Thursday, February 29, 2024

Etude de Cabines, my first truly modern quilt

While my EPP has progressed exponentially, and I'm enjoying it a lot - I had to struggle to finish another project - A modern quilt using some techniques that were new to me - using negative space, saturated colors and improvisational piecing. 
I decided to start with the idea of a traditional block, in this case - a log cabin - and progress from there...
This is what I made. I call it 'Etude de Cabines'

I sent it to my swap partner on Saturday... she has already received it and says she loves it. Can't wait to get mine (in a week or so, she plans to mail it sometime in the first week in March)

Anyway - while I had to watch a bunch of YouTube videos to get the concept and hang of improv piecing, I did enjoy the process of actually doing it... I will be using the technique again in the future for sure!


#MQGMiniSwap2024, #MQGMiniSwap, #MakeAMiniMakeAFriend

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Learning and Trying to Perfect EPP*

 Due to increasing mobility issues, I have been learning (self-taught via reading, advice of friends and you-tube videos) how to do English Paper Piecing (EPP).  (I still get to the sewing machine and sew there too, just not as much, and I don't take my machines to sewing gatherings very often (like sewing with my mini-groups and such).  

As my first real EPP project, I opted to try the "Queen of Diamonds" quilt, then added "Queen of Night" quilt as well, so I've been working on both at once.  I started Queen of Diamonds several months before Queen of Night, but I'm now caught up, and I'm working on the last few blocks of each.  

I have to say that while my early efforts seemed harder than now, and my blocks may not have been perfect early on, I have gotten better.  

Here are some pics of my finished Queen of Diamonds blocks (as of September of last year):

Here are my last two completed Queen of Night blocks:

Both quilts use the same blocks, just very different fabrics... Queen of Night fabrics tend to be darker as the name implies.

Both quilts are made with different lines of Tula Pink fabrics.

Hopefully they will both be done by mid - spring.  I'm actually contemplating using the pattern to make yet a third version, but this one will use fabrics from my stash, all of them cat themed.  It will take lots of fussy cutting, but I'm okay with that.  I have 8 LARGE bins of cat fabric... plenty to choose from!


I've also been working on a couple of quilts, one for a quilt exchange, so I can't post photos yet.  My exchange partner likes improv piecing, with saturated colors and negative space.  The top is completed, backing and batting cut... just need to baste, quilt and bind.  

The second quilt is a challenge quilt for a guild show.  The theme is music, so I chose as my inspiration a song from a musical (I LOVE musicals), and when I'm not listening to a book while driving, my radio is always tuned to the 'On Broadway' station on SiriusXM.  The song is 'Sing for Your Supper' by Rodgers and Hart from the musical 'The Boys from Syracuse' (we're talking 1938, so probably not something most folks would know if they aren't musical fans).  The song always makes me smile and want to sing along*:

* Note: I'm not a fan of the much later version by the Mamas and Papas (I love the group, just not their version of this song.)

While you're reading, I'd like to tell you about a great page by a sweet lady named Jennifer Fulton, 'The Inquiring Quilter'... She's personable, quirky, interesting and interested, and has some great words of wisdom to share with all creatives.  You can visit her page here:  The Inquiring Quilter  .  She also has a Facebook group where we exchange ideas, advice and enjoy lively discussions about quilting.  Check her out at 'Quilting With The Inquiring Quilter' on Facebook. 


Enjoy, and have a great day!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Onyx in Autumn

 I received a pattern in my email yesterday for an adorable table runner called 'Onyx in Autumn' designed by Jessica Dayon, so I pulled some fabrics, and made it yesterday and finished up the top this morning.  Love it (of course, there's a cat, what's not to love?)...  Fun, easy piecing and fast!

Won't get it backed and quilted in time for Halloween, but definitely can try for Thanksgiving!   Thinking of giving the cat some eyes, too... haven't decided on that yet....

Now, back to some Tula Pink EPP!

#onyxinautumn, #onyxtablerunner, #jessicadayonpatterns, #bernina, #madetocreate

Monday, October 23, 2023

Samhain Approaches...

As the season creeps along, approaching Samhain (or Halloween), it always makes me smile when I see the change in decor that graces all the houses, cars, clothes.  We've decorated our house (blow up grim reaper, and some flickering light Jack-o-lanterns), and a little inside too (the seasonal quilts hung, a few decorations set up).  We don't go 'ALL OUT' like we used to when our son was little, but we still enjoy it.  Sadly, we live in a neighborhood with few trick-or-treaters - Ours is a busy street (it's a residential street with only one stop sign, that has become a thoroughfare for people who want to avoid the lights on the main street).  Add to that the fact that we live near the upper END (literally) of the street, and the last 3 houses on the block have nothing across the street (no homes, just a long fence), so the kids walking up the street, usually stop at the fence, (2 houses down from us), cross the street and work their way down again... they never make it to our house.  We get only 2 or 3 groups of older kids each year, almost never the younger ones.  We always have candy and goodies just in case, and my husband takes the leftovers to work the next day...  (There's usually a LOT of left-overs)...

Going back a week to my trip to PIQF, I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  There were FAR fewer vendors compared to last year, and fewer quilts too.  And yet, the show was still aMAHzing!!! I managed to get through all the vendor booths buying nothing but a single pack of hand sewing needles for my EPP project.  The quilts that were on display were mostly awesome.  The Best in Show quilt was astounding, I cannot fathom how you make yoyo's the size of my pinky fingernail!  Look at the 2nd picture - the detail shot - yes, some of those edge loops are yoyos! and the detail shot - yes the sashing is all tiny little yoyos!!!  I was blown away!


  And so many incredible displays of various genres and wonderful quilters.  The Afrifaces display was overwhelmingly beautiful!  


But...none of that was why I was disappointed... The quilt I had entered into the show, and was 'guaranteed' by UPS to arrive by the deadline of Oct. 9th... didn't arrive til Oct. 13th... How it took 7 days to travel 320 miles, I have no idea (it's about a 5 hour drive!).  UPS really dropped the ball there.  Sigh.  I was almost in tears when I found out (after viewing the entire show and not finding my quilt).  It did get appraised, as that was prearranged, and didn't require that it hang in the show for the appraiser to do her work.  So a slight benefit, but not enough to ameliorate my disappointment. 

Okay, rant over, I'll recover and because of the finish date of the quilt, it will still be eligible to hang at PIQF next year.  If it gets accepted next year, I am going to ship it FedEx! 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Oh My, Time Passes and the World Spins On...

 I can't believe it's been almost exactly a year since my last post.  (*listens to the crickets*), even if it's just for myself... the past year has been a difficult one in many ways - My knees are much worse, my eyes are getting worse (though I must admit that is partially my fault - I didn't get a new prescription last year and couldn't figure out why everything was double-imaged, even with my glasses on (it was because my prescription was MUCH changed in 2 years, sigh)... 

Despite the challenges, I've still managed to sew some by hand, some by machine, and finish some older projects as well... I have gone on a few retreats, some good, some not so good (the people were all great - the venues and weather sometimes not so great).  I entered some quilts in the county fair and did well... (no quilts last year due to a complication with their new software and new rules about everything having to be pre-entered on their computer system.)  This year, I entered 16 quilts... All 16 of them received ribbons (2 honorable mentions one 3rd, 3 2nd, and 9 first, one of which got nominated for best in show)... I'm very happy with those results... Quilts that I thought were so-so, got some top awards, quilts I thought were better got 3rd or HM... go figure, but overall thrilled.  

The quilt that got nominated for Best in Show at the county level, has been juried into PIQF (Pacific Int'l. Quilt Festival) in October, so I'm hoping it is well-received there as well.  I'm waiting to hear if it has been accepted into Road to California in January.  

Here's a picture of 'I Put a Hex on Mew' which is the one going to PIQF.  It's a king hexagon quilt, made using the 'potholder quilt' method, which is was popular in Maine and Massachusetts in the mid-1800s.  Each hexagon is individually layered, backed and bound, then quilted, then all the hexagons were whipstitched together... There are 900 hexagons in the quilt, each of them contains pictures or text having to do with cats (mostly pictures).  While I used some pieces of fabric more than once (if I hadn't, I'd still be collecting cat fabrics rather than having finished it!)... but no cat image was repeated in ANY hexagon.  Each is unique!   I started this quilt in 2005 with the intent of making it a king quilt with all cats... I finished it in November of 2022, 17 years later!!!  Can't wait to start using it!  I also made little night-stand coverlets to set our lamps on (I had about 30 hexagons left over, lol... felt the need to use them up).

A close up of a piece of the Hex quilt:

I sewed the hexagons together randomly without any regard to direction or color placement (I'm not generally a scrappy quilter, but I wanted this one to have that look... All the backings/bindings are different blues and I thought about making the back an ombre from light to dark, and decided against that due to lack of desire to sort the finished hexagons and confusion as to what to do with ones that weren't a single color of blue (some were kind of batik-like or had prints).

More fair pics (of my other quilts:)

Our county fair folds many of the quilts and hangs them folded due to lack of space (and time I think)... and maybe staff... In previous years (pre-covid), they'd hang quilts in the middle of the room too - none of that this year - some were folded up and placed inside displays... others folded and hung on the walls... none in the center of the room from the ceiling, sadly.  Even my hex quilt was folded and only partially displayed (understandable due to its size, really)... 

