Monday, September 29, 2014

Choose Your Own Block-Along, 9/29/14

Welcome to this week's edition of the Choose Your Own Block-Along, and thanks to those of you who are linking your progress!

This week I made blocks 9 and 10 in the Tula Pink's City Sampler book.

I think it takes longer to choose the fabrics than it does to sew the blocks!
Block 9
Block 10
I have now made one block for each of the ten color/value categories I set up. I'll be sure to post a picture of them next week, along with the new blocks.
Be sure to see what blocks Rene' and Michelle have made in the past week.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friendship X and + Block Exchange: The Big Reveal

This all started back in October of last year. Has it really been nearly a whole year? Carla (Lollyquiltz) and Susan (Patchwork and Play) came up with a plan for a block swap that sounded like too much fun.

It involved choosing a partner and between the two of you, choosing a palette of colors to work with and then swapping  x and + blocks--we used the tutorial by Badskirt Amy.  I barely had finished reading the guidelines when I quickly sent an email to Carla (Grace and Favour) and she agreed to partner up with me. Together we chose this palette:

Every month we each made a set of blocks for ourselves and an identical set for our swap partner. We decided on a total of 64 blocks. This was my first set--four for me, and an identical set for Carla.

It was so much fun to choose the fabrics for the blocks each month, and to open that package from Carla to see what fabric choices she had made.

At some point she showed a peek at the fabric she was going to use for the backing. It was a simple texty print with all the months of the year--perfect. I ordered the same thing! ("8 days a week" by Ampersand Design Studio for Windham Fabrics, in case you are curious).

Last weekend I worked on the machine quilting, something I am not proficient at, and at this point, straight line quilting is the only thing in my arsenal. I was so anxious to get it completed by today's deadline so there was no way I was going to attempt to try something else.

By mid week I was ready to finish the binding, a step of the process that I really enjoy.
So are you ready for the unveiling?I'm so happy with this quilt. Working in tandem with a friend whose work I admire so much has been a wonderful connection and we are already talking about another project. I alternated the blocks in each row, so each of my blocks is sharing a seam with one made by Carla. That thought makes me happy.

Here is the back, which I just love.
When I was getting ready to piece the backing, I decided that I needed to match up the words and make is seem, well, seamless. It's right about in the center of this portion of the quilt back, a vertical seam. Can't see it?  Even close up, I have a hard time finding it myself.
Thankfully, it actually has started to feel like fall here in central California. We even had quite a breeze when I took these pictures.
The final closing shot.
Carla, thank you so much for saying yes to that email last year. This will always be a very special quilt.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop/Choose Your Own BlockAlong

Today is my turn on the Around the World Blog Hop. I was asked by Elizabeth from Pieceful Life, and I hope you will check out her blog because she does beautiful work. She loves to add a touch of hand quilting to a lot of her quilts, and also has a really cool trick for turning squares on point--be sure to check it out. Also, she lives in Oklahoma City, which is a fun connection. I never lived in Oklahoma City, but I did spend seven years while growing up living in Enid, and I have really great memories of Oklahoma.

So on with the questions.

What am I working on? 
 I'm not quite sure where to even start to answer this question. I have a tendency to be easily distracted and begin new projects at the drop of a hat. The good news: I am rarely bored. The bad news: Things tend to be left unfinished as I begin a new project. I aspire to be one of those people who starts a project and then works on it to completion, but I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen. So...I am currently working at completing a project with a deadline of this coming Friday, the blocks I did with my partner Carla for the Friendship X and + block exchange. Shockingly, I am quite confident that I will be done in time! So come back on Friday for the full reveal, along with links to the rest of the quilters participating in this block exchange.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't think I am particularly unique in what I choose to work on. I have been a quilter for over twenty years and have been a fabric "collector" for that long, so I have a lot of fabric to work with. I enjoy a large variety of projects, although in the last few years I have found myself drawn particularly to solids, especially when paired with black to make the colors pop.

Why do I write/create what I do?

For nearly as long as I can remember, I have created. My grandmothers were quilters and quilting is part of my Mennonite Brethren heritage so I feel a connection to quilting that I haven't felt with other creative outlets I have explored.  While I often say that I write, but don't consider myself to be a writer, blogging has opened up a world of inspiration and friendship. When I get discouraged about the actual writing, I remind myself that my blog is a way to document my creative life for my grandchildren. Even though they have spent time in my sewing room, and have even done some sewing themselves, this is another way to give them some insight into their grandmother, someone who loves them beyond measure. 

 Quilter in training...
How does my writing/creating process work?
For the last few years, I have gotten inspiration from some interesting and unexpected places--floors in fast food restaurant bathrooms, upholstery, a logo on a church website, a thank-you note from my mother--inspiration is everywhere! I take lots of pictures, then get out my graph paper and see if there are parts of the design that work either as a whole quilt, a set of blocks or even just a color scheme.

I have asked Anne from Springleaf Studios and Mary from Mary on Lake Pulaski to play along next week. They are both members of the Mid Century Modern Bee. Mary and I meet in Minnesota each summer to attend a small quilting retreat and is a dear friend. Anne will be my roommate at QuiltCon and I'm really looking forward to finally meeting her in person.

I have also asked Rachel from Life of Riley. When I saw that she was making a quilt that documents the temperature where she lives, each day for an entire year, I was inspired to make a temperature quilt as well. Colors are assigned to temperatures in five-degree increments. It is hot here in Central California and I was afraid that my quilt would look rather boring, since our temperature doesn't vary like it does in the Midwest. So I decided to choose another city--one of the front of the quilt and one for the back of the quilt. My husband's brother lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and boy do they have a variation in temperatures! I keep track of the highs and lows from each day in a little notebook, and I'm calling it The Tale of Two Cities. I started in May, and I'm a little behind (go figure...), but you can see Rachel's progress here.
Be sure to check out their posts next week--you will be glad you did! And I hope you come back on Friday to see the completed Friendship X and + quilt. 

Also, today is the weekly "Choose Your Own BlockAlong" link-up. This week I completed Blocks 7 and 8 from Tula Pink's City Sampler book.
 Blocks 7 and 8
The idea I initially visualized seems to be coming together as planned.
 Blocks 1-4
Blocks 5-8
If you are playing along, I hope you will link up so we can see your progress. Also be sure to see what Rene' and Michelle have been up to this week.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Choose Your Own BlockAlong, 9/15/14

Welcome to this week's edition of  Choose Your Own BlockAlong.

Two things I know for sure about my block-along:

1. I am going to love this quilt.
All blocks are from Tula Pink's City Sampler Book. 
Block 5

 Block 6
2. It is not going to be the stash buster that I had hoped for.

How have I collected so much red and green fabric?? It may not look like much here but there are six stacks of fabric!
Starting this week, we will have a linky so you can show your progress and see what everyone else is up to. Please only link if your post includes at least one block in a series you are working on.

 Also, don't forget to check the progress of Rene' and Michelle.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finish It Friday

In what seems like kind of a stunning development, I have not one but two finishes today. Neither of them are very large, but nonetheless they are complete.

Awhile back, I needed some graphic design work for a magazine quilt submission. I had designed four blocks and each block had two braided herringbone sections. I was able to get as far as this:
Terri was able to get it to this point, where each segment of the block was "exploded"--just what I needed.
I don't think I am underestimating it when I say that Terri is a huge Anna Maria Horner fan. For months, I had wanted to make one block for her using AMH scraps in the braided portion, not only to thank her for the graphic design work but also because she is a very special friend.
On the back is one of my favorite prints.
If you have an embroidery machine, you really need to check out some of Terri's designs

Next up, this top has been sitting in a stack for what seems like forever. I'm not sure exactly what was holding me up from completing it. I just was never sure what its final outcome should be--pillow? mini quilt? It ended up being a mini, 22" x 22". It's made from a set of Oakshott cottons called "elements" (at least that is what I think they are called--I'm not sure that this range is even available anymore). All the colors are "shot" with white thread, giving them a chalky pastel look.
I found the perfect fabric for the back.

I ended up doing some easy straight line quilting, which sure didn't take very long, which then made me wonder why I had waited so long! Anyway, I'm giving it away!
Just leave a comment and let me know if you have ever made anything with shot cottons. I'll choose a winner on Sunday, September 14.

And...Mark has been busy in his glass shop as well. He had two custom orders and they are so spectacular that I had to share them. They are 12" platters made from dichroic glass. Photos do not do them justice. These platters are simply stunning.
This is his equivalent of sewing with scraps. I can tell you that especially the bottom platter took forever to piece. Just look at these teensy little slivers of glass. Improv glass making at its finest.
After firing the platter first in the kiln (there are three layers of glass that need to be fused together), he then fires it again to give it the gentle slope.
If you are in need of some cool gifts, he I will be posting pictures on his Instgram feed, @doublediamondglass.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF. Have a lovely weekend.

Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Choose Your Own Block-Along Monday, 9/8/14

I'm so glad you are here for this week's edition of the "Choose Your Own Block-Along."  Rene' designed a button for us, and we have a Flickr group!

I spent a little time working on the plan for the Tula Pink City Sampler blocks. I have a list of eight block groups, and the number of blocks which will be in each group. Here is the breakdown:

White/green (low volume): 10 blocks
White/red (low volume):     10 blocks
White/red/green (low volume): 10 blocks
Green/white: 10 blocks
Red/white: 10 blocks
Red/green/white: 16 blocks
Red/green: 14 blocks
Green/red: 14 blocks

The first color(s) listed in each group is the color that will be emphasized. So, for example: the blocks I made last week were white/green and white/red:

This week I did two blocks from the next group, white/red/green:
Here are the four blocks together:
I can visualize it all in my head. Hope it works out.

Don't forget to see what Rene' and Michelle have been up to this week.  We plan on having a linky, too--we just haven't decided on how often. What do you think? Weekly, monthly, once a quarter? We hope you join us--here, Instagram, Flickr!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Finish It Friday

Now I realize that conventionally a quilt back would not be considered a "finish." However, just ask Carla. She and I completed all 111 Farmer's Wife quilt blocks.
 81 blocks on the front (ignore the fact that I put it on the design wall incorrectly)
We blogged about them every Friday for months. She completed the back to her quilt, sent it off to be quilted, unpicked some of the quilting, sent it off again, and then wrote a post about her beautiful quilt. In 2013.

Mine is still not finished. 

So. High on my priority list has been to finally complete the back so my quilt can finally be completed. Then I can finally write a post telling you what a wonderful experience this was, to make the same two blocks each week with a good friend, because it really WAS a wonderful experience. I can show you my completed Farmer's Wife quilt for the first time. And Carla can reintroduce you to her really stunning quilt.

I'm happy to report that the back is done so I'm considering it a "finish" this week.  By now the whole thing should be in the hands of my fabulous quilter, Dea, who quilts more than she blogs. :) Lucky for me.
(30 blocks on the back)
I can't wait to share my favorite blocks--you might be surprised--and one that I thoroughly despised.

I'm linking up here and here

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Choose Your Own Block Along:Starting a New Project

It always fascinates me how a new project gets started. You have a list of things to finish and you vow not to start anything new. And then, wham! You are pulling fabrics for a brand new project.

Awhile back, I found out that my good friends (and sisters) had some projects of their own in the works.  Michelle wanted to make the blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler, and Rene' wanted to make her Dear Jane blocks. I have had the Tula Pink book for awhile and already had kind of plan formulating in my head.

They decided that doing a "block along" would keep them accountable. It sure worked for me when Carla and I decided to make all 111 Farmer's Wife blocks. (NOTE: I'm pretty good with the accountability portion of making the blocks. I just have trouble with the completion portion. Carla's quilt has been completely finished for a long time. Mine is finally off to my favorite longarmer tomorrow....)

So the three of us decided to form an accountability group. We would love to have people join us. Maybe Tula Pink's City Sampler isn't on your list, or you have never wanted to make a Dear Jane block. Doesn't matter. If you have a project to complete, I hope you will join us! The three of us will post our progress each Monday.  (NOTE: Did you notice it is Tuesday? Eek. I'm already a day behind. But yesterday was a holiday, right?)
Block 1
Block 2
I'm planning on going through the book and making the blocks consecutively. Debbie from A Quilter's Table has a great tutorial on creating a grid to keep track of the blocks. And that way I can get more of a handle on the plan that is floating around in my head.

You can see the progress Rene' and Michelle have already made.

I hope you join us and make some blocks of your own!