Friday, August 21, 2015

Create along with Bee Sewcial at #inspiredbyBeeSewcial

"About a year ago a unique sewing bee formed that asked each member to choose a monthly theme/inspirational source and color palate. 10 quilters would then go forth and make "blocks", blocks become a quilt, one for each month. In this process we bee members have gained new skills, explored different designs and close friendships have grown. Somewhere in this whole creative endeavor other talented people have observed our journey and have asked to participate.

Unable to keep a good thing to ourselves, we have created a companion community #inspiredbybeesewcial to sew right along with us. We have received requests to join but since the Bee is currently full, we wanted to find a way for you all to sew/create right alongside Bee Sewcial.   We will continue to post our monthly inspiration on IG with dual hashtags. We ask only that you use #inspiredbybeesewcial when you post your makings. This larger group #inspiredbybeeswecial is about being a respectful, supportive, creative, collaborative community and making ourselves better designers and sewists. If you would like to be part of this companion community, you may follow monthly "instructions" on our blogs and tag your pictures on IG with #inspiredbybeesewcial. You will find us commenting on all your creativity over in #inspiredbybeesewcial creative space.

So, are you ready? Hillary @entropyalwayswins is point for September. Look for her mission to us all in the last week of August. The other co-conspirators (and people you might want to follow just so you don't miss anything) are: Leanne @shecanquilt, Debbie @aquilterstable, Diane @ylmommyx4, Marci @marci_girl, Felicity @felicityquilts, Karen @capitolaquilter, Kari @quiltsforthemaking, Melissa @weshallsew and Stephanie @spontaneousthreads."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Everything Old is new again

I'm participating in the Michael Miller Fabrics sponsored Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine block challenge.
My July submission was to reinterpret a more traditional 12" flying goose block.
Here is my take:
Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids in Jet Black, Soft White and Acid

Please vote for  me (pretty, pretty  please????) here I'd appreciate it! THANKS!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

And the winner is…..

THANK YOU all for the thoughtful and supportive comments. I hope that you perhaps all look at your scrap bin with your rose colored glasses on in the future.

As promised the winner is …… Tamara King, @metamarama (IG).  Chosen by Mr. Random number generator.

What did she win? Well, Tamara, I will make you, either a mini quilt or a pillow, from my  scraps, but you choose the colors. I will also make sure to use a small piece of my 2015 nano particle fabric int eh design.

In addition I will include some fat quarters of blenders compliments of Fabricate Boulder, my sponsor.

What I need from you:
1. color preferences
2. solids, prints, both, don't care.

oh, and when it's ready to go, an address.

Congrats and I look forward to working with you.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


My third (leftover) scraps quilt for 2015.
I set a goal of 2 quilts in 2015 made entirely from trimmings and scraps, and got 2 good sized quilts made along with one smaller quilt. The details on the smallest, "Dark Shadows" have already been published.   The second larger quilts details come later this fall.

"Embers" was born from several projects undertaken and finished in 2015  centered around the Marsala Pantone Color of the year 2015, and a Bee I'm involved with, Bee Sewcial (#beesewcial on Instagram). Let's face it, these are my colors. I have always liked them, they speak to me and it just seemed that I got permission this year to use them with abandon. So, I did. I can't tell you every single Kona solid that went into this quilt, but there were many. I used the scraps as they were cut, directly from my bin. I didn't recut, except to trim. I did focus the "lighter" fabrics in a slightly off-set "center" and let the darker fabrics surround them. I also used my 2015 nano particle fabric. In the right light, the combination of the saturated hues, from yellow to orange, red, burgundy and mahogany, glow. The addition of the retroreflective nano particle fabric just accentuate this. I didn't initially set out to make that happen, it just did.
Quilt front (no flash)
Even without the flash, the retroreflective fabric (read as white) "glows"

64 x 56"
Before quilting
retroreflective nano particle fabric is easily seen

Improv pieced original design made entirely from precut scraps
some of the "background" scraps I worked with

Fabrics:  Top:Kona solids in yellows, oranges,  deep pink, reds, deep reds, burgundy and mahogany (red/brown). Focal intense blues (cyan, aqua, lagoon), nanoparticle fabric.
               Back: additional larger scraps, pieced. Stash print fabric
Thread: Piecing: Aurifil #2021 50 wt, 100% cotton
             Quilting: Aurifil#2240, 2460 (top) #2460 (bobbin)
Quilting: relatively straight line, domestic Bernina 820 with a walking foot
pin basting

Busy piecing, simple quilting

Batting: Quilters dream 100% wool
Binding: 2" straight of grain, pieced to compliment the color change in the dark background
Labeling: Versatranz, stitched name, sewn label
Versatranz custom  heat press label

Quilt back at the photo shoot
Think on this: most of us have scraps. Some of us have lots of scraps. Some people only save scraps of a certain size. Sometimes sorting those little odd shaped ones are more trouble than their worth. But I just want to give a shout out to those scraps and your perception of their worth. There may be a pretty fantastic quilt hiding in that scrap pile. So next time you're considering what to do with the left overs, consider challenging yourself to make a quilt, ONLY using those scraps. You might be very pleased with the outcome.

Quilt top taken with flash on. Retroreflective  fabric is obvious

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Accentuating the Negative: Dark Shadows

"I myself an made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions"- Augusten Burroughs

"Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts"- Winston Churchill

A story of making the most of your flaws.

The piecing of linear scraps and black batting accentuate the seams. The seed stitching adds depth

Truth: I've been lucky on 2 separate occasions with 2 different quilts to have a "negative" judging comment of: Dark fabric shadowing under lighter fabric. Yes, you read correctly, lucky to have received a constructive critique. Lucky because I used that critique to challenge myself to take that perceived "flaw" and make it a design feature. I mean why not, I'm obviously very good at it. I've done it twice- OK likely more than twice, but these 2 quilts had a judge looking at them. So instead of wallowing in self doubt, why not grab the shadows and bring them into the spotlight?
Can you see me now? The seams become design feature instead of design flaw.

Coincidence: A Front Range Modern Quilt Guild challenge to take a traditional block and make it modern.

Lucky me: I have clever quilty friends. We talk, we share…. we encourage and support.

Personal Goals Revisited: for 2015 I have several, 2 of which entail making quilts entirely from scraps.

Cooking up a storm: There is great Truth in Personal Coincidence, Lucky me. Using already cut scrap fabric strips, and  keeping within the Guild challenge guideline (black (any shade)/white (ditto) and 1 other color), and having a great sounding board- off I went to do my own thing. I pieced, awkward angles
awkward angles and a few Y seams
as well as straight seams. I cobbled batting from scraps as well and mustered some courage to try my hand at hand quilting. I incorporated 2014 (metallic) and 2015 (nano particle fabric) idea trends and ended up with a little quilt with a lot to say.

I was pleased with my interpretation of flying geese. What I hadn't expected was the secondary pattern that also emerged of log cabins, and a new found love of dark shadows.

Quilt front

Title: Dark Shadows, Derived Inspiration, No. 5
30 x 22"
Improv with intent, original design.
Fabric: Top: Kona scraps in white, snow, black, coal, medium gray, shadow, curry, saffron, nano particle fabric.
             Back: Black and white dots by Allison Glass
Thread: Aurifil #2021, 50 wt.;  Superior Threads Metallic in silver, Marathon metallic in white and black; embroidery floss in white and gray.
Quilting: straight line, near matchstick, focal FMQ
both cotton (Aurifil) and metallic (Superior and Marathon) threads were used

Guild challenge: Traditional to Modern: flying geese, log cabin
Batting: Quilters Dream black, 100% polyester scraps.
Labeling: Versaprint reflective heat press

New to me: hand embroidery, seed stitch both on quilt and on a portion of the binding.

even the binding got some hand stitching.

Black batting to accentuate the seaming. A small quilt. (Most of my quilts are much bigger).

