Sunday, March 26, 2017

Q1 FAL 2017 : Time to Link Up your Finishes

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the first quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q1 finishes! In addition to completing all those UFOs on your lists, we hope you have taken the first 3 months of 2017 to get to know all of our new hosts! The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
  Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:  
For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2017 Q1 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":
  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter).
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ1yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now thru April 1, 2017 - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.
And don't forget to start making your Q2 lists as the Q2 list link opens on April 2nd.

Happy Stitching and Congrats on finishing or trying to!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Blog Anniversary-ish and Reflections revealed


March 16th was the 5 year anniversary of my Blog.  I usually post exactly on that day but this time I'm throwing in a huge finish that's worth the wait.  "Reflections" is a bit tardy so that makes it all seem intentional with a touch of serendipity mixed in for good measure.
"Reflections" 2015 BeeSewcial  70"x60"

Blocks made by BeeSewcial mates Stephanie, Leanne, Melissa, Diane, Hilary, Marci, Felicity, Kari and Debbie for the July 2015 "Reflections" challenge has finally become a finished quilt.   Thrilled is an understatement and the inspiration palette in the background made for a fun shoot.

So much so, my friend Sanda walked down for an encore session the following day when the wind had settled so that we could capture the colors mirrored in the water.  Be sure to check out #beesewcial and the makers on Instagram and their blogs to see their creative and highly skilled work:

@spontaneousthreads @weshallsew@diane_stanley_sews @entropyalwayswins@marci_girl @felicityquilts@quiltsforthemaking @aquilterstable @shecanquilt

Because of the recent storm, there are many more props to use on the beach.  
Palette Provided to my bee mates
My instructions to them were "your block does not HAVE to be literal, but it CAN be.  It's as much about the relationship of colors and/or shapes within the block.  A change of value or scale from top to bottom or side to side. An exaggeration or distortion that the word Reflection evokes.  The transition doesn't have to be in the middle or a hard horizon but there should be some design element that varies within the composition."
Photo Inspiration 
During a member spark week of QDAD, I took this photo of the Venetian's in Capitola Village for the inspiration.  It was a favorite and yet the designs I came up with fells short.  Fortunately, the concept and palette found a successful place in my creative journey when it was time for me to be queen July 2015 with the BeeSewcial challenge.  Can you blame me for freaking out a little about sewing these together?  They are each an individual work of art. 

Bee Blocks Received
This is an early version of the block placement at one stage of the process.  Pretty much the entire four day retreat in October was devoted solely to getting it right and every night I would stay up late convinced that it was ready to roll the next morning only to wake up and change my mind.  Even knowing there is no one right answer to the puzzling question, it was difficult to commit.  One move would domino a series of other moves.  My guild mates marveled curiously at my flighty obsessiveness I am sure.

Backing Fabric - Sugar by Pat Bravo
It's no secret that Pat Bravo is an all-time favorite designer of mine.  Isn't this fabric from her Sugar line the sweetest backing?  Every time I repositioned while putting the face binding on I'd get a peak at the front and get all giddy about how well it complimented the colors.  There was exactly enough yardage in my stash to fussy join the print at the seam too.  

Long arm quilting
My friend Pat generously lets me use her Handi Quilter Avante to quilt with.  I went with a random-ish pattern that has sort of become my signature quilting.   With so much going on in the quilt, an overall seemed appropriate.  My go to color of Glide thread in Celery was a no brainer with the range of lights and darks.  Bamboo batting for the win. 
FMQ done and trimmed
She also has the most gorgeous hardwood floor and a stairs that allow me to take flattering photos from above with ease.  The lighting exaggerates the texture which can be fun but terrifyingly revealing at the same time. 
Me and my Sew and Stroll friends
It was the perfect project to finish during this weekend's "Sew and Stroll" mini-retreat because I could sit and visit while hand stitching and then take advantage of all the hands to hold up the quilt later for the shoot. This group picture was taken by the nicest stranger who interrupted his slice of pizza to offer and help when he saw me struggling to extend my arm out for selfie.  That one was worth a good laugh but nothing I'd ever share! 

The FAL Q1 is coming to an end and it thrills me to no end to have a second quilt that I can call finished.  Our MQG challenge to complete WIPs runs longer so there's still hope for checking more off that list.  

Photo Credit Sanda R
Now on to making a quilt from my BeeSewcial Stretch blocks from 2016 and the most recent set of  EYES for 2017.   Stay tuned. After much procrastination and fear that I wouldn't be able to do them justice,  I'm on a roll.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 Global FAL : Meet the Host: Abigail

How is it mid-March and the home stretch of Q1?  The good news is that it's time to introduce and learn more about the next 2017 Global FAL host.   It's Abigail's turn  I've enjoyed following her on IG cutandalter.  Although all of her work is beautiful, you can probably guess that my favorite of her project below is the improv curves - it reminds me of the blocks I'm working on right now - but that's another post! Karen 

Back in November I was surprised and delighted to open an email from Rhonda inviting me to become one of the global host of the 2017 Finish-A-Long. There are 13 of us in all and over the course of the year we'll be introducing ourselves. Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow started off in January followed by Jess from Elven Garden Quilts in February and now in March it's my turn.
Hello, my name is Abigail and I blog here at cut&alter. I found the FAL late on in 2015 and couldn't believe how it motivated me to get things finished. I have always been a list maker and the FAL is no exception. My lists are somewhat larger then most people's, although I have certainly seen longer as well! I know that I will never get everything ticked off within the current Quarter but it does give me 1) accountability 2) a reason to tidy up and reorganise my studio each quarter to find those projects which have been languishing on shelves and at the bottom of boxes 3) it brings projects to the front of my mind and a lot of work goes on in my mind even before I get in the studio 4) if a project has been rolled over just one too many times I can then see that it's probably never going to get finished and I can pass it on (does that count as a finish?!!). Last quarter I had a particularly low completion rate and this one is shaping up to be the same but I have a few finishes and some projects are considerably further on!
A current quarter finish
I live in Stratford upon Avon with my husband, who is from New Zealand, our two daughters and a black and white cat. We have been back in the UK for just over 4 years and prior to that we lived in Otaki, New Zealand. We have been called gypsies before now due to our constant moving, and usually not within the same area. This is the longest time I have ever lived anywhere! (Can you keep a secret? Maybe, just maybe, my feet are itching again!) Some of the other places I have lived are: Nottingham, Leamington Spa, Sydney, Wellington, London, Waihi Beach, Cambridge, Tauranga, Rowington, Shirley, Waitarere Beach and Feilding. The whole idea of living here (the UK) or there (NZ) was the inspiration for this quilt. I was delighted when Should I Stay or Should I Go? was awarded Best Piecing in Show last November in Bristol!
Up until January this year I home educated the girls, which was brilliant. I always felt honoured to have as much time with them as I did and whilst it certainly was tiring and had its moments we had a lot of fun along the way. They have now started school, primary and secondary, and have settled in really well. We have a new rhythm in our lives which, for me, is taking some getting used to. I thought I would have all the time in the world, that I would have time to sew, quilt, go to the gym, make lovely healthy food ...... oh silly, silly me!! You don't actually get much done in the six hours between 9am and 3pm do you?!! One thing I have done is learn to do improv curves - I love them!!!!
I have been sewing since a child but, like a lot of women, I came back to sewing when my first child was born, although I had been making curtains for our houses every time we moved! Little children's clothes are such a pleasure to make - fitting is not important, they don't use much material and they are quick (although when sleep deprived they sometimes didn't seem to be that quick). I had made a puff patchwork quilt for my eldest soon after she was born and then made a simple square quilt from vintage Laura Ashley soft furnishing fabric from our various childhood houses. These two quilts are well loved and well worn!
It wasn't until 2010 that I 'learnt' to quilt. I took a 6 week night class in NZ and a passion was born. I joined my local quilt club and I listened to the other ladies of my group talking about all their WIPs. I was horrified! I vowed that I would never have projects sitting on my shelf - I would start and finish one before embarking on another. Oh how naive I was! Needless to say I have lots of projects on the go all of differing ages. Last year I finished my most long standing project - ANZAC Hearts, it was on my FAL2016 Quarter 2 list! This was a Bee quilt and I love it - luckily as much now as when I started it in 2010!
Back in 2015 I made the decision to purchase a longarm quilting machine and I totally love it!!! I bought a Handi Quilter Avante and it brings me a lot of joy. With the girls at home I did not have the time I would have liked for learning and practising but I am getting there. I have done a few customer quilts and hope to do more this coming year. Before then I have a backlog of my own tops that are waiting to be done. This was the first quilt I quilted on my machine ....
Wow - this has become a longer post than I thought. When I first sat down to write this I did wonder what I would write! So, here's a quick 10 9 other things about me to finish (I got stuck on No 10!):
1. I make quilts for Project Linus
2. I am a member of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild
3. I am left handed
4. At 25 I spent a week in Coober Pedy, having read about it as child of 12 - it was awesome!
5. I love salads
6. I have only ever spent one night in hospital and that was with my daughter when she was 3 and had to have her tonsils out
7. Both my children were born at home - one in NZ and one in UK
8. I will go to QuiltCon ..... one day!
9. I would love to go to Alaska
There you have it! Remember there's just a couple of weeks left for you to get your Quarter 1 list project finished. The link up opens on 26 March and will remain open until 01 April. Be sure to link up because there are amazing prizes to won (and I should know because I have won twice before!!) I look forward to seeing all the finished projects this quarter. x