Hot August Nights

August 4th, 2014

Inspiration:

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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.

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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.

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Carpenter’s Wheel: Indigo Mandala

July 16th, 2014

With furious sewing and quilting over the past few months and weeks, I finished the 2014 Hoffman Challenge. True to form, I ran into some strange issues I didn’t experience previously.

Unlike the Magenta version, the Indigo fabric has colorful orange/pink filigree in the background, instead of subtle purple or blue. Thus, I spent much more time fussy-cutting:

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Easily, I assembled the block as before. And then it occurred to me. Since ‘Magenta’ will ultimately grace another quilt (stay tuned for that journey!), when I finished the square, it was done. Now, except for simple hand quilting, I hadn’t actually planned out how to finish this! Fiddlesticks! So I spent a good deal of time thinking about the design & interviewing color border ideas. Of course, the border had to include colorful super-sized Prairie Points! Here’s my finished design:

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Oh, and then there’s my crazy internal sleeve? Right. It worked fine for the Heart Quilt. However, I decided to incorporate the selvedge, so I had to maneuver the fabric and I had a strip to ‘almost’ match it. Finished the rest of the back with stripes loosely based on Fibonacci number sequence. Maybe next time, I’ll try the Golden Spiral! Here’s the back view:

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I absolutely love my Indigo Mandala! It turned out even better than I’d imagined. Yay!

Carpenter’s Wheel: Magenta Mandala

July 8th, 2014

Hoffman Challenge, Part 1: Earlier this year, I stumbled on the annual Hoffman fabric challenge. My friend, E thought it might be grand to enter and I decided to give it a whirl myself.

When I saw the multi-color mandala wheels, I knew exactly what to make. (wait for it…) A Carpenter’s Wheel!

Right out of the gate, I fell in love with the Magenta version of the original Anastasia fabric, so I thought I’d try playing with that first. I’d had much luck using the magic 8 method to easily make HST on the orchid birdie blocks, but the way I was fussy-cutting this mandala fabric, that just wasn’t possible.

With everything cut, sewn & squared into blocks, I assembling my wheel.

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As progress continued, I decided to use this Wheel & the fabrics in my ‘Tula Pink City Sampler, 100 modern blocks’ quilt! Look for more progress later this fall.

UPDATE: here’s the finished block!2014MagentaMandala

Maine Knockabout

June 28th, 2014

They say that travel broadens the mind. In my case, it also expanded my stash! While driving to Bar Harbor at 2am, I noticed a small fabric shop (actually, a bright Pfaff sign) and vowed to check it out after the island festivities concluded this weekend.

As luck would have it, my timing was perfect on Sunday and Sewing by the Sea had just opened for the day. I chose some fun nautical fabric of boat drawings as well as swimmy fish. I regret not buying the destination t-shirt from the island with one colored fish in a school like this, so fabric was the next best thing. Lastly, I found some adorable lobsters!

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Now I’m looking for some new projects to utilize my treasures and remind me of my tasty trip. Mmmm… lobster…

One Block Wonder

June 5th, 2014

Recently, I attended a Quilty retreat and finished a couple projects and apparently start a few more! I had much fun and even tried a little Mystery Quilt action. Okay, so right now, it’s just a one-block-wonder that I turned into a pillow, but I really like it and might make some more, although I’ll run out of the print. If I make 8 more, we can play tic-tac-toe!2014MrE

Another ‘orphan’ block I pieced for the BAMQG Swap/Challenge we’re doing w/the St Louis MQG this summer. The idea is to swap an orphan block w/a fellow BAMmer, then make a nifty item (potholder, zip bag, tote, chickie, etc). And lastly, we’ll ship all the finished items all off to SL & they do the same, so each participant receives something fun in return. Of course, now that I made this one, I kinda like it and wish that I had more of the fabrics.

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Voluptous Appliqué – a first!

May 21st, 2014

There are so many things I haven’t done in the sewing world, but this week, I crossed off machine appliqué and using transparent threads! I’m pretty excited with the blocks I’m making and what a process!2014Voluptous

Seems the smartest way to get me out of my quilting rut is to try a new technique. Thus, I jumped into Cara’s Voluptuous Appliqué Block Design Workshop using freezer paper and invisible thread. I was truly in my element designing my own block and playing with color! Pair with her easy appliqué instructions and I made some fabulous spiraling blocks. Yes! I finished five of them and decided to continue for a kaleidoscope quilt. More photos later…

My BAMalot Block: A New Direction

April 24th, 2014

The County Fair is just around the corner and I’ve been working to finish this project to enter as part of a group exhibit.

Back in July, I began a Round Robin journey with the Mod Quilt Guild I’d recently joined. Thus, I’ve posted the other blocks I’ve worked on in Aug, Oct and December. It was much fun and now, my own block has returned and it’s taken on a New Direction!

My thought is to echo one more arrow border with a previous orange honeycomb & my robin’s egg blue fabric, that will look fab as the backing. Next, I sandwich a premade multi-color stripe between that hot pink I used on another block’s border and the orange echo fabric, then finish with a slender stripe-y binding.

Lastly, I aim to machine quilt it. However, I’m hesitant and worse, my Husqi wasn’t very happy sewing through the three layers. Even with a simple straight stitch, I just couldn’t keep a steady tension. Please note: this is also my 1st attempt to machine quilt!

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After a few false starts (Hey, it’s not a real sewing project without my seam ripper!), I decide to create a square spiral over the entire 41” square. And you know what? Although the stitches aren’t particularly consistent and my lines aren’t particularly straight and I ran out of thread twice, I really like the look of the spiral. It’s quite mesmerizing. I may have hit upon a quilting design for my Carpenter’s Wheels’ with this one. Yup, new directions indeed!2014NewDirectionA

Greens, Eggs & Ham!

April 1st, 2014

Don’t be an April Fool, eat those tasty greens!

Greens, Eggs & Ham (aka: Breakfast by Dr Seuss)

GreensEggsHamSaute chopped clove of garlic with a handful of shiitake mushrooms in oil of choice for a couple minutes, then add 1/2 cup of black beans and 1 cup of chopped kale/spinach/mustard greens etc. Stir together then make a well in center, add a bit of butter and crack an egg or two to fry in the center. Sprinkle chopped ham and avocado and cover to steam for a couple minutes depending on how done you like your eggs. This serves one, adjust or duplicate as necessary. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Hmm… I guess I could come up with a rhyme or twos, but I’m having breakfast with Dr Seuss!

Rocking Good Time!

March 31st, 2014

Wow!

Have you ever taken a creative workshop and felt overwhelmed and out of your comfort zone not always understanding what the next step is…? You should! It’s liberating and amazing things happen.

Well, I mean, I took Joe the Quilter’s Rock the Block workshop and made some nifty things happen. With a late start, I had to jump in & catch up right away… did I mention that I still needed to choose fabric? Ah, indecisive am I?

But I just went with it; I got the handout and quick instruction from my friend and started cutting some crazy green/purple fabrics into strips and sewing them together.2014RockinBlockA

When I ran out of my favorite, Joe popped by and nonchalantly reminded me that I could always ‘make more’ by joining a few pieces, and off I went happily slicing and piecing until I had little piles ready to make into blocks.2014RockinBlockB

I barely took the time to see what masterpieces others were assembling, however there were some magical quilts taking shape all around me. Did I mention that while we sewed, Joe serenaded us strumming a few tunes between instructions? :) By the end of the day, I had about 20 nifty blocks pieced:2014RockinBlocks

It looks awesome like this, but I’m not done… the next step is to sew them into strips and cut them once again and back together into 6-1/2″ blocks. Methinks I’ll keep some of the blocks with words aside, focusing on the color distribution by cutting up some of the larger minty and violet blocks. What a fascinating start that I could take in so many directions! Thanks, Joe!

Joe’s pretty cool, yeah, in a Snoopy sorta way.