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"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Final Layout

This  might be it.  Seeing the layout on a screen will help tweak certain bits. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quilting Tip from "Macbeth"

Today's layout features horizontal color arrangement and staggered columns.  This layout is closest to the layout of the inspiration quilt by the Australian Helen.  But actually I like the first of these layouts with the cluster of colors.  Lucky for me I am busy for the next two days and can't do any sewing.  But when I do get back to this, I think I will need to be "bloody, bold, and resolute" and just pick a layout and do this instead of dithering for days about which one is better.  All these are beautiful, right?  (I think I will try a column of warm neturals and cool neutrals on both sides to make this 66" wide.)  To be continued...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Design Wall Goal

A new design every day.  Here's #2.  I still have a set of blocks to do in warm neutrals.  I think they need to go into this mix.  And today the staggering on the columns is less pronounced.    Do I have this upside down?  Note to self:  Put iPad on ScreenLock and study.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

 A couple of things are in my head. One is one of the projects being taught at Camp Stitchalot in November. Carolyn Friedlander is teaching her Aerial Grove technique. This picture is an illustration of this hand applique technique. I want to honor learning the technique, but I also want to do something that I will like and want in my house. Aerial Grove quilt_Carolyn Friedlander.

I have a couple of panels designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji, and I'm thinking that one panel from these fabrics might be the perfect sized wall hanging.   And perhaps draw from that pile of fabrics for the appliqued parts. 
 And finally - some progress with the ellipitcal Drunkard's Path blocks.  A bundle of Pepper Cory shot cottons, the template from Australia, one retreat, one sew-in day, and now something on the design wall.  A small quilt?  Two small quilts?  I have yet to trim the many greenish blocks, and there's also a set of pumpkin/brown/tans blocks.   Kind of fun to play around with no end goal in mind, so not the way I work.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Cute Bags, finished...

These two Cute Bags (pattern by Wonder Woman) came home from the retreat, unfinished, needing some time with my mechanical machine and a jeans needle.  That final touch,  along with an adjustable strap and a fabulous magnet which secures the deep inner pocket between the identical fronts and backs of these bags, is complete.  The bag on the left is for Eileen - she supplied these Anna Maria Horner fabrics and will use this bag instead of her well-used RunAround.  The black and white bag is for Massage Janet - she has a significant birthday coming up.  I love using my Cute Bag and am thankful Sarah S bought me this pattern!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Runaround Bag

Welcome to the October 15, 2014, installment of Purse Palooza.  Like the previous purse enthusiasts, I'm very happy to be a part of this online purse extravaganza.  While I have made several of Sara's patterns - Aragon, Aeroplane, Arabesque - and love them, the one purse/bag that I have made again and again AND AGAIN is the RunAround by LazyGirl Designs.  This bag thrills girls of all ages, is simple to make, and very practical.  It finishes at 7" x 9".  This pictured bag?
Eileen's Bag

Reverse of Eileen's Bag
I made for my buddy Eileen.  She uses it to "runaround" and it becomes an insert for her bigger purses.  There's a zippered compartment on one side, and a pocket on the other - it's that simple.  Plus a strap that can be used for across-the-body or just knotted to be grabbed.  She's been using this now for over a year.

MATERIALS NEEDED:  Two fat quarters, a zipper, some interfacing like ShapeFlex, and some fusible fleece.    Plus this fabulous pattern.

Because I am a quilter, I always have tons of scraps in my studio.  When I sew these scraps and make new fabric, they turn into some lovely Runarounds.  (Note:  all pictures are in pairs so you can see the front and the back of these clever little purses.)

These purses can be playful and whimsical, like the ones I made for my great nieces.

 Or they can be formal, like these: 

So, you know I can make these RunAround bags.  But so can anyone else.  My neighbor Jo, a high school junior, came over and made this Runaround within two hours.  If you have zipper fear, this clever pattern will help you get over it.  Seriously, the zipper insertion is the simplest I have ever done.  Both Jo and her sister had no difficulty at all with this part of the process. 

Here are some pictures from that afternoon with Jo. 

Jo's fabric palette - she's a musician
Putting pieces on the floor, just to keep track of her project and mine.
Jo and my Husqvarna becoming friends - she had no sewing experience.

A few weeks later Jo returned with her little sister Kate (also a musician), an 8th grader.  And here are the results of that two-hour session:

Smiling at the end of our session!  and both girls are ready to return to the studio

One of the things I have learned from Sara through her SewSweetness blog and patterns is that the more pictures the better.  Here are more pictures of various RunArounds.  What a great pattern!

Batiks and Shot Cottons

Pieced fabric and a funky print 

Marcia Derse fabrics, zippers, and the pattern
And Voila - bags!

Treasured scraps become perfect Runarounds

Making them can become an addiction
This favorite scrap became a RunAround.

Study this last picture because it shows two bags in process.  The two left bags are the finished bags.   I made twins so you could see the components.  The top pictures are the back of the bag, including the pocket.  If you're very clever, you'll figure out a way to put a little pocket on the inside.  The bottom pictures are the zippered component.  This pattern shows you how to very clever layer these components, leaving the zippered part open.  Then you sew all the way around the four sides, making sure you've accounted for the straps, and turn the bag inside out through the zipper.

Good pattern directions.  Clever but easy construction.  Practical results which can be dressed up or down.  I estimate I have made 40 Runarounds so far.  And I don't think I am finished yet. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fun - and progress! - at the Retreat

To be in a lovely space in Racine, so close to Lake Michigan, with amazing women is one of the sweet spots in life. These quilting retreats are so wonderful. I love seeing what others work on and how they work. I love seeing how each of us has a different rhythm, and I love the joys and sorrows that each of us bring to these retreats. And I love the luxury of being able to focus on projects. I began by working on these elliptical drunkard's paths.

But then I switched over to a couple of Cute Bags by Wonder Woman (seriously, that's the name of the pattern). The straps for both bags are made, but I need to finish them on a mechanical machine here in the studio. There are a lot of layers in this bag, and my computerized machine, as fabulous as it is, just doesn't have to power to go through all of them.

The last project I worked on was from leftover bits - 2" x 22" - of the wonderful set of Pepper Cory shot cottons. After making strip sets and taping them to the wall, by Sunday night they were all sewn together. Now I need to press and quilt. ( I think this might be a baby quilt for a new great niece - to be determined by whether my niece actually likes this.)  I'm so thankful for my quilt besties - what a remarkable group of women...what a remarkable weekend.   The nuns at the Siena Center love us and nurture us - that alone is special.

Using the wall at the Siena Center