Saturday, September 19, 2015

Minimalism with Meaning -BeeSewcial September

Read all about the BeeSewcial September block assignment on Hillarys post,  here,  "Some things are better left Unsaid".  If you are not already following you should - she's amazing.

Rear View 10"x10.75"
It may not surprise you that the idea came to me while I was driving to work and contemplating what symbolism I wanted to use for my block.   My car choice is full of irony since I don't like to drive.  I will admit (as would anyone who knows me) I do however prefer the drivers seat as a symbolic role.  Not that I can't also be an effective worker bee too but taking lead is more my comfort zone.

The meaning behind the design is all about the balance of keeping focus - looking ahead in life instead of behind- but also being aware of your surroundings in a broader sense.   It's important to acknowledge how occasionally glancing back is a good and necessary thing.  

original sketch 
This one I sketched out (shocker) but because I didn't also do the quilt math, the scale ended as a closer view in order to keep within the requested block size.  I am still pleased with the result and feel that the imagery is captured.

Perceive 10.5"x10.5"
For my second block I wanted it to be about how situations are not black and white.  Time, outside influence and other factors cause a change and progression of the way we see the same thing and how it does not always remain the same.  What starts out simple can become complicated given more thought.  In turn, something that initially feels overwhelming can end up being very basic once broken down.  

Another interpretation has to do with how differently the same experience can vary between two people.  You know, when you think to yourself - "what just happened" and you wonder if it's you or if it's them. 

Here is what I said on IG: This represents the way in which we perceive and how it can distort from clean crisp well defined to jagged uncertainty or vise versa depending. This was also to emphasize the palette of black and white as a concept.

Less minimal and more abstract than the first, it is also kind of a heavy message - which led me to block #3

Be a Duck 9"x10"
It takes me a bit to warm up when I'm working on my BeeSewcials since they aren't a typical "make this pattern for me" swap block.  They are very challenging and rewarding.  Getting ideas from my head to the fabric doesn't always happen with just two (rarely in fact).    

The final one is called "Be a Duck".   It's about letting life's annoyances roll off your back - it's my newest favorite saying and I've been trying to see challenging moments this way ever since I heard it.  Like #2, it's all about how you choose to look at things.  The secondary pattern of an eye (pun intended) is a little added whimsy.   

An early version - too literal 
Here are a couple of pictures to show the evolution.  The version above was way too much like a logo and did not seem very "me". 

Minimal - not enough message
I think if I had stopped here I would have been happy with the minimalism and modern aesthetic of the block.  The whole story wasn't represented - the actual meaning - so I kept going. 

Some people are naturally a duck - I am very much not a duck and am striving to be one.   How about you?

Cat masks 
Given the BeeSewcial September palette, this post seems like the perfect place to also share pictures of the cat masks made last week for my granddaughter's 2nd birthday party.  There had been a dry spell with my quilting mojo and although they were cut and glued rather than sewn, crafting these little guys helped break the spell.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

3 in 1 Betsy Bag - zipped up!

zippered front
Do you ever start a project and hit pause for no good reason?   My 3 in 1 Betsy Bag sat in the same state as shown on my "travel handmade to be" blog post until now.  Thanks to #fridaynightsewalong for boosting me to finish.
recessed zipper top
At our August guild meeting I purchased the zipper with the intention of bringing it for show and tell last Tuesday.  Oh well, it's done in time for stuffing it full of supplies for our SBAMQG Quilt Retreat in October so that counts. 
hardware detail
The recessed zipper (my first) was a modification from the drawstring in the pattern because I knew I  couldn't stand the thought of squishing my bugs.  
Kraftex, was easy to use (also a first) and will be great for the base of more bag projects.   Because this one is so deep I used a shoe box wrapped in fabric as a support to iron out the wrinkles created when flipping the bag inside out after attaching the lining.  I also sprayed with Best Press.
folded option
The bag design cleverly folds inside itself to convert to a briefcase size with an outside zipper becoming an inside zipper.  The interior also features one entire side of divided pockets.
pretty in pink deatils

For a pop of color I used a solid pink for the lining and also added another pink pocket inside with a key clip.  Now that it's all sewn together it's near impossible to photograph so here's a shot I shared on IG when I was auditioning topstitch thread colors. 
recessed zipper parts
I was wanting to make sure change I made wasn't going to be hindered by the opening while unzipped and overestimated the space. I can trim and redo the end tabs easily.
stitching down the rings
Reinforcing the straps strength by leaving a wide turndown and lots - lots - of stitching should make it hold up.  The fussy cut on the straps was worth the effort but these are covered up.  

Excited to have it done and to add a travel handmade to my collection.  Linking to the party at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday

Started: July 6, finished Sept 6, 2015
Pattern: 3 in 1 Besty Bag by Betsy La Honta for Stash Books/C&T Publishing
Fabrics: Tokyo Trainride by Sarah Watts,  Flora& Fauna by Patty Young,  Kona solid and Kraftex in Stone. Thread: Aurifil #2325 50wt and #5014 40wt.  Interfacing: Pellon 808 and Shape-flex Hardware (need to look this up)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Emotional (QDAD) Week


On occasion,  QDAD (Quilt Design A Day) will have a challenge week.   Today wraps up Emotions. 

I'm especially fond of these four: 

Surprise/Aqua: "Unexpected", When unplanned things fall into place. 

Fear/Red: "Closed"  The fear for others, the fear of the uncontrollable, the fear that the fear is not real and the fear that it is.

Joy/Blue: "From Within" enough said. 

Disgust/Yellow: "Pushed Too Far" Good things that you are invested in that drift in a bad direction 

I hope that members will continue to add designs because I like seeing them and reading the message behind the design.  

Message and Meaning

For the month of September,   the mission for BeeSewcial is sort of of related.  Check out Hillary's post at Entropy Always Wins and #inspiredbybeesewcial on IG.   There are a few ideas in my head and the black and white palette will be a refreshing change.    

I am anxious to see if I can pull off combining a couple of construction techniques that are newish to me.  QDAD has helped me to edit and lean towards modern minimalism but it does not come naturally.   

a Mid-May finish

I forgot to share.   I'm not very good at keeping secrets but this time I was so good at it that I almost let it slip by without posting.  This little quilt was made to welcome a special baby girl into the world. 

Made with the apple core template and stash using Tokyo Rococo to build off of.  I'm always pleased when my fabric plays well together.  I even busted into a long abandoned UFO for some Chic Blooms to add a scattering of yellow. 

If these process pics seem a bit familiar it's because I did give a sneak peak of the project on the apple  slices tutorial (which may be why in my head I thought I had already shared).

For quilting I kept it simple with some top-stitch and channel.  It was refreshing to not be free-motion quilting for a change.

Had I planned a little better I would have centered "California" on the binding but I did make sure it was somewhere to be found.

Flannel backing for baby - well of course.  

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.   

Friday, August 21, 2015

Create along with BeeSewcial

I will be taking pictures of the blocks that I've received as Queen Bee this month very soon I promise.  There are 14 so far and they are all uniquely fabulous interpretations of the REFLECTION.   Or you can sneak a peak on Instagram with #BeeSewcial  

You may have already seen the posts about #inspiredbybeesewcial on your IG fee today but I wanted to give a shout out here too: 
About a year ago a unique sewing bee formed that asked each member to choose a monthly theme/inspirational source and color palette. 10 quilters would then go forth and make "blocks", blocks become a quilt, one for each month. In this process we bee members have gained new skills, explored different designs and close friendships have grown. Somewhere in this whole creative endeavor other talented people have observed our journey and have asked to participate.

Unable to keep a good thing to ourselves, we have created a companion community #inspiredbybeesewcial to sew right along with us. We will continue to post our monthly inspiration on IG with dual hashtags. We ask only that you use #inspiredbybeesewcial when you post your makings. This larger group #inspiredbybeeswecial is about being a respectful, supportive, creative, collaborative community and making ourselves better designers and sewists. If you would like to be part of this companion community, you may follow monthly "instructions" on our blogs and tag your pictures on IG with #inspiredbybeesewcial. You will find us commenting on all your creativity over in #inspiredbybeesewical creative space.

So, are you ready? Hillary @entropyalwayswins is point for September. Look for her mission to us all in the last week of August. The other co-conspirators (and people you might want to follow just so you don't miss anything) are: Leanne @shecanquilt, Debbie @aquilterstable, Diane @ylmommyx4, Marci @marci_girl, Felicity @felicityquilts, Karen @capitolaquilter (that's me), Kari @quiltsforthemaking, Melissa @weshallsew and Stephanie @spontaneousthreads.

I joined a the bee a bit after things got rolling but you can read about the block inspiration for January on Stephanie's blog here.

Here are the blocks that I've made for my bee mates: 

February: Poster block for Kari

March: Transparency for Melissa

April: Curves and Circles for Di

May: Little Houses for Marci

June: Mid-Century Modern for Debbie

I'm looking forward to making the blocks for Hillary, Felicity and Leanne and feel very fortunate and honored to be among such an amazing group of quilters in this bee.  I'm looking forward to seeing what shows up in the #inspiredbybeesewcial IG feed aren't you?

Today I will be busy with my local MQG chapter South Bay Area Quilt Guild putting together our 2016 QuiltCon West Charity challenge quilt at a special all day sew day.  Packing up to go always takes longer than I think it will so I'd better sign off and load the car- Happy Stitching, Karen

Sunday, August 16, 2015

QDADiversary - 1 year

A few of my favorite Quilt Design A Day designs.  It's funny how emotionally attached I can get to some and how certain concepts are still trying to materialize.  I've added a QDAD page to the blog.

On the topic of Design, have you been following Anne's new series Color Clinic at PlayCrafts?  With so little time to keep track of blogs I've signed up to receive her newsletter by email just like I recently subscribed to Scrap Basket on Debbie's blog A Quilter's Table - check them both out!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mid Century Mod Free Form - BeeSewcial

Last Call 9"x9" and 9"x12"
These four blocks are from the Mid-Century Modern challenge for Debbie A Quilters Table who was our queen for BeeSewcial in June.  They aren't tardy - I just found my partially written draft and realized that I never actually published it.  You may recognize them from my IG and flickr but I wanted to follow up on this earlier post with the extra inspiration of the mural.  I pretty much came home that day and started creating. 
I used the same fabric in both with two different blues for the accent element.  Hopefully having the option of placing blocks that are directly related in more than one area of her bee quilt might be helpful with the layout.  I've seen on other swaps that some people get possessive about what they send but I'm happy to say that how - or if - the blocks are incorporated into the final vision is totally up to the queen and I'm good with that. 

A note about my process: I finished the two mustard/rust/blue blocks and could have shipped them off right then.  They met the criteria and incorporated design elements from her Pinterest board. But because I hadn't worked through all of my ideas and concepts they felt incomplete.   I kept going and made the two shown at the top of the page.   The martini glass is my favorite despite the olives and glass stem taking on a bendy-straw life of their own.  The other started out as a shot glass and became a filing cabinet drawer - which is perfect for time period I think.  

Lots of auditioning of fabric placement and shape options went on- that so much fun.

Next up will be the sharing of the BeeSewcial blocks that I've received as queen - they are amazing. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

QDAD Milestones

Vista View Glam Pic 08.11.2015
Finally a finish. A very first QDAD brought to life or as Anne so cleverly dubbed the event #QDAD2REALITY, a hashtag I plan to use again soon.   

Collaboritve projects hold a soft spot in my heart and they are worth the extra time and effort of juggling schedules and hauling supplies back and forth.  This one was started at the first of the year with my friend Sue.

We wanted to sew an original pattern and thumbed through my QDAD (quilt design a day) folder on the computer and chose this one - a simple sashed nine patch, right?

We auditioned fabric from my batik stash and began strip piecing.  In my head, it was going to be a slice and insert method that wasn't time consuming or confusing.  

Progress on Pi Day 03.14.15

In reality, we had a lot of laughs (mostly at ourselves) because diagonal alignment is a bit more challenging when you factor in seam allowance and the spacing from the sash let alone the bridge from one square to the next.
Puzzle pieces 05.31.2015
The final block layout as you can see from the original was swapped around but the overall essence of the design rings true.  The FMQ was laborious and I'll just say it - frustrating.  Fortunately the texture even before it's washed was worth it.

For the longest time this project was my ALYoF goal rolling over month to month.   On Monday I brought it to the UFO show and tell at PVQA's guild meeting where about 30 members who had pledged to finish and share did just that.  A really inspiring parade of talent and stories.  Linking up to Finish it Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Keep an eye on the blog tabs because I plan to celebrate my one year QDADiversary by adding a gallery of favorite designs to help motivate me to bring more of them to life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Travel Handmade To Be

What I've been up to lately - clearly it hasn't been blogging!
My 3 in 1 Betsy Bag
Fortunately it has been sewing.  Some secret and some not.  I'm loving the progress on my 3 in 1 Betsy Bag.  The kraft tex has been really easy to work with.  The process has been slow and I've decided to alter the pattern to include a recessed zipper closure instead of the drawstring.  I just couldn't stand the idea of squishing my bugs!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bee Sewcial July - REFLECTION

EEKK! it's my month to be queen for BeeSewcial and I'm so excited. Ever since I made the block for Di in April the design concept of Reflection has stuck with me and I'm looking forward to having my bee mates help me work though it.

my Block for Di
Although the Pinterest Board includes identifiable mirror and shadow images - that's NOT really what I'm after.   your block does not HAVE to be literal, but it CAN be.  It's as much about the relationship of colors and/or shapes within the block.  A change of value or scale from top to bottom or side to side. An exaggeration or distortion that the word Reflection evokes.  The transition doesn't have to be in the middle or a hard horizon but there should be some design element that varies within the composition. 

