Monday, December 22, 2014

enter Mobius

You know, I don't think I do a lot of random fabric shopping.  Of course that's relative, but when I think of how often I sew and how much I use my fabric...  well I don't very often buy fabric on a whim.  But last time I was doing some shopping, replenishing my supply of that Sweetwater text print and buying some Christmas surprises for Aria, I came across two very striking stripes at The Intrepid Thread...

Mobius Stripe palettes

These are Mobius stripes from Jeni Baker's Geometric Bliss collection.  On left is the Cool color palette and on right is the Warm one.  I couldn't figure out which color palette I liked most, though I tried at first to settle on just one!  I love the soft, cool, pastel-like tones. They're unusual for me, but feel so right at this time of year.  I love them for their wide, bold, color-outside-the-lines personality and for those cute, black flower-blobs too.  I just felt so drawn to these, and I had to have them both.

Mobius Stripe palettes

Okay, so if I was going to go all crazy-like and buy a multicolor print (TWO multicolor prints) for no reason, I'd better go ahead and think of a reason.  Oh, I know... a quilt!  Bet you didn't see that coming.  Into my bag went a mishmash of stripes also from The Intrepid Thread.  I'm thinking an all stripes and solids quilt!  Maybe I can use both mobius stripe prints in the same work, but keep the color palettes divided somehow.  Hmm....

From left: Bungalow Stripes MaizeCitrus Small Stripe Citrus, Citrus Small Stripe Aqua, Bungalow Stripes LavenderTerra Australis Blue, Calendar Vanilla Splash.

Mobius Stripe palettes

At home I've used each mobius stripe print as a color guide, pulling stripes from my stash to accompany the new stripes from The Intrepid Thread.  Pretty, right?

Mobius Stripe palettes

Now I think I like the warm palette more, but I don't know...  Still thinking I'll try to use them both together, but as distinct entities in one quilt. 

Mobius Stripe palettes

I'll add in Kona solids, like these new colors charm squares and various solids from my scrap drawers. Maybe it'll turn into something rather interesting.  I have a feeling this one is going to be good! 

It's actually such a treat to make a quilt "for no reason".  Not for a pattern.  Not for a class.  Not for a friend or relative or even my kids.  This one is just for the process.  Hurray!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Six days till....

you know what.

This year I'm not making any big, special gifts.  Instead I'm crafting a trickle of little, useful gifts.  Hopefully they'll all serve well at their new homes. 

no. 1  Attack of the Triangles boxy zip pouch

attack of the triangles zip pouch

Pile of cool toned triangle scraps on Kona Ash with Kona Lake contrast and a purple zipper.  Do you doubt my sanity?  I mean, it's a PURPLE zipper. 

attack of the triangles zip pouch

Triangles settle in a tight formation.  Tactical response? Glue baste and zigzag applique.

attack of the triangles zip pouch

And...  Triangles utterly defeated.

attack of the triangles zip pouch

Purple zipper?  Oh yes.

no. 2  Subtle Sage Green potholders

Some kitchens require sage green potholders.  Some sewists like sage green.  This one, however, does not.  But sage is close to mint and pairs well with blue.  In fact, why not add some gray, while you're at it?  Just so long as there's sage in there somewhere...

two harmless potholders

Ta da!  Two harmless potholders a la my Easy Peasy Potholders tutorial.

no. 3  "Snapshot" Kitchen Towels

I never would have thought to put polaroids on towels.  Would you?

polaroid kitchen towels

But when my mom realized I was snooping around her new kitchen, plotting some patchwork kitchen towels (she's a smart one, that mom) she asked for "snapshots".

polaroid patchwork kitchen towels

Hadn't thought of this style for ages, but she remembered it from when I made a polaroid quilt with the Love circle way back when. It was fun to revisit the block.  Hope the finish isn't too cutesy for her though!  Polaroids want to be cutesy.  I resisted in vain.

These are the last of the gifts I'll be sharing in this space.  Not that I don't have two more little things to make before Christmas... But let's not think about that today. Today I'm hankering after longterm projects.  Time to settle in for a cozy, crafty weekend.  Best wishes to all!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

a Seriously Awesome quilted crib bumper

I don't know if that title sufficiently communicates my enthusiasm for this project.  I absolutely ADORE how it came out!  Though the number of photos in this post probably gets the point across...  Come see, come see!

