Wednesday, February 28, 2018

QuiltCon :: Classes

Several folks I talked to at QuiltCon had not signed up for any classes, and fair enough, but I really enjoyed taking a couple. The way it turned out, they were both all-day (6 hour) classes with teachers I had not met yet but really admired.

First up was Color Play with String Quilts with Tara Faughnan.

We spent much of the morning exploring color with swatches of the fabrics we'd each brought. 20-30 different colors/values were suggested! Tara gave us all sorts of little challenges, and it was all very interesting, leaving us with much to think about and consider in our future work.

In the afternoon we got to sewing, and though these blocks don't look like much YET, I'm looking forward to getting back to it and making more. Eventually they'll be cut up, rearranged, and sewn together with others. I'm looking forward to that!

Here's a bit of Tara's string quilt so you can see where I'm headed.

The next day, it was time for Small Hand Piecing with Chawne Kimber. The hand-piecing allowed for a full day of sitting around a table, stitching, and getting to know new quilty friends. It was a real pleasure. As was Chawne herself! 

Though I'd done much hand-sewing years ago, it had been a while, so it was good to hear the basics from Chawne, and considering we were working with 1 1/2" unfinished squares, things made tiny are a whole 'nother thing.

Mine's in the center of our group photo, so you can see I got several rounds stitched on. Fingers crossed I can keep at it and actually piece a quilt top of some size. It may take a while!

I gotta say, this was one terrific day. Rachel/@snippetsofsweetness [aka daughter dear] and I both felt so pleased to have spent this day with Chawne. Truly a treat.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

QuiltCon :: Gifted

You guys! I'm back fresh from QuiltCon, exhausted and full, still going over all the moments in my head. It was such a good time. I'll be posting about it for some time, I'm sure, but for today, just a little reveal post about a few gifts I took with me for my roommates and birthday buddy.

Wouldn't you know most of my recent makes were patterns by Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade? I tried her scissors cozy for the first time and was really pleased with the pattern, which goes together pretty quickly.

Both were quilted prior to construction, just one of the details I love.... you know, besides the little tabs and the zipper pulls. Very fun! I made one for my roommate, Louise/
@imfeelincrafty, and one for Ellyn/@ellynz, with whom I had agreed ahead of time to meet up and exchange birthday gifts.

A couple of years ago I had made daughter dear a large Lola pouch, so this time (my other roommate!) I made her the smaller version in fabrics coordinating with the first. This pattern, with its unique zipper installation technique, really is sweet, and I like that the binding allows for a little fussy-cutting.

I needed a giftbag for Ellyn's gift, so I dug into my scraps and stitched up a qayg drawstring bag, also a tutorial from s.o.t.a.k handmade. I don't do much quilt-as-you-go, but it's perfect for this kind of project, plus a nice change of pace.

I copied Svetlana's lead and added one of my leather labels - perfect, don't you think?

And lastly, even though I didn't end up using or gifting the lanyards I made, as QuiltCon provided ones that were perfectly adequate, I wanted to share in case you (or I) need one in the future. I really like this tutorial by Simply Cotton and is a super quick sew! I used the suggested charm squares to make scrappy lanyards, but you could also make them with a single fabric of course.

Anyway, I'll be back with a variety of QuiltCon posts as I can, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, it's time to get back in the swing of things!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Making Motions with Sidewalk Chalk

It was January 25 that I posted about A Big Bed Quilt. I had fabric I'd procured over the last several months, a pattern (finally!) chosen, and Rachel/Stitched in Color's Big Bed Quilt-Along to egg me on. I hadn't anticipated this being a beginning of the year project, but all the pieces fell into place and I went for it.

I'm so pleased to say that the top is finished! I highly recommend the pattern, Sidewalk Chalk by Meghan/Then Came June. In fact, it was really fun to put together. There are several different blocks, but once you get past the half-rectangle triangles, the blocks are super simple and in geometric combinations I love. Then it's a bit of a puzzle to piece them into rows, but the kind of puzzle that totally makes sense. Wouldn't you know the largest size, Bed Size at 90" x 104", wasn't quite large enough, once I took the time to Measure Up my own bed. But no worries, I was able to add one extra row plus one column, which brought it up to 96" x 112", which was perfect, even considering a little shrinkage from quilting and washing.

For backing, I ordered several yards of the crisscross in black wideback by Carolyn Friedlander, which is one of the low-volume fabrics in my original pull, so now I'm all set.

Set for what? Set to send off to Rachel/Stitched in Color herself for long-arming. The quilt is not yet in transit, but will be soon, and I'm more than thrilled to be at this step in the process as I head off to QuiltCon. Besides finalizing decisions on thread and quilting design, I'm also anxious to see how I like the Quilter's Dream Select batting, which I have never personally tried but heard lots of good things about.

So yay! I stepped from behind the quilt in this last photo - you know, for scale! The colors are a tad off, since the quilt seems less 'creamy' in person, but I'm loving the low volume. And see those trees placed throughout the quilt top? They are from the Lagom border print, and perfect, I think, for a Pacific NW quilt. Enough already. I'm shipping it off soon and will be sharing a finished quilt with you before we know it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Nitty Gritty

So the projects I made from waxed canvas for my guest post at Diary of a Quilter needed a post of their own. I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed this little foray into experimenting with a new substrate

One of my fortunate discoveries was how well the canvas substitutes for leather. I'd made the Leather Bottom Pouch pattern from Beyond Cotton by Krista Fleckenstein twice before in a class with her, and though I totally love them, I haven't gotten brave enough to go shopping for leather to make more. So the fact that the canvas worked nicely for the pouch's bottom section was good to know!

