Monday, October 22, 2018

The Improv Issue

The latest issue of Curated Quilts landed in my mail box the other day and I dug right in. There were two sections I needed to peruse before settling in to reading it cover to cover.

First (actually last, as it's at the very end of the journal) was my tutorial on wavy curves, which led to the creation of Window on Improv.

There was also a feature on Bee Sewcial, written by our leaders Leanne Chahley and Stephanie Ruyle. The article shared a good overview of how the bee came to be and how it works. Also, the three quilts I've finished with the group were shown in the issue, two in the article - Mod Mood and Looking Up, and one in the gallery - Baconrific.

If you're 'into' improv at all, you'll love this issue. There's just seriously so much creative inspiration... definitely lots to peruse and admire from our fellow improvisational quilt-makers.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pooled Color

Can't say I'd heard of the term 'pooled color' when Kari/@quiltsforthemaking posted it as this month's Bee Sewcial prompt. But the pin board she shared made it abundantly clear what she meant.

I wasn't really sure if I should 'just' group color swatches together or do a lot of piecing for each 'pool' or what exactly. So I came up with a simply pieced block to duplicate over and over again, making the sizes and shapes all squarish, yet improvisational.

Kari also asked for some off-white negative space and I actually had to minimize that since my block was already oversized. But at 22" x 24" I think it makes a statement, and those simply pieced blocks add alot of texture. It was definitely enjoyable and I may need to explore with these components again!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2018 Finish-A-Long :: Q4 List

After just one finish in Q3 of the Finish-A-Long, I'm keeping things pretty simple for the fourth quarter. Which actually isn't unrealistic since these are my only two quilts currently in progress.

The first is a holdover from last quarter, and I knew it would be iffy to have it finished, as I was still receiving blocks from my Bee Sewcial mates. But receive them I did and it took a few weeks of now and again improv to bring them all together into a quilt top. Gotta say I'm really happy with it and now just need to come up with a quilting plan.

Next up will be my Summer Sampler! I so enjoyed making these blocks all summer long and am anxious to get back to piecing the top. We'll see, maybe I'll do that before quilting the red and white, I don't know. There are actually two more blocks than my collage shows, and it'll be good to get back to them all.

So hopefully I can make it happen. Basically it's putting in the hours for quilting. Fingers crossed!

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Everyday Improv & More with Seattle MQG

It had been planned for months - a doubleheader with my own Seattle MQG - and though I was really looking forward to it, I was basically consumed with the anticipation of it all over the past few weeks.

First up was an Everyday Improv workshop! Basically, it was a chance to explore 15 improvisational piecing techniques, all of which are incorporated into my All In quilt. I took it and several other quilts to give my students an idea of ways to either incorporate the improv techniques into their quilts or be the basis of new quilt-making explorations.

What I most hoped to convey was that the techniques were a fun and easier-than-they-look way to include more improv into their sewing day to day - basically show how versatile they can be. And I think that was accomplished!

Of course it was great fun to see what the class came up with and how they made the techniques their own! I look forward to seeing more as they continue to explore.

Then a few days later, at our monthly guild meeting, I shared a trunk show.

I think this made me the most nervous. I showed my very first quilt, which was completely hand-stitched and quilted during a beginning quilt-making class in 1988....

my first improv quilt, made after taking a class with Katie Pedersen in 2012....

the first quilt I entered into a show....

and on to more of my more recent quilts.... 25 in all. In a nutshell, it was my quilting journey from the beginning, fraught with 'rules' galore, to the present, where pretty much anything goes. Though thankful for the past, definitely, I'm happy to be right here, creating with plenty of freedom.

Whew! All that was exciting and overwhelming all at once! But what a wonderful opportunity it was to share with the group that has meant so much to me and affirmed me over the past five years.

Photo credit at trunk show, Rachel Pascual. Many thanks to Elizabeth Gould and Kathleen Munns for quilt-holding.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Using those Tiny-Pieced Blocks

After spending the day doing tiny piecing with Giuseppe/@giucy_giuce a couple of weeks ago, I had in mind to do with my little blocks just what he had done with his.... incorporate them into small drawstring bags. My go-to for such things is Svetlana/S.o.t.a.k Handmade's drawstring bag tutorial. I've used it more times than I can count and it was just what I wanted for my tiny-pieced blocks.

