Monday, March 30, 2015

Tweaking What's On the Wall

It's so hard to be random.  The 120 blocks have been sewed into pairs, so I still have the ability to tweak and move around a bit.  I have taken various bits of advice and have left both the light light blocks and the dark dark blocks in.  And I have tried to scatter them both about.  My goal is to get this together and off the wall before I leave.  Neighbor/artist/friend/quilting protege Cristina will be using the studio and the design wall while I'm out of town.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Studying the Design Wall

Gotta decide whether to get rid of the light blocks and some of the dark dark one.  Or whether I like the combination of the lights and darks with this fabulous feature fabric.  This picture will help.  A lot.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Burning a Hole in My Pocket

You know how money burns a hole in pockets?  So does fabric.  Sarah S gave me this piece from the Chicopee collection - the only fabric from the whole collection that I liked.  (When we were cutting the fabric for Holly's quilt, I had to have Eileen come over and deal with all the color.)  I have some new invisible magnets that I wanted to work into a new Cute Bag by Wonder Woman, and there was just a bit of a Yoshiko Jenzenji fabric sitting right next to that fabulous red.  My machines already had grey thread in them.  So seriously, what was I to do?  And this is all in the name of  trial and error.  My first Cute Bag did not have magnets on the side curved pockets.  I have used this bag all winter, and it has been just fine.  Now, I get to see whether these side pockets truly do need magnets.  Of course it needs the one at the top of the bag.  I'd show it to you, but it is invisible.  Since this bag pretty much matches what I finished last Sunday, it too will be going to New Zealand.   

I love this bag, mostly because it's so easy to put keys and phone in it.  

My shelf of Marcia Derse fabrics have been making some noise.  So yesterday I touched them.  And looked at some of the designs I am thinking about doing.  But a UFO  bag of blocks leapt into my hands and suddenly it was on the design wall. Here it is when I originally had it on the wall.  After looking at my inspiration photo, I have removed some of the darker blocks and am trying to lighten this up.  Each block is a 6.5" square.  I'd like to make this 60" x 72" and think it will be my next hand project.  I just ordered some Art Gallery fabrics for the back of this quilt.  This kind of project will be perfect for working in little segments of time.  After all, it is time to make the lamb cakes!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A New Bag...Just Because

When I have so many lovely bags,

why would I need another? 
one that has an interior flap pocket AND a zippered pocket

with a nice sturdy false bottom? And the answer?  Just because...
As I was making the Petrillo Bag above, guildster Sarah S gave me this piece of fabric that I've been coveting ever since we did Holly H's quilt.  Had I seen this fabric first, this might have been the above bag.  Hmm, maybe I should make another...
I have new projects to start.  But first a cleaning and organizing...

Much better

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring in the Studio!

Suddenly the snow is gone, and there's increasing sunlight daily.   Daily walks and an increase in Vitamin D.  My David Crosby playlist has just been hitting the spot.  This is a good time of year, and I am experiencing deep peace. Favorite client Grandma Roberta just had this quilt made.  She's the one who loves to design quilts, shop for fabrics, and make a quilt kit.  The one thing she doesn't want to do is sew.  This went together beautifully, and it is ready for years and years of use.  

The two hockey-esque quilts for the fathers of my great-nieces are ready for longarm quilting.  And then I will decide how to arrange the four feathers for each quilt.  Should I go symmetrical?  Should they be up?  down?  Luckily I have time to decide.  My goal is to get these done and delivered before the NHL playoffs.

  I'm all set for tomorrow's purse/bag sew-in with 10 of my guildsters.  Our common geekiness includes talking at great length about the length of purse straps, strap sturdiness, various interfacings, magnetic closures, zippered pockets, pockets wth flaps, the size of pockets, the number of pockets - you get the idea.  I have kitted a Petrillo Bag by Sara Lawson and plan on taking this bag to New Zealand in two weeks.  I did some of the fiddly bits yesterday and cannot wait to see this come together.  One of the things on my "to do" list involves fabric manipulation.  This bag has a flap with fabrics that's been gathered/pleated.  But then I remember that I had this:

So I have gone rogue from Sara's pattern and am using this products.  I think it will work.  To be determined... 

 For the rest of today, while listening to the Moth Radio Hour on PRX, I am going to pick up and organize fabrics and put on a new ironing board cover and make order out of disorder.  My dentist and his wife are coming to the studio Monday - something about a quilt using her wedding dress.  I will try to hide from them how disorganized and sloppy and I can be...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Studio Day - in pictures

There are two quilts here - more details will come later.  Chicago Stars and Feathers for the Hawks.  

