Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Interesting intersections

February is Kari's month in Bee Sewcial and she has given us all a "posterly" Pinterest  inspiration for this month. Kari is a graphic designer and a friend and you should go see some of her ideas on her pinterest board.  You definitely should follow her on IG as she won 2 ribbons at QuiltCon for her amazing quilts. Her blog post and pinterest board set off a series sparks that lead me on a delightful creative burst. All blocks 11 x 17. All blocks made from Kona solid scraps from my personal "collection".

 Block #1

Block #2
a little bit of aqua background
Block 3#
remind you of anything????

Block #4
Last block- this was the one Kari chose
I don't normally make 4 blocks, but in the continuing spirit of using scraps, I ket going because it was also fun. Took 4 tries to get the one that appealed to Kari. I loved all the rich warm colors as well. This is going to be a beautiful quilt with some interesting intersections indeed.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

January/ February Blocks and a birthday.

Bee recaps for January (a bit late, not in finishing my blocks, just in sharing them).
Haven at do.good stitches
using this pattern
Aquas and grays

and February.
scrappy low volume, pinks and reds

If I'm keeping it real, I whined (to myself and maybe a little on IG) about the 81- 2.5" blocks that had to be cut for this months block. All scrappy (which in my case means rooting through my scrap bin, again). BUT, I did plow through and this block (is large) became one of my favorites so far. Heartfelt and seasonal and pretty. I cannot wait to see this quilt done. I mentioned to a bee mate that with some of the text print, it reminds me of love letters. Check out all those gorgeous blocks here.

And birthdays (Birthday Bandy)
January for Myra 
Sticking to 2015 sew my stash resolution I opted for some improv piecing (surprise) using colorful 100% cotton scraps and surrounding it with Kona snow. Added some of my inset seams in black. (For scale the inset seams are just over 1/8th of an inch wide). Cap it all off with color matched free motion and matchstick quilting using both Aurifil 100% cotton, 50 wt and Superior Metallic threads for a bit of sparkle.
pillow front
pillow back with hidden hot pink zipper
Zipper from zipit.
Some FMQ with matching Aurifil and Superior metallic threads

matching matchstick quilting and a inset seam
inset seam with right around 1/8th of an inch

front and back (Back/ binding fabric by IKEA)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Keeping it real, part the first.

I made a few new years quilting resolutions which I will briefly recap
1. two quilts made from stash only (tops from scraps only), back from stash
2. Submit quilt to Marsala Pantone Quilt challenge
3. Surrender quilt top and back to a long arm quilter

All doable for sure.

My progress so far has surprised me. Happily I might add. I guess I didn't contemplate seriously my scrap bins until now. So here goes- when you make as many quilts as I did in 2014, you accumulate scraps. Especially when you are quilting from inside your head. I save what I think might be usable pieces and I have scrap bins for prints and solids. Since I quilt with both I have a healthy supply of both. BUT could I actually make a quilt with scraps from just my scrap bin?
The answer is yes!
The "Before" working scrap pile. I found a few more solids gray when I cleaned out my scrap bins further. I had already started  piecing (I had a 12 x 20 inch piece going)  when I remembered to take a photo, but I wanted to show my starting point regardless. (One of my last years "resolutions" was to document more, so I'm documenting). Note:  What looks whites are actually very pale grays.
 I did several quilts last year that prominently featured gray. In many shades (perhaps even 50). I got them all out and realized that most were from quilts that used various widths of cut straight of grain strips. And some squares.  I got started by sewing the longer strips together in 2's. Usually in contrasting grays. I didn't have that many longer strips so that lasted for a little bit. Then sewing the shorter pieces together, also in pairs. Until they were done. Then cobbled as many grays together as I could in the improv piecing spirit of the project. I was also lucky to be in the midst of a great, creative Bee called Bee Sewcial, and one of my bee mates (thanks Hillary) sent loads of scraps along with her bee blocks. In that pile of lovelies was several long thin strips of yellow. I used a wee bit of that too!
working in grays and a bit of yellow. (The Bee Sewcial blocks sneak peek on the right)
The gray pile dwindles (not yet vanished/ vanquished) but what I have is not yet big enough for a quilt. (At this point it's probably 30 x 48 and if you know me even a little, you understand that I  like my quilts to be functional, so unless I was making this for my dog, it hadn't yet reached a size I could call done).
So, last year I also made a few quilts that featured whites, off whites and varieties of near white prominently. So, I dug out those scraps and got to work.

I think if you look closely you can see I had all kinds of solid "whites" .  I know for sure there is Kona white, snow and oyster. There is also a RJR solid "white" from the Cotton & Steel collection (I'm pretty sure that had a much more creative name than white for their fabric, but the name escapes me). Who knows what else.  I began piecing the remainder of the quilt top. Like with the grays, I start using the larger pieces first. I had so many, piece of cake.

Throw in the orphan grays and a pit of yellow and of course the "lifeline" in black. Oh, look how far I got with the big pieces! What! no more big pieces. But there is still more to do.

So, little by little the remainder of the "white" scraps are cobbled together and added to the quilt top.

Until the top is done! All with scraps. Not an additional piece cut. And a very real sense of making do. Improv at improv's roots. Short of trimming the larger areas square, there was very little that remained. Nothing to salvage. No more scraps to use. Scrap bin in gray and white truly vanquished.
I really love how all the seams and the fabric variations on the top make this interesting despite it's rather humble and unimpressive origins. I stopped with a top that measured 64x80" because I really had nothing more to use. That's a size I can live with.

Stay tuned for part 2,  The back, the quilting and the reveal. Remember I have NO scraps left and my backs (for the last several years)  are cobbled from those leftovers. I have had several offers of additional scraps from dear quilting friends but I think I NEED to use what I have on hand and no other. I guess if I make another quilt before I get to the back, I could have some scraps to use, but I'm pretty sure the current color palette for my "next" quilt top is not what I have in mind.

Yet, another challenge and I've picked up the gauntlet.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

All you need is LOVE

Happy Valentine's Day everyone……

"All you need is LOVE"
The details:

56 x 59.5"
Fabric top: LOVE Panel from Wooden Spools, Denver, with the addition of 100% quilting cotton Rendezvous by Moda Kid, Two x Two by Windham Fabrics, High Society by Moda Kids, Nora Mae Gaulden Dots by Jenny Eliza, other fabrics from my stash.
Fabric Back: Tula Pink Laminate Birds and the Bees by FreeSpirit.

Batting: fusible fleece, 100% polyester
Binding: 2" straight-of-grain cut from front fabric remnants.
Quilting: spaced, modified Bernina #4 stitch, on a Bernina 180 with a walking foot
the spaced quilting is seen best here

Things I've never tried before:
1.Laminate fabric in a quilt. It's a great idea for a quilt back and protects the quilt if you picnic surface is a bit damp or perhaps even dirty. Wipes clean, but can also be laundered, gentle cycle.
2.One piece back, first time ever for obvious reasons.
3. 100% poly fusible fleece batting since I had to keep the pin pasting to a minimum and this batting will keep the shrinkage to a minimum after laundering.
4.The binding was attached backwards so I wouldn't have to hand stitch through the laminate which can be difficult.
close up of the laminate fabric on the back. I LOVE this fabric!

All-in-all a really fun, quirky and quick quilt!! (Say that 3x fast!)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Every little bit helps

On my 2015 must do list is a personal commitment to use not only my stash fabrics, but all those scraps from quilt tops and backs of the past. Fabric bits that are too big to toss, but too small to cut into any consistent shape.

Some of the fun things I've attempted so far

Valentine hearts- 2 types

Improv piecing (you get a very different look depending on what kinds of scraps you are working with. I like both looks!
    Chihuly inspired scraps (most of these were in odd shapes of all kinds).


    Black and white (and shades between) scraps (most of these were strip cut scraps of varying widths).



More on the Chihuly and black and white Sew my stash 2015 adventures as these become quilts….

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chihuly check-in, Bee Sewcial January recap/update

Well, January at Bee Sewcial is winding down and we are almost ready for another month and another inspiration. Go here to see some fun photos of all things happening in the month of January on BeeSewcial

Collage of some of the blocks received and scraps received and altered.
And some blocks in progress

And blocks that will become other things…. (like a pillow)
And finally my never ending quest to use scraps and make quilts. I have pledged 2 quilts from ONLY scraps so I'm on my quest.

Having the constraints of random precut scraps is a fun challenge, one I'm looking forward to completing.

Next up,  February and Kari of quiltsforthemaking. Stay tuned  for February #BeeSewcial on Instagram/Flickr.

And Ladies of Bee Sewcial, you have 2 more weeks to finish and mail blocks to me all the while pondering and sewing blocks for Kari!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Last in, first out

"White Out", the last quilt finish of 2014, is the first quilt I'll get to write about in 2015. It was gifted during Christmas so I'm not spoiling any surprises. It is also the 3rd quilt in the derived inspiration series, so here goes…..

"White Out", derived inspiration, No.3
99 x 86"
The Front
My "helpers" were cold but I loved how the sun shines through the quilt in places.
The back lighting makes the "colors" more saturated.
The photo below of the basted quilt is a more realistic representation of the quilt as it would appear on a bed.
Over 40 WOW (white-on-white), cream, and subtle gray fabrics including: Mirror Ball Dot by Michael Miller, Tara Reed for Quilting Treasures, Classical Elements Chevrons, Kona Cottons (Pewter, Iron Gray, Coal Snow White), Lizzy Pearl bracelets by Andover Fabrics, Magnolia by Laura Gunn, Sketch by Timeless Treasures, Fairy Frost by Michael Miller, Cotton & Steel Solid Oyster, Watermark by Studio R, Shimmer by Jennifer Sampou, Cotton & Steel XOXO in Ghost, Tweet Together Medallion, Botanics Lineal Etching Hip Holiday by Josephine Kimberling for Blend, Whisper Prints Squiggle by Robert Kaufman, Botanics Etched Leaves, Cotton & Steel XXXX Netorious, Sun Prints Bike Path by Andover Fabrics, Shades of Black by Moda, STOF Quilters Shadow by Moda, Muslin Mates by Moda, Riley Blake White on White, Zig Zag Chevron White, Tile in Snow Metro Living by Robert Kaufman, Stencil Block, Studio 8 Metro Hexagon by Quilting Treasures, White basics dot by Riley Blake, Gilded Leaf by Benartex, Moda Muslin Mates Scissors, Moda Muslin Mates Polka Dot, Riley Blake chevron basics, Riley Blake blenders, Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House for Andover fabrics, Metro Living Circles Snow by Robert Kaufman. There are also a few additional cotton fabrics whose selvedges I  did not have but they were perfect WOW and I included them as well.
Fabric pull, and this was only a partial selection
all pieced and pinned, ready for quilting

Batting: Dream Orient by Quilters Dream (silk, bamboo, Tencel and cotton). I had never used this quilt batting before and I will say that is sewed beautifully and didn't seem to add any difficulties to the fact that I was using metallic threads.
Threads: Top (Metallics only): Superior threads Slate, Antique Silver and Silver. Marathon Threads, white. Bobbin: Aurifil variegated white/ivory/ gray #4060, 50 wt, 100% cotton. I used 20 bobbins to complete this quilt. I want to say that I had absolutely NO problems using metallic threads on the top and 100% cotton thread in the bobbin. They played very well together.

Tools: Jay Bird Quilts Hex-n-more Triangle ruler
Binding: 2" straight of grain, color pieced to match the quilt.
Quilting: on the diagonal 3/8" straight rows (more or less), with 2 areas of crossed diagonal quilting. Done entirely on my domestic Bernina 180 using a walking foot.

Quilt back: Top remnants, additional fabrics purchased but not used on the top, large areas of Kona coal. I used inset seaming liberally and one tiny pop (Kona Chinese Red) of color chosen by my daughter.
The back- I love how the sun shining through shows off the piecing seams especially at the top

Inspiration: an Athleta reusable shopping bag received December 2013 and currently in use this past season as well. The metallic and sophisticated pattern caught my then 15 year old, now 16 year old fancy and she asked if I could make the design of the bag into a quilt. I collected WOW fabrics for 8 months before embarking on this triangle quilt.

New: I have never quilted an entire quilt in metallic thread. I have used metallics focally and sparing in prior quilts but all of the top thread in this quilt is metallic. I had trouble only once (the white metallic Marathon thread) with the thread twisting and knotting as it came off the spool, but a more circuitous route from spool to machine seemed to get that resolved rather quickly. I also used, and highly recommend if you are contemplating quilting with metallics, the special needles (recommended by the manufacturers). I did not have to adjust my thread tension which is sometimes required. I think that extra glint really makes this quilt sophisticated and gives it a real wintery flair.