Thursday, October 31, 2019

Has it really been over two years since I've blogged?

Wow!  Yes, yes it has.

What happened?  Well, I got majorly burnt out.  Two years ago, I was preparing to be the featured quilter in our local quilt show and I was quilting, quilting, quilting to have enough to showcase.  Some of the projects I finished were intense!  Like this Aviatrix quilt:

Aviatrix quilting, nearly done

I burned the midnight oil, the candles at both ends, burned rubber, etc., and completely burned myself out.  I could barely look at my studio and sewing machine afterward.  Taking a break turned into a year-long hiatus before I made a few feeble attempts at getting back into things.  At that point, I took a couple of classes to try to jump-start my inspiration and motivation, but only managed to finish one of the projects from one of the classes and almost completed another.

Painted Quilt - food still life

Then I thought, "Hey!  Maybe making a quilt for someone else will get back my mojo."  So, I took on this quilt:


I enjoyed making it, but I still didn't feel like I wanted to quilt regularly again - until now.

What fabulous project has woken me from my motivational hibernation, you ask?  Would you believe it is a One Block Wonder?  Yep, I'm going back to one of the first quilt design techniques I tried as a newish quilter.  My quilt guild formed a One Block Wonder group last month and I couldn't resist.  I went out and bought enough fabric to make 4 quilts and I've already cut up my first one!

By the way, can you imagine not even buying fabric for 2 years?  My husband probably thought he got an unexpected raise from all the extra money in our accounts.

This time around, I'm experimenting with using a panel for my OBW.  I got some fabulous tips and inspiration from Jackie O'Brien's website If These Threads Could Talk - gallery   OH My!  If you have time, please do check out her gallery.  She is an instructor of the technique and is very generous with her tips, some of which I wish I read before I started cutting my first panel.

Here is a pic of my initial progress.  I am so excited to see how it turns out! 

OBW in process

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Cherrywood Fabrics Van Gogh challenge - a finish!

I have really enjoyed seeing the last two challenges hosted by Cherrywood Fabrics.  There was the Wicked challenge (see pics HERE) and last year, the Lion King challenge was phenomenal!

Lion King Cherrywood Challenge at Road 2 CA

While at Road to California in January, I was intrigued with the idea of entering this year's challenge - inspired by Van Gogh.  But I don't think I actually purchased the fabric bundle until QuiltCon in February.  I lacked the confidence and was worried about lack of time as well.  In the end, the colors won me over.  Who could resist the lovely blues??

In true "Jen form", I waited until nearly the last minute to start my challenge piece.  I chose Van Gogh's "Starry Night over the Rhone" as my inspiration and got to work.  Here are some progression pics of the process I used.  I basically used the same technique as My Monet quilt, you can find the tutorial HERE, but I'm sure you will get the gist from the pics below.

My rough plan:

Van Gogh: a rough outline of my project

I like to draw out a rough plan, like a road map to see where I am going.

Van Gogh: the first few pieces in place

I started blocking in the background colors. I even kept some of the "fringe" edges where the fabric had been ripped.  I figured that rough edge would help me with a blended look along the horizon.

Van Gogh: background pieces in place

Finally, I started laying down the first "brushstrokes".  These were pieces of fabric fused with Steam a Seam Lite and then cut into random wavy strips.

Van Gogh: first layer of "brushstrokes" down

I just kept adding more and more layers of these little pieces.

Van Gogh: brushstrokes in progress

More and more layers of detail.  As you can see, I started with larger pieces and moved on to smaller pieces to add details.

Van Gogh: I need starlight

Once everything was where I wanted it, I fused the pieces in place with my iron and started quilting in long wavy lines.

Van Gogh: a few more details and the start of stitching

Normally, I would have added tulle to the entire quilt before quilting on top of those tiny fused pieces, but I wasn't sure if tulle was allowed in the challenge and I really didn't have time to find out.  Boy, does tulle make things easier!!!  It keeps all your pieces in place and lets the quilting foot just glide over everything.  Without the tulle, some of my fused pieces wanted to flip over and get caught.

Van Gogh: just keep adding layers!

In fact, I started free motion quilting this project, but after a few minutes of my pieces getting mangled by the foot, I switched up to my walking foot.  I ended up quilting nearly the entire quilt with my walking foot.

Van Gogh: people close up

When I first started quilting, I was a little mad at myself for "ruining a perfectly good quilt with too much stitching", but as I added more and more layers and colors of thread, I felt that was in keeping with what I was trying to accomplish as Van Gogh inspired.  I love how it turned out in the end.

Van Gogh: finished

What do you think?

I found out today that my quilt was juried into the finalist group.  But I have to send it off to be judged and only then will I know if my quilt was accepted into the traveling exhibition.  I'll find out sometime next month.  I really have my fingers crossed.  I just think it would be so neat to have a quilt traveling around for a year to a bunch of shows!  I may not sleep until I know if it was accepted.

Thanks for reading today!  I hope you found it interesting.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blowing off the dust

A finish!  And an old one at that.


I have had this one loaded on the longarm for months, just sitting there.  Waiting.  Waiting for me to feel like it. It's not even like I had to decide what to quilt.  I had already decided to try to do my first pantograph.  I just needed to find my sewing mojo again.

I am happy to report that I have found it!  After months of only going in my sewing room to find stuff that I put in there during the remodel, I have been sewing again.  I literally had to blow the dust off my machines and cutting table.  My first order of business was to finish up this Batik Tile quilt that was one of my oldest UFO's.  The pattern was "Tile Style" by Cheryl Rose Creations and was published in American Patchwork & Quilting back in 2010.  2010!!

One big boost to my sewing mojo was being asked if I wanted to be the featured quilter at our guild's annual quilt show in September.  While I am not sure yet if I have been chosen, I realized that if it happens, I better have some stuff to feature!  So, it has really lit a fire under me!  Now that my longarm is free, I've pulled out a few other finished or close to finished tops to do next.  I've also started piecing my Aviatrix Medallion quilt.  AND......I took a class on a technique that I am so excited to try out!!!  I don't want to tell you about it just yet (in case I fail miserably at it).

In other news, I finished the Whole 30 diet and am right in the middle of reintroducing different problematic foods.  I am still not 100% sure what was causing my issues, but I am feeling so much better.  I've also lost 9 pounds!  The diet was hard!!!  I didn't realize how much I eat to comfort myself or because I was bored.  Identifying these things has helped me though, and I can now recognize cravings vs. real hunger.  I do plan on trying to eat similarly to the diet going forward.

Yes, despite the difficulty, I recommend the diet.  I feel better, look better and I know I ate better.  I never starved myself.  In fact, I stuffed myself the entire time - but only with foods from the plan (meat, veggies, and fruit).  If you want to check it out, the book is It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (Affiliate Link***).  If you have any questions, you can also email me.

Thanks for reading today!  Now back to work.....


***This post may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase something after clicking on one of my links, I may be compensated, but at no additional cost to you!