A simple, masculine quilt.

Simple, neutral quilt.Another finish to report, all this one required was a binding. Like my scrappy picnic quilt, I started this masculine-looking lap quilt ages ago. I was so inspired by a picture I saw on Design*Sponge (which I pinned to Pinterest) years ago, that I just had to recreate it.

Simple, neutral quilt.However, I gave up on it, due to its imperfections. But it weighed on me. It wasn’t that bad. Certainly someone could use it, even if I donated it.

Simple, neutral quilt.So I ordered some of the quilter’s linen in charcoal and finished it up. Now that it’s done, I’m not nearly as hard on it. It has a warm houndstooth flannel back and could really keep someone warm when the temperatures drop.

Simple, neutral quilt.

Linking up happily to The Littlest Thistle, as I am just squeezing this one in before the deadline!

a finish. finally.

Scrappy Picnic QuiltI can’t remember the last time I sewed a binding on a quilt. It’s been that long. I’ve been plugging away at tops, but have not had any finishes to report — until now! And this one has been a long time in the making! This quilt, the first I ever started, sat in the bottom of my linen closet for so long that it needed sunglasses when it came into the light.

Scrappy Picnic QuiltI didn’t even have much to do on it. I had to finish the quilting and put a binding on. That was it! But getting all of that fabric under the machine to finish up the chevron pattern had become such a chore as a brand new sewer, that I had given up. And I had built it up in my head for all of this time. But now that I have a few years of sewing under my belt, once I got back to it, I realized it really was not bad at all! And it feels like a tremendous burden has been lifted. . . isn’t that funny? You don’t realize that unfinished projects are causing mental stress until you finish them, and then you can let out a huge sigh of relief!

Scrappy Picnic QuiltThis quilt was made with all of my favorite fabrics at the time. There’s a good deal of AMH, some Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt, and a couple of coordinating pieces from my mom’s stash. I had no idea how big the quilt was going to be when I started it. The chevrons are not exact. And I never would have picked the batik on the back. But I was just trying it to see if I liked quilting. Little did I know! Even without finishing it, this quilt would be the gateway to an addiction I never dreamed of! All I can say is, NO REGRETS!

Scrappy Picnic QuiltFinishing this quilt was one of my goals for the 2014 Finish Along, so I’ll be linking up with The Littlest Thistle and to TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts !

Have a great weekend everybody!Scrappy Picnic Quilt

odds and ends.

Indian HatchetI’ve been dabbling this week. A little here, a little there, making a few blocks for gypsy wife, attaching the bindings on two other quilts, and putting the back together for Diamonds in the Deep. A little of this, a little of that and slowly but surely things are getting done.

Puss in the Corner

Puss in the Corner with border

I also received my fabric for the Tone It Down low-volume fabric swap! (It’s Carolyn Friedlander’s Draft Paper in ivory — isn’t it fun?!?) It’s ready to cut into charm squares and get packaged up for mailing to Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty!

Tone It Down Fabric Swap

Slowly, slowly, I’m chipping away at the goals I have set for myself this month. As the last day of September approaches, I’m feeling good that some finishes are on the horizon. It also feels good to know that I’ll have some mental space free to focus on new projects. I’ve been thinking a lot about what direction I’d like to take my quilting next, and how I’d like to grow and challenge myself. . . now, it’s just a matter of finding the time to fit in everything I’d like to do!

For those who might be interested, you can learn more about the LV swap here. I’m not sure if there are spots left, but you should check it out to see!

9aeca836b1fa2d8f4d1779324dc00660

 

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts.

quilters take manhattan: my take.

Quilters Take Manhattan

This weekend I hopped on the Long Island Railroad (or as we call in in these parts, the L.I.R.R.) with my mom, and we headed over to F.I.T. to attend The Quilt Alliance’s annual fundraiser Quilters Take Manhattan. Neither of us had attended before, and we weren’t really sure of what to expect — so we went into the day with an open mind and just enjoying the chance to hang out together and see how it went!

And now, I’m gonna give you the lowdown on the event using my scientifically-developed rating system of: “Meh” vs. “Awesome”. Lucky. You!

Quilters Take Manhattan

As we walked in the door, we were given the opportunity to buy raffle tickets (see my hand) for prizes that I can honestly say I would have loved to have won (spoiler alert: I didn’t). People won ginormous baskets of fabrics of all sorts — solids, Amy Butler prints, moda prints — there was a sewing machine, an AccuQuilt Go, every type of ruler you could imagine, a Rowenta iron. . . definitely some great loot. Alas, my mom and I left with nothing but the swag bag. But it was fun, nonetheless. The takeaway: Prizes from the event – Awesome.

