Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quilt blocks big and {very} small- a small interlude

There is NO such thing as too much of a good thing.
More is better.
Better is best!

Always Bee Learning is a group I participate in over at Flickr. It's a virtual Bee in which we challenge each other not only to try new techniques, but to get better at tried and true techniques. Sometimes the blocks are hard, other times, elegantly simple, but they always keep us on the path towards learning, and not always about just sewing!

This month's block was chosen by Leanne at she can quilt. It's elegant, and has all those precise half square triangles. Our challenge was to make perfect half square triangles. Leanne posted a thoughtful tutorial on how to make perfect half square triangles. Our task was to see if we could.

What do you think?
Dashing through the snow…...
I have always admired precise HST, but never achieved the desired precision until Leanne's tutorial
Lesson well learned! But why stop at just the 2 blocks??? Why indeed?

Block variation: at 1:16 scale. (I didn't quite pull it off but I sure had fun trying).

Mini Quilt replica of the November Always Bee Learning Block using
 tiny left over scraps from making the bigger HST's.
And yes, that's snow in the background. Perfect for a winter quilt.

1:16 scale (the entire mini quilt is only 3" x 3")

The "mini" HST are each 1/2" square in size. Save for the one on the right in light blue, I nailed the little points. Couldn't have had a better teacher. Thank you Leanne.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Improv piecing with Shot Cottons- a finish.

Well, here it is, my improv pieced quilt from Jacquie Gering's class. (Chronicled here).
This quilt was difficult to photograph due to the rich subtleties of the shot cotton. I will say, it is the softest quilt I have ever made- and it has yet to be washed.

Gritty Details:
"Thoughtfully Random"
53.5" x 51.5"
Kaffe Fassett shot cottons by Westminster Fabrics. Yardage plus pieces from the Shot Cotton Fat Quarter bundle. All fabric (and thread) purchased from Treelotta. (and here)
100% cotton Warm and Natural batting
Aurifil 100% Mako cotton thread, 50 weight (#2460) for both piecing and quilting
Bernina modified stitch for the overall quilting
Original design (inspired by Jacquie Gering's improv piecing class, November 2013)

Quilt front
The fabric was so gorgeous to work with I used up all my scraps adding left over little bits in random places

Close-up, quilt front

Quilt front with tiny pops of color sneaking off the edge

Quilt front
I even used up tiny scraps in the binding

Quilt back
The block design at the quilt bottom is from the quilt Jacquie gave me to finish for her.
I added the additional stripes to emphasize the overall design and make the block really standout on the otherwise solid background.

Quilt back
Thank you Jacquie for being so inspiring!

Quilt in place. It was made for our living room.
It's just the right size to throw on your lap, grab a good book and get reading!
Although hard to tell, the dominant shot cotton color is very close in color to my couch
My next project is to piece the back for Jacquie's quilt, and then get quilting. I have settled on the fabrics (whew) with some help from Melissa Ritchie at We Shall Sew. I have a design in mind, compliments of the quilt maker, now I just have to get going! More soon!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Quilting with and for Jacquie Gering

The karma home run!
I was fortunate enough to take an improv piecing class (put together by the wonderful women of the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild) with the dynamic Jacquie Gering while she was in Colorado this November.  We worked on the improv quilting techniques she has written about in her book Quilting Modern (with Katie Pedersen). The inspiration was her "Urban Garden Quilt", (page 53). The actual Urban Garden quilt was present for inspiration. (You could touch it!). The class was all I thought it might be. FUN. INSPIRATIONAL. CONVIVIAL. MOTIVATING.

Jacquie and her quilt board demonstrating improv piecing

Background fabric added and Voila!

Jacquie with one of her demonstration quilt tops, keep this one in mind…….. ( saves space in her luggage by bringing just the tops)

Her other other sample quilt top on the left.

Oh, yes, I did ask for a picture.  (My class quilt hanging in the back ground- lots of work still to be done)
So, ……. remember this quilt top

well…… Jacquie asked, whether anyone would like to quilt it for her- she actually offered up both of her demo quilt tops to our guild to quilt. Really, she did! I raised my hand, (thinking maybe she was just kidding, and secretly hoping she was not) and right now, I have that quilt at my house and I'm going to finish it (piece the back, add the batting, quilt and bind it). Jacquie actually handed it to me, asked me again if I wanted to quilt it. (Yes, I do, I really, really do.) Melissa Ritchie, our guild president got the other quilt top. I get to choose the backing fabric and the thread as well. Needless to say, I'm a bit intimidated thrilled to be doing this.  Still pinching myself. Gotta stop and get some ideas going. Solid back? Fun print? Do I dare insert a small pieced improv block from the skills leaned at her class??? She said we could do what we wanted as long as it was our best. Pressure much????

Stay tuned for the big reveal. My finished quilt in the next post and then Jacquie's Quilt to follow.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

X- factor pillow swap, round 7

It's done, and on it's way to my partner. Round 7 of the X-factor pillow swap. This rounds theme was "low volume".  My take, cheeky at best.
"Turning Down the Volume" (literally)
20 x 20" pillow, with pieced letters in assorted low volume gray 100% cotton quilting cottons
Bernina wave quilted with Aurifil thread, 50 wt 100% mako cotton, off white

pillow front
pillow front, close up of piecing and quilting

pillow back with pop of orange in the inset zipper

Friday, November 1, 2013

The kindness of others

The on-line quilting world is remarkable. So much creativity and cooperation all in one close knit (for lack of a better sewing analogy) community. There are too-many-to-count blogs, Facebook pages,  swaps and bees, challenges and contests; and inspiration in such abundance it makes your head spin. But, as big as it is, it's also a small world. Friends helping friends, strangers showing kindness, people who only know each other "virtually" looking out for each other.

Unfortunately there is also unkindness, made large and public by easy accessibility on-line. I wish this was not the case but it is.

But, I'm here to tell you, for each short-sighted slight,  there are those remarkable people that make the stars twinkle in the heavens and the sun rise in the East. I'm not kidding. These are the people that you count yourselves luckily to know. (You are also doing a little dance on the side because they are just that nice).

So, since I can, and because I think I should- let me say a personal Thank You to all my friends and followers. For your kind comments and notes of encouragement. And for those of you that have become close friends, for sharing your lives with me and for looking out for me when I'm so busy looking forward I forget to look back. I'm a better person because of YOU!  Also, a personal and heartfelt Thank You to my fellow FRMQ Guild members for listening and encouraging me to push the quilting boundaries and to do my best,  for sharing your experiences, good and bad, and for celebrating accomplishments as a community of wonderful, talented and nurturing individuals.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This post did not come out of the blue. Believe me or not, but it sprang from a bee, a challenge, a lunch and asking an incredibly talented on-line artist/quilter for help. I tell you it's a small, small world, and I'm so very glad to be part of it. Not to embarrass any one or to single out a few among the many, but, hopefully you know who you are.  Each new beginning needs a catalyst and the four of you were just that. There will be more coming about the bee and the challenge in the coming weeks. I ate the lunch so, that's pretty much done and gone. The help I asked for turned into something better than even I imagined and because they are all related in a cryptic kinda way, I'll give you a bit of a teaser and say no more for now.