Monday, October 29, 2018

Twice Around

For the whole last week, I went to bed counting.... How many little squares would I have to sew onto my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World each day to finish the round by the end of the month? After all that, I sat down Friday night after a long week and sewed on nearly 30! And with that, the second round this month was done.

I'm not sure why I've got a couple of ripples there.... fingers crossed they'll press out when it comes time to baste.

For some reason, though, this month's progress was especially satisfying. In the first new round, I made a pattern of an orange print with solid orange, and that definitely added to the fun.

Swirling the seams isn't too bad these days. It still takes a while, but with just a couple of rounds, the swirls fall into place fairly easily. Pressing them is not my favorite part of this process at all, so I usually do it in spurts.

Anyway, I'm still not ready to stop, so on we go!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Seattle MQG QuiltCon Charity Quilt: The Beginning

Things are a little myopic in the studio these days but for very good reason! Louise/@imfeelincrafty and I, as co-chairs of the Seattle MQG Giving Committee, are working at piecing the guild's QuiltCon Charity quilt.

Thankfully, many many guild members have already done alot of sewing for it. After Louise and I cut 18 yards(!) of fabric in all the colors of the given palette into 1" x 6" strips, we doled it out at one month's meeting, and at the next received back over 150 striped blocks

Louise and I split up the blocks, each setting to work cutting them into diamonds with 5" x 8" custom templates ordered from MakeATX.

Then.... it was on to piecing! Credit for our quilt design totally belongs to Louise. She's clever like that! 

So we're each working on piecing half of the large hexagon blocks. They measure 18" across from flat edge to flat edge. They make a statement don't they?

I've got six hexagons done so far, and about that many left to do. They're a little time consuming, sure, but I find them very captivating, y-seams and all!

So stay tuned. We're really excited how this one's coming together!

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?

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday!

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.