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

Aaaaaah!  Serioiusly awesome!

Ok, rewind.  Let me show you what I've been up to.

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

This project came to a screeching halt when I ran out of the Sweetwater Calendar fabric.  I finally got around to ordering it during the post-Thanksgiving sales from The Intrepid Thread.  Between juggling events and stitching up gifts, I've been making more jewel blocks from the Trifle Dish quilt-along.

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

16 little pretties in all!  After arranging them crib-bumper-like, I joined them up to create a 160" long by 10" high strip.  That's the right dimensions for a standard crib bumper.  Then, I created a same-size strip in that beautiful Carolyn Gavin Petite Fleur alphabet fabric and basted them together with Warm & Plush in between.

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

Next stop, quilting. Warm & Plush is a 100% cotton batting from the makers of Warm & Natural.  I chose to use it for this crib bumper since natural fibers are optimally breathable for baby.  Although it is said to be a warmer batting than Warm & Natural, it did not seem thicker to me.  It handled and quilted like a low loft batting.

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

So, 160 inches... does that sound innocent?  It's not. That's 13 FEET of quilting.  Times like these I'm so glad to have my Juki TL2010Q, with its auto thread cutter and super speed.  It also didn't hurt that my friend Liz came over to sew with me for a few hours.  That got me through half of it, anyways.  Thanks, Liz!

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

I do declare the results are mouthwatering, though.  Supremely worth it!  This is about 1/3" quilting on a longish stitch setting of 3.  Dense quilting results in a thin bumper that holds its shape and can't possibly be a threat to baby, in my opinion.  Plus, gorgeous.  mmmmmm.....

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

Today I finally finished binding it with that same Sweetwater print and attaching the ties.  FYI, when approached like an odd-shaped-quilt, this project is quite doable for any quilter.  I dug through lots of crib bumper tutorials that were very much not made for a quilter, before finding one that is.  You don't have to do this dense quilting, if you don't like, as you can see at the tutorial I followed.  Attaching the ties is probably the easiest part!

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

My bumper is patchwork blocks on the outside and Petite Fleur ABC's on the inside.  Colors were mostly inspired by the Petite Fleur palette.  The solid edging along the alphabets is Kona Rose.

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

Oh that texture!  Love.

(seriously awesome) patchwork crib bumper

This is one of those projects that I could have skipped, but I'm so glad I didn't!  It's the best patchwork infusion in baby's room yet.  Thanks to Windham Fabrics for the Petite Fleur and to Carolyn Gavin for inspiring me with her retro alphabets. 


Rachel (and baby Eleni too!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Color is a Journey

Once upon a time, I started a blog called StitchedinColor.  Just "stitched" because I like to sew and embroider and even crochet.  "Color" because it's what makes my heart sing.  And I found, in 2010, that I really liked all this quilting, all this sharing of my day-to-day creating.  I started do. Good Stitches that year, and even began wrapping my head around blogging as a business come year end.

But my color personality, that was just in bud.

At home

If you've been around here for awhile, you know I have this thing for Anna Maria Horner and for her Good Folks collection, my favorite.  It's what I used to make my first quilt.  But it's not really that - it's about the colors.  The saturated, autumnal color bouquet that is Good Folks was like a color-by-number experience.  She made the fabrics; I cut and pasted them together.  Voila - an awesome quilt.

What was planted in that first quilt has been growing.  It's hard to see growth in oneself, but sometimes life conspires to reveal, as it did this weekend.

Color is a Journey

I've been thinking about crochet again lately.  It might be the cool weather, the fireside or perhaps this babe in my womb.  Struggling to choose between 2 projects, I pulled out my yarn basket to take stock of my color options.

Color is a Journey

I have a modest collection of Cascade 220.  It's a worsted weight wool yarn, very practical, nice, but not overly pricey.  It was purchased all of 4 years ago from a local shop and The Loopy Ewe.  And 4 years ago I began working the yarn into crocheted sunburst granny squares, thinking maybe a blanket, maybe a pillow?  Eventually, they became a garland... and some other things, which I never did share here.

