Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2019 BeeSewcial "Portraits" - March Prompt

Two Humanoids

Felicity requested that we make two Portrait blocks for our March BeeSewcial Prompt and name them.  They could be realistic or abstract, they just needed to read as Humanoids.  As someone who always cringed when it was time to draw faces in art class because I found it intimidating, I was both excited and nervous about the challenge.  

My local guild had a sew day on NATional Quilting Day so NATurally, I named her NAT.   She was actually the second block to be made but I wanted to share her first because I'm so smitten I can't stand it.  She's sporting a new hairdo with a streak of gray as a nod to transitioning to my own natural color although she's in no way a self portrait.  I had a blast bringing her to life and immediately wanted to make one to keep.

So here's my first block made while at retreat and a few process shots to see how he evolved.   The hair bits were left over from a previous challenge and they jumped right out.  I wanted him to have attitude and the eyebrows are another favorite feature.

Auditioning parts
Laying parts on before cutting and stitching them into place gives me a general idea and is useful.  In the end he gives off a Cheshire Cat vibe, probably because of the pupils.
I named him Marley.  He's laid back, not a care in the world with a life philosophy we could all use at times, "Don't worry, be happy".   I almost named him Dude.

Back to Nat

Curved left overs
The very first thing to be sewn was her lips.  So tricky but they gave me a direction of personality right away.  I had made a bunch of quarter circles for another project that left me with some great cut offs in solid that I pulled from the scrap bin.
You can see the "notch" where the concave and convex template positioned in the photo above.  That "flip" was originally going to be preserved but I liked the balance of the purple and what happens with the part in her hair.  With improv, I typically do ruler free work until trim up so I thought these might be too uniform at first but I think the contrast is successful.

Here's hoping your day is filled with a little bit of Nat's badass sassiness and Marley's kick back joy.

Happy Stitching, Karen

Monday, May 6, 2019

2019 BeeSewcial - Triptych Jewels February Prompt

As queen bee for February 2019, this is what I wrote as a guideline for my be mates to help them create a "Triptych Jewels“ block for me:

Blocks Received (not final layout)

"When choosing my prompt, I kept coming back to the concept of stages: Past-Present-Future, Birth-Life-Death, Before-During-After. I’m curious to see your interpretation of this idea with three segments that differ – they do not need to be equal portions and can transition subtly or abruptly with changes in design elements like scale, shape, value and color for example. .

Size: ONE Block equal to the usual size 12.5x24.5 The actual dimension is makers’ choice (long and thin, square, whatever fits with your composition) Puzzling together has become an enjoyable step in the process for me so don’t feel constrained and do not trim down. "

Prompt Logo

Palette: Think emerald, topaz, sapphire and amethyst etc. Use three or more colors in as many shades as you like. Bright and happy. Think less primary than my previous “Freeform Connection 2018 “ and less pastel than “Reflections 2015”.

Makers Tagged on IG

from Wikipedia “Despite its connection to an art format, the term is sometimes used more generally to connote anything with three parts, particularly if they are integrated into a single unit” 

The definition seems appropriate with a nod to collaboration - the individuals each have their own story and it will be interesting to put the chapters together.  I want to share a little more about what each maker referring to the tagged image above:

Stephanie (spontaneousthreads)  Fabric Pull/Sewing together/Finished composition. She felt the prompt reminded her of the quilt process:
Leanne (shecanquilt) : Seed/Leave-Stems/Flowers She included tourmaline for the palette with garnet, citrine and sapphire.
Felicity (felicityquilts): Triangle/Square/Circle shapes of A B C.  Her jewels are amethyst, emerald and ruby.
Debbie (aquilterstable): Water in three forms Solid (ice)/Liquid (an ocean wave)/Gas (steam). Her focus was amethyst, sapphire and emerald with a hint of topaz
M-R (quiltmatters): An emphasis on getting different facets in the jewels to pop. Amethyst, sapphire and aquamarine.
Ken (thekingslacker): "The Birth of Enlightenment" in jewel tones
Marci (marcigirl): "The evolution of Improv" HST and a homage to our BeeSewcial roots
Silvia (astrangerview): Lion/Witch/Wardrobe Narnia, Citrine eye, nose and mane, Aquamarine ice castle or crown, Ruby door slightly open and drawers at the bottom.  She also chose the theme for the spiritual representation.

