Tuesday, September 30, 2014

petal progress

petal progress

Once upon a time this glorious image inspired a detailed fabric pull demo for my Color Intensive class.  I'm so glad to finally be cutting into those fabrics for a new Gathering Flowers quilt.  This time I made only 4 large flowers, planning to float them in lots of low volume white, cream and spring greens, like the first fresh shoots and bright blossoms that announce the weather's changed.

petal progress

Only... sometimes I'm not at all sure it's working! 

There seems to be a phase in nearly every quilt I make during which I lose my way, or at least my confidence.  Today as I pinned fabric chunks to audition on my foam core design wall, it felt more weedy bed than spring delight.  Maybe that's because I am trying to design this quilt specifically to look good on a twin sized bed, which can effect how well it looks on a design wall?  Possible.  Overall it feels like too much background, not enough flower power.  Says the girl who loves pink.

petal progress

Alas, I'm on a deadline.  Often I give myself a bit of breathing room, when things aren't clicking, to sleep on it and see what I think in the morning.  Instead, I've been working furiously today to make progress.  I think my petal path has improved, but won't know for sure until I put it on a bed. 

So....I'd like to have this in the mail on Friday.  Gulp.  Wish me luck?

Monday, September 29, 2014

on the road

I'm so glad to be back from our weekend away!  I do like getting away with my honey (very much), but I always, always enjoy the coming-home.  Home to comfortable beds, restful routines, normal food... and also the sewing machine (shhh!).

Wormsloe avenue of oaks

This weekend we visited Savannah as well as near bye Wormsloe, a historic settlement site with this gorgeous avenue of live oaks.  It was all a lovely time, but truly I was way, way low on energy.  This weekend my body seemed to need a double portion of rest and to have sudden, urgent needs for nourishment.  Thank goodness for those backup walnuts I keep in my purse!

Wormsloe salt marsh

Anyhoo, we did make it out to the salt marsh, a view I'm glad I didn't miss.  Gotta love the low country.

cutting another Puzzle Ball

Along the way (when I wasn't napping), I made some headway on a Puzzle Ball for Eleni.  I had cut a selection of rainbow fabrics before leaving home, in hopes of making a sort of color wheel version.  Crossing fingers on the color arrangement...  Working in 3D is definitely more challenging than a 2D color wheel.

road trip sewing

I got most of the quarter circles stuffed and sewn closed.  This part of the hand sewing gets hidden inside the ball.  It's nice to be able to relax and just sew without hiding knots and whatnot!

road trip reading

I also checked out a fair number of sewing books from my library before leaving town, including 2 by Sarah Fielke and Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee.  I don't usually need to own quilting books, as taking in the pictures and sometimes reading construction notes is just about perfect.  What new quilting books my library doesn't already have they'll often purchase by request.  So, it's a win-win way to support the authors and also save space on my bookshelf.

road trip reading

I particularly enjoyed this log cabin quilt from Hand Quilted with Love.  See how Sarah Fielke uses subtle color changes to create a secondary pattern echoing out from center?  Someday, someday I'll bite the bullet with log cabins.  Like for real.  They're such a timeless, classic quilting look.

road trip reading

I also learned in Quilting from Little Things about the usefulness of step down sewing, also known as partial seams (and used to make this Night Garden quilt).  This is a technique I haven't ever tried, but now that I'm familiar I already have one quilt in my mental queue inspired by some brickwork I saw in Savannah.  It's so great how new techniques open up new worlds of creativity.  Yay for always learning!

I'll have to tell you more about my thoughts on Meg McElwee's book some other time.  A whole baby sewing post is in order.  I've got plans.

p.s.  FYI, the book links here and in other posts are Amazon affiliate links, which means I earn a tiny commission on sales made after you click through those links.  Just want to keep you informed, as per my legal duties.  Hope you don't mind!

Friday, September 26, 2014

a new Garden

 If fabric were seeds...

another Garden

I would be, this week, planting a new garden.  Here is my row of fresh shiny dreams, full of potential, full of promise.   Time to get my hands dirty!

another Garden

Thank goodness they're not, though, because I need to have a finish in just about one week!  Quilts over gardens for me.  I'm pairing prints with solids for flowers and setting aside background fabrics for another twin-sized quilt.  This one is for my little niece, Bella, the last of my sister's 5 children for whom I've been stitching bed quilts this year. 

another Garden

I'll be Gathering Flowers again, making another rendition of Anna Maria Horner's pattern.  I plan to cultivate a modest bouquet tossed over an expansive bed of pale creams and greens.  It's the spring version of my Waltz of the Flowers, which was so audaciously summer, don't you think?

Too bad it's autumn, haha!  But, let's be honest, I can dig girly colors all year long....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Liberated Piecing + a nice Fabric Sale

Guess what?  I was planning to share a quilt I made for Angled class with you this week.  It features lots of Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander.  And it just so happens that those very fabrics (and everything else from Robert Kaufman) are on sale at Fat Quarter Shop through Sunday.  Serendipity!

But first, the quilt...

Floating Wedge quilt

For the first week of Angled class we worked with equilateral triangles.  I designed the block that forms this quilt to be born of leftover triangles.  It was our first go at liberated piecing, or piecing without templates or precise shaping goals.  This kind of work happens best when you are relaxed and a bit carefree, with an attitude of discovery.  Don't you love how little irregularities add character to the work?

