Friday, July 26, 2019

Dedicated to Design - 2019 FAL Q3 Goals

I've linked up from instagram my 2019 FAL Q3 Goals but I do like to have a reference here on the blog for posterity so this post is two fold.   I realized that the four tops that I chose to (hopefully) finish are All About Design in their own way. There can be many levels of "design" and I think it's important to value them all.

The theme for the month of July #sbbsewfor15 with hostess Isabelle @southbaybella is Quilt Design so I thought I'd take this time to write a post about the topic near and dear to my creative heart.  I'll also link to previous #qdad2reality projects mentioned so you can learn more if you like.

Shown in the mosaic below:
1. Glamp Stitchalot  2015 Medallion - six instructors shared their own original block design and encouraged attendees to combine them into a unique layout.
2. Merge v3, my third color variation of the pattern that I wrote for MQG QOM
3. Nosey Kitten - from Jen Carlton-Bailey's Secondary Design workshop that I took at QuiltCon
4. Pantone Living Coral, an original design influenced by the wedge workshop with Kathy Doughty.

Because I enjoy hearing about the design and construction process from other makers, I've made a point of sharing my own on the blog.  I also find it helpful to read old posts with a new perspective on things.

Whatever method you use to track or document your creative journey (for me it's my blog, instagram posts and random disorganized sketchbooks)  think about revisiting earlier ideas because if you're anything like me, there's a goldmine of unexplored concepts waiting to be made - and remade.

Digital Mock Up Color Variations 
First up is MERGE - mostly because I haven't written a post about it yet and it's sew sew special!  This is an original design that was chosen by the Modern Quilt Guild as a Quilt of the Month.  The pattern is available for free to members.  It is graphic with oversized parts and gentle curves.  Pushing my "Improv Abstraction" into yet another direction was really rewarding.

This was the first collaboration with my sister who custom quilted it beautifully.   There were two other tops that I made during the pattern testing phase as a way to check my math, instructions and also to play with color placement. Isn't it fun how different the three are?

I straight line stitched and finished the one above FAL Q1 and have included the one below as a Q3 goal.  You can see the slight change in colors used when comparing the digital mock up but I stayed in the same general palette so they read pretty true. 

The vector design program that I use is called InkScape.  It is free and on my apple mini.  I discovered it through the Facebook group Quilt Design A Day (QDAD) and although I've learned just enough of the basics to get by - for the most part it does what I need.  I also do some of the editing in photoshop for publishing.  The mono option when viewing the image on my iPhone is an easy way to check value on a prospective fabric pull.

A post about Merge would not be complete without a picture of my sis and I posing with it at QuiltCon in Nashville and a shout out to Curated Quilts where it was featured in the Gallery of "Curves" issue 7.

Next up is the QuiltCon Swap mini that I made using a pencil/pen and graph paper to design with the intention of letting the final composition evolve during the make.  The sketches are simply a jumping off point, a general concept for a place to start.  Then it's Design As You Go. 

One of the really entertaining things that can happen with this approach is the unintended "object" that sometimes appears - in this case it was a thumb and I didn't see it until after I'd nailed the small inset circle-ish had been sewn in beautifully.  (technique tutorial here)

Laughing at myself, I had to capture a picture before cutting it out and moving on. Here's the finished mini at the swap exchange - my partner Jera gave it the thumbs up!

QuiltCon Mini Swap Exchanged
Another example of translating the "spirit of" a design rather than literally is this inkscape mock up for Marci in May 2015 of Tiny Little Houses for her BeeSewcial neighborhood prompt.  Rather than freeform improv she specifically requested that we sketch an idea, a step that she includes in her process. 
Inkscape mock up

one of several blocks
I found that I spent as much time on the digital design as I did sewing it but that including this step in my process was a stretch - which is a big part of the bee.  Once I let go and embraced the idea that I did not need to replicate it I was fine.

There are other times when the personal challenge for myself is to bring the digital version to life in fabric.  Here are several examples with links to the original posts where I describe in more detail the design process:

RESONATE: An Art Gallery Heartland Fabric Blog Hop

Original Coloring and Revised 

GET A GRIP: Shown here with the spark image and palette, digital mock up and finished quilt. 

BEND, DON'T BREAK:  QDAD Special Exhibit - This was a big deal for me :)

Parts On the Design Wall


Original QDAD

Some of the QDADers at QuiltCon Special Exhibit

SURF CRUSADE: Gloaming Fabric Blog Hop

Digital mock up

Finished Quilt
FREE-RANGE: Fabric Challenge

I hope that you'll give designing a try at whatever level you feel comfortable with - and then push a little further.  Happy Stitching, Karen

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Quarter 3 Finish-A-Long - Goals Linky Party Open

Hello everyone! It is time for Quarter 3 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 the first half of the year, you can join us now for a brand new start. Those of you who did join us for the first and second quarter, thank you and I do hope you finished some things and plan to continue on with us for Q3.