Quilters Take Manhattan

Then as we made our way to our seats, I literally bumped into Amy Butler. She is every bit as amazing and lovely in person as I would have imagined her to be! She was the keynote speaker, and was seriously so inspiring! I can honestly say that my mind is still marinating all of the pieces of information that it took in from her lecture. Instead of her just telling her story of how she went from an art student named Amy Butler to being . . .AMY BUTLER household name and quilt fabric designer extraordinare, she relayed her struggles to maintain her inspiration for what she does AND gave us the tools she used to overcome our own mental blocks and fears. Her speech was very generous in the details that it gave, and her honesty in telling it made me even more of a fan. The takeaway: Keynote Speaker – Awesome.

Quilters Take Manhattan

The next speaker was Mark Dunn, the founder of Moda Fabrics. His lecture focused on the antique quilts that he collects and from which he then creates some of Moda’s reproduction fabric lines. The proceeds from these “Collections for a Cause” fabric lines are then used to support various charities. Quilters Take Manhattan

I fell in love with this quilt, which used a cheddar-colored sashing to separate the Ohio stars. What I loved most about it is the unfinished sash on either end. Whether it was intentional or not (maybe the quilter ran out of the chrome fabric?),  it seemed modern and fresh. The takeaway: I didn’t expect to enjoy this part of the show as much as I did. While not Awesome, way better than a Meh.

Quilters Take Manhattan

The afternoon was less organized than the earlier half of the program. We walked around viewing the quilts that had been made as part of a contest sponsored by Quilt Alliance and Cherrywood Fabrics (have you seen these fabrics? they’re hand-dyed and feel like suede!) and previewing the cottons and voiles in Amy Butler’s new line “Glow”. I had a hand at the City Quilter’s long arm machine – a HandiQuilter HQ Sweet Sixteen — and it was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. I am truly in love with that long arm machine. I think I had a dream about it last night. The takeaway for me: I need a long arm machine ASAP.

Quilters Take Manhattan

There was also an introduction to the Quilt Alliance’s new initiative Quilters’ S.O.S., in which hundreds of quilt-makers are interviewed in a two-minute video which is then transcribed  and uploaded with a photo of the quilt to a digital archive. The intention is to create an oral history surrounding the quilts that we make to have for future reference and research. The takeaway: we should all be doing this. I’m not particularly comfortable with myself on camera, so, You go first. I’ll follow.

(ps – I snapped this photo while Melanie Testa was giving her oral history. Unfortunately she didn’t make it into the picture. She hand-dyed all or most of those fabrics. Amazing, right??)

Quilters Take Manhattan

A few quilters then participated in a speed-quilt building contest, during which the raffle winners were announced. The takeaway: Speed Contest – Meh. I didn’t really see the point. Although Mark Lipinski’s emcee-ing of the event was Awesome.

Quilters Take Manhattan

My Conclusion: we only attended the main event at F.I.T. — though there were many add on events throughout the weekend that we could have enjoyed – if I didn’t have a house full of kids to get back to! There was a cocktail party at Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s loft (how cool is that?), tours of the fabric district with Mark Lipinski, and workshops at the City Quilter. I don’t know if the event is quite where it needs to be that I would recommend traveling from afar to attend, but it is only in its fourth year of existence, and from what I have heard, it’s getting better every year. I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out, and in a few more years, I’m sure it will be a hot ticket to get!

WIP Wednesday: the feel-good edition.

LIMOD Sampler

It’s been a productive week around here! I have a completed sampler quilt top (finally) and I’ve completed this month’s bee blocks for do. Good Stitches. I’m feeling good about what’s been accomplished and I’m feeling good just in general that stuff has been accomplished! Sometimes, that in and of itself, is enough.

The two older boys have been causing some mischief at school — expected for my middle guy —  a surprise from my rule-abiding biggest guy. So, this week, we’ve been having a lot of discussions with them about making good (a.k.a. better) choices. I know it’s not something they will learn overnight.  It’s a lifelong process that I still practice every day — and I’m way older than they are!

September do. Good Stitches

Confession: Sometimes at the end of the night it’s just easier to sit on the couch and watch crappy tv with a glass of wine than it is to start thinking about quilt math.  Sometimes the easy choice is to do nothing, even when I’m excited about a project, because I let my tiredness serve as an excuse.  But deep down, I know when I accomplish something (like bee blocks that I know will go to a quilt for someone who really needs it) I feel really proud. And it’s a sense of pride in myself that doesn’t come often as a stay-at-home mom. I constantly feel pride for the things my boys accomplish, but so rarely for things I accomplish myself!

LIMOD Sampler (one more time!)

So, while I’m really pleased with my projects that I’m sharing with you today, I’m also feeling good about having something to share. And I feel good about being a part of a community where we all have something to share. So I’m just taking this opportunity to say Cheers to all of us! For making, and in doing so, making good choices!

Happy Wednesday, folks!

 

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts.

around the world blog hop!