I ran out of "white" scraps. I guess gray will do!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

On being Uncomfortable

One of several overriding themes this year for the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild was to try things outside your quilting "box" to stretch your skills, to be "uncomfortable". We told the guild members, any thing they made throughout this process that they weren't thrilled with, or that they didn't like enough to try again, we would take and incorporate into charity quilts for the the Guild.

So far this year, 2 quilts have been made from donated blocks. Much of the donated fabric comes from Pink Door Fabrics.
Three of us took donated blocks and pieced the tops. It took us one day to get 2 tops plus backs pieced and ready for quilting.
Selecting the blocks to use

The quilt top coming together.
Lots of "Y" seams
We made a few additional blocks to make the top cohesive.

Quilt top done!
Second Quilt top pieced.
Yes, some people have seen a secondary (unintentional) image here.

 Susan Santestevan did the quilting. The quilts are gorgeous.

auditioning the binding in Susan's studio
So, beauty from scraps. It can be done. These 2 quilts will go to the local police department and will be put in patrol cars responding to domestic violence calls where there are children known to be present.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Binding 2.0 , Please Hold Math Against Me

Normally I don't fuss much with math while I'm quilting. It gets me into trouble more times than not. I'm not afraid of math, I just like to use it when I need it, not any more or any less.

But there is one time when, to me math makes a whole lot of sense.

Tight, neat, just right, binding.

One of my friends (Thank you Hillary for asking the important questions)  recently asked the "how wide do you cut  your binding" on Instagram and I was surprised at the variety of answers.

So here is my take on Math and Binding.
Simple binding in progress, clover clips in place, ready to go

99.9% of the time, I cut my binding strips at 2", straight of grain. Some times I cut them on the bias, but I still cut them 2" wide.

Sometime I get "fancy" and piece/ embellish my binding,
hand stitched binding

binding with inset seam (retroreflective fabric)

Binding with double inset seam

Embellished binding

pieced/matched binding

inset seaming and binding

pieced binding, tiny inset fabric pieces can be used with ease. It's a great way to use scraps.
BUT, I still cut them 2" wide.

Let me tell you why: AKA the "math".

If you cut fabric strips 2" wide x WOF, fold in half, length wise, wrong sides together, raw edges matching and press, you'll have a folded binding strip 1" in width.
Then sew your binding strip to quilt top, matching raw edges, using a 1/4" seam.
When you bring the binding to the back, you've doubled the binding over the sewn 1/4" seam (on the top) leaving you about 1/2" of binding to fold over the raw edge of the quilt (which is about 1/8" thick) and cover your machine stitching on the back, which is (ha) 1/4" from the raw edge.
Neat, small hand stitching (with blind hem stitch, makes the application tot he back nearly invisible).

If you've done this, you end up with a beautiful 1/4" binding on the front, and just over a 1/4" binding strip on the back.  The binding is snug to the quilt  ( I guess judges LOVE this).  And your binding on the front and the back are essentially the same width give or take a millimeter or 2.
Quilt front at top, quilt back middle, quilt top, bottom.
The binding is Kona snow. The binding width, same, front and back.

Since I often piece my backs, I like to treat the composition of the back as an alternate front. I like my binding to be the same on the front and the back.

 I'm not saying this is the ONLY way to do binding. Or even the right way to do binding, it's just my way…... binding, tight, neat and just right.

To read more about the quilts featured here, click on the My Quilts tab at the top of my blog!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Twisted Sister Quilt- Celebration of the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild

Nothing better than creating with friends. Taking an idea and making together.

