Monday, July 24, 2023

Diamond Flare :: July

Well my Diamond Flare BOM quilt with Seattle MQG is growing! Designed by guild member Taylor Krz @toadandsew, I was excited to see what this month's reveal held. My Diamond Flare went from this....

to this.

I felt like it was transformed with the addition of those corner piece, both in continuing the design, as well as the addition of those dark squares. It now measures 51" square! We're really only half-way along, as the final 'border' will take us several months to construct. But meanwhile, I like how it's looking, and am intrigued by the process. AND it's been Lego-inspected, so all is well.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


With improv, things often don't go as planned, if there even was a plan. And just sometimes, things get carried away. Or maybe that's just me…

But when my @beesewcial mate, Leanne @shecanquilt, announced this month's prompt as "Fireworks," I had a loose idea of where I wanted to take it. Somewhere along the way, the scale got waaayyyy off. My original layout is shown below. See the 'center' is already pieced, and I was thinking I'd fill in all around it. So far, so good. I'd used bright colors for the fireworks, and a variety of sky-colored fabrics for the background. Most of the fabrics were quilter's cotton, but there were a couple of shot cottons as well, which was fine by Leanne.

But before long, I knew I was in trouble. Things were getting big fast. At the point shown here, if I'd trimmed it, I would have ended up with a block approximately 13" x 36"…. larger that our normal equivalent of two 12.5" blocks. 

I could have cut the slab into two or more smaller blocks, but knowing Leanne, I suspected she'd enjoy cutting into the slab herself when it came time to puzzle blocks together. So I wrote her and we chatted about it and agreed the piece had possibilities that could be determined at a later date. Whether it's as filler or smaller blocks or whatever, I'm going to send it Leanne's way for her to use as she sees fit once she has the rest of the bee's blocks. This isn't how things usually go when I make bee blocks, but that's improv for you.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Both Sides Now

I was in the shower when I thought of the name for my latest finish, Both Sides Now. And no, I wasn't singing. But while the song title 'fit' in the most obvious of ways, I decided I better refamiliarize myself with the lyrics to be sure. Written by Joni Mitchell in the 1960s, the song speaks about sides to things - clouds, love, life. And I found it a perfect backdrop for this little project.

OK, so more about the actual quilt. It was made specifically for a quilt challenge for the 2023 Women of the ELCA Gathering, responding to two things: one side interprets the "Just Love" theme of the upcoming gathering; and the reverse side interprets my response to the coronavirus pandemic. Boy, when I read about the two components of the challenge, I did not see a connection at all. In fact, the two themes seemed quite incongruent to me. But let me tell you more about the quilt, and maybe by the end, you'll see that the themes are at least a little connected, at least in the way I interpreted them.

Side one focused on "Just Love." I immediately thought of hearts, and since a little side 'rule' in this challenge was to incorporate the color red, I pulled a big selection of them, a few other fun solids, and somewhat randomly ordered a reddish Marcia Derse print, Spotted Graffiti in Thimbleberry, to possible add some interest. 

I started by making a dark stripey slab and created the center heart using the Spotted Graffiti, and Konas Raisin, Sangria, Wine, and Rich Red.

Then I created another stripey slab, incorporating Konas Eggplant, Tomato, Lipstick and Painter's Palette Raspberry into the mix, and subsequently cut a second heart. 

For the outer section, I added in Konas Poppy and Cardinal, a woven from my Entwine bundle by Giuseppe Ribaudo, and Konas Quicksilver and Sheen in Tinsel, intending to make this last 'layer' lighter so the first two hearts would stand out a little more.

I debated for a while about cutting one more heart and 'framing' them, but decided in the end that what I had here was pretty true to my original idea, so I moved on to create side two, with the focus being my response to the pandemic. Yikes. You might remember that a while back, I made two coronavirus-inspired blocks for my Bee Sewcial beemate Marci @marci_girl. I hearkened back to some of the same feelings in creating side two of this piece - how the important connections in our lives had changed, shifted. They are still definitely there, but finding our way back to what felt normal hasn't been clear, or easy, or in some instances even necessary. Things still feel tentative much of the time, but feeling better as time goes on.

