Tuesday, April 30, 2019

H is for Hillary

It had been on my list for a while to make a little something for my friend, Hillary. As thoughtful as they get, over the last few years unexpected little handmades have arrived from her.... a special pincushion, a tablet case, a handmade card which somehow led to a quilt named "Debbie". Imagine that!

So though I debated for ages what to make, I knew the fabrics needed to be a bit unique. At guild meeting one night, I nabbed a bright and shiny scrap of jacquard, which isn't really something I can say I've incorporated into my work before. It came to me that I should pair it with something truly re-purposed, and headed to my closet, where I found a lightweight denim shirt that didn't work for me anymore.

As for a design? I had so enjoyed the technique incorporated into my QuiltCon projects, Home Away from Home and Nine of Ten, that I was itching to do it again, and how perfect it felt to use the letter "H". It was a natural. So I made a bunch of blocks of various sizes, with my only rule being no ruler. To bring the blocks all together, I added in a blue/black crossweave with a similar hand to that denim, and it added a nice contrast.

A bonus to using the denim shirt was its detailing. I incorporated the sleeve panels with the buttons right off, but it wasn't till the top was complete that I realized it might be cool to incorporate the tabs too. Once I thought of it, I just couldn't resist.

Quilting was as improvisational as the piecing, done with my walking foot and Aurifil 50wt #1158 [medium grey]. It seemed right to leave the jacquard unquilted, so that made the path a bit circuitous, but such is life sometimes, right?

I finished the little quilt (17" x 22") off with a faced binding and called it a day.

So Hillary received the little quilt yesterday, and it made me happy to surprise her. It also felt good to finally show my appreciation in the one way I know best. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Show News

There I was, busy at work last Friday, when I received a text from my Seattle MQG quild-mate, Matt/@odditease letting me know that our Improv Alliance (I pieced, he quilted) had won a third place ribbon in the Group Quilt category in our local Everett Quilt Show. Yay! I was so pleased, as I'm super proud of this quilt, and Matt's quilting just made it extra special. AND it was just plain fun to have it hanging in the show.

Then as I was heading up to the show, I heard from Elizabeth @eagould that my Home Away from Home had won a ribbon of its own .... First Place in the Small Pieced category. Matt was leaving that little tidbit as a surprise, and I admit, when I got the note from Elizabeth, I just started laughing!

The theme of the show was "It's Raining Quilts" which explains why the ribbons all had umbrellas on them!

I had entered one more quilt in the show - Follow the Dots. It was hanging with other modern quilts, many made by other members of Seattle MQG.

It was SO good to see other quilts from my guild-mates on display, and though I fear I may have missed some, here are the ones I caught a photo of. Enjoy!

 Refraction by Lynne Shandley

 The Giant Placemat by Clare Kapitan

 Rhythm of the Heart by Elizabeth Gould [2nd Place in Modern Quilts]

 The Last Hurrah by Louise Wackerman and Seattle MQG

 The Sum of Blue by Sara Goss

French Cut by Matt Macomber

 Black Hole by Lynne Shandley

 Raindrops on Wildflowers by Louise Wackerman

 Pinstripe Suit by Martha Peterson [1st Place in Modern Quilts]

 Sunset Dreams by Louise Wackerman

 Morphing by Martha Peterson [2nd Place in Small Pieced]

 Whose Turn? by Elizabeth Gould

English Toffee #1 by Clare Kapitan

Camano Fields by Rosie Winters [award unknown]; quilted by Dionne Matthies-Buban

Octagon Sky by Rosie Winters [3rd Place in Modern Quilts]; quilted by Dionne Matthies-Buban

There you go. Hope you enjoyed (a portion of) the show!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

More to Say

You know when you feel something deeply but you can't quite put it into words right away? That's how I felt last Thursday as news about Gwen Marston's passing was trickling out. It was serendipitous then, that the Michigan issue of Quiltfolk arrived the same day. I'd ordered it a short time before, as I knew Gwen was ill, and I really wanted to read the article about her, and it in some small way provided comfort. [If you haven't had a chance to read it for yourself, Quiltfolk generously offered the feature for all to read here.]

I sadly never was able to take a class from Gwen, but treasure the time I heard her lecture and share many of her quilts. I was able to experience her wisdom and her humor. I met her after, and expressed my gratitude for her sharing herself and her work so generously. It was a small moment in time, but I am thankful for it.

But then after my Bee Sewcial Homage quilt was complete earlier this year, I was able to share it with Gwen via email and she was obviously pleased. She'd actually heard about it from others, and was happy to hear the quilt's story from me directly. She said, "This quilt speaks very clearly of adventure and not only your adventure but everyone who participated in it." That reference to adventure was meaningful, as I had heard Gwen herself say that her 'sketches' were a way to risk an adventure, and that was exactly what I'd wanted my bee mates to do in making their blocks for me. And that's precisely what I did in puzzling them together into a whole.

I was so glad to have brightened Gwen's day (her words) by sharing the quilt that she herself had inspired. Our short correspondence added another layer of meaning to this quilt. And it encourages me still to continue having fun and trying things, to keep risking adventure, and to take heart in Gwen's final words to me, "Keep up the good work."

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Color Books

In the last few weeks, I've added two new books to my bookshelf. I honestly don't buy books that often, but I was super curious about both of these, purchased one and was reading through it when I went to work one day, my coworker had a copy of the second, and after perusing through it, I ordered it for myself.

Though obviously both are totally about color, they are quite different, and I don't feel having one excludes the other. The first is The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, and in one way it is the most comprehensive, in that for each color it explores, there is an essay on the history of that color, overall telling 'the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues.' It includes some very unique colors [such as Gamboge, Archil, Verdigris] that I find intriguing and enlightening. You'll get a good hint at its content in this post and interview with the author on 99% Invisible.

The Designer's Dictionary of Color by Sean Adams is similar in ways yet very different. It highlights nearly 30 colors, documenting each with brief histories, color range and palette variation charts, and cultural meanings. It's also beautifully illustrated for each color, more expansive in that way that Secret Lives. Here's a review from SFcrowsnest that will give you an inside look.

I'm not completely sure how these two volumes will inform my future creating, but they are both definitely interesting and lovely, and I figure inviting more color into my world is never a bad thing. If you have either book, do let us know in the comments what you think and how you use them.

Friday, April 12, 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long :: Q2 List

Time for another Finish-A-Long list, and don't laugh, but I wish I had more projects started to put on it. What that really means is I've got quite a few additional projects on my mind, I just haven't gotten them going yet. So don't be surprised to see a baby quilt, a new purse, and more sneak in amongst the following....

First up is the Courthouse Colour Play that I started last weekend. It's currently on the design wall with lots of fabric strips cut and ready to go. I'm hoping for a lap size quilt but time will tell.

Next is my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World. Considering this one will be hand-quilted, I'm not even sure it's feasible to finish it within the quarter, but one doesn't know unless one tries, right?

And lastly, is my Pantone challenge quilt. I have no inkling what that might look like yet, but I'm sure I'll have fun finding out.

Linking up with the Finish-A-Long Q2 Link Up.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Improv Play

Those words.... improv play. They have a nice relaxing ring to them don't they? Well they do to me, anyway, so when Marci/@marci_girl posted this month's Bee Sewcial theme, I didn't feel quite the normal unease I do when a prompt is announced.

Each of our blocks was to use one feature color (any color) against either black or white. It was even ok to make the occasional 'opposite' block with the color in the background. Plenty of flexibility there. One key stipulation was in regard to block size - we were to make mini blocks - 2.5", 3.5" and 4.5".

To make a close approximation of our normal two 12.5" square blocks, I made 11 - 4.5" blocks, 10 - 3.5" blocks, and 6 - 2.5" blocks. Here they are all together.

I do have a few favorites! Marci planned some 'just play and have fun' scrap busting and I certainly did that!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


There were a couple of things that inspired this project - the first being the palette on my desk calendar, and the second, a previous project, the mini quilt Loosely Connected. Basically I wanted to play with the triangle shapes from Loosely Connected on a larger scale, and chose Kona Denim, Red, and Camellia to explore with.

Of course I started by making several striped slabs, and then cut them into long rectangles. After rearranging the triangles on the design wall again and again, I settled on a layout.

Problem is, once I started sewing them together, I lost interest completely. Like I didn't even like it completely. So after staring at it for a couple of months, I confessed that my original vision was gone, and that was ok. I very nearly took the pieces down and put them in the closet, but luckily, it came to me that I should cut them up and see what that did for me. Obviously!!

And I immediately was interested again!

I was totally happy with the initial random layout of my newly cut blocks. But I decided to see if the piece was helped at all by offsetting the blocks a bit and filling in with the background blue. Deciding to go that route, I thought a little more contrast might be good too, so I added in some Kona Cardinal here and there. And yeah, I liked that even better.

Add a simple frame, and I was done.

I found a really fun and colorful backing in my stash, and though I felt a little guilty using it as the  back, it also seemed perfect. Once that was settled, I was so ready to get quilting! At 36" x 38" I knew it wouldn't take long, nor be too stressful. I had decided while I was still piecing that I wanted to quilt a diamond grid, and went the adventuresome road by choosing a variegated thread - Aurifil 50wt #4647 [Berrylicious]. It added a spirited element of charm, don't you think?

SO. Not that I need a message here, but this project was SUCH a good reminder that if a project isn't speaking to you, consider reworking your vision for it.

 There's no guarantee it'll take you to a happy place, so be sure and celebrate if it does!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A Living Coral Palette

So I declared my planned participation in this year's Pantone Quilt Challenge, and of course, first things first is deciding on my fabrics. For a palette, I was inspired by a photo on the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap site.

Palette by Jennifer F.

As far as actual fabrics go, I'll be using the following (top to bottom in photo below):

And just to be prepared, I purchased a spool of Aurifil 50wt #2220 [Light Salmon], thanks to the recommendation of Daniela/@blockmquilts. So I'm all set! No idea whatsoever what I'll be making, but there's still time for that, right? 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Courthouse Colourplay Beginnings

Taking a class with Seattle MQG is always a good time, and ever since Krista/
poppyprint announced her Courthouse Colourplay workshop, I was intrigued, so last Saturday was totally a win-win.

Of course, it all began with a stack of fabric, and I actually started mine with that big hunk of Kona Splash. Once I had my stack pulled, I realized it had some real similarities to my Begonia project, but whatever. If I'm in a color rut, so be it.

So that's how far I got in class - six blocks. And don't be worried about the wonky shapes and sizes. I'm not, as Krista shared some tips on how to deal with that, and trust me, it'll only get better.