I used a linen-blend for the main portion of each bag, and coordinating fabrics for the linings and casings. For the larger one, I backed the linen with lightweight interfacing SF101, which created a soft yet somewhat structured bag.

For the smaller bag I forwent the interfacing, so of course it's a little more pliant. Both ways totally work.

I totally winged it on the size of the linen, with the larger bag finishing at 9" x 11" and the smaller at 7" x 8". Some waxed twine was perfect for the ties. So that was fun, and I anticipate making more at some point. What are your ideas for using these tiny-pieced blocks?

Friday, October 5, 2018


It's happened before and I expect it'll happen again. But every once in a while, no matter what I'm working on, I need to set it all aside and just start something new.... specifically something with very little forethought. So in that spot a couple of weeks ago, the notion came to make another Everyday Improv-inspired quilt, and why not work with just two colors, per the QuiltCon 2019 Two-Color Quilt Challenge? I don't keep many lengths of solids on hand (or anything really), so upon glancing through my solid stash, I at least found a couple of yards of Kona Ash, and a yard of Fog. They seemed an unexpected pairing, but it's what I had, and though subtle, I opted to go with it.

As is my norm with these kinds of projects, I just started in cutting and sewing sections and placing them up on the design wall.... stripes, and dots, and spikes. I tried to include good-sized sections of solid. I find so often that I tend to squish components together, maybe even over-filling the space, and I wanted to avoid that.

Not sure if I really accomplished that, especially when I started to add in the quilting. Sticking with the two-color theme, I chose Aurifil 40wt #2600 (light gray), which matched the Ash pretty well. I have rarely used a 40wt, but I really liked how it quilted this piece.

The quilting ended up being an improvisational patchwork as much as the piecing did. It's just how this one came together, and apparently just what I needed. Matched binding was a perfect fit for this small quilt, which finished at 30" x 42".

And then.... I decided to throw it in the wash and crinkle it up. And boy did it crinkle.

Disappointingly, I tried three times to get decent photos of this one in its various stages and it just didn't seem to want to happen. Too sunny, too shadowy, or just plain ho hum, nothing is quite what I'd hoped for. Part of it may be that very quiet palette, which at least was interesting to work with.

Meanwhile, I got the diversion I needed, have another class sample, and feel pretty ready to get back to the wips. Pretty ready, not totally ready. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Improv Here, There, and Everywhere

I feel a little surrounded by improv this week and I'm loving it!
  • I'm working on another improvisational quilt in preparation for my Everyday Improv workshop with Seattle MQG later this week....

Monday, October 1, 2018

Slow and Steady

This month found me adding on at least a few squares to my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World each evening, and that consistency meant I got another two whole rounds on! Obviously each round takes longer and longer now, but slow and steady wins the race.

It's currently about 36" square and I keep saying that my goal is at least 40". No real reason, but I guess it sounds significant in some way. Maybe I'm not quite ready to switch to hand-quilting this piece, so instead I just keep piecing. Whatever. I'm continuing on for now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Time with Giuseppe

Gotta say, it was a really fun weekend. Giuseppe Ribaudo/@giucy_giuce led two workshops with the Seattle MQG, and I had happily grabbed spots in both of them. First up was Modern Quilt Photography & Branding.

Giuseppe discussed several techniques for us to consider in taking photos of our projects - lots of helpful tips and sharing plenty of examples of each. His suggestion to make clear the message, "Don't forget for a moment that I made this thing," was a good reminder that as much as we want to show off our projects the best we can, they aren't made by machines, and it's ok to add some reality to our photos. I suppose it's a balancing act for each of us, right?

One handy takeaway was learning about the Snapseed photo editing app, which already has been interesting to play with.

After the lecture, we took to outside with our quilts in hand! Kinda fun wandering the neighborhood as a group, looking for possible photo spots and taking photos of each other's quilts. [Here's a few.]

