Saturday, November 8, 2014

Just Sew Something or Wisdom and Encouragement For the Process

I sat down to a quick brunch at one of the newer foodie places in town. I kinda like eating alone. It gives me time to people watch. To sit. To think. To be among people without having to be with them. Do any of you introverts know what I mean?  

Before brunch, I grabbed a copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. To my great delight, there's an article by Thomas Knauer. Quilter Extradordinaire. His work is beautiful, inspired and thoughtful. A lot of things I want my work to be. So I'm reading and I read: 

"Go make a lot of stuff. Let it be crappy, because it is going to be. Don't worry about screwing it up, and don't pretend you don't. Be proud of what you make, but don't be satisfied -- you can always do better and more. If you don't look back on what you made six months ago and think it is crap you are doing something wrong." - Thomas Knauer

and then my heart leaps. Not quite like baby John in the womb of Elizabeth upon coming to Mary and Jesus, but a wave of encouraged excitement washes over me. 

Because I relate. I make a lot of crap (in my opinion). I think some of it is pretty,  but it is often simple or my points don't line up or no one on IG likes it. (Wahhhhh -- not an actual problem, but more like one of the hashtag hobbyquilterprobelms).  Sometimes I make things I like, and other times, maybe even more often, I'm just glad the stitching part was fun or that I get to bind the dang thing, because the sewing is cathartic and good for me to get out of my own head even when the product isn't fabulous. 

But TK says this is okay.  That it is normal and that It's a crucial part of the design process.

So  I'm going to keep sewing "crap." I'm going to keep sewing to get better at the stitching and I'm going to play with color combinations that aren't my cup of joe to push myself and experiment.  I'm going to sew the crap, because eventually, maybe, I'll sew something I just LOVE. Something that is inspired and beautiful. Something that has a greater meaning. Something that touches someone else (and no in a blanket on the couch kind of way, although I see value in that, too).  

(Photos in this post are just some of the things I've made or am in the midst of making. Some may be crap (or have crappy parts), but I might like them, anyway). 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ruby Dancing :: An Improv Curves Quilt inspired by Vintage Modern Quilts tutorial

The most fun day I've ever had sewing was a rainy afternoon, not long after QuiltCon, when I happened upon Vintage Modern Quilts' tutorial on Improv Curves. It was filmed at QuiltCon

Inspired and excited, I busted open a layer cake of Bonnie and Camille's famed line "Ruby" and got to work.After a couple hours and an entire bottle of Ellen's Best Press Starch alternative, I had all the blocks done and a top finished.

I racked my brain and just couldn't decide on the quilting, so the quilt sat and sat. Until one day when I saw a picture Abby Latimer of Latimer Lane Quilting posted of a feathered type of long arm pattern... and instantly I just knew that it would be perfect for my special Ruby quilt.

Off it went and soon enough it came back. I loved it, but couldn't quite decide on a binding, until I realized that the grey in their Vintage Modern line looked great with the grey in Ruby.

I still love this quilt and I really can't wait to make another Improv Curves quilt from a layer cake some day.

Back soon,


Friday, July 11, 2014

Old World Map Quilt. A Christmas Gift

{ The last two Christmases, I gave my parents the same quilt. The first year, it wasn't finished, but I wrapped it in its backing with the binding tied around it and promised it would be finished soon. It took the whole year, but I finally gave it to them Christmas this past year. And because everything about that quilt seemed to take a while, it's only fitting that I'm posting it now.  I recently went home to work on things and while I was there, I took this quilt off the wall and finally got photos of it so that I'd be able to blog about it! }

My parents looooves maps, especially old antique type ones. And my mom loooooves quilts. So after they finished a fabulous remodel and update of their home,

I googled map quilts and couldn't find anything that I loved, or actually anything at all, so I set off to find a map of the right size and use it as a guide. I found a World map at a teacher's store and used it as a guide for drawing the shapes that would be appliquéd onto the ocean.

I "twilled" along the edges of the continents and used different colors that reminded me of an old antique world map I'd seen once in a coffee shop. Then I embroidered the names of the continents and oceans.

I added a compass.

