Monday, December 11, 2017

The Gift-Giving Frenzy

In the most recent issue of The Scrap Basket, I did a round-up of sewn items perfect for gift-giving. Of course, I'm not the only one thinking in that vein, so I'm sharing a few more ideas here, as I also gather up links for other great gift lists I've seen across blogland. In the mix you'll find purchased gifts for sewers and creative business owners as well. Consider it a round-up of round-ups!

The Color Block Pouch tutorial by Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade

More ideas? Do tell! About as far as I've gotten is a handful of gift-bags!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ultra Violet

For some reason, the challenge of creating something with an 'assigned' color holds an unexplained appeal. Such is the significance of the newly-announced Pantone Color of the Year in my little quilty world. I'm not really into fashion or seasonal trends, but I do like exploring with color and fabric and know I'll have fun with Ultra Violet! Daughter dear has already ordered official Color Swatch Cards for us, so we can do some fabric matchy-matching, which is all part of the fun. 

A little déjà vu is in order, more for my benefit than yours, I know! But I do enjoy reviewing my pantone-inspired journey as I head off on the next one!

:: Greenery 2017 :: "Evergreenery"

:: Rose Quartz and Serenity 2016 :: "Pantone Meets Bias Tape"

:: Marsala 2015 :: "Sizzling"

:: Emerald 2013 :: "An Emerald Table"

:: Tangerine Tango 2012 :: "Tangerisk"

So how about you? Will you be giving Ultra Violet a go? Like it or not, I think it's a great exercise! Several of the colors above are ones I never would have chosen to work with, but I've come to appreciate most of them (still love that Marsala!). And I have no doubt dabbling with them has expanded my appreciation of color, and for that, I'm glad.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Maximalist Improv

"Time to laugh and play, no rulers, no neutrals, all the colours, maximalist improv.... Just have fun and make a block or two that make you feel happy." Well it doesn't get much better than that in bee-block land, now does it? But that's exactly what Leanne/shecanquilt set forth last month for Bee Sewcial.

It's probably no surprise that I went right back to playing with improv techniques I've enjoyed these last weeks. I managed to make the bottom block without any ruler, per Leanne's request, but I got going and forgot as I was trimming the spikes in the top block. I swear, I put that ruler away as soon as I caught myself, ha! Though I was pulling from the scrap bin for the spikes, trying to use quite a few colors, I found I ended up with a loosely-defined palette that is unique but inviting. May have to explore that further one of these days...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Wholecloth Narrow

Don't you love those projects you don't even know you need, then all of a sudden you're deep into it? That's exactly what happened Saturday night after decorating the house up a bit for the holidays.

We have a skinny ledge between our kitchen and dining room, and it was just calling for a little runner to dress is up. Just 8 1/2" wide, it didn't need much, and doing a bunch of small piecing didn't really fit my inclination nor time-frame. Rummaging through the stash, I found a width of Light a Candle from the Moonlit Collection by Rashida Coleman Hale. This print definitely did not need to be cut up, so I did the obvious and moved straight-away to quilting it.

Aurifil 50wt 2325 (Sand) coordinated really nicely, and with a layer of batting behind, simple improv curves down the length of the piece gave some semblance of flickering candle flames. I went ahead and used the entire WOF, and rather than any kind of binding, just backed the entire runner, which finished at 42" long.

So here's a glimpse of it, already in use! We've received a piece or two of Lenox Holiday from my parents every Christmas for over two decades so we've built a beautiful collection, and I kinda love a few of my favorites at home on the new little runner.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2018 QuiltCon Submissions

It was fun to see and hear about the quilts Yvonne/Quilting JETgirl and Heather/
Quilt-achusetts submitted to QuiltCon 2018, and I told them both I'd eventually post mine, so here they are!

First, I submitted Doing the {Pink} Flamingo  in the Group or Bee Quilt category on behalf of Seattle MQG. It was our first giving quilt of this year, and the guild outdid themselves making improv blocks that featured Pink Flamingo, the Kona Color of the Year. The Pink Flamingo and backing fabric were donated to the guild by Circa15 fabric studio, and we really appreciated partnering with them. Also, it was quilted by guild-member Pam Cole.

