Friday, November 10, 2017

BeeSewcial Bite Size Swap - a Q4 FAL finish

Remember the side swap of bite size blocks that I made and blogged about in June 2016 HERE?  

my BeewSewcial Swap quilt
Grape popsicles were the source of color inspiration for the ones I sent.  Using a technique of sewing a top together and then cutting it into a dozen "bites" was pretty fun.

The Bites that I sent off

Since so much time had passed by from receiving the blocks from my mates, I created a mosaic from their posts on IG to refresh my memory on who had made what and included it when I shared my finished quilt.

This summer I finally got around to putting together the blocks.  I wanted to preserve the integrity of the eleven individual blocks so I used low volume for the background and only introduced select parts necessary to finish the vision.

The idea for the quilt came about when I thought about what BeewSewcial has meant to me and the words "growth" and "blossom" popped into my mind.  

This is my third year with the bee so I pieced in three large flower pedals and three small leaves using free-hand curves. 

The "X and O" from Hillary made for a perfect center.   Although we were all working independently the remaining blocks were easily grouped to form the thorns, stem, roots and bulb of the flower with blades of grass on each side.


I was surprised at how often the alignment of one block naturally fit to join another like Marci and Leanne's portion of the stem.

My granddaughter asked me why they were not connected.   I told her that when creating  things don't have to be "correct" to be OK.  As long as you like the way it looks that's what matters. 

It was a hot day in July when I finished the top during a girls getaway weekend mini-retreat.  Even in the shade, the harsh sun was casting an emphasis on the white in the background that is less obvious in real life.

I borrowed everyones rulers and took advantage of the large table to square it up.   This October I finally got around to quilting it.

My stash for the binding did not disappoint and I found Art Gallery Fillagree with not only a similar palette but motif.   I used a single fold binding even though it's more of a wall hanging than mini.

Wonder clips are wonderful for little four year old hands.  She has alway been such a helper.  

Look how times have changed since learning her colors back in the scrap sorting days .

We are about half way through  2017 Q4 FAL and I'm happy to have this goal checked off my list (blogged here).   You can see what my mates have made with the blocks they received - all so different from mine and equally great  #beesewcialswap.

I'm hopeful to also tackle the Michael Miller QuiltCon Fabric Challenge but I've hit a design stumbling block and the deadline to enter is rapidly approaching.

Here's the sneak:

Better get back at it!

Be sure to stop by next Wednesday for the next installment of Meet the Host - it's MY turn to be featured and I have written a long in-depth post about yours truly that you won't want to miss. (blush)

Happy Stitching, Karen 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

BeeSewcial Blocks: of all Stripes and Unity

For September the prompt was of all Stripes for Anne (described here on Instagram)

All About Stripes September BeeSewcial
As soon as I found out about the theme I immediately thought of the workshop that I took from Maria Shell and knew I would incorporate a little of the technique in my blocks.  The color palette of predominantly blues and greens with an accent of yellow gold was not a stretch for me.  

WIP from Maria Shell Workshop
The element of woven needed to be included at least a little because that also reminds me of Anne, here's why.

My neighbors are use to my quilty weirdness taking photos of my quilts on the porch and hanging bags from the branches of my tree to take pictures. For some reason the indoor lighting on the day I was sewing was playing mind tricks and messing up my decision making so I kept going outside every few minutes to double check. 

In the end, I toned down the range and eliminated several from the original pull.   I also chose to make two blocks instead of one large block so that one could be busy and one more simplistic. 
initial fabric stash pull

For October, Hillary requested a UNITY blocks. Read more on her blog post here.
You would think that using only two fabrics would be easier to choose but narrowing it down to ONLY two was a challenge in itself.  Refreshingly so. 

sketching ideas
Using extreme discipline (for me) I committed to my fabric choice and did not pack any backup when packing for my retreat.  With four whole days, I knew that I'd be able to focus and get it done. 

