30 June 2014

I like Structure

I don't know about you, but as much as I like freedom of choice and self expression, I also crave deadlines and guidelines. So, this week, when our Pack Patch Mini QAL prompts were to choose our own themes I was at a loss for a while. While I'm happy with what I chose, I don't think they're the most clever themes of all time.

I ended up finding inspiration for one block in an odd place. I've become obsessed with knit fabrics, and came across the Harmony Art Jersey Let It Grow Grey print. I loved how the description said 'the balance of circles within squares' inspires the artist. Although this looks nothing like that knit fabric, it was inspired by that idea of circles within squares.

The Balance of Circles Within Squares
The Balance of Circles Within Squares
The second block I made was inspired by the Cheddar block we made. I figured if we'd already done a color study, and the color was cheddar, it was only fitting I'd do a color study green block too (see blog title). Besides being my middle name (and Mom's maiden), it represents my youth on a farm, hiking in the woods, rolling hills of grass, finances that guide our lifes choices. So many things! I attempted to capture some of these themes within the block, you'll be able to see for yourself how successful I was (or wasn't!)

Study in Green
Color Study in Green
This wraps up the sew along. It's been a fun little journey in experimentation, and I think I'm going to need to work on continuing this type of thing somehow. It's oddly liberating getting pushed outside your creative box.

If you had to choose a prompt for one of these blocks, what would you choose? 

27 June 2014

Lightning Bug Pincushion

My local quilt shop (Brooklyn General) has a crafty contest each summer. This year the challenge was to honor the bug. All entries have to be 5" or less, and the have to be 3-D. I had this contest in the back of my mind for a little while, and then inspiration struck like a bold of lightening:

Lightening Bug Pincushion
Lightening Bug! 

I made a design for a 5" square, traditionally pieced lightning bug. I may enlarge the pattern into a pillow size and share with you later. This small one is awfully fiddly. Suffice it to say, all these teenie tiny pieces were hard to get an accurate seam allowance on, but they are so cute that it doesn't matter (to me)! I ended up adding some hand embroidered embellishments because the wings looked a little odd without definition, and buggy needed some legs and antennae. This is maybe my second time embroidering, and I used 4 different stitches! One of my favorite parts of the pincushion are the sides and bottom in the neon yellow stripe. I got it as a remnant, and am not even sure what kind of fabric it is, but it fit in with the theme perfectly!

Here are a few close ups, pardon the cat hairs!

Lightening Bug Pincushion
Head shot. Antennae were stitched using backstitch and french knots. 

Lightening Bug Pincushion
Close up of the 'lights' with some mosquito stitching embellishment. 

Lightening Bug Pincushion
Here's how he looks as a functioning pincushion. 

Lightening Bug Pincushion
Back side of my label. The other side is my initials and the year. 

There's still time to enter the contest, and everyone is welcome to participate (just mail in submissions if you're out of town). They're accepting submissions until July 15th. Everyone can enter up to 3 bugs. I've got an idea for another one, just not sure if I'll be motivated to finish in time! 

Lightening Bug Pincushion
Buggy got back!
Linking up to Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts

25 June 2014

Liberty in Colorado

Last week I showed the paper pieced Crested Butte block that I'm turning into a cushion for my sister, this week I'm sharing what will become the other side of the cushion: Colorado blocks!

Red Liberty Colorado Block
My favorite color combo!

I had to use my leftover Liberty fabric from my Liberty Trip quilt, but I really wasn't feeling it. I know that many Liberty fanatics won't believe that, but I'm sure many people know the feeling: you've worked with something so many times you just can't stand to look at it again. I was initially going to just do a random patchwork design, but it was too jumbled, too unfocused for me. I had already been planning the Colorado Block side of the pillow for my sister, and I realized I could turn all those 2.5" squares into HSTs for the block. I grouped my left over Liberty squares by colors (loosly), and I used the last of my Architextures Topograph in navy as the contrasting color in each block. They came together really quickly, and I fell back in love with the fabrics. Now I think I'm going to have a hard time giving them up!

Liberty in Colorado
The start of my Liberty in Colorado cushion cover. 

I'm thinking of giving away the rest of my Liberty Scraps. They are all quilting weight cottons from the Bloomsbury and Stile collections, although just a selection of the prints. I've been looking at them too long, it's time to move on! If I decide to go this route I'll provide more information on what I've got and announce it via blogpost, so you'll be the first to know!

Linking up to WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

23 June 2014

Vintage v. Modern

I know that this discussion can get wildly out of hand, so I'm just going to touch on the subject. This week for the Pack Patch Mini QAL the prompts were to create a vintange inspired block and a modern inspired block. Because the constraints of this project involve all blocks being 12-patch minis the portrayal of vintage and modern is really in the fabric choice.

When I think of vintage quilts, I think of people sewing with left over scraps of fabric from making clothes or other household objects. I also imagine lots of ditsy calico type prints being around to make said clothing. So, I chose an old calico print I took from my mom (probably circa the 70s, but could be earlier or later), and a repro print. The repro is actually part of the first fat quarter I purchased for the first block of my first quilt!

Vintage Block
Vintage inspired block. 

For the modern block, Chase asked us to choose some fabrics that make us think of modern quilting. When I think of modern movements in art, I think of people pushing the boundaries of convention. So for me, modern quilting is a way of using the quilting medium, but in a different way than the traditionalists. So, that may include more negative space, less traditional layouts, modern fabric choices (although I tend to think that a traditional block worked in a modern fabric is still just a traditional block), color studies, spatial scale studies, etc. This is not a technical discussion, as I would rather have fun with my hobby than politicize it, but I did want to point out that I do think there is a difference. The line may be hazy, but it's still there. I find myself more on the traditional side of the spectrum, although I like reworking the blocks with modern-feeling fabrics.

Modern Block
Modern inspired block. 

I chose two prints with similar colors that are irregularly spaced patterns to create this block. The goal was to play with the negative space within the composition, but also stay within the 12-patch format. Kind of a fun challenge, actually! I used some Menagerie from Indian Summer, and an unknown scrap from some type of peacock feather fabric I purchased last summer. 

How about you? Do you like to debate what makes for a modern quilt(er), or do you just like to keep your head down and sew? 

Handmade Quilt: First start, latest finish

For my first post I figure I'll share my first quilt. It's actually not my first finish, but it was the first quilt I started. About 2 years ago I decided that I wanted a creative outlet. I was really into riding my bike around NYC and ceramics. I love ceramics, but it's an expensive hobby, and it's one that requires studio space and a kiln (at least for me). I thought about learning how to make bikes, but realized that's not a practical hobby for a NYC apartment dweller (despite owning two bikes at the time). 

I'd been debating learning to quilt for quite some time, and decided to bite the bullet, so to speak. I did a quick google search and decided that a class at The City Quilter would be just what I needed to learn the trade. 

My first class was a hand quilting class. So, I learned how to draft blocks, draft templates, use templates to cut out fabric, hand sew, press, thread baste, and finally hand quilt a project. Not being one who's into minis, I figured I'd make a throw. For my first quilt. By hand. Good grief. 

First Block Sewn (Churn Dash)

I pieced the top fairly rapidly. 12 blocks down in 2 months. Not too shabby. The problem was, I didn't use any foresight in my fabric choice. This made me hem and haw for a while about sashing options. I kept looking at my block pictures (no design wall) which were on instagram. The different filters and borders inspired me to frame most of the blocks in black, and sash in white, creating my 'Instagram Sampler'. 

Pieced and Quilted! The top from my fire escape. 
So as to not make my boyfriend feel left out I often let him have some creative input into my craft. I've got very set opinions, which means he gets shot down a lot. I usually let him provide more input into the backs of quilts. For this one he picked out the elephants, the tickets (lower right), and the grouchy ladybug fabric (to represent me, according to him...), and the cows and pink elephants were scraps from other projects. The back of the quilt is the only part machine sewn, besides the binding. 
The back of the quilt. I am not the biggest fan of the brown elephants, but it all worked out in the end. 
So, that's my Instagram Sampler quilt. As for a little wind up about my goals with this documentation, I'll be peppering this blog with WiPs and finished projects. Most of them will be quilty in nature, as at this point I'm only capable of making quilts, pouches, and pillows. My posting will probably be sporadic, as my schedule doesn't allow for set amounts of sewing. My goal is one post a week, as I do like sharing, and I love positive feedback, so feel free to comment as you wish and continue stoking my ego :)

20 June 2014

Crested Butte Pattern!

My sister lives out in Crested Butte, Colorado. I've been to visit several times, and can attest to it's beauty, especially in the summer. She moved there to become a ski bum while she was still young enough to enjoy the lifestyle, and her body was still limber enough to take it. That was something like 5 years ago and she hasn't left yet.

The town is named for the iconic mountain that overlooks it: Mt. Crested Butte. A ski resort in the winter, with mountain biking in summer. Paradise.

Here she is, in all her summer time glory!

Here I am at the summit. 12,162 ft!
It was a relatively easy hike, but as a flat lander I experienced
a lot of vertigo on the way up! Oddly, none on the way down...

My mom has made my sister and many of her friends knitted presents, and I wanted in on the action. I can't let my mom get all the attention! So, I'm making SissyPants a pillow. One side is going to be inspired by Crested Butte's status as the 'wildflower capital' of Colorado, and the other by the mountain herself! I'm not sure why, I've clearly decided the mountain is feminine. Whatever, it works.

Crested Butte
My paper pieced Mt. Crested Butte. 

I tried to capture a perfect blue bird skiing day, as my sister loves hitting the powpow.

I've also decided to let you try out the pattern. I've created a Crafty store and listed it for free.  It's my first pattern, so if anyone makes it I'd love to here some feedback. Feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Linking up to TGIFF at Sew Fresh Quilts this week, and at Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  

19 June 2014

How To Qwilt

I was recently visiting my parents and I happened upon a stack of my old school work. Most of it was art projects or stuff from elementary school, because that's when it's still cute enough to save, not boring like a term paper or something. Turns out, I liked quilts and tutorials way back when I was around 7 years old!

The following is my first tutorial on how to quilt. This is how I thought things worked. Keep in mind I never saw anyone quilting in my family (although my grandmother was a quilter for a time before I was born). As for the spelling, I was young, and my school believed in 'sounding things out' and telling the story rather than focusing on proper spelling and whatnot. The rest would come (and you'll have to trust that I can spell most things without spell check!). I probably typed this book up myself on a typewriter (pre computer days).  I also made all the illustrations.

I've combined images of the book with some potholders I made for my mom, and captioned them all with the original text and spelling.

How to Qwilt 
How to qwilt ritten and illastrted by Elizabeth grenn chesebrough.
frst you/put two/three scwars together (picshor on left)

then you make a nother two/three and sew them together (picsher on left.) like this...

then you tuck in the side you did not sew and then yousew after y-ou pin it down.

you put to gether some more scwars then it is time to stif it o.k.? but frst you put a back on it o.k.? (picshor on left) then you turn it inside out and put the pading on top and turn it riht wayout (picshor on riht)

Fun trip down memory lane, right? I actually had no recollection of this book existing until I found it in my old room. So, as far as I'm concerned I actually only got into quilting a couple years ago, despite this contrary evidence! Can you remember when you first got into quilting?

17 June 2014

Saturated Cheddar

Time for my weekly Pack Patch Mini QAL update! This week Chase was inspired by an issue of Quilters Newsletter Magazine and used some traditional/vintage quilts as inspiration.

The first prompt was to use cheddar quilts (a pinterest board I found with good examples) to inspire the patch. I think these colors aren't as popular any more (my stash loves yellow, but is a little skimpy on the orange), and I ended up using some vintage scraps I had rescued from my mom's stash. I paired it with some binding scraps in Carrie Bloomston's Collage (paper alphabet)  to modernize it a bit.

Modern Cheddar Block

The second block was inspired by two-color quilts. The goal was to use two saturated colors as the focus of the block. It looks like I was still feeling the cheddar love (hello, 'cheese' is in my blog name!), so I used some of the AMH Hand Drawn Garden social climber in gold and paired it with the Joel Dewberry True Colors woodgrain in teal. I was emphasizing the gold/teal colors, although some of the bright, saturated roses came through too.

Two Color Block
Saturated Two-Color Block

I've been wanting to make a two-color quilt for a while, maybe some kind of sampler like Dear Jane or Farmers Wife, using a two-color scheme. Initially I was thinking black/white, but now I'm thinking something bright. How about you, ever thought of making a two-color quilt, or does that stifle the creative genius inside too much? 

12 June 2014

Liberty Trip - Finished!

So, I finally finished the Liberty Trip quilt! I drove to Massachusetts to visit my parents this week and finished sewing on the binding. Just so happens, they live on a farm, which made for some fun quilt photography. It's interesting how blogging about the quilts I make is getting me back into photography, which is something I love but had fallen by the wayside over the years. Still working on re-learning settings and how to balance colors, but trying to share the quilts in the best way possible is really motivating me.

Liberty Trip
Llama wants a quilt!

I used the Quiltville Scrappy Trip method for block construction. My fabric selection consisted of about 18 fat quarters of Liberty Prints, all (I think) from the Bloomsbury or Stile collections. I had 4 FQs that were somewhat more pastel-toned so I used them as the center diagonal in each block. For the others I aimed for a dark/light red/blue quasi-gradient, but really just went with what I felt looked right.

Liberty Trip
Here's the front! 

For the back I just enlarged the scrappy trip block (and made it as a 5 x 5 rather than 6 x 6 layout), as I wrote about here. The back is all from the Stile collection, I believe.

Liberty Trip
Here's the back!

For the quilting I machine quilted on my home machine. I marked 4 straight lines using painters tape that intersected at about the center of the off-centered central diamond. I then echoed the triangles using unevenly spaced 'organic' (we know what that means!) straight lines.

Liberty Trip
Drying on the line after a good wash. 

It was a lot of fun to make, and by far my quickest quilt. I've got ideas for another scrappy trip style quilt, so stay tuned. I've also got some plans for all the left over squares from this liberty trip quilt (hello, matching pillows!)

Liberty Trip
I like how the Scrappy Trip Pattern helps the Liberty florals blend together. 
Liberty Trip
Fabric close up! Some of my favorite prints.
I have to remember to USE this quilt, not HOARD it. 
Linking up to TGIFF at Riddle and {Whimsy} this week and Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

08 June 2014

Who's Cooler, City Mouse or Country Mouse?

After a brief hiatus the Pack Patch Mini QAL is back. This week the themes were city mouse or country mouse, with further prompts asking you too choose cool or warm colors for each. In my mind, both are cool colors, but for different reasons.

Cities are cool colors because they're kind of impersonal/grimy/industrial. Don't get me wrong, I'm living in Brooklyn, NY, and have lived in various boroughs within New York City for the last 9 years. I've gained a grudging respect for the city, and am still dazzled by it at times, but I think it's getting to be time we part ways.

City Mouse
I used a grey with some cool colorful tree outlines, and a fragment of a Charlie Harper (Upside Downside) print. 

I grew up on a farm in Massachusetts, so kind of an island of 'country' in the suburbs. We had a bunch of land and lots of woods, animals, some gardens, lots of space to play around. When I think about the farm, I think about fresh air and green spaces with blue skies. So, another cool color scheme.

Country Mouse
Two Liberty of London prints left over from a quilt I just finished. 

So, I guess the answer is they are equally cool!

Any one else have an opinion on being a city or country mouse? 

06 June 2014

My Franken-sten

Earlier this week I posted that I was attempting the Wiksten Tank. I've been wanting to make some clothes for myself and thought this would be a good tank to learn on. Good news - it is! Bad news - I had to do major modifications to get it to fit my body type. That took it a little out of beginner zone. But it's okay. It reinforced my love of quilting and straight seams!

Wiksten Tank
Slightly blurry tank top. 

So, newsflash: I have boobs. And I'm not a petite woman. Being a fairly pragmatic person I have come to realize that this is pretty much my body's stasis, and I'm ok with it (some days more than others). That being said, the Wiksten tank is beautiful, but is also designed for a less curvy woman (in my opinion...others may disagree).

Wiksten Tank
Close up of pocket modification and dart. Can you find them? 

After my first muslin (a test garment made out of inexpensive material) I realized my tank more resembled an actual tank than a shirt. So I set to googling. I followed the directions on how to make and insert a side dart, but it was still kind of maternety-esque. And I'm not pregnant. So that's not the look I'm going for. I brought the sides in a little, kind of using my intuition. The (now second) muslin still looked iffy, but I decided that was because I'd made so many changes it didn't know which way was up anymore.

I held my breath, and cut into my AMH Rayon Challis Coordinates in Cyprus. It is so soft and silky, but not too stretchy. An interesting experience for one who only sews with quilting cottons and linen blends. It fits better than the muslin did, and I think I'll need to make a size larger when I perform my next attempt with some of April Rhode's Arizona Collection Triangle Tokens Voile. I'll need a breather before that, though, so back to quilting for me!

Ok, enough words. Here's my self portrait photo shoot. Happy Friday.

Wiksten Tank
Me and Picasso. We love picture day.
Still figuring out where the camera and sun are. 

Wiksten Tank
Unintentionally hiding my face.
I had literally just torn a huge hole in my jeans as the timer was going off. 

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and


04 June 2014

Scrappy Trip Progress

I've been slowly quilting my Liberty Trip quilt. I'm doing a kind of wobbly star motif, radiating out of the central diamond. It'll make sense if I ever finish and get to show off the layout! Luckily the Liberty florals are beautifully busy, which will hide my many mistakes. I love piecing quilts, but quilting is still very much a challenge for me.

Liberty Trip Progress
Some of the quilting and the binding fabric. This quilt is 100% Liberty. Except for the batting, of course. 

I've decided to make some cushions with the scraps from this quilt. I've got a layout in mind, just gotta get on it. And buy more batting. And maybe zippers.

Liberty Trip Progress
Lots of scraps!

If I EVER FINISH THIS QUILT I can't wait to get back to my Southwest Dead Pixel quilt. Don't worry, I'm still working on the name.

Southwest-speration Quilt Center Panel
Center panel and Daegan. 

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WiP Wednesday. ALSO, today the New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop starts over at Plum and June (with a giveaway!) Go check it out!

02 June 2014

Wish Me Luck!

Just got back from my 10 year (that can't be right...) college reunion. It was a great trip to catch up with some friends I only see a few times a year, and some friends I haven't seen since graduation. I even stayed in the dorms, which was a flashback experience, and sadly comparably sized to the rooms in my apartment.

Now that I'm back I'm working on quilting my Liberty Trip quilt, which is coming along nicely. I've also decided this is the summer of the garment, and have signed up for a class at my LQS to learn how to sew knits without a serger. In preparation of that I'm tackling the Wiksten Tank. I've got this beautiful AMH rayon, but first I think I'll try a muslin. I haven't made any clothes since I was in High School, and back then all I had to do was yell "MOM!!" if I got stuck!

I'm also participating in the 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop hosted by Plum and June. It starts this Wednesday (June 2) and is a great way to find new inspiration. You should stop by, maybe you'll find your new favorite blog!

Plum and June