Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekend Sewing in Manzanita

I love sewing with friends, especially out-of-town and for an entire weekend.  
The inspiration was flowing nonstop: holiday projects, a Tova blouse, a sample for a Craftsy class, some beautiful handwork, some breathtaking Feather Bed blocks (Anna Maria Horner pattern), two Sparkle Punch quilts, and a few quiltinis (a Happy Zombie term) -- to name a few.

I finished this Modern Crosses quilt top 
(another quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's Craftsy class: Inspired Modern Quilts).

Morning in Manzanita.

 It's amazing how good we are getting at moving furniture in various homes to make as much room as possible for as many sewists as possible.  In addition to the dining room, we had at least two sewing machines and a serger in the living room along with a large ironing table, a couple of cutting areas, and two "design walls".  

My Juki as a Mimosa coaster

I completed a Map of the States block for Heather for our Yamtastic Quilting Bee

 and this wonky log cabin quilt-as-you-go block for Monica.

This block is for my quilt in the Yamtastic Quilting Bee -- but that will be another post.
It's from the book, Quilting Modern, by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen.  I still need to trim it to size.

When's the next sewing weekend?  I'm ready to mark my calendar!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Scattered Squares and Tiles

When Elizabeth started teaching two classes on Craftsy, I decided that I needed to check it out.  Craftsy has online classes for just about any craft you can think of, including quilting, and you can interact with your instructor and other students.  You can watch the class videos over and over and download detailed instructions.  I was so intrigued by Elizabeth's sample videos that I immediately signed up for both of her classes, Inspired Modern Quilts: 7 Small Projects with Big Style and Creative Quilt Backs.  Elizabeth does a fabulous job!  She is a gifted teacher and is a natural in front of the camera.  

I love to hear about other people's inspiration and and their design and construction processes, and Elizabeth's classes are full of interesting tips and insights.  So far I've made three quilt tops from 2 of her 7 projects.

My first project is Scattered Squares.
I love how it came out and decided to float it asymmetrically in more of the Kona Ash so I could make it a throw for the family room.

My second project is Low Volume Tiles.

 This one is really special to me.  It was so fun playing with all the gray prints and I've been wanting a blue and gray quilt.  Also, I was recovering from surgery, so my 21-year-old son drove me to two fabric stores and held bolts of fabric for me.  He even picked out one of the gray fabrics (blank crossword puzzle).  I'll never forget fabric shopping with my son or him pushing a shopping cart full of fabric around Fabric Depot for me!

My third project is Washi Tiles
  Elizabeth shares alternate ideas at the end of each class project, and this idea was one of the ones shown in the video.  A block of all solid gray fabrics plus one multicolored fabric.  I just fell in love with her block and had to see what an entire quilt of it would look like. I think the Washi Tape fabric was just perfect for this project.

So now I have even more quilt tops in my pile to be quilted.  Unfortunately, they will have to wait even longer since my finger will have to be splinted for a while.  I tripped going UP the stairs. I can do a little piecing, but not quilting.

My goal for September is NO trips to the hospital.

Next project from Inspired Modern Quilts: Modern Crosses.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Color inspiration

I'm still working on quilt backs for old projects.  Or at least I'm still thinking about quilt backs.  In the last week I've mostly been pulling fabrics and calculating yardage to buy.  
I love this stack of Jennifer Paganelli fabrics for the back of my Mod Valentine quilt. 
Just looking at the gorgeous colors and mix of prints inspires me to get this quilt finished!

I'm also still swooning. 
Slow and steady.  Slow and steady.
This is Swoon block #4, made at a Portland Modern Quilt Guild sew day at Fabric Depot last Saturday.

And this is Swoon block #5, made at my sewing circle.  I just kept my head down and soldiered on while hilarity ensued all around me.  
Nothing is more entertaining than the shenanigans that take place at sewing circle.

My Swoon blocks so far....
The Swoon colors are so soft and lovely.  Peaceful and springlike.

However, as we start to see a little more sunshine each week in the Portland area, I am starting to really enjoy and crave color.  Rich, saturated color.  

No one enjoys the sun more than Portlanders.  Yesterday we had a real variety pack -- rain, hail, and sun.  As soon as a few rays would break through the clouds, everyone was outside and in high spirits. 

I love the colors of these Kaufman Pure Organics!

"Oh, did you not want me to sit on this stool where you so carefully placed your Swoon blocks and Pure Organics to avoid cat hair?"


 A friend is planning on making her daughter's wedding invitations, including some stitching and decorating with fabric flowers.  I pulled a few fabrics from my stash and now can't stop looking at the beautiful color combinations.  I'm not planning on using the Paradise Gardens on any particular project in the near future (at least not until I finish those UFOs), but I'm really enjoying the colors and prints.

My collection of red and white prints for my Christmas in July quilt is really growing now.  You may remember that I started collecting them for my Swoon quilt, but couldn't wait and went a different direction with fabrics and colors.  I'm still planning on my red and white Christmas in July quilt; however, now I can't decide if I want to make another Swoon quilt (which I think would look fabulous) or go with another pattern.

The red and white idea came from Christmas 2010 when my daughter bought all red and white paper for gifts.  It looked beautiful!

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy a variety of other colors

 and beautifully cut and stacked fabrics all tied up with a bow. 
I just love it when fabric stores take such obvious thought and care when cutting and packaging fabrics.  This stack was purchased from Sew, Mama, Sew, and they always do an exceptional job.

Sometimes I have to just leave these pretty little stacks all around in the sewing studio for inspiration.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Friday, April 6, 2012

Springtime determination

It is finally starting to feel like spring around here -- sometimes for just a few hours at a time -- but the sun is so welcome, and plants and trees are starting to bud and blossom.  

I'd love to start some new sewing projects, but I'm determined to keep up on my Yamtastic Quilting Bee and finish up some long neglected projects.  First.

 Yamtastic Quilting Bee block for Sally -- March.

Yamtastic Quilting Bee block for Gabrien -- February.

Growing wall of granny square blocks.

It's difficult to choose my favorite part of making a quilt.  I love the planning, choosing the colors and fabrics, playing around with pieces on the design wall, sewing the pieces together and watching the design take shape, taking those last few stitches to complete the top, and even hand stitching the binding to the back.  But I always, always, always put off making quilt backs.  
I'd even rather baste than make a quilt back.  

Sooooo-- I have a nice collection of quilt tops with no backs.  Sitting, just sitting, for a long, long time.
I have been working on them for the last two days, and I only have three finished.  Sigh.  
Here are some sneak peeks of my progress on two very old projects:

 City Park Quilt (Cherry House Quilts)

 Back for City Park Quilt

Wonky Cross Quilt
 Back of Wonky Cross Quilt

I want to thank you all so much for your congratulations on and interest in my new Juki.  I am still madly in love with the automatic foot-controlled thread cutter and the knee lift for the presser foot.  Several people asked about a special foot for 1/4" piecing.  
 I actually just use the foot the came on the machine.

 I noticed when I started using that machine that the seams appeared to be about 1/4"so I measured: a scant 1/4".
 I grabbed a charm square, cut it in 1/2, and then sewed it back together.  As you can see it measures exactly 4.5"
It doesn't get any better than that!

Happy Spring!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan