Saturday, November 27, 2021

Virtual and missed Shows

QuiltCon Together 

My calendar revolves around QuiltCon, looking forward every February to taking a couple weeks off work to travel, spend time with my sister and visit quilty friends.  Although the MQG and crew did a great job with the virtual show and I did attend a couple viewing parties via zoom, I missed the usual stuff so much.

Abstract Whimsy 

Having two quilts juried in was wonderful especially because they represent very different styles, improv and modern traditional and yet they are very "me". 

Fabric Challenge

Looking forward to walking the hall in Phoenix AZ 2022 . Hope to see you there.

2020 AQS and 2020 QuiltCon

"Reflections" almost made it to Paducah.  For the first time ever - I entered a quilt into the AQS show and my BeeSewcial quilt was accepted!  The show did not take place and it was mailed back to me.  It has now “aged out”. I am thankful to have a catalogue to document what almost happened.  

The QuiltCon 2020 publication is also a bitter sweet and a bit strange thumbing through remembering the carefree hugs and unmasked crowds during the last in-person event pre-pandemic.  

Saturday, August 28, 2021

FPP Aurifil Artisan Challenge

When it comes to trying new techniques, or in this case giving FPP a second chance- I’m all in. 

Foundation Paper Piecing comes naturally for some makers and they love it. Since I do not fall into this category, an open mind was necessary and fortunately the perfect project presented itself at the The Threadhouse Virtual Retreat. 

With time set aside to focus and devote to learning all the tips and tricks Lynne Goldsworthy had to offer, I was able to get in the groove. Knowing that support was at my fingertips via the private Facebook group and re-watching the instructional recording videos multiple times took the pressure off. 

The fabric placement echoing the center Dresden is a brilliant design and the fact that all of the geese are the same size helped reduce confusion.  

Taking a moment to organize my thoughts and my parts was key. I could not be more pleased with the results and would totally do it again!  

If you are new to FPP or have struggled in your previous attempts, choosing a pattern with only a couple of pages that are used repeatedly for a dynamic result like this outer flying geese ring is wonderful for skill and confidence building. 

I pieced with Aurifil Mako 50 weight 2000,  a great neutral. 

Happy Stitching, Karen

Monday, May 3, 2021

Quilty Honors

I’ve been quilting more in 2021 so far than all of 2020 and hope to be blogging more frequently as well.

Today I want to share a few honors kicking off with joining the Aurifil Artisan Team  announced today on their Auribuzz website.  It's an amazing lineup of makers and is sure to be a Blast!  I'll be sharing my projects occasionally here on the blog, but regularly on Instagram, so follow me HERE

Aurifil Artisan 

Aurifil Artisan Team 2021

It's no secret that I am a big fan and have used Aurifil thread in much of my quilting and am excited to explore some of the other weights that I haven't tried.  

Visuals #4 National Quilt Competition 

Watching the Spring Quilt Festival Online awards on Wednesday live on my computer and hearing that it my quilt won Best Use of Modern Traditionalism in the Mid-Modern category was thrilling.  They are keeping the show open until the end of the month, so you can still check it out.

my Instagram post

In November, our local South Bay Area MQG held our 9th annual Fall Quilt Retreat but in a virtual format.  They did an amazing job with impressive attendance.  One of the activities was to create a Lone Round Robin quilt using specific prompts.  My quilt hung the others in a special exhibit - digitally that is. Pajaro Valley Quilt Association put together an online version of their show. 

Limbo 42"x62" 2020

I dove wholeheartedly into creating Limbo and it is the most "authentic" design in recent memory.   The maximalist in me loves scrappy and taking advantage of being at home with endless resources available was key to the organic development of the piece.  

The MQG Retrospective Exhibit 

“Bend, don’t Break “ was created for and originally exhibited in Nashville GA for the QDAD Quilt Design A Day challenge QuiltCon exhibit in 2017.  It is currently in Paducah KY, one of 35 quilts chosen to represent and making this an incredible honor. 

Photo from the National Quilt Museum

You can see more photos on the museum's Facebook page. My quilt is in great company with Christine Perrigo's Northern Obsession,  Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill's Big Love and more.  