Sample blocks are purposely missing from the guidelines to start out. I will sew some up but I'd like to give members a chance to explore their interpretation of the concept without influence.  

Palette: the cover of the book Print & Pattern Geometric is spot on as well as many of the pictures inside.  The mosaic shown above includes recent items that inspired me, one of my QDADs (quilt design a day) from the Stay Tuned Lyrics challenge on May 30, my Perspective quilt and a poster I saw at my sisters last week.  I've asked them to lean more towards crisp/clear than pastel but feel free to mix.  I loved Kari's poster colors from February.  The block that I made her also falls along the lines of what has sparked my decision of what to ask for. 

my Block for Kari

Hopefully Di and Kari consider imitation the highest form of flattery.

More Details:
Construction: Ruler-free improvisational as well as traditional HST, circles, diamond, etc. I prefer to have pieced blocks but some needle turn appliqué is OK. 
Size and quantity: Equivalent to two 12.5 blocks

As the blocks roll in I'll be sure to share.  It also occurs to me that I didn't post the ones I made for Debbie in June in case you didn't see them on my IG and flickr feed. As I've said before  I'm thrilled and honored to be part of this amazing bee.  Being queen of it is kind of crazy - in a good way!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bee Sewcial: Between Fantasy and Reality

Bee Sewcial May

Bee Sewcial May Blocks
I ended up mailing off four blocks to Marci's for Bee Sewcial's month of May.  She has quite a happy collection now and I'm excited to watch the building of what is sure to be a beautiful quilt.  There was a bit of artistic conflict, torn between abstract and literal when I first started working on them early in the month.  After a "time out" and a revisit, I'm pleased where they landed. 

The 12.5x20" remote retreat with rolling hills and a stream (above) would be a great place for a girls getaway weekend of sewing.  Both of the big blocks have components from that initial session and plan drawn out here

I threw in a neighborhood park and another little house to help with the composition of the quilt, scattering similar bits throughout.  (8x9 and 7.5x8).  It's so freeing to not have a traditional 12.5 square restriction. 
When I made this row of houses (9.5x17.5) I had in mind a very neighborly vibe with a front lawn and porch - can't you just picture the kids with a lemonade stand?  I had a couple of ideas that didn't happen, one being a lighthouse. 

For our June blocks Debbie, a quilters table is having us go Mid-Century Modern.  Her pin board is full of great shapes. I've chosen my favorites and there is also one iconic image that comes to mind when I think of that era so I may try and fit that in somewhere.   I was strolling downtown last weekend and noticed this mural with an entirely new appreciation.  Here's the link to the artist and a full view
MidCentury Modern Mural inspiration 
The colors this month are going to allow me to dip into my solids stash and pull out some untouched fabrics.  Super happy about that. 

I've signed up to be on the QuiltCon West Charity quilt committee and am excited for our planning meeting next week.  Improv with Intent marches on. 

Unconventional Sam

Baby Boy Blocks
Remember these Sunbonnet Sue blocks (below) that I made as part of a collaborative project for my niece when she was expecting her baby girl?  I went all out with the props and had a lot of fun representing meaningful subjects like the beach, pie baking and being artistic.  Details HERE
Baby Girl Blocks
Hopefully I'm not spilling the beans posting the boy blocks now for the current quilt being made for her baby boy but I finished them and just had to share.  This time I let the fabric speak to the theme and rather than embellish them I kept the needle turn appliqué simple.  I know he's suppose to have overall straps but I opt for what I like and it was just awkward - so call me a rebel.

I got a kick out of how the bike and game themed ones look like arm tats and that he's hiding a card up his pant leg - although not sure what a 4 of clubs will get you!

(The mosaic crops the shapes to make three fit in one picture but they are actually square)

I'm linking up to Let's Bee Social and  Scraptastic Tuesday with Leanne at She Can Quilt, and Finish it Up Friday - hope you will too.