Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On Solid Ground


Let me reassure you... there is no need to wipe your computer screen... no need to grab an extra cup of coffee... no need to pinch yourself to see if your are dreaming. You are NOT seeing things...

I suppose that might be just a wee bit over dramatic, but if you have been around for a while, then you might know that I DON'T work with solids... at all. However, on that same note, if you've been around long enough to know of my avoidance of solids at all cost, then you probably also know that I can only sing the highest praises of Basic Grey grunges... this not-quite-a-solid IS my solid. 


The motivation to steer clear of my beloved prints is because these are a present for my parents (when I talk of these, it includes the remaining three that I have planned to make) Even though I would describe my own personal decorating tastes as transitional, my folks definitley lean towards a more modern style. I have to admit that in this case, these bold splashes of color give a more powerful impact than my prints would, and give it the modern feel that I am looking for.


Because improv is also not where my strengths or passions lie, I very much appreciated these free paper piecing templates from The Long Thread. It was fun for me to experiment with multi-directional quilting, finding and following the design of the piece itself for the hints of how it should be quilted. 


Are you a solid teetotaller or do you cherish your beloved prints and leave your solids on the shelf?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Applique Borders


Last week I sent out a "call for help", asking for your two cents on how much time pattern testers might need for an entire medallion quilt instead of a single block or small finished project. Firstly, thank you for all the ideas and suggestions... I've pulled from several of them, and think that this is the planned scenario that I've come up with: Firstly, share the flimsy and do a pre-call for testers, giving the fabric requirements to see if the pattern can be made from stash, or if extra fabrics would need to be purchased. Secondly release my third pattern while the testers are working on the pattern testing this one. Well... that's the plan, anyway.


Currently I am working the last border, which is a little heavy on applique, and should still take a good bit of time to complete. When working on a pattern, I usually sew up the top and then back track, which means that I'm still a good ways out on this one. Realistically, I'm looking at releaseing to testers in late summer/early fall with a spring release for this one.


At our Patchwork Treffen HH this past weekend, amaziningly I didn't do one single stitch on the sewing machine the whole time I was there... I left thinking, why did I even bring it? But some days I simply enjoy playing around with fabric, even if I'm not stitching it. I was able to whip up all these leaves for the border.


Are you interested in pattern testing and have time starting late summer/early fall? Applique experience is needed. Let me know and I'll put you on the list.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In Need of Two Cents


I've been whittling away and trying to finish two secret sewing projects, both of them new quilt patterns, which leaves me just shy of two finished quilt tops... one more row on the first, and the last border on the second. There's way more done than what I can share right now, but teasers are always such fun, don't you think?


I'm always so back and forth with myself about how much to share before official announcements... perhaps you can help me with that? This is planned to be my fourth quilt pattern, which will be a medallion quilt. My previous pattern testers have usually only done a one block, or smaller pillow/wall hanging project. This quilt will be larger, would need to be a full flimsy finish, and is heavy on applique. What time frame do you think is realistically needed for testers? (interested?... let me know)


My concern that if I share the full quilt too far in advance, and testers need a longer time frame to finish, then the excitement about the quilt has fizzled out by the time it's been tested. I think that realistically this would be a 2018 spring release. (I have to finish the top myself, quilt it, AND finish writing the pattern, not to mention the third pattern that releases ahead of it, but it's good to have a plan, right?)


In addition, I unfortunately I've had to put this to the side because I ran out of fabrics for the last border. The joy of living in Germany is that I will have to wait at least three weeks or more. The missing border is my heavily appliqued border, which should take a good bit of time, but I have started working on some of the applique shapes. I just love these little pomegranate buds. It's not a final design, but still fun to lay them out in a mandala arrangement.


Do you plan a year's worth of projects ahead of time, or do you just take it project by project?

 Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gearing Up To Buzz


Even though it's not quite my turn to be the queen bee, I have to admit that I have been racking my brain for months not really knowing what quilt block to do for it. A friend of mine suggested to fish through my quilt bucket list and pick something, but all those gotta-try-before-I-die quilts are with some really complicated techniques, which I felt certain my other bee members would not appreciate.