LIMOD Sampler test layout

I’ve been tagged! You’ve probably seen quite a few bloggers participating in the Around the World Blog Hop over the past few weeks, and this week it’s my turn! I was tagged by Michelle, who can be found at her blog From Bolt to Beauty. She’s a new blogger, like myself, and (in comparison to me) has already completed about a year’s worth of quilts and projects! She’s been a huge support and and inspiration as I’ve started writing about my own sewing endeavors, and I hope you check out her site and some of her work!

So now, let’s get started!

1. What am I working on?

Well, there are quite a few WIPs in my dining room right now. It’s probably easier for me to remember if I make a list:

  • LIMOD Sampler: My main focus this week is my sampler quilt that I am making as part of a block-of-the-month with my local guild.  I decided to add quite a few blocks to the original blocks, and I’m just about ready to sew the quilt top together.

LIMOD sampler quilt blocks

  • Then there’s my Diamonds in the Deep quilt top that needs a finish. I’m in talks with an awesome long-arm quilter and getting ready to make the quilt back this week. I’m really excited to see how this quilt looks when it’s all quilted and bound!Diamonds in the Deep
  • my monthly bee blocks for do. Good Stitches (these were my first and still my favorite!);

HOPE at do.goodstitches - March

  • Gypsy Wife quilt – still very much a work in progress, as I haven’t even started any of the filler blocks yet!

Gypsy Wife Blocks

Sometimes the amount of unfinished projects give me angst, and I need to take a step back and remind myself that this is a hobby! That I love! And it shouldn’t be stressing me out!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Carnelian & Iron Quilt (front)Hmmm. That’s a tough one! I think I am still figuring myself out. I know that I lean toward a modern aesthetic, but I don’t think I would qualify myself as a completely modern quilter. I definitely identify myself more with that movement when I select my fabrics — but I still find myself drawn to traditional blocks and patterns. I do like to dabble in improv quilting on my quilt backs, but I have yet to make a strictly improv quilt top. . . maybe I should add that to my list of things to do once my current list of WIPs gets under control! One thing I always try to do is put a personal twist on whatever it is I am doing. So if it’s a pattern, I’ll try to change things up a bit, just so that my work is unique to me!

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Here’s the back story on me: in a previous life, before becoming a mommy to my three beautiful boys, I was an attorney. And I was a pretty unhappy one. One of the biggest “jokes” I would make in law school was that the books had no pictures! And, while I was kidding. . . I sort of wasn’t. There was no color. No art. Nothing inspiring — to me. I know lots of really great attorneys who find legal work challenging, creative, and inspiring. But I didn’t. So, when I began quilting after my kids were born, I felt like I had finally found the color that I had been longing for. I’d felt like a part of my soul was unfulfilled for so long, and immediately quilting made me feel like a kid again! Plus, quilting requires accuracy, which I find challenging, and the end result is functional, which I also find appealing. And why do I document my projects here? Because I’m looking to make some friends that share the same interests that I have  – and learn from them, too. Simple as that!

Dresden Plate quilt 2012

Dresden Plate Quilt (2 yrs later)

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Usually I wait until my project is complete (and I have photographs that I really would like to share), before I start writing a post. I find it hard to write about something unless I am visually inspired (see law career above). I have three kids, so it’s very rare that I write everything all in one sitting. Usually I write a few sentences, get interrupted, and come back an hour (or ten) later. Then I take a break and reread with fresh eyes to make sure I’m presenting (mostly!) coherent thoughts.

So who’s up next? Wellllllllllll. . .

I’m tagging Kirsty at Bonjour Quilts. She’s a very funny Aussie who is a mommy of four, a pattern designer, and a quilter with a great eye for color. I’ve pointed you her way before, and I’m excited to do it again and hear her thoughts on the above questions.

I’m also tagging Afton at Quilting Mod. I met Afton through the Hope circle of do.Good Stitches. She’s also really funny and uses an interesting mix of fabrics that really catch my eye. Have you seen her Focal Star Block? I absolutely love it, and she has so many other patterns and tutorials that are worth taking a look at!

If you’ve stayed all the way through to read all of this about me, then thank you! I’m linking up with Stitch By Stitch’s, Anything Goes Monday.

WIP: the LIMOD sampler quilt.

Six inch blocks

You may remember from a while ago, that my local guild (LIMOD) had a sampler quilt block of the month. Well, at the last meeting (back in May), we all agreed to bring our finished quilts to the next meeting (scheduled for September 16th). You also might remember I made finishing this quilt a third quarter goal in the 2014 finish along.

So, um, yeah. In other words, I’d better get movin’!

So I came up with a plan:

the plan

I’d make a variety of different sized blocks, in addition to the 12 inch blocks we finished for the guild, to make the quilt feel unique to me.

I completed an 18 inch Wheel of Fortune block,

Wheel of Fortune Block

a 24 inch Figgy Pudding block (it’s the big one on the bottom right),

First time seeing all of the blocks together

and the six-inch blocks in the top photo (six so far). My plan was to make 19 of the six-inch blocks, and have them fill the gaps in the above layout. But, things started looking a little too busy. And then I found another block I had made for the guild that I wanted to include, too, which means I need to re-evaluate my plan.

As of now, I’m thinking of adding more negative space in the form of whites and some of the low-volume Carolyn Friedlander Botanics — but, that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I think it will require a little more playing around with the layout before I am exactly sure where I am going. Truly a work. in. progress.

What are you working on today? Any deadlines looming that have you sweating?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts.

diamonds in the deep!

Diamonds in the DeepThe day is here! I’ve been so excited to share my completed Diamonds in the Deep quilt top with you, and the day is finally here!

Diamonds in the Deep

I was honored to test this pattern in the queen-size for Kirsty over at Bonjour Quilts!! It was my first time testing a pattern, as well as  my first time making a queen-sized quilt top, and I have to say, I feel so proud of the final result!

Diamonds in the DeepThis pattern is seriously well-written! I mean, this queen-sized quilt has over a thousand pieces (is it possible that it’s over a million???), and it still came together in a snap!

Diamonds in the DeepDon’t get me wrong, it was a queen-sized quilt, so I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good deal of work — but it never felt like work, because Kirsty’s directions were so clear and the diagrams were so informative.  I never had to spend time “figuring things out” like I’ve had to do on some tutorials or patterns in the past. That’s one of the reasons I was excited to take on this challenge, because I had made one of Kirsty’s patterns before, and it too, was precise and easy to follow.

Diamonds in the DeepSo, I hope you love my tangerine take on Kirsty’s pattern as much as I do! If you are interested in making one, too, you can purchase the pattern here. And be sure to take a look at some of the interpretations the other testers have had! It’s been so much fun to see the different spins we all put on the same original design!

Linking up this week with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, Lets Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

arkansas traveler.

Arkansas TravelerWell, first, just a big old hello! I had to dust off the old sewing machine, and give her a nice oiling before I could even get started on this month’s do. Good Stitches blocks. I procrastinated big time. I knew these blocks, using Lee’s tutorial, were going to challenge me in lots of ways. And I knew I would struggle. And it’s summer. . . who wants to struggle? So, wait, I did. Until they could be put off no more!

Arkansas Traveler

These blocks involved two things I had never done before:

1) 60 degree diamonds. Up until this point I had a dog-ear allergy. But thanks to Lee’s well-written tutorial, and lots of patience (and air conditioning for my profuse sweating), I managed to sew the diamonds together with points in-tact and me high-fiving a million angels.

Arkansas Traveler

2) paper piecing. Yup. I am a novice paper-piecer. I messed up. I picked stitches that were as tiny as an ant’s elbow. But I pushed through and ended with only one major glitch. I’m sure you can find it if you study the pic below. But I had no clue how to fix it by the time I discovered it, and so I say, Namaste.

Arkansas Traveler

And there you have it folks! Just like that, I’m back! Didja miss me??? I missed you, too! Mwah! I’ll be back again mid-week with pictures to share of my finished Diamonds in the Deep quilt top! Stay tuned! Woo hoo!

thinking about – but not actually – sewing.

scrappy improv flower

In my mind, I am sewing. In reality, I am not. It has been a busy few weeks in our household, full of good things – birthdays, gatherings with friends, dinners out, another birthday (which happens to fall on our anniversary) coming up this weekend, and then a vacation. So, I’m sorry to say that while sewing has not been happening – it is not about to start up again any time soon.

In the meantime, while my dining room has been packed up from its studio-state and serving its original purpose as an actual place to eat, we have decided to split functions on the guest bedroom and make that my new home — once we have the chance. There’s an electrician involved so that I can actually have some overhead light to see what I’m doing, and an IKEA desk that arrived last Friday sans hardware. So progress has been slow. A few steps forward followed by a few steps back.

I’m also doing a lot of thinking about my Diamonds in the Deep quilt.  Of concern: what fabric to use on the back; who I should use for long arm services; and whether or not it’s worth trying to enter it for QuiltCon. So, as you see, there has been much sewing on the brain and in fantasy-land. Just not here on earth.

Last but not least, above is a picture of my latest block for do. Good Stitches. It’s an improv flower based loosely on this tutorial, but also using the methods I practiced in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play class. It’s fun. It’s easy. And a great scrap-buster!

Okay, party people. It’s time for me to referee a backyard game of something-or-other gone awry, so I will leave you until we meet again — hopefully in a new “studio”, with some new projects to share, and a much more committed schedule of communication. Until then, I hope you are having a great summer and I’ll talk to ya soon! xo