Sunburst Garland

What happened to my ambition?  I got scared.  I lost faith in my color choices.  I couldn't see anymore if there was anything cohesive about what I was doing.  I couldn't bare to put so much time into something that I might night love, so I found my way to other projects.  Quilty projects, made with fabrics already infused with a color direction.  And it was nice.

Color is a Journey

But this weekend when I pulled out these stored-away squares, I could see them anew with a fresh and, I suppose, a matured perspective.  Four years of working constantly with beautiful fabrics is like having these designers as mentors of sorts.  Four years of experimenting with color, taking risks here and there and absorbing your feedback... it seems color is a muscle.  If you flex it, if you try, you can't help but propel yourself onwards.

So, I've been crocheting.  I've been making sunburst squares, about four a day.  At this pace I really could have a blanket before baby is born, though I'm not settled that's what they need to be.  What's driving me is the soft, tactile feeling of the yarn in my hands, the delightful finish of each little square and the unfolding realization that I understand what I want from these colors quite well.

Color is a Journey

I know what I'm trying to say.  Where before I'd agonize over which colors to combine, now I see possibilities everywhere.  I can sense what's working.  Understand what's not.  Even anticipate what colors I'd like to add to sweeten the mix (mostly neutrals)!  And, best of all, I am sure that I'll be proud of the finished project.  Isn't that often the key motivation we need to keep moving forward?

Color is a Journey

Color is a journey; color is a muscle.  Color is entirely personal, so don't worry about rules.  Please don't ever believe you can't color, color.  Just keep giving yourself opportunities and, I promise, your color personality will grow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Celebrate Good Stitches ::Winners::

Celebrate Good Stitches

Hurray, hurrah!  Three cheers for good, and most specially for the quilty good happening through do. Good Stitches {a charity bee}!

Today I announce the final winners for this year's Celebrate Good Stitches.  But, before I do, I extend my gratitude to every single member of do. Good Stitches, past and present.

You all really are worth celebrating!  What an honor and inspiration to be joined by so many willing and talented hands to do. Good.  I can tell you that this experience is what I'm most proud of in my bloggy career.  I trust it's as or even more meaningful to many souls the world over who have been touched by our quilts made in love.

Best of 2014!

Congratulations to the Grace circle, whose I Spy ABC's quilt stole the day!

I Spy ABCs Quilt. Grace Circle {March}

This beauty, quilted by Robin Correa (who is also host of Grace circle), was donated to My Very Own Blanket to benefit foster children.  Can you imagine how a lonely, displaced child might have felt to receive this unexpected gift?  I'm proud of Grace circle and of all of us for making such beautiful, modern quilts to bless others in this world.  It means a lot, I believe, to give our best work. 

Thanks to the generosity of Robert Kaufman, each current Grace Circle member will receive a a gorgeous big bundle of Kona cottons, colors specially selected by Emily Cier!   Hey, you all might want to do an all-solids quilt next time around!  Or, you know, find a place to display your rainbow stack for happy vibes.  We won't hold it against you if you just need to look at it for awhile.

Quilters Grand Prizes

What fun to browse through our gallery of 2014 finished quiltsI've been super-pleased to see lots of quilts finished over the past few months as we neared the celebration deadline and the deadline for our QuiltCon special exhibit (those results to release soon).  Sometimes setting a date makes all the difference! My heartfelt thanks to those quilters who pushed to finish up projects.  For even more of our do. Good quilts, see the Finished Quilts group on Flickr!

{the U.S. Prize}

Let's select a winner for the U.S. Quilter's Grand Prize.  The big fat roll of Warm & Plush batting, donated by The Warm Company, goes to....

#17, Jennifer Dewing's Fractured Elements quilt for the Inspire Circle!  Aren't you lucky, Jennifer!  Now you can quilt away to your heart's content with plenty of batting reserves to carry you through

{the International Prize} 

Fat Quarter Shop is sponsoring our Quilter's Grand Prize for a lucky international winner!  Let's see whose quilt is favored by Mr. Random...

#2, the amazing Boat Beach Quilt quilted by Eva-Marie Beij for the Comfort circle.  This gem of a quilt has so many fabulous paper pieced blocks.  Such a stunner!  Eva-Marie, there's a $100 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop headed your way!

