Saturday, January 24, 2015

Matroyshka dolls and two purses

Teaching is back in session, so in my bits of time I've been piecing large backs for the shamefully expansive collection of unfinished tops in the upstairs closet, and working my way through lots of tiny little bits and bobs that have been rearing their heads from the depths of my crafting chambers. I've also started setting up a storefront, using the BigCartel website instead of Etsy. We'll see how that goes. Presumably people can use their credit cards right at the secure site, instead of just PayPal. I have one item listed for now, but I'll get some more photos taken eventually for additional items. (So keep me in mind if you need a handcrafted hygge-inducing gift for somebody in your life!!)

I realized that I never shared the photos of my other Christmas gifts. Maybe the cutest little thing I've ever made, I sent a set of nesting Matroyshka dolls to my sweet baby cousin. (Pattern by Dolls and Daydreams.) These little pysanky-like prints have been hanging around for awhile, and they were  perfect for the Russian dolls. Word on the street is that Little Miss Cousin is enjoying them quite a bit -- her mom sent me the sweetest pictures of her putting them to bed. Hugs and kisses to her!!!
Nesting Matroyshka family
Matroyshka family
Mama Matroyshka
Big Sister Matroyshka
Baby Matroyshka
My mom asked if I could make her a few small purses, one for the non-Christmas part of winter, and one for fall. I knew there was a reason I acquired this pretty winter village fat quarter!! I made my trusty Tube Pocket Purse (pattern by Wonder Woman Quilts), with a beaded snowflake for the flap.
Mom's "winter" purse (front)
Mom's "winter" purse (back)
I took a little risk and picked some funky modern fabrics for the autumn purse, but Mom said she loves them so Risk=Reward and all is well! This pattern is the Barbados bag (by Pink Sand Beach Designs) and it went together really well. Bonus: I learned a new technique for top zippers!
Mom's "autumn" purse (front)
Mom's "autumn" purse (back)
Next time, I'll post photos of the final page I made for my art group's color challenge, and then photos of the pages that I received for my own orange hexagon book.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

IPad blogging

Happy 2015!! My sweet husband gifted me an iPad for Christmas, and this is my first shot at blogging with the photos taken right from the device. Turns out there's an app for that.

For now, just a few quick snaps of a scrappy little project that used up a bunch of my 2.5" strips from the Warm side of the color wheel. I modified a free pattern that I found on the Moda website so I could work in the 2.5" squares that were already cut as well. It's just a little thing, only 48 x 60", but a good snuggle size for a not-too-big human.

Scrappy sunset quilt top, 48 x 60"
I'm planning to spend some concerted time making backs for the seventy trillion unfinished tops hanging upstairs, so I figured that I might as well make this one while the yellow and orange bins were sitting out anyway. Nothing special here, but working through a few dozen backs ought to clear out some space in the overflowing (to the point of stress-inducing) Strategic Fabric Reserves.
Scrappy back of scrappy sunset quilt

January is for using up and organizing, but January is also for teaching, as of next Monday, so I probably won't do too much sewing or blogging until late April.

Some of the things I hope to work on this year include:

  • A new quilt for our renovated bedroom. I'm thinking pinks, corals, and oranges with hints of purple, on a brown background. I have an inspiration card from Lowe's that makes that look a lot better than it probably sounds. 
  • Arcadia Avenue elaborate paper-pieced hexagons. I might decide to make that the new bed quilt, even though the original setting isn't quite big enough for a king sized bed.
  • My regular monthly journal art projects. I haven't even started the red project that is "due" in mid-February.
  • Monthly free-motion practice pillows, as hosted at the QuiltShopGal (formerly SewCalGal) blog.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Some bits of holiday sewing from this year:

Back in June, I found some really great ocean fabrics at the shop on Sanibel Island. I sewed a few gifts for my husband's aunt and uncle, who so graciously hosted our family at their beautiful home there. For his aunt, I used a pretty seashell print to make a tree skirt:
Beachy tree skirt!
I added some watery and sandy coordinates and meander quilted all over it. Pattern is Over Under by Swirly Girls Design.

And for his uncle, my tried-and-true shirt pattern!
Nautical shirt!
 I was particularly pleased with the alignment of the pocket:

Merry Christmas, Mary and Jim!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gonna make it...

Miss me? This is how I have felt this semester:

(If you can't see the embedded here.)

But the last exam is written, the grading is all caught up, estoy lista para my Spanish test, and so I have a few moments for some stitchery. I chopped up all the little bitty pieces for a Pixel Pop quilt, using some periwinkle fabrics that have been canoodling in my Strategic Fabric Reserves for quite some time. I guess it's time for their love to be out in the open.

Pixel Pop -- neat name for a fun modern design
I'm making the smaller (45 x 55") version with pops of the little Tula Pink charm packs that I got when I sewed the shirt for Ms. Pink's brother.

The sewing for this quilt is simple, but the challenge is keeping the bits organized -- I'll see how well I did as I work through each block. The accent fabric is just slightly darker than the main background, with a little shimmer that doesn't photograph well but looks really fun in the sunlight.
Block A, Pixel Pop

Friday, September 19, 2014

Color Journals: Grey for Lisa

I couldn't wait to get my turn at this project. Lisa chose grey as her color, and rather than making a book, she asked us all to make small panels that would hang together in her meditation room. I'm next-to-last on this project, so I had the delight of looking at her amazing collection of pieces for the whole Aug-Sept month. I didn't want to presume to photograph other people's work for my blog, and I am sorry that you, my Faithful Readers, can't see it. It's astonishing how much color variation exists within the realm of "grey."

I used 1" diamonds in 36 different fabrics to build a hexagon, then I quilted it with -- what else? -- the flower of life motif that works so well with this pattern. I added a little swirly feathering in the grey border, and some beads for some sparkly contrast along the edges.
Lisa's grey hex panel
I wasn't sure what to do for the back, but just as I was getting this project together, Urban Threads offered a free (!) pattern that was perfect for the "healing" theme that Lisa requested. Serendipity!! The border fabric is a text piece with words like "zen", "wabi sabi" etc.---another bit of serendipity brought to you courtesy of the Strategic Fabric Reserves.
Reverse of Lisa's grey hex panel
In the lower photo, you may be able to make out the snowflake obsidian beads that I used to attach it to the neighboring piece. I'm sure she'll be sharing this next summer at the Greater Hartford Quilt Show -- don't miss it!! I am super jealous (not in a Deadly Sin sort of way, just in a Profound Appreciation sort of way) that I didn't come up with this idea for my own project.

We're in the last round now, so I have to make a green garden page for Holly...and then I can post photos of my own spectacular orange hex book!!

Color Journals: Blue and Brown for Rose

I made this page earlier in the summer, but since Rose was on vacation when I showed it, I held off on blogging so she would see it in person first. Her colors really aren't "mine" although I do appreciate the sky/earth concept that she has mentioned several times. I know that Rose's family enjoyed a trip to Alaska several years ago, so I started with a Google search for "Alaskan art." The native motifs of salmon, bear, and orca jumped off the (virtual) page at me, and I fine-tuned the search for some clipart that I could replicate in fabric.
Within the bowels of the Strategic Fabric Reserves, the perfect fabric was lurking. I must have purchased it specifically for this very project; the colors were spot-on and the motifs looked like they were lifted directly off a totem pole.
From the Andover Facets collection
I started with scrappy strips of the focus fabric and other coordinating browns and blues to make a frame, then I created the whale on a piece of ultra pale blue batik that had a very faint chunky swirl print, just the right background for this style. I fused every piece separately and satin-stitched around the edges. I used a Micron pigma pen to draw in smallest eyes (in the brown diamonds on the dorsal fin and tail), free-motioned spirals all over the background, then added a beaded plume.
Rose's orca journal page
Detail, Rose's orca journal page
For the back, I used another of the Facets print:
Alaskan orca journal page (reverse)
 My husband has requested a copy of this project to hang in our house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Museum pieces

The New Britain Museum of American Art is opening a quilt-related exhibit next month, and for the holiday season the lobby tree will be decorated with small art pieces by the Studio Art Quilt Associates members (that's me, finally!!), for sale to museum visitors. These are the ones I have prepared so far.
"Ave" (5.25 x 6.75")

"Maypole Dance" (8.5 x 11")

"Wavelengths" (8.5 x 11")