Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another perspective ...

When it comes to quilting, I love how creativity and inspiration builds upon itself.

I love how fabric designers draw inspiration from so many different things to create their beautiful designs, and then sewists draw inspiration from those designs to create items (quilts, bags, clothing) ... many of which the fabric designer could never have even imagined.

Having recently had my first quilt professionally quilted (my Sanctuary quilt for the latest issue of Fat Quarterly), I can now see how a long-arm quilter takes that creativity even one step further. They, too, start with something created by someone else and look for their own inspiration to take a quilt to the next level. I guess I just hadn't realized that professional long-arm quilters have a whole different perspective on the project and bring a new set of ideas and considerations to the table.

But I'm not doing a great job explaining myself. Instead, jump over to Bethany's post where she describes the thought process she followed when deciding how to best quilt my project, and the many things she considered to complement my design and take it to the next level. I found it fascinating.

P.S. Tell her I said "hi"!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WIP Wednesday : WIP's on Parade

Alternate post titles: "Quilts with Feet", or "Sexy Man-ankles". Any would be appropriate!

So the kids were at Camp Grandma up in NYC last week and, per usual, I took the week off of work. Early in the week, Mrs. QD and I enjoyed an overnight trip to Blowing Rock, up in the North Carolina mountains. But for the latter part of the week, she began her PhD program and I was left to my lonesome.

What's a quilting dad to do?

It is so rare that I enjoy several consecutive uninterrupted hours of sewing that I decided I needed to tackle some of my bigger projects. Namely, the (embarrassingly high) stack of blocks that all need to be assembled into quilt tops. You know all of the quilting bees that I participate in? Well, I'm ashamed to admit that I had yet to sew together a single quilt top from the bee blocks I'd received.

I was a man on a mission. And between Wednesday and Sunday I sewed together 5 -- count 'em, 5 -- quilt tops. I have no idea when I'll be able to get them quilted, but no matter for now. I am just so glad to have made a dent in the WIP pile.

Wanna see 'em? I thought so! And heeeeeeeere we go ...

WIP 8 - Amy Butler Midwest