Gravity Block 8 – Eclipse

The Eclipse block of #GravityQuilt builds upon a previous block that had one Y seam. It looked hard at first, but I followed the instructions step by step and it just went together. I did reverse one color pair and decided to leave it. Of the pair, I think I like that block better. What do you think?

  

Gravity Quilt Block 7 – Cosmic

Volunteering at a sewing conference means I don’t get to sew, except in my room after dinner. The Jaybird Gravity Quilt pattern is plotted out very well. The skills you learn build upon the previous blocks. I am finding the instructions have been really well done. And, I am learning a lot. #GravityQuilt is not a boring kit, it’s actually fun. 

Here is block 7. 

  

Gravity Block 6 – Ultraviolet

Wow, it’s been a busy month. I’ve been home, gone, had cousins visit, made new friends, had family visit, closed a retail shop, dug into work on another one, and am volunteering for a friend who is putting on the Sassy Southern Sewing extravaganza. Not my normal type of sewing, but I am sure I’ll learn a lot helping at this garment oriented event. 

Oh yea! And I got up on water skis! For more than two seconds. I really really skied half way around the lake! Yay!

I finally made time tonight to cut and sew together block 6. This is called Ultrviolet. It requires a partially open seam that is finished at the very last. It actually went together pretty fast. Lots of bigger pieces and only two triangles in this block. There is so much bias in these pieces! I have learned that starching, or in my case using Best Press, until the fabric is like cardboard really helps this #GravityQuilt go together more quickly, requires almost no pins, if any, and helps a ton. It feels good to sew.  

 

Gravity was intimidating but now it’s not. 

I saw a quilt kit that really wowed me. I usually grab a kit that’s on sale just for the fabric bundle. This kit by Jaybird Quilts is simply beautiful. And looked really complicated. Normally I stay away stars, but I have a compulsion to do this one. Using a special set of rulers (you can make this quilt from templates), Inhave found this is way easier than it looks. Lots of best press to stiffen up and prevent bias cuts from stretching it helping too. 

Here are my first four blocks for my #GravityQuilt

   
     

Pillow swap from Dec 2014

Cathedral Window Pillow
Piped edges, zippered back, cathedral window block, pillow

I forgot to post a pic. This was the pillow I made for the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild pillow swap. I saw a cathedral window block and knowing it’s pretty traditional figured it was so pretty and if I followed the make it big, it could squeeze under the modern category in a slight way. The person who ended up with it, let me know that she really liked it. I learned a new technique and had a lot of fun.

Complementary Improv Quilt named Earth, Wind, and Fire

My goal was to do a complementary colored quilt as an exercise in my exploration of the CMYK color wheel. I also challenged myself to pick the ugliest fabric I owned as a starting point.

I chose a ombre brown that looked like mud. I bought this on sale a couple of years ago and it never inspired me. I realized that I had a matching ombre blue that worked for a complementary color scheme. Initially I made about 30 blocks that were improvisational created by stacking two squares to five and cutting a curve through all them. I didn’t worry if the fabric shifted, I just used a rotary cutter to slice through all of it. Then I randomly shuffled the pieces and sewed them back together. It did not take long to realize how sleepy this soft brown and blue color scheme made me. It really needed something more. I pulled out Joen Wolfrom‘s color poster and realized that I had an orange that was actually the same color as the brown, just a different value. Wolfram is really changing how I think about color. It’s all about value. Thinking in value really simplifies things.

Bright orange is a very powerful color and in the case of this muted soft blue and brown scheme, it became very powerful indeed. Small doses were in order. I stacked up a few of the blue/brown blocks that had larger areas of contiguous fabric section and layered in an orange square and did my same improvisational curve cutting and piecing. I also sorted through my blocks and found several that were not large enough to allow me to easily square up all the blocks to maximize the sizes I could make. So I tacked some orange onto the edges of these smaller blocks to grow them. I am actually really pleased with these blocks. The fabric that I did not like, now looks like suede and the bits of orange really shape the path the eye travels over the quilt top. It reminds me of a kayaking trip with water, mud and flames.

I really need to put up a large design wall to layout all these blocks. It will have to wait for a retreat or something. I also have not decided if I will sash them like in the three row image or if I will just sew them edge to edge. I’m sure it will come to me at some point.

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Fall is Here and a Pumpkin Class

2014PumpkinClassWhat a week! Fall is here! It was 97 F yesterday and 80 F today with rain most of it. I almost got naked and did a thank you rain dance. I’m sure my neighbors were thankful because I rescued them from the ghastly vision of my interesting bits by deciding to go shop hopping instead. It was much more important grab two more shops on the Quilts Across Texas Shop Hop than it was to frighten the rain gods into dumping more water on me in an effort to make put my clothes back on. We got plenty of water today.

