Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sizzix Quilt Challenge!

My friend Victoria Findlay Wolfe has a little challenge going on . . . 
Have you heard???

She has designed some die cuts for the Sizzix Die Cutting System.

 I didn't have the cutting system, so V graciously said,
"Come on over and cut some fabric after the guild meeting."

Hehe, you don't have to ask me twice!
I grabbed a bunch of florals in warms and cool colors.

I cut up a whole top in about an hour . . . 
Using her melon wedding ring pattern.

 I was hooked. 
I bought the system a few days later.
Here it is on my counter so I have good leverage.

Since I really had no plan at first,
(I just cut warms for the melons and cools for the centers)
I just kind of winged it on the design wall.

A huge floral mess.

Took it down and moved things around.
I had only cut two or four of each fabric in the melon shape.
It's okay.  But not completely loving it.

This is about the day when I ordered the whole system,
and had to wait for it to arrive to cut more fabric.
(Impatient red head!)
Once it showed up, I cut more melons in red.
Fooled around with the corners.
Moved the lightest star to the center,
but that's not working either.

Moved it back.
That pink in the center is not the right color.

So I put in a darker shade of pink.
And voila!
Now this I love.
I have found recently that I really need to leave my stuff
up on the wall and play around with it for a while
before putting it all together.
(Sorry for the crappy photos, no good light inside!)

And here is the construction.
Sew the rows together and then sew the serpentine rows together.
Easy Peasy.

So are you going to make a quilt for the challenge?
Lot's of fun prizes, 
but really it's just a great challenge!

And I have an idea for a second quilt.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

National Quilting Day!

Today is National Quilting Day!

partnered with Christie's Quilting Boutique to have a day of sewing!

The lovely Kate Spain dropped in to show us how she 
approches the design of a new line of fabric.

It was so interesting to here how she moves from photos and drawings,
to colors and repeats, 
and finally to a finished product.
And then to the quilt!!!

Kate's Horizon line started with block printing,
and she showed us some of her practice samples.

Then we got to see a parade of fabulous quilts!
This one she took right off her bed!

This is one of the first quilts she ever made.

Her Central Park Quilt.

This is a particular favorite!
I think I need to make a word quilt.

And I love the back of it too!

Kate is so warm and down to earth.
It was such a pleasure to hear her talk about her passion 
for design and color.  
We were so lucky to get to see all of her eye candy!
Thanks Kate!

Then we settled down to some sewing.
Judy and I realized we had made the same
little notions pouch.  
So funny to see the same pattern and we both did it so differently!

The mods took over this corner of the room,
The light was much better for our rather mature eyes.  Hehe.

Judy & I worked on putting together this group community quilt top.

Margaret worked on this beauty.

Jody worked on an arrow baby quilt.
Love the graphic feel of this.

Mayann finished quilting this baby
and was able to square it it.

And I tried out some of these January Blocks.
I like them, except I have to cut the pieces out by hand.

Here is the group photo before we all headed out.
Very fun day!

Thanks to Christie's Quilting Boutique for all the fun
swag bags and prizes!
Always fun when quilters get together!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Double Wedding Ring . . . .

This is a quilt I didn't think I would EVER make.
Wasn't ever a fan of the pattern, thought it was too

Haha.  Boy was I wrong.

and then her DWR Challenge, I got the bug.

I only did a single ring because I was a judge and couldn't win,
so I was a slacker. Haha.
And I still wasn't sold on this pattern.

Then I saw so many wonderful DWR quilts coming out of
Victoria's inspiration, I decided to give it a whirl

I had been hoarding Kaffe Fassett stripes and plaids for a while.
Couldn't cut them up.  Haha.
Then I found some rich peppered cotton solids 
and started a "Plan" so to speak.

Actually I just started cutting everything up.
No counting how many I need of this or that.
Sound familiar? 

Put it away for a while, dragged it back out and cut some more.

Then I started sewing the melons together.  Still no real plan.

I didn't even lay it all out first, 
just made each melon as I liked them.

I started with all the deep blues, purples and greens on one side,
and worked my way across the design wall.

More sewing and slapping up.

But I had all these bright yellows, pinks and greens too.
I put them on the end.

This pattern does take awhile to put together.
Patience is the word!

I sewed all the melons first.
It was coming together.