These Marcia Derse fabrics are calling.  Loudly.        
Trying to decide on fabrics for a new bag.  This pile changes every time I walk by.  

A pile of peppered shot cottons and my elongated drunkard's path template. 
And - of course - the design wall....

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

QuiltCon 2015

You can't go home again.  Or can you?  QuiltCon 2013 was so excellent, and QuiltCon 2015 was just as wonderful.  Truly, both times in Austin are as close to what I can imagine heaven to be like.  There were fellow guildsters at every turn in the convention center, lectures that stimulated and provoked, workshops that expanded my bag of tricks, quilts that I admired (including a dozen by the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild members), and some excellent food and sightseeing.  I learned sashiko techniques from Maura Ambrose, a log cabin 3-D pillow technique using a variety of fabrics from Yoshiko Jinzenji, and a quilting technique using "fashion fabrics", also from Yoshiko.  The one fabric I bought was a panel of a Yoshiko print, dots on the top and stripes on the bottom.  It will join the other two black-and-white panels of Yoshiko fabrics in my stash. 

Can you get a sense of this technique from these two panels of a quilt of hers?  A shiny fabric underneath (think prom dress fabric), a sheer nylon overlap on top, and interesting bits sandwiched in between.  The result is something that is surprising soft and luxuriously looking. 

Here's what I did in class - it's a start and a great intro to her technique.  This project is featured in one of her books that I already had - Quilting:  Line and Color.  (Yikes  I just noticed the price of this book!!!  Glad I bought mine years ago...)  She has used this technique in quilting as in the two photos above and also purses.  See below for an example.  I think you can see where this panel at the side is headed.  A lining?  some straps?  Voila!

Here are a couple of pictures to end this little QuiltCon 2015 summary.  I am eager to go to the next guild meeting and hear what my fellow QuiltConners learned and observed.  So much fun.  So interesting!
 SherriLynn Wood of using the little Runaround for her button collection.  I made this  from leftovers of my Improv piece class at Camp Stitchalot with her.  

One afternoon I literally ran into Mary P, the first president of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, who now lives in Austin and has a second little girl. 
Working on the Sashiko piece started in Maura's class.  The best part?  Learning how to make and use a template for the Baptist Fan quilting design.
My new Yoshiko panel joining an existing one on my design wall. 
Final thought about QuiltCon:  one of the most powerful exhibits was in the Main Lecture hall.  It was all the charity quilts made by the various modern quilt guilds.  Such imaginative, inventive, and beautiful .  Below is the Chicago guild's quilt.  I love the collaborative and generous nature of quilters.  (I am purposely leaving out detailed description of all the food we ate and touring the LBJ library, which was fabulous)  (Melissa, best roommate ever).  Last:  here's a link to all the quilts at QuiltCon 2015 from the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild

Monday, March 2, 2015

Back from QuiltCon, but First...

Last February I made a bed topper from a wedding dress - my dental hygienist commissioned this piece for her daughter Kristin.  Kristin loved this piece, and she asked for a similar project out of her bridesmaid dress for the bride.  The bride had a baby shower yesterday, and Kristin was able to give her this 60" x 60" bed topper.  The quilt blocks are the Friendship Star design - perfect for this project.  So are all the sparkly fabrics.  The back of the quilt actually shimmers.  What a thoughtful and lovely gift.

Interested in how this all came together?  Here are a series of process pictures:
There's actually 3 layers with these blocks because the dress was made from a sheer overlay on a shiny polyester.

These two test blocks turned out fine.  Luckily I ran into someone who suggested cutting bigger pieces and then trimming down.  Good idea.  See picture below.
Look at the double layer of the royal blue

The trimming process

Trimmed blocks ready for putting together.

And lots and lots of quilting.  

One of my QuiltCon purchases is this wrist pincushion.  So handy.  I have a zillion pincushions but they are never where I need them.  Now?  I have one wherever I am!
The other project I wanted to do right away was this Hazel Hipster.   Patty chose these fabrics - what a happy spring bag.  It is 10" x 12".  I made this bag a few weeks ago and made a small modification by boxing the bag and the lining just a little.  I think it's a great improvement.  Stay tuned tomorrow for all the QuiltCon talk and more than you will ever want to know about Yoshiko Jinzenji!