds blend together so that it's difficult to determine where they start and stop.  In case you are wondering about it, I believe this is how the previous rounds were added:
I definitely wanted to extend the seamless look into my round, so I drew out what was already present and then planned my round to continue the lines and themes that were already there.  I also wanted to refer back to the center block, so I incorporated more larger blocks along with more strings and tiny blocks.  I had initially planned on adding equally to all sides, but Marci saw it partway through and was excited about it becoming rectangular, so I added a little extra on the top and bottom.
In the end, it really got huge.  There is another round to go on this quilt, plus Marci wants to add some borders, so the amount of fabric that this took turned out to be quite an issue.  I didn't recognize the problem until I was deep into construction.  I actually eliminated some of the design that I had been planning to do, and it still took nearly all of the fabric that was provided.  Thankfully, Marci was able to find most of the fabrics on a local shop-hop, so it turned out ok in the end.  Still, a lesson learned for sure - make sure you have enough fabric before you jump in!