Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fresh Sewing Day

Boy the months fly by, don't they? I've had some secret sewing going on behind what you see here in preparation for the blog tours I mentioned on Monday, but thankfully I managed to have a few finishes in spite of all that.

I probably feel the greatest satisfaction over Keychain, my most recent finish, and one wip that's been sitting around for a while. I really enjoyed making the improv Greek key blocks, and am thinking a tutorial might be in order. Plus the fabrics were heaven to work with. Shot cotton + Essex = something pretty special!

Canvas Baby II has been delivered to a new baby girl in our family and remains a favorite pattern.
Canvas baby II

And I must say, my Gee's Bend-inspired Heart-Speak was an experience in itself. From its beginnings amongst the Gee's Bend quilters themselves to its immensely enjoyable quilting to the heart-felt gifting of it to a friend who was truly moved by its story . . . well that all made it pretty special to me.
Gee's Bend Mini

As for the littles, the most challenging were definitely the Bee Sewcial transparency blocks, and the most downright fun was certainly the Patchwork Bucket. It's still making me smile.

I've got all kinds of thoughts about what April might hold, so we'll see where it takes me. The secret sewing will be revealed, a couple of challenges need to be tackled, and a new experience awaits. So basically, I'm ready!

Linking up with Lily's Quilts' Fresh Sewing Day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Scraps :: To Save or Not to Save

So I have a scrappy project to share today and the crazy part is, they aren't even my scraps!! I admired the Oakshott Italy that Cindy/Live a Colorful Life was working with a while back, and she responded by sending me her scraps! Yay for me! But before I show off what I did with them, I need to share a little tale . . .

So I was at a quilting retreat a week or so ago, and I came to a point where I had lots of little triangles left from what I was working on. So I asked the gals if I should keep them or toss them, and Joan, sitting next to me, piped right up with 'toss them!' So I did, you know, not really sure if I'd get around to using them or not. So whatever. Though I was a tad surprised at Joan's response, being an avid scrap-saver herself.

Well wouldn't you know but later in the weekend I caught Joan gathering up scraps even smaller than I had tossed. And the truth came out! Linda laughingly suggested that Joan might just be planning to raid my 'discard' bag after I had left to head home! Can you imagine?! haha. Well I don't really know if she did or not, but if she did, here's to enjoying what little leftovers I tossed.

Now on to what I did with that awesome Oakshott! My inspiration came from a photo I took of a chair at a local coffee shop. I take odd photos like this all the time, but this might be the first time I actually went on to create something!
So here's my first block, which my quilting buddy Sharon identified as a "Greek key" so that's what I've been calling it.
The scraps Cindy sent consisted of 7 colors and I used 6 to make the larger improv blocks, using Essex linen in natural as a background. It was after I'd sewn those 6 blocks together than I came up with the idea for the small unraveling 'key' in the bottom corner. Kind of a random element, but I think it added a bit of fun to the quilt. And for the record, those Oakshotts together with the Essex made for such rich texture in these blocks.
Backing was a stash find, 'garden spiral' in chocolate by Alexander Henry Fabrics, chosen for the pattern as much as the subtle color. For the quilting, I used Aurifil 50wt #5021, which is light grey by its number label but looks more like camel, and I am seriously thinking it might have been mislabeled. At any rate, it is a lovely match for the Essex natural, subtle enough not to be distracting on the colored spirals.
I began quilting there at the intersection of the top 4 blocks, then did a wonky, uneven square spiral around the quilt. Dare I say this was FUN?! I did very little marking, so lines are a little wobbly here and there - just the look I was after.
To keep the focus on the spirals, I used more Essex for the binding, while using the last little piece of the reddish Oashott Italy to make a short bit of matched binding.
One little added comment on this project . . . when completed, the  little "Keychain" quilt measured 24 1/2" x 29". I usually don't compare quilt measurements before and after a wash, but I was curious considering I was using the linen and shot cotton. Color me surprised! After a cold wash and a warm dry, the quilt measured 23" x 27". whoa. That's quite a difference. Note to self.
Despite the shrinkage, I love this little quilt even more now that it's super crinkly!
AND it's the last project on my 2015 Q1 FAL list! Double the fun.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.