Monday, October 31, 2022

Quiltober :: XI - XII - XIII

It's hard to believe that today is the final day in Quiltober, hosted by Nicholas Ball @quiltsfromtheattic! I've thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Quiltober22 prompts with some improv, and the fabric-play that ensued was so relaxing and fun. Here are my final three blocks.

Day XI - Witch :: I struggled with this one! Depicting witches isn't my  norm, so I was thankful when I thought of focusing on her broom. Then I knew exactly what I wanted to do. [10.5" x 12.5"]

Day XII - Shadow :: This was another prompt that stumped me for a while. Can't say this one was easy, even once I'd settled on two trees. The larger one was totally figuring-it-out-as-I-went improv. For the second, I used my hera marker first to reproduce the lines on another piece of background fabric. Then after deciding how it needed to be pieced together, I sliced along the lines with my rotarty cutter, and it was quick work from there. [11" x 15"]

Day XIII - Rune :: Ahhh, Rune. I'm sorry, but I wasn't even sure I knew what the word meant! According to "any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets" or "something written or inscribed in such characters." OK. That I could work with. Somehow in my search, I happened upon a rune translator on (!!) Rather than type in my name, I entered 'Quiltober' and this is what came up!

So I set in to improv those 'letters.' I have to tell on my hubby though.... I'd left the set of letters on my cutting table one night, all ready for me to piece together the next day. I saw him glancing at the letters, and he finally turned to me and said, "I know it's supposed to say something but what is it?" haha. I wouldn't have known myself a few days before.

Below is the finished block. I may add a frame to it later, but I decided to wait until I start puzzling the blocks together. [7" x 34"]

So my 13 Quiltober blocks are done and I confess I love each one way more than I expected to at the outset. They'll hang out on my design wall for a week or so while I head to Quilt Market, but I fully plan on continuing work on this project and hopefully have a finished quilt yet this fall. I'm curious, do you have a favorite block, and if so, why is it your favorite? 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: Machine Quilting + Hand Quilting | Italiano antico

You've probably already seen my finished quilt, Italiano antico, but I wanted to reshare it briefly since the current Aurifil Artisan Challenge is using machine-quilting and hand-quilting in the same project. I can't for sure say this was my first time doing that, but I don't do it often. It's kind of a trend lately, isn't it? I definitely enjoyed giving it a try.

For the machine-quilted grid, I chose three different red Aurifil28wt threads. These were heavier threads than the 50wt I usually machine-quilt with, but I'm definitely growing fond of them.

I intentionally left the centers of the Xs unquilted, and later went back in for some big-stitch hand-quilting with Aurifil 12wt. Perfect it's not, but I love the look, and it was a pleasure to stitch.

Any of you like to combine machine- and hand-quilting? I'll be on the look-out for opportunities to do it again. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Mini Series Sew Along :: Stretched Geese + Criss Cross

I confess I've been working ahead a bit on my tiny-pieced blocks, and this week it proved to my detriment. If I'd watched the Mini Series video for this week before making my blocks, I would have remembered not to sew quite to the tips of the geese on the Stretched Geese block, and kept my points just a little sharper.

And on the Criss Cross, Giuseppe gave a great hint that would have reduced the pain of paper-removal. Oh well. That said, Criss Cross was a bit more challenging considering several pieced components had to be sewn together. I always find that a tad finicky.

Even so, I think both blocks turned out well enough. Ten down, two to go!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Hudson Pouches

I've been working behind the scenes on a little gifty for my Bee Sewcial beemates when we gather in Houston NEXT WEEK for our special exhibit at the International Quilt Festival. The project was inspired by some special fabric designed by our beemate, Kari Vojtechovsky. Pretty cool, right?

Kari also designed our new-ish Bee Sewcial logo. Making the Bee Sewcial fabric designs available on Spoonflower made it easy for each of us to order exactly what we wanted. In the photo above are the fabrics I ordered, (top to bottom) a small dot in Cotton Poplin, a small black and white text logo in Petal Signature Cotton, and a Linen Cotton Canvas with a larger multi-colored text.

The project I chose to make is the Hudson Pouch from sotak handmade. I made the small version (7" x 3.5") with a contrasting bottom made of Essex Linen. The canvas was the feature fabric, the small dot the lining, and the handles were all made from the small text fabric. 

Luckily I had a variety of colors of zippers on hand that coordinated with the colors in the fabric, so that worked great.

Mass-production isn't something I do often - usually only when I'm making Christmas giftbags! But it worked! 

First I made a test pouch, and when that sewed up fine, I moved on to make 11 more.

So it feels good to have those ready to pack next week. If you aren't already, follow Bee Sewcial to see the quilts that will be in the special exhibit. Hopefully I'll be able to post a bit on Instagram while at the show.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

24 Days of Sashiko

My daughter, Rachel, DM'd me over the weekend about "24 Days of Sashiko" with sashiko.lab, so of course I went to take a look and was immediately intrigued. Did I need another handstitching project right now, with my bow tie quilt and zen with Jen both far from complete? Of course not. But it sounded like a great opportunity to learn more sashiko, so why not? 

In fact before I even started stitching, I learned that we'd be doing the Hitomezashi method, where you use a grid as a guide to stitch. Whereas with the Moyozashi method, the pattern itself needs to be drawn on the fabric.

So yes, that means I needed to get started marking some fabric! Since I just found out about the stitch along a couple of days prior to its start, I'm using supplies I have on hand - Kona Windsor for the base cloth, and Aurifloss 2390 [Cinnamon Toast!] for thread. A little unexpected, but when I saw Kazue say she loves stitching in brown and navy, and I saw her sample, I was smitten. Besides, I love brown, and it feels unique. Definitely a different feel from my previous couple of sashiko projectsAnyway, each day's grid is made of 1 cm. or approximately 3/8" squares, with each day's stitching fitting within the 8 cm. grid. So here's my first stitching!

Day 1: Basic pattern-1 - The first pattern is Jyuji-sashi. Jyuji represents 'cross' in Japanese, so we will stitch crosses in some of the squares.

After a little experimentation, I'm stitching with four strands of the Aurifil floss. I'm loving the brown on the blue, and looking forward to stitching more designs. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Quiltober VIII - IX - X

So we're over half way done with Quiltober, and I have mixed feelings. I've really been enjoying creating improv responses to the prompts; then again, I'm liking what I'm seeing on the design wall and already thinking how to bring these blocks together into a quilt.

Day VIII - Mummified :: I had a vision in my mind of how to express 'wrapping' with fabric, and it didn't turn out too bad. It was especially fun to decide on the mix of fabrics as I added strips. [8.5" x 11"]

Day IX - Teeth :: I made use of @quiltsfromtheattic's popular Triangles technique and the scraps on my cutting table to make this block. [9.5" x 11.5"]

Day X - Tome :: I was trying to reflect the pages of a book in the block below, and it took a little penciled sketch and a do-over with larger cuts of fabric to get it right, but I'm super pleased with the outcome. It's my only block so far that uses just two fabrics, and I think the black and white is a good addition to my collection of blocks. [6.5" x 17"]

I'll hopefully be back next Monday with my final three blocks. The prompts are doozies - Witch, Shadow, and Rune - so I've got my work cut out for me, no pun intended. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Start of Apple Picking Season

So I've been hand-stitching a new stitchery the last week or so, and it's from Stitch Along with Jen. Where I usually purchase a sampler separate from my other supplies, the zen with jen stitch kit included the embroidery fabric with backing (10" square), a 6" embroidery hoop, two needles, and a spool of variegated WonderFil size 8 perle cotton EZM1090 [Cranberry]. This kit was called 'apple picking season 002'.

From what I can tell, Jen is kind of known for stitching on preprinted fabric with no particular plan. IE. not a sampler per se. The focus is entirely on the stitching, one stitch at a time. In her words, "this is a mindful, meditation piece with no exact plan in mind."

So it's a bit of a different kind of stitching, but I'm up for it. Currently, I'm stitching wherever I'm moved to stitch in the moment, switching off with a single-thickness of thread and a double-thickness. I'm still mulling over whether to add in an additional red thread or not. Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Quiltober V - VI - VII

I've really been enjoying the fabric-play inspired by the Quiltober prompts, and my interpretations continue to be rather loose. All's good.

Day V - Bones :: This is one of my favorite blocks so far. I used one of Carolyn Friedlander's bone prints as my feature fabric, with a few more added in for contrast. [13" x 16"]

Surprisingly, my blocks have grown larger with each prompt! Not sure what that's about, but I'm really liking them together.

Day VI - Carve :: My first thought when I saw this prompt was how I slice through fabric with my rotary cutter when I do improv curves. So I combined that slow, easy motion with skinny inset piecing. I don't even remember why I added a width of background fabric to the bottom at the end and added one last curve, but I'm glad I did. [7" x 11"]

Day VII - Spiky :: I kept this one super simple and just made a couple of short spiky strips using the scraps on my cutting table. I may sew the two strips together eventually. We'll see when it comes time for puzzling the quilt top together. [4" x 14"]

Monday, October 17, 2022

Mini Series Sew Along :: Bear Paw

So does a seriously tiny 4.5" block deserve it's own blog post? Obviously so!

There's a bonus block in the Mini Series Sew Along, the Bear Paw. Talk about tiny piecing! This one was acutally a bit more challenging than the others, with three separately-pieced components to each quadrant. That's 12 in all, and I'm glad to have survived to tell about it.

Actual tiny piecing is one thing, and I don't mind that so much. Sewing tiny-pieced components together though, definiely adds to the challenge, for me at least. The layers are compounded, and I ended up taking out some of the paper to facilitate this finish. But like I said, I got 'er done, and it's a terrific addition to our collection of small blocks.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Mini Series Sew Along :: Triangle Geese + Bloom

After seeing so little blue in last week's Mini Series Sew Along blocks, I knew I had to use it in a larger way this week. For Triangle Geese, I used a simple gradation from my fabric pull.

But for Bloom - which I've looked forward to making since Day 1 - after using my brightest yellow for the center, I chose the bolder colers in my palette, and I love the result.

So with this pair, we're two-thirds of the way through the sew along. Dare I say that I'm enjoying the tiny piecing more than I thought I might?

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Horizon Views

Imagine huge sighs of relief. That's me when I glance over and remember that my latest Bee Sewcial quilt is D.O.N.E. Back in April, I offered my bee mates the initial prompt of "Horizons." It was Day 1 of my retirement, and the prompt held a multiplicity of meanings for me.

At the time, I said, "For color, anything goes! I'm asking my beemates to take the liberty - please! - to use it abstractly. I love the work of digital artist Grant Haffner - the layering and his use of multi-colors. I'm hoping they are as inspired by it as well, as they create their own horizons in fabric." I also asked for one rectangular block from each of them, in a landscape orientation, approximately 8"-10" tall, and 30"-40" wide.

And of course, one by one, the blocks arrived from my beemates. I really loved that each represented a particular kind of horizonSadly, it took me several more weeks before I dug in and created my own block, reminiscent (to me at least) of the lake photos I've posted over the years. 

And then, the blocks hung on my design wall where I ruminated over them nearly every day. I confess I really struggled with how to arrange all the blocks together into a cohesive whole. But FINALLY, I hesitantly pieced them into a top and with a handful of trimmings, pieced a quilt back. That process was helped along by a stashed two-yard length of the Kona Color of the Year 2020, Horizon. It was kismet.

About the time I puzzled the blocks into a quilt top, I decided that dense Organic Straight-Line Quilting was the way to go. The process on a quilt this size - 43" x 74" was a tad arduous, and I didn't make it any easier on myself by using multiple threads. And by multiple, I mean 16! 

All but one were Aurifil 50wt - 2600 [Light Gray], 2805 [Light Turquoise], 2715 [Robins Egg], 2730 [Delft Blue], 1125 [Medium Teal], 2784 [Dark Navy], 2840 [Loden Green], 1114 [Grass Green], 2910 [Medium Olive], 4030 [Plum], 4225 [Eggplant], 2530 [Blossom Pink], 2115 [Lemon], 2320 [Light Toast], and 2372 [Dark Antique Gold]. Then there was also one Sulky 50wt Cotton+Steel 753-1058 [Tangerine]. 

That's a lot of colors! But when you see the quilt top, I think you understand why, right? Of course I wasn't able to match every fabric in the quilt, so in some sections, I chose a dominate color of thread; in others, I used two or three overlapping. For the bobbin, I used Aurifil 50wt 2805 [Light Turquoise] throughout.

Finished off with a faced binding using the tutorial by Audrey/@cottonandbourban, I'm pleased to be celebrating another Bee Sewcial quilt finish, which I'm calling "Horizon Views."

During the time that this quilt's blocks were still under construction, my husband and I actually purchased "Sunset Road," one of Mr. Haffner's prints, and it now hangs happily in our home.

So of course, when we went out for a quilt photoshoot yesterday, we went looking for a road with a power pole, and got a photo reminiscent of Mr. Haffner's own beautiful scenes. It was the perfect finishing touch.

 Blocks made by: 
Leanne/@shecanquilt, Marci/@marci_girlFelicity/@felicityquiltsKaren/@capitolaquilterStephanie/@spontaneousthreadsKen/@thekingslackerM-R/@quiltmatters, and myself/@aquilterstable.

Here are links to my previous Bee Sewcial quilts - Mod MoodBaconrificLooking UpHomageModular, Rings, and Lined, if you missed them.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Quiltober II - III - IV

So Quiltober is proving somewhat challenging. With Halloween-related posts, I'm definitely making it my own and where my mind is going is very loosely connected. With the first prompt, Crooked, I could be fairly literal, but not so  much in the following days.

Day II - Buried :: I was kind of thinking of a grave, and used a Carolyn Friedlander bone print for the center fabric. The surrounding rounds were supposed to give a notion of depth, though I'm not sure that was entirely successful. I 'see' it though. [9.5" x 9.5"]

Day III - Moon :: Once again, I could be pretty literal, and used the Rings method in @quiltsfromtheattic's Inspiring Improv, which I really enjoyed.

For the final block, I surrounded my 'moon' in black and sliced into it to insert a wedge. [12" x 12"]

Day IV - Spell :: Honestly all I could think of were the 'sparkles' made by a Disney fairy godmother's wand. Go figure. But I went with it, and had fun with the process. [11.5" x 12"]

So even though my responses to the prompt have been questionable, the chance for free fabric play has been delightful. Behind the scenes, I've just finished up a long-term project, so Quiltober has been a welcome respite.