Thursday, May 5, 2016

Throwback Thursday - More Experimental Quilting

It's Throwback Thursday over at A Quarter Inch From the Edge!  So fun to see everyone's old work. Today I'm sharing a quilt I made about six or seven years ago (don't rightly remember exactly).  It's another of my experimental pieces - just popped into my head from the universe.  I sketched it and it seemed good...then I had to figure out how to put it together.  (Which is pretty much everything I ever do, I know, I know.)  This one turned out really well, although I think I could do even better if I made it again.  And I might, someday.

With a few changes.  I love the citrus colors and the fabrics, but I wouldn't do the contrasting quilting stitches.  They don't add anything at all.

Also, now I know now how to do a y-seam, so it would be sewn better this time.  I would use a stiffening material to make the corners crisper, too.  

There's a humorous story behind this piece - I actually made it to cover the electric box in the hallway of my house.   But it has these large openings in it - go figure.

Well, at least it sort of camouflages it - I think people notice the wall hanging and not the box, which is more important.  And you can probably tell from the photo that there's not a lot of light in the hallway, either, so it's okay.  But next time I try to use my art to cover something, I think I will design something without holes in it.  (I can't make any promises, however...)

Monday, April 25, 2016

How Simple Turns Complicated (aka Stop with the Ideas Already!)

It's been a while, I know. Can't help it - just have so much going on in real life and so little time to be creative. It cannot be helped, but it does make me rather cranky.  However, hooray!  I did get to sew both days this weekend, which was MUY BUENO!  And did I use that time to finish up any WIP's?  Of course not! 

 I started an entirely new piece!  

It started out as a simple design -dark blue to light blue triangles of different sizes going down the middle with smaller, colored triangles on either side. I actually finished that part in one day.  Here is what it was going to look like.  Not all sewn together, but you can get the general idea from this photo (sorry for the poor quality - I took it at night and the studio just doesn't have enough light - note to self to buy a good lamp.  Oh, I already made that note, just have to actually remember to actually DO it!)

I was going to leave it this way as I liked the simplicity of it, really I was, but then I got another idea. I decided to have ribbons coming out at the same angle as the triangles.  I cut and sewed a few.   

Hmm, not so bueno.  It drew the eye away from the center triangles and it looked like bug antennae, which are fine when one is doing bugs, but not not so great in this case.  After sleeping on it I decided to cut the ribbons out, and just leave the quilt the way I had originally planned.  No problemo.  BUT before I got started on removing them, I got another idea - how about flying geese in all the different blues pointing outward along the edges of the ribbons?  I tried it out and yeah - it really worked - all was muy bueno again!

Of course that meant I spent all day Sunday cutting out and making flying geese.  I had decided to use the method that allows you to make four flying geese at once, so I was super certain that I could whip them out in no time and have that baby complete by the end of Sunday - except silly me cut the squares opposite - the way I did it, the geese were going to be white and the "frames" blue - not at all what I was going for, so I had to recut them all.  (Now I have a lot of blue squares which I'm definitely going to make into HST's for another project, so that's not so horrible.  Although I was rather annoyed at the time, if I must be completely candid - and I suppose I must).  

All this has turned a simple quilt into a much more complicated one, but I suppose that's what I do best - complicate things.  It really works now, I think. Except for that one thing...

Do you see it? WRONG direction!  Argh!  I knew it was time to quit when I did that.

Tomorrow I may have a little time to work in my studio, so I can fix that mistake and continue on my simple turned complicated quilt journey.  At least I like the direction I'm going, but I admit, sometimes I wish I didn't have so many ideas.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Finally, Some WIP's!

It's been a while since I've had time to share, or to blog.  I'm hoping things will be slowing down a little so I can get back to it.  I started this blog not just as an opportunity to share my work, but to explore creativity and other interesting things about life and art, but I've fallen way behind on any kind of deep philosophizing for quite a while.  Today's no exception, either.  But...

I do have two WIP's to share.  One is a flimsy finish which I'm scared to start quilting.  It's a piece that started out as an art quilt and ended up a huge queen-size - yikes!  I really love it but not having a long-arm matchine and being far too cheap to pay someone else to quilt it, I find it a rather frightening prospect to quilt.  

I have no name for it - Boxes, maybe. It's supposed to be sort of an optical illusion.  Don't know if it worked, but I like it anyway.  I was thinking it was pretty original until I realized I had seen very similar blocks elsewhere.  Oh well, as I've said before - at this stage in humanity and with this many billions of people on the planet, it is actually fairly difficult to be completely original.  So let's just say it's original to me and leave it at that. 

I'm going to put it on my bed, I believe.  I like it that much. 

 It will be my summer quilt.  I will make another for the fall/winter.  That way maybe both of them will last longer that way, for the sun is quite brutal here in beautiful Central Texas. ( I also could get some window coverings for the long summer days - it wouldn't kill me, I suppose.  But I live in the country and my husband and I really enjoy looking at nature out our windows.  Still - these big ones are a major b*%#h to quilt, so it might be worth it to have shutters or something,  just  for when the summer sun is beating through the west windows...I'll think about it.)

Anyway, the next WIP I have to share is what I'm calling  21st Century Atomic Art.  I love mid-century modern stuff, and I've already made one version of what I call "Modern Atomic Art."  But I came across these sketches in my book and decided I just HAD to make them right now.  I have had a lot of fun, and could easily make more of these blocks, but I'm gonna stop myself because the blocks are huge and I really don't want this piece getting any larger.  I have a kind of fun border idea I'm toying with for it, though, so stay tuned, as they say.  

And just for kicks and giggles, here is an actual finish.  

It's made from scraps of the boxes quilt, and I was going to put it on the back, but I liked them so much I made them into minis instead.  (The fabric is the Blueberry Park Collection by Robert Kaufman, btw).  The colors are quite faboo.  In fact,  love them so much that I have two sets of them, actually.  Talk about ridiculous...but my niece wants to make a bed quilt for herself with them and I just couldn't resist making sure there was enough left over for me to make another piece too.  Not that I exactly have anything in mind, of course.  But I will, I'm sure, at some point...

Gonna spend some time tonight checking out all of y'all's work.  So inspiring and fun.  Thanks for sharing, and thanks for stopping by - hope I didn't make it too long.  I am rather long-winded, even by computer sometimes.  (But I like to see it as "full of enthusiasm.")

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop

Hi everyone.  Welcome to my stop on the Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop. For this challenge, Paintbrush Studio generously donated fat quarters of fabric in Daydream, Midnight, Bordeaux, White, Coral, and Peach.  I loved working with the fabrics, they have a great feel to them and were easy to sew.  So thanks, Paintbrush Studio and Chery of Meadow Mist, Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, and Stephanie of Late Night Quilter,  for hosting the blog hop - it has been great fun to make the square, and I can't wait to see everyone else's work!

 Here is my block for the hop.  I’m calling it Sunset Bubbles. 

I really enjoyed making this block, although I must admit that it took me a long while to come up with a design.  I'm not sure why, really - I think because maybe the darks are so dark and the lights are so much lighter, but who knows?  It just could been that I've been unable to get my creative groove on because I've been working so much on other projects lately.   But I love a challenge, you know.  And I’m pleased with this simple (I said SIMPLE, not necessarily easy) design as I think there is potential for a lot of fun with this block.  

Also, I usually go for white as my background, but this time I decided to use the daydream color as the background.  I think it ties it together quite nicely. 

Following is the tutorial for how to make Sunset Bubbles.

First you will need half-circle templates in the following sizes.  
  • 8.5 inch
  • 7.5 inch 
  • 6.5 inch
  • 5.5 inch
  • 4.5 inch
  • 3.5 inch


1. I have two different circle template sets, which I will show you. 

One is the Easy Circle Cut by Sharon Hultgren (I got it free in the goody bag at the first Quiltcon and it is a serious prize!).  It works really well for making both circles and half circles. 

The second set is made by Martelli. 

 These are actually quarter circles, which you use on folded fabrics (One fold for half-circles and two folds for full circles.  These are also quite fabulous as you can place the template on the fabric and move it as you cut and the fabric doesn’t shift under the template, so you can cut slowly and make fewer mistakes.  I highly recommend these templates as well.

If you do not have circle templates, you can kick it old style and use a protractor and cardstock to make your own templates.  The inches refer to the diameter or distance across the middle of the circle. Before I had these templates I used a protractor all the time and it's kind of fun and satisfying to do so, in my opinion.      

2. Another thing to note is that you will be using bias, so a good starching and ironing before you cut will save you a lot of grief.

3. The third note is that for each half-circle you cut out of the four colors, you will use the template that is one inch smaller to cut out the background for that half-circle out of the daydream.  For example, the 8.5 inch midnight half-circle will be sewn into the 7.5 in hole in the daydream rectangle, and so on.

Cutting Instructions for Sunset Bubbles

Daydream (light blue)

Cut 1 - 5.5 inch x 14 inch rectangle
Cut 2  - 4.5  inch x 14 inch rectangle
Cut 1 - 4 x 14 inch rectangle
Cut 1 -  1.5  x 14 inch strip

White Fabric

Cut 1 - 1  x width of fabric strip

Midnight (dark blue)

Cut 1 - 8.5 inch half-circle


Cut 1 - 6.5 inch half-circle


Cut 1- 5.5 inch half-circle


Cut 1 - 4.5 in half-circle

Assembling the block:

1.  Take the 5.5 x 14 inch daydream rectangle. Fold in half and mark the center.  Using the 7.5 circle template and making sure it is centered, cut a half-circle out of the daydream rectangle. Take the 8.5 inch midnight half-circle.  Right sides together, pin 

and sew slowly and carefully, with the circle side up. You may need to hold the bottom fabric to keep the edges together.  Iron flat and set aside. (You may want to clip the curves on the back as well, although I didn't find it necessary for these circles.)

2. Take a 4.5 x 14 inch daydream rectangle.  Fold in half and mark the center.  Using the 5.5 inch template and making sure it is centered, cut a half-circle out of the daydream rectangle. Right sides together, pin the 6.5 inch bordeaux half- circle to the daydream rectangle, matching the centers, and sew as in Step 1.  Iron flat and set aside.  

3. Take the other 4.5 x 14 inch daydream rectangle. Fold in half and mark the center.  Using the 4.5 inch circle template and making sure it is centered, cut a half-circle out of the daydream rectangle. Take the 5.5 inch coral half-circle.  Right sides together, pin and sew slowly and carefully with the circle up. You may need to hold the bottom fabric to keep the edges together.  Iron flat and set aside.

4. Take the the 4 x 14 inch daydream rectangle.  Fold in half and mark the center.  Making sure it is centered, cut a 3.5 half-circle out of the daydream rectangle. Take the 4.5 inch peach half circle.  Right sides together, pin and sew slowly and carefully with the circle up. You may need to hold the bottom fabric to keep the edges together.  Iron flat and set aside.

(If the top and bottom of the rectangles are uneven, trim them straight.  Do not trim the sides, just make the bottom even, if necessary.)  

6. Take the midnight/daydream circle piece.  Using a ruler, trim the top of the square to 1/4 inch above the top of the circle.  Do the same with the bordeaux and coral pieces.  DO NOT TRIM THE PEACH PIECE.

7. Carefully fold each square in half, using the edges of the sewn colored half-circle to determine the half-way point, and cut along the fold lines.

8. Starting with the peach on top, from smallest to largest, sew the left sides of the half-circles together. Then in the same color/size order, sew the right sides of the half-circles together.

9. Take the 1.5 inch x 14 inch strip and cut in half.  Sew it to the bottom of each side.

10. Sew the white 1 x 14 inch strip to the left side squares, then sew the right-side squares to the left, carefully matching the circle lines.  Iron.

11. Trim the square to 12.5 x 12.5 inches.

Your Sunset Bubbles block is now complete!  

 You can, of course do it in different color and size orders to add interest.  For a whole quilt it might be fun to change the directions of some of the bubbles, as well.

I made a practice block (now a pillow) in an alternate color way, too.  

Can't wait to see what everyone else has designed.  Here are the rest of the stops on the blogshop for today:


Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs

Jayne@Twiggy and Opal

Kim @ Leland Avenue Studios

Andrea @ The Sewing Fools

Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life

Stephanie @ Quilt'n Party

Tish @ Tish's Adventrures in Wonderland

Irene @ Patchwork and Pastry

Abby @ Hashtag Quilt

Sarah @ Smiles Too Loudly

Wanda @ Wanda's Life Sampler


Monday, March 14, 2016

Trying to Keep Up the Good Work

First, I apologize to my readers.  I know I haven't been around - just haven't had time to post lately for many reasons - travel, bronchitis, and other projects have kept me busy.  I haven't had a ton of time to create, either, which we all know is not a zen-making thing (at least not for me - of course it SHOULD be a chance to practice, but we all know I'm zen-challenged.  That's the point.) Anyway, I sincerely hope you will forgive me and continue to read when I do post.  I will try to do better.

One of the reasons I haven't been able to post is that I went to Quiltcon in Pasadena.  As usual, I was really inspired and excited by what I saw.  I know others have posted a lot about it, but I will write a post about my impressions and share some of my faves with you soon.  I met some great fellow quilters, which was also fun.  

That's not to say I haven't sewn at all.  I did manage to make some minis from scraps from another project, kind of inspired by the amazing and adorable Gwen Marsden and the talented Chawne Kimber from Completely Cauchy.  I've never been one for patchwork, but I adore theirs.  

 Haven't quite gotten it down yet but am so inspired that I will keep trying.  I like them, though.  They are bright, cheerful, and fun AND they used up all the scraps from another project, which makes me feel all earth-friendly and superior.  (maybe that's an exaggeration - but it does make me feel better about scraps - I usually consider them guilt-producing nuisances.)  Now I have a whole new respect (use)  for them, after seeing Gwen's and and Chawne's work.  

I've spent a great deal of time on another project, too - and darn it, it's huge.  I say that because as we all know, large quilt tops mean a helluva a lot of quilting.  I like to quilt, really I do, but the large pieces are so goddam never ending.  Still, I'm pretty happy with the piece.  It needs a little tweaking, still, but I'm almost there.

This week, however, there will sadly be no quilting.  Not because I am decreeing it, but because I will be out of town.  Again.  I'm actually tempted to bring my small sewing machine to the hotel with me - think the maids will mind cleaning up scraps and strings?  I wonder if I'll actually have time to use it...well, I can bring it with me and if I do have time/energy to work, then I can.  (Lord are we quilters NUTS or what?)  I know I'm bringing some embroidery projects with me at least.  

I'm also a little miffed to leave at this time because finally the poppies I planted in the fall are starting to bloom and dammit I want to be here to enjoy them.  I sure hope they are still going when I get back.  They are so beautiful - I want to sit on my front porch and stare at them with a glass of wine in my hand.  (I will be here on Saturday, come and join me if you want...)

So please stick with me, readers, as I muddle through this incredibly busy time in my life.  I promise to post more regularly again soon.  And here's a couple of lovely parting shots of Spring, springing, for your enjoyment.

Luckily I won't miss the bluebonnets because the goats got in and ate them a couple of weeks ago, so they will be blooming late.  Never thought I'd be happy for that!

View from the porch: Ahhh - green, green, everywhere!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Joining in the Fun

It's late but I'm gonna link up anyway.  I haven't been able to participate for various reasons for a long time.  I am actually finally finished with the Glass Bowl piece.  It turned out well, although once again I don't have fabulous photos to show it.  (I really hate photography.  I just do.)

I did decide to straight line quilt it.  After all, the lines on the bowl were all straight.  But I added some silver thread and used a silvery fabric for binding to add to the "glow" effect.  And it did, but it's quite subtle I'm not sure it shows much in the photos:

The fabrics are so amazing, they are gorgeous (Frond Fabrics from Delve DIY).  Luckily I have lots more and several ideas for them.  

But for now I am working on a new, secret project.  Fun.

Going to join in with Sew Fresh to see what y'all are up to.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

#at Quiltcon 2016

So much talent...




and beauty,

all in one place! 

 (And the quilts aren't too  bad, either!)

Absolute fabulousness.