Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quilt Market 2012

Market was wonderful, of course.  How could a sisters’ weekend full of fabric, shopping and yummy food be anything but?  My sister lives just outside Houston.  It was a great excuse to see her and spend time together.  I'm grateful she was willing to tag along with me to Market.  It was so fun to go with her.

Friday included a Schoolhouse session on Modern Quilts fromthe Blogging Universe.  I was able to participate in the presentation on the book along with Jeni and Allison.  My sister and I attended Fabric 2.0 which had great swag bags.  Of course we hit Sample Spree which included lots and lots of fabric shopping.  It's hard to pass up deals when they are near or at wholesale prices.  I got some fun stuff.  
Quilts shown were made my myself, Angela and Amy.
Saturday included visiting all my quilts on the floor as well as checking out all sorts of fun products and beautiful fabric.  I actually had four quilts at Market this time including my quilt for the Modern Quilts book, my Pixelated Color Wheel in the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit, a quilt I made for RJR Fabrics, and my quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine.  It was so fun to see my work there.

We visited the Simplicity EZ Quilting booth to check out the winning quilts for the EZ Dresden Challenge.  They all looked great.

Finally just a few quilts from the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit.  It was so fun to see quilts from so many bloggers I know.  It was a wonderful exhibit.
1. by Stephanie Ruyle from Spontaneous Threads,
2. by Karen Anderson-Abraham of Bloomin Poppies,
3. by Krista Fleckenstein of Spotted Stones,
4. by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced,
5. by Jennifer Carlton-Baily of BettyCrockerAss,
6.  by Rossie Hutchinson
7.  My quilt!
8. by Tanya Finken from Squares and Triangles
Saturday evening, we attended my sister's church Halloween party with her family.  She made Angry Birds costumes for each family member (including me because I was in town for this).  Since her family doesn’t want to be Angry Birds again for Halloween next year, I will eventually be listing the costumes she made in my Etsy shop.  She did a great job on them.

We had some great family time on Sunday including fabulous Coconut Shrimp Curry which I'm adding to my must make list.  We spent the evening carving pumpkins and eating soup with my sister's sweet friend and her family.  She made amazing pumpkin cake that I must get the recipe for.

Monday we headed back to market to catch people we missed and booths we didn’t hit.  I admit it was a huge high to see so many of my quilts at Market.  Meeting people was wonderful as well.  I was able to see old friends I’ve met before at Sewing Summit or Quilt Market last year.  I was also able to meet wonderful people face to face for the first time.  I was super excited when Jacquie, one of my quilting idols, even remembered my name.  Yes, I am a quilt dork, but we all have our idols, right?

As I headed home, reviewing the previous few days, I felt really renewed, inspired, invigorated, and very, very tired.  I have plans and ideas for my business as I begin down new roads.  I have new ideas where I’d like to take things.  I felt buoyed up from a great weekend with my sister whom I admire so much as well as fun time with her cute family.  I missed my little family so much and was thrilled to peak in on them in their little beds when I got home (and sleep in my own).  The hubs even had the house clean, laundry done and lawn mowed when I got home.  He is amazing.  I adore him and appreciate his support so much.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2012

It's that time of year again!  I love the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  I'm re-sharing my Broken Diamonds quilt I finished about a month ago.  It's one of my favorites from this whole year.  The original post on this quilt is found here.

I've already provided the specs in my previous post on this quilt, so I wanted to share a bit about my creative process on this quilt.  I've decided on a term for this style of quilting: Precise Imprecision.  I very meticulously paper-pieced these blocks in order for each border to line up perfectly, but I wanted the over all quilt to have a scattered, somewhat disorganized feel.  Placement of each block was carefully considered in the overall design as well as the various widths of white borders.  I chose and arrange block border colors based on how they would look together as well as scattering colors throughout the design.  I chose to begin the spiral quilting where I did because for me that block is the focal point of the quilt.

