Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Trolling for Purse Makers


I'm stepping out of my safe zone, big time. It's so easy to stay in my studio and make purses. But now it's time to step it up. I did that last fall when I spoke to the Women's Group in Palos about Sew Powerful. Now? I'm going to the International Quilt Festival at Rosemont to help set up and man the Sew Powerful booth. The purpose? To find and encourage others to make purses.These six purses are the most special ones I've made, knowing that they will be handled and touched. I think it will be fun to meet Jason and Cinnamon Miles, the brains behind Sew Powerful.  And I'm excited about meeting some other purse makers whom I have "met" on Facebook.  Along with these six purses I have 24 more.  These purses, along with purses from some makers in Indiana, will be used to decorate the Sew Powerful booth as we "troll for pursemakers" and tell the Sew Powerful story.
I wouldn't let myself work on a new tote until I finished the purses above. The new tote is the Noodlehead Super Tote (upper left bag). Notice I have a full set of "luggage" made from a fabric crush - it's from the Hello Bear collection by Bonnie Christine, Art Gallery Fabrics.The bottom left bag is my travel bag.  The bottom right is my daily purse.  And the upper right?  All I know is that I like it.  But like the shot cottons I mentioned earler, I am almost at the end of this fabric and finally ready to let it go. 
The wonder of the Internet is that I have some Canadian friends. One of them tipped me off to a block-a-week quiltalong hosted by the Canadian Quilters Association https://canadianquilter.com/quilt-canada-2019/.  Here's what I've made so far. These blocks are 6.5" each, and there will be 52 at the end. I have been using the closest scraps at hand.  No surprise that these scraps have no color.  It's a pleasant change from the purses.

 I finished my polar vortex quilt - these peppered shot cottons and a wool batting were wonderful to sit under and quilt.  The quilting represents 8 weeks of winter evenings.  And now it's waiting for its owner - whoever it may be - to claim it.

I'm taking a break from sewing although I have a lot more to say about current and future projects.  My studio has a closet that needs sorting and organizing.  That's my task for the rest of this month.  But April?  Look out!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Flurry of Spring Activity

These rainbow flaps on 6 purses for Sew Powerful are so dynamic!  Great way to start off March

This pile of 24 SewPowerful purses need 24 notes.  Some of them I have written, but I need to put myself on a schedule and do 2 or 3 a day.  Jason and Cinnamon Miles from Sew Powerful will have a booth at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, and I am volunteering each day - March 27 to March 30. (Next to the purses are log cabin blocks...))
This quilt top - for me - is just waiting for the binding to be sewn down.  I'm not sure why I want to do this huge quilt by hand, but I do.  No. 12 thread is perfect for hand-binding.

After working with so much color, I had to find a lovely neutral project.  And I love this one.  The 16 blocks need to be joined and then surrounded by the darker grey. 

These two baby quilts need to be basted and bound.

These two tops need basting, quilting, and binding.

This is my summer hand project.  One of the nine 27" blocks is completed - the remaining 8 need to be marked.

I love these fabrics and am so ready to turn them into a full-size Trip Around the World.

And these 5" blocks on a black background?  Yes, please.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Post QuiltCon2019: So many things...

 My studio floor very seldom has this much color.  On the left are 6 period purses for Sew Powerful  in process.  On the right is a baby Trip Around the World for Project Night Night, my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's charity effort. 
This is a baby quilt in process for the project mentioned above, one which supports women with children who are homeless or in crisis.   I used 2.5" strips - this quilt will be 45" x 60", perhaps for an older child.

This rainbow fabric is from the baby quilt above.  Now it is going to be used in SewPowerful purses.  No matter how much I sew, it is just not enough. 

I saw so many fabulous and inspirational quilts in Nashville.  What to work on next?  These fabrics on the left are ones I want to work with.  It's a luxury to have the time to think while I'm wrapping up purses and baby quilts.

I still want to go through the pictures I took  - perhaps a separate post - at QuiltCon 2019.  
I had to put my hands on my Yoshiko Jenzenji fabrics once I got home from Nashville.  I'm not quite sure why.  Yet...

My new bed quilt is back from Long Armer Sarah Evans.  I can't wait to bind it and start using it. 
So many things...

Monday, February 11, 2019

Quiet winter days

I'm loving the colors and design of this faux-hexie quilt.  It really is all I want to work on.  The row-by-row assembly is the current task.  This project has been my reward for working on another four purses for Sew Powerful.  After doing certain steps with the purses, only then could I work on the above.  Now I can concentrate on just this quilt since I finished these:
At the last Chicago Modern Quilt Guild retreat last fall there was a scrap table.  I usually keep far away since I have so many of my own scraps.  But as I walked by, there was this bit of a wildly-colored fabric.  Seriously, 5" by 20" or so.  I later found out it was from Debi W.  The Sew Powerful nation-wide group I belong to has suggested a challenge of four purses per month.  I'm going to try to 8 a month.  January?  check...  February ...only four more to go.  How about these fabrics?
Of course the striped fabric has to be the front flap!
The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild is participating in Project Night Night.  I spent a fun afternoon with Sarah S at the stash of donated fabrics and made quit kits.  There are 3 Baby Trip Around the World kits and one Fence Rail kit.  I sincerely hope there are guildsters who want to do these.  I like both  patterns and fabrics well enough that I would happily do any of these.  

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sew Powerful

The SewPowerful purse goal for 2018 was 8,000 purses.  Thanks to the leadership of Jason and Cinnamon Miles and a team of sewists from every continent except Antartica, over 8,000 purses for Menstrual Hygiene Education for Lusaka, Zambia were collected!  The goal for 2019 is even greater.
This means two things.  First I am stepping up my purse commitment.  In November I sent in 34 purses.  Members of this purse-making community are suggesting 4 purses a month.  I started out this month with 4 purses so bright I needed sunglasses to make.
  I'm ending the month with 4 more, all made from a layer cake (10" squares of coordinated fabrics).
This morning I received from Sew Powerful a statement of my giving in 2018.  Here's their blog post about their state of financial affairs, and it's a powerful statement.  Sew Powerful is the "perfect storm" of identifying local needs, financing, education, cooperative work, and international sewists that will impact the future.  So the second thing?  I'm upping my monthly financial commitment and will continue to work on purses. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Yoshiko Jinzenji* and Carolyn Friedlander* Walk Into a Bar and Meet Marcia Derse* and Maura Ambrose**

 Several Chicago Modern Quilt Guild buddies and I went to Camp Stitchalot in November 2016.  Carolyn Friedlander, quilter/fabric designer/architect taught a workshop in needle-turn applique.  I brought along some of my favorite fabrics and found some plain open-weave fabric to work on.  Actually I cut the fabric from a panel of Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric.  I am proud of trying needle-turn applique, I'm glad I know what it is, and I also know I will not do it again.  However, I do love these circles.

 After finishing the applique I sewed these panels back into the fabric from which it was cut.  Yoshiko Jinzenji is a Japanese quilter/fabric designer whose aesthetic resonates with me.  The minimalism and whimsey?  Yes, please.  And then some more!  Google her - she does fascinating work.  I was lucky enough to take a workshop with here at QuiltCon 2015.  Read about it here. 
At this same QuiltCon I took a class from Maura Ambrose in sashiko techniques.  And now it's the only kind of quilting I do.  This wall-hanging needed something more, and the circular stitching is perfect, IMHO.
What to back this with? Another favorite fabric - one by Marcia Derse. This fabric has remained one of my all-time favorites.
With this new piece hanging above my sewing machine, I had to find a new home for "CandyLand." It's at the base of the studio stairs. What a cheery piece to see every time I come down the stairs. (and yes, the bottom of the stairs is storage for all kind of stuff...)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Three Projects in Process

By in process I mean the ones that are actually started and not just ones that are in fabric piles on the studio floor - more on those in the next post.  You know I'm a sucker for jelly rolls and layer cakes.  I saw this line Thrive by Natalia and Kathleen and loved the gentle graphics and color.  Against this background of a dark cool grey?  I'm in love.  As I put these shapes and colors together, I kept thinking of how I want to hand-quilt this.  So I made nine 29" blocks.  Each center is a 10" square from the line.  There are 5" squares and 2.5" squares.  Circular quilting?  Yes!  But circles are easier to do in small bits, not as a large quilt.  So I have batted each one of these 9 blocks with wool and an Art Gallery fabric backing.  They are pinned and edges have have been zigzagged.  Voila - my next hand project.  Still looking for an 18" template.  And then I will join these blocks in my reversible fashion. 

Another project in process is this grey-black-white log cabin.  So far there are forty-two 14" blocks.This layout of diagonal furrows pleases me, but these blocks are set aside for a day when I'll try another layout.  It's nice to have all the black and white and grey logs put away for a while.

And the last project I just started this morning.  I have loved working with peppered shot cottons - I started accumulating them 4 years ago.  This morning I was trying to explain to John what these shot cottons are and realized that I have three projects in the living room that are all made from shot cottons - see the end of this post.  The pile is dwindling but still sizeable.  I have been thinking about a Rail Fence design.  You can see below what I have so far.  Each block is 10.5".  It's pretty in-your-face - does it need toning down?  All I know is that I am going to keep making blocks! 

As I worked on the Rail Fence, I realized I have almost enough for a full-size Trip Around the World.  So the strips are cut, just waiting to be sewn.

Here's the thing about these meaty peppered shot cottons - they feel great and have a nice weight.  They are a dream to quilt because their weave is very open and looks good with my primitive sashiko quilting.  I know I want to hand-quilt this Trip.  I'm not sure about the Rail Fence.
This was from a jelly roll of shot cottons. 

This Glam Clam was hand-pieced and hand-quilted.  These curves almost made themselves. 
The quilt that started my love affair with peppered shot cottons. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

First Quilt Finish of 2019

It's a good thing that projects started don't have an expiration date.  This quilt was begun exactly a year ago with leftovers from a quilt I did for Cristina.  Here's the quilt.  And here are the leftovers I started to work with.  You can read about the evolution of this quilt in this June 2018 post.  At this point I put it away with backing fabric. 

After years of asking my mom to do handwork for me - which she enjoyed and I did not - I have finally discovered what she knew all along:  that handwork is purposeful and soothing.  My friend Mimi also had an impact on my hand-quilting.  She taught me the value of it and shared with me this YouTube video - it's only 5 minutes - of Renate Hiller demonstrating the importance of Handwork.   My class in Sashiko with Maura Ambrose at QuiltCon 2014 gave me the basic tools.
My mom died December 22, 2014 - six months after my dad died.  And for those first weeks after her death and memorial service, I quilted.  Now every winter, starting right before Christmas, I have to have a project to quilt.

So here it is - December 22, 2018.  And I need to quilt.  But what?  And then I remembered the box with the leftovers from Cristina's quilt.   I stitched together some pieces of wool batting and pin-basted this quilt.  It's 72" x 72". 
The back of the quilt

This holiday was a quiet one, and John does so much of the preparation.  And me?  I was free to quilt.  So I started this on the 22nd.  I used two balls of No 8 Perle cotton.   It's just been washed.  The wool batting gives an extra texture dimension to quilting.  This quilt is a big, soft hug to one of my favorite people.  There's no one more worthy of a quilt than a quilter, and Cristina began quilting with me when she was a 7th grader.  She's 28 now and especially quilt-worthy.