I quilted it on the latitude and longitude lines. And then went back and added islands by making twilling knots all throughtout the quilt. 

I'm quite pleased with it. I think they like it, too.



Quilt Started November 2012
Finished December 2013
Pattern: My own
Appliqued and twilled
Machine Quilted
Fabric: Random pieces?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Quarterly Goals :: Starting the Second Half of the Year

So here we go again...

Somehow I deleted my entire second quarter update post....  WHOOPS. So I'll start this list fresh! It'll be like a nice restart for the middle of the year.

Category 1: To Be Quilted

1. Etchings -- Really need to get my tush in gear and just finish this.

2. Scrappy Trip

3. Hearty Good 20 -- I've got a backing and a simple quilting plan, so I should just get on the ball.

4. Warm Cool HST quilt -- the baby is here, so the quilt should be quilted, right?

5. Curio Quilt -- at the quilter!

6. Char's Quilt -- for a really good friend. It's at the quilter, too.

7. Mini Dwell -- it's a mini! How long can it possibly take?

Category 2: Tops That Need to Be Finished

1. Low Volume

2. Swoon

3. Christmas #stlouis16patch -- This is is a MUST finish top for this month, because the fabulous Abby Latimer (@alatimer  & ) is having a Christmas long arming special for tops that get sent in during the month of July!

Category 3: Quilts I Haven't Started

1. Reindeer Family Tree Quilt

2. A Wedding Quilt for my cousin

3. QuiltCon inspired! I'd like to enter this into QuiltCon 2015, so I need to get a move on.

4. Running

5. Kanji Quilt

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

(It's Black and) White and Red All Over!

So hey, it's me! And I'm crazy excited about this quilt I'm about to show you. It's black and white and red all over... except it's only black and white on one side and red and white on the other.

I made it especially for a local red and white quilt show that is happening in my area, that is being modeled after the big old show that had in NYC some years ago.  The local show was only announced about two months ago, and while that might not be a short deadline to make a little something, it also didn't leave ample time for pondering and wandering and procrastinating.

So I got busy on pinterest and came across this lovely post about an old vintage red and white quilt and I knew immediately that I wanted to model my quilt after it.

I could tell the blocks were a simple snowball and 9-patch, but couldn't find a pattern, so I just worked out the dimensions, did some calculations and got to work. Within a solid weekend (isn) of sewing at my mom's house, I had the top pieced.

(Oh dang, my finger is there on the screen, too. Good blogger.)

And because I loved the orange peel quilting on the antique I had my mind SET on getting orange peel on this quilt. A little googling and I came across the super talented and fabulous Jessica Toye's quilting blog. (If you want something custom quilted, CHOOSE Jessica! She's fabulous to work with!)

After a few emails back and forth we had a plan! And I was more than thrilled to send it to her. And BOY did she work some custom quilting magic.... She took my orange peel idea and made it even more fabulous. (Seriously, go check out the detail pics in her post about my quilt!) I'm so very pleased with it.

And honestly, because of the quilting and the awesome Britten Numbers fabric, I like the back as much as the front.

 (I lifted this picture from Jessica...)

This quilt will be on display for several weeks in May (if you're local and want to see it, contact me and I'll send you the info) and then it's coming back to live at my house. Woohoo!

Pattern: Snowball and 9-patch
Fabric: Sandy Gervais (Flirt-related?) solid for the red, Not sure about the white...
Backing: IKEA Britten Numbers
Moda: White jelly roll strips for the binding
Finished: Easter Sunday

P.S. This is my first actual QUILT to finish this year! So...go me! (hashtag "it's April, nothing to brag about")

Monday, April 7, 2014

Modern Insta Bee & February and March Bee Blocks

One thing I haven't mentioned on le blog, is that I joined an Instagram Bee {the #moderninstabee} with 12 new friends. Each month, one queen bee gets to choose her color and block options and I get to try out new fabric combinations, use scraps, and have fun sewing with women from all over North America. Pretty cool, huh? If you're on IG, I'm in Hive 3... and you can see what my hive is up to my checking out #instabee2014hive3

We are using this awesome book called Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner. There's a baker's dozen of pretty cool quilts in this book! Get yourself one!