This quilt took me a long time to finally finish up because I was never happy with the arrangement each time I pulled the blocks out.  I would put them away for another month or two until I was finally able to commit to a design.  I find too often I rush through a quilt design just to get it done rather than allow it to stew for a while and think on it.  This is not the design I would have come up with had I sewed the blocks together immediately upon completion.  I've said this before about other quilts, but I love this one because it is uniquely mine.  No one else would have created the exact same quilt.  This is what I love about just winging it and simply creating.  This is why I love quilting. We all have the opportunity to sew random strips of fabric together and create something that no one else can.

Amy's Creative Side

Finished Quilt Measures: 60" x 65"
Pieced and quilted by myself
Best Categories: Favorite throw, Favorite Home Machine Quilted Quilt

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday: 10.24.12

I realized this week that it's nice to have Sewing Summit behind me.  It was lots of fun, but also a lot of work preparing for our class.  I'm shifting my sewing focus a bit for the next few months toward pattern writing.  Most of the projects I have planned in the near future are for patterns.  This one is the first up.

I finished piecing the top and back yesterday.  Now it just needs quilted.  This will actually be my third time making this quilt.  The first is on the back of my hexagon quilt.  The second will show it's face for the first time at Market.  This is my third (and favorite).  I've worked out the bugs and feel ready to finish writing it up.  Hopefully the pattern will be all ready in just a few weeks.

I debated a lot on colors for this quilt top.  I ended up choosing cooler colors.  Tammy from Marmalade Fabrics has actually put a kit together which will be available once the pattern is ready.  I'm so excited about this.  The kit price is very reasonable and has hardly any waste (meaning you have to cut very carefully).  I hate it when kits have oodles of extra fabric.

But I also loved these warm colors.  I'm wondering if there would be enough interest in this colorway for Tammy to kit the warm colors also.  I would love to make another top from these fabrics for a sample, but I don't think I have it in me to do it again.

While at Sewing Summit I did get some sewing done in the evenings.  I made some progress on my Chicopee kaleidoscope quilt.  I love how it's coming together.  I have realized it's the perfect project for sewing nights/days with friends and the guild.  It's pretty brainless chain piecing since I'm not planning any pattern in the design.  I don't have to think too much about it and can easily chat as I sew.  I'm not in any huge rush to complete this so I plan to save it for Sew Saturdays with our guild.

I got my Chicopee bundle from Amanda at Westwood Acres.  I'm doing a large throw, and it used almost exactly a fat 1/8s bundle.  Amanda is currently out of Chicopee, but will have more in stock on Monday!

I completed two bee blocks this week.  The first is for Katie from Katie's Korner.  We used the free pattern from Anna Marie Horner for these bee blocks.

My next one is for Cindy from Live A Colorful Life.  She wanted Halloween Granny squares.  I forgot to take a good photo before shipping it off the other day so Instagram will have to do.  This is my last block for my Stash Trad bee.  I have only one block left in my Sew Beautiful Bee.  I am planning to take time off from bees and swapping for a while and focus my time on other projects.  I am really sad to see them ending though.

I'm heading to Market on Friday morning and can't wait!  I'm looking forward to seeing lots of beautiful fabric as well as spending lots of girl-time with my sister.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Modern Quilts Unlimited Premier Issue

Look what showed up in my mail box this afternoon!  It's the very first issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, and it has my quilt on the cover!  I'm pretty much over the moon about this today!

Here are some pictures of my quilt I took before shipping it off in June.  I'm excited to finally share them.

I created the back using solid squares with a very similar layout to the front.  I quilted it with lots and lots of straight lines.  It's a large square throw, finishing at 68" x 68".

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Modern Grandma's Flower Garden Quilt

I love the look of the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, but I dislike hand sewing hexagons.  Since I was teaching at Sewing Summit on Y-seams and sewing hexagons, I challenged myself to machine-piece a Grandmother’s Flower Garden project.  These hexagons are 3” cut point-to-point or a 1.5” side.  The whole panel was machine pieced.  I admit I planned it to be larger, but ran out of steam.  If I wasn't under a self-imposed deadline to finish it to share at Sewing Summit, I would have put it aside for a while.  I originally planned this to just be a small child-size quilt, but I loved this too much and wanted it usable for me as well, hence the large borders to make it larger.  The whole quilt is made from Art Gallery Pure Elements.  It finished about 55” x 65”.

The back is one of my favorite quilt backs.   I simply took various cuts of Pure Elements that were WOF and sewed them together.  I sewed the white fabric on the sides to add width. 

I originally tried to get creative with the quilting on this one, but my machine wasn’t happy with the pattern I was trying.  I ended up doing an all-over loopy pattern.  I wanted to quilt it heavily to tack all these seams.  It washed up quite nicely and is a new favorite small throw.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WIP Wednesday: 10.17.12

I've spent an egregious amount of time every evening this week making Miss C's Halloween costume.  For some reason I got it in my head that making her costume would be a great idea.  As I worked on it last night, I swore to the hubs I would never make another costume again.  He just shook his head.  I finished it up this afternoon and rushed her outside to snap a few quick photos.  I'm really, really glad to be done with this WIP.
  • Problem #1--I'm not very good at sewing clothing, and I don't really enjoy it.
  • Problem #2--The pattern had a gazillion pattern pieces to cut.  It took me hours just to cut the dang thing out.
  • Problem #3--I used costume satin.  This was probably the biggest problem of all.  That stuff is awful.  I really had no idea what I was getting into.  I ended up interfacing nearly every piece, plus added an additional layer of fabric on the bodice to give it more stability and strength.  I also edge stitched everything along the bodice and wings because I couldn't get it to lay flat.  All the extra effort was well worth it in the end.  The costume is far from perfect, but she loves it and is refusing to take it off.  
  • Problem #4--I thought the pattern was hard to understand and use.  I used the Simplicity 2872 pattern.  I found the pattern quite frustrating and had to reread the instructions many, many times.  Since I don't make clothing often, this was likely a large cause of my frustration.
  • Problem #5--The belt is a huge pain to put on and take off.  It laces up in the back and adds just one more layer of difficulty when putting this costume on.  I think I might remake it after Halloween and make it longer with snaps to be more user friendly.  I'd like her to be able to use this as a dress-up, and the fiddly belt makes it hard for her to put on.

I'll chalk this one up to experience.  In the end she loves it, and that's what matters.  I think next time we'll just purchase a costume rather than any attempts at being super mom.  Costume sewing just isn't my thing, and I'm perfectly okay with that.  I gave it my best.  Now back to quilting...
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sewing Summit Recap

I know you all might get tired of Sewing Summit Recaps, but it was a weekend worth sharing.  For me Sewing Summit 2012 was more fun, more inspiring and more energizing than last year (not suggesting that last year was bad in any way).  I think it was a combination of many things.  I stayed at the hotel this time rather than driving back and forth from home.  Teaching was a wonderful opportunity and very exciting for me.  That definitely added to the fun as well as the stress.  I felt a little less intimidated this year and knew more people.  I'm naturally a fairly reserved person until I get to know people.  I'm so grateful for those who came up to me and said hello.  I loved meeting all sorts of new people, although my stack of business/blog cards I came home with was rather small.  My goal for next year is to collect as many cards as possible because that will push me to meet many more people.

I loved having the chance to teach with Faith.  I've admired her work for a long time, and she is wonderful and sweet in person as well.  Our class time was so short that we had to speed through our sections, but it all worked out.  When life settles down a bit, I will post a tutorial covering my tips for piecing hexagons and likely a new tutorial on piecing diamonds.  You can view a few tutorials cheater diamonds and my Argyle QAL from past posts.   I have a few tips with hexagons that I came up with while preparing for my class that make the sewing process much easier.  

I did just a bit of Instagramming while at the conference.
  1. Lunch
  2. A fabulous notebook cover/card holder I bought from Terri over at Sew Fantastic.  
  3. A rough copy of the Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe book I received from Karen at Martingale Publishing. I'm so excited to have my hands on a copy of this book!  It comes out in December.
  4. My pile of stuff to set up for our class.  I'm sure my suitcase full of supplies and quilts for the class weighed around 70lbs.  Good thing I wasn't flying.
  5. Sample quilt #1--Full post coming.
  6. Sample quilt #2--Modern Grandmother's Flower Garden--Full post coming on this one as well.
  7. Bunting at the bar--SLMQG meetup on Friday night.
  8. My matchy pouch I made in Kelly's class.  
  9. Some of my loot.

It was invigorating to be around so many great and talented people at Sewing Summit.  I hope to register for 2013 the minute registration opens.  It was definitely one of the sewing highlights of the year.  I'm exhausted, and it's time to get back to real life.  The hubs did a fabulous job over the days I was gone which unfortunately included one very sick little girl.  He had the house cleaned and vacuumed and dishes done when I arrived home Saturday night around midnight.  He gets the best husband award, especially since he'll be doing it again in a week and a half when I leave for Quilt Market.

The worst part of the weekend was thinking I was going to die in the elevator with Brooke and Jeni and 12 other random people who piled in on the lobby floor.  The elevator lurched and dropped several times and the doors refused to open.  Finally, after a horrible minute or two the elevator finally came back to the lobby floor and we all piled out.  It was a bit terrifying.  I didn't use the middle elevator for the rest of the weekend.

I'm diving into a new project this week.  This will be my first self-published pattern.  Tammy from Marmalade Fabrics will have kits in her shop for this quilt.  This is a quilt design you've seen before on my blog, but with a very different look.  Tammy sent me the first kit to get going on my sample quilt for the pattern.  More on this project soon.  

Also, recently I picked out some fabrics for a color wheel blogger's bundle over at Pink Castle Fabrics.  Brenda has all bundles on sale this week for 20% off.  Just use the discount code BUNDLE20 through Friday.  I plan to do a post soon on how I choose fabrics for my color wheel projects and swaps.  I'll be switching this bundle up every once in a while over at Brenda's shop so if you're looking to expand the selection of your color wheel stash, this is a great way to do it.

Finally, I promised a little present for someone in the End of the Hallway link-up party last week.  I picked up this little bundle of Riley Blake dots from the Sewing Summit Shop Hop for our winner who was #18.  The amazing Leanne from She Can Quilt is our lucky winner with her Echo Stained Quilt.  I'll send you an email Leanne!

Now it's back to real life and four more loads of laundry to finish.  Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WIP Wednesday: 10.10.12

It's crunch time.  Just over 24 hours to Sewing Summit.  I'm getting really excited, but still feel like there is a million things to do.  I'm starting to pack.  Other people use suitcases.  Me?  I just use laundry baskets.  Pretty classy, huh?  I still have a lot to add to that basket, and I haven't even started packing my clothes yet.  (I promise I will use a suitcase for my clothes though).  Plus, there is the cooler of Diet Coke that I'll be bringing.  We've decided we'll sell Diet Coke from our hotel room at $1 can (I'm mostly kidding).  Last year all the Coke fans were in withdrawal as none is provided at the conference.

I've officially transferred all my stuff over to my new bag.  It's just the right size for Sewing Summit.

I made myself a maxi-skirt from this fabric the other night.  I've had this fabric for months and months and finally decided to just do it.  It was so fast and literally came together in an hour.  I love the skirt and plan to wear it one of the days at Sewing Summit.

In non-Sewing Summit happenings, a bolt of pink tulle and costume satin attacked my sewing desk.  This is why I should never sew Halloween costumes.  I'm dreading putting this together.  It took forever just to cut out.  Now I have to sew it all together.  That's not happening until after Sewing Summit, much to Miss C's dismay.  

This morning, just for fun, I did a little pre-Sewing Summit browsing while the kiddos were at school.  I headed to one my favorite local stores Material Girls Quilts, which happens to be a stop on the shop hop.

If you want to follow happenings at Sewing Summit, we'll all be Instagramming this weekend.  I'm @thebluechair.  You can also see everyone's photos under #sewingsummit.  Finally, for those who sadly aren't attending this year, you can join the party with cute miss AmyLouWho who has started the tag #notgoingtosewingsummit.  Last spring she started a tag for all those not attending quilt market and it was fun to see what people were up to.

Have a great weekend!  I'll be checking in next week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Broken Diamonds--A Finish for Friday

As I was working on this quilt my little guy looked at the quilt and asked me if the diamonds were broken.  Ever since our little conversation this quilt has been "Broken Diamonds" to me.  

