Wednesday, April 30, 2014

And now for something completely different...

So it's no secret that I've had a little pattern crush on Sara Lawson - her bag/purse patterns appeal to me.  The Dot-Dash-Dot, the Aeroplane, the Aragon - love them all.  I had a chance to meet Sara at a workshop sponsored by my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild and have developed a respect for her.  In addition to her patterns and book (soon to be books), Sara is now doing fabric design.

In preparation for Quilt Market in May, Sara needs some of her bag/purse patterns made out of her new fabrics.  I volunteered to do the Aragon bags, both sizes, out of her new fabrics.  Sara's got a fabric sensibility that doesn't always appeal to my much-older eyes.  But I will admit that I do love her new line of Big City fabrics.  Best of all, they are made by Art Gallery Fabrics, whose motto is "Feel the difference."  And truly you can.  A Kona cotton feels like sandpaper compared to these fabrics! From the elephant fabric to the CTA map, this line is going to popular!

As a thank you, Sara gave me fat quarters of her fabric line and a box of her special Aurifil thread set.  Hmmmm, what to make, what to make...

Friday, April 25, 2014

On Hand Work

 My Chicago Modern Quilt Guild friend Mimi has taught me something valuable - the importance of quilting by hand.  I used to make fun of Mimi when she was dragging the same quilt to guild meetings and plugging away at it.  By hand.  My approach to quilting was "assembly line" piecing followed by some sort of utilitarian quilting.  But then Mimi shared this YouTube clip by Renate Hiller - it's not very long and so worth watching.  As I have spent time sitting with my parents, I have been trying to do hand work.  After piecing this little 14" x 17" improv piece, I have been hand quilting it and am pleased with the texture the quilting has added.  Now that it's almost complete, I need another "hand" something to do while I'm with my parents.  So now I am going to try hand-piecing and so how that goes.  And I'm going to keep it simple - a basic 9-patch in reds, whites, and blues using 3.5" blocks.  So far I have two completed blocks that are 9.5" x 9.5".  My blues are in short supply... Wait, I have tons of greys.  I think I'll switch over to reds, whites, and greys!  Excellent!
Sometimes I love blogging because of the insights I get, like just now! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

For this week...

Now that the madness of Easter baking and entertaining is over, it's time for some studio focus.  This sports jersey quilt, the second one I've done for mom Shari is almost together.  It needs the top row, which unfortunately is a different size from the other rows, so it needs a bit of finessing.  And then the grey and black borders - the school colors of Grand Valley State University in Michigan.  The deadline is June, but I'm seeing my long armers Terri and Frank Karls Sunday, and this project can get a free ride to their studio! 

I'm eager to get started on a wedding quilt.  The color request is for whites, blush, and tan.  Here's a tentative palette, and I'm undecided about including some of the darker and brighter fabrics.  So I will study and ponder a bit more before starting to piece.  I've been wanting to work on a low-volume quilt, and I think this is my opportunity. Meanwhile, this Aeroplane Bag is so close to being complete.

This is the bag based around this lovely zipper.   It needs to have its feet attached, the bottom reinforced, and the lining at the bottom sewn together.  The opening is generous, and so are the two pockets - check them out below! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

In the mood for zippers

The Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels challenge fabric arrived, and I was one of the cutting volunteers.  Bundles of six fabrics - fat eighths - were created, and I took mine home.  Using just these six fabrics and 4 zippers, I did a Sew Together bag.  Just a smidge of fabric was left over. These fabrics are not quite my style, but this little bag is pretty nifty.  Now, to find a worthy recipient...   And scroll down for the final pictures of a Baby Trip Around the World for Olivia, the great granddaughter of Joyce!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Baby Trip and a new Aeroplane

Here's a new Baby Trip Around the World for a client.  And an almost-finished Aeroplane Bag that needs some finessing.  The little pile of Kona cottons is for a high school senior from Riverside-Brookfield who is going to Grand Valley State in Michigan - these cottons will surround his various sports jerseys.  And last, a little zippered clutch out of little leftover Marcia Derse bits for a friend who gave me a package mix of biriyani, which I have made and it was delicious. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Zipper Gift

At our last Chicago Modern Quilt Guild retreat in Racine, buddy Ebony Love gave me a special zipper.  It's purple with black and white teeth.  Wow!  I love it!  What an great reason to make a new Aeroplane Bag.  Sara L has asked if I will do both the larger and smaller Aeroplanes for her in her new line of  Jungle Fabrics for Quilt Market in May.  But I have always had a bit of trouble with the zipper on this bag.  So my goal is to get this bag all ready - black bottom, black-white stripe body, purple handles, grey lining, and two fabulous purple fat quarters (incidentally, from Ebony as well) for the pockets.  When Sara says my two kits are ready, I will drive to her house on the North Side and get a zipper lesson from the master.  Meanwhile, here are the new arrangements on the design wall:
Neutral blocks - I love this

Higher volume (and I don't like this as well...)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Process Post

Do you know about the "Process Pledge"?   Modern Quilt Blogger rOssie Hutchinson started a movement four years ago insisting that the process of quilting was just as important to blogging as the finished projects are.  I love rOssie's sensibility.  (Next fall I am going to Camp Stitchalot and rOssie is one of the hostesses - can't wait to meet her...)  So today's post is a process post.  There are now a total of 80  6" blocks - this is quite different from yesterday's post.  To make a 60" x 72" napping quilt I need 40 more blocks.  Here are my observations about what's on my design wall:

  • I think I might have two separate quilts going on here.  I love the dark blocks, and I love the light blocks but...
  • I like the little pops of color, but the two big color blocks dominate - I think I want to get rid of them
  • My favorite blocks are the ones without color.  Perhaps those should be the ones I pull.
  • The layout is pretty obvious.  I hope random is a direction I can head in.   
  • There are a couple of blocks that I love which I want to take out of this quilt and work into a different quilt.
  • I love having a design wall.  And time to play. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ah, the irony...

I fall in love with a fabric, and then I don't want to use it.  Because I love it.  And once it's gone, it's gone.  This is especially true of the line of Marcia Derse fabrics I'm so crazy about.  The red/grey/black/white Asian-ish fabrics are gone - no where to be found.  The Riverwoods Collection by the Troy Corporation is no longer being printed.  I do however have a Marcia Derse supplier on eBay - seller 22563.  Tracy sells these fabrics for $7.50/yard, and she is generous and meticulous with shipping.  So the real irony?  I have a lot of these fabrics, and I still don't want to use them.  My solution?  Cut small amounts from all fabrics and play with them.  Here's the top half of what I think will be a napping quilt.  How wonderful to have these 6.5" blocks on the design wall so I can walk by and make changes at a whim.

The additional irony of the day was losing the evergreen tree outside the studio.  I loved the birds in that three - they were chirping and living less than 6 feet from the studio windows.  But this tree did block the view completely.  As much as I loved the treehouse effect of the studio, I must admit that I love the clear view of the backyard.  Can't believe I feel so good about the loss of this tree...