Saturday, March 18, 2017

National Quilting Day

Hooray! There's a whole day set aside for Quilting - how great is that? This year I have to be at work facilitating one of our multi-day workshops, so I won't have time to sew on my own projects until tonight. Never fear though - this workshop is taught by Sue Nickels so I'm soaking in all the quilty vibes until I get home.

What am I currently working on you ask?

Well, I recently finished my #maythe4thmqs2 Star Wars swap mini quilt. This won't ship until end of April, but I had a grand time putting this together. I scrappy/improv pieced the emblem, then fused it to the background before zig-zag stitching around it & adding quilting.

With Junior Quilters at work (a monthly quilt group for kids ages 10-17) we've been working on a series of Footie quilts. These are named for & inspired by the Footie Collection by Dorris McManis, who challenged herself to make a 12"x12" or Foot x foot quilt every week for a year (she ended up with 78!). I pulled form teh variety of techniques and inspirations to direct the Junior Quilters to make 4 footies of their very own!
My samples are shown above and showcase the 4 prompts:
Top Left- Improv strips & hand quilting, in the style of Gee's Bend quilts
Top Right- Embellishment, using a season/holiday/time of year as the focus
Bottom Left- Layers
Bottom Right- Journal Quilt

The students have done a fantastic job interpreting the prompts and stretching their skills & creativity.    

I'm also this -> <- close to finishing the quilting on my Disco quilt. Finally!  It's giant sized, but soon enough I'll be able to trim the sides and figure out binding. Hopefully tonight will see the final quilting stitches in this one - especially since it's on my 2017 Finish Along Q1 list!

How are you enjoying National Quilting Day?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Quilt Retreat at the Beach

My Momm & I host a quilt retreat each year at a Beach Resort on Lake Michigan & this was our 8th year!  We spend all weekend inside (because it's usually snowy outside) working on whatever quilty projects we want - all with a great view of the lake! This was the first year that there wasn't any snow on the ground, but it was still cold out there.  

It's nice to stay inside and sew as much as I want and only stop for meals or sleep. Since I fly to retreat, my carry-on usually consists of 98% fabric and 2% comfy clothes. Ha! I wasn't entirely sure what I'd want to work on and I brought several options of both WIP & new projects. :)
twin quilts & quilty pillowcases for sweet dreams!

First up was finishing my remaining mini charm blocks - I ended up with 14 total. Each block uses a different mini charm pre-cut and I'm using the free Moda love pattern. It's been fun using up some of my mini charm stash with this quilt! I played around with the layout before deciding to set the blocks on point. The background is Kona silver, mini charms include: Ticklish, Moxi, Tucker Prairie, Block Party, Gardenvale, Chance of Flowers, On the Wing, Boat House, Poems From Pebbles, Sewing Box, Beach House, Good Karma, Miss Kate, Summer Fest.

Then I pulled out my #pineappleblockswap blocks and added some sashing to bring these into a quilt top making this a quick finish.  A friend has already claimed this quilt so I'll need to get backing to finish this one up soon. :)

Lastly, I worked out the measurements and technical bits for one of my own designs. I doodled this last Fall as part of the #30daysofquiltdesign and once the math was figured out started cutting & stitching. 

I'm using a Flow charm pack and a tonal grey print for background. It'll be a little smaller in size than I originally thought, but I'm happy that the math worked out to fit my design! Here's my color layout -->

Linking up at CrazyMomQuilts for Finish it Friday with my 2 quilt tops. Linking with AQuarterInchFromtheEdge for TGIFF this week too!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

in a playful manner

So you may recall dear readers that I work at a Quilt Museum (bestjobever)! Well, in the Fall, we had a donation of several Frivol tins from Moda so our boss created a staff quilt challenge. The guidelines stated we had to choose a tin and make something with the fabrics in it - no size requirements or themes so we all had free reign to play!

Quilts were due at the end of 2016 and we ended up with 8 total finishes - each one unique and spanning techniques from fusible appliqué, pieced designs, hand quilting, dresden plates, english paper piecing, foundation paper piecing, machine quilting!

There were several local judges - quilters & quilt appreciators.  My quilt won Second Place! Eeeeee! :)   We'll be hanging all of the quilts in our education hallway in the next week so that our visitors will be able to enjoy them as well. 

I chose Frivol #9 & spent some days trying to figure out what I wanted to create before landing on a sketch I made during the #30daysofquiltdesign challenge. (seriously - what a useful challenge)

Quilt Stats:
Fabric: Moda Grunge Ocean & Frivol Tin #9 - Little Miss Sunshine
Title: Scherzando  - a musical direction meaning in a playful manner
Size:  38.5" x 53.75"
Finished: December 2016
Original design using paper pieced feather blocks from Quiet Play & Play Crafts
machine pieced & quilted by me on my Janome 7700

My quilt features paper pieced feathers using Quiet Play's feather pattern & a free pattern from Play Crafts. I sorted the tin fabrics by color to give the feathers a gradated look and used Sketch print in black for the stems/spines. Piecing the feathers was pretty easy though they did take some time with all the sections - I watched a lot of NCIS putting these together! The background fabric is Moda Grunge in Ocean. 

After the feathers were pieced, I tried several layout options and then worked to puzzle piece the negative space background fabric into place. It's entirely pieced and machine quilted with Aurifil threads. I FMQ windy swirls along the feathers so it's like they are being blown up & across the quilt. 

Squeaking in to join Crazymomquilts Finish It Up Friday linkup!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Finish Along Q1

Charm About You

Another year means another list of WIPs to finish! I'm joining in with the Finish Along again - making this the 5th year I've participated in this awesome link-up! It really helps me keep motivated and focused on working my way through the stack of WIPs in my sewing room.

All of these projects have rolled over from last year but I'm ready to get sewing on these and start enjoying them as finished quilts. Linking up at Charm About You to kick off the 2017FAL!

project Disco:: 2/3 quilted, then needs binding

 project medallion:: top needs an extra border, then quilting

project pineapples:: only blocks right now, top needs to be pieced, then quilted

project marsala:: basted, needs to be quilted

project improv:: ready to baste the pieces & quilt!

project radar wave:: basted, needs a quilting plan

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Year of Quilting :: 2016 recap

Happy New Year! Here's a round-up, look-back on my year in quilting:
going away Snapshot quilt for K

My quilt journey in 2016 covered a lot of ground.  I finished a total of 15 quilts (with many sample tops, blocks & other sewing projects in addition to that number). I also participated in the #30daysofquiltdesign prompt which was a lot of fun.

Park Bench block table topper
13 of those finishes were a direct result of participating again in the Finish Along which I find provides great motivation in working on those lingering WIPs. I've also been working to connect with the online quilt community more through Instagram, swaps & quilty link-ups like Finish It Up Friday.
Star Wars mini swap 

2016 saw my first mini quilt swaps and I had a blast participating in the #maythe4thmqs Star Wars theme & the #quietplayswap on #qpteamlove :: both via Instagram. 

circle of love swap

Both of these swaps challenged my color/design senses and I so enjoyed stretching my creativity.  Plus, the quilts I got in return were spot-on amazing!

Making a quilt to gift really captures the Joy of quilt making and I'm happy to have gifted a couple this last year. Firstly, Momm & I made a Quilt of Valor for my Uncle which was a fun collaborative project. I also got to try out Aurifil 40 wt. threads for quilting and love how they add extra texture. Then I stitched a whimsical butterfly baby quilt for a best friends new baby girl! 
Butterfly Dance for baby M
Quilt of Valor for G

Not only do I quilt for my own enjoyment & creative outlet; it's also my day job! I work at the National Quilt Museum and teach quilting to those around me in all sorts of ways!  #bestjobever  It's been such a joy to teach the next generation of quilters though programs like our annual Quilt Camp & our monthly Junior Quilters club & school group tours.  The kids constantly impress me with their designs, color choices and interest in the art of quilting. I also took a class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe and will be hanging and exhibit of our Educational youth program quilts later this month!

Quilt Camp samples - ready for the kids to arrive!

We had two Staff challenges at work - the first was to help celebrate our 25th anniversary year by making a quilt with unexpected materials. Mine was made with black batting, zippers, zip pulls, tulle & vinyl - even the binding!

Zip It quilt
The second challenge was to use fabrics from one of the Frivol tins by Moda and to create something with them. My entry uses Frivol #9 to make the feathers, so they dance in the wind across the quilt & I call it Scherzando.
Big Bear quilt

Whew - what a fun year of quilting! I'm looking forward to 2017 and all of the stitching fun awaiting me in my sewing room (and office).  Cheers!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jingle Jangle

Merry Christmas! It's such a joy to have a long vacation and to be home with family for the holiday! There's a good base of snow on the ground and it's been cold enough to keep it around so we'll have a white Christmas this year. :)

Christmas at home includes baking cookies & our traditional cherry holiday cake; cooking our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Polish city chicken with all the sides; lots of laughs and hugs and fun! The family tree glows at night and is loaded with ornaments- each one has a story from our travels, events, adventures through the years.  

Wishing you a Christmas season that's merry & bright!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Butterfly Dance

Allow me to show off my latest finish readers - Butterfly Dance! 

This quilt is intended for my best friend's new baby girl and I can't wait to send it their way. 

I reorganized the Butterflies quilt design from Angela Pingel's book A Quilters Mixology so that it was more baby sized. Originally I wanted to use a blue background so it would look like the sky, but while at Hancock's Momm & I found this perfect purple Moda Grunge that picked up all the colors I intended to use for the butterflies!

The pink, orange, purple & yellow prints chosen for the butterflies came from my stash and have a mix of favorites. Piecing the curves is fairly quick and not too tricky - for me, it's cutting around the templates that is the most tedious part of curved piecing.

I used a variegated thread for maybe the first time: Aurifil 3840: to outline the butterflies and then free motion quilt the windy swirls, as well as my signature bee! You can also see the variegated thread in this super close up shot.
The small butterflies are left unquilted on the insides and for the medium & large ones I used coordinating Aurifil colors to stitch wing lines.

Backing fabric is Feather Scallops in Berry by Sandra Rhodes for Free Spirit. Binding is the same as the background fabric and I machine finished it to the front. Quilt measures: 35.5" x 47.5"
Backing detail
It's ready to ship out and I hope baby M loves it forever!
This is another finish from my Quarter4 list for the 2016FAL and linking up at SloStudio for the finale of the 2016FAL.  Also linking to CrazyMomQuilts for Finish it Up Friday.