There were a few others, but due to lighting or poor display, I don't have a good pic of them.

I also made my very first real baby quilt this year - just delivered earlier this month to its recipient... she seemed to love it and stood up unassisted for the first time to see it better! (it was a little late, lol)... The quilt is called "Girls Can Do Anything" (there's pictures of typical girly stuff on it - unicorns and cute pandas and forest animals and such, but also of science and scientists and trains and such).

This is the back of the quilt, with the alphabet and an image to go with each letter (it was a panel):

Another fair quilt was a mystery quilt from last year.  Every year I do a 'Murder Mystery' quilt - the designer is also a writer, and writes a mystery story and designs a quilt that has clues and hints to enhance the story that are only in the quilt... you need both quilt and story to solve the mystery... You have to enter your 'whodunit' solution before the end of the year to be entered in a drawing to win a prize or two... All the folks who do this mystery each year (and there are literally hundreds of us), are divided into 'clue crews' and each crew has their own facebook group... Last year's mystery took place in Yellowstone Park, and this was the result:

I am gifting it to my husband's cousin, who took an extended trip to Yellowstone last year with her husband.  Hope they like it.  It should be mailed off be the end of this week.

 I accepted a commission end of last year, and have been working on that, but I'm almost stymied.  I have extensive notes of what she wanted (and it was due to her by early this year (it's now September and I'm still not done!)... I've designed 8 different quilts (mostly variations on a theme), and made 4 of them (in full or in part... I haven't been happy with any of them - and I don't think she would have bene either... maybe I'm being too much of a perfectionist?  Anyway - I need to get back to work on that now that the fair is over (it was in August), and convention season is now over (that was August - September, though I AM going to PIQF in October)...

Ah the quilty fun and stress and anxiety seem never ending... I'm glad that the fun outweighs most of the downsides.... 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Making the Same Quilt Twice

I don't often make the same quilt design more than once, unless I do something to make the second one truly unique in some way.  I did that once when I was a new quilter, back in the day - I made the same quilt (in different colors) for each of my nieces, with matching pillowcases.  I loved making the first one... hated making the second one, but I persevered and finished it anyway.  Since then, I've avoided using the same pattern more than once...  

I broke that 'rule' last week.  About a month ago, I made a quilt top for my LAQ in exchange for quilting services... That resulted in this quilt top, which I thoroughly enjoyed making - it was FUN! (I do love Elizabeth Hartman's designs and methods.) 

I needed to make a quilt for a friend, who loves dinosaurs, and my thoughts went to this quilt and my heart just dropped, because I'd already made it once.  So ... I decided to try to overcome my reticence and use the design anyway, but switch it up and use a dark green background.  

I did all the cutting so once I started sewing I could just power through and finish it... and it did take me a day and a half longer to make the second one (I let myself get distracted a bit more often mostly), but I finished it and didn't hate making it!  What a fun and confusing revelation... 

But I think I'll stick to my pattern of not repeating patterns.  I like new challenges and new things to see and do.

The second quilt top looks like this:

I look forward to gifting this one for a holiday gift this winter... Which gives me a month or so to make a back for it and get it to my LAQ. 

Back to putting on the last three rows of the neverending quilt project (yes, you guessed it, it's not quite done yet - but ALMOST).  I will post pics when it's finished.

Friday, August 19, 2022

The Never-Ending Quilt Project is Almost Done

I started this quilt in 2005 and have been working on it fairly steadily since its inception date.  (That makes it about 17 years in process!)

Each hexagon is individually layered (including batting), bound and quilted.  The hexagons are about 3 1/4" across (the sides are about 2" each).  Each hexagon contains a fuss-cut cat picture. (That means 17 years of collecting cat fabrics and cutting out one, two or a few of the best cats on each fabric).  Each hexagon is backed and 'self-bound' in a blue fabric (most with stars, a few with water or clouds, a couple of solid blues).  I sewed them together without regard to direction of image or of color. (I considered starting with the lightest backing/binding fabric in one corner and sewing them together with an ombre gradiant, ending with the darkest backing/binding in the opposite corner - but that would have required more planning than I wanted to put effort into.) 900 hexagons, give or take a few, to make this king quilt.

Anyway - it's almost done - just 6 more rows to sew on and I am DONE!  I think I might need a drink to celebrate when the time comes. 

Etude de Cabines, my first truly modern quilt

While my EPP has progressed exponentially, and I'm enjoying it a lot - I had to struggle to finish another project - A modern quilt usin...