Friday, February 26, 2021

QuiltCon 2021 - Together, Virtual - and What I'm Learning


QuiltCon Together, 2021, wasn't awful and it wasn't fabulous.  While the social component was missing, the content was awfully good.  And it's an absolute luxury to listen to a lecture/workshop at your own time and own pace while doing something purposeful with your hands!

It was a lot of screen time, and most of it was so well done.  This picture oh Heidi Parkes hows how most of the presentations were done - little dot on the screen with the presenter and big screen for demos and handouts.  

For QuiltCon 2020, which I had to miss (broken wrist), I signed up for the Bojagi workshop.  Sarah Evans went in my stead.  And she showed me what she learned.  But...  So I signed up again for Daisy Aschehaug's Bojagi-style workshop.  Simply, Bojagi is a Korean method of joining 2 fabrics with the seam totally encased.  (note:  this is also referred to a flat felled seam - think seams on blue jeans). Daisy uses this method to make linen napkins and disht towels and for on-the-go sewing.  Above is my sample using some leftover shot cottons.  The lower left shows my attempt at following this method. It relies on whip stitching and some serious folding and clipping.  As I made my way though this first piece, I realized something I already knew:  I do not like whip stitching.  I like running stitches.  So I tried a few pieces using running stitches.  Daisy's stitches are almost invisible.  But I like being able to see big stitches.  And in the interest of getting a sample piece to a point where I could put it away, I tried using the machine.  Again, highly visible stitches.  Daisy also taught us how to do a curved piece.  I think  will use whatever leftover bits I have to continue making this sample piece.  So, here's my takeaway.  Bojagi isn't necessarily for me.  I may use this method if I decide to do a light-weight single layered quilt using peppered shot cottons or OakShot cottons, something with a bit of heft.  I'm glad to have this technique in my repertoire.

As I started listening to my other workshop - Improv Instructional Quilt:  Exploring Art Concepts by Heidi Parkes, I quickly realized this wasn't the quilt I wanted to start or even work on.  But I was happy to listen while working on the above.  Heidi mentioned representation in connection to fabric.  And the lightbulb went on:  I've been saving a bag of bits of fabric that I have loved and I have been wanting to use them in a pattern by Yoshiko Jinzenji, Abstract Pathways.  So while listening to Heidi talk about line and texture and unity and balance, I worked my way through the above.  Unity?  Yes, I have had this project in mind since my first QuiltCon!  There's a lot of negative space which will be perfect for hand-quilting, something I learned in my first QuiltCon workshop with Maura Ambrose, @FolkFibers.  

Here's the big thing I am learning:  modern quilting offers such a variety of techniques and aesthetics.  As I slowly find my own way, I know I don't have to do it all.  I don't have to struggle with things I don't find pleasant, like whip-stitching.  I need to keep looking for new things and then adapt them for my hands and my eyes.  This is a nice stage at which to be!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Falling In and Out and In Love again with Projects


Last spring, when I was recovering from my shattered wrist and accompanying surgeries, I started a simple project using foundation piecing and selvages.  I couldn't be very precise because of limited ability, but I was very happy doing these.  And then I put these 30 blocks away.  I unearthed them and have been deciding what to do with them.  Because they are already Foundation pieced, I wondered if I could just add a backing and not do batting.  And while that's possible, it just doesn't feel right.  

I've been doing a lot of quilting lately and have been using a roll of wool batting.  Suddenly I'm aware of how much leftover batting bits I have.  And how much leftover muslin bits are laying around.  And that I only have one hand-quilting project lined up once I finish my current one.  So...

I pieced together muslin scraps to make 12" squares

"Frankenbatted" my leftover wool batting bits with a simple zig zag 

and basted the three layers together with a zig zag stitch.

Now all 30 blocks are back on the shelf and will need some simple hand-quilting before the blocks are attached to one another, in a quilt-as-you-go fashion,  (see index for reversible quilting).   As I was laying out these blocks, I was struck by how much I like this project.  I mean, really like this project!  I will happily return to it in warmer weather.  

2021 Sew Powerful Purses


Here are my first seven purses for Sew Powerful's 2021 goal.  A guild mate gave me a terrific but odd piece of Marimekko fabric, perfect for straps (each one is 4" x 55" - that's a lot of fabric) and the purse back and fronts.  I have had a couple of odd fabrics that haven't played with anything else in my stash - maybe because I bought them in Kenya - but they love this Marimekko print.  I think these are gorgeous.

My purse rhythm is changing.  Last year I devoted 2 months to doing a purse a day, the last one being December.  So I started off 2021 by mailing in 31 purses in early January.  But these purses above?  Although I did seven of them in 7 days, I only worked at the beginning of the day, getting each one to a certain point.  And then I worked on my other projects.  I kind of like this - sewing for SewPowerful at the beginning of the day and then switching over to my own project.  

So I think I'll do more batch sewing but perhaps not for an entire month.  We'll see...but I must quickly say I am more devoted to Sew Powerful than ever.  What a purposeful way to use my sewing skills.  

Friday, February 5, 2021


I thought February might be a purse a day month, but it’s not - the end of the month will be QuiltCon 2021 - virtually.  But still - QUILTCON!  I have signed up for two classes and a ton of lectures.  Meanwhile I do have 7 purses in process.  Guild mate Ellen gave me a 60” square of an odd ombré-ish fabric which pairs so nicely with two other odd bits I’ve  had in my stash.  There are 7 straps (4” x 60” x 7 straps), 7 purse front, back, and pocket linings. Below you’ll see the flaps for each one of these.  Last night I found 7 lining fabrics and pockets.  So today I can start assembling the purses.

The baby quilt for my doctor is pictured below.  It’s assembled, but now needs batting and backing.  My new rhythm is to work on the set outse goal for the day before going on to my own projects.  So far this is working!

And it’s really cold out. Perfect quilting weather.