The same was true for the Basket pattern, also from Beyond Cotton. Seriously, this little basket took about 10 minutes to make - just cutting out the template and popping on a couple of rivets. I've been using it nearly daily for my wonder clips, and it's holding up really well. I love that it's soft but sturdy. May just need to try the larger version one of these days.

The Canvas and Leather Lunch Bag, a tutorial by Pretty Prudent, actually was intended for waxed canvas, and went together really well. I found it to be smaller than an average lunch sack, but that doesn't mean it's not as cute as can be, and I really love the addition of the leather lacing for a closure. I can see this as a fun gift-wrapping option.

After all that, and the success of the Boxy Pouch made from Cara/Pink Stitches' tutorial, I couldn't resist making a couple more - one each for my son and son-in-law. The guys in my family don't get as many hand-mades as the gals, so it was nice to have a project to make especially for them.

So I think that's enough of that little diversion for now, but I have no doubt I'll be on the watch for more projects to make with waxed canvas. And as a reminder, click here to read my tips for working with it - just good to know before you start in.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Two-Color Quilt Composition

As far as I'm concerned, Season Evans is the master of two-color quilts. So when opportunity arose to take a class from her, I was in.

For several hours, we explored with just two shapes - strips and half-square triangles. One key takeaway from the class was the concept of careful editing, so we each worked on coming up with several designs with each of our shapes, starting with very basic layouts. I found that harder that I expected!

I shared several other designs on Instagram, if you're curious, but I did get one design pieced during class. It measures 34" square, and I'm looking forward to quilting it one day soon.

I'm already mulling over quilting designs and realizing my design won't make it easy if I want white thread in the white areas and purple threads in the purple areas. (That Kona Raisin didn't photograph well, did it?) I'm thinking this may be a good one to try mono-filament on. Hmmm.....

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


"A graphical representation of a period of time, on which important events are marked." I get what a timeline is. But in fabric? Stephanie/@spontaneousthreads's Bee Sewcial prompt was intriguing, challenging, and a thoughtful stroll down memory lane.

In Stephanie's words, "Start[ing] with the day you were born mark the moments in segments, thick or thin, short, long, tapered, connected or interrupted.... Colors: BACKGROUND in a range of neutrals.... MOMENTS: everyday ones in black, very dark gray, navy, Kona pepper.... SUPER SPECIAL MOMENTS: (marriage/ birth of a child/ huge life changes/ death) should be represented in a color that means something to you."

With those instructions, it seemed that first off I needed to construct a rough life-map to guide me, and also, a color key. Those steps took more than a bit of reflection, counting back the years, etc.

Of course, piecing was a whole 'nother thing. Though the fabric placement and sizes were definitely improvisational, I did use my ruler often to make sure the 'event markers' fit in their appropriate 'years' and that the years added up relatively straight.

The colored markers all represent people, the yellow either a marriage or a special anniversary celebration trip. The little "-" bits on the left are significant family deaths; the bars of gray on the right, the homes hubby and I have shared together. What the photos don't reflect well is all the purple - the color I chose for myself - but it's there.

And as a nod to the sewing that brought me to a place where I would ever make my life's timeline out of fabric.... are those bits indicated by the arrow below. There are seven of them, beginning when I learned to sew at age 10 to my own first sewing machine at 21 and on through the beginning of blogging, new machine(s), joining Seattle MQG, and Bee Sewcial itself.... not THE most important things along life's journey maybe, but key nonetheless.

So that was one interesting odyssey. I'm so curious how my bee mates will interpret the theme. At the very least, at approximately 14" x 30", this simple fabric strip holds alot of meaning. I kinda like that.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Southwest Modern

The newly-published Southwest Modern caught my eye the first time I saw Kristi Schroeder post about it. I mean the cover alone was intriguing, and the thought of travel-inspired quilts really piqued my interest. That's something that I've thought about, not really followed through with, but really like the idea of. So when Lucky Spool Media offered to send me a copy for review, it was an easy, 'yes.'

I actually had no idea where the Marfa mentioned in the byline was (it's a high-desert city in Texas!) but I had been to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, the location shown on the cover. And as Kristi shared behind the scenes photos from the book, I was drawn in.

So different from my own aesthetic, I love the bold patterns and colors.... and all that straight-line quilting that somehow ties the collection together.

Part travel guide and part quilt book, Southwest Modern really is a unique combination. Besides the expected quilt patterns, Kristi shares some of her favorite places she's discovered in her travels, and of course they provide beautiful backdrops for her quilts.

Lucky Spool has a reputation for making beautiful, compelling books, and this one's no different. Whether you're looking for new modern quilt inspiration, a travel guide, or beautiful photography, this book has it all.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Multicolor Wedge Slabs

It's my turn to choose a project for Faith Circle of the do.Good Stitches charity bee, and I'm excited to have the group make bright wedge slabs. We did a similar quilt in the Seattle MQG last year, and I liked it so well I wanted to do it again! 

Here's the block tutorial. Though instead of the cool colors in the tutorial, I'm asking my bee mates to use the colors shown in my sample block here - gold, purple, lime, aqua, lavender, red-orange, and dark blue. Unfortunately the darkest colors don't show well in my photo...the left and center pieces are actually purple; the one on the right, dark blue. The main point is to keep the overall look bright and saturated. I'll be honest and admit that the colors for my block were fairly randomly chosen from my scrap basket! I just pulled an assortment I liked and went for it

The block shown is 6 1/2" x 24 1/2". My mates have the option of doing a variety of lengths, as long as the height is 6 1/2" and the total length is about 48" - basically the equivalent of 2 - 12 1/2" blocks. Hopefully they have as much fun with it as I have so far!