Floating Wedge quilt

I started this quilt fresh on the heals of the release of Botanics, an awesome collection by Carolyn Friedlander.  In particular I was (and still am) smitten by the metallic foliage or perennial print, which I used for the background of these blocks.

fabulous Metallic Succulent Foliage

The floating wedges are made from random stash fabrics with playful, boyish personalities.  If I was having a boy, I'd probably have to keep this one....  But since I'm not, I've just listed it in my shop.  Crossing fingers it finds a good home soon!

Floating Wedge quilt

In case you need some great texture prints from Botanics or some Kona Cotton or any other goodies from the Robert Kaufman fabric house, ALL Robert Kaufman fabrics are 20% off now through Sunday, September 28th at Fat Quarter Shop. 

And did you know that they recently updated their shipping policies to be super friendly to out of country shoppers?  For example, orders under $20 are just $7 to Canada and $12 anywhere else.  See Shipping for more details.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn Air quilt finished!

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

At last!  Finished and photographed on a deliciously cool, autumn day.  This patchwork quilt was simple to piece and so very scrap-friendly.  I definitely enjoy quilts that go together in rows.  Seems to make the planning easier.

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

It's a full-size quilt, for my 17-year-old nephew.  And, gosh, it pretty well covers our queen bed!  I made it slightly larger than the "double" quilt size on the Pink Chalk Fabrics' "Standard Quilt Sizes" chart they send with all orders.   That little chart comes in handy all the time.

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

My quilt back is mainly Denyse Schmidt fabrics and a yard cut of Kona Coal.  When I use leftover or large fabric cuts for my quilt backings, I like to plan them on the floor before piecing.  First I lay out the quilt top, then cover it with quilt backing fabric possibilities.  With the quilt top guiding the size, I rearrange and add/subtract fabrics until I can see that the backing will finish larger than the quilt top, once sewn together. 

I usually aim for a back that uses up some fabrics I don't need anymore while feeling interesting and somewhat balanced.  I rarely do anything too fiddly since by this time I want to move on to the next project.  With a bed quilt, you hardly ever see the back anyway!

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

For a quick finish (remember my weekend?) I zigzag quilted in straight lines straddling each row seam, plus a few extra lines of quilting in-between rows for even spacing.  Zigzags are such a strong and forgiving stitch for quilting.  Plus, it matches my binding finish!  

Autumn Air quilt for Daniel

That's a wrap, super-scrappy binding and all!  One more quilt to go, this time for my little niece, and then I'll send them both off for early October birthdays.  Yay!

Monday, September 22, 2014

all I have to show...

How is it that one can have SO MUCH one wants to sew and yet be so easily distracted?  This weekend I think I did everything but the sewing I had intended...

*First the kids had an an impromptu sleepover at grandma's.  What did we do with an unexpected evening alone?  Assemble their new bunk beds, of course!  My idea...  They've been itching to start sharing a room.

*When it turned out that Brandon didn't need my mad assembly skills, I set to moving Aria's things into her new room.  And what should I find but a crafty basket with the most frightening, most hopeless yarn tangle you can imagine.  I mean, literally 6-7 different yarns, needles, half-knitted projects and....wait for it.... hangers.  Hangers!

*Warning:  Never allow hangers to mix with yarn.  This should be posted prominently in my daughter's room.

*Unable to resist such slow, methodical work, I spent about an hour and a half detangling.  There were casualties.

*The next morning I mustered incredible self-control and spent a whopping 3-hours hedging the azalea bushes.  Yes, that gorgeousness comes at an annual price, one which I handily defer until perfectly cool-but-not rainy weather arrives on a Saturday.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) it did this weekend.

*So that used up all my self-control.

*Then, because just the right used van popped up on our radar, we "had" to spend most of Saturday traveling and test driving and negotiating.  I think I wanted us to buy the darn thing just so it would be over.  Thank goodness we did. 

*And the rest of the weekend was eaten up by thankless real life:  grocery shopping, organizing, you know the like.

Ok, so I did manage to quilt that quilt and prep the scrappy binding, but not to finish her up.

all i have to show...

And that, my friends, is all I have to show for the weekend, in craftiness.

the end

Friday, September 19, 2014

Autumn in the air

Autumn in the air

Misty, drippy, cool and breezy - autumn's in the air!  We're enjoying every bit of it this week, and the turn in weather does suit my work-in-progress.  Hurray!  Today I finished piecing my nephew's Autumn Air quilt top.  What do you think?

Autumn in the air

Course it's too wet to give you a proper view, but you can sort of see.  This quilt is made of rows of stacked "coins" of various sizes.  Besides scraps, I cut in a fair amount of suitable orange-y geometric fabrics, mostly from Denyse Schmidt, especially Hadley.

Autumn in the air

Hoping the abundant use of this fiesty Mary Thistle black and orange print will push the quilt into teen boy territory, despite the very occasional appearance of birds and blossoms.  Ahem.

Oh, and I used text!  Because I love my nephew.  You all know that proves it.

Autumn in the air

This afternoon I hope to piece up a backing and make a start on the quilting.  For binding I pulled out all the friendly binding scraps I could muster, which turned out to be a quite a lot.  How far will they go to bind an 80" x 92" full sized quilt?  We shall see...

Have a happy weekend!

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