The next day, I went back for some reallllly Tiny Piecing. I had curated a colorful combination of fall-ish scraps and stash to take with me, though after my first block - a micro log cabin measuring 4 1/2" - I realized the scale of some of them wasn't ideal. Still, I like my little block alot, and I'm thinking of making a quilted bag like Giuseppe had. He made a point to suggest that these small blocks are great to add to larger projects.

Anyway, for my next block I gave Giuseppe a wave and asked if he'd help me choose a selection of fabrics from those I'd brought with me. It was obviously second nature for him, and when we needed just one more print, he suggested I see if there was anything among his new Quantum scraps that would work. And of course there was - that dark green "Aquastone" was the perfect final touch. Here's the mix we came up with!

Oh yeah! Love this little pineapple block - just 3 1/2" square!

See? The second block is 'significantly' smaller than the first. ha.

I loved taking a break mid-day and walking around to see all the blocks my bee-mates were making. Really impressive!

So there's a little summary of my weekend. If you'd like to try your hand at tiny piecing, the block patterns are available for sale in Alison Glass' shop, either individually or as a set of four designs. I think I'll try the Stretched Geese next!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Blogger's Quilt Festival :: Loosely Connected

Thanks to Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side, the Blogger's Quilt Festival has been a lively online event for 10 years now!

Ridiculous or not, one of my favorite quilts from the last few months is the smallest, Loosely Connected. Just 11" square, I've hung it above my sewing machine, and honestly think several times a week that I really must make another version, except larger.

Making it was just that much fun.... the free and easy kind of creating that very nearly takes charge and makes itself. It had to be that, as I had no idea where I was going until well into the making. I remember beginning with striped strips and then cutting into them at angles. Connecting them with those skinny navy zigs and zags became my most-loved piecing details.

Once the arrangement of the triangles was set, even though I'll admit I wasn't sure at that point, echoing them with matchstick quilting was definitely a no-brainer. And it was in that process that I was totally won over.

Micro-binding cut at 1 3/4", with just a tiny accent of matched binding, was the obvious finish. And of course, a great reminder that creating doesn't have to be long, drawn-out, and overwhelming to be completely satisfying. Take the time to dabble now and then and see where it takes you!

Thanks for stopping by! You'll find me on Instagram at @aquilterstable. Leave your email in the sidebar if you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, The Scrap Basket....  more from A Quilter's Table delivered straight to your email inbox. 

My previous entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival:
EverGreenery, 9/19/17
StringSong, 9/23/16 ~ Yay or Nay, 9/21/16
Room Temp, 5/20/15 ~ Keychain, 5/19/15
Unlocked, 5/16/14 ~ Red Hots, 10/27/14
Absolutely Mod Pop, 5/19/13 ~ HST Love, 5/17/13 ~ Crazy Rainbow, 10/25/13
Hopscotch, 5/19/12 ~ The Stars of Summer, 10/26/12
Supernova, 5/13/11 ~ Mango Revisited, 10/28/11

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Fish Rack

It's Week 18 of the Summer Sampler, and that means the last travel-themed block of the quilt along. It's hard to believe we've been at this for over four months and very soon it's time to start putting our quilts together! This week, Daisy Aschehoug of Warm Folk shares a block she calls "Fish Rack," inspired by Norwegian rack for drying fish. Specifically, Daisy says, "The Fish Rack is based on the nomadic art project by architect Sami Rintala called 'SALT.' The series of large structures currently overlooks the Oslo Opera House and is modeled after the fish racks along the coast where, traditionally, fish were dried in the harsh winds before winter."

Funny thing (not) was I had no trouble with the paper-piecing itself this go-round. In fact, the matching went flawlessly. But. I messed up - twice - getting those side triangles on. Gee whiz. No worries, though, as it still came together pretty quickly and I'm more than pleased with the finish. What a striking block design.

So.... now we wait until next Monday for the final posting which will be the finishing directions. I have purchased several grays for the setting blocks, and won't know till I get a few up on the design wall if I like that choice. So stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I've thoroughly enjoyed our trip around the world - just look at all the places we've 'visited'! The theme of this year's sampler - Summer Road Trip - has added such a dimension to this quilt along, and I'm looking forward to seeing the map of blocks all come together.