Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ribbons 'n' Bows

I have a problem in my sewing room, I have several FQ bundles of beautiful fabric just waiting for me to find the perfect pattern for them.  And I also have several great patterns that I'm eager to make, but not the perfect fabric for those!  I've finally decided to stop waiting for perfect and just go for good enough.  I've had a bundle of Weekends by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit setting on my shelf for over a year now.  I love the prints and the colors, and not only does it have a weekend feel to it, it has a summer weekend feel to it.  I decided that fabric was going to be my next project and went on search for a suitable (no longer perfect) pattern.

I was looking for a pattern that had a summer and fun feel to it, and I wanted some pieces that were at least 2 1/2 inches wide so the adorable bicycle print fabric would look its best.  

Do you ever check the Moda Bakeshop for free patterns?  My Countdown to Christmas Quilt is one of my favorites and it's a Moda Bakeshop pattern called Starry Eyed.  I keep a Bakeshop link in my Favorites list, it's always at the bottom because for some reason it doesn't update when a new pattern is posted, which is several times a week.  So I check it all the time.  There's some great inspiration on that site.  And that's where I saw this pattern, Simply Woven by Jessica Kelly.

This pattern was posted in October of 2012, an oldie but goodie!

So I got his far and decided that breaking up all those stripes would maybe be fun.  And as luck would have it I had just gotten Heather Peterson's Angles With Ease 2 book and those petal blocks on the cover popped into my head.

You can make the blocks various sizes and with or without the center circles.  I made my blocks 12 inches, the same size as my woven blocks, and without the center circle.

I was so tempted to go with just one block, that one little surprise in that top, but they were so fun to make I ended up making 6, but went with 5.

Cathy at Quilting on Main Street named the quilt for me, she said it looked like ribbons and bows!

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 159
The pattern is Simply Woven by Jessica Kelly
The fabric is Weekends by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit 
It finished at 72" x 72"
It has approximately 388 pieces.

I think this quilt turned out better than "good enough".  I also like this fabric so much better in a quilt than on my shelf. Now on to the next bundle!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Snapshots Sew Along - Month 7 - Up, Up and Away

Are you ready for a new Snapshots block?  It's that time again!!  The months are just flying by, we're over half way there.

This month's block is Up, Up and Away, my latest favorite.

I used Daysail fabric, but chose different prints than what is listed in the pattern.  My puppy block has a lot of navy blue, and that was the only block with navy blue, so for some balance I went heavy on the navy for this block.  This block is a breeze (get it balloon, breeze, lol) to piece, really.  Start to finish I think it only took me two hours.  The background is the traditional white, but I took this picture on a rainy day so it looks more tan.

I also pieced the camera block that goes on the back of the quilt.  It's in the backing pattern that is currently available.

I love this block so much I'm thinking of adding it to the front in place of one of the other blocks, (hint, meow).  I went with some navy fabric for this block too, but it's all Daysail.

I am thrilled that the FQS has already surpassed it's initial goal of raising $10,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and its new goal of $20,000. The last time I checked the amount raised was over $28,000. Great job, give yourself a pat on the back!  As a reminder, the monthly patterns are a free download, a donation is up to you, the suggested donation is $5.  Here is a link to the pattern, instructional video, donation page, and everything else you need to know.  (click here)  The backing and finishing directions are also available now.

Here are a few more folks participating in the sew along, be sure to check out their hot air balloons.

Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms
Bonnie Olaveson of Cotton Way
Pat Sloan of The Voice of Quilting
Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet
Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life
Pam Viera-McGinnis of Pam Kitty Morning
Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs
Stephanie Kendron of The Modern Sewciety
Natalia Bonner of Piece N Quilt
Greg Jones of Grey Dogwood Studios
Jessie Fincham of Messy Jesse

And finally, be sure to also check out instagram, #fqssnapshots for some great blocks and inspiration.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Back to basics . . . .

Are you familiar with these books? 

They are a series of books titled Simply Color written by Vanessa Christenson of V & Co.  Each book focusses on one color.  The first book, Red, was given to me as a gift by a friend because red is my favorite color.  The first book was so interesting that I've bought each new book as it has been released.  I have enjoyed reading the books, they do a wonderful job of explaining a lot of the basics about color that I didn't know, provide a few interesting facts about the color, and have an assortment of projects using the color.

I'm ashamed at how lacking my formal art education is, I must have been absent the day the color wheel was taught. I've made over 150 quilts and have just now learned that hues are pure colors and that tints are pure colors with added white and shades are pure colors with added black!!!  Not only do these books explain the basics like this, in easy to understand terms, there are beautiful pictures representing each concept. Tone, value, and saturation, and how they relate to each color are wonderfully illustrated and explained also.

And finally, there are also great pictures and descriptions of color combinations, lots of pictures, lots of color!!

Here's my favorite red project.

Did you know the term "turkey red" was created because the first red colorfast dyeing process came from Turkey?!?!

I was excited that the second book was orange, I'm going through an orange phase.  This is my favorite orange project from the Orange book.

Did you know that today orange is one of the most popular colors in quilting cotton?  Who knew, not me, until I read the book!

I wasn't thrilled when the Yellow book came out, I like yellow, but good yellows are hard to find and I don't have very many in my stash.  I have more golds than yellows.  Funny thing,  the Yellow book is my favorite!  

I just finished a yellow and white quilt but love this one so much I plan to make another one.  I"ll probably use a different yellow, go with a different tint to change things up, lol. (I love working my new color terms into my everyday vernacular, lol)

There are several yellow projects that are now on my To Do list.

Did you know that the eye perceives the color yellow before any other color?  That's why you notice it so quickly when it's used in quilts!  

Vanessa Christenson, the author of these books, did not ask me to blog about them.  I've never even met her, although she looks like she would be a lot of fun and I think I would love to talk all about colors with her.  I chose to blog about these books because I find them hugely informative, very interesting, AND worth the price, and I just wanted to share that with you, because I think you would like them too. 

Blue, Purple and Green are the last three.  I'm really eager to read Purple, because I do not like that color, but I expect Vanessa will change my mind about that!

Speaking of color, I have a lot of it going on on my design wall right now, more about that later this week!

I love that bicycle fabric, don't you, and is that purple?!?!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Abstract Quilts in Solids

My weeklong class at Madeline Island School of the Arts was Abstract Quilts in Solids taught by Gwen Marston.

Here are the solids I selected for class, these and a very dark brown background fabric called Expresso.

The class started with Gwen talking about using solids, the impact they make on the lines of a quilt, how using solids keeps a quilt from being dated, and the bonus of solids not having a wrong side, no front or back.  Then she told us to just get started, to start small and experiment and play. 

My idea was to piece a medallion quilt so I started on my center.  The first thing I did was create several strip sets using varying widths of fabric and randomly selecting and sewing the strips together. For me, that was as "liberated" as I could get.  

It took me all day to make the center.  I added the outer border on day 3.  I liked what I made but didn't think it was near liberated enough, I thought I needed to challenge myself to be more open.

This is a quilt of Gwen's called Summer Fruit Salad, the blocks finish at 3 inches.

On day 2, using Summer Fruit Salad quilt as my inspiration, I started making 4 inch liberated blocks.  I started with liberated log cabin blocks and grew from there.  Over the course of 3 days I pieced these blocks.

I like my colors and do have a plan for turning these blocks into a quilt.

I never could work without a ruler, that's something I'll have to practice.  One student didn't use a ruler at all.

Here are a few pieces made by my classmates.  Out of a class of 18 we had a variety of experience.  Several ladies had taken classes with Gwen before.  One student taught Gwen"s methods at a shop at home, and two ladies had personal projects in books published by Gwen.  So there was plenty of experience in the room.  But there were also students who were new to quilting in general, had maybe  pieced one quilt. Then there were students like me, experienced quilters looking for inspiration and ideas on creating our own quilts.

This piece uses most of the demo's Gwen taught over the course of the class, 
liberated triangles, little squares, and skinny slightly curved insets.  I think this piece uses color very well too.

This piece uses a batik with the solids.

We all worked with different color pallets.

In my soul I am not a liberated quilter but I can be a more modern quilter, and it took this class to find that out about myself.  And while there are degrees of modern quilts and liberated quilt making, I like order and neatness too much to get too crazy.   But I did learn several things that I will use in my future quilts, for one, solids are powerful.  I've been lazy about incorporating solids into my projects, mainly because I don't have solids on hand in my stash.  I've already started changing that, I bought several solids just to have, and plan to add more.  Gwen's main message was one of empowerment, that we can make any kind of quilt we want, there are no rules. I plan to spend more time drawing and working on my own designs.  But for the most part I will continue to do what I always do, start with a pattern and tweak it to make it more my own. This is my hobby, I don't want to turn it into work.

Gwen and my classmates made for a fun class. There was a lot of laughter, I enjoyed every minute. The bottomless chocolate chip cookie jar didn't hurt either.

Gwen is retiring after 2016.  I am so thankful I was able to spend a week getting to know her, her philosophies, and her techniques. Here is a link to Gwen's class schedule,  I hope you're able to attend one,  I think she inspired me to be a different quilter, I think she'll inspire you too.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

It's the 4th of July!

It's all about parades,  firing up the grill, making ice cream, and watching fireworks here where I live.

I took this picture from the back of a boat on Lake Superior when I was at quilt camp and saved it for today.  Old Glory looks great flying over the water.

So Happy 4th of July to all my US readers, and Happy Saturday to the rest, any day is a good day for a parade, meat on the grill, ice cream and fireworks!

Enjoy and be safe!!