By the time I got side two pieced, I was very anxious to get quilting, and chose five Aurifil threads to use: 28wt 2260 [Wine] and 2270 [Paprika]; and 50wt 2250 [Red], 4225 [Eggplant], and 2612 [Arctic Sky].

All along, I had vertical matchstick quilting in mind for this piece, and I thoroughly enjoyed using different thread colors in different areas of the quilt, loosely related to the fabric colors of side one. Ie. I roughly used the darkest colors in the center section, and the lighter on the two sides, with some intentional overlap. 

I chose a traditional binding considering both sides of this 18.5" x 20.5" quilt were to be the focus, using the last bit of my Kona Cardinal. As I was pressing the binding, it dawned on me to add just a bit of an extra touch - a scrap from one of the strip sets from side one. And in doing so, I realized that the two sides were indeed related, as I had interpreted them. Of course with the fabric and improv lines. But also the love expressed on side one - felt primarily for my loved ones, but of course, also for the wider community - was indeed connected to the ways relationships have been affected and continue to evolve since the pandemic. I was glad to have thought to include that scrap in the binding to remind me of that.

Did you notice the added personalization next to my label? I know it's light, but this is the first time a requirement for a challenge has been to sign our quilt. That felt good and somehow meaningful.

So I need to ship this little quilt off very soon, but I have to say.... after a hesitant start, I experienced some significant feelings along the way during its creation, and I'm grateful to have prioritized the opportunity to participate in a WELCA quilt challenge once again.

Friday, July 14, 2023

All the Albersesque

Going through my list of current and upcoming projects the other day, I was reminded that I still need to pull my Bee Sewcial Albersesque blocks into a quilt top. Fortunately, I have an idea for that!! Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to show off all the blocks I received from my bee mates, each inspired by the work of Josef Albers. First up are my own inspiration blocks.

my blocks

made by Felicity @felicityquilts

made by Karen @capitolaquilter

made by Kari @quiltsforthemaking

made by Leanne @shecanquilt

made by Marci @marci_girl

made by M-R @quiltmatters

Stephanie @spontaneousthreads

Aren't they a fantastic bunch? Like I said, I have an idea for the quilt top, but need to choose background colors and probably order the fabric. I'm really looking forward to puzzling this one together!

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Quilt Festival Long Beach

While one of my quilts was hanging at Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last weekend, I also had a couple more hanging with The Quilts of Bee Sewcial Special Exhibit in Long Beach, CA in the IQF show

There were 16 quilts in the exhibit, a subset of what was shown at IQF Houston last November. Of my Bee Sewcial quilts, Baconrific and Rings were included in the exhibit in Long Beach.

All exhibit photos shown here are from Karen Foster @capitolaquilter, who was our only beemate able to attend the show and represented Bee Sewcial with a gallery talk. Here's some glimpses of the exhibit that she shared with us. It was great she was able to share photos of each of our quilts as well as some of the exhibit. I really do enjoy seeing how the quilts look hanging together!

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Mini Plaid-ish Quiltalong

After making The Plaid-ish Quilt with Erica @kitchentablequilting back in 2019 and then her Plaid-ish2 in 2020, I really could not help but make the new version, The Mini Plaid-ish Quilt, now could I? Besides, my mom claimed the original Plaid-ish, so I am all in for making the new, slightly smaller version, for myself. 

Erica's hosting a quiltalong, where you're welcome to make any of the three versions of the Plaid-ish Quilt. Here's The Mini Plaid-ish Quiltalong Info and the schedule.