So much meaning in the blocks and I love them all.  
Happy Stitching, Karen 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

2019 BeeSewcial "Be (Bee) Counted" January Prompt

Made and mailed by deadline, I'm realizing that my 2019 BeeSewcial blocks aren't anywhere to be found on the blog.  So,  better late than never - I present 2019 prompt for January "Be (Bee) Counted" for Stephanie.
Be (Bee) Counted block 13.5" x25"
Stephanie wrote the following instructions on her  Instagram post : "in anticipation of the 2020 census I’d like for us to count and to be counted. I have always loved the simplicity of Tally Marks. 
As a method of counting they have been around for a very long time and appear in slightly differing variations in many cultures. My vision is a quilt of tally marks: bold ones, skinny ones, all improvisationally pieced"

process detail
The prompt immediately made me think of the score pad for bunko (I was in a group for ten years) and how easy it was to identify which player was tracking by how orderly the marks were. Mine were the messy ones. Deciding on what my number would be was immediately apparent. 

process detail
I love that our members are from all over. It’s pretty much the only time I visit the post office to mail my blocks each month. Mine represent the five digit zip code for Capitola, using spacing for the zeros 95010 and the significance of the red diagonal dash on the five is in honor of our 5th year as a bee.

the underside
Five with a red slash
Freehand rotary and scissor cut for the sections with rulers used to true up. My poor penmanship extends itself to hashtags so they aren’t neat. Intentional irregularity was tricky but fun. 

Check back for blog posts catching up with the February (my month), March and April BeeSewcial prompts.  Happy Stitching, Karen

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2019 Q1 FAL Winners announced

 The time has come to officially wrap up Quarter 1 of the Finish-A-Long by announcing the winners and awarding some wonderful prizes from our fantastic sponsors.  We had a whopping 553 finishes for the first quarter of 2019, which is really impressive you guys, keep it up!

Without further ado, here are the winners picked by Random Number Generator for Q1 of the 2019 Finish-A-Long:

The winner's choice of One Large 12 Spool Collection from Aurifil goes to Ann who blogs at Brown Paws Quilting and she finished this gorgeous Summer Sampler quilt that she custom quilted:


The $80 Gift Certificate from Sew Sweetness goes to Michelle who blogs at From Bolt to Beauty and she finished 11 Jane Market Bags for her children's teachers (here is just one of them):


The $50 Gift Certificate from Mad About Patchwork goes to Sandra who blogs at Musings of a Menopausal Melon - mmm! Quilts and she finished this lovely cushion/pillow cover:


The $50 Gift Certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Melinda on IG @mamasan_gerber and she finished this large hexagon pouf:


The $25 Gift Certificate from Sew Me A Song goes to Melinda who blogs at Quiltn in Wilton and she finished this bright and cheerful child sized quilt:


The 3 PDF Patterns from Happy Quilting goes to Liz who blogs at Yorkshire Quilter and she finished this beautiful scrappy charity string quilt:


The 2 PDF Patterns from Charm About You goes to Gretchen who blogs at 120 Blocks and she finished this fantastic Jelly Roll Rug:


The 2 PDF Patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts go to Janice on IG @tangibleculture and she finished this lovely cross stitch ornament:


The 6 Month Subscription to Make Modern Magazine goes to Anja who blogs at Anja Quilts and she finished this really fun quilt:


The 2 PDF Patterns from Bonjour Quilts goes to Jennie who blogs at Jennie's Threads and she finished this gorgeous sampler quilt:


The $30 Fabric Voucher from Hillstitches goes to Pippa on IG @pippaspatch and she finished this wonderful duel sided table runner:


There you have it folks, quarter one of the year is officially wrapped up!  Congratulations to all of our winners and a big thanks to everyone that played along so far this year.

Friday, April 26, 2019

2019 Temperature Quilt

January 1 to April 22
I knew I had to join in with the #tempquiltalong using my Improv Abstraction block when the prepping posts started popping up on my Instagram feed at the beginning of the year.   A good chunk of 2019 is now behind us but hey - look, I'm keeping up!  The picture above is the 28"x98" segment to prove it - that's 112 days done! Shocking but true.

Honestly I had no idea such things existed until I started browsing the #temperaturequilt and reading the details on blogs Twiddletails and Elm Street Quilts  

Close Up
January came and went without a speck of progress so I almost gave up on the idea until it occurred to me that bringing my parts with me to QuiltCon Nashville in February would be the perfect project for the Open Sew sessions I had signed up to attend.
First strips done at QuiltCon
Each block represents the temperature of the day with the High on the left and Low on the right.  The orientation of the parts doesn't have any significance which makes the freedom of layout more fun as I build it.  Each strip is 2 weeks starting from top to bottom. We had some weird weird weather and I needed three of the coldest bracket almost immediately.
Degrees/Color Chart 
Comparing the degree brackets of other participants was helpful but our weather tends to be mild so I adjusted the most likely temps (shown in bold on the chart) to get variety. Because I promised myself that I would sew from stash and use prints the "color key" is much less obvious than other quilts out there.  Good thing I like scrappy.
Pre-Cut rectangles and Sample Block
With a set number of blocks I also had to take into consideration what made sense for a layout plan.  365 days doesn't exactly divide evenly into everything and rectangles instead of squares makes the quilt math trickier but fortunately 26x14 uses all but one and measures to 91"x98" for our bed.  The December 31st block will be the label on the back. 

