Friday, October 10, 2014

A Bee-autiful Year...


After last summer's amazing Plum & June Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop, a bunch of us new bloggers joined together to form the ScrapBeeLicious hive.  Thirteen of us started making blocks last August and we just wrapped up the year this summer!  The goal was to dip into our stashes and use up our growing scrap bins with fun and challenging blocks.


Looking back at the entire year of requests, I finished a grand total of 22 blocks over 13 months - not including my own.  There was quite a variety of techniques that we got to try out!  We did paper piecing, applique, flying geese, half square triangles, curves, improv piecing, and simple squares.  I know that I tried quite a few different block patterns that I never would have considered if I wasn't prompted!


I tried to blog about each month individually, but the last few months of the bee just got away from me and even though all my blocks were sent out, I didn't get a chance to post about them!  Which was a shame because Michelle, Stephanie, and Robin Sue requested some really nice blocks.  Take a peek...




In June, Stephanie asked for two Flock of Flying Geese blocks.  Cath was nice enough to create a paper-pieced template for all of us in just the right size.



I made one just from scraps of my Wavelength mini and the other in my typical rainbow palette.  With a bunch of fussy cuts, as always. :)




In July, Michelle asked for two Drunkard's Path blocks from Angela Pingel's book, A Quilter's Mixology.  AND she even bought us the book if we didn't already have it!  It was quite a treat to get that one in the mail - it was a book that I had been wanting to get but just hadn't gotten around to it yet!  


I was pretty nervous about it - I had never tried curves before.  But the instructions are so clear and simple that it really makes those curves a cinch to tackle!  Before I knew it, I had made four blocks.  Honest to goodness, these were the quickest bee blocks to make out of the entire year!


I don't know how some of you out there manage to be in multiple bees and swaps at the same time - it was hard enough for me to fall behind and I was only in the one.  I'm taking a bit of time off from the bee circuit, but eventually I think I'll get back in the game again.  It was lots of fun and pushed me to try new patterns, techniques, and color combinations that were out of my comfort zone.  If you're at all on the fence about joining one, give it a try.  What do you have to lose, except for scraps?


Thanks for a fun year, ladies!
Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design


Monday, October 6, 2014

This Quilt is So Baller...


The major breakthrough of my summer sewing slump was all because of my friend Sarah.  You know Sarah from Smiles Too Loudly, don't you?  If you don't already, go ahead and check her out because she's awesome.

Anyway, a few months ago Sarah and I both signed up for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram.  We were pretty excited about it but also a little nervous at how large it was and (let's be honest) if we would actually like what we got.  So we made a little side pact - just in case something went off the rails along the way, we'd be each other's "angel" and come up with something pretty cool to take the sting of disappointment away.


In the meantime, I made a mini Wavelength quilt that I was pretty darn proud of.  Sarah really liked it too - enough to show her husband Joe who proclaimed that "this quilt is so baller!"  Never had one of my quilts called anything like "baller" before and it gave me a good laugh.  I ended up really liking the mini that I received in return from Amira at Little Mushroom Cap.  When I checked back in with Sarah, she had made this gorgeous Aerial mini.  But was still waiting...

and waiting...and waiting.  She did eventually get her mini and was pretty happy with it!  But in the weeks of in between time when she was certain that she had somehow been forgotten and left off the list, I decided to take matters in my own hands. Angel-style.


So Sarah likes yellow.  A lot.  Yellow is not my favorite to work with, but I needed to make Sarah a yellow mini quilt because I knew it would be perfect for her. She's also a novelty print fan - especially cats.  On a trip up to my grandmother's during the summer, I found the perfect fabrics to start with.


And so after not sewing for weeks and weeks, I jumped right back into another Wavelength mini. I went for lemon/lime tones with some aqua and magenta thrown in to complete the spectrum.


Plus I had to include a few fussy cuts.  Obviously.


Instead of my previous choice of low volumes creams for the background, this time I went with varying shades of grey.  I wanted the star points getting lighter towards the edges while the grey would be getting darker.  This sort of ended up getting value-muddy in the middle, but I still like the effect.



I used the kitty fabric again in the binding and the effect of cats peeking out from the edge was just too perfect...


