Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"No Inherent Sense Of Direction" Madrona Road Entry

The story of this quilt begins at the end of "Driving In Circles" as you can read for yourself here.  You might say "No Inherent Sense of Direction" is a byproduct - it would not have been created if my original Madrona Road Challenge journey had led to where I thought I was going.  Because this second quilt was a happy accident I had free rein to do whatever I wanted - sweet!  No expectations, No preconceived ideas.. my kind of detour.
"No Inherent Sense of Direction"
The abandoned parts from "Driving In Circles" would not go to waste for long - in fact I'm not sure I even paused before starting the design.  It was pedal to the metal.
This component struck my fancy because the half square triangles reminded me of arrows on a road sign and the arches became rolling hills.  Although I do like the linked arrows idea of this layout I wanted to use a FQ of wonderfully bold floral fabric that just didn't fit in with the first quilt.

The evolution of the layout led here with an orderly arrangement that didn't sit well with me either.  Turning the Road Signs every which way actually made more sense to me, up, down, left, right... it's how I feel about directions - hence the quilt name.

Once the final layout was decided, the logistics of joining it all together got tricky. I was using every scrap off the floor to "build" the background - digging a  two inch chunk of chevron out of the trash with glee.
January Meeting Show and Tell SBAMQG 
For the quilting I had become quite the dare devil at this point thanks swimming in the deep end with the QuiltCon Charity FMQ experience.  I decided on pebbles for the background, some playful details on the flowers but the arrows had me stumped.

It seemed like straight line echo would accent well but in the end I chose to get totally random and stitched what ended up resembling a pineapple.
No ISOD back
The guild was kind enough to let me use more herringbone fabric to bind it in and the backing was from my stash.

I'm thrilled to have been included in The MQG facebook page today - the world of virtual quilting rocks!  Thanks for listening to my story - I'd love to know you stopped by.

Specs:  47"x59" Original Design
The MQG Madrona Road Challenge entry
Quick Curve Ruler
Pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50wt on my BabyLock Symphony
Pellon Nature's Choice Cotton Batting
Started Dec 28, 2012 Finished Jan 26, 2013
companion quilt "Driving in Circles" and bonus Bed Runner

EDIT: Linking up to FAL Q1 with Leanne of She Can Quilt as one of the 6 of 7 qualifying projects done.  1) No Inherent Sense of Direction 2) Tassels 3)Driving in Circles 4) Luminosity 5) Sisterly Love 6) QuiltCon Charity. Original Goal post here.
2013 FAL Q1 Goal Mosaic 

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Driving in Circles" Madrona Road Challenge Quilt

I will start at the end of my story and lead you back to the beginning.... One glorious Saturday morning my friend Anne and I played tourist in our own town.  Going on a full fledged photo shoot adventure like I see others do with their quilts was one of my New Year's resolutions.  We set out to photograph the QuiltCon Charity quilt before shipping it to Austin and my quilt entry to The MQG Madrona Road Challenge went along for the ride.
photo by Anne: Natural Bridges 
I think I love the back almost as much - improv is so liberating and clearly it wanted to fly free like a bird at the beach!  Here are a few close ups of the fussy cut binding that can be read on the front as well as the back  a close up of the quilting detail - circles of course.

There have been several blog posts herehere and here about the progress of this quilt so I'll try to share a little more about how the design came about.
photo by Anne: UCSC campus
One might think that the name "Driving in Circles" came to be because of the round wheel-ish shapes in the pattern of the quilt, but it's not.  That design shape was actually inspired by the floral print of Madrona Road shown here:
Flower Shapes - the inspiration 
"Driving in Circles" is about my creative journey - a path that was anything but a direct route and could easily be dubbed "Driving myself Crazy"!  Maybe it was because I tried to set out with an end result in mind rather than let it evolve or maybe it was because it was my first MQG challenge and I wanted to accomplish too much in ONE quilt... (more about that later).

Our MQG generously purchased additional fabric for participants to go along with the fun stack provided by Michael Miller and I ordered several more yards myself.

Using my Quick Curve Ruler was a must - I jumped on the chance to create an original design (at least I think it is). I wanted something I was going to keep since everything I've ever made with it I've given away, like the 4x5 bee blocks  and two table runners.

Quilt Math = cut list
The Goal: a four-by-four layout of sixteen blocks measuring 60" square with an emphasis on scrappy.  Quilt math is the worst for me but I knew I needed a cut list and a variety of fabric amounts so that is what I came up with.
Scrappy Mix and Match... not
As much as I love scrappy this layout of mix and match (one of many) lacked cohesiveness and was visually confusing.  When I overcorrect the design it felt predictable and boring.  Around and around I went.

Playing on the design wall is the sweet spot in the process for me - so when it got to the point where even I was tired of arranging and re-arranging I know something is wrong.  Finally I came to the realization that using all my parts was not in the best interest of the quilt.  Just because I had made 64 arches and 64 half square triangles didn't mean I was bound to them (cringe).

In the end it became a nicely balanced strategically placed three by four layout that you see here:

What became of those abandoned arches and triangle? You can read about the birth of "No Inherent Sense of Direction", my other challenge quilt entry and the bonus Bed Runner .

Six days from first cut to finished tops was a trip to remember.  The moral of the story is that you may not end up where you set out to go but that isn't always a bad thing :)

Specs: 48"x64" Original Design
Quick Curve Ruler
Pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50wt thread on my BabyLock Symphony, binding hand-stitched.
Batting Pellon Nature's Touch Cotton.
Started Dec 28, 2012 Finished Jan 22, 2013.
Companion Quilt "No Inherent Sense of Direction" and bonus Bed Runner.

EDIT: Linking up to FAL Q1 with Leanne of She Can Quilt as one of the 6 of 7 qualifying projects done.  1) No Inherent Sense of Direction 2) Tassels 3)Driving in Circles 4) Luminosity 5) Sisterly Love 6)QuiltCon Charity.
2013 FAL Q1 Goal Mosaic 

Friday, January 25, 2013

My 3 P's: Precision, Production, Patience

TGIF! Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish It Up Friday with two finishes.  Driving In Circles is officially done and posed on the porch this morning.  I'll be writing a separate post for The MQG Madrona Road entry. The second finish is one that I realized I had not shared on the blog, a baby boy quilt that still needs to be given away any day.

I am constantly trying to find the perfect balance of Precision and Production that fits with my natural level of Patience (or lack thereof) : My 3 P's.

There are just too many things to do and not enough time in the day to get them all done - plus, if I am too picky or the process is too slow then I simply loose interest.   I repeatedly ask myself: Can I streamline the cutting or skip the pressing steps and not regret it later when it causes more trouble and I have to spend time fixing the fudge?  A balancing act and the lines I draw on what I can get away with are a moving target.
Driving In Circles - Back, Finished on the Porch
Driving In Circles - Front, Finished on the Porch
I was feeling pretty clever with my fussy cut text edging the quilt until my friend Anne at PlayCrafts blew it out of the water with her Infinity Binding - way to take it up a notch!
Madrona Road close up
When I cut my curves for Madrona Road I stacked six fabrics deep knowing that I would be trimming up later and that worked great -usually I don't do more than four in general cutting because of distortion.
cut Six layers at a time
Back in the day I would go from the design wall to the machine when I was sewing rows putting them in place each step and now they all come off stacked with 1-2-3 and a-b-c markers which has got to be the biggest time saver ever. Chain piecing is a given and I'm trying to give starch a valiant effort because although it adds a step, it does help things behave.

With Scrappy Trip Along I tried layering several strips in a row lining up the seams to do the cross cut rather than one by one as suggested by someone.  I'm sure I would get faster with practice but it seemed to take too much effort getting them in place and I did find some were a bit askew so I abandoned the technique for the remaining.
cross cut with strips staggered using stitch lines
I came across another 3 P's at remember your karma while hopping around blogland. Her 3 P's are FMQ Tips  Prepare, Practice, Persevere.

I've been trying my hand at FMQ more so lately and I have to confess the Persevere is about the only one I can put a check next to.  There are a couple of saying that have been used a lot in my vocabulary these days: "Cowgirl Up" and "Wearing my Big Girl Panties"they pretty much sum up FMQ for me at this stage in my skill set.
FMQ playing with placement
Be sure to check out Amanda Jean's gorgeous Chopped Rhubarb and the impressive number of links to finished work of fellow bloggers.

I'd love to hear any time saving, sanity saving tips you use to find a 3P balance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Chipping away at my list with a couple of biggies now in the finished category.  Sandwiching and FMQ have consumed most of my sewing time this week.  I'm pretty proud of pulling off my vision of fussy cut binding on Driving in Circles and you can (pretty much) read the story on both the front and back of the quilt.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  I just love her Candy Necklace quilt and think it is so cool that she made a Rebel Amish-inspired quilt crediting back to the lovely and talented Adrianne.
Fussy Cut Binding
Driving In Circles FMQ
Back before trimming
more Fussy Cut binding

QuiltCon Back

QuiltCon close up
QAYG  Echino Tote panel
The new Modern Quilts magazine arrived in the mail today. I'm loving first glance and need to give it a good read.

Speaking of mail... I finally managed to make it to the Post Office to mail my bee blocks for January. I tried earlier this week and the kiosk printer wasn't working.   Anyone have a good lead on bubble mailing envelopes?  I re-use the ones that I am sent for swaps/bees and can't stand waste or unnecessary expense but am finding I really need a stash.

Finished: 2 
FMQ of QuiltCon Charity Quilt
Driving in Circles (Madrona Road Quilt #1)

Progress: 3
Tassels (sandwiched) 
No ISOD (sandwiched)
SBA MQG Secret Tote Swap (she's going to love it..sshh)

Major Stall: 5
Art Supply Pouch
Donation tote for PVQA raffle basket
Pantone Emerald Challenge
Sisterly Love

New Projects: 1
Metal Frame purse 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a Sandwich kind of Day

a Sandwich kind of Day by capitolaquilter
a Sandwich kind of Day, a photo by capitolaquilter on Flickr.
Mid-month linky party at A Lovely Year of Finishes.  My January quilt is Tassels and I'm happy to say it is basted and ready to FMQ.

Three tops sandwiched in one day was a little rough on the back but I'm glad to be able to work on both Madrona Road challenges this week and to have that step out of the way.  Eleven days to complete all three before the deadlines will be a bit of a challenge for sure.

a Finish and a Start

I did meet my deadline for finishing up the QuiltCon Charity FMQ and passed it on to the next MQG member today.  The set up at home with my makeshift arrangement made me miss Sew Day at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz and  their lovely big tables.
I used a bunch of rulers to square up and trim.  I own so many it's nice to justify why now and then.

The morning started out with a Sew Date with a friend making metal frame purses.  We are using the same pattern in very different fabrics.  The aqua is my lining to bring out the bird of course.  I was a little rusty trying to remember all that I learned in class at Sewing Summit but am confident it'll come back to me and that they will be great.

Triple Zip Along begins soon.  Be sure to play along at A Quilter's Table. I've joined the flickr group but we will have to see just how burned out I am at the end of the month.  There may be a bit of catch up or watching from the sidelines for me.

Speaking of watching along, the New Leaf Block Hop has some really pretty patterns so far with a blog line up of many of my favorites.  This one called Reflections really caught my eye.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

La Boca and a giveaway at Play Crafts

La Boca by capitolaquilter
La Boca, a photo by capitolaquilter on Flickr.
my son sent this picture from La Boca a colorful town he visited in Argentina yesterday. I thought the building looked like an improv in solids and just had to do a palette builder on it at Play Crafts. I spy some Emerald - it's a small world.

Check out the Lizzy House Constellation FQ bundle  Giveaway going on at Play Crafts and wish my friend Anne a Happy Birthday while you're there!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Finish it Up Friday: Sew Day-the sequel

I know I know we just had a Sew Day on Saturday for twelve whole hours but guess what - I got to spend a full day hanging out with my quilty friends today at SBAMQG's second event of the year!  Two in one week is a record - one I'd repeat anytime. Linking up the Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.

It's a finish-ish to share but that's only because I ran out of thread with one little patch to FMQ.  Soon I'll be passing this along to the next guild member to do their part, the binding, the sleeve/label... and then it will be mailed off to Austin.  Watching the QuiltCon Charity quilts showing up slowing on flickr and blogs has been really fun. 

Tina made the most wonderful back and I'm kicking myself for not having taken a picture of it before starting the FMQ while it was all pressed.  I think this Little Bits has officially been added to my to do list of things to make next.

speaking of backs....

Madrona Road Challenge quilt back
The back for Driving in Circles took me a really long time to do.  It was a fun improv piecing session so I don't really mind and I'm pleased with the layout.  Excuse the color of the goldenrod - the camera is picking up much more orange than it really is.  

Hope you are finding some finishes of your own.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday

This has got to be the craziest time of the year for me as far as quilty deadlines and I'm taking the Bucking Bronco approach - hold on tight!   Are you on a wild ride?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Why does it feel like I made no progress?  At least I like what I've accomplished and that's satisfying.

these are two 13"blocks for
Modern Stash Quilting Bee Magnum PI hive, January for Verdewoman
tutorial from Diary of a Flutter.Kat used with size modification:

MoStash Light Green
MoStash Orange

Are you Trippin' yet?
Don't you love the blinds and the strips together?
It's easiest for make four at a time I've decided.

QuiltCon Charity quilt - the beginning of FMQ
The Kona Snow backing is unforgiving but I've got my brave face on!
We had a collaborative and productive Sew Day, more here.  I pieced the top row because I was the tallest.

So much on the list still yet to do.  The link up for finished Madrona Road on the flickr site is open now and I added the Bed Runner to it.  I'm really, really wanting to meet the Jan 31st deadline for the two Quilts - wish me luck!  We are having another Sew Day on Friday and that makes me smile - BIG.

Complete: 5
MoStash Star January 2 blocks
Another Scrappy Trip Along 4 blocks
Fix on F+F2 3rd block 
QuiltCon Charity Top (helped with)
Backing for No Inherent Sense of Direction aka: "No ISOD" (Madrona Road Quilt #2)

Progress: 4 
FMQ of QuiltCon Charity Quilt
SBA MQG Secret Tote Swap (can't share..sshh)
Donation tote for PVQA raffle basket
Backing for Driving in Circles (Madrona Road Quilt #1)

Back Burner: ?+
Art Supply Pouch
Photo Inspired PVQA challenge