Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cloudy With a Chance of Lime

Yay! A Q1 Finish Along finish, registered just under the wire. Introducing Cloudy With a Chance of Lime:

Cloudy with a chance of Lime_

I began this quilt in a workshop by my lovely and talented friend Krista (Poppyprint) Hennebury. MQG members might recognize the pattern from the MQG Pattern of the Month series - this is Miss September. My quilt's name is the result of some wonderful suggestions I got on Instagram - Twist of Lime, Citrus Twist....but I wanted to include the grey somehow, and I thought of clouds...and the rest just fell into place.

Cloudy With a Chance of Lime_up

I quilted each area using a matching thread. The green is 40 weight Aurifil 3320, and the grey is Aurifil 2605 in 50 weight. I FMQd some triangleish zigzags and just travelled where I needed to when I got to end of a row. Let's call it a design decision.
Cloudy With a Chance of Lime_quilting

It's not large - only about 29" x 40", but it fits perfectly in our stairwell at home.

I backed it with some old IKEA bird fabric I had floating around, and I faced the quilt rather than using a traditional binding. You can see the facing, which is about 1.5" wide, on the back of the quilt if you look closely.

Cloudy With a Chance of Lime_back

Here's my requisite "up shot" - I will miss the arbours in my townhouse's courtyard when we move. It's the perfect quilt-photography spot.

Cloudy with a Chance of Lime_upward

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Thursday, March 12, 2015

QuiltCon 2015: Connections, Learning and Inspiration

I seem to have so little time for blogging these days, I'm going to just go ahead and cram all of my QuiltCon 2015 stuff into a single, looooong post. So go grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in.

This post's title really sums up my experience in Austin for QuiltCon. To wit:

Connections

It started on my 8 am flight out of Vancouver: I had misremembered my itinerary so I didn't think any VMQG peeps were on my flight. I was really happy to be proven wrong when I got to YVR and got a text from Krista Poppyprint. We met up at the Starbucks, discovered we were on the same flight and then made our way to our gate.

Felicity Quilts and Poppyprint ready to get to QuiltCon!
At the gate, ready to get to Austin already

We were seated only two rows apart and it took exactly zero effort to convince the very tall fellow in the seat next to mine to move to Krista's aisle seat two rows back so we could sit together. Fun!

The rest of the trip was full of similar serendipities and connections. I finally met my longtime bloggy friend Cindy Live a Colorful Life in person for the first time and we spent a lovely dinner together along with some other friends, both old and new for me.
Me and Cindy Live a Colorful Life: finally getting to meet in person!

I also connected with many of my Bee Sewcial bee mates and that was fabulous too.

I really made a point of channeling my extrovert half, which meant I forced myself to be the one to say hello and introduce myself first rather than holding back and waiting til I felt safer, which is my usual M.O. Needless to say, this strategy was extraordinarily successful and was helped along considerably by the brilliant QuiltCon Pin Swap (begun by Vicky (@houseofduke1 on instagram), I believe) .

Pins from the QuiltCon pin swap!
Just a sampling of the buttons I collected

Furthermore, the QuiltCon Lanyard Swap was yet another way to make connections at QuiltCon, as evidenced by my startling the lovely Yvonne while she was on White Glove duty by hoisting my lanyard and yelping, "Hey! You made this for me!"

IMG_20150219_145932

I had met S-J, my lanyard recipient, in Vancouver just ahead of QuiltCon. Speaking of serendipity: S-J, Australian, considers Vancouver her home away from home and had already planned to spend time here before taking the train (!!!) to Austin. So we met up for coffee one Saturday and talked nonstop for the entire hour and a half.

I kept running into her at various points over the event, including at "QuiltComm," what we dubbed the gathering of folks from the Commonwealth who attended QuiltCon.

This is really only scratching the surface of the social smorgasbord that was QuiltCon. I reconnected with old friends I hadn't seen since last QuiltCon, met online friends for the first time in person, hung out with VMQG friends, hung out with new friends....oh my goodness, it was wonderful.

Learning

I took two full day workshops and one half-day, plus a couple of lectures. That was the perfect amount of classroom time (for me).

My first class was with the Quilters of Gee's Bend. Yes, those incredible women. The class was very short on instruction ("Just cut up the fabric and start sewin'!") yet still very inspirational. I used some thrifted jeans and shirts plus some vintage red corduroy from my mother-in-law and got this far in our session:

IMG_20150219_130021
Everything is improved by leopard print (just call me Edith Prickley)

One more strip of denim (I ran out of what I'd brought with me) and I'm calling this done. I will hand quilt it but not sure if it's going to be a cushion or a wallhanging (it'll be about 30" square).

