Saturday, August 16, 2014

QDAD and The Purge

QDAD - Lurker no more
QDAD 8.16 block repeat/rotate 2x3 grid
Creating virtual quilts won't use up my stash but I'm pretty sure it'll spark a creative frenzy that makes me want to sew!    About six months ago I joined the Facebook group QDAD created by my friend Anne@ PlayCrafts .  Until today I'd been a lurker member (which is actually allowed in this no rules group).  

I've got 15-30 minutes a day to spare (especially if I don't play candy crush on my phone) and I've been wanting to make my own quilt designs and join the fun - but had been letting the lack of tools stop me (although I do own crayons/pencils & paper).  After listening to Anne's MQG webinar on Wednesday night, I decided to stop making excuses and give the free software inkscape a try.
QDAD 8.16 - my very first one
The learning curve is huge but that's not stopping me either.  Day one of the "Getting Started" challenge was a nine-patch so I made one that I like pretty well.  I wanted to see what happens with a repeat and rotate of the block so I dumped it into word as an image and took a screen shot picture. Once I get my head wrapped around the program I won't have to resort to such ridiculous methods.

The PURGE

I've already done some major purging of fabric that I'm no longer in love with or simply felt would better suited to someone with more time to make projects from it than me.

Despite the trunk load of my stash that I passed along for pennies on the dollar at the yard sale and the remaining that I donate to my local guild, there is no shortage of fabric around these parts.
Five buckets turned to just this little bit after the sale/donation
Linking up to Stitched in Color for The Purge.  She's put together really great ideas about how to deal - and a support group to help those who have trouble letting go (cough, cough).

In a couple of weeks I'll be taking a workshop from Mary Tabor called WaterColor Quilt.  We get to choose and cut and sew our strips ahead (yeah) and can expect to leave with a top in hand.  Because I wanted to make a quilt to give to my co-worker as a retirement gift next month, the timing is just perfect.
*The darks and bees are actually very well loved

And best of all, because it calls for four fabrics 2 yards each (light, medium, dark florals and a background)- it's going to make a dent in my stash.   And second best of all, because they are only 1" once sewn I'm able to use floral prints that aren't necessarily favorites and PURGE.

When my hubby walked in the room he asked what the stack was for and I told him about the workshop.  His response was "so it's suppose to be fabric that doesn't go together at all?"  I laughed and he's kind of right - or at least that's what I'm counting on.

I'll share the top in a future post and you can tell me if he was right.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quilty Flashback Friday

One of the reasons I started blogging was because I was so terrible about keeping track of what, when, why I made quilts.   Reflecting back on the creative journey is one way to look forward.  Analyzing what choices resonated with you and making a mental note of those gratifying moments can be useful.  With that in mind,   I'm linking up for the first time to Quilty Flashback Friday

Don't Call Me Betsy
My flickr photo info says the picture was taken Oct 2006 and I'm not sure if the camera date setting was correct, but that sounds about right. 

What is significant about this quilt is that at the time, it was outside my comfort zone and I altered the pattern to add the flying geese border.  That may seem minor but up until then I'd pretty much made basic repetitive blocks, like rail fence and sewn them traditional grid construction.  And I'd repeated patterns that I had already made. 
When I asked my son to browse magazines and books for a design he wanted me to us for his quilt, he chose this one with lots of hst, set on point etc.. I was challenged but that was good.

It's all a bit blurry but I do recall changing my mind on fabric placement a lot and swapping out choices entirely midstream. 

Tweaking patterns now (when I even follow them) is pretty much a given for me.  I remember feeling very brave to take on a twist and add that border with the varied backgrounds of the flying geese scattered.   Here I was thinking that using mixed scale was something new for me, but I guess not!

I still like the quilt and actually borrowed it back to take the finished picture shown above because back then, just like now - I'm super terrible about getting that shot before handing off the gift.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2 Wedding Quilts - one Done, one WIP

My WIP list has included a June wedding quilt and August wedding quilt for a very long time in anticipation of the marriage of two of  my nieces.  Long engagements and no excuses, I got really close to making deadline on both. 

Quite a bit has been shown of Chain+Link (final 2014 FALQ3), a wedding quilt I started at a retreat in March for my niece who was married in June in Hawaii (aqua/teal ocean and golden sunset themed).  We weren't able to attend but fortunately giving them the gift in person happened weekend before last thanks to a fabulous gathering of family at my other niece's wedding.  One done.  
top:Redwood Grove top - August wedding quilt, bottom: June wedding quilt
Late night FMQ
Scrappy-scrappy binding makes me happy

As for my WIP, I'm super excited to finally share the progress of the second wedding quilt that's been in the works, Redwood Grove.   The bride-to-be may or may not read my blog on occasion so I didn't want to risk the reveal.   
Pairing fabrics - my favorite to do.
There was a lot of contemplation when it came to choosing the design for this couple because I wanted it to really capture the natural beauty of the stunning venue where they had chosen to share their vows, and that's a TALL order (pun intended).  
Redwood Amphitheater Santa Cruz
My SIL helped me narrow the color palette to be sure it would fit in with their home decor.  Words like calm, simple and linear came to mind.  No surprise I ventured slightly out of the crayon box to make it as scrappy as I could and yet retain a cohesive feel.  Mostly low contrast I included pops to represent the way light flickers and casts shadows. 
Playing with placement on my Ghetto Design Wall 
I had seen a quilt in a book at my LQS that was similar but with much more structure (cut x amount this size etc..)  Using the improv concepts fresh in my mind from the MQG webinar with Cheryl Arkison and the Jacquie Gering workshop, I freely sliced up the arranged to my hearts content.

They unwrapped the top, posed for a sweet picture and then handed it back.  Ideally it would've been done but that wouldn't be my MO.  While they are off enjoying their honeymoon I'll be thinking of them as I finish up.  I'm probably going to "add" another 8"-10" to the bottom.  Although it's big enough for a queen bed, unlike the other quilt with its circular symmetrical design, square just feels awkward for this one.  I'm leaning towards doing an organic straight quilting to enhance the tallness of the design.

Group Photo
Had to take advantage of being all dressed up and in the same place at the same time with this smily faced group photo - precious times.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts,  Can I get a Whoop WhoopLet's Bee Social and  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Solids are in my future too...

Amish-ish

I checked out this gem from the lending library at the guild meeting on Monday night to brush up and start the wheels turning for my entry for the upcoming exhibit at San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  Amish: The Modern Muse

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pattern Testing and Winning

Greek Plus Puss

Now available on Etsy and Craftsy,  Rossie has a wonderful blog post about her newly released pattern and the samples she made with Peppered Cotton (want some!) and the adorable vintage sheet stroller sized version as well.  
My Test version of Greek Plus Puss
Anyone who knows me can attest to that fact that I'm always game for an opinion or two, especially if it comes to quilting.   If you ask, you'd better mean it!  Since this was my first time to pattern test, I made a point of taking pictures along the way and thought I'd share them. 
Focal fabric pull
Since I really had no time to do this but wanted to squeeze it in anyway, I decided just to make four blocks and chose some favorite fabric for the focal plus. 

Usually I tend to avoid directional print but I wanted to put the instructions to the test after all and this added one more element.  Stacking and cutting layers made it easy and quick.
auditioning puss scrap options
For the plus and background you need a decent sized chunk but for puss it's only a little bit and I wanted them all scrappy so auditioning options gave me some playtime. I wanted them subtle but varied for interest. 
Double duty ruler
Once I decided what went were on the design wall, I used my newest 16 1/2" ruler to stack all the parts to keep them in order at the sewing machine. 
chain piecing
Since the pairing of each block was unique it made chain piecing brainless without worry of mixing up parts.   
Keeping the sub-units stacked
Once the sub-units were joined, returning them to their position with the correct orientation made the process smooth and carefree as well.  They look a bit odd spaced out this way but I could check the placement with a quick flip open. 
Pressing to the side felt a little weird at first.  I joined the four blocks and called it done.   
One of my suggestions was to show mix with the reverse colors and I had that concept stuck in my head.  So the next weekend, I snuck in a few hours and expanded to the stroller size quilt with a bit of a twist in the corner to make it my own.  Initially, I thought of repeating the four-patch but opted for a simpler version.  
four patch auditioning 
Thanks for coming along on my first Pattern Testing journey - I'm excited to be taking a class at QuiltCon with Rossie and meeting her in person.  

a Block Flower Win

Lucky me - I won the newly released Block Flower pattern from Jess at Elven Garden Quilts .  If you don't already follow her blog be sure to check it out.  There is a tab for her current series Decipher Your Quilt and Free Motion QAL.  I also enjoy looking back at the previous Color Theory for Quilters information because the information really is timeless.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Companions #1 & #2 MQG fabric challenge

Companions #1 & #2

Finished and uploaded on the MQG Community site just under the wire are my two Michael Miller MQG fabric challenge entries.  I named them Companions #1 & #2 because they are similar but different, related but not the same which kind of reminds me of our two dogs.  
22"x30" Companion #2 
I had hoped for a real photo shoot but settled for the helping hand of my son as he headed out.  We've had super sunny skies resulting in a washed out appearance - where's the fog and overcast when you need it? 
24"x38" Companion #1 
If you're a MQG member take a look at the amazing variety of quilt designs that are pouring in.
For the backing, I had in my stash Michael Miller dots in the two color ways that I thought featured the best of the fronts, teal and green.  The binding is scrappy strategically placed. 
Usually I block off the living room and keep the dogs out while I spray baste.  But this time, the tops are so tiny and it was only going to take a minute.  Well, I turned my back and this is what I got!  Good thing he's adorable and that it's washable. 
FMQ details
If you're wondering why I made TWO entries, let me remind you that it's one less than I made for the Madrona Road challenge with No Inherent Sense of Direction, Driving in Circles and the Bed Runner. 

Burning the Midnight Oil

My Ottlite isn't fueled by actual oil I know, but the glow of it and the hands on the clock (yes, I know they don't actually have hands anymore) reminded me of the saying.  Hubby is hoping to install an LED strip right above my workstation this weekend, fingers crossed. 

#greekcrosspluspussquilt

Top complete!  I'm thrilled with my version of #greekpluspussquilt.   Pattern testing for @r0ssie_fmq has been fun.  I couldn't help but put a bit of my own twist on the layout.  She'll be releasing her pattern on etsy and Craftsy August 4th.

Linking up to Finish It up Friday with Amanda Jean, Let's Bee Social and TGIFF at quokka quilts

I've got to dash off the spend the day at a Jacquie Gering (Tall Grass Prairie Studio) workshop.  Her QuiltCon class sold out in a blink but thanks to SBAMQG,  she's come to see us! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fabric and Photo Organizing

King of Photobombing 

When I wrote yesterday's post for Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted blog hop, I realized my sewing room photos I had to use from my major  Re-Do last year were pretty outdated.    

Chase take the crown from Dottie
So I tried to get a current picture of my stash shelves and had to go into the backyard and shoot from outside an open window (cuz, yes my sewing room is that small).   Chase has always been the camera shy one and Dottie the photobomber - not anymore!
FQ & 1/2 yard-ish bundles
I had to go double deep on the shelf this time with my bundles and did a bit of regrouped by general color theme.  There's a ridiculous amount of fabric but it has stayed relatively sorted for as lazy as I tend to be about filing things back after my workshops and sew days.

Freedom from Clutter

The Ugly Truth - Out of Control
Even though I knew it had to get worse before it got better - ugh, stepping over and around this mess as I cleaned up was pretty bad.  Bags of bags and buckets of who knows what!  It's not done yet but it resembles hoarding a bit less.
No space for this cool container - Sad Face
My Sewing Room is one big WIP and deciding what gets to stay and what needs to go is SUPER difficult for me - but I'm committed to making an effort even if it means ditching my "Flat and Happy" yellow library card cabinet.
My New way of storing strip scraps
Considering I downscaled my stash and scraps thanks to the recent Yard Sale and Flea Market put on by my two local guilds I'm feeling a little more in control.  The big push came during my long 4th of July weekend when I decided to declare Freedom from Clutter.
The old way of storing scraps
I'm also hoping to participate this year in the Where I Sew link up at Pink Chalk Fabrics.  It's so much fun to nose around other people's space don't you think? Wish me luck getting the place camera ready.

Photo Organizing

If nearly three thousand pictures in my flickr pool seems extreme, it's because I also upload photos from our MQG guild meetings and special events plus some are private so i can store them for my own reference.  
Flickr Albums
There's a bit of clutter and chaos in my virtual world too.  I've tried really hard to make some sense of them by creating albums, including monthly and yearly projects, but maintaining them isn't really my forte.  Any advise on keeping on top of things?

Down to the Wire

Linking up to Finish it up Friday has been absent for quite some time but tonight I pulled it off with the completion of my Michael miller mqg challenge. 
Tomorrow in the light of day I'll get a better picture on a background less distracting than my bed so I can post it on the MQG Community site.  Linking up to Finish It Up Friday with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.

I'm the Caboose 

It's been wonderful to have so many new visitors to my blog and all the comments make my day.

Be sure to visit the 2014 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.  Beth has a master list of links to make it easy on you.   You'll find me at the very very bottom - Yup - last but not least! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Get Acquainted - It's My Turn on the Blog Hop

Plum and June

Welcome to my stop on The 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop at Plum and June.  Thank you Beth for including me in this an amazing series.  Let's Get Acquainted!

Hi There!  I'm Karen, flickr and IG known as CapitolaQuilter - because I live in Capitola, California.  It use to read: capitolaquilter and was constantly mistaken for "Capitol A Quilter" so rather than rename myself I opted for this fix and it seems to have done the trick.   

Hubby and I celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary this month - more than many readers have been alive , I know.  
Celebrating my 50th Birthday
We have two grown sons and an adorable granddaughter.  She's featured often on the blog posing on many different quilts.   
My Sweet Baby Grandgirl on Mod Mosaic (aka Catalyst)
They've gotten much more use than ever before although she now crawls right off them. 
Always underfoot in my sewing room and frequently photobombing are our German Shorthair Pointers who we rescued 12 years ago.
Chase - Step on Over
Dottie - The Photo Bomber
Although my mom never quilted, she did sew while I was growing up and taught me how at a young age.  I use to sew my own clothes and made my boys some outfits but nothing too much recently.
Me in my Mom-Made Dress 
Before attending Sewing Summit in 2012, I decided it was only fitting to start a blog.  I've added an About Me Page with a bit more of my backstory.

All Together Now

 Collaborative projects and social sewing are among my favorite things to do.  

SBAMQG 31 Quilts in 31 Days Charity Drive
Pup Art Donation Quilt in Capitola Village
My First Quilt Retreat 

A Moving Target

My design style is evolving but I can say with certainty that I love to work from my stash and incorporate scrappiness.   Here are a few of my favorite quilts (including my latest finished top) to prove I can also be matchy-matchy.

Chain+Link top just completed
Finished and entered into Blogger's Quilt Festivals where you can read all about them are CatalystRing Around the Briar Rosies, Old Italian Block, Giant x-Plus, and Tassels.
Ring Around the Briar Rosies
The melding of traditional with modern elements appeals to me.
My most Pinned photo 
There's a pretty big span of projects over the years.  Since I've been sewing longer than blogging and still like my old ones, I included a Quilts & Creations and a Pre-Blog tab too.  


Happy When I'm Scrappy-AreYou?

Old Italian Block Wedding Quilt
I'm not a purest or a perfectionist. Mixing batiks, traditional and modern fabrics is all good in my book.
Bordered Diamonds
Block swaps and Bees have given me cherished memories and awesome quilts for my bed.
Giant x-plus top
Not many, but I've written a few Tutorials.  They're harder to make than I thought !
Tassels Detail
It's a bit ironic that my Polaroid Chain Pieced attracts more traffic to my blog than anything else and yet I've never gotten around to making anything with my swap blocks.
My first Tutorial and Most popular one

Attitude and Approach

Double Bar Supernova Bee blocks
Another thing I like to do is give a pattern a bit of a twist to make it my own like this 12 1/2" variation of Lee's Supernova block (how to) I adore pure Improv.
Improv Bee Block
When I free motion quilt I have the same take it as it comes attitude.  It's a task that takes the right frame of mind which can be difficult yet rewarding.  Let go and go for it. 
FMQ 2012 QuiltCon Charity quilt

My Latest Detour

#greekpluspussquilt
Guess what I did? Yup, dropped everything and jumped on board something new that  caught my eye  this weekend with these four test blocks sewn up #greekpluspussquilt for @r0ssie_fmq.  

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tips and a Question for You

ADVISE: My Top Three
#1- Let yourself get distracting and sew what you want when you want and ditto for blogging.
#2- Trust your gut. Applies to quilting as well as life.
#3 Join Quilt Alongs, Bees, Swaps, Link Ups and attend Retreats and QuiltCon (are you going?  I am)

QUESTION for you - Are you happy when you're scrappy like me? I'd love to know and if you'd like to follow me, that's great too.

Follow on Bloglovin

You can find links to the entire line up HERE and the very useful series Advice and Tech Help for New Bloggers HERE.

Keep on hopping and get to know these fine ladies: