Fifth Wheel

November 20th, 2014

Ah, my GGirls have surpassed my expectations!

Last night, I was presented with finished blocks from MY 2014 Carpenter’s Wheel group project. And I have to say, Ladies, these are so wonderful. Each block is precious to me!

Now I just need to decide assembly (table runner or square) and post the finished piece.

Grateful, Ladies, ever so grateful!

Just around the Corner

November 4th, 2014

Noticing the crispness of the air on my morning walk, I realize that an end to another Kreative year fast approaches. And yet, there’s so much to do before the Holiday Season starts!

Once I finished my all-consuming Heart Quilt last year, I found myself adding new projects at an alarming rate. I suppose that I was giddy as a schoolgirl when I started looking at all the stunning fabric choices I now had! But first things first: The List.

Beginning with a workshop where I’d made one block, I started adding Quilty projects as they appeared, blocks, challenges, gifts, even a sampler! Now, looking over my list, I’ve made it halfway through the 18 projects that have piqued my curiosity this year.

The project that has been challenging (and should really be counted as four!) is a block project for my GG Quilty friends. We each chose a block/concept and swapped our project info in the spring. As of the beginning of October, I’d completed only one, made progress on two others, and hadn’t even laid eyes on the last one. Hmm.

Once revealed, I’ll post more. In the meantime, here are a couple tantalizing peeks of fabric trimming:2014GGNM2


BAM Opportunities

October 13th, 2014

Here’s a fun project: Take some fabrics that kinda go together…2014BAMOppSwatch

Decide to create a 12″ block from a 6″ one (ie: have a plan)…2014BAMOppPrep

Make some blocks… Hmm… too small, I guess grey will fill in well enough…2014BAMOppSet

Assemble block and give to Opportunity Quilt coordinator. Yay! Done.2014BAMOppBlockNote those scraps at the top. That was all that was left, plus a little grey strip & lavender. That really was lucky!

My Amish Muse

October 4th, 2014

A call for entries to the local Modern quilt guilds went out earlier this summer. It seems an Ohio Amish Quilt Exhibition is coming to the SJ Quilt & Textile Museum in November and the idea for a juried Modern show, Amish: The Modern Muse, is planned.

Hmm, where to start? Perhaps a loose definition of the typical characteristics of an Amish quilt might help. Besides being made by someone who is Amish/Menonite, these quilts tend to have a strong geometric design in either muted (browns, greys, olive, rust) or single color, often black, with vivid color combinations.

Interestingly enough, Modern quilt makers have similar tendencies toward solid color, large negative space, graphic design, and larger scale blocks. There are many similarities between modern art and modern quilt making that I should explore.

In 2010, I’d been to an Amish quilt exhibition at the DeYoung where I purchased a book of these stunning quilts, Amish Abstractions. I started looking for a traditional block pattern to scale larger. I wasn’t interested in Center Diamond or Tumbling Block or Nine Patch. Another idea was to utilize several pair of wool pants. I’d wanted to make a quilt for the guest room that would be warm and it also seemed like a very practical, Amish thing to do.

The design had not really come into focus until I found a couple Amish quilts in the brick road style made out of wool suiting edged with blue or bright red. I decided to scale the bricks up from 2-1/2” x 5” to whatever the pant leg width was, which turned out to be 10” in most cases. I had just four pair of pants in slate blue, moss green, charcoal grey and earth brown; the colors somehow had meaning to me: sky, moss, rock, soil. As I built the 10” block design, I started playing with the direction and color combos. I realized that time was of the essence and although I’d like a bed quilt, this quilt would only be 5 x 5 blocks and settled on an off-center cross as my design.2014ModAmishQuilting

As is my style, I spent more time designing than creating. From cutting the pants to sewing on the label took just two weeks. It may be interesting to note that I spend almost as much time un-quilting as I do quilting. I have a tendency to want the back to look just as nice as the front and although my quilting isn’t as perfect, I endeavor for a consistent stitch. I also started using painter’s tape for the straight lines as my usual indentation lines don’t hold in the wool. It is my belief that a quilt consists of two sides and either could be the front.2014ModAmishBothSidesHere is the bottom left corner as I finished the binding. Truly, photos do this quilt no justice.2014ModAmishClose

Did Somebody Say Sampler?

September 24th, 2014

Oftentimes, I admire those amazing sampler quilts filled with precise paper piecing techniques or applique work, but am not sure how I’d ever manage to make anything so elaborate. All that fussy piecing! Not that I don’t do that already. Heh. That changed when members of my Modern Quilt Guild started a small group working on Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. These designs seemed fairly straightforward, so I jumped in this Spring. Even before I had the book, my friend texted me a couple blocks, so I could make them for the first meeting.

During the year, I struck upon the idea to use all the extra Hoffman fabrics and happily restarted my Tula project this October. Hoffman Tula blocks! What fun!2014TulaCity0012014TulaCity002

Creative Autumn Retreat

September 16th, 2014

Time to recharge with my creative colleagues for a Quilty Retreat!

Even thought I had plenty of projects with me, my friend E, was making these French seamed pillowcases and I couldn’t resist making my own set out of this yummy Michele Hill fabric I found last month. Her designs keep ‘the genius of William Morris alive.

2014craftycasesThese were supposed to be the same, however I was 2” shy to do both bands in one color, so I found a fun tutorial and added Prairie Points to the band. Now they are just adorable!

