Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February Minimalism: v1

The February challenge for the Mighty Lucky Quilt Club involves making a minimalist composition. I dug up some mostly-solids (not buying anything for these challenges is a second-level challenge) and slapped them onto the wall to audition a few ideas and colors. I pulled down the box of upholstery samples that my friend Hope gave me a few years back, lots of gorgeous linens and sateens in natural shades. The bits of satin-stitched sheeting were perfect linear elements, and I am pleased to say that I made this entire piece without any rulers or rotary cutting. Hand-driven scissorwork all the way.

Minimalism, improvised (Trial #1)
I'm going to put some simple quilting on this, then stretch it onto a frame. I have three or four frames the same size, so my hope is to do a few more pieces in a minimalist series. I'm already thinking about which fabrics I want to use for the next one...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Particle Decay (in bias)

I am incredibly grateful to Krista Fleckenstein for her bias-strip tutorial, and to the folks who put together the Mighty Lucky Quilt Club -- I bought the full-year subscription as a Yule gift to myself, and in my opinion it has already had a great ROI! I am very pleased with my finished project from January's challenge:
"Decay" (26.5 x 32.5")
Working with the bias strips as an interesting experiment. The thicker strips, more than a half-inch wide, were trickier to curve but easier to turn sharp points. I made Decay using 1/4" strips, the same width as the Wonder tape that holds them in place. I'm taking a class with Timna Tarr later this month that uses very thin bias strips like these, so I'm eager to find out if she has any other suggestions and tips for their use.

The original photo from CERN that I used as my inspiration is here; it shows the results of smashing a neutrino into a neon nucleus. I chose this beautiful fuschia Stonehenge fabric as my background because I loved the cosmic look created by the shading variation. The strips are vibrant lime with a very faint stripe in metallic gold. The line ends represent particle annihilation, where matter becomes energy; I attached tiny sunburst charms backed by lime sequins to catch the sunlight -- this is difficult to photograph, but very eye-dazzling in person.

"Decay" (detail of annihilation)
Even the back of this quilt looked spectacular, because I quilted through all three layers to stitch the bias strips down first, then filled the spaces between with tight meandering. The variegated thread blends beautifully into the cosmic background on the front, and the design really pops on the coordinating batik on back of the quilt:
"Decay" (reverse view)
Even the practice piece that I made to try out the technique turned out to be a Lovely Thing:
Bias strip sampler
And just like that, another 2016-Q1 finish! I'm eagerly anticipating the February challenge later today...although today is my baby's 12th birthday so some fun family time is in order after my classes are over this afternoon. Life is good, my friends.

Friday, January 29, 2016

FAL Q1--Charming table set: DONE!

Making time to write a blog post seems to be the trickiest thing for me to do (so far) this year, but here's a quick one. I finished the placemats and runner from my Allure charm pack. I intend to write a quick tutorial on the process, because I think this is a great way to feature an entire charm collection with no waste. Bottom line: Sidekick ruler 4.5" half triangles, left half from charms, right half from contrast. Sew the remaining charm chunks into a continuous strip then add borders of any width. The width of mine was determined by how much fabric I had leftover from another project.

So, pix or it didn't happen, right?

Charming "Allure" placemats
Coordinating "Allure" table runner

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Q1 Finish-Along Goals

My last post summarized some of my long-term goals for the year, but with an eye on Connecting, I guess I might as well specify some specific tasks for the first three months of the year. Thanks to Stacey at SloStudio for hosting the Finish-Along as a kick in the pants to stay focused!

These are supposed to be projects that are already started, so here goes:

1. My Junk Drawer challenge project, due next week at my art journal meeting:

2. Hexagon suns quilt:
3. Best. Day. Ever. herringbone quilt:

4. Finish writing the pattern for my Triangle Tiles quilt:

5. Allure placemats:

6. I haven't technically started it yet, but I'll also be making a little Skinny Mini quilt for my secret partner during Q1. Very excited about this one -- I love this particular shape!!

7. Zombie shirt for my boy's 12th birthday next month.
8. Two beer shirts for my BIL's birthday next month.

OK, that's a pretty respectable list -- that should do it for Q1! I'm sure I'll make a hundred more things in that time, but these are the ones hovering at the moment. Let the games begin!

ETA #9: Rocky Horror Challenge with the Badass Quilters!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Goal Setting

It's the right time of year for making the type of sweeping statements about all the many many things that I intend to accomplish, a list that will no doubt exhaust me when I re-read it in a week or two.

First off, I'll be teaching four university classes this spring, so that will be the top priority through April. I'm also planning to take a university class in printmaking (if I didn't wait too long to sign up). So that's an ambitious start!

In addition, my "one little word" for 2016 -- the overarching focus that I want to use as a stay-on-target reminder -- is Connect!
I want to be a more active participant in the "social" part of social networking, which means reading other people's blogs more regularly, commenting on other people's work, and replying to comments here! I joined up on Instagram last fall, which I really like for its immediacy and short-burst visual format. Somehow I've gotten just over 110 followers in three or four months, something I haven't managed to figure out on Facebook where my page has just over 50 followers...not disappointing, just a different nut to crack.

In hopes of linking up with more IntraWeb stitchy types -- and, of course, to flex my design muscles -- I've joined the Lucky Spool Quilting Club for the year, and I've already started slashing a bunch of bias strips for the first month's challenge -- which I will write about later (to connect...see?).
I'm also hoping to dabble in the monthly tutorials at The Printed Fabric Bee. I know two of the members of this group from the Connecticut chapter of SAQA (that's "Studio Art Quilt Associates" for those of you following along at home) and having a chance to learn some Mad Skillz from artists like these (for FREE!) is too good an opportunity to pass up.

Time permitting (ha!), I might also dive into the Modern HST Sampler that Alyce is hosting at Blossom Hill Quilts.
My husband gave me a gorgeous stack of fat quarters for my birthday last fall, and these have sat sadly untouched -- this sampler will be a nice chance to play with my peach tree, as the kids today say:

What else? I signed up for a little swap, I'm spending a week in San Diego before classes start, teaching a Gypsy Wife class this spring at Lisa's Clover Hill Quilts, taking a map-quilt workshop with Timna Tarr at Sew Inspired, attending the opening of the SAQA-CT show in Guilford in late February, sharing two trunk shows in May, and -- eventually -- polishing off my first three patterns (that is a lot of work!). Plus I guess I should throw in some time for homeschooling the boys while I'm at it. So that should do the trick to keep me out of trouble. If you have found your way here from Instagram, or Facebook, or Pinterest, or anywhere else, I hope to hear from you, and I will do my human best to reply to you in a reasonably timely way!

OK, yep, that is definitely one exhausting list. (How do I do it, you ask?)

Happy 2016!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Work Stoppage

The elves are on strike for better working conditions. Specifically, they demand a machine that works correctly.

The Gryla is going into the shop today.

Fare thee well, sweet Gryla!

(There's a weird mishmash of mythologies swirling around in my sewing room.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Modern Workshop at Vernon

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the day with the ladies of Vernon Nutmeg Quilters. We worked on mini projects from Elizabeth Hartman's Modern Patchwork book. (It has been three years since I discovered this little gem, and I am still using these patterns all the time...way to go, EH!)

We had a lot of fun playing with color to make the Roller Rink projects. There is so much potential for unique variation on such a simple concept; for example, Maureen (far right) got an interesting fiery effect by using a graded floral fabric instead of pieced squares as her block centers. I believe Tammy had hers quilted by the time we wrapped up. (Nice job -- nobody needs more UFOs!)
Vernon Nutmeg Quilters with their spectacular Roller Rink minis

The Neighborhood projects were adorable too--look at that fun little quail! This is a project that I like to make as a housewarming gift, sometimes customized with the new address.
Vernon Nutmeg Quilters' Neighborhood minis

My own "Mother of the Year" Neighborhood mini -- no need to stick with birds in the center panel!!

As we move through this season of giving thanks, I want to make it clear how grateful I am to have the opportunity to lead workshops like this one. Thanks, everyone!