My original inspiration for this quilt came from this art print I pinned ages ago.  I immediately saw a quilt in that art piece and thought it would be perfect for log cabins--you could just make log cabins and slice them in half.  I then decided I didn't want any repeats in the design so I took large squares of paper and quartered them on the diagonal, then paper pieced each quarter triangle of the squares.  Paper piecing gave me the precision I was looking for.

I quilted this in a spiral--something I've wanted to do again since using this method on my Pixelated Color Wheel Quilt.  I simply started sewing in the center of one diamond and went around and around until I reached the edges.  I used the edge of my walking foot as my guide.  My lines are approximately 1/2" apart.  Originally I planned to add a couple more spirals of quilting starting in other diamonds, but this quilting was quite rough on my shoulder--especially when the diamonds were small and I was moving the entire quilt through the machine throat as I went around.  I love how the quilting turned out, but I probably won't be doing it again for a while on a larger quilt.

I love the back!  I started pulling long scraps from my box and pieced them into strips.  Then I just sewed all the strips together.  I did this completely random, not caring where colors fell.  I really like the result, and it used up a huge chunk of scraps.

This quilt finished at 60" x 65".  Originally it was meant to be larger with lots of white space.  As I quilted, it just felt like too much white space and I started cutting.  The white background is Kona white.  The colored solids are all from the Art Gallery Pure Elements line.

The binding is is from Lotta Jansdotter's line Bella.  I think this print is perfect for bindings.  I bought a yard of it recently just for this purpose.  You can get it here.

On a side note:  I know I mention Art Gallery solids quite a bit, but I love working with them.  I do wish they had more colors, but I'm sure more will come as they expand.  The hand is wonderful on these fabrics, and they wash up great.  The colors are deeply saturated and do not seem to fad after multiple washings.  Art Gallery does not pay me to promote their solids, although I sure wouldn't turn it down if a big box of Pure Elements showed up on my doorstep.  I have received some fabric from Art Gallery on a couple occasions for specific projects.  

I have seen discussions recently regarding bloggers disclosing info when they receive/promote free products.  Although I don't necessarily agree with everything I've seen written on the subject, I agree that disclosure of this kind of info is important.  I do promote products/fabrics on my blog, but I try very carefully to promote only those things I truly love.  If I don't like something for whatever reason, I try to mention that in a gentle way.  I have ventured into offering spots for sponsorship on my blog to support my fabric habit.  This makes both me and the husband happier--I get some spending money for fabric, and I'm not draining the bank account.  I am very dedicated to allowing sponsorship only from shops I love that have an inventory that fits my sewing style and taste. If I say I love a specific fabric line or shop, it's because I really do.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WIP Wednesday 10.3.12

The Sewing Summit nightmares have begun. Last night I had a dream that I showed up to our class 15 minutes late. Faith was trying to hold it together, but the mic didn't work and no one could hear her. Then I realized I forgot the sample quilts I made to share, plus I forgot all my fabric I'd cut to teach the techniques. I forgot my sewing machine and couldn't figure out how to use the ones in the sewing room.  I woke up in a panic for just a second until I realized it wasn't real.

I used to have dreams like this nearly every semester in college. I'd dream that I was registered for a class and forgot to go all semester or I couldn't find my schedule or log into the computer. Sewing Summit is just over a week away. I'm excited, but just a bit nervous obviously.

For sewing news, I finished this quilt this morning after dropping the kiddos off to school.  I finished sewing on the the binding and threw it straight in the washer.  It is currently in the dryer as I type.  I definitely had other sewing and projects I needed to be working on instead, but there is something so tempting about hurrying to finish a quilt once it's basted.  I just had to get it done.  I quilted this guy in one gigantic spiral.  I'm very excited to share final pictures.

One evening this week I was in the mood to work on my Chicopee quilt.  I really like how it's coming together.  Sometimes it's nice to have a project that is simple chain piecing.

Also, I mentioned in my last post that I'm participating in a blog hop for Free Spirit.  Here's the info!  I'm sure there will be many fun projects posted through the hop.  The hop consists of 12 weeks of sewing projects that would be great for gifts--all sewn using Free Spirit fabrics.  A tutorial will be posted each Monday on the Free Spirit blog.  There is also a Flickr group to share projects made from the tutorials.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced