Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Q3 FAL 3 for 3 and Amish-ish

A much better finish with all of my goals met this quarter.   I'm so rusty at linking up for the party - it's been so long I've kind of forgotten how! Good thing Katy spells it out for us so nicely. 

Don't be confused about the fact that TWO of the quilts look SUPER SIMILAR.  That's because they are companion quilts for the Michael Miller Challenge, Goal Setting Post found HERE

A Burst of Amish-ish

I've been in a bit of a pause lately (aka burn out).  When my friend Anne came over for a basting party and I saw her quilt entry for the upcoming community exhibition of Amish: The Modern Muse at the San Jose Quilt and Textile museum it sparked a frenzy of late nights and IG crowdsourcing.  
(the kona brown for binding on the left won out)

I was sad about missing out on such a wonderful opportunity and had been thinking about what to make, designing QDAD with it in mind, buying solids to make it but doing nothing about it.

Feels so good to be in the thick of things rather than the sidelines.

I'll share more but the clock is a tickin' and I've got sewing to do.

One deadline at a time.  I've got a stack of HST with my IGmini partner's name all over them.

Today was my 45th QDAD design and I'm hoping to make some of them into actual quilts one day, maybe even for the swap.   The group is on facebook Quilt Design A Day.

Friday, September 26, 2014

a Finish and a Top

Finally a Finish

They feel few and far between but today I've got one!
My coworker's retirement party is on Tuesday night so I'm please to have the quilt done and ready to give to her.  I've got enough IOU gifts haunting me - ugh! Nothing personal -really - just not enough time in the day.
One of my more recent tools purchases was this lovely 16.5" and the dark/light cutting mat.   Both came in very handy for squaring up.  Getting to the point of trimming was not the journey I'd planned for. 

The FMQ was suppose to be a quick stipple. Torture I tell you.   I now think the culprit was a wrong-type needle, replaced by a recycled correct-type-but-bad needle followed finally by a wonderfully correct and new needle - there was nothing simple or quick about it.

Glam Clam Top 

Near final layout   I was worried about finding space in my house to layout the final parts and was fortunate to use the big design wall at intrepid thread - thank you Julie !  
Since the entire quilt was from stash and the remaining cut clams lacked the color variation I needed, there was a bit of fabric shopping that took place while I was there :)  Now I have the beginnings of a mostly mustard-yellow perpetual glam clam quilt.  

I brought the top with me to breakfast at the yacht harbor thinking that it would be fun to photograph.  We couldn't find a ledge or bench to stand on and then the wind picked up just enough to shrink-wrap my good humored helpers.  Happy to have this shot. 

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIF at Glory Be Quilter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

GlamClam workshop

Glamming it Up late into the Night

12" clams half way to a King
The SBAMQG workshop last night was so much fun with Latifah.  Seeing all of the fabric and layout choices was great.  I was tempted to tone it down because I do love the look of the samples she brought that include a lot of solids and really feature the print pops but in the end the "everything including the kitchen sink" scrappy was most authentic for me.
Latifah and I - such an honor to meet her!

Here's me and my progress spreading out and taking over the entire table.  Linking up to WIP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social.
Keeping it all straight took a few misses on my part, mixing up which arch to sew the next clam into.  I finally discovered that if I placed the next one on the bed of my machine before cutting the thread to disconnect the one I just finished, there was little chance of accidentally grabbing the wrong on to sew it to. 
Demo and tips at the beginning of the workshop to get us all on the right track.  We're so lucky to have such a wonderful space in the Solaris room to create and learn in with friends.
This one really appeals to me and I just might have to create something similar with the perpetual clams that I'm sure to have.  So Much Fun!!!

Quilting Demo

On Wednesday afternoon i got to go to the fair and demo with a few of the ladies in my PVQA small quilt group The Fabric Hounds. We made great progress (and a huge mess) both doing piecing and appliqué of puppies which the kids especially liked. 
My safety radar is fine tuned from spending time with my baby grand girl. It came in handy because working with sharp pointy things in public requires extra caution.
These gals are so much fun!
I'm hoping that doing a demo and going to the County Fair becomes an annual event.  When I was a kid I had my 4-H sewing on display and then chaperoned when my boys were in Elementary school but haven't been since.  

