Saturday, February 18, 2017

MQG mini swap

MQG mini swap 

I've been in several secret swaps both virtual via Flickr, IG and Facebook group based and also with my local MQG.  They are one of my favorite things to do because despite the nerve-wracking-ness of wondering if they will like it or if they will flake and drop out just when you've tailored it specifically to their interest,  the mystery and suspense if pretty darn fun. 

Thanks to Ginny who mailed me some scraps left from a project, I had just the right background to use.  I wasn't sure if I should reveal it in fear of giving away the fact that my partner was a Star Wars fan.  But it was really hard to share progress on IG without doing so (another aspect that I find entertaining).

I figured that there are a ton of fans out there and it would hopefully only narrow the field.   More choices to be made - the quilting on such an eye full.  The aurifil 40wt in a variety of colors seemed like a good choice to carry the color out a bit into the neutral.  

Combining intentional echoing with periodic bits of shapes and freeform wavy lines is the direction I ended up with using just four of the spools, purple orange, green and blue.  I also made sure that in some areas the thread was high contrast and in other areas it blended and served as texture.

Experimenting with a heavily pieced top layer to see if I could pull it off.  Up until now I'd been avoiding that due to bulk but now that I know it can bee done it opens a whole new freedom for designing.
The orange fabric for the backing I picked up while at a weekend sew-in with friends during our field trip to the store.  Sewing in the sleeve means one less whip stitch by hand and I think it looks nice too.  Yes, there are WAY more wonder clips than necessary.  I get easily carried away.
Because I've been so spoiled with the use of my friend Pat's longarm lately, quilting on my domestic felt kind of foreign at first.  Since there was so much going on visually within the quilt itself I wanted the binding to play a supporting role.  I did audition rainbow stripe and colorful prints but didn't care for it.
There was a piece of left over Ink & Arrow Fabrics Pixie Square Dot binding from my Dare to Fly quilt so I positioned it to match up with one curves and wrapped it around the upper corner.  I'm really pleased with the end result and will find out a week from today at the meet up if my partner agrees.  If it's a little too unique, let's hope they have a decent poker face so I won't be crushed. 

We've had a ridiculous amount of rain.  There was a break in the storm and I headed to my usual Depot Hill spot overlooking Capitola Village.  A mini is a breeze to shoot solo.  Sunset however created lighting challenges as you can see from my first attempt pictured above.
The really harsh lighting in the picture above shows an unflattering cast of shadows - let's just say that if the quilt was a person, they'd be squinting.  The one below has a nice setting and I did a slight dodge/burn to try and even out the exposure.

I walked around to the side street to capture the shot at the top of the post and then hung out long enough to snap this one below just for fun.

Considering we are half way through Q1 FAL and this is my first of six goals you'd think I'd be bummed.  Nope.  Pleased as can be to be checking one off the list.  I'm also using the same goals like for our local guild WIPitgood challenge.  

I've also made progress on the other To Do list of 7 items on my radar described in this post .  Only two are outstanding, which is outstanding!

1) My January beesewcial Resolution block was mailed and received.  
2) QuiltCon quilts hang sleeve, labels, shipping done with confirmation the package arrival.
3) Not only prepped for but attended the Open Wide workshop, finished and gifted the pouch - boom! 4) "Get a Grip" for our local show is finished and delivered to the person who will be dropping it off - (sadly the same weekend as QC)
5) Handmade to wear to QC - not so far but there's still a few hours left before I depart.
6) bi-monthly BOM isn't due until March, so plenty of hope for that.
7) Cinderella dress and mermaid doll fully mended. 

Happy Stitching.
I won't be posting on the blog until after I return from my trip but if you're on Instagram, follow me there as I intend to share a lot.  A LOT.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 FAL Meet the Host - Jess

I'm excited to be included as one of the 2017 FAL hosts and am happy to continue with the second in a series as part of the year long event:  It's called: Meet the Host.  Today's guest blogger is Jess and I'm sure you'll enjoy learning more about her as much as I did: 

Hi, I'm Jess, otherwise known as Elven Garden Quilts. This is my second year as a FAL host, and although I'm not great at actually participating in the FAL (I have a pretty bad history of not finishing anything on my list!), it's great to be back to cheer you all along for a second year. I thought this was going to be a really hard post to write - but once I got started it was surprisingly easy. So I've inserted photos of some of my favorite quilts in amongst the text - feel free to skim the words if you'd rather just look at quilts ;o).

I'm a 36 year old mum of three not-so-small people - my eldest son (12 year old) started high school this year (grade 7), and I have a 9 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. Needless to say, moments of sewing have been few and far between over the last few months while they've had their summer holidays - but they went back to school last week, so there is some semblance of normality in our household again :o). I have an incredible partner too, who encourages me in all my quilty endeavours and listens patiently when I ramble on about my current projects. We also have two fur babies - Shadow and Pepper, our little quilt-cats, who spend at least 90% of their time asleep on various quilts and cushions around the house! I'll often go back to hand stitch binding and find my quilt has been invaded by cats ;o).

We live in Tasmania, Australia - that little island that sits off the southern coast of mainland Australia. It's a beautiful place to live - we don't have a huge population and we are surrounded by some of the most gorgeous wilderness in the world (in my humble opinion!). I grew up in a pretty arty/crafty family - my Dad studied ceramics at Art School and is an art teacher at a college, and my mum has always been involved with some sort of textile art. She made most of our clothes as kids, and is now obsessed with spinning and knitting all kinds of gorgeous yarn. So it's kinda unsurprising that I've grown up to be a maker.

Although I have a science degree (and work as a lab technician part time), I've always enjoyed making stuff. I started cross stitching when I was quite young, and continued that hobby right through to my university years. It wasn't until I had my youngest child that I decided to get a sewing machine - with the intention of making clothes and toys for my kids. I had fun doing this for a while, but then on a whim I bought a beginner's quilting magazine and that was the beginning of a true obsession. For me, quilting is the perfect marriage of maths and art - I love numbers and I love working with colour, so it's not surprising it has overtaken all of my spare time!

I started quilting around 5 or 6 years ago - and back when I started, my tiny sewing room overlooked the garden - so Elven Garden Quilts was born! After a few years, I outgrew that little room, so my 'studio' is now our garage - not the prettiest location, but I can be as messy as I want (and believe me, the term creative chaos fits me perfectly!) and close the door on it so no one else has to be subjected to it ;o).

I first started blogging for a few reasons. Mainly because I didn't actually know anyone who quilted and I didn't want to bore my family and friends to tears constantly talking about my quilts, and blogging was the perfect way to share what I was making. But it quickly became a way to connect with people all over the world who shared my passion. I'm ever in awe of how supportive and wonderful the online quilting community is, and my life would be very different if I hadn't started blogging. I am a self-taught quilter, thanks to the enormous generosity of so many people in sharing tutorials and ideas, and a love of trying to figure out how to make things work!

I loosely call myself a modern quilter - although I've made plenty of quilts that are far more traditional than modern! I think I'm probably best known for my love of free motion quilting - everything I piece is quilted to death on my domestic Bernina. About three years ago, I was actually invited to become a Bernina Ambassador here in Australia, which is an incredible honour :o). I have several free motion quilting tutorials available on my YouTube channel - and I plan on doing a lot more of these this year! I've been teaching patchwork and quilting classes on a weekly basis for the last three years (although I'm currently having a break, after burning out from a pretty hefty teaching load last year), which is something I absolutely love.

Last year was a big year for me as a quilter, both on a professional and personal level. I won several awards for my quilts at some of our national quilt shows (the Australian Modern Quilt Show and the Australian Machine Quilting Festival), and I taught a lot of classes - both patchwork and free motion quitling. On the personal side of things, I feel like I really grew as a quilter. Although I've always loved making quilts and been happy with the finished product, I've struggled to find my style. But in the last half of last year I feel like I started to find my voice, and started making quilts that are more 'me' than ever before. Although I've always used and loved my design wall, I now rely on it constantly as a tool to design my quilts. Aviatrix is one of the last quilts I made using someone else's pattern - and I think it will be the last for a fairly long time. I'm enjoying doing my own thing so much right now!

The last few quilts I've made (and my current work in progress) all started as a vague idea and a giant pile of fabric, and relied on my design wall to figure out what they would become. You can read all about the process I went through when making Scattered (shown below) herehere, here and here. And if you're attending QuiltCon this year, please go say hi to her - she was juried into the show which is enormously exciting!

I recently wrote about the process of making one of my recent finishes, Flow. Again this quilt started as a pile of fabric and a very vague idea (as in, I knew I wanted to use improv curves), but the design came together through trial and error.

Although I'm much better at starting and finishing projects than I used to be (which isn't to say I don't have any WIPs - there are lots of those!), I work best when don't feel like I *have* to work on a particular project. Which is probably why I make FAL lists and then largely ignore them... Having said that, I have several projects that have been ignored for far too long that I do want to finish this year, so next quarter you can expect me to fully participate and knock over some very long term WIPs!

Thanks for letting me introduce myself (and my quilts!), and I look forward to cheering you all on this year as you work through your FAL lists!

xx Jess

Pictured L-R/top-bottom: Sarah, Leanne, Felicity, Karen (me), Izzy, Ella, Judith, Jess, Nicky, Abigail, Lucy, Rhonda, Marci  

Be sure to check back monthly as we share more about the other hosts.    

In my next post, I'll also be sharing the the MQGswap mini as my first finish for Q1.   I will be taking to QuiltCon for gifting in person at the meet up.  How's your list coming along?

Happy Stitching, Karen aka Capitola Quilter 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bee Sewcial February: EYE(S), Hindsight/Foresight

As queen bee, I tossed around many ideas.  Deciding is hard but in the end, the EYES have it. 

In school I loved art class but was never a fan of portraits, except for drawing the eyes. So Much Fun. Browsing through my recent designs for quilts I see that I am still attracted to the same elements. I've included a mosaic of a few. For those makers who would like to channel a deeper meaning while they create and keeping with the theme of how things are viewed or seen, the subtitle is Hindsight/Foresight, another perspective, person, place or time.
Workshop Block

This piece above that I made in 2015 during a workshop with Maria Shell definitely resembles an eye.  Other traditional blocks like Dresdens and New York Beauty might be a jumping off point for inspiration with an added twist.
UFO Workshop blocks
2012 Quilt Along

I would like you to make pieced blocks (rectangle or square, one or two depending on size) that remind you of an eye, two eyes or a bunch. Improv, abstract, literal - I'm leaving your interpretation wide open but am also happy to elaborate if you need more direction. Feel free to expand to include eye lashes, depict closed eyelids, bags under your eyes, bloodshot eyes - whatever you are most inspired by.

All shades of blue and green with an emphasis of clear and bright colors. Accents of black and white if you like.

There are countless expressions for example "seeing eye to eye" "more than meets the eye" "eye of the beholder" "look me in the eye" so if you have one you'd like to share when you post your block(s) that might be fun too (totally optional). 

Everyone is invited to play along with the February 2017 BeeSewcial challenge on Instagram and use #inspiredbybeesewcial Can’t wait to SEE what you do!  Be sure to check out my bee mates #beesewcial @marci_girl @spontaneousthreads @playcrafts @felicityquilts @shecanquilt @quiltmatters @entropyalwayswins @aquilterstable @astrangerview

School Picture
Ironically,  I was somewhat self couscous about my "bug eyes" growing up and hated this school picture of myself because of the bags when I smile.  You guessed it, now looking back I think it's adorable.   When I take my granddaughter strolling, strangers passing will often compliment her eyes.  The one on the right was taken last week with a juice mustache :)