Considering Refiner's Fire was my most liked post EVER on Instagram, I couldn't resist going ahead and entering it in the Improvisation category. At 40" square, it barely fit.

And beings it's one of my very favorite finishes of the year, in went Improv Alliance in the Modern Traditionalism category. This one was just a joy to make during the guild's 2016 block-of-the-month, and it's extra special since my guild-mate Matt Macomber beautifully quilted this one for me.

I struggled to choose just one more to submit and finally settled on my most recent finish, Follow the Dots, which I intentionally kept small enough so that it fit in the Small Quilts category.

So for better or worse, there we go. I'm disappointed I didn't get this year's Bee Sewcial quilt done in time, but I let it overwhelm me, and just need the right timing to get back to working on it. Meanwhile, it is what it is! Sharing a quilt out in the world is a humbling and exciting thing, and I figured it's definitely worth a try!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Follow the Dots

The fabric for this quilt was chosen way before the design was conceived. It was back in August that my desk calendar featured the teal and yellow combination that caught my attention, and after some research trying to find matches, I settled on Kona Cotton Solid in Everglade with Painter's Palette Solid in Lemon Ice. Fast forward a couple of months to when I traveled to California on retreat, and purchased Maria Shell's Improv Patchwork: Dynamic Quilts Made with Line & Shape to read on the way down. At retreat I was then able to begin exploring the two together, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Basically, I experimented with several of the techniques in the book, the first being improv dots. They made me very happy, and I just made more and more until I was ready to move on to something else.

Next up were the lattice checks - the yellow-framed 'square' on the right side below and 'rectangle' in the lower center. These were fun too, and I was so glad I switched up the fabrics to highlight the yellow a bit more.

Lastly were the 'tracks', such as the piece in the lower left corner above. After making the large track near the top of the quilt, I realized I really liked this technique in skinnier strips, but still, they're good no matter what the size.

Putting the blocks together into a quilt top was of course, improvisational, and it only made sense that the quilting be the same. Using both Aurifil 50wt 1125 (Medium Teal) and 2115 (Lemon), I quilted one section at a time, choosing the design as I went, stitching fairly densely in most areas. Where I densely quilted on one color but not the other, it made the contrasting bits pop.

A faced binding seemed an appropriate finish to the quilt, which ended up 32" x 34".

What was satisfying about this project was the sense of exploration every step of the way. Beginning with the dots, I let them lead me on, step by step. I've wondered whether or not I should have left more breathing room between the sections, but then again, why? Those kinds of wonderings are just part of the process, and I'm happy enough to let them be.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Minimal Day :: The Quilt Top

Though all the blocks for this year's Seattle MQG BOM have been presented, our hostess Jonna/@bespokeoutlaw will yet be presenting some ideas for quilting. Basically, our assignment this month was to sew our quilt top together. Jonna offered some suggestions for filling in the couple of blank half-blocks, but I kind of liked the openness they offered and just let them be.

I'm still debating whether or not to add borders of some sort. That decision will probably wait until I'm ready to start quilting. But it feels good to have traveled this far.... appliqueing no less! And I'm glad I took up the challenge. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

10 Ways to Make a Quilt Back

Not sure why quilt backs have been on my mind lately, especially considering the fact that by the time I finish a quilt top, I really don't want to give the back much of a thought. And I'd say the larger the quilt, the more I struggle with a quilt back plan. I guess it just is what it is. But for what it's worth, I've gathered up some options.

1. Whether it's purchasing a wide-back for a large quilt, or discovering an unexpected find in the ole stash that works perfectly with the smaller quilt top I've created, a whole-cloth is quick and satisfying. The time I used a panel from Jeni Baker's Nordika turned out really fun, showing off the quilting like it did.

2. Matched-seam backing is one of the newer techniques I've tried, and I'll work on perfecting it. Of course, you need to have an extra long length of fabric, depending on the design and all, but totally worth it now and then.