Of course, the best part of all of this was throwing out little teases of what I was working on via Instagram.  All the while, Sarah had NO idea that this was going to be for her...


My absolute favorite part was when I posted my fabric pull for the quilt and this was Sarah's comment:


I chortled with glee like your baddest Disney villain.

No wait...I lied.  My favorite part is the back.  Because I needed to acknowledge that with all the love she put into the quilty universe without knowing what she would get back in return, Sarah deserved a baller quilt too.


Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design


Friday, October 3, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop...

I know that I promised a post about the year that was ScrapBeeLicious and while that's still coming, I wanted to write a smidge (okay, a lot) about a blog hop that's been pretty popular over the summer.  The Around the World Blog Hop has bounced around quilters all over the globe and landed squarely in my neck of the woods in September.  I've been tagged by two amazing quilters: Laura at Little and Lots and Sarah at Smiles Too Loudly.  Laura, Sarah and I are all part of the SMQG and though their blogs are amazing and provide quite a bit of inspiration, it's been even more of a pleasure getting to know them through guild meetings and retreats.

So, on with the meaty bits of the blog hop!

1. What am I working on?


I just started a brand new project that's a year behind the crowd - the Forest QAL.  My epic procrastination is not too bad though since all of the tutorials are available for free and there are quite a few finishes to crush on.  That's one of my favorite things about the online quilting community.  You might have missed the boat to do something along with a crowd, but all the information, encouragement, and inspiration is still out there for you to tackle an epic project!


The Forest QAL is comprised of some seriously amazing paper pieced blocks inspired by nature and I'm planning on taking a very muted but maybe not entirely low volume journey through the woods.  I hope that you're interested in walking along with me, because I think this meander is going to talk a loooong time.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?


I don't necessarily think that I'm all that different from the other modern or modern-traditionalist quilters out there at the moment.  I have a really hard time creating original designs and have no problems following some one else's patterns.  I do usually try to flip a portion of a pattern on it's head so that it's uniquely mine.  My Broken Oreo quilt comes to mind - most others were using the larger portions of the herringbone to tell a more monochromatic story, while the sashing was consistently neutral/white or one print of fabric.  Instead, I decided to mix up my sashing colors and keep all the herringbones black and white.  I loved the effect and it definitely stood out in the crowd.  


The same idea with my Little Bookworms quilt - I loved Film in the Fridge's Converging Corners pattern but I sketched it out so that my corner's had matching colors that created scrappy stars throughout the quilt.  All little differences that make my quilts really MINE.



I think the biggest compliment I've gotten regarding my style came from Laura at our BMQG/SMQG retreat weekend.  I was just starting out on my Alphabet Rainbow Stars quilt and when she saw the blocks up on the design walls, she said something to the effect of "Even if I didn't see you sewing these, I would know that this is one of your quilts!"  Maybe because of my well documented love of rainbows, maybe because of the black background, or all the fussy cut alphabet centers, who knows?  But whatever the reason, it made me feel really great that day :)



3. Why do I write/create what I do?


I started my blog mostly because I felt like my Flickr descriptions and show and tell narratives were getting a bit long in the tooth.  While my family loves and is super supportive of what I create, they're not necessarily super interested in hearing all about a project's origins, fabric choices, potential layouts, etc.  So I took a leap of faith, opened a Blogger account and here we are, ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY posts, almost 500 followers (still small potatoes I know, but it's a LOT to me!), and countless words later!  It's been amazing to feel like part of such an inspiring and welcoming group.  



I just want to make things that are beautiful, tell a warm and snuggly story, and spread around a little quilty love.  Oh yeah, and show off my cute kids whenever I get a chance ;)



4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Sometimes I feel like these posts are a huge dose of word vomit because I just want to tell you all everything about my projects - the goodthe bad, and the ugly!  I'm not a stellar wordsmith.  I just want to share and I have a hard time waiting to do so.  If you see a post, it's probably because I've finished something within the week and just can't wait to write about it.  I don't think I'll ever be a blogger with a stash of posts all lined up and waiting to be published.  Maybe that's why I've gone so crazy with Instagram lately - it's instant gratification of the crafty kind!


I know I'm supposed to tag 3 other bloggers, but honestly I think that almost everyone I already follow has been tagged once before my procrastinating butt has gotten on board here!  Ah well, thanks for taking the time to read a little more about me and stay tuned because some fun stuff is coming up soon! :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dusting off the Cobwebs...

Can you hear the echo in here?


I've been sadly neglecting the blog because I've taken a little sewing sabbatical over the summer and there wasn't a whole lot to blog about!  But I've started to dust the cobwebs off the old sewing machine and I'm catching up on some past due Scrapbeelicious blocks!  But before I show off some blocks later this week, let me show you the last project that I tackled before my sewing mojo went on strike :)

The last summer dress that I tackled was a huge success and so while I was riding on a garment-making high, I also decided to try the second pattern that I bought which was the Leanne Marshall #1877 pattern for Simplicity.  I actually went back into the large cut of Honey Honey that I got in the big old February fabric binge and got down to work.


Am I the only one who feels like the pattern piece cutting and marking are the longest steps to the garment making process?  Or maybe I've just picked out some good patterns lately?  Either way, I was pretty happy because in two days I had a finished dress!


The details in this pattern are so pretty!  From the flutter detail on the shoulders to the perfect pleats at the waist, this is delicate (but not too precious) from head to toe.


If I had to make it over again, or if I went back and made a second one, I'd add some side darts to cut down on the underarm wings and give the sleeves a bit more definition.  And maybe I'd bring up the v-neck a bit.  It can get a little gape-errific and my chest doesn't really need the extra attention ;)


This dress got worn quite a bit - but not nearly as much as my other two - over this summer.  It even made an appearance at the last SMQG meeting where quite a few of us were wearing our handmade lovelies :)

Linking up:

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Been a While...

...since I posted anything about my alphabet stars quilt. My mistake for not sharing the progress I've made on it so far! 

Over two months ago, I finished all the FMQ on the top. I knew from the start that I wanted fairly dense quilting and was planning on all of it being concentrated in the black spaces on the quilt.


After all, I reasoned, if I'm using black thread then my mistakes won't be terribly obvious! Brilliant thinking, right? But as I spent what felt like hours doing FMQ "straight" lines,  I came to the sad realization that all this work was going to stay relatively invisible on the front. Head smack.

But, I plowed through and got it done working on and off through a long weekend. When I finished up, I knew immediately that the star centers needed some extra attention. In an hour, I went through the whole alphabet and did some FMQ flowers with white thread. I really like the loopiness alongside the straight lines!


So what the heck is taking me so long, you might ask? One final quilting element - I decided to hand quilt the inside of each star with variegated perle cottons in 6 different shades. I love the effect, but I am definitely a sloooow hand sewer.


At my speed, this will last the rest of the summer. But I think the effect is so worth it, I don't mind taking things easy!  It's come on vacation with us, so maybe I'll get more than a few letters done sitting lakeside.


Enjoy your summer everyone!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sari Feathers...

It's been quite a few posts coming, but my queen-sized feather quilt is finally finished!  All those deep purples, pinks and oranges were such rich colors that the finished feathers reminded me of an Indian sari.


I love how you can see the backing print as the sun is streaming through the quilt here!  I've written quite a bit about the quilt top itself, but there is a whole new layer of amazing-ness on this quilt.  Peer a little bit closer with me...


This was my first time sending a quilt out to a long-armer and I was a little nervous.  But as soon as I opened up the box from Margaret Gunn, all anxiety was banished.  I was simply blown away.


The feathers in relief!


The beautifully detailed side borders done in different shades of taupe!


All those clams and feathers together with intersecting waves outlining the single feather shape of the blocks!


I dropped everything - seriously everything because laundry and cleaning can WAIT - and got right to trimming and binding.



I had a whole roll of this gorgeous Tile print from Joel Dewberry ready and waiting for binding - a perfect complement to the Heirloom print I chose for the backing.


This quilt finished at 82 x 102 - by far the largest quilt that I've ever made!  Now that it's finished, it's headed to the "master" bedroom to keep us snuggly in modern style.


Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design