Saturday, August 31, 2013

August progress report and September goal setting

I've been performing a bit of an experiment the last few weeks.  Rather than trying to stick to any one project from start to finish, I've been working on whatever strikes my fancy that particular day.  I've been surprised how much I've gotten accomplished considering some days I've only had 30 minutes or less at the sewing machine.


August UFO's:
  • Catch up on Star of Africa Bee Blocks -  I finished 2 of the 5 I needed to finish.  I am really stuck on executing my idea for a postcard inspired one.  My idea just won't let me move on.  I have to figure out a way to do what I want.Star of Africa block for Cindy
  • Finished my Sewing Mat - DONE!Sewing Mat finish
  • Swoon - I have 6 blocks done!  I think the cutting is what takes forever on these.  Now that I have most of the cutting done for the remaining blocks, I think the rest will come together quickly.  I especially delight in how each one looks when finished, so I am eager to work on this project.
August NewFO's
  • small projects - I didn't finish a one!
  • QAYG bag - I finished this one.  I think I am going to alter the pattern for the next one.Tinker Tote front

September UFO's:
  • Summerville DP blocks - I doubt anyone will remember these, but I haven't done anything with them since I made them.  My Lazy Bum secret partner has decreed this to be my project for the month's challenge.  So, I need to assemble these blocks into something, but I'm not sure what yet.  They were originally supposed to be potholders, and perhaps that is the best thing for them to become.  I am going to play around a little with possible layouts for something else.  Perhaps one will strike my fancy.Summersville DP
  • Swoon - I would really like to get 6 more blocks done.Swoon block 4
September NewFO's
  • Commission quilt - I've taken on a commission quilt for a friend.  I would like to get the top completed this month.  The pattern looks easy enough, but I think the cutting will take forever.  I better get started on it.
  • 60 degree ruler mini quilt - I've already started this one and I've promised a tutorial for Wednesday, Sept. 4th.  So it might be my first finish of September.
That about wraps it up!

Thanks for reading today as I list myself into a frenzy,

Jen

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2013NewFO


Friday, August 30, 2013

Quilt As You Go Patchwork Bag - a finish and a class review

I bought the class, "Tara Rebman- Quilt-As-You-Go: Patchwork Bags" just before we went on vacation this summer, and I immediately wanted one for our trip.  BUT, time was not on my side and I had to wait until we returned.   Then, of course, life with the girls got a little crazy, yada yada yada, it wasn't until school started this week that I had time to start a new project.  This one was top on my list (sorry Star of Africa bee mates who's blocks I should be doing)!

First, the class review:

This class shows you several techniques, including:
  • Quilt As You Go - well, of course!  She shows you both straight-line and Free Motion quilting options
  • Boxing the bottom of the bag
  • How to make a regular pocket
  • How to make an internal zip pocket
  • How to install a magnetic snap - I used this technique to put on onto my sewing mat's thread bag
  • 2 different binding techniques
  • Using glue to aid binding
Tara starts you off with a small potholder to show you how to do the QAYG (which I promptly skipped), and then you move onto your bag.  Here is my first attempt....

Tinker Tote front
Quilt As You Go Patchwork Bag, front
I love this bag.  I loved making this bag.  The "quilt as you go" technique is fun and straight forward.  I suppose it does save you some time since you are piecing and quilting at the same time.  I chose to do all straight line quilting on my bag, which seemed to take a while, but I'm not sure if free motion quilting would have been much faster.

Tinker Tote back
Quilt As You Go Patchwork Bag, back
I would say that it took me a total of 12 hours to put together.  I am a slow stitcher.  I'm sure some of you could whip one of these out in half the time.  I also could have used bigger pieces of fabric for my patchwork, which would have saved a little time.

My bag has a regular pocket sewn into the lining:

Tinker Tote regular pocket


And a fun zip pocket too!  Oh, you do feel smart learning this one.

Tinker Tote zip pocket

I doubt anyone would be able to lose something in this bag with that color lining!  It reminds me of orange creamsicles.

I made this bag for my friend from college, Kim.  She is not afraid of color!  I love aqua, but orange?  Eh.  She loves orange, so I hope this bag is fun enough for her tastes.

Tara says this bag is the perfect size for a quick trip to the grocery store.  I would agree, if you were buying a gallon of milk and supplies for tonight's dinner.  It is BIG.  Much bigger than I anticipated.  I actually put a rolled up beach towel in the bottom to get the bag to stand up for the photos above.  Do you see the towel?  Nope.  This bag is also big enough to fit an entire cat, with room to spare!

It is big enough to fit a cat into
This photo was not staged!
I set the bag down on the kitchen table to go get my "white boards" for backdrops for my photos and returned to find Tookie "helping" as usual.  She was purring away as if to say, "aren't you so proud of me for getting in here?"

Tookie in Tinker Tote

Who let the cat out of the bag?  Alright Tookie, you've had your fun.

My only complaint about the bag is that the binding didn't come out as nicely on the inside as I would like.  I think next time I will either hand sew the binding closed or choose the other method she shows you in the class (which involves hand stitching too).  I think it looks fine from the outside, but it is a bit inconsistent on the inside.  Totally my fault, I think.

I really enjoyed Tara's class.  She is a fun and energetic teacher, and the bag is fun to put together too.   The bags (or potholders) would make excellent holiday gifts.  I'm sure this isn't the last one you have seen from me!  While I haven't really developed a rating system for my reviews, I can say that I highly recommend Quilt-As-You-Go: Patchwork Bags.

This class is not on sale at the moment, but I'm sure a good sale is just around the corner!  So put it on your wish list and pounce (like Tookie) when the timing is right.

Thanks for reading today,

Jen

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One Block Wonder Quilt Along - a preview post

 photo e0c84598-0f42-4c5e-8322-557ead39bc54_zpsbecca83d.jpg
Clearly my button making needs some work!

Thank you to everyone who showed an interest in having a little quilt along after seeing my quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  The time is finally approaching!

Blue OBW w/seagull


Here's what you need to know - besides being beginner friendly, this pattern is FUN.

Schedule:

September 26th - welcome post with mini interview with Maxine Rosenthal (one of the authors) 
September 30th - fabric selection tips post
October 3rd - more tips, a short post
October 10th - quilting tips, another short post
October 17th - Linky opens
October 31st - Linky closes, voting opens
November 7th - prizes awarded!

Materials Needed (affiliate links):
** The Creative Grids 60 degree ruler has a little notch at the top of the triangle that makes piecing easier.  If you are worried about buying "another ruler" and that it might not get much use after this QAL, don't worry!  There are tons of things you can do with this ruler.  Triangles, diamonds, hexies, oh my!  In fact, I am posting a small project tutorial next Wednesday that uses this ruler.  So come back and see.

Prizes:

This is a self-sponsored QAL, so it is mostly just for fun, but I think a couple of prizes should be in order for all your hard work.  Thus, I would like to give away 2 prizes!  One for the crowd favorite (as voted on by you), and one for the "Most Amazing Transformation" of fabric.  I'm going to pick that one based on what the fabric looked like to begin with (whole) and what it looked like after the OBW process.  You will have to have a FINISHED quilt TOP to enter.  Both prizes will be $25 Gift Certificates to the Intrepid Thread (one of my favorite online fabric shops).

book for OBW QAL

How about a giveaway right now?  I said you are going to need one of the books to participate (copyright laws and such), so let me give one away right now.  I have one copy of One-Block Wonders Encore! to one lucky winner.  Because I am hoping someone who wants to do the QAL will win, to enter you need to join the One Block Wonder Flickr group and leave me a comment below with your Flickr handle.  Normally I like my giveaways to be open to everyone, but since the book is required for the quilt along, I would like it to go to a participant.  I hope you understand.  So far, there is only one participant, so I'd say the odds on this giveaway are pretty good!  This giveaway is open to international followers and will close on September 4th when I will pick a winner and notify them via email (so make sure I can send you one) or Flickr mail.  I have had a LOT of No-Reply Blogger comments for giveaways, so if in doubt, leave me your email address like this:  youremailaddress(at)domain(dot)com.  OK?

This Giveaway is now closed.

I hope you are as excited as I am!  Don't forget to check C&T Publishing's Summer Sale this weekend to see if any of the OBW books are included in the sale.

Thanks for joining in,

Jen



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rainbows and whales - Building Blocks Tuesday

I finished another Star of Africa Bee Block!  Hooray, only 3 more to go.

Star of Africa block for Cindy

This one is for Cindy who requested a colorful block with a white background.  What could be more colorful than a rainbow?  I knew I wanted to make a Hawaiian rainbow (especially after our vacation there), but the white background started to get a little lost with all I wanted to include in the block.  So, I made the block a bit smaller and framed it in white.  I hope that gives her enough white to make it play nicely with the other blocks in her quilt.

How do you like my little whale tail?  We weren't there during whale season this time, but it is amazing to see.  If you ever get the chance to visit Maui between November and early April, it is a show every time you look out across the water.

I also finished up my Simply Solids bee blocks for August.

Simply Solids August 1.2

The block is called "Goose Creek" and you can find the instruction here at Quilter's Cache.

What have you been working on this week?  I want to know!  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open for a whole week.


Quilter in the Closet

Rules:

1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

For those of you that had trouble using my button recently, I apologize.  I guess blogger changed a few things and my code didn't translate.  I hope I have it fixed now.

Thanks for reading!

Jen



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Inspirational Sunday 3 - via the 2013 International Quilt Show in Long Beach, CA

This week's theme is "People on Quilts".  The two quilts I've chosen for the week are portraits of people.

The first is called "Tribute to Matisse" by Rebecca Haley of Porterville, CA.  It was part of the collection of quilts in the Hoffman Challenge.

"Tribute to Matisse" by Rebecca Haley of Porterville, CA

The detail in the woman's face is just amazing!

"Tribute to Matisse" by Rebecca Haley, close up

I should mention that this is actually the 2012 Hoffman Challenge Fabric (the pink and purple floral fabric used in her hat and shawl).  The 2013 challenge only ended just before the Long Beach show and I suspect they won't be exhibited until much later in the year at the earliest.

From what I've been told, the Hoffman Challenge is a great place to start a "show career".  If you are interested in the upcoming challenge fabric and rules, click HERE.  The 2014 fabric looks fun!

I will have some more Hoffman Challenge quilts another Sunday.

The next quilt I want to share is called "Raven Blanket" by Lynn Czaban of Vancouver, Washington.  She received Honorable Mention in the Art-People, Portraits and Figures category.

"Raven Blanket" by Lynn Czaban of Vancouver, WA

This Quilt is machine appliqued, fused, thread painted and machine quilted.

"Raven Blanket" by Lynn Czaban, close up

The quilter was inspired by classes and books by Bonnie Keller and Marilyn Belford (in case you want to make your own!).  She also used a 1910 photograph by Edward Curtis of the Nez Perce Chief, Raven Blanket.  It is one of the many Curtis images housed at the Library of Congress.

I wonder if the technique is anything like the fusible applique method that Melinda Bula uses in her book, Cutting Garden Quilts: Fabulous Fusible Flowers (That Patchwork Place) (affiliate link).

My mom is a big Edward Curtis fan, so I thought she would really like to see this quilt.  I hope the rest of you found it interesting too.

So?  If you were to create a portrait quilt, who would be your subject?  Do I have you thinking?

Well, if you happened to make some good memories as part of your summer vacation, you could put that inspiration to good use and create a quilt for the Holiday Memories Mini Quilt Competition over at Celtic Thistle Stitches.  Fiona has dreamed up this little competition and I am sure one or two portraits might make it into the mix, though portraits are not required.  Any holiday memory is acceptable.  Hop on over there and check it out.



Thanks for reading,

Jen



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Swooning at the Ritz - Building Blocks Tuesday

That's right people!  I'm finally Swoon-ing!  I just love the part when you are pressing those final two seams and the whole block just comes together.

Swoon Block 1


Swoon Block 2

I altered the size of the blocks to 18 inches.  The smaller size allowed me to use an ancient Layer Cake I had of "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Bunny Hill.  I also mixed in a little "Lily and Will" from Bunny Hill too and added some Kona Snow.  So far they are all playing nicely together.

What have you been working on this week?  I want to know!  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open for a whole week.


Quilter in the Closet

Rules:

1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading!

Jen



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Inspirational Sunday 2 - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

What it is about Great Blue Herons?  They are so majestic looking.  Evidently, I am not the only person to think so, as I usually see at least one quilt per show that has a heron in it.  Here are two quilts that are just as majestic as their subject matter.

This first one is called "The Visitor" by Susan King of Houston, Texas.

"The Visitor" by Susan King of Houston, TX

It is painted, appliqued, and quilted.  It was inspired by a photo supplied by Thomas Wrublewski.  The quilter says, "Little miracles happen very occasionally and, if we are lucky, we might be in the right place at the right time to witness one.  Here, this great blue heron is stepping from his world into ours and gives us an exquisite moment we will always remember".

That is well said.  I never seem to be in the right place at the right time.  I'm always 15 minutes late to everything, and some of the most amazing things I've seen have been from the window of a truck going 65 mph with no chance to stop and snap a photo to remember the moment.  What can I say?  I will keep trying.

This next one is so cool!  It is called Captain Kimo by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek of Owensboro, Kentucky.

"Captain Kimo" by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek of Owensboro, KY

It was dye painted and machine quilted.  This quilt was inspired by a photograph taken by Captain Kimo.  It was hand painted on silk by both quilters and quilted by Nancy.

Just look at the detailed shot of the feathers.  It looks as if they used the fraying of the fabric to create the feathered look.  Brilliant.

"Captain Kimo" by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Stistek, close up 1

Another feature I really enjoyed about this quilt was how they quilted a plaid-like texture into the background.

"Captain Kimo" by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Stistek, close up 2

It really added some interest to the plain black background.

So both of these quilts were inspired by photos.   Have you ever created a quilt inspired by a photo?  What methods did you use?

Thanks for reading today,

Jen

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sewing mat finish - a finish Friday

Hooray, a finish for August!  I finished up all the hand quilting and binding on my sewing mat earlier in the week.  Here are a few pics to celebrate.

Sewing Mat

Hmmm, it appears that Aviary doesn't have an editing button for removing wrinkles.  I did iron it before taking this picture, but it probably wasn't on the linen setting.  Here's an "action" photo...

Sewing Mat finish

I can't take credit for this idea.  I started with the Free Tutorial at Katie's Quilting Corner, but put my own spin on it.  Instead of using pre-quilted fabric, I made up my own blocks and quilted them.  I also added this thread catcher bag.

Sewing mat thread bag

I attached it using a magnetic closure (I found them in the purse supply section of Joann's) - an idea I got from the Quilt as You Go Patchwork Bag Craftsy class.  The class teaches you how to install one of these thingies to close up your bag, but I thought it would be a great idea for this application.

Sewing mat thread bag magnets

It was super easy to install!  And, it will make dumping my threads into the trash can a breeze.

Just like Katie's design, I had the bottom section contain pockets.  These have already come in handy!

Sewing mat pockets

I'm sew excited to have my own handy sewing mat.  Even if June for Jen was a tad late, it has been well worth the wait.

Thanks for reading today,

Jen

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