The very unique size of the block 5-7"x40-50" has to do with the concept behind the quilt Hillary is making. She described it as "showing each of us standing tall uniquely together proverbially holding hands showing UNITY"   

For the pieced adornment the shape that I used to represent "me" is from my Improv Abstraction quilts.  Although it is a sliver version and comes off the edge I think it still reads the same idea.

There are 10 shapes, symbolic of the ten members of our bee.   I took advantage of the large tables to square up my block which was very tricky and took multiple rulers to pull off. 

6.75" x 50"
Taking a photograph of a block of such an odd dimension could be challenging but the redwoods made for a fun photoshoot. 

It's a good thing that I have long arms!

As always with my bee blocks, when they are done it feels like I am just getting started and I love them both.  Be sure to check out #beesewcial to see what my mates have been up to and use #inspiredbybeesewcial if you are playing along with the prompts. 

Happy Stitching. Karen

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Many Minis and a Milestone

As some of you may have noticed, I spend a lot more time on Instagram than here on Blogger these days.   When I realize that I've neglected to share what's been going on here on my blog in a timely manner I'm tempted to just let it pass because it feels like "old news".  But I've come to accept that tardy is better than absent and there is value in documenting even if it is stale dated or out of sequence - so here you go:

Mini Winner

3K follower winner mini (top)
I remember when the follower count on my IG first hit 1K - it totally blindsided me.  For my 2K followers mark, I did a shopping spree gift certificate.  This time I saw it coming and really thought about what I wanted to do to commemorate the next big digit.

Making a mini for the winner in their favorite palette sounded more personal and fun so that's what I asked for in the comments to enter.  I'm defiantly going to keep in mind the color combos mentioned for future ideas because there were some good ones.  In the end, the winner Jana said she'd prefer something in my own colors and style - reflecting the maker which is such a great idea.  I opted to go to my creative roots with scrappy maximalism with an improv twist. 

More Minis

Just For Fun Mini
Part of my focus lately has been on "playing with parts".  The mini shown above came about with the extra bits from making the one shown below.  Even though it was not at all on my list of things to do - I had a lot of fun and am so pleased with how it turned out. A pleasant interruption. 

For our MQG local chapter challenge this year we were given traditional blocks to choose from and make modern, with no palette restrictions (like previous years).  I picked the churn-dash and the use of very subtle color changes - there are two reds and the light blue/green read almost same.

Churn Dash made modern
While at retreat, I didn't have the exact color of eggplant for the setting triangles but you can see where I'm headed with this shot of it on the design wall in the photo above.

Curated Quilts Challenge Minis

Now for the mini back story.  There's a new publication called Curated Quilts.  Back in March, I had read about the call out for submissions but did not get my act together to finish this top I made for it.   

I almost missed again for the Log Cabin challenge but thanks to the encouragement on IG, I pushed through a marathon sewing session right down to the wire making not one but three.  My first attempt (above) to combine slight curves didn't read true enough for what I'd envisioned. 
Working from my stash I went back at it again but this time I was deliberately exploring the "Improv Abstraction" element as a mashup. 

Finished in time and face bound, I'm absolutely in love with the way it turned out - except for the quilting.  My go-to doodle that has been sort of a signature style just didn't work with the high contrast thread.   Here's some fun process shots:

 I found it distracting and although it's still a great mini IMO, with hours left before the deadline to enter I thought I'd try again.   Because of the improvisational nature I knew it wouldn't replicate exactly - and that was fine.  They are similar but unique and that's even better. I shared them all and my crazy story at guild.

The carefully chosen thread color was combined with the purposeful treatment of heavily quilted contrasting with lightly outlined to accentuate the two portions.  I also loosened the repeat regiment to make it feel more me.
The Linear mini that started this all has not been forgotten.  You can spot it on the right-hand center row of my Q4 FAL goal mosaic.   

So far the only thing done on the list is my BeeSewcial swap quilt (upper right corner). It hangs in my bedroom and is so worth the finish.