I really wanted to do a block with curves this time since we've not had any drunkard's path blocks yet. Somehow I kept coming back to this inspiration WIP, and decided that the block was simple enough to make, but would give me the interest of curves that I was looking for. My plan is to have it somewhat of a scrappy quilt, and I thought these fun sherbert colors would be nice to work with in summer. Can't you just see yourself sitting at the ice cream shop now?


Despite the curved piecing, these blocks come together rather quickly, and I've been sharing quite a few of my block on Instagram these days...


Layout and design are just as important as the color scheme when making a quilt, and while the inspiration quilt is a horizontal layout, I've been thinking that an on point layout would be fun too:


I know, I know... no worries, I'm actually stopping now before my bee members don't have any blocks to do. Unfortunately I'll have to pack these away until summer, but I decided it would be best to nail something down now before summer starts and life gets busy.

 Linking up with Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Disappearing Act


We recently bought a new sofa for out living room that is large enough for the whole family, and the old one shifted into my husband's office. To my surprise, he has actually been using it a lot, and it's been nice for him to have a second comfortable place to retreat to when the first one is booked out.


If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I've accumulated quite a number of quilted cushions that have landed in our living room, but somehow recently they've been disappearing... a lot. The culprit, who shall remain nameless, keeps carrying them into my husband's office, and they are usually noticed missing when I want to sit down for the evening. 


So, as a birthday present, I decided that the thief "borrower" needed a few pillows of his own. I've always thought that Tim Holtz fabrics are just smart for projects for guys, and have had it in my head to use the map/expedition print since my husband has a large world map on his wall. I added a cigar box labels print to the mix since he enjoys a leisurely smoke on occasion.
 

The cigar labels print was my color inspiration for the Raspberry Kiss x's pillow (free pattern here). I have to say that it was a good challenge for me to find prints in my stash that are truly "guy" fabrics... I didn't realize that most of my fabrics lean more towards what I would grab for a girl project rather than a guy project.


As if my husband didn't already have enough to keep him busy for every hour of the day, he has taken on a new hobby/job working with wood. It would seem that his love for trees is growing just as much as his love for soil, for this through and through farm boy. I debated for a long time if a wood grain quilting design was the best choice for the more graphic x's, but since it is so fitting to him personally, and it's free motion quilting practice for me, I decided it was the best way to take out two birds with one stone.


With these three pillows to lounge on, there should be no more disappearing act excuses... fingers are crossed!

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Ton of Bricks


A friend of mine shared recently with me about a quilting blog that she follows... beautiful and inspiring projects, but the quilter has 97 works-in-progress! To put it mildly, I was blown away. Now, I know I'm not really one to talk about starting new projects, but seriously? NINETY-SEVEN!?!... how does that even happen?!?


Even though it is not evidenced by this post, I've really been making a concentrated effort to be more disciplined with the number of projects that I juggle at one time. I'm a project jumper, which means I flip a lot and need to work on a project until I hit a mental road block, then switch back to an older one. Although I don't suggest this method, for everyone, it actually does work for me... and believe it or not, I still get things finished too without collecting too many WIP's.


Having said all that, let me just explain. A few weeks ago, my husband took me out for a fabulous birthday brunch... just the two of us. You know that feeling that you get when you treat yourself with something special like a fine meal at a fine restaurant? When it's not your everyday, you tend to soak things in, your senses are heightened, and everything tastes divine and just melts in your mouth. When it's accompanied with a beautiful ambiente in a quaint setting to capture and saturate ones thoughts, that feeling is multiplied. As I was looking across at my husband, I have to admit that my gaze keep resting on a vintage embroidery piece that was hanging behind him. As soon as the other guests left, I snapped a few shots to take the memory home with me. Well, as a quilter, you know how it is when something sparks an idea for a quilt... need I really say more?


Perhaps you've had that inner burning when an idea is hitting you like a ton of bricks and rolls along like a frieght train that can't be stopped? That feeling of nearly exploding if you don't translate that idea into something tangible...

... thus, quilt pattern number four. My inspiration piece even comes with it's own story... and I can't wait to share the rest of the story.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Q1 Finishes & Q2 Goals


It's been so helpful for me to section my to-do project list into quarters. When I look back, I have a better overview of what I've accomplished, which is a really good feeling, and what needs to get done. I was able to finish my top four goals from my super full, and super long 2017 goals list... among them was my second pattern release which was also my largest quilt ever! I even finished two other projects that weren't even on my list. (here and here) One of my general goals for this was to stretch myself with free motion quilting... and there's a big check beside that box too!