Look who's one 

 The seahorse I picked up from the Monterey Bay Aquarium gift shop was a big hit.
Lots of Excitement as the clock strikes her "birth-time"
After the fair I went with my family to a yummy dinner at Choclate downtown and for Penny Icecream after. 
Baked Pasta Rosettes 
Today is her beach party to celebrate with friends and family and it's a beautiful day! Hope you're having a fun and full weekend too.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stratas and a Star

Where I was Headed....

Playing on the Workshop Design Wall 
When I have time (chuckle) I'm definitely going to get back to the direction this layout was headed.  During the workshop with Mary Tabar yesterday, she encouraged us to find our own design.  She brought loads of beautiful quilts as well as sample sheets, most of which were symmetrical.  I was feeling asymmetrical.  

The possibilities were a bit overwhelming because their are so many to choose just one.   Shortly before pack up,  I came to the realization that for my current situation, I needed to land on a layout that (for the most part) joined pieced edges to the lengthwise strip or solid triangle rather than the slower process of a chevron or matched stratas.

So many bias cut pieced seems
Thanks to the invasion of the bee fabric and a helping hand of a workshop mate , a star was born. I kept going when I got home. My co-worker is retiring in a couple of weeks and I thought this class was perfect timing to create a traditional quilt using old and new fabric as part of the Purge .  She likes flower, to garden and has traditional taste.

...Where I Ended UP

Late Night Pic: The black has tiny reddish dots 
With my "no inherent sense of direction" issue, on-point tricks me a bit but I was drawn there and wanted it to be challenging enough to hold my interest.

Twas the night before..

Bunting does double duty 
The class instructions asked that we do some prep ahead of time to allow us to jump right into design when we arrived.  I'd chosen my fabrics but had left the cutting, strip piecing and pressing until - well, the night before :).  Thank goodness for IG and the encouragement of #fridaynightsewalong.

More Remain than were Used
The stack of leftover parts is enough for another (or maybe two) quilts in my future.  Wish I could play with the ideas bouncing around in my head but I'm just going to be pleased that I came away from the weekend well on my way to finishing a quilt for my co-worker's retirement gift.  Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 

Monday, September 1, 2014

BIG, Mini and a Goal

Glam Clam Workshop Prep

Playing with Parts on the Design Wall
The Glam Clam has been on my bucket list ever since I started drooling over the ones I've seen on flickr and posted on blogs.  I'm thrilled that our SBAMQG has invited Latifa Saafir for a workshop in a few weeks.  They've booked the workspace long into the night as well so I want to come prepared and make the most of 12 hours of pure indulgence. 
Focused Scrappy - Loving my boarded stash 
She has the pattern instructions and templates for 4", 6", 8" and 12" available for free on Craftsy.  One of the things that I'm drawn to about this design is the variety of looks that it takes on depending on fabric choices and placement.  I know that statement could really apply to ANY quilt, but it's especially true for me in this one.
My Sewing Room is a HUGE Mess
I'm GOING BIG, with not only the 12" block but with a King Size.  It's all about scale and the fact that if I'm finally going to make one, I'd better get to sleep under it when I'm done!
Fussy cutting is not efficient but sometime you just got to.
My stash is - well, you know, basically bursting.  The first inspiration fabric line that I thought of was Lucky Penny and any other Alison Glass I own (love her).  Turns out the AMH Field Study I've been hoarding plays well as does Kaffe (the first designer I collected).  Because this is the time to use my large scale floral, I tossed in some Amy Butler and miscellaneous Art Gallery.   Linking up to Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles who's having a blogiversary, congrats!


finding "My People"
Other than swapping at our MQG, I haven't done any in far too long.  It's fun finding out who's in my group and discovering new people and rediscover some old friends.  Hopefully I learned my lesson from flickr and the ridiculous juggling of over commitments when I started there and won't fall into the same.  I'm capitolaquilter on IG as well so come say hi. 

ALYOF September Goal

Redwood Grove Wedding Quilt
One of the other things that I did regularly and has recently fallen to the waist side along with swapping has been linky parties.  I miss them too!  Here's my ALYOF September goal.

Wine Gift Bag  - a Finish

Trudging along with WIPS can get depressing even when you like the projects you're working on.   This little bag was exactly the boost I needed.  Starting something new doesn't sound like a fix for the blues but this quick finish felt great.  Hubby and I went to a friend's birthday party last weekend. The woodgrain fabric lined with wine grapes from my stash was stop on. 

Linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop? and Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

QDAD and The Purge

QDAD - Lurker no more
QDAD 8.16 block repeat/rotate 2x3 grid
Creating virtual quilts won't use up my stash but I'm pretty sure it'll spark a creative frenzy that makes me want to sew!    About six months ago I joined the Facebook group QDAD created by my friend Anne@ PlayCrafts .  Until today I'd been a lurker member (which is actually allowed in this no rules group).  

I've got 15-30 minutes a day to spare (especially if I don't play candy crush on my phone) and I've been wanting to make my own quilt designs and join the fun - but had been letting the lack of tools stop me (although I do own crayons/pencils & paper).  After listening to Anne's MQG webinar on Wednesday night, I decided to stop making excuses and give the free software inkscape a try.
QDAD 8.16 - my very first one
The learning curve is huge but that's not stopping me either.  Day one of the "Getting Started" challenge was a nine-patch so I made one that I like pretty well.  I wanted to see what happens with a repeat and rotate of the block so I dumped it into word as an image and took a screen shot picture. Once I get my head wrapped around the program I won't have to resort to such ridiculous methods.


I've already done some major purging of fabric that I'm no longer in love with or simply felt would better suited to someone with more time to make projects from it than me.

Despite the trunk load of my stash that I passed along for pennies on the dollar at the yard sale and the remaining that I donate to my local guild, there is no shortage of fabric around these parts.
Five buckets turned to just this little bit after the sale/donation
Linking up to Stitched in Color for The Purge.  She's put together really great ideas about how to deal - and a support group to help those who have trouble letting go (cough, cough).

In a couple of weeks I'll be taking a workshop from Mary Tabor called WaterColor Quilt.  We get to choose and cut and sew our strips ahead (yeah) and can expect to leave with a top in hand.  Because I wanted to make a quilt to give to my co-worker as a retirement gift next month, the timing is just perfect.
*The darks and bees are actually very well loved

And best of all, because it calls for four fabrics 2 yards each (light, medium, dark florals and a background)- it's going to make a dent in my stash.   And second best of all, because they are only 1" once sewn I'm able to use floral prints that aren't necessarily favorites and PURGE.

When my hubby walked in the room he asked what the stack was for and I told him about the workshop.  His response was "so it's suppose to be fabric that doesn't go together at all?"  I laughed and he's kind of right - or at least that's what I'm counting on.

I'll share the top in a future post and you can tell me if he was right.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quilty Flashback Friday

One of the reasons I started blogging was because I was so terrible about keeping track of what, when, why I made quilts.   Reflecting back on the creative journey is one way to look forward.  Analyzing what choices resonated with you and making a mental note of those gratifying moments can be useful.  With that in mind,   I'm linking up for the first time to Quilty Flashback Friday

Don't Call Me Betsy
My flickr photo info says the picture was taken Oct 2006 and I'm not sure if the camera date setting was correct, but that sounds about right. 

What is significant about this quilt is that at the time, it was outside my comfort zone and I altered the pattern to add the flying geese border.  That may seem minor but up until then I'd pretty much made basic repetitive blocks, like rail fence and sewn them traditional grid construction.  And I'd repeated patterns that I had already made. 
When I asked my son to browse magazines and books for a design he wanted me to us for his quilt, he chose this one with lots of hst, set on point etc.. I was challenged but that was good.

It's all a bit blurry but I do recall changing my mind on fabric placement a lot and swapping out choices entirely midstream. 

Tweaking patterns now (when I even follow them) is pretty much a given for me.  I remember feeling very brave to take on a twist and add that border with the varied backgrounds of the flying geese scattered.   Here I was thinking that using mixed scale was something new for me, but I guess not!

I still like the quilt and actually borrowed it back to take the finished picture shown above because back then, just like now - I'm super terrible about getting that shot before handing off the gift.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2 Wedding Quilts - one Done, one WIP

My WIP list has included a June wedding quilt and August wedding quilt for a very long time in anticipation of the marriage of two of  my nieces.  Long engagements and no excuses, I got really close to making deadline on both. 