So let's get to it!
You can now link up your list of projects that you want to finish in Quarter 3 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 Q3 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 Q3 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 Q3 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 #2019FALQ3yourname (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 Q3 List

The 2019 Q3 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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

EYE have three FAL Q2 Finishes

Saving the best finish for last, "Eyes" a BeeSewcial collaborative bee quilt was custom quilted by my sister and I brought it on the plane on the flight to visit her in Montana last month.  There was to be a layover of about 3 hours which made for the perfect excuse to hand stitch the binding down.  

The sleeve was stitched on leisurely with my sister's adorable dog as my sewing side kick. 

When it was completed, I knew that there would be photo opportunities and was not disappointed. I'll write a post about the EPIC first ever BeeSewcial Retreat but for now you just get a glimpse at the venue, the Grizzly Mountain Cabin at sunset.

This picture was at sunrise.  I woke to the most gentle morning light and popped up out of bed, grabbed the quilt and tossed it on the deck in the backyard.  

My favorite picture above captures the majestic mood pretty well- draped on the side fence with only the birds to keep me company - my phone timestamped it at 4:49am but it must have read the wrong timezone, it was actually 5:49am.

You can read about the theme prompt HERE  and see my original FAL Q2 GOALS post HERE

The other two finishes are found on my Instagram feed  #2019falq2capitolaquilter 

Linking up to the Party as the lights dim.  
Happy Stitching, Karen

Saturday, July 6, 2019

2019 FAL Tutorial Week and Reminder to Link Up Q2 Finishes

Today I'm popping in for a quick reminder that the Quarter 2 link up for all your finishes closes on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 11 pm EST.  So you still have a few more days to finish that project or two and link them up to be eligible for prizes.  The link up can be found HERE or on any of the 2019 FAL hosts blogs.

A few reminders for linking up:
  • Please only one finished project for each post that you link up, so that each finish can be an entry in the (random) prize draw. 
  • Please include a link to your original list in each post of your finishes (on Instagram the link is the unique tag #2019FALQ2yourname to be used in the Q2 list post, and in any Q2 finish post).
  • Please visit some of the other participants and leave a friendly comment, we all love to get those! 
I also wanted to share with you that we just wrapped up "Tutorial Week" which has been part of the Finish-A-Long since it's inception.  The tutorials are varied, interesting, and usually helpful, so take some time to investigate and visit the blogs below!
And whether you had a lot of finishes, or none at all this quarter, or you missed Finish-A-Long Q2 altogether, you can always join in for Quarter 3 which is taking off on July 10th, with the link up opening for your List of Proposed Finishes. We hope you will join us!

I've linked up two of my finished for Q2 from Instagram, a gifted baby quilt and an award winning mini challenge.  I have yet to post a recap with the my third and most exciting finish so you're in good company if you still have it to do - no worries, just watch the countdown timer at the bottom of the page.  As of now, there's about three and a half days remaining and already over 250 projects linked, whoop whoop.  Happy Stitching, Karen

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

FAL Tutorial - "In a Bubble"

With FAL Q2 wrapping up, it's not only LINKY PARTY time found HERE (edit: linky party is now closed) but it is also means that several of the hosts post Tutorials and today it's my turn!

I am pleased to present a freehand block tutorial.   There are many great rulers and templates available to make precise and perfect quarter, half and full circles but sometimes it feels good to explore creating organic curves using a not-too-fussy technique.

Here are a couple finished examples:
10"x13" "Double Bubble"
10"x13" "In a Bubble"
A few general things to keep in mind:
  • Oversize your "background" fabric pieces by about an inch on all sides.
  • You can leave the "bubble" fabric large or odd shaped until after it is sewn.
  • Larger curves are easier to handle.
  • Be flexible with the process and find what works best for you.

I like to use a pinking blade in my rotary because it makes it easy to clip the curve.  In the mosaic below you can see that I have folded over a rectangle of fabric to get a more uniform shape.  In some of the other examples I have cut single layered freestyle.

Audition the bubble fabric to make sure it is large enough and the desired color.  Using small scissors clip the curve.
Cutting and Clipping
Using the tip of the iron, fold back the clipped curve as shown below.   Apply tiny dots of glue (I like Roxanne's with a fine tip). Heat set with the iron.   Stitch on the fold line and trim away the excess.
Gluing, Stitching and Trimming
Press and square up with a ruler to your target size.

When you are making multiple blocks, you can use the discarded "background" fabric that has been cut away for the "bubble" fabric in another.   

When you are making a "Double Bubble" you also want to place them staggered to allow enough room and create a more interesting secondary shape.  
Cutting and Clipping
 These pictures show the gluing steps a little more clearly.  Note that in this example I put the background on top face up - either way, I do find that gluing one half at a time works best.
Gluing Details
Tip:  to make sure the orientation is correct, place your prepped unit Face Up and then Flip Back to stitch.
Stitching and Trimming
I am always amazed how oversized the bubble fabric needs to be.  Look back at the first mosaic to see how much smaller the cutout of blue was and yet there is very little to trim away in that final step shown above.

You can complete one bubble before moving onto the second or you can prep them both  - it doesn't matter.

I hope you have found the tutorial helpful and will give it a try.

 Happy Stitching, Karen