Bend, don't Break 62"x62" 2016

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

What I did Last Summer - Part One: Dog Days

Since first blogging in 2012, the number of posts has varied and the years tick away.   Weekly, monthly and more recently quarterly with the exception of Modern With a Twist.  I thought I'd write a "better late than never" and highlight the summer - the summer of 2019 that is.

One of the reasons that I started blogging was to archive memories and life changes to have a place to revisit where I can get all nostalgic or just reflect on how life changes.

This post was started and saved as a draft many, many months ago.  The Covid 19 pandemic isn't something I necessarily want to look back on but it is undoubtably life changing.  For me, Quarantine time is similar to Quilting time, a sense of similtanious standing still and flying by.  It has been and continues to be a strange, unprecedented experience.   It's ominous jumping back in to recap but I want to catch up so that I can move on, so I'm going to try.

Dog Days

July 2019 we brought home not one but two puppies as part of the NorCal GSP Foster to Adopt program.  We had owned two German Shorthair Pointers before and although we originally sought out to adopt one this time, we agreed to take on a brother and sister pair,

Let me introduce you to Rudy, my lap dog.   Yes, that's right, dog not dogs.  The NorCal GSP Foster program has a great support system providing sessions with trainers and even a dog walker when needed.   But it was almost immediately apparent that we could not handle both. It was also the recommendation of a professional that they would reach their own individual potential best if they were separated and fortunately a loving home was found for her.

With any rescue, there is an element of the unknown.  What have they been through in their young lives and why did they end up in a shelter?  We drove a few hours away to pick them up and I took this sorta-selfie of them snuggled their scuffed faces together on my lap in the car.  

It's funny how the early photos give the illusion that they are calm and easy.  That's only because most of the time they were a complete blur for the camera, constantly on the move.  

November 2019 Portrait by Melissa Averinos
If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen this beautiful portrait (above) by Melissa Averinos, @weirdcatsofinstagram.  I was the lucky winner of her giveaway and couldn't be more pleased.  We love the one that we had commissioned of our beloved Dottie and Chase (below) that hangs in our kitchen.  

The picture below was taken during one of the first outings hubby took him on while I was at Sew Day near by.  I miss those in person creative times and I'm sure Rudy misses the forrest.     

We're fortunate to have a back yard and regular visits with our grandpup who we refer to as his "cousin" .  They are so compatible and bring out the best in one another - true BFFs.

Before the Shelter in Place, Rudy was invited for a play date to hang out with his sister.  They connected like not a day had gone by and were so cute together, in an exhausting kind of way!  It was great to see how well she was doing and that we had made the right decision.  This time they were actually sitting still for the picture- with the help of a treat - but hey.  

Rudy has settled in to be my sewing side kick with what little sewing I've done lately.  He even tries to snuggle when I'm laying in bed doing handwork.  He's pretty good at photobombing like our dogs that came before.

It's hard to imagine that our adoption anniversary is fast approaching.   In the span of 40 years that hubby and I have been together, we've only had four other fur babies so when you think of it that way, a year is a just a blink. 

Chase, Dottie, Roscoe and Samual
Well, if you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me in my attempt to recap.  See you soon for "What I did Last Summer Part Two".  Happy Stitching, Karen

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Modern with a Twist "Lean In" Block Design

Discovering online resources for quilting is more important than ever these days and a great place to start is the quarterly e-zine publication Modern by the Yard .   The magazine from Benartex includes free projects and highlights newly released fabrics.  

In the current issue #14, the theme for my favorite section "Modern with a Twist" features the Pinwheel block and I was honored to be one of the three designers included.  Be sure to check out the magazine and keep reading to find out more about my block, "Lean In" .

"Lean In" Block Design

I've been exploring the gentle improv style curve for quite some time now and jumped at the chance to see how it could transform the traditional Pinwheel.  
Lean In - a Modern Pinwheel

Layering fabric before cutting and/or using a hand-drawn freezer paper template like in my Temperature Quilt and Log Cabin for a uniform shape is one way to go.  Because there are no points to match up, each segment could also be done individually using a rotary or scissors freeform with similar but more organic results.

Individual Organic Improv Curves

Mabon is the newest line from fabric designer Shelley Cavanna of Cora's Quilts  and it was hard to narrow down which of her beautiful prints to showcase.   The wide range of values and variety in scale are a joy to mix.  You will find the one at the beginning of this post in the magazine along with my little "blurb", but I just had to share a few others here.  

