Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Maximalist to follow a Minimalist

Composing in Color

It's no secret that I'm drawn to technique and process more than duplicating a quilt using a published pattern.  This composition measures 11"x22" so far.  

Saturday's "making prints out of solids" South Bay Area MQG workshop with Maria Shell, Tales of a Stitcher was an opportunity to learn to create a huge range of "fabric". It was so engaging and perfect for me.  Well, maybe if it were a 3 or 5 day retreat workshop it could've been more perfect. 
Maria Shell demo and Class Samples
As you can see from her class samples displayed above, Maria embraces a full palette. She did a demo of each method and helped us select colors that could stand on their own.  A favorite phrase that she used and that I whole heartedly relate to was "painting with your rotary".    It's almost as messy! 

My SIL didn't attend so I took my batch of parts with me on Sunday when I visited and snapped this shot while the were on her design wall. 
My collective

A Song and A Dance

November blocks for Leanne 10x17.5 and 7.5x15  Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday - check it out.
BeeSewcial this month was like candy for my sweet tooth.  I've enjoyed getting outside my comfort zone each challenge and the last two were no exception. 

Conveying a clear message in black and white for Hillary, Entropy Always Wins and then an abstract winter landscape in icy grays for Felicity. (Reveal below)  The absence of color was a stretch. 

When Leanne, She Can Quilt announced that she was making an Improv Sampler, requesting a ruler free saturated medium tone block of any size in colors that make you wanna sing and dance - it was like she served up my favorite dish of confort food. 
Looking for the Glow
There wasn't enough time to try out everything in class especially since I plowed ahead with that first piece combining parts from half circles and curve to explore composition.  
Circles and Half Circles
I came home, stayed up late and got up early - that kind of reaction to a workshop does not happen often. I'll admit more times than not, the bits barely get unpacked and usually sit in my WIP bucket. 
Sunrise Sunday
When I tried to make plaid on my own I ran into some trouble with order getting confused with the rearranging of parts. 
I have every intention of trying them all.  Thank you Maria for a wonderful time and permission to share the picture of you and samples and to South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild for another amazing teacher choice.  The dots and stripes sewn by my friends in class were really fun.  The next guild meeting should be a fun show and tell.  

Winter Wonderland

I think I can count the number of times I've been in the snow on one hand.  Felicity provided an image board and description on her blog post here so although my first hand experience is limited,  The icy starkness of my block, portraying slivers of trees has a lot of parts for minimalism but the limited palette sets the calm mood.  You may recognize the other source of inspiration,  my friend Renee's piece from the retreat.  
Fork in the Road
I joked (not so jokingly) that I'd surely become a shut in if I were to ever live in the snow.  Driving is not my favorite thing in dry weather and it boggles the mind how people manage without visibility on the road which was the spark for this block.
Busting out the scissors to work not only ruler-less but without my rotary for part of the process has become a little less awkward.

Pardon the fold lines in the picture - I had taken late night poor lighting shots and was in the parking lot of the post office when I remembered that I never took any good ones. So with creases in the trunk of the car was better than nothing.

I'm thrilled to be continuing as a member of BeeSewcial for 2016, making the bitter sweet of sewing the last block of the year easier to handle.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Finished with a week to spare.  
Bonnie Bucket Bag
What a relief to have been assigned a secret partner for the bag swap at Glamp Stitchalot that has similar likes. 

Instead of two fabrics I used five and had so much fun with the fussy placement. Pat Bravo designs such treasures it feels less invasive cutting them up this was. 
Fussy Details are Fun
The pattern one by Swoon called Bonnie Bucket bag. I was tempted to give it structure with soft and stable but opted to stay with the Pelion 101 with a peltex bottom. 
Welted Zipper pocket success
Having gained confidence from conquering the recessed zipper in my 3-in-1 Betsy bag made tackling the my first double welted zipper a breeze.  Although I pulled fabric from stash the interfacing required 2.5 yards so a trip to my LQS was necessary.  
Initial Fabric Pull
Usually I'd jump at an excuse to ogle bolts on a shelf but let me remind you of the shift in shoppers at craft stores and thrift shops weeks before Halloween.
Fob and Mermaid
At checkout I spotted a small mermaid that color coordinated and couldn't resist.  The fabric for the strap was screaming to become a key fob. 
Pencil Case 
My sister had sent me a book on krafttex so a pencil holder to mark the occasion was a must. 
We were instructed to keep "extras" to a minimum (thankfully - I find them stressful like stocking stuffers).  Three projects for Finish It Up Friday in one post may be a record.

I'm excited and nervous that it is rapidly approaching.  Hanging out with my sister, seeing Quilty friends in real life and meeting new ones - what a great plan for my birthday. 

Just like QuiltCon it's the anticipation of the unknown and the fear the weekend will come and go in a blink. 

I've link up my finish to PursePalooza with Sew Sweetness.  Sara is so sweet to host this hop with countless bag reviews and the Sewcial Challenge on IG is also a favorite.  She picked my scrappy quilt and sent me this amazing prize!

Prize Recieved 
I shared my bag at the last guild meeting and my friend Sharon- who has affectionately earned the nickname Bag Lady was telling me about a bag of the month club she is part of.  No surprise that Sara one of the designers.  When it comes time to sew these patterns I'm definitely bending Sharon's ear.

More Bag News

The Retreat Committee made swag bags this year that are a bit bigger than the pouches of years past and I love it.  During our group sewing session I volunteered to pair and press fabric so I don't actually know how to make one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tilt Shift - Challenge Reveal Tonight

Tilt Shift Top Done

Finished Top 27"x27"
When we drew our slips of papers for our Logo color challenge and I read the modern concept "high contrast and graphic areas of solid color",  I knew exactly where to go.  QDAD.  I'll admit that the color Cerise is pretty much my go to palette so it wasn't much of a challenge to work with.

(Full disclosure:  I originally drew "Improv" and my SIL got this one which made her scratch her head - so I swapped with her - which was totally allowed).

I chose the design above and recolored it to meet the guild criteria.  Here are a few earlier designs with similar cropping and positioning concept.    Neither of these have the actual tips cut off though.  Sewing a complete block and then chopping it up sounds like a perfect plan.

Having an idea in the back of my mind is great, but having an actual resource to reference is even better.  Explore and Ditch.  Explore and Make.  Explore and Alter.  Explore and Mock Up!  

Streamline Strips
I brought the project along on a four day retreat.  On the morning of the final day I busted it out and fortunately when I forgot to add seam allowance to my sketch dimensions- right after saying I'd remember to - there were highly qualified quilty-math friends in the room to save me.   

Color Choices
Lots of rulers were involved.  For the setting I did it the hard way instead of the math way - which for me is the easier or at least more enjoyable way!
Critical Crop
Basically,  once I got the square constructed I just added chunks of gray to all the edges and built it out then trimmed it down.  For the actual Critical Crop angle, I sat my phone with the target image on it on the table next to me until it looked right.

My Helper
I'm not one with nimble fingers or an obsession for perfection, so those narrow bits and partial seams got as good as they get.   Makes me really appreciate the #minimini posts I've been seeing on IG. 

Partial Seam

TIP:  Mock Up

So here's something that many people already do - and I'm writing about it mostly to remind myself to do it more often.  MOCK UP.  yup.  If you are visual learner and creator it's a great way to have a virtual reference as a jumping off point.  This doesn't mean you have to actually make your project to match.  There is no obligation - the freedom to deviate is there.
Explored and Ditched
Working out ideas on paper - or computer - is really a wonderful option.  Somethings need to settle in and sort themselves out before taking a rotary to fabric IMO and using a MockUp can serve that purpose.

Sample Fabric photo mock up
I will also use the PhotoGrid app on my phone to see what repeated alterations would look like by duplicating a picture of a sketch or actual block like I've done here.  In the end I thought it was overworked and too complex but may incorporate the idea in other future project.

Taking part in Tips and Tutorials linky party with Stephanie over at Late Night Quilter
and WIP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced  - now how to quilt it! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November ALYOF goal

Tick - Tick- No Excuses

If ever there was a project that had absolutely no good reason for taking so long, the one is it.  My son chose the design and approved the fabrics for his bed quilt so long ago I can't even remember.

Progress at October Retreat 
I've worked diligently on it at two retreats and several sessions at home.  The pattern is not too difficult for me, I like the fabric, I really WANT to gift it to him - none of the typical stumbling blocks apply here.
Parts from March Retreat
There has been progress.  It has rolled from month to month and although I feel a little like the quilter who cried wolf,  it is my official ALYOF project for November.  Goal Setting Linky party is open at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew BitterSweet Designs. 

We are after all headed rapidly to a new year and it will NOT be on my 2016 Resolution List.  Yup, you guessed right, it was included in this post from January 2015
Initial Pull
I've decided to keep the fabric almost exclusively Parson Gray, mixing from various lines rather than the scrappier pull shown here.  Framing it in a mid-to-dark border is also on the redesign plans and not just because I want to finish but because I think he will like it that way.

As usual, I'm strategically selecting on item from my 2015 FAL Q4 list as well.

Wish me luck and hop around to cheer on the other participants too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Original Design Entry - Bloggers Quilt Festival

Castles in the Sand

EDIT:  How exciting to be in the top 20 Viewer's Choice category.  Click HERE and choose the heart on my quilt before November 5 if you pretty please! 

Usually I browse through my recent makes, look back at old blog posts to share again a special quilt for Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  My first entry in the Small Quilt category, "Perspective" is exactly that.

My second entry "Castles in the Sand" has not been blogged about here.  It's a collaborative Charity Quilt that came to being this summer.   Since the festival's category of ORIGINAL DESIGN emphasizes the design aspect, I thought why not link up.

I was flattered when the chairty committee for our local MQG chapter unanimously chose my design mock up at our second planning meeting after brainstorming, sharing sources of inspiration and sewing up prototypes.

Castles In The Sand - Original Design

You can read this post written by our secretary Renee on our South Bay Area MQG website.  Castles In the Sand has been gifted to a wonderful local organization, Caroline's Non-Profit Thrift Shop.  It is my understanding that they will do an online auction or raffle for it so I'll keep you posted.

Mock Up and Actual Top

Minimalism does not come easily to me.   Maybe that's what makes this experience stand out.  It was also about seeing a vision through to reality and the logistics of sewing from a sketch.  I drew it using Inkscape easily enough but then it became "how do we do that?" Questions that were answered hands on one step at a time.
Mock Up Design

There is no better feeling than when creative juices flow.   We all get stuck and loose our mojo or putter along with projects we've started just because.  But when things click and fall into place like it was meant to be, well that's the sweet spot to hold onto.

Because the look was so graphic, placement and shape of the wedges was especially important. The construction of how to achieve the design of the quilt was improvised. I especially appreciate this quote from Cheryl Arkison "A sketch might not sound like improv, but it provides the intent and a guide".
hands on problem solving

With every little shift to the left or right, thin or thick, tall or short the overall look was impacted drastically.   It became a build as you go technique and was all about the parts and how they related to those around them.
Relationship - That's the key
The point here was not to replicate it exactly, but to capture the essence of the image.  Deciding which elements mattered the most was a moving target.

My Workspace 
Nothing minimal about the chaos of my house and our workspace in the living room but we made do.    My multitude of ruler options were however quite useful.

Squaring Up

It was a marathon, back-to-back-to-back creation for Pam and I starting Friday June 26th at SewDay,  my house on Saturday and then finishing up at hers on Sunday.  3 days and boom, it was a top!  Not sure if either of us at or slept but I do know we both had a great time and created a wonderful gift of Charity.

Quilt Specs:
Original Design by: Me -  the festival category !!
Finished Size: 74.5"x96.5"
Sewn by:  Pam Rocco and I
Quilted by: Linda Barbin
Label and Binding by: guild president Lynne Nostrant
Named Castles In The Sand: by guild member Laura Ryle, naming contest winner
Fabric: Kona solids
Gifted to: Caroline's Non-Profit Thrift Store

Viewer's Choice nominations are closing soon so head on over NOW.  You just copy the link of the top 3 quilt images you like and paste it into the box.  Maybe mine will be one them, hint hint !!!

More Backstory

As a member of BeeSewcial, I have the opportunity to constantly explore.  It's funny how my "failed" block humerously dubbed "Popsicle/Christmas Tree/Hangman" was what sparked the "successful" design.