I liked it but . . . .  Didn't love it.
So off the wall it went for a while.
I had other quilts calling my name.

It is such a great book!  You have to get it!
Inspiration re-fired!

I had most of the  pieces cut and put together,
so I played around with the layout.
I wanted it scrappy, and it surely is!

I added in a few other Kaffe prints 
where I had run out of what I was using.

I sewed the rings into rows,
and slowly put the rows together.

Because everything was overlapping on my design wall,
I had no idea how big this was going to be!
Below is on a third of it!

It was a slow sewing process 
and I tend to pin the hell out of everything
curvy!  But that's just me.  
It was definitely worth taking my time on.

See here, I sewed the it together wrong!
Jack the Ripper makes an appearance.
It's not perfect, there are some puckers and tucks.
I'm hoping the quilting will take that out.

I am so pleased with this top.
I am also pleased that I tried something
I didn't think I ever would.

Good lesson don't you think?
What are you afraid of?
Or not interested in?
Take a chance, you might be inspired.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters

Last January, I was lucky enough to be asked to try out
a score for Sherri Lynn Wood's new book,

I had been reading her blog for a while,
and threw my hat in the ring when she asked if people 
wanted to try out her scores for her book.

When I got the email that said I had been chosen to be a tester, 
I was excited,
and I must admit a bit intimidated.

I am very familiar with improv quilting, 
but this challenge took it to a new level.

The challenge of my score was to to fit together 
blocks and sashing to create a rhythmic grid.

My first task was to pick out some fabrics.

Then I started to cut everything up.
No rulers!

With the directions given,
I started playing around with my pieces.
This was a great process for me.
I'm not great at reading directions and figuring it out,
so I had no idea if I was "doing it right."
Which of course is silly, because improv quilting
is all about just "doing it."
Good lesson there, for just about everything in life.

I was surprised when I began my quilt that 
I really didn't like what was going on.
I couldn't see how it would work, but I pressed on and let go. 

As I laid it out and put my rows together, I started to really like it.
I could see my rows coming together in a way 
I had not anticipated.

I learned that even if you aren't thrilled with 
what you see before you, keep going.  
Try different things and put together enough 
to really get a feel for where you are going.  
You can always change it, but don't make any snap decisions 
on what you have, let it brew awhile.

So I kept cutting.
I loved not using a ruler.  I have done this before to some degree, but not for a whole quilt top.  
It was very freeing to just hack away at the fabric.  
And I realized that I could cut a pretty straight line 
without a ruler if I wanted to.

More rows.
I fiddled with the placement of things,
looking for a certain flow.
This kind of design work is
 out of my comfort zone,
but it felt great to jump in and go with it.

I struggled with the spacing between my blocks.
I know it was to be improv, 
and maybe I just needed to let go more,
lose control.

Can you see the flow here?

I added a top & bottom row in contrasting fabrics,
but trying to continue the flow I had established in the center.

I used all the little scraps to make a pieced back.
I really love this too. 

I decided to do straight line quilting on an angle,
about a half inch apart. 

Here is a closer look at the quilting.

I decided not to square up the quilt.
My sides were jagged and I loved the look of that.
Those jagged edges gave me the biggest surprise of this challenge.
Not everything needs to be perfect and square!
I LOVE those edges.

Binding it wasn't so easy, but I honored the challenge
of figuring out all those corners and indents.

This is the pic I submitted to Sherri 
for consideration to be in her book.
These colors are more representative of the actual quilt.

I'm not sure how well I adapted the score.
I'm horrible at reading directions and visualizing what it "should" be.
I just jumped in and let it take me away.  
I feel like anything I create is my version of something else,
so honestly this was perfect for me to own it.

And the finished back. 

I do love that back.

I loved the whole idea of just freely cutting and sewing 
and seeing what happens.  
I think my next improv quilt will be a little bit looser,
 with no grid to the blocks and see what happens.

Sherri had so many people testing her scores,
and in the end she could only pick a few quilts
to add to her book.  
Mine wasn't chosen, but I really loved being involved with her project.
It pushed me out and made me look at things differently.
I cut fabric without a ruler.
I sewed things that weren't perfectly straight.
I made a quilt that "wasn't me," but clearly is me!
Thanks Sherri for the gift of improv exploration.

You can order your copy of 
Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters