Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Square Knot Blocks - More!

If you weren't aware, I have a giant bedroom that doubles as a studio. Creating is inextricable from every day life! This is what my bed looks like when I'm inspired:

A week and 20 or so blocks later, I laid out the 16 square knot blocks I'd made previously and added in the new.

What is the iPod equivalent of "broken record" or "scratched CD"? If I knew, I'd say, "I may sound like a [insert techie saying] but..."

But I LOVE how this quilt is coming together! (Don't I say that for all my creations?) This may end up being my first bed-sized quilt, once I add sashing and borders (solid black for the former, scraps for the latter). Already know how I want to quilt it, too - eventually. I'm in no rush. Other things take precedence, such as...

This is how my roommate found me when she got home from work. YIPPEE! Alas, the photo does not recall the yelps and hollers of joy, but I'm sure you can imagine. Happy splashy Monday, y'all!

Monday, May 28, 2012

May Bee Blocks

May was busier than I could have anticipated - and by "busier", I mean "requiring lots of porch-settin' time". For weeks at a time I could not find it in me to sew. Thankfully, though, things have sifted down a bit, enough to feed my soul with stitches.

Following are blocks from Orange You Glad Bee as well as my first blocks for the Sew Blue Bee I just joined!

For all three blocks, I added bits from my scrap stash. I really enjoyed finding the perfect pieces for these blocks, as well as trying out new techniques (paper-piecing using freezer paper - quoi?)

These bee experiences are stretching me not only as I grow in my art but also in accepting the imperfections and limitations afforded by fabric as a medium. If it were just for me, I might be more lax, but when it's for someone else, I want to do my best, right? So I am learning to be OK when my "best for someone else" doesn't turn out the way I intended - and that whether or not I choose to be OK with it, the reality of the situation is that it IS OK, regardless of my perception.

Isn't that good news? It IS OK and WILL BE OK, even if it doesn't feel like it at the moment. It's a reality that supersedes my perception!

Deep thoughts from quilting, ay? You should hear my garden analogies...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A New Addition

Last week the following sight greeted me as I stepped out my bedroom door:

That's three complete tops and three complete backs, draped all over my living room.

Why, you ask?

Well, because the night before, I'd missed the edge of the side table, and my mug of pomegranate tea spilled all over the stack of tops and backs tucked underneath. (OK, a word of explanation:  wooden crates make very useful side tables when turned on their ends, but those slats can be tricky. I'd tucked my fabric in the crate for easy access and constant reminder to actually baste and quilt them, never expecting this would happen!) Thankfully, once things were dry, I could not detect any pink stains, but the event encouraged me to reconsider how I store my pieces.

Soon I had a new addition coming my way! Behold, the gateway to Narnia!

Well, it is my grandparents' wardrobe, and it is perfect for storing my fabric and quilts. My parents had it in their garage and were waiting for an opportunity to bring it over. The picture explains how perfect it is, so I have nothing more to say on the matter:

My fabric stash is tucked willy-nilly, but the wardrobe is so deep I can easily see what's there and access it. Blue scrap bins are now off the floor (yay!), and quilt tops and other treasures have an honored place. At the bottom are vintage sheets, scraps of odd fabric (burlap, etc.), and chunks of denim awaiting further application.

It feels so sweet to have my grandparents as part of my sewing space, a reminder of their encouragement in my artistic endeavors since childhood. It's also quite refreshing to have a new sense of order to my materials. Creativity seems to come easier when the environment reflects thought and care, wouldn't you say?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - The Generations Quilt

Hi, all! I'm participating in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival via Amy's Creative Side!

Amy's Creative Side

My grandmother* passed before I was born, but she left behind some treasures. A few years ago, when I started quilting, one of my aunts brought me a stack of 15 flyfoot blocks. These were machine pieced by my grandmother, but never set.

This past fall, I suddenly had the urge to put those blocks together and make a quilt for my mother. I bought all the blue solids I could find, looking for just the right one, then made a 16th block. Because my grandmother had used some different blues in her blocks, I decided to continue in her direction by using the other blues for sashing. I attempted to free motion, but it was a thread- and heart-breaking process. I finished with straight lines and self binding.

On my mother's birthday, I surprised her at work. She was so touched, but I promised I wouldn't post pictures of those moments. Through this quilt, I've been able to connect to my grandmother in a way I never had before, and we've both been able to celebrate the wonderful woman that is my mother.

I chose this quilt for my entry into the Festival because my relationship with my mother is truly miraculous. As all mothers and daughters do, we've had our ups and downs, but in the past year especially our relationship has grown and blossomed. We still have room to improve, but I could not have imagined the sweetness we now share. I'm so thankful for her presence in my life, and I'm so happy to be able to give back to this woman who means so much to me. I love you, Momma!

*For those of you who are wondering, my Great-Grandmother Lillian is in my blog's header. Her daughter, Frances, made these blocks.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Quilt Con Challenge Block

Have you heard of Quilt Con? I made the mistake of explaining to a friend, "It's like Comic Con - for quilters!" The subsequent blank stares told me I'd just referenced two genres of geekiness his jock / scanner tech brain did not access. I laughed - and I got excited!

As you may know, there is a block challenge out for the conference, and the Music City Modern Quilters Guild is participating. After a couple of weeks (gasp!) since sitting down to my machine, I decided to attack my block. Thanks to Leah at Burgundy Buttons, a nice stack of fat quarters in Quilt Con colours was delightfully inspiring. I snagged mine from our last Guild meeting, but hopefully she'll stock 'em for the rest of y'all. Bundles consisted of 11 colours of Moda Bella Solids. This is one of my first times working with solids, but what an introduction!

I knew the direction I wanted to take this block. Because of my appreciation for my heritage, I wanted to create a traditional block with my own twist. I chose my Flea Market block (tutorial forthcoming), which seems to be a variation on Weather Vane. Here is the original block, in its original condition, and yes, I did find it at a flea market:

Here is my first go at making my own. This block went into one of the quilts our guild put together for our members who overcame breast cancer. Note all the half-square triangles.

I loved how it turned out - squared and rosy all at once. Having acquired a new approach to flying geese earlier in the year, I decided to try it for the Quilt Con block (process shot below).

Scraps were plentiful once I'd cut the pieces I wanted but they were too pretty to go unphotographed.

The geese were a great choice. Here is the completed block:

Now the only thing left to do is get up the gumption to part with it because, of course, I LOVE how it turned out!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Wrought Iron Quilt

Blessings to you, beloved Anna! I so loved creating a quilt for your wedding. You are worth every moment of thought, every hum of the machine, every hand-wrought detail. May every stitch represent how much I love you, dear friend and partner in adventure, and may this greatest adventure of all be even more grand than you could have asked for or imagined!

Notes on quilting:  this is a quilt of firsts! Firsts include:  hiring a long-armer (good decision!), piecing a quilt label, embroidering AND appliqueing a quilt label, having a modicum of success with binding (yay!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And the Traveling Stash Goes To...

Blogger Cherise said...
I'd love to get this stash! Please put my name down. I love pinwheel blocks! Have a Happy Day! :)

Really, need I say more? Oh, yeah. CONGRATULATIONS! I'll be shipping shortly!