Case in point: The Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild's Twisted Sisters Quilt, a group derived inspiration quilt from the talented ladies in Colorado. The quilt is a modern take, of improvisational design with intent. The inspiration, an iconic game, Twister. We had 24 unique circles in a modern take  on the red, green, blue and yellow twister game. The circles could be anything, as long as they: finished about 15.5",  were created within the makers assigned colors, used solids for the circles and low volumes for the background. Outside of those few guidelines, anything goes. It was uplifting to see how excited everyone was and how outstanding and unique the circles are.
DMMQG meeting showing all the pits and pieces before the top and back are pieced.
At Susan Santisteven's house

Guild Members met the deadline for blocks being done. We laid them all out and admired our work. One guild member  couldn't make it at the last moment so we found her block (posted to the #dmmqgtwistedsistersquilt group on Instagram and added her block (on iPad in photo).
We added a twist to our Twister take off, by being lucky enough to have a guild member who excels at many things and Wendy made us a mini quilt, the twister spinner, with everyone's name and color circle represented. Like a mini quilt label of makers, but also the spinner for the Twister game. So we really did Twister with 2 quilts!

We then laid the circles out in the traditional twister grid of 4 x 6
blocks laid out, light to dark before trimming and piecing
but then added a twist, an additional improv quilted negative space of circles, all in low volume.
negative space back lit. You can "see" the low volume circles best this way
 If you look closely, the circles, are color graduations, from lightest (at the top) to darkest. The negative space on the right has several phases of circle, from a metallic quilted "ghost" circle at the top, to a more concrete circle at the bottom. All phases of circle in between.
quilt top pieced
back pieced- label of makers to be added (shown floating on quilt back)

The quilting is simple, curved, occasionally overlapping in a pale pearl glide thread. Wendy Bermingham, of Wendybzquilting kindly leant her long arm and her expertise to the quilting. Paired with Christine Perrigo of Contemporary Custom Quilting (who created the custom ghost circle and orchestrated the quilting around it), the two long arm experts made this quilt even more outstanding.
Wendy making sure everything is as it should be before quilting commences

"Ghost" circle in Metallic thread in progress. Design by Christine Perrigo

Almost done
 My total participation in the quilting consisted of asking too many questions and taking photos.

Quilt from below, while the quilting is happening. The shadowing secondary to the long-arm's  lights creates great visual overlapping of the top and the backing.
 I hadn't realized all the behind the scenes work that has to take place to get a quilt quilted on a long arm, including dismantling the quilt after the quilting had commenced, to add a backing layer of muslin so that the beautifully paper-pieced Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild Logo and lettering,
(pieced by Chelsea Camalick and Wendy Birmingham),  wouldn't shadow through onto the front. (I did help with making that decision and taking lots of photos!).
This is the BACK!!!! The paper pieced DMMQG logo by Chelsea and the Lettering by Wendy. I suggested  using the Modern Quilt Guild lettering for the M, the Q, and the G letters on the quilt.  It looks awesome!!!!

Title: "Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild's Twisted Sisters Quilt"
90 x 80 inches
Inspired by the game of Twister
Circle Makers: Sheri Nichhols, Katie Rapp, Heather Feurgeson, Michelle Davis, Chelsea Camalick, Wendy Roth, Teri Ladtkow, Susan Santistevan, Charlayne Dunn, Shelby Skumanich, Andrea Berryhill, Teresa Barbagallo, Lauren Lang, Wendy Bermingham, Dena Mehling, Christine Perrigo, Anne Deister, Amy Wade, Carla Keahey, Marsha Loewenberg, Judy Sanclaria and me!

Quilt top piecing: Amy Wade, Wendy Bermingham, Christine Perrigo

Negative space makers: Wendy Bermingham, Christine Perrigo, me

Quilters: Wendy Bermingham, Christine Perrigo: long arm quilted with custom additions (ghost circle in metallic Superior Thread in silver) and adjustments, both to quilt top and Spinner board which has custom quilting as well. (Thank you Christine).

Quilting in progress. The top was basted and floated.
The back can be seen peeking over the quilt at the top.
Binding:  bias, Kona snow: Wendy Bermingham

Batting: yummy wool- the loft really makes the quilting a real stand out (not that it wasn't already, it's just more).

Mini Twister Board:  Designed and Pieced: all Wendy Bermingham. (I tried to help but kept making more work for Wendy so I stopped). Custom quilting design: Christine Perrigo.