3. Seriously, if I made a backing of stashed fat quarters for all my future quilts, I think I'd be set for life. Simple to sew together, and a great stash buster.

4. Using a design repeated from the quilt front is probably my favorite way to create a quilt back.

5. A close second is using just an element from the front design.

6. Something I've just done a couple of times, but with great effect is the use of border prints. I was so pleased how this turned out!

7. Of course, the combination of simple geometric elements is always a win-win.

8. Once I chose to super-size just one block from the 100 on the front.

9. And of course, sometimes an improvisational pieced back is just the trick. Oh yeah.

10. And lastly, it's great fun to back a quilt top with another quilt top. Won't do a bona fide two-sided quilt every time, but I loved doing it here. And for those of you who have stacks of quilt tops ready to quilt.... well why not?


So do you have a go-to quilt back? Or do you have one that you're extraordinarily pleased with? Do you take your time with it, or get it over with as fast as you can? Do tell!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Showing Them Off

It's been a while since I shared a quilt photoshoot round-up, and it was my friend Martha that unknowingly convinced me it had been too long! So I gathered up some others I'd enjoyed recently and am happy to share them with you today. As usual, I'll let these beauties speak for themselves.....

Weight of Love by Martha/Once a Wingnut...Always a Wingnut [onceawingnut]

scrap quilt by Arianna/[quiltkween]

stripe quilt by Holly/Bijou Lovely [bijoulovely]

Crossroads by Emily/Quilty love [emily_dennis_]

improv stripes quilt by Katrin/Cattinka [cattinkaquilts]

Rainbow Order by Kristin/woollypetals [woollypetals]

red and white by Alison [alisonharle]

Aren't they terrific?! Seeing gorgeous quilt finishes shown off in lovely settings such as these are one of my favorite things.

Monday, November 13, 2017

To Scotchgard or Not

After putting my Traverse Bag right to use [love it, btw!], a friend asked if I'd Scotchgarded it or not. Even though I live in an area that gets more than its share of rain, I had not; and in fact, never had water-treated any of my handmade bags. I decided to find out if I was the only one or not by creating my first Instagram poll.

I really didn't know what I was doing, and had to go to youtube for some help. But I figured it out, and was able to get a screenshot 24 hours later just before it disappeared.

So I guess I'm in the majority, but there were enough folks that do do it that I'd love to hear about it! I did find a post on Craftsy about it, but would still love to hear from you. Do tell in the comments!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Swapped Goods

At our guild meeting this week, we had a swap! The kind where you get assigned a person to create for, they can give you suggestions of what they'd like, colors, etc., but you don't know who you are partnered up with until the reveal. Well I got to make for Kae/
katrineannetteeagling, and thankfully, she was really helpful with suggestions.

She really was hoping for a fold-able thread catcher, so I searched around and finally decided to make her a Fold Up Mini Thread Catcher using the tutorial by lulu_luka/Studio LUCA. This is one quick and fun little make. My first one (bright orange interior) turned out a little sloppy considering I used contrasting thread on the final stitching, so I tried again, and was pleased with the second - the blue and orange one - which I gifted to Kae.

But that was a little too small for my main gift, so I took another suggestion from her list and made a set of potholders based on the Spiderweb Potholders Tutorial by Julie/Jaybird Quilts. You might remember I tried this tutorial a few weeks ago, so I knew the basics, and really enjoyed trying a palette outside my norm. Kae seemed really happy with what I made her, so that was good!

As for me, I received a gift from Jennifer, who I hadn't met before. I kind of embarrassed myself, because I wasn't 100% sure what my item was when I opened it! I finally decided it must be a couch sewing caddy, right?

Thankfully, Jennifer came up to me after the swap and told me nooooo...... she had actually made a double potholder with hand-holds. Of course! I had put potholders on my suggestion list, so then that made perfect sense. And she was so sweet to use some of my favorite fabrics and colors. The size is generous enough it would also serve well as a table runner/
trivet. At any rate, I look forward to using it!

Swaps can really be stressful, at least for me, but they are also a good way to share a bit of yourself as well as receive something a fellow-creator has put their heart into. And that's a good thing.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.