We are very grateful to  Robert Kaufman, the Warm Company and Fat Quarter Shop for generously supporting charitable quilting.  And again, thanks to everyone who plays a part in this worthwhile effort.  Let's keep up the good work, friends!

psst... I've reopened the photo pools so you can keep adding 2014 finished quilts through the end of the year!

Here's to another year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

the Encore Vote!

Alright friends, it's time!  In the bright new year, will you join us for an online class?  I'm encoring 2 of my previous classes, because I know many of you missed out on the original releasesd and you've been eager to have a second chance.  Today we vote on which ones!

Do you favor...

Oodalolly quilt finished!

{Curves Class}  Precise + Improv Curves more detailsguest post.

::Handstitched:: this summer

{Handstitched} Applique, Embroidery, English Paper Piecing, Hand quilting.  more detailsguest post.

 the Penny Sampler

{Penny Sampler} Precise piecing, Machine applique, Machine paper piecing.  more detailsguest post.

the Manipulative Kona Color Card 

{Color Intensive} Color Emotions, Color Theory, Mixing Colors, Working in Cloth.  more detailsguest post.

This poll remains open through December 24th.  On Monday the 29th, I'll announce which classes have been selected.  Actual registration opens on January 1st, with classes launching mid-January.  Handstitched, Penny Sampler and Curves are each offered at a variety of price points (ranging from $35 to $85), to fit your needs.  Color Intensive is only available in one version priced at $55.

If you are not likely to take your favorite class, even if it is offered, please refrain from voting.  I'd love for those who are able to participate to have the opportunity to take the one they need. Thanks for understanding!

You may select up to TWO boxes.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Improv Angles charity quilt

I'm back! 

Ok, you probably didn't know I was gone, but I was.  Remember the cat with the late night fabric-moving obsession?  She murdered my laptop on Thursday night.  I figured this out on Friday morning when my laptop wouldn't start and there was a puddle on my keyboard.  Not a good moment.

Poor fried laptop had to be replaced stat, so I could find my way back here where I belong.  Sometimes being a blogger by trade makes decisions really, really simple.  New computer?  Must.  Also, we're going to try having kitty Susan sleep in Aria's room at night.  Maybe all she needs is more time with her person.

Improv Angles charity quilt

What's that?  You'd rather talk about this quilt, any quilt?  Yeah, me too.  So, this is my latest finish.  It's made entirely of improv blocks created by Angled students for our collaborative charity work(s).  Since I didn't receive a whole lot of any one block, I put them all together with stripey sashing.  It's bold, maybe a little chaotic, but I really like it!

Improv Angles charity quilt

I didn't have enough stripey sashing to use throughout, so I used a Carolyn Friedlander print to sash the edges.   It works sort of like a frame, I think.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've bought more of a fabric for a particular project.  Instead, I like the character that comes from making do!

Improv Angles charity quilt

During this make I got to try out a pack of Clover wonder clips that my friend Pat sent as a surprise, along with her Angled improv blocks.  These little suckers really are convenient for binding, instead of using pins.  I didn't have enough for the whole quilt, so I also used some simple wooden clothespins. They work the same, but they are chunkier, heavier and thus a bit more in the way.  Still, if you have the clothespins and no cash for wonder clips....  Just be sure your pins aren't rusty!

Improv Angles charity quilt

I worked a lot on the quilt back for this one.  I wanted to incorporate a sweet batch of improv envelope blocks, which I really, really, really like.  But, they wanted to be soft and pretty, not wild and bold like the quilt front.  I hope the contrast is not too shocking.  Also, this Pretty Potent Aloe in Candy print, showcasing washed out aqua combined with bright pink, has really caught my eye.  I think I need to make Eleni a quilt in that color scheme!

Improv Angles charity quilt

Here are our envelopes, combined with a typewriter I've had laying around for ages, apparently destined for just this.  I finished with organic straight line quilting.  Mmmm texture!

Improv Angles charity quilt

The completed quilt is a generous throw, one side bright and bold...

Improv Angles charity quilt

other side cheery and sweet. 

Improv Angles charity quilt

It's to be donated to a local woman's shelter, so I hope that either side will bring the right type of healing hug to whomever receives it.

Thanks again, Angled students, for collaborating with me on this make!

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