Quilts

Catch-up: Bee Adventurous Round 3

IMG_9868

This is a while back now, but to catch up, here’s my work on Round 3 of the Bee Adventurous journey me and my wonderful beemates have been on together. (Clare’s work in the center; Rebecca’s on the next section around that, with the circle corners; mine around the outside, the strippy diamonds or whatever they should be called.)

This quilt belongs to Clare, who I was lucky enough to meet in person at this year’s Festival of Quilts. Ohmahgosh, is she the most adorable person?!?!? I just wanted to squish her to bits (in a good way)! I was so happy to meet her, it was a definite highlight of this year’s already wonderful show.

Anyway, it was some time ago, but this quilt was a definite challenge for me. And I couldn’t figure out why for ages. It seemed like a perfectly me thing to do, but then I realized two things:

– For whatever reason, I’ve definitely shifted to a more low-volume / minimalist feel with my fabric choices and designs. I know that’s definitely not what Clare wanted in her quilt.

– Even though I love when other people use solids in their work, I was just not accustomed to it! For ages, I couldn’t figure out how to fit them in and make them work with the prints I wanted to include. They just looked all … blank and stuff. I’m clearly used to playing with prints.

But it all worked out pretty great in the end – though I didn’t think so at the time. I only reluctantly sent it along to the next beemate, still partially feeling like I’d made a mess of it and should rip it out and start again. Now I love it very much.

And it really got me out of my comfort zone. I’m including more solids in my sewing, naturally now and not forced – for me, this was the whole point of the bee: stretching my stitchy legs and trying new things. Sounds like such a silly thing, needing practice to include solids? They just didn’t look right to me at first, but now I’m really enjoying them.

You can see the continuing work on this and all the quilts in this bee by checking out the tag #beeadventurousquilts on Instagram!

Oops, I did it again. Also, a new quilt top!

Yeah. It happened again. I guess just don’t know how to use my blog now, with an entirely different schedule and slightly unclear focus. It’s becoming clearer, day by day, and my future now looks entirely different than it did a few months ago. But where does my blog fit in, and where does blog reading and writing fit into the world at large? It seems like such a lesser-used medium now than it was just a tiny little while ago! Crazy technology making everything move so quickly!

So, I’ll just go on as if I hadn’t been gone, and hopefully I’ll figure it out. For the time being, I’m going to try to post weekly, just the once. Seems like an appropriate schedule for both you and me now.

IMG_0945

It being Olympic time, I set myself some Olympic-worthy (yeah, ok, I suppose those hammer throw people would probably object to that) challenges for these two weeks: make good progress on a cardigan I’d been knitting, finish my Merry Medallion, and finish my Huge Honking Churn Dash quilt (above).

My BeeEurope 2015 peeps made these churn dashes for me and LOOKIT HOW DAMN PRETTY! For me, it’s the ultimate, perfect, heavenly combination of modern and traditional, exactly how I like it.

(To make your very own Huge Honking Churn Dash Quilt, use my tutorial!)

Bee Adventurous – Round 2

Bee Adventurous Round 1

Remember when I told you about Bee Adventurous, the new round robin-style quilting bee I’m in? Well, the work I showed you then was Round 1, when we all made our own pieces to pass on.

Round 2 was just a touch trickier. Who knew adding something to someone’s beautiful handmade work was going to be so damn difficult??! Ok, so maybe I should’ve seen that coming.

Bee Adventurous Round 1

I knew that my contribution to Rebecca’s (@greenandbell on IG, a friend whose work I admire more than I can say) quilt was going to include low volume flying geese – I could see that almost immediately. Her segment was made of intricate, colorful squares, and my gut said it wanted angles and couldn’t have anything too colorful next to her section or it would drown it out. I sewed a bunch of low volume, low contrast flying geese and was crazy about them. And then got stuck.

I originally placed a couple of stars between the geese and it was pretty, but it had no cohesion with Rebecca’s piece. I also went back to the original assignment, as it were, and looked at Rebecca’s Pinterest inspiration board for her project. I decided the stars were stepping too far away from her style. Working your style into someone else’s isn’t easy – it’s a balance, taking care not to simply mimic their style, instead finding a way to blend the two seamlessly.

Bee Adventurous Round 1

It took me a few days of sweat and tears, but I decided to replace the stars with five circles, English Paper Pieced in quarters, in color blocks. The color and shot cottons I used would tie into Rebecca’s work without competing with it. I had also previously felt that in order to be truly representative of me, there really should be some hand-stitching involved in my contribution, so landing on an EPP solution put out a couple of fires with one cup of water. As soon as I imagined the circles in place, I knew it was the right choice and I got stitching.

Bee Adventurous Round 1

I’m really happy with what I made for Rebecca, and I hope she is too! It’s a little bit me, a little bit her. And it made me step outside the box and see my sewing a little differently which, for me, was the whole point of this bee!

Bee Adventurous Round 1

(Rebecca’s work up top, mine below it. This photo was kindly provided by the bee member now in possession of this project, Ruth (@birchandbirdsong on IG), because my turn with it was plagued by dark and rainy days. Other than this photo, pardon the unpolished WIP-nature of the shots in this post. This is what it really looks like as I work. :) )

Next up, Clare’s project, which you can see the start of on her blog. It’s been added to by Rebecca since then, and I’m totally unsure about this one. We’re already a month into this round and I only really have an inkling of an idea of how to proceed! So yeah, wish me luck, eh?

Make Modern – When The Stars Go Blue Wall Hanging

So, this crazy thing happened last week, dudes. A new issue of the digital quilting magazine Make Modern came out … and MY PROJECT IS ON THE COVER. #holycrap!

makemodern-issue10

Make Modern is a really fun magazine, always full of lovely, bright, modern projects. In this project for Issue 10, I combined fairly simple EPP with a touch of basic embroidery to create a project that really wows. My wall hanging is called “When The Stars Go Blue” (after this beautiful Ryan Adams’ song) and is inspired by the moment when the sky is neither day nor night, and you can just see the stars emerging. That’s my favorite time of day, it makes me feel so deeply happy and sad at the same time.

I hope you’ll go check out the issue – and my project, if you’re interested in hand-stitching! Thanks so much to Make Modern for choosing my project for the cover – it’s ridiculously exciting to see it there!

Star-A-Day

IMG_8994

The other day, I shared my new Diamond Hex Quilt obsession – a long-term EPP project that I expect I’ll be working for a good portion of my life. But actually, that is not the only loooooong-term / slow craft project I’ve started lately.

A few weeks ago, I went on a little mini-holiday with some friends and finally started the Star-A-Day pattern by Somerset Designs that I bought last summer. My friends and I chatted with these guys a bit at the Festival of Quilts and they were just the super-nicest ever. And they do some truly beautiful, really special work. I saw a lot of really beautiful things at the festival last year, but their Star-A-Day quilt, even though it is the simplest of their many wonderful designs, was the thing that most captured my imagination.

I love the simplicity of these teeny stars, and the extreme scrappiness of their tiny pieces and, just like my EPP, the notion of gradually adding to the project one wee star at a time. The pattern includes acrylic templates and the design is meant to be completely hand-pieced – one star every day for one entire year will make the right amount for a quilt!

The hand-piecing aspect was what appealed to me most – you know I love stitching by hand so much more than by machine – but I have to admit, I had a hard time with these stars and haven’t made any more since. The extreme tininess made hand-piecing very start-and-stoppy, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to deal with all the seams. I really want to sit down and try to improve my method for this project, because I do love those stars very much and I know I’ll just keep avoiding it if it’s an aggravating process! But aren’t they they cutest???

If anyone has any amazing hand-piecing tips to share, I’d be crazy grateful! :)

(You can find the Star-A-Day pattern with acrylic template set here.)

1 2 3 11