Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Work In Progress Wednesday - Rocky Mountain Puzzle Quilt

Somehow, without looking, we've arrived in March.  On my birthday at the end of the year, I spent the day cutting fabrics for my Rocky Mountain Puzzle Quilt from my 2015 Quilt Bucket list.   I ultimately decided to use Anna Maria Horner prints from the collection I've built up over the past few years.  Total AMH fangirl here, I admit. But really, how can you not fall in love with these colors?

Slowly, I pieced together the blocks.

Sewing a little bit here...

and there...

the top is nearly complete.

This quilt is a promising contender for my most favorite quilt ever award.  Don't you agree?

(Psss...Sharing this at today.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quilt Bucket List 2015

Before I look back on 2014, I want to look ahead to 2015.  I sewed a lot in the latter half of this year, but I haven't sewn a quilt for months, and I am aching to make quilts again.  So I created this bucket list of quilts that I would love to make in the upcoming year.  In no particular order, here are the quilts my heart is set on (which of course are subject to change on a whim):

1. Heather Ross Far Far Away Swoon Quilt or Star Quilt - My daughter loves quilts.  She is her mother's daughter for sure, and it warms my heart to see that she has claimed three of my favorite quilts and sleeps with them every night.  Yes, she sleeps with three quilts on her bed in the winter months.  None of these quilts were made specifically for her.  I'd love to make her a star quilt or another swoon quilt using the Far Far Away fabric in my stash.  After all, she'll only be young for so long (le sigh).

2. Rocky Mountain Puzzle Quilt - I have fallen HARD for this quilt block.  I'm not sure what it is, but the minute I saw the one pictured above, I can't stop thinking about it.  I'm thinking I might use Flea Market Fancy on a low volume background.  The jury is still out.

3. Triangle Quilt - In all honesty, I have already started cutting out fabrics for an equilateral triangle quilt.  It's still in the infancy stage, but it's intended as a gift that I hope to finally be able to give in 2015.

4. Color Dive - See my thoughts in #2 above.  Fell.Hard.  Must. Make. Now.  I think this will be the first quilt I actually complete in 2015.  It seems relatively simple, and simple is what I crave right now.

5. Little Folks Voile quilt - I'm not sure where I was when Little Folks first came out.  I think I was on a sewing hiatus.  But, I've managed to aquire a good deal of Little Folks and I want to make a simple, light weight quilt out of this oh so soft and beautiful fabric.

6. Wonderland quilt - I've been hoarding a charm pack and layer cake of this "my precious" fabric for several years now.  This line, by Momo, is one of my favorite lines of quilting fabric ever.  Time to take it out of the stash and make it into something I can use and love everyday.  

7. Sprouts - Ok, I don't actually want to make a whole quilt out of this pattern (though I would love that, there's just so many other large quilts I'd rather make first).  I would love to make a pillow with this pattern, however.  I don't have any quilted pillows, so I hope to rectify that in 2015.

8. Spiderweb Quilt - I'll be honest. This is one of those quilts that I really would like to make, but the thought of ripping all those pieces of paper...this might be on the bucket list for many years.

9. Dresden Quilt - I've already started this quilt and have nearly finished the top.  I think this will be the second quilt I finish, right after the Color Dive quilt.  This is another gift quilt and I am so excited to give it to the recipients!

So that's it.  I'll be satisfied if I only make half the quilts on this list next year!  Happy Sewing!

Monday, September 29, 2014

DVD Review and Giveaway!

I recently had the opportunity to review a new DVD by the talented Carrie of Such Designs called Art Techniques for Quilt Design.  I jumped at the chance to learn from Carrie, as I’ve been wanting to add more of my own voice to the the quilts I make.  Lucky for me, Carrie does too and she teaches this in her new DVD.  

Carrie was trained as a fine artist and brought her fine art skills to her quilt and fabric designs.   Carrie describes herself as a creativity enabler, and that is such a good description of herself and how this class is designed.  Rather than teach you how to sew, she teaches you basic fundamentals of art and drawing that you can apply to your sewing projects.   

The first half of the class focuses on arming you with basic drawing skills.  In this portion, she has you explore line drawings, gesture, and composition.  She encourages you to find the spirit of the form of whatever you are drawing and helps you learn to see what is actually there rather than your mind naturally thinks is there – ie what an apple actually looks like versus what you think an apple should look like.  In her discussion of composition, she uses several quilts to discuss the different types of composition and how to apply them to quilts.   

All of the basic drawing skills that Carrie teaches in the first half of the class are useful in the next portion, where she teaches her popular nest quilt design.  In real time, she describes how to draw the nest, how to cut the fabric, and how to sew the nest design.  It is so fun to watch her build the nest, piece by piece, all while giving great encouragement.  At one point she says that if nothing else, she wants you to trust your creativity and know that you are good enough just as you are.  I love that.   
There is also a small portion at the end of the class that goes over turning children’s art into quilt designs.  I do wish this segment had been longer, but it did get my brain spinning with ideas of how to turn my own daughter’s artwork into a quilt design to treasure forever. 

Carrie teaches so much in this DVD that I think it’s important to discuss what you will NOT learn by watching this DVD.  This is not a how-to-quilt class.  She does not go over basic sewing skills or piecing instructions.  What she does do in this class is teach you to draw and create composition while helping you build up your confidence so that you trust your own creative process.  I’ve already taken what I’ve learned from her class and applied it to the next project I am working on – a raw applique storybook design – which I’ll leave a sneak peak of here.

Would you like to build your confidence as a quilter?  Definitely check out this DVD. You can purchase the DVD or direct download at the Interweave Store.  Better yet, how about a chance to win a copy of this DVD?  Hop over to Carrie’s blogto enter a DVD giveaway for Art Techniques for Quilt Design.  Hurry, the giveaway ends October 4th! 

Thank you to Carrie and Interweave for the chance to review this DVD.  Note that I did receive a free copy in exchange for this review, but all views and opinions are my own!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Apple Season

I signed up for the Apple Dumpling Pouch Swap last month after I had so much fun participating in the Schnitzel and Book Mini Quilt Swap this summer.  I really enjoy making stuff for other like-minded, crafty quilters.  Of course there is the added bonus of getting some secret crafty goodness back in return!


The rules for the apple dumpling swap were to make an apple themed dumpling pouch and fill it with apple goodies.  Michele Patterns provides a wonderful pattern and tutorial for the cute dumpling pouch.  As I was pulling out my fabrics, I was inspired by the aqua and red combination and decided to just run with it. 

My first plan was to do a mini granny square, but even at 4 inches square, it was still slightly too big to fit completely on the dumpling pouch side (those pouches are pretty small!) so I turned it into a mini pincushion instead.  I went back to the cutting mat and decided to continue on my Dresden plate kick and made a tiny Dresden plate for the dumpling pouch instead. 

Seriously people, these mini dresdens are ridiculously cute (pattern from Westwood Acres fabric), are they not?  I attached it to some lightly quilted Essex yarn died linen in indigo.  I'll admit it was hard to give this dumpling away!

I also wanted to make my partner a little something else when I came across this fabric basket tutorial by Ayumi of Pink Penguin fame.

But I couldn't stop there.  I have had the book, Heather Ross Prints, for quite some time.  Knowing that my partner was a Heather Ross fan, I made her some notepads using the instructions from the book.  People, these notepads were so easy and satisfying to make.  I think everyone in my life will get one at some point. 

My partner, Courtney, received her basket of apples yesterday and sent the nicest thank you note.  I really enjoyed creating this package; it was a great way to try some new things I've been wanting to check off my to-make list for quite some time.  Of course I already have plans for more mini dresdens. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Sewing: Scrappy Dresden Plate Quilt

If this summer had a sewing theme, it would be the Dresden Plate.  I was inspired by Anna Maria Horner's use of Dresden plates in her quilts and the lovely plates @MariaUtah (on Instagram) made at Craft-South.  I came home and almost immediately cut into the large stash of  napkins I made for my wedding- a pile of fabric I have been hanging on to for five years, waiting for just the right bit of inspiration to get me moving.  Funny how that happens.  Stay tuned.
(Psss. Linking up at Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday - Needleworks

I've recently grown interested in hand needlework.  Maybe it's the natural progression in one's quilting journey, but I find myself wanting to add more to each quilt I made - more challenging techniques or color schemes, more deliberate design choices, more personal touches.  I've loved the look of chunky hand quilting for some time, and decided to try it with a quilt I am making for June.  After watching a class by Anna Maria Horner on Creativebug and in person at Craft-South (more on that later), as well as this helpful video from Sarah Fielke, I gathered my courage and supplies and found a comfy place to practice.  By the way, Sarah very correcntly pointed out that I should use larger needles with perle cotton thread when I posted the picture above on Instagram. 

Here was my first attempt at hand quilting.  Not too shabby I say.  I am taking it very slowly and one stitch at a time.  I check the back often to make sure the stitches are about the same length on the back as they are on the front (very rarely but often close enough).  Every once in a while, I feel brave enough to do two stitches at a time, and perhaps over time I will do even more at once and get faster.  Then again, maybe I won't.  This is a long-term project so I don't need, nor do I want, to rush.  I find myself alternating between using a hoop (the traditional way), and not using a hoop (as Anna Maria suggests trying to allow more flexibility with the fabric and the rocking needle motion).  I can't decide which way I like better.  I'm allowing myself to take time on this, to enjoy it, one slow stitch at a time.  

Like most quilters though, I tend to have multiple projects in the works to keep from feeling bored (Bored, what's that?).  I've found four projects at once to be about my limit.  After falling hard for this picture, I dug into my scraps and started an applique wall-hanging.  The pattern is "Here's the Dish" in Anna Maria Horner's "Seams to Me" book.  I love how Alecia made her version scrappy and decided to do the same with mine.  Stitching the pieces down and adding embroidery will take some time, but since this is pretty portable, perhaps I'll finish it before starting another project.  Then again, maybe I won't.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mini Stars Quilt

In progress.  Love the afternoon light.

Goodies sent: a boxy bag filled with needles, handquilting thread, hexies and cards made from Heather Ross Prints.  On a sidenote, have you seen this book?  Heather basically gives you carte blanche to make whatever you'd like with many of her prints.  I want to make all the things.

Finished mini.  The Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap was my first sewing swap and I had a great experience.  I loved making something for a fellow quilter.  I'm really looking forward to participating in more swaps in the future.