My other class was with Anna Maria Horner, doing her Mod Corsage project. It was a super inspiring and educational class - she really brings her art and design background to her incredibly helpful critiques/feedback. She is also gracious, hilarious and warm. I loved the time I spent in the workshop. This is where my project got during the day, and I've since added some appliqué as well (not pictured):

Mod Corsage in progress
more flowers and stems to come


The class was made all the better for having Denyse Schmidt as one of the learners. When I saw Denyse enter the class, I assumed she'd come to say hi to Anna Maria. But then she put her tote bag down at an empty spot at a workshop table and I was intrigued. She participated in the feedback/critiques as well both as a maker and a designer. Thrilling!

IMG_20150221_163528
Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt discussing Denyse's piece

Inspiration

The Show, people. THE SHOW. Everywhere I looked, there was another feast for my eyes and sensibilities. An entire show featuring modern quilts? Bliss. Here are a very few photos I managed to snap (click through for attributions):
Quilt For Our Bed by Laura Hartrich, QuiltCon 2015 Viewers' Choice Winner
Quilt For Our Bed, quilting detail. Quilt by Laura Hartrich, quilting by Nikki Maroon
Face #1 by Melissa Averinos, QuiltCon 2015 Judges' Choice
Face #1 detail, quilt by Melissa Averinos, QuiltCon 2015

For more photos of QuiltCon 2015 show, the MQG has a roundup of winning quilts here and Sew Mama Sew did a wonderful job of capturing photos of all the quilts.

All in all, my QuiltCon 2015 experience was so perfect that I'm actually hesitant to consider doing another one so soon (QuiltCon West is in February 2016). Need to think on that one for sure.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bee Sewcial March: Transparency

These were fun! This month in the Bee Sewcial bee, Melissa (We Shall Sew) asked us to make her blocks using this palette:

March ~ Melissa

As it turns out, I've got a LOT of those colours in my stash of solids because I loooooove them! The theme this month is Transparency. These are my blocks:

BeeSewcial March Block 1 for Melissa

This one is about 15" square, and Melissa will be trimming it down - that's a cool feature of this bee. A few of the queen bees have asked that we just leave the blocks for them to trim down.

This is the second one, much simpler, and 9.5" unfinished:

BeeSewcial March block 2 for Melissa

Very much looking forward to seeing what Melissa makes with these - check out the other blocks here.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bee Sewcial - February

Well after the improv curves in reds, blues, greens and purples that we made in January, our assignment for February provided quite a study in contrast!

Kari of Craft Happy gave us some wonderful inspiration in her Pinterest board full of bold graphic design, and asked for a palette of hot reds, corals and pinks, with muted mint, aqua and mustard on dove grey, cream, and black.

This is what I ended up making:

Bee Sewcial February for Kari

I'm really happy with it, and I hope Kari is too. Although now that I reread the instructions, I'm worried that I didn't break free of traditional grid, and didn't use one background colour. Hmmm. Must think on this. In any case, I'm loving this bee so far and I was extra delighted to be able to meet some of my bee-mates in real life at QuiltCon this past week!

Once I'm fully "landed," I'll post more about QuiltCon but suffice it to say it was absolutely wonderful. Just the right combination of everything: socializing, eating, shopping, quilt-admiring, pin-trading.... I'm still in a bit of a bubble and not quite all "here." Stay tuned.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Scrappy Maples

This is another non-FAL finish, but a satisfying one nonetheless. I think all finishes are satisfying, actually.

Scrappy Maples

I needed a wee gift for a friend, and for some reason what popped immediately to mind was the many beautiful Modern Maples quilts I've been seeing around using low-volume prints instead of a solid as the background.

Modern Maples quilting

I have a love/hate relationship with HSTs. I hate how long they take to make (and all that trimming - ugh!), but boy do I love how they look when they're done. When they're scrappy, I love them even more.

I was briefly stumped by the quilting, because the HSTs cause a few very bulky seam intersections so my original plan for matchstick (or close) quilting was foiled. I settled on concentric circles using my walking foot because I love the effect. Aurifil 50 wt in soft white was a perfect thread (as usual).

Modern Maples quilted circles

This mini finished at around 18" square - those blocks are 6" finished. The coloured fabrics are entirely from my scrap bins, as are most of the low-volume backgrounds. I have a LOT of scraps.

Modern Maples

I think this block is my favourite because the text print (Suzuko Koseki, I believe) says Vancouver on it and also mentions Stanley Park. With the Eiffel Tower alongside! I find Japanese text prints to be sweetly hilarious.

purple maple

I'll link this finish up with Leanne (shecanquilt) and Nicky (Mrs. Sew and Sow) who are doing a fun scrap-themed linky every month called Scraptastic Tuesday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The One That Got Away - a "just because" project

Do you ever start projects "just because"? Just because a fabric combo was on your cutting table and inspired you to make something with it Right That Moment? Just because you had a design noodling around in your head and a charm pack of Free Spirit solids looking for the perfect project? Just because you just wanted to make something for no other reason than to make something? ME TOO!

Introducing The One That Got Away:

The One That Got Away

I just love this quilt! I think it's whimsical and colourful and playful. As I was putting the coloured bits together, I began with the intention of piecing them into a square, but then I had the idea to amp up the quirkiness by having one piece making its getaway.