This past week my friend Jamie reposted a photo of a class sample that I did back in June. She showed off the quilt as you go watermelon table runner. Jamie got a big response from her Facebook peeps and they asked me to teach it again. I will in the spring. I offered to do something “Fall or Christmas” instead. We talked and decided a pumpkin would be very apropos for the next two months at least. So a pumpkin it is.

There are some vintage looking quilt as you go pumpkins made of strip piecing. At first I though we’d do that. It would be made just like the watermelon table runner but a pumpkin. Sounds easy. I decided to actually make a sample this time.

But as things go in my world I decided to change the plan just a bit to make things prettier.

There is absolutely nothing on a pumpkin that is a straight line. So, I decided that instead of strips, we’d do curves instead, easy-peasy no-pin mild gentle curves that would suggest the 3D shape of the pumpkin. Great! I drew out a pattern and it is beautiful! Oh no! I realized we can’t do the stitch a strip and flip it over technique as easily now. We got those curves to deal with. This is intended to be a beginner level class… so what am I to do?

I have said all year that I would teach a Fast Piece Applique class à la Rose Hughes style. It’s fun, it’s fast, it gets fabulous results in a short time. Her books are great and I tell my peeps to, “buy them, buy all of them. Rose’s books will inspire you and teach you stuff, she’s great!” I decided that this is my chance to spread the news about the greatness of Rose. However, Jamie and I did put the news out that this is a quilt as you go kind of beginner class. So what to do?

I decided we will do Rose’s technique and mangle it into a quilt as you go kind of thing and shorten the process just a bit. I put it together tonight, and because of the big pieces of pumpkin, it will work just fine. I think this is gonna excite my class! I’m excited to share it.

I was really surprised how the process fell together and how it sped up making the whole darn pumpkin centerpiece. And, best of all, it was fun and not that complicated.

I’m not going to show how I did it yet… I want to find any interesting foibles by making another sample tomorrow. For now… Here is a pic of what I did in just under an hour and 30 minutes.

Modified Fast Piece Applique Quilted Pumpkin
Modified Fast Piece Applique Quilted Pumpkin

Baby quilts never end up being easy

I am making two baby quilts. Thought I’d make something simple and plop an appliqué on them. Nothing ever turns out simple in my world of no quilt top patterns. I suppose it’s because my father turned me on to Robert Frost when I was a child.

This was the first Robert Frost poem Dad ever recited to me.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

That poem along with a chorus from a John Coltrane song pretty much explains my whole life AND my quilting habits.

I think that’s why I tackle the hard things and try to do them. I think that’s why I often start a quilt pattern or plan and change the plan in the middle of the project. Ok, I’ll admit it. I ALWAYS change the plan.

That brings us back to this baby quilt. I started with a plan of a quickie Jelly Roll race with a border all in blues. Followed by slapping a sailboat appliqué on it. Good plan. However, as I sat down to the machine, I decided I wanted it to kinda look like ombré. The idea was light blue at the top for a sky effect with dark on the bottom for the sea. Did that and it looked boring. So boring that I had to chop it up and so I frog stitched (seam ripped) apart every 6 rows. Cut those to make quarter square triangles and boom had a chevron design. Cool!

Not cool. Now I had to miter the border. Ok easy peavey.

Now the quilt isn’t big enough. Have to add another border. Bigger border. Now have to miter that so it matched the smaller already mitered smaller border.

I learned why you want to see all your borders together first before you put them on the quilt for mitered corners.

I cut out a paper sailboat to see where I wanted to place it and quite frankly it sucked. So now I scrapped the idea of the appliqué.

Found a cool fishy edge to edge longarm pattern and am long arming that on this quilt.

A two evening project turned into a week.

My less traveled path sometimes takes more time. But I am pleased with the result. IMG_2412.JPG

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A Pouch for Carol

My friend, or cohort in quilting crime, Carol, accompanied me to Valli and Kim a really awesome Texas Quilt shop. We saw nearby a store called Cowgirls and Lace. A friend of mine talked about how wonderful a place it was for decorating fabrics and all kinds of things. So of course, we just had to go in.

Cowgirls and lace had upholstery samples for just a dollar. Beautiful stuff!

I asked Carol to pick out three and I also picked out a few. Today, I decided to do “something” with them. I decided to make a useful gift for Carol.

She liked a brown plush fabric with modern colored striped circles on it.

I saw a free pattern on studio Kat Designs that looked really useful. I didn’t use the dimensions as I chose to use the sample fabric without cutting it up. But I did use the instructions. And, I added a few treats for Carol. Which I received as a giveaway from a new shop in Lytle, Texas, named Pyron’sIMG_2380.JPGIMG_2375.JPGIMG_2378.JPG