Thursday, November 20, 2014

Things with Straps

This A Cute Bag is for my daughter-in-law Jeannine. She picked the fabrics, and this is perfect for her. I worked on it yesterday, thinking I was getting a head start on the holidays since I have all next week to sew.  John just informed me Thanksgiving is next week.  Who moved up the calendar?

For comparison purposes, here is The Cute Bag next to the TwoZip Hipster. Both have adjustable straps, and both are about 9" x 11". One has a zippered top; the other has a fabulous magnet. Both have nice pocket options. And both patterns are the same in degree of difficulty. It will be hard to choose which one of these to do again.

 At Camp Stitchalot Carolyn Friedlander gave us little charm packs of her new fabric line Doe.  By little I mean 2.5" squares.  One of my guildsters has been waiting for this line to come out and I knew she would want this packet.  But I wanted this packet, too.  So I resorted to some teacher bribery.  I used my packet to make a RunAround Bag for Carolyn.  I had zippers with me and some solids fabrics and let her choose her accent color for her bag.  By Sunday morning I had two sets of these little charm packs.  Holly's is going in the mail today.  And Carolyn was pleased with her RunAround.  Things with straps - so satisfying.

Bonus picture - here's the back of my TwoZip Hipster - just had a throw on an extra pocket in red.  The back of The Cute Bag is exactly the same as the front.  Ever so handy for taking pictures!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Camp Stitchalot - Part 2


Carolyn Friedlander is a young quilter, an architect by trade, whose fabric designs and now new book, are hot hot hot. The way some of my guild members throw around the names of fabric designers scares me a little bit. I just don't pay attention. Until I see something I like. And within the past six months I have become aware of fabrics that are architextural in design. And whose fabrics do you think these were? Yep. Carolyn Friedlander. Then I bought a copy of her book Savor Each Stitch. The past half year has been one in which I have slowed down and experienced the joy of handwork - so her book is timely for me. At Stitchalot Carolyn focused on teaching us a method of hand applique. It was odd to be in a room with 30 quilters and not have any machine whirring away. Needle-turn applique is awkward for me, but I did improve a little over the weekend.  On the strip below, five of those circles are appliqued.

 I'll take these circles to my mom's tomorrow and see how far I get.  Even with a needle threader, it's difficult to thread the applique needle - I may have to use something bigger.  My goal is to inset a strip of circles into the above Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric (look, another designer name!).  Carolyn's use of hand applique and machine quilting is inspiring, and that's the direction I want to head in with this panel.  Carolyn gave us little samples of her new fabric line, Doe.  And I must say there are several fabrics that I like a lot.

The pairing of Carolyn Friedlander and Sherri Lynn Wood as counselors at Camp Stitchalot was very clever.  They are quite different in their approach to quilting, and both have enriched the bag of tricks and techniques that I bring to quilting.  A good good weekend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Curve is Basted

This piece is now 32" x 32" and ready for some hand work.  Some echo quilting in the background and something in the curves.  I like this.  I'm not sure what the orientation should be.  Maybe I'll figure that out as I stitch.  One observation about the process:  there is no economy of fabric.  I took these leftovers and pieced together a little Runaround, which I gave  to Sherri Lynn Wood last night after her lecture to our guild - a little remembrance of her very chilly and successful day in Chicago

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homework from Camp Stitchalot

What a great weekend!  Sarah S, Melissa and I went to Camp Stitchalot with 28 other campers and camp counselors Carolyn Friedlander and Sherri Lynn Wood.  The whole experience was fun AND educational!

We decided to go one day early to have the luxury of extra sewing time and make Two-Zip Hipsters.  All turned out nicely by Friday morning.  Special thanks to Sarah for figuring out the twisted zipper secret.  Then Sarah, Melissa, and I decided we needed to go to Pink Castle Fabrics about 45 minutes away.  Carolyn and Sherri asked if they could go with us.  Um, yeah, well - OKAY!  Later that day Carolyn led us through design choices and her method of applique.  There will be more about Carolyn and this project in a couple of days.  But now?  Gotta focus on Getting My Curve On and Sherri.  She's our Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Speaker tonight, and I promised I would have what I worked on in class in a more advanced state.

