Saturday, March 7, 2015

Harvest of Hexagonia

Yesterday I woke up with the muse upon me to play with some bits of fabrics that have been accumulating in my space, starting with the sample six-minute circle that I made last week.
This was my first try with the six-minute circle technique. I used fabrics that might be pretty if it came out halfway decent, so this became my starting point for a little art piece.
From there, I pulled out strips of orangey-golds and olives and a big stack of triangles cut off from my forest floor Lotus and Scrapophenia projects. I used half a dozen rulers, including my precious little mini Hex n More, to tame the bits into usable shapes, then just started piecing one segment at a time without a specific endpoint in mind. This kind of shape assembly is my preferred middle ground between completely (right-brain?) loosey-goosey freeform work and linear (left-brain?) hardline geometric patterns. I think that's why I'm so fanatical about the 60° shape family: there are a whole bunch of different choices that all work together, even at different scales. 

Once I started sewing the tiny hexies together, the project took on its own momentum and I couldn't stop working on it. I even came home early from the monthly First Friday gathering at Lisa's Clover Hill Quilts and spent a few more late-night hours (literally quilting after dark!) to finish it up. 

Looking at it in the light of morning, I see summery fields with lines of golden grains, rows of cabbages and other delicious greens, and patches of pastureland carved out of the landscape. The hex field reminds me of the baskets overflowing with crops that our farmers conjure from their soil. (If there's one part of summer that I'm looking forward to, it's the CSA shares from Sub Edge Farm starting back up!!)
Summer harvest piece, unquilted (~16x28")

Friday, February 27, 2015

Chubby Churn Dash Mini

Aurifil is hosting a Designer of the Month program, featuring little quilts that are fast to make. I didn't get around to the January program, even though it was by one of my favorite designers, Gudrun Erla (from Iceland!). February's project by Joanne Figueroa was cute though, and it showed up just as I was pondering what to do with the small remaining length of my background-neutral architectures yardage:
I can't get enough of this as a background -- from Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures line.
I just pulled out some scraps from near the tops of various heaps, because this pattern didn't need much of any one fabric. It took an evening to make the top, then another couple of sessions to do the spiral quilting. I did nine separate spirals, starting in the center of each block with a thread that matched that block. I did a little echoing around the edges using grey, because I didn't want the floppy edges that sometimes happens when you don't quilt evenly the whole way to the binding. Cute cute cute! I'm looking forward to doing the rest of these over the coming year.

Chunky Churndash mini -- 23 x 23" 
Close-up of quilted spirals on Chunky Churndash mini

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Magic: The Gathering quilt

Special guest blogger today, my 11-year-old son Cedric!

I have been working on this quilt for about two months now after my Settlers of Catan quilt was over the size limit of the Vermont Quilt Show Festival, but I am very happy with how this quilt came out. It is based off of the game Magic: the Gathering, which I have a lot of fun playing and looking at the art of. I chose the border and back to look like the famed card Black Lotus, which gives you all five colors of mana, which are the five symbols on my quilt. The name, Alliance of the Planeswalkers, is inspiration of the Lorwyn Five, which are the five main planeswalkers of Magic. There is one for each color, and the silver background is meant to stand for colorless cards, mainly artifacts. The quilt is going to go onto my bedroom wall.
Cedric's Magic: The Gathering quilt (29" diameter)
Black Lotus fabric on the back of the Magic quilt 
(Note from Mom: He did this himself, the fabric planning, the measuring, the ironing, the cutting, the applique circles, the y-seams, and the quilting!! I helped only with digitizing and embroidering the symbols and with the binding. He's feeling some righteous pride!!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Holly's green garden page

This is the last of the pages that I made for my art group's color project. Holly wanted a series of green "garden"-themed pages that she could hang in her three-season room; I worked a little off the page (so to speak) to make something that would take advantage of a partially outdoor space.

I started with a bunch of green scraps, mostly cutoffs from my Chopsticks quilt. I was very happy with how they came together, something like a labyrinthine path through a garden. After some squared-off meandering, I cut some crazy flower circles from a print and beaded & sequined the hell out of them so they would catch the light. Once those were finished, I attached them onto the background using springs so they would wiggle a little in a breeze. Also, I made a spectacular beaded spider using directions that happened to come across my Facebook feed at just the right time. After the binding was on, I added a beaded fringe with tiny jingle bells to make this a multisensory quilt.

Holly's green garden page
Close-up of Holly's green garden page, springs visible
Close-up of Holly's green garden page, beaded spider
I know a lot of people are tired of the snow that has been falling all month, but I sure am getting a lot of unexpected quilting done on these homebound afternoons. Back to work on the art group's Red project for February...I will have TWO to share at our next meeting for a change -- huzzah for snow days!!

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

Gifts!

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!!