Though the quiltalong just started on July 10, I'd been between projects and a couple of weeks ago decided to start cutting scraps for my mini Plaid-ish. I'm using black and gray prints for the dark value scraps, low-volume prints for the light value scraps, and a variety of colorful scraps for the mid value

Honestly, I probably could have paid better attention to value as I was cutting scraps, but I'm taking Erica at her word. "Just remember that you even if your values aren't perfect your quilt will turn out great. I like to prioritize using my scraps over a perfect quilt, but do what works best for you." So that's the route I'm going! I'm deep in a project with a deadline right now, so the Scrap-ish will be on the back burner for a bit. I'm hoping to join in the quiltalong with piecing blocks later in the month.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

Well we had a bit of an adventure last weekend traveling to Sisters, Oregon to experience the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show for the first time. 

We went specifically to see the 2023 Selections from QuiltCon special exhibit, which has been traveling around since last QuiltCon in February 2023. My Tears was one of 18 quilts in the exhibit.

Walking into town from where we'd parked, there were quilts hanging everywhere! One view I definitely wanted to see in person was the one below, where staff quilts were hung on the side of Stitchin' Post, the local quilt shop. Owner Jean Wells founded the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) in 1975, with the mission "to celebrate the art, skill, and heritage of quilting and fiber arts, while enhancing the cultural vitality of Sisters and Central Oregon and providing enrichment opportunities for area youth."

It really was a sight to behold. Over 1100 quilts on display everywhere you looked, and honestly for me, a tad overwhelming!

We realized after wandering around for a while looking for the QuiltCon exhibit, that some folks had show guides with maps! We asked for a glance, and after a while, we finally happened upon the exhibit. It was not easy to take decent photos, considering the crowds, traffic, shadows, and all. But in the photo below you may be able to count 12 of the quilts in the Selections special exhibit.

My tears was hanging between Balance by Miguel Huidor @mh_x_q on the left, and Steph Skardal's @stephskardal Bananicklenation on the right.

And at first, we thought that was it! But then I remembered Elizabeth @elizabethkray had a quilt in the exhibit, so we walked back to double-check, and wouldn't you know, down a short alley was a courtyard where six more Selections quilts were hung. Sure glad we found them!

On the way out of town, we just had to pull over to get a photo of the infamous Three Sisters volcanic peaks. It was a really beautiful (though hot) day, and visiting the town and quilt show made for a fun day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: Leather Pincushions

A new year as an Aurifil Artisan means a new calendar of thread-use challenges; and besides sharing an unboxing of our welcome pack, we were asked to use any of those new threads in a project to share. As it ended up, I used four new threads, chosen primarily for their colors. But considering they were in varying weights, it was a good opportunity to mix and match with them.

photo by Lindsey Jeske

The threads I used were:
  • 50wt 2225 [Salmon]
  • 40wt 6722 [Sea Biscuit], 1135 [Pale Yellow]
  • 12wt acrylic-wool blend 8530 [Puce Magenta Pink]

photo by Lindsey Jeske

It all started when I was given several partial rolls of leather a few weeks ago. I mean a lot of leather. It felt lightweight enough to machine-stitch on, but I'd yet to give it a try. And of course, I'd been mulling over what in the world to make with it. Then I remembered the leather pincushion I'd been gifted by Hillary Goodwin @entropyalwayswins a few years ago (similar to this one), and it dawned on me that I should try something similar. [Hillary and Kitty Wilkin @nightquilter also wrote a tutorial for an Easter Egg version if you'd like to see theirs.]

Happily, all the thread weights I used worked beautifully. I used 50wt in the bobbin when stitching with the 50wt thread; 40wt when stitching with the 40wt and 12wt. The focus fabrics were a variety of substrates - woven, quilting cotton, and linen - and all were either double-layered, or backed with a layer of linen. 

A size 90 needle was already in my machine, and stitched just fine on this weight of leather, though I did stitch a little slower than normal. I began and ended with a 1.5 stitch length, stitching about 3.0 for the majority of the stitching. 

I was really happy to see that all the threads performed so well. If color wasn't a consideration, I think I'd select a 40wt for piecing with this leather in future projects, it being slightly thicker/heavier than the 50wt. I'm still mulling over what else to make with my leather stash, so if you have ideas, let me know!