Still not motivated to work on ‘Orchid Wheels or Blocks or Chickens,’ I happened to hear from N, that the upcoming BAMQG challenge was to create something using a ‘what was I thinking’/ugly fabric. Hmm… looking in my new box of hand-me-down re-stash fabric, I found an Alexander Henry fabric called ‘fossil fish’ that seemed to fit the bill. Sorry, I cut it up before photos, but here is another colorway for reference:2014AHLittleOceanaFF

Hmm… what to do? When in doubt, go with what you know: magic 8 HST! The consensus is that most of the fish looked strangely puffy, sleep-deprived or beat up, however the ‘bashful angelfish’ seemed salvageable. First, I dug out my ‘center focus’ measurements from previous Carpenter Wheels and cut him out for the center block. Then I chose a nice pink batik and sew together some easy triangles. Here’s my first layout:2014FossilFishyVersionA

It’s all right, but the purple border is too dark and I decide to just make a Wheel after all. Unfortunately, I only have a few strips of that fishy fabric left. What other fabric can I find in my scrap box? Hmm. Adding the hot pink squares and the gradated blue for the corners seemed to work well. However, the typical star center didn’t, so I turned those 8 squares around to come up with a little viewing porthole inside my Wheel instead. My Fishy is kinda sweet!


A Brief Row by Row Experience

September 8th, 2014

While in Michigan, I visited few participating Row-by-Row quilt shops.

The first is Attic Window Quilt Shop in Comstock Park. This was a lovely shop with quite a good selection of Civil War & 30s/40s fabric. And the modern row at the top lead me to my next stop…


Stitched Studio in Grand Rapids is new Modern Quilt Shop that opened early this summer. Such a wonderful bright and airy place with fresh mod fabric! It would not be hard not to spend all my time and money here. Plus, I loved that their RbR kit was offered in traditional and modern fabrics.


My third stop is Smith-Owen Sewing & Quilting on Plainfield. This place was a great find in that they service machines, sell fabric and have a large workroom for classes. Chatting with the fellow behind the counter, I found out that they had run completely out of kits for their winter-themed RbR with the AQS show over the weekend. Luckily, there was fabric left.


This was quite fun and I’ll have to pay more attention next summer. 2014AugStashBesides the RbR kits, I picked up some new fabric for my growing Stash! I’m eyeing several of those fabrics for family pillowcase gifts this Christmas. Best of all, I stumbled upon those two citron/blue fabrics from my June ‘One Block Wonder’ entry. Now I’ll have to decide what to make.

AQS Show 2014

August 29th, 2014

What fun! My quilt, Labor of Love, made it to the American Quilt Society show in GR!


Although it won no ribbons, the category was listed as Bed Quilts – Quilter’s Choice. I’m happy to note that it garnered plenty of accolades from many viewers for the hand-quilting and use of Prairie Points. And everyone loves hearts!


Time to start looking for a project to enter next year.

Meet me in St Louie [Mod Swap]

August 4th, 2014

Funny story two-step:

In June, I made a simple little quilt block out of 4 squares of citron/blue print fabric and a striped yellow strip that I’d found during a de-stash event this Spring. It was very sweet, and I really didn’t want to swap it, but I let it go. I figured that if I ever stumbled upon more of those fabrics, I could make something more substantial than a potholder.

What’s funny is that I gave my block to someone, who turned it in to the organizer 2014StLouieBlockStartwith several other blocks. When she redistributed the blocks, I ended up with mine back! Since I hadn’t really wanted to part with it, I decided not to (!) and searched my ReStash Box for another block start to make into a gifty. Lo and behold, I found this little beauty:

There were several leftover strips and another large swatch of a complementary batik print, so I thought to make a variation on this Skinny Pincushion I came across recently.

With minimal sewing, I zipped together a second block (red leaf pattern w/diagonal strip), sandwiched them together and stuffed the pincushion end. 2014StLouieBlockDk2014StLouieBlockLt2014StLouieBlockDone

Voila! My Skinny Pinny Machine Pad for some lucky quilter in St Louie!2014StLouieBlockGift

UPDATE September 2014: At the meeting this month, there was a table full of fun hand-made items from the St Louis Mod Guild. We drew numbers and mine was 4! That meant I might receive a goodie I actually might use. When I saw this little beauty, with it’s sleek 6″ x 9″ design (there are flying geese and plus+ blocks) and soft muted colors (that coincidentally matched what I was wearing!), I was in love.2014MeetMeInStLouieGiftMy new travel case holds all my sewing and sketching tools and is always ready for road trips! Love it!!! Thank you, St Louie!

Desert Chicken

July 30th, 2014

What a whirlwind week!

Once again, I wasn’t planning to take a workshop, yet after a little research on our July speaker, Ann Shaw (as well as her mentor, Ruth McDowell), I realized that the piecing techniques these women pioneered were exactly what I’ve been looking for in modern, art quilt making.

Since the workshop sold out quickly, I completely lucked out when a second day was added. Sadly, Ann’s pattern ‘Gallus Gallus’ was sold out and I wasn’t in love with any of the other chicken patterns. Instead, I decided to make the ‘Mountain Chicken,’ which is a frog! Plus, my sister is a frog fan, so this might be a gift for her.

As you can see by the picture below, I spent much of my time ‘interviewing’ fabric snippets that might work as part of the design. This is a wonderful way to utilize tricky fabric; each decision informs the next choice you make. I have the front half of the frog working, but I can change my mind at any point.


One thing I’ll keep, the title: Desert Chicken!

Speaking of which, before the workshop, Ann lead a little field trip to a local fabric shop. She pointed out various multicolor fabrics that seemed unlikely choices for our chicken, yet work wonderfully to add interest. By looking at the texture and size of print, not just color, these projects are bound to be as much fun to assemble as to view.

Afterward, the group ventured into a flower and garden center, where Ann gave insights into floral photography utilizing design techniques I learned in college and from my father. The afternoon has been a wonderfully artistic surprise.