And so far, I've gotten two months finished and shipped off!

Emily (@elephantgrace) chose this cool lattice for her for February block. She asked for bright scrappy colors with a white background!

And for March, another Emily (@emilykimlee), chose this cool triple star and she requested yellow for the bitty star, aqua-y blues for the middle star, and greys for the biggest star. Due to some traveling and not LOVING stars, I totally procrastinated making this block. Right until the very end, but once I got to the sewing HSTs into 8 pointed stars, I started having fun and ended up LOVING this block!

I'll keep posting these every few months, so you can see all the wonderful bee quilts being made!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Christmas Sewing Wrap-Up

I made a LOT (for me, at least) of quilts for Christmas gifts this year, and didn't really shared them in the off-chance that it would ruin the great surprise... I'm going to write a couple posts to share them.

Here's the first (and maybe my favorite quilt I've made for someone else...)

It's from the #stlouis16patch tutorial that was floating around on IG for a while. Super simple, large graphic 16-patch blocks.

I made it for my favorite brother (and don't worry, he's my only brother).

 It's a large twin size quilt and I used a lot of Parson Grey Seven Wonders fabrics, with some Circa 1934 from Cosmo Cricket, and a few random other pieces that I liked. I LOVE this quilt. It's masculine and bold and simple. It's quilted in loops and has a great drape.

 The back is that fabulous Spot On wideback print in orange. I don't know his favorite colors really, but I like to think they are green and orange.

Pattern: #stlouis16patch
35 blocks -- 13.5" finished (I think).
Fabrics: Parson Gray Seven Wonders Warm color way, Cosmo Cricket Circa 1934, and other random
Backing: Spot On Wide Back
Binding: Moda Bella Solids Black Jelly Roll (hand bound)
Quilted: Loops and more loops in a latte colored thread (I think).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Project Mania :: A WIP Wednesday Post

{Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced}

So it seems I have a bit of start-iris or project mania or fabric petting ADD right now. There is so much fun to be had sewing when the weather is brisk, err freezing! (And below freezing).

I have a baby quilt going for a new niece using In Color Order's Warm Cool HST quilt.

I'm finally joining in the #swoonalong and making Swoon blocks!

I have fabric washed for several more of THESE quilts (including two matching for me and my mom... because we need matching quilts like BFFs need matching necklaces).

I mean, come ON... how fun is the idea of a buddy quilt? Here's the fabric for those.

I have this fun top almost completely together... And I think I'm sending it to the quilter, so that means it is practically a finish, right?

I'm still working on a couple blocks for the Civil War Sampler QAL BOW that she and I are making. (I got a week or two behind in January---good start to the year, huh?). Here's Block 2...

And lastly, I just finished my first bee block ever for the Instragram (IG) #moderninstabee #moderninstabeehive3  It's from the book Modern Bee and is the Trellis Crossroads block. #loveit

See what I mean about project mania? I guess if I'm going to be a little crazy, at least it's a colorful fun quilty type of crazy, right? 


Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Try To Love the Questions Themselves." A quilt from a modern upcycle challenge

{NOTE: There is a LOT of writing in this post. It is mostly for my own reference, so feel free to just check out the photos if you want!}

To finish out 2013, the modern guild I belong to issued an "Up-cycle" challenge where we were charged with making something new from something old. The only guideline that we were given was that 50% of the top needed to be from that "old" item.

I KNEW (once I decided I would participate) that I wanted to use my favorite sheet set. There was a hole in the fitted sheet from almost a decade of constant use and washings.

I debated with myself for a while about what to make. I considered a "whole cloth" quilt so that I could practice my quilting, but when I picked up Yoshiko Jinzengi's book "Quilting Line and Color" I started thinking about her amazing code quilts and her use of tons of white negative space and I knew I had to do something else.

The sheets have a very "lived in" quality... (imagine that?!) which led me to think about one of the most inspiring "life" quotes I have ever heard and that meant a great deal to me when I was in the midst of the life questions that come in one's 20s.

It's from Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" written in the early 20th c. to encourage a young writer in his journey in life.

{My favorite translation} reads:

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. The point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps someday, gradually without even realizing it, you will live along into the answers.

So I used the braille code to translate the letters that form the words "try to love the questions themselves."

Using Victoria Findlay Wolfe's 15 minute of play method, I pieced bits and bits of my favorite fabrics. Using those bits and a reverse appliqué method to I made the circles that when placed together form the letters of the braille code.

There are also twilling knots (almost like a french knot) that "write" out the other part of the quote.

I quilted in horizontal "organic" straight lines...partly because we read left to right and paper is lined horizontally,  but also because life has this linear quality to it. We keep moving forward, sometimes a little up or a little down, but always forward.  Sometimes we hit dead ends (and some of the lines stop). Sometimes new things and new life starts (so some of the lines just start in the middle), but we keep moving and living, amongst the questions.


Pattern and methods: My own using a braille code, reverse appliqué, 15 minutes of play, and negative space
Materials: Old white sheet for background and backing fabric. Circles made with tons of small bits including, Architextures, Glimma, Denyse Schmidt fabric, Oakshott cottons,
Inspirations: Rainer Maria Rilke, my Mamaw Lois who was blind, Yoshiko Jinzengi, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and Luke Haynes.
Quilted: Organic straight lines with Mettler No. 002 cotton thread with a silk finish
Bound: with a modern facing technique and Moda Bella Solids White

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Civil War Sampler Block of the Week : Week 1 : The White House

I spent a good bit of 2013 sewing, but I mostly sewed things that were FAST and sort of pattern-less. One of my (unspoken) goals for this year, is to spend some time making some more complex quilts. Things that require following a pattern and don't become a finished top in an afternoon or a week. It's because I want to expand my skills and grow as a quilter...

So late in the fall, I started thinking about this and realized a good way to do this would be to do some type of quilt-a-long or block-of-the week. I got really excited about it and mentioned it to my mom and we did some investigating and have decided to quilt-a-long to Barbara Brackman's Civil War Sampler as a BOW.

She chose her fabrics and I chose mine.

I'm going to use Dowry, AMH True Colors, Florence and Botanics.  I love mixy scrappy things, and all of these lines, so I'm excited to see how they'll look all together.

We've set out to sew this really cool sampler quilt, in fabrics we love (even though they aren't "civil war" fabrics).

Here's my block #1 :: The White House

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Moving Forward! Exciting 2014 Plans

So we're about a month into 2014 (crazy, right?), and I think it's high time that I talk about the rest of the coming year. I'm so excited about the months to come and what this year means for my quilting journey. I have a number of quilts in my brain that I want to work on and some tops in my closet that must be dealt with, ehem... finished. Yay for the possibility of finished quilts!

I'm pretty excited about all the quilts I made and finished this year...and the fact that in the last month I have become increasingly confident about quilting on my domestic machine. (Yes, only straightish-type lines, but I happen to love lines, so that's a good step forward). BUT, I'm even more excited about what's on the horizon.

So let's talk about what's to come::

Category 1: Ready for quilting

1. Etchings Pluses
2. Ruby Curves
3. Scrappy Trip Along
4. A couple Santas I made

Category 2: Tops to Finish

1. A low volume
2. A quilt made with Happy-Go-Lucky and Simply Color
3. The X and PLUS along. (I only made one block for this one, so I'm kind of on the fence about moving it forward).

Category 3: Brand New Projects

1. QuiltCon 2013 inspired
2. Giant Star x 2 or 3 (?)
3. A super Swoon
4. Civil War Sampler BOW with G

Category 4: Surprises

1. Something of a curious nature
2. Something simple and sweet

I'm going to update this list quarterly... To stay accountable. I'm hoping to get Category 1 finished by the end of March. And have some of Category 2 moved into Category 1 by that time!

I'm in no rush on Category 3 (they are just like somethings I want to prioritize before 2015!) , and Category 4 has a definite finish date, but I can't share that or I might be giving away the surprise.

I'm going to try and be better at posting pictures of some WIPs.... BUT we'll see. :-)

Perhaps in the next year I can also tackle some more free motion quilting at home and maybe even take a long-arm certification course, for those extra large quilts, but let's just wait it out and see.