The richness of the deep Plum and Yellow really glow.  It's easy to imagine using it together in a quilt with the original block.  A classic combination with a modern flare.


"Lean In" in Blue 
Monochromatic is really fun to explore and a great chance to play with transparency.   I've used five different fabrics in the block above and even more in the quilt design below and yet it reads cohesive, cool and calm.

Expanding the block beyond with pieced sashing as shown above makes for secondary patterns galore.  In this case, the mirrored orientation also add movement living up to the "leaning" part of the name.

More Layout Options 

The two designs below omit the sashed cornerstone portion of original "Lean In" block to create an attention getting center.   Isn't it entertaining to see what catches your eye based on which fabrics are used and where they are placed? 

Seen enough variations? Well to bad, here's a super scrappy one!  I don't know about you but my head is spinning like a Pinwheel with possibilities.  Remember to take a look at what the other designers came up with by visiting Modern by the Yard issue #14 - just hit the READ button or directly HERE, it's free!  You can also find more on social media with @benartex_fabrics @corasquilts #modernwithatwist #mabonfabrics  #modernbytheyard

One last thought about Mabon is that it coordinates well with Shelley's Gloaming fabric line and flashing back to when I designed this quilt for her Blog Hop, I see the influence of the center motif.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Keep in touch on Instagram where you'll find me more frequently.  Happy Stitching!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Hotter than I thought- 2019 Temperature Quilt

I took this picture on New Years Eve.  A pretty gorgeous day for a classic photo shoot on the front porch and I happened to have available two grown ups with long arms to hold it.  The beast is 91"x98" and if you're wondering why I didn't have to wait until the January to call the top done - it's because the final block for 12/31 will be the label on the back. 

In April I shared HERE the status so far.  Little did I know that later in the year we'd have a record breaking heatwave.  Historical Average High of 77 turned out to be 103. Triple digits are unheard of and yet it happened and more than once. 

The project came with me to a Retreat in March and again in September.  You can see the "holes" where I worked ahead leaving the TBD gaps.  I worked in three sections (approx 4 month chunks) so that I wouldn't have to drag the entire top with me and hog the design wall. 

Lesson Learned 

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen the progress step by step and may have read today's post in response to IGQuiltFest prompt: "Lesson Learned" 

"Best laid plans are subject to change- Embrace that as part of the journey. Make decisions along the way and keep going.  

When I embarked on the making of my #temperaturequilt2019 I determined the fabric color brackets with TBD above 81 degrees because we (typically) have mild weather. This way I could get going with months of progress before facing that hurdle.  I don’t regret the approach because all of the “what if“ and “should I“ scenarios were paralyzing my confidence to commit to a year long project and I could have otherwise stopped me in my tracks and done nothing. 

We can only forecast the future based on what we know and we should expect to wrong a good part of the time. That’s okay. 

How we choose to deal with it when our plans get derailed is also part of the experience.  Would I have made different brackets if I’d predicted the heatwave? Probably. Does it matter? Absolutely not. The quilt chronicles my creative choices along the way which hold a higher value than a statistically accurate representation. 

Memories of my 6 year old granddaughter reading the day’s temperature, writing the numbers, finding the corresponding color on the chart and selecting which two fabrics to sew - that’s what I’ll remember. Hopefully she will too.  The finished top is ready for quilting."

I think my hubby and pup are glad to have the project off the design wall in our living room.  It was a semi-perminant fixture all year long.  Unlike some makers, I didn't make a block a day but more often a week strip at a time.  There are a lot of parts left since I cut the rectangles ahead without calculating what I might need.  Considering that I missed the bracket mark by six - I'm pretty sure if I had attempted to guess how many of each color was needed I'd have as many parts as I do anyway.

Worth Repeating

Monthly Markers on IG include an image of something I've sewn the previous month.  My temperature quilt made an appearance twice - a little self-imposed rule bending. 

Did you see the recently announced Modern Quilt Guild plans for a 2022 QuiltCon Special Exhibit of Temperature Quilts made by their members?  Very exciting news.

Happy Stitching.