Rectangles Ready and Waiting
You might be asking yourself how did I calculate how many rectangles to cut of each - well, I didn't.   Not in the least.  It's stash and it needs used up - so I'm expecting to have lots of left overs as a head start to another project in 2020.

Traditions and Changes

It's tradition. Every year we walk down to the beach and our granddaughter participates in the Easter Egg Hunt in Capitola Village.  The colors of the Venetian match perfectly as a backdrop to the scattered pastel shapes in the sand.  We love it.
Speaking of color - or more accurately lack of- I'm transitioning to my natural hair color.  It will take about a year and a half or two to grow out but I wanted to take the plunge with a sudden drastic change.  I'm adjusting to it well and excited about the end game.
April 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

2019 Finish a Long Q2: Time to Link Up your Goals

Hello everyone! It is time for Quarter 2 of the Finish-A-Long (FAL)!

As you can see, a new quarter of the Finish-A-Long is starting today.  If you missed participating at the beginning of the year, you can join us now for a brand new start. Those of you who did join us for the first quarter, thank you and I do hope you finished some things and plan to continue on with us for Q2.

So let's get to it!
You can now link up your list of projects that you want to finish in Quarter 2 of 2019. We are hoping that the FAL community will inspire you to work on your unfinished projects this quarter, and to get them finished!

Our 2019 Finish-A-Long Hosts

The 2019 FAL is hosted by a great community of bloggers. This year our hosts are:

For those of you who are new to the FAL, here is an explanation: The Finish-A-Long is a community aiming to motivate and encourage each other to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging around, sometimes for far too long. At the start of the quarter you post and link up a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months. Then, at the end of the quarter, you link up each successful finish from your original list.

Each linked up finish is an entry into the draw for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list as long or as short as you wish. The 2019 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent 2019 FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Our 2019 Finish-A-Long Sponsors

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q2 of the Finish-A-Long. you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo. Please think about visiting them and saying thank you for their their support of the FAL.

Aurifil Logo
Winner's Choice of 1 Large 12 Spool Collection
Sew Sweetness Logo
$80 Gift Certificate

Mad About Patchwork Logo
$50 Gift Certificate
Fat Quarter Shop Logo
$50 Gift Certificate
Sew Me a Song Logo
$25 Gift Certificate
Happy Quilting Logo
3 PDF Patterns

2 PDF Patterns

Blossom Hearts Quilts Logo
2 PDF Patterns
Make Modern Logo
1 Six Month Subscription
Bonjour Quils Logo
2 PDF Patterns

Hillstitches Logo
$30 Fabric Voucher
2019 Finish-A-Long Logo

Make your Q2 List of Unfinished Projects

So now it is time to sort out the projects/UFOs/WIPs that you want to finish over the next three months. Take a photo of each one and make your list. If you like you can use our Finish-A-Long Planner to list your projects and keep track of progress. It also has all link-up dates for the year, and the hashtags that we would use. Or use any method that works for you. Please ensure that you have at least STARTED your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is considered a project started - and remember it is only a FINISHED project that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

Post Your Q2 List

Post your list either on your blog, on Instagram, or on Flickr if you prefer. If posting on social media (Flickr, Instagram), it will be very helpful if you tag your list with #2019FALQ2yourname (where yourname is unique to you). Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing project progress or finishes helps the host to make the connection to your original list quickly and easily.
IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link up your finishes at the end of the quarter! We will be posting a reminder on the blog and on Instagram, but do keep an eye out...

Link-up Your Q2 List

The 2019 Q2 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below, on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on ONE host blog, and the link will show up on all the host blogs. If you are using Flickr or Instagram, post a mosaic of your projects and put your list in the description. Don't forget to include your unique hashtag.
If you need a little help, Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link up if you need it, and Marci has a post on how to link up from Instagram.

Join the FAL Community

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

If you want you can follow us on Facebook: Finish-A-Long and/or on Instagram: @finishalong, too. We'll post encouragement during the quarter and reminders when the finishes link up opens at the end of the quarter.

When creating your list there is one thing to remember - No deductions for not completing something so - Aim High! Nothing to lose!! Well now, get that list together and get linked up.


Feel free to use and share the FAL button at the top and this one too:

Remember: you only need to link up at ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.