1. Tiptoe Through The Tulips quilt 2. Jeweled Kaleidoscope Alison Glass Pillow 3. Tiptoe Through The Tulips Pillow 4. Alison Glass Applique Pillow.
 
I know that practice makes perfect, but I am slightly overwhelmed with how many quilt tops I've collected that have to make it under the machine to be quilted... so let's just say that I have a good bit of actual quilting to do this next quarter.

1. My AMH quilt is basted and I've started quilting it... I didn't like how I first started quilting it, so I took the stitches out, and if you've ever done that before you know what fun it is (please tell me you picked up on my sarcasm?)

2. After I finally decided on a layout, my half square triangle quilt top came together pretty quickly. I've only made two quilts that I DIDN'T piece the back, and I think this one could end up being the most pieced backs... use up those scraps, right?

3. My bee block quilt top was assembled last fall, and I'm partially finished with the back, and using a few of the blocks that didn't fit on the front. I've decided on very simple walking foot quilting.




4. Penny Sampler is my slow stroll, stop-and-smell-the-roses quilt... I've been adding blocks here and there as I get time, but I'm in no rush to get to the finish line on this one.


5.Green Smoothie... what can I say? on the backburner, but not forgotten.

6. I'm about half way through putting together my 3rd pattern, but I've really pulled it out when it's our monthly sewing meetings. After I get a few of these tops quilted, this will move up on the priority. list.

So, there are actually two new projects that have been added to the list,

7. My Orphan Block Quilt, which is sort of a new project, but not really... is essentially giving a new face to some of those abandoned blocks from previous projects. It's nicer to finish them than through them away, don't you think? I had several squares that were left over from my Swell quilt, and these are perfect little fillers.



8. Pattern # 4 Well, this one just hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sitting with my husband during my birthday brunch date... somehow the artwork behind kept distracting and inspiring me, and I just couldn't get it out of my head... long story short, my first medallion quilt will be pattern number 4!?! Julie, I told you that you really got my brain churning with the idea of a medallion quilt... this will be a mostly applique quilt! Center block is finished and I'm working on borders now. 



**TIP OF THE WEEK**: I found this fabulous, world changing video on the Fat Quarter Shop You Tube channel for the starch applique method... let's just say that these 60 orange peel leaves were whipped up rather quickly with this method... and NO freezer paper removal from the backside!
 

Wheh... still with me? I'm already making my list and checkin' it twice.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Orphan Block Sampler


Do you have THAT box?... you know, the one with all the orphaned blocks from past quilts?

I've had it in my head for quite some time now to make good use of a few of the blocks that had been packed away in THAT box. I was first inspired to make an orphan block sampler from Julie... I just needed to accumulate enough blocks that didn't make the cut were set aside for their special day. It was actually quite fun to pull them out again and think about what had inspired me to make each one of them in the first place. 


You might even recognize a few from some of my previous projects. These first two blocks are actually from my most recent finish... any ideas?



... yup, that's Tiptoe Through The Tulips from my table runner project! Just a little redo to give a whole new makeover to these blocks.

I most certainly don't need to tell you how versatile half square triangles are. Since I was so undecided about my half square triangle quilt, it was nice to play with a few other arrangements that didn't make it in the original quilt.


Remember this finish from last year? My basket project, Modern Beauty table runner? I still had several orange peels left over to make another block.


ahhh... freezer paper, how I love you, let me count the ways. While working on my video tutorial for freezer paper applique, I ended up making several buttons in the process (free template here). These notions are far too fun to be left in the unfinished pile!


While in the middle of my let's-freezer-paper-everything phase (even if it doesn't need to be), I found this fun pinwheel/circle block, and just had to try it.


Even though I am very well aware of my color tendencies, I have to admit that I was quite surprised about the softness of the colors and the overall feel. The surprise is that it's not my usual popping contrasts that I so often lean towards.


With this quilt, I've tried to either use blocks from previous projects or fabric that was already cut from previous projects. The only newly cut fabric will be the low volumes that I use to connect the blocks. The cherry on the top is that it doesn't take much time for a quilt top to come together!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social
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