Proof of why we keep going and pushing.  We can't anticipate where our ideas will lead and sometimes they lead to very special times and memories.  Here are a couple of additional concepts having to do with merging and/or floating wedges.
another concept of merging colors -shapes

another wedge concept  


When I saw Pam Rocco's quilts at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, it was pivotal moment in my quilting journey. At the time I had no idea who she was, that she lived in my hometown, or that years later we would work side by side.
Pam Rocco and I with row #1
I confessed about being a total fangirl with Anna Maria Horner in my last post.   However, if I were to write down a list of quilters I admire, at the very tip top would be Pam Rocco (no offense AMH).  It was a wow moment that I get to experience on a monthly basis during our guild's Show and Tell.

Guild Show and Tell

I didn't send that other block to Debbie for Mod Mood but I did mail these three.  You can see her finished quilt in the Modern Category for the festival.  Be sure to check it out and all of the other entries.

Mid Century Modern blocks sent
My Previous Blogger's Quilt Festival Entries: 

Spring 2015
Goats Askew - Original Design 
IG Mini - Mini 

Fall 2014
Look Who's Walking - Small Quilt

Spring 2014
Giant X-Plus  - Scrappy
Rip Tide - ROYGBIV

Fall 2013
Tassels - Group/Bee

Fall 2012
Old Italian Block - Scrap/ROYGBIV/Bed

Spring 2012
Catalyst (aka Mod Mosaic) - my first time to participate 

Thank you Amy for another great festival and opportunity to discover new bloggers and to all of the generous sponsors too!  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Perspective - Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry


EDIT:  Voting has begun. Click HERE and choose the heart on my quilt in the Small Group category before November 5 if you pretty please! (you can also vote for Castles In The Sand in Viewer's Choice and Original Design)
Perspective's Glam Shot
According to the eye candy on IG the past few days, it's Quilt Market time again and that also means it's time for linking up an entry (and more importantly - browsing around) over at Amy's Creative Side Blogger's Quilt Festival 

FMQ detail sparkles
I chose "Perspective" for the Small Quilt Category measuring 48"x60".   You can nominate it for viewer's choice - open until Oct 29  here, I'd sure appreciate that! 
AMH and I at QuiltCon 2015
I pretty much adore anything Anna Maria Horner and was tickled when she shared my quilt on her Facebook page  and used all caps to describe it as GORGEOUS (such a fangirl moment) 

posing with my quilt on Display
The fussy cutting and fussy quilting was well worth the extra effort and honestly what made it more fun to make.  Stripes can be tricky and rewarding when used strategically. 
Shopping Tower of Bolts 
I had to laugh at myself for titling the blog post "Loominous - slow progress" considering the entire quilt took 10 days start to finish.  The renaming of the quilt to Perspective had to do party with the vista view looking down on Capitola Village but also applies to the way we view time - task - life.   You can read more backstory  here and here.
Auditioning Aurifil
Having my quilt hang at the store display was really nice - and since our MQG chapter holds their monthly meetings at Hart's, I just had to point to it for show and tell. 
Stash Backing

Fall 2015 Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry 
Perspective - Small Quilts Category 
Started May 15, bound May 25, 2015
Fabric Line: Loominous by Anna Maria Horner, Binding Kona Pansy
Purchased from Hart's Fabric 
Backing: Moda Botany and Fig Tree from my Stash
Pieced with Aurifil 50wt #2325, quilted with 40wt #2515
Batting: Winline Bamboo 
Designed using Pay Crafts tool Equal
all on done by me on my Babylock Symphony 
Given as a gift to a very special and well deserving young lady 

Other Festival Entry this year: Castles in the Sand - Original Design 

My Previous Blogger's Quilt Festival Entries: 

Spring 2015
Goats Askew - Original Design 
IG Mini - Mini 

Fall 2014
Look Who's Walking - Small Quilt

Spring 2014
Giant X-Plus  - Scrappy
Rip Tide - ROYGBIV

Fall 2013
Tassels - Group/Bee

Fall 2012
Old Italian Block - Scrap/ROYGBIV/Bed

Spring 2012
Catalyst (aka Mod Mosaic) - my first time to participate