Friday, October 20, 2017

Small Tokens

Well I'm on retreat for a few days, and one of the traditions of the Basket Case Quilters is bringing little gifts for each other....

Remember when I made an Apple Core Mini a while back? Soon after, I realized that Pen + Paper Patterns also offered an add-on variation named Clementine. I knew right off that it would be a perfect gift for my friend Joan/@arnajoanwhite, who is hostess of our retreat and happens to live in a sunny California city known for its orange groves.


I used the same Indigo Yarn Died Essex, and because it worked so well before, stuck with an uneven grid quilting, only this time on the diagonal. Rather than adding a contrast snippet in the binding, I made it chunky this time, finishing at 1" wide.



I gotta say, these small projects are such fun, don't you agree?



For Sharon/@redapplestitches, I made two red potholders, based on the Spiderweb Potholders Tutorial by Julie/Jaybird Quilts. After making so many Log Cabin Hexi Potholders, I really liked the method of top-stitching the hexagons, rather than binding them like Julie does - totally personal preference.



I also cut my strips a tad wider than the tutorial - 1 3/4" rather than 1 1/2" - in an attempt to make sure they were generously sized. I think I may have overdone it, but they're bound to be more than useful.


So back to sewing.... and sewing.... and sewing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Unity

One thing about my Bee Sewcial mates.... they are a very thoughtful bunch. Hillary/
entropyalwayswins is hostess this month, and chose the prompt of Unity, asking for long, skinny blocks that somehow represent ourselves. We were to use just two fabrics, a background and an “adornment” fabric, each in specific colors. Hillary herself will add connecting mustard strips through each of our blocks to give the semblance of us holding hands.



So that's alot to consider, right? After giving it some thought, I started with making ten crosscut blocks, which is a technique I first explored in a Bee Sewcial swap. We were instructed to leave a bit of a gap near the center of the strip for Hillary's addition, and I debated whether or not to even add anything to the end opposite the crosscuts. Then I thought of a way to illustrate the ten of us who participate in the bee, and I managed that with a row of improv stripes, united, and facing forward.



I felt a little guilty using two of my own tutorials in adding elements to my 6 1/2" x 50" strip block, but they represent me, right? That seemed to make it ok.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Chatting with Pat

Gee whiz, that was fun!

On Monday, I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Pat Sloan on her quilting podcast, American Patchwork & Quilting Talk Show. When Pat first invited me on the show, there was no doubt I'd say YES, but I'll admit I was quite nervous! But when it came right down to it, I totally enjoyed it, and, of course, Pat was very easy to talk to. In fact, now in the afterglow, I'm wishing we could really sit down and chat in person.... maybe some day.


Used by permission.

The other guests on the show were Marcia/happystash quilts, Paige/QuiltedBlooms, and Lindsay/Lindsay Sews. Pat's concept of hearing from several members of the online community each week makes for a quick-paced and engaging show. And that's a good thing!

If you missed it, you can listen in here. We talked about how I transitioned from being a traditional quilter to more modern, some of my process - which is very hard to describe when most of what you do is improvisational, Instagram sewalongs, and more. Crazy how much you can fit into 12 minutes!

Anyway, one thing Pat and I definitely value in common is blogging - the ability to share the story surrounding our projects, as well as the deeper meaning for us as makers. I love that! And thank you for loving it too....

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Venti



For some reason, I fell out of love with this quilt the moment I started in on the quilting. Something just didn't feel right, as often is the case with curvy straight-line. I think it had something to do with the thread color I chose. With the variations in color in the quilt, nothing I had was the perfect choice - I even momentarily wondered if this is why Jill/Pie Lady Quilts often uses mono-filament thread for her value quilts. But I wasn't prepared to go there quite yet, so I forged ahead, and often throughout the process I doubted my action.



The quilt started with high hopes at our guild retreat last month. I had actually talked to Jill a bit about playing with value quilts, and she mentioned that Nancy Crow suggests using at least 7 different values in a quilt. Since I had a pretty generous stack of cool Cotton Supreme Solids, I actually chose 9 and then for a bit of contrast, some Kona Pink Flamingo. Again inspired by an actual Starbucks cup, I made my own template, and then was able to cut all the tumbler shapes to size with the help of the measurements on my cutting board. [Like this....]



I gotta say, tumbler quilts go together as quick as anything I know. This one measures 56" square, and piecing the top took just a few hours once the blocks were cut. Besides making the top at retreat, I also recruited my guild-mate's help in pattern-matching a backing. Matt/@odditease is obsessive about this technique, and gave me plenty of good tips.



So up to that point, I was super pleased with what I had going. And now that it's done, I'm happy enough with the quilting. I used two Aurifil 50wts - #2810 (Turquoise) and #5006 (Light Turquoise) - for the bulk of the quilting, and obviously they're perfectly fine in and of themselves. I think it was all those different shades of fabric that made me question my choices. On some blocks, the quilting is pretty much hidden, while in others it stands out alot. I really don't know what would have been a better choice, actually. And I'll just say that almost always with quilting such as this, I always doubt it until I really get into it. The denser it gets, the more I fall back in love with it. Oh, and I did quilt the pink blocks with matching thread in squarish spirals - #2435 (Peachy Pink) - and I really like that bit.



I didn't have enough of any of my solids for a binding, and scrappy didn't seem quite right. Fortunately, I found the perfect unidentified shot cotton in my stash. Blue, cross-woven with a dark green, it totally 'fit' with those greener blocks included in the quilt.



At some point, I'm pretty sure there will be another in what I am beginning to consider a series. With Double Tall Skinny Vanilla, and now Venti, I feel like there's more I want to explore, and the tumbler block is such a friendly one to partner with. Time will tell.



This quilt was on my Q4 2017 Finish-A-Long list!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quilt Radio

I think I actually gasped when I opened an email from Pat Sloan a couple of weeks ago to see an invitation to be a guest on her quilting podcast, American Patchwork & Quilting Talk Show.

Pat is a designer, author, lecturer, and with her weekly radio show, is known as the "Voice of Quilting". Over five years ago, she started the all-quilting podcast, during which she interviews quilt personalities, historians, designers and authors from around the world. How she tagged me to join her on the show, I'm not quite sure, but it should be fun to chat a bit about our favorite topic!


Here is a handy guide on ways to listen. You can find recent past shows here, and if you are able to listen live, just click the 'Live on Air' button here. The podcast airs at 4 PM Eastern time and will be recorded and available afterwards in the show archives. Hope you can tune in!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Victoria + That Binding

Goodness, time has just done quite a job of getting away from me lately! It's been over two weeks since I had the pleasure of presenting a trunk show to MQG Victoria, which was alot of fun! What a friendly bunch they are.


It was good to see what other guilds do - they happened to be celebrating their birthday as a guild with a fabric challenge, and it was a delight to see so much of their beautiful work! I also met a few long-time friends on social media, plus of course some new ones!


After the meeting, there was opportunity to gather round all of the (30!) quilts I'd brought, look up close, and of course, ask questions and chat about what they'd seen and heard. There was one prevalent inquiry and that was about the quilts that had faced bindings.


So I wanted to share the tutorials I've used for this technique - all come highly recommended, yet each has unique differences that may make one your favorite over another. And of course, that's ok!

Faced Binding by Elizabeth/OPQuilt
This was the first tutorial I tried, and it worked lovely, and pretty perfect with mitered corners and all.

Facing Finish by Terry/Terry Aske Art Quilt Studio
Terry's tutorial is an alternative to the mitered method, and really focuses on reducing bulk and controlling the 'squareness' of the corners.

Knife Edge Binding by Anita/Bloomin' Workshop
A bit of a simplified version of the previous technique, here's the one I personally use most often. Call it my go-to.

Non-Binding Binding by Victoria/The Silly BooDilly
I haven't actually used this one, but it's unique in that it's single-fold, but it might suit your project just fine, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

So hope that's helpful! A faced binding is a really lovely way to finish off certain quilts. The one thing about it, is that is needs to be finished by hand on the back side. So a bit of a different method, but not really any more difficult or time consuming than 'regular' binding. Consider trying it sometime so at least you have it in your quilty 'toolkit' when you need it!

Friday, October 6, 2017

What They Don't Know

You've surely seen that the premier issue of Curated Quilts is out in the world. I'm still perusing my own copy and thoroughly enjoying it.... nicely done!



Two of my quilts are included in the Gallery - a showcase of sorts spread throughout the issue with quilts focusing on the theme - in the case of this first issue - "Linear". Of course I'll admit to showing the journal around a bit to a few family and friends, and an interesting thing happened.



And I don't mean this negatively necessarily. It happens and I think we're all used to it and can handle it. But one person, when they saw my two quilts - Monochrome (above) and Yay or Nay (below) - instantly said of Monochrome, "oh this one's better."



Now please don't feel like you have to stand up and defend me or either of my quilts. Please. That's not the point. I totally get that folks may like some of my work better that others. My work may not appeal to them at all. And that's ok! But what struck me about this comment was the fact that others can't usually know what lies within a finished quilt. I'm not talking batting and stitches, color or pattern. I'm talking the process.... the raw emotion that was felt in the creating. Sometimes it's the spirit of adventure, sometimes dabbling with a new technique. With Yay or Nay, it was deeper - being true to myself and not being afraid to do something wrong, to try something just to see what happened. It was a profound moment for me, and truth is, no matter what quilt you put up against it, Yay or Nay is likely to win out for me because of that experience alone.

Of course, most folks won't see that and they definitely won't feel it. Again, if nothing else, it's a reminder to me - and hopefully to you - to let folks see what they see and be ok with that. But also to acknowledge that what we do and what we have is something pretty special. And to savor it. It's easy to get caught up in the stash, the new thing to try, the deadlines, the wips. In fact I'm in the midst of that sort of whirlwind right now. But what I want most is to drink in the process, to acknowledge the gift of creating that I've been given, to cherish the ways that my work reflects a bit of me that noone else may see.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Note to Self

After making a pillowcase to take on retreat a while back, I was in the mood to make more! So with Island Quilter on site with us, I took the opportunity to purchase some fabric to make a set for my mom, and also a fun seasonal one for grandgirl to use through October. [Guess I really should have consulted her mama first, as it turns out the ghosts and googly eyes on the Halloweeny print were a bit scary. oops.]

Anyway, I used the same tutorial as before - the one by The Twiddletails Blog - which I really like. But.... I learned a couple of things in making these.... things I need to remember for next time!

1) Pay attention to directional fabrics. Unfortunately, I did not, and on all of these, I'd really intended for the pattern to go the other direction. Just remember that the WOF (41") goes around the pillow, so depending on the orientation of your print, you may want to purchase a little more fabric.


feature fabric is Joel Dewberry's Bungalow

2) The other thing, is that the seam where the main, contrast, and trim fabrics all meet is thick! I found using my walking foot for those final couple of seams worked really well.


both focus fabrics are from Cotton + Steel Lil Monsters

3) Lastly, just a note that if you are wanting to make queen or king size pillowcases, see the pdf version of the tutorial, as it gives the measurements for those larger sizes. The purple set above I made king-size and they turned out more than generous.

So just fyi! I really want to make more!

Monday, October 2, 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long :: Q4 List

After such a fun and productive Q3, I almost feel like a little breather would be in order, but I have, of course, several projects in the works, so here's hoping I can make decent work of them this quarter.

1. It may not even be fair to put my Venti quilt on the list, as I'm in the quilting phase already. But it IS officially a w.i.p., so there ya go. AND I'm not overly motivated to work on it, so all the more reason to put it on the list.



2. I don't even know where I'm taking the improv spikes I've been making, but I hope to figure that out before long. Cuz I kinda love em!



3. And then there's my "Looking Up" quilt. Yikes. All the blocks are here, and I have no ideas how to puzzle them together. But I trust eventually I will. Fingers crossed!



4. And for a little something different, I'm really hoping to get a Traverse bag made. The noodlehead pattern's been purchased, and the fabric and hardware as well. I just need to do it.



5. And lastly, this may be a stretch, but I'd really like to have my Minimal Day Sampler done too so I can start the new #seamqgbom year fresh. It's a smallish project so I have high hopes, even though we don't even have all the instructions yet for the remaining blocks. Still.... let's be optimistic, shall we?



So that seems like plenty, no? Yeah....that's good.

Linking up with Q4 of the 2017 Finish-A-Long!