Sherri led us all through her approach to improv quilting - guidelines that involve no rulers and working at one's creative edge.  Look at the link above to see her sweeping, bold, and wild use of color and design.  After I made these three wedges, I was done.  I needed to think about what is next with these pieces and how I want to create something that I want to keep in my home.  So I took them home.  Last night I began to play.

I tried overlapping these wedges, like so many in class had done.  but my instincts kept leading me back to keeping these pieces separate. And I also knew I that needed to trim these up and make them more symmetrical. 
Wonder if John has missed this Tupperware lid I keep in the studio...
As I have been blogging, I have had several epiphanies. I think I will stop, take a walk, and come back to this. Let's see if I was paying attention when Sherri was teaching how to sew curves. To be continued...maybe even today!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hand Project Completion

 This project, which measures 72" x 94" and was done by hand, is complete.  I started it (and blogged about this) in April of this year.  Each time I headed to my parents', I had these blocks with me.  Through my dad's hospitalizations, I continued to work on these blocks.  Just as he died, I finished piecing the this top.  And then I decided to quilt this by hand while sitting with my mom.  Each time I got to my mom's I would take out this quilt, show it to her, and tell her that I now sew because she taught me how to.  And each time she smiles and says, "I did?"  My stitches are big and primitive.  I used a No 8 perle cotton.  Some of the stitches are with No 5 perle cotton, which is just too difficult for me to work with. 

The batting is wool.  And the texture of this quilt is wonderfully lofty and airy and warm.  This project has provided me with solace and purpose as I have sat with my parents.  And I love it. 

I'm heading to Camp Stitchalot (***squeel***)in Ann Arbor with Sarah S and Melissa today.  And I am packing this quilt. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jazz Piano

 One of my quilt besties, JLo, suggested this title.  And it works!  This 60" x 68" napping quilt is made from leftovers of the bundle of Pepper Cory shot cottons that I used for the fabulous elliptical Drunkard's Path.  This quilt was begun at the CMQG October 2014 retreat in Racine.  The quilting is simple and primative, with just a hint of color on the back.  I will add this piece into my "Unspoken For" pile. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"City Spokes" is home!

After traveling with the International Quilt Festival for several months, "City Spokes" is home.  John hung it in a space intended for something not quite so tall - the grandchildren and travel tchotskis seem to be blocking the bottom of this piece.  And I'm surprised at how much I like this piece (she modestly says...) in this particular location.

The wall hanging made from t-shirts bought in Nairobi now hangs in the first floor hallway to the bathroom. 

Today was spent quilting this gorgeous piece made from shot cottons.  I was torn between which binding to use.  But just taking these pictures and looking at them has clarified what I need to do.  The sedate grey wins over the multi-colored.   Love love love the fall time change.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whole Lotta Projects Goin' On...

I love this part of quilting - when a quilt is basted together, is a size that I can handle, and the quilting design is within my comfort zone. As I quilt I often think, "You can't be too rich, too thin, or have too many quilting stitches." And when my shoulders get achy and my eyeballs start to bounce, then I go to something different.Here are a couple of purse kits. One is a Cute Bag for my daughter-in-law, and the other is a TwoZipHipster, a pattern new to me.  And then I walk by the Yoshiko Jinzenji panel and add a couple more fabrics that I might want to use at Camp Stitchalot.
My friend Emily was over as I was putting together my big Ellipical Drunkard's Path and commented about what a luxury it is to work on something that is something you just want to do. This quilt marks a bit of a breakthrough. After my dad's death I needed to sew but threw myself into small projects. It's good to get back to big stuff mixed in with little things. And I'm already plotting my NEXT hand project. Thank you, Mimi. And Renate Hiller.

Monday, October 27, 2014

All pieced - and I love it

The final version - all pieced and ready for quilting.  70" x 70"