The One That Got Away quilted circles

I personally love the combination of bright colours with dark grey so I used Kona Charcoal for the background.

The One That Got Away lookingup

For the quilting, I settled on two sets of concentric circles to highlight both The One and the space it left behind. I chose Aurifil 50 weight thread in a dark grey (2605) that provides a lot of texture and just enough contrast. In some spots the intersecting lines make neat diamond shapes, while in others, the lines are nearly parallel to each other - I quite like the diversity of pattern that was created with the quilted lines.

The One That Got Away quilting closeup

I kept the back simple - Kona Medium Gray.

The One That Got Away back

The finished product is about 39" square.

The One That Got Away and arbour

I'll link up to TGIFF, hosted this week by M-R at Quilt Matters.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bee Sewcial - January



Last year, I was persuaded by Leanne she can quilt to forego my Flickr quilt bee embargo. She was gathering a group of really interesting quilters, and with a couple of exceptions, nearly all of them were unknown to me. I've got a lot of time and respect for Leanne, my schedule was pretty open, and I was kind of excited about expanding my network so I said yes. I'm so glad I did!

January was month 1. Stephanie Spontaneous Threads shared some extremely inspiring photos of the Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens amazing glass creations, and set us loose to work up some improv blocks.

Chihuly Improv Block 1 for Stephanie

Chihuly Improv Block 2 for Stephanie

This month's assignment is a lot different and looks like it will be equally inspiring. This is fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Finish for 2015: Grey Improv Pillow

My first finish for the year and it feels great! for the past couple years, I've made something for my co-worker's ringette team's fundraiser. First it was a quilt, then a pillow and I decided to make a pillow again.
pillow front

I used the Improv under the Influence that Krista featured in her MQG Pattern of the Month "Chess on the Steps," and taught in a recent workshop for the VMQG. I thought the grey could use a little pop of colour, so I added the flanges when I pieced the improv strips together. I'm really happy with how it worked out!

Grey Improv Pillow

I quilted it with Aurifil 40wt in a gorgeous green colour (#3320) using a motif inspired by Christina Cameli's newest book Step by Step Free Motion Quilting. I used my walking foot to quilt the wavy green lines, most of which were quite organic. I made two lines in each section parallel. I then went back and free-motion quilted some pebbles in between them.
Improv Pillow and Flanges

I used more of the green on the pillow back.
Improv Pillow Back

And finally, I added an invisible zipper as the closure (though it's not that invisible).
Invisible Zipper

The pillow cover measures around 16" square and I've stuffed it with an 18" pillow form to make it nice and plump.

This is my first 2015 Finish Along finish as well!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Make It, Take It

You guys, I've got some awesome news. My beautiful, awesome and talented friend the one and only Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint) has written a book. A delightful book. Make It, Take It is about retreats and sewing with friends and it's full of fantastic projects, all of which you're going to want to make immediately. I'm one of the contributors, I'm proud to say.

 Images courtesy Martingale

The book will be available for purchase on February 10th at Martingale before shops and Amazon have received their shipments. Plus, purchases direct from Martingale will include a free digital copy that you can download to your laptop, tablet or phone to bring along on retreat!

Lonestar quilt designed by Lynne Goldsworthy 
Photo from Make It, Take It by Brent Kane, Martingale 2014

More details, photos and a giveaway to come - this is just a teaser! If you're heading to QuiltCon, you'll be happy to know the book is debuting there, and Krista is scheduled to do a couple of signings. Details to come on her blog.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Finish Along Q1 Goals

Another year, another Finish Along! This time, it's being hosted by Adrianne of On the Windy Side. My finish stats were not bad last year - I "registered" a total of 22 projects (though some were repeated from quarter to quarter) and finished 14. A 64% finish rate isn't great but that doesn't count finishes that didn't make it onto the lists. Besides, this is my hobby that's supposed to be fun and relaxing. I refuse to get stressed out by it.

Anyhoo, let's get my 2015 list kicked off, shall we?

1. Pillow using Krista Poppyprint's Improv technique. This is going to be for a fundraiser for my coworker's ringette team. Past projects were another pillow and a quilt.

Improv piecing for pillow

2. Chess on the Steps. This quilt top is done and it now needs basting. The kind of quilting I'm planning really requires spray basting, which I can't do at home, hence the delay.

My version of Chess on the Steps, by Krista Hennebury, all ready for basting.

I used the leftover greys from this quilt to start the pillows. I love me some grey!

3. Jeweled Squares. I made some progress on this during my Loon Lake weekend retreat and it's a long overdue finish, so even though this photo is really old (2011!!), I assure you more has been done:
Jewel Box Squares so far...

And that's it. I have QuiltCon and I'm considering starting a new quilt to enter into the CQA's National Juried Show but I'm trying to be realistic about what I can accomplish between now and the entry deadline of February 4th while maintaining a semblance of sanity and not getting divorced. Wish me luck!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side