Quite a bit has been shown of Chain+Link (final 2014 FALQ3 GOAL and finish linky party here), a wedding quilt I started at a retreat in March for my niece who was married in June in Hawaii (aqua/teal ocean and golden sunset themed).  We weren't able to attend but fortunately giving them the gift in person happened weekend before last thanks to a fabulous gathering of family at my other niece's wedding.  One done.  
top:Redwood Grove top - August wedding quilt, bottom: June wedding quilt
Late night FMQ
Scrappy-scrappy binding makes me happy
As for my WIP, I'm super excited to finally share the progress of the second wedding quilt that's been in the works, Redwood Grove.   The bride-to-be may or may not read my blog on occasion so I didn't want to risk the reveal.   
Pairing fabrics - my favorite to do.
There was a lot of contemplation when it came to choosing the design for this couple because I wanted it to really capture the natural beauty of the stunning venue where they had chosen to share their vows, and that's a TALL order (pun intended).  
Redwood Amphitheater Santa Cruz
My SIL helped me narrow the color palette to be sure it would fit in with their home decor.  Words like calm, simple and linear came to mind.  No surprise I ventured slightly out of the crayon box to make it as scrappy as I could and yet retain a cohesive feel.  Mostly low contrast I included pops to represent the way light flickers and casts shadows. 
Playing with placement on my Ghetto Design Wall 
I had seen a quilt in a book at my LQS that was similar but with much more structure (cut x amount this size etc..)  Using the improv concepts fresh in my mind from the MQG webinar with Cheryl Arkison and the Jacquie Gering workshop, I freely sliced up the arranged to my hearts content.

They unwrapped the top, posed for a sweet picture and then handed it back.  Ideally it would've been done but that wouldn't be my MO.  While they are off enjoying their honeymoon I'll be thinking of them as I finish up.  I'm probably going to "add" another 8"-10" to the bottom.  Although it's big enough for a queen bed, unlike the other quilt with its circular symmetrical design, square just feels awkward for this one.  I'm leaning towards doing an organic straight quilting to enhance the tallness of the design.

Group Photo
Had to take advantage of being all dressed up and in the same place at the same time with this smily faced group photo - precious times.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts,  Can I get a Whoop WhoopLet's Bee Social and  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Solids are in my future too...


I checked out this gem from the lending library at the guild meeting on Monday night to brush up and start the wheels turning for my entry for the upcoming exhibit at San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  Amish: The Modern Muse

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pattern Testing and Winning

Greek Plus Puss

Now available on Etsy and Craftsy,  Rossie has a wonderful blog post about her newly released pattern and the samples she made with Peppered Cotton (want some!) and the adorable vintage sheet stroller sized version as well.  
My Test version of Greek Plus Puss
Anyone who knows me can attest to that fact that I'm always game for an opinion or two, especially if it comes to quilting.   If you ask, you'd better mean it!  Since this was my first time to pattern test, I made a point of taking pictures along the way and thought I'd share them. 
Focal fabric pull
Since I really had no time to do this but wanted to squeeze it in anyway, I decided just to make four blocks and chose some favorite fabric for the focal plus. 

Usually I tend to avoid directional print but I wanted to put the instructions to the test after all and this added one more element.  Stacking and cutting layers made it easy and quick.
auditioning puss scrap options
For the plus and background you need a decent sized chunk but for puss it's only a little bit and I wanted them all scrappy so auditioning options gave me some playtime. I wanted them subtle but varied for interest. 
Double duty ruler
Once I decided what went were on the design wall, I used my newest 16 1/2" ruler to stack all the parts to keep them in order at the sewing machine. 
chain piecing
Since the pairing of each block was unique it made chain piecing brainless without worry of mixing up parts.   
Keeping the sub-units stacked
Once the sub-units were joined, returning them to their position with the correct orientation made the process smooth and carefree as well.  They look a bit odd spaced out this way but I could check the placement with a quick flip open. 
Pressing to the side felt a little weird at first.  I joined the four blocks and called it done.   
One of my suggestions was to show mix with the reverse colors and I had that concept stuck in my head.  So the next weekend, I snuck in a few hours and expanded to the stroller size quilt with a bit of a twist in the corner to make it my own.  Initially, I thought of repeating the four-patch but opted for a simpler version.  
four patch auditioning 
Thanks for coming along on my first Pattern Testing journey - I'm excited to be taking a class at QuiltCon with Rossie and meeting her in person.  

a Block Flower Win

Lucky me - I won the newly released Block Flower pattern from Jess at Elven Garden Quilts .  If you don't already follow her blog be sure to check it out.  There is a tab for her current series Decipher Your Quilt and Free Motion QAL.  I also enjoy looking back at the previous Color Theory for Quilters information because the information really is timeless.