Monday, May 19, 2014 with the new...

Quilting is something I do for fun.  It makes me happy to play with color, and to make something with my hands.  I have no ambitions, and rarely have an agenda for my projects.

Because of that, I decided early on to let myself off the hook when it came to finishing things.  I'm allowed to start a new project whenever I want, even if I have tons of WIPs, because that's fun.

This week has been a party (a disaster?) in that respect.

I had a layer cake of Sewing Basket and the bright, cheery colors were calling my name.  A couple of nights ago, I sliced into it.  I'm making a simple pattern, so one night later I had reassembled all the sliced-up layers into blocks.  But I want a bigger quilt (with more white space), so I needed more blocks.  But that meant having more fabric.  Which means waiting.  And I am not a patient person.

So last night I ordered the needed charm pack, and then started another new project, one that has been in my head ever since I saw Susan(Canadian Abroad)'s ombre X-plus.

I started a new job back in January, and got my first paycheck Feb 1.  To celebrate, I treated myself to a long-coveted FQ stack of Chicopee.  I'm going to use the black-and-white prints for the pluses and the colors for the X's.  It's going to be awesome.  You'll see.

Not much to see yet, but I did manage to get all of the 'plus' parts of the blocks strip-pieced and sliced up last night.

It went very fast.  I know the next step will take longer, but I'm super-excited about this quilt.  Maybe that will encourage me to actually finish it in the near-term...?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Another first for me!  I am entering my Hipster Swoon quilt in the Modern Quilts category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side.

This quilt was a house-warming gift for my sister and her boyfriend, who recently moved in together.  They are both political journalists in D.C.  He has a beard and wears plaid shirts.  She wears terrible, over-sized plastic-frame glasses.  They went to the White House Correspondents Dinner this year.  How cool are they??

The answer, of course, is *almost* cool enough for this quilt!

I had been wanting to make a Swoon quilt, but I wanted to pair up the traditional / sweet look of the block with some edgy fabrics that were decidedly non-traditional and non-sweet (tangy?).

I started with a bundle of Riley Blake's Geekly Chic in a pink/multi colorway.  I then purchased a few more large-scale hipster-y prints and added fabric from my stash, including a couple of vintage hand-me-down scraps from my mom.

The individual blocks are HUGE:

Micheal Miller Bicycles with Jeni Baker's Color Me Retro...

...Groovy Guitars from Michael Miller, the Boy Toys Camera fabric from Robert Kaufman (with the super-awesome Geekly pink skulls!)...

...a newsprint fabric (because they're journalists! get it??) with the Geekly glasses...

...a giant plaid from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill collection (along with vintage pixelated airplanes from my mom's stash)...

...and so on.

I bound the quilt with a medium-scale black and white zigzag, which gives it lots of snap.

I backed it with a grey-and-white stripe queen-size sheet from a Target sheet set---one of my favorite ways to back a quilt.  Because (a) you don't have to piece it, (b) you can get a comfy cotton-poly blend that gives the quilt tons of strength and staying power, (c) they are cheap, and (d) you get a matching fitted sheet and pillow cases that you can use on the bed with your quilt!

I free-motion quilted it on my home machine (an old-school Bernina 802 sport) with a loop-the-loop motif.  This was my first attempt to free-motion a full-size quilt.  Definitely not perfect, but it holds the quilt together!

The finished quilt is about 80"x80" and now lives on their bed in D.C.  I snagged some pictures when I was visiting in March.  Fun, and not too girly, even for a guy!  I wanted my sister's boyfriend to like it too, since it was going to be in his room.

Finished quilt stats:
Quilt Size: 80" x 80"
Quilt design: Swoon, by Camille Roskelly
Fabrics for the top: Geekly Chic by Riley Blake, plus a bunch of others listed above
Binding: Riley Blake medium chevron in black and white
Backing: a sheet from Target
Batting: no idea!

Thanks for visiting!  And thank you to Amy for hosting this fun event.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stash Bee Hive #12 blocks

2014 is a year of changes for me.  New beginnings.  
  • Moving from Princeton, NJ back to Santa Cruz, CA
  • Abandoning my academic astronomy career (10 years in the making!) to do something new
  • Making some online quilty friends
That last one is the most important, right?  

In service of which, I started this blog, which no one reads (yet).  And decided to do some quilt-alongs (including two Catvent quilt tops which still need to be made into quilts, and Sew Lux Fabrics' Medallion Border of the Month where I'm still working on the January border), so nothing much to show for myself.  

And, and, AND... I joined the Stash Bee.  More success there, in that I have been finishing my blocks, mostly on time.  Still working on the convert-bee-mates-into-friends part of the equation.  :-)  

So, in reverse order...

May blocks for Heather at Bobbins & Bullets.  She asked for a Square Dance block in grey and aqua, but then realized that technically, she was only allowed to ask for 1/4 of a Square Dance block.  

I like paper piecing, and didn't want her to be sad and thwarted... I made four quarters so that she'll have a full Square Dance's worth of block from me.  

Fun, right?  Finished those last night, should have them in the mail tomorrow.

Moving back in time, Aprils' simplified Dresden block for Michele:

This block was much easier than I'd feared, but I didn't have it in me to make more than one.  The blue fabric with hearts is a scrap from my mom's stash, given to her in the 1970's by the woman who taught her to quilt.  To make up for my one-block lameness, I also made her a cute patchwork pincushion.  It was my first ever pincushion, and a bit lumpy, but hopefully she'll stick it full of pins and the lumps won't matter.

In March, it was an Arizona block in orange and aqua for Jennifer.  In February, a number of our bee-mates had (intentionally or not) swapped around a few pieces of Cheryl's simplified Swoon block.  I looked at that and though, "How fun!  That'll make an even more interesting quilt!"  And then I remembered this quilt by the Littlest Thistle, and the Gen X Vice Versa BOM, and I had to make two blocks: one "correct" Arizona block, and one inverted.  Except when I laid out the "correct" one, I didn't like the combination of fabrics (too many lights, not emphatic enough), so I split up the lights and wound up making three blocks.

The "correct" blocks are fine, but I *LOVE* the inverted block.  I now totally want to make a whole quilt with this inverted block.  It also somehow feels even more "Arizona" to me.

Not sure if Jennifer will use it in her quilt, but since I sent her two real ones as well, I figure she won't complain!

Moving along (backward?) we had February's simplified Swoon for Cheryl.  She chose colors that were really hard for me: purple and grey.  I like them both individually, but together they just felt 'blah' (no offense, Cheryl).  But I couldn't make or send a block I thought was 'blah', so I just had to keep looking until I found fabrics I could like for this one.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out:

I *LOVE* how the Alison Glass "Bike Path" fabric looks radiating out from the center (more on that in another post someday...).  

And after ransacking my stash, I could only find one thing I liked for the center: a piece of Liberty Tana Lawn from a gorgeous scrap pack my British in-laws got me for Christmas.  So in it went.  Not because I'm generous (I would happily have kept it all to myself!) but because it was the only thing that I liked there.  And I couldn't make or send a block I didn't like (see above).  

And finally, a very simple paper-pieced block in January for Heather at Quilts in the Queue:

She's using them to finish up a quilt with lots of much fancier stars---what a clever idea for a bee!  And a nice way to ease into the new year, and my first bee.

Hooray for 2014!  At some point, I'll have to decide what I'm going to ask for in my month...


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fabric Pulls for Supernova Friendship Block-Swap

I'm excited to participate in the Supernova Friendship Block-Swap, hosted by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and by Sandra at One Million Stitches.  I don't know either of those lovely ladies, nor do I know my partner for the project, Caitlin.  At least, not yet.  That's the whole point!  I started trying to blog in the hopes of meeting and making some quilty friends, so this project is perfect.

Caitlin says that she likes modern style and a solid background.

We'll have to pick a color scheme that we can agree on, so I ran off and did a few fabric pulls.  I'm posting them here so Caitlin can have a look (Hi, Caitlin!) and let me know if she likes any of them.

Orange/Lime/Aqua/Navy/Grey (inspired by the telephone print at the top):

Lavender/Aqua/Lime/Orange/Brown (inspired by the Denyse Schmidt and Amy Butler prints 2nd and 3rd from left):

Or Hot Pink/Orange/Yellow/Aqua/Navy inspired by two prints from Denyse Schmidt's Picadilly line):

Caitlin, do any of these appeal to you?  If so, great!  If not, do you want to pull some fabrics or some Design Seeds color palettes that you like?

As for background, Stephanie showed a quilt by Patrick at Straight Stitching Singer made with the Supernova pattern.  I really like the way the medium-value background interacts with the foreground fabrics over a range of values to make the blocks look very different from one another.  With a light-value or a dark-value background, the blocks look more same-y.  Caitlin, if you like that look too, maybe we can choose a medium-value background in a neutral-ish tone that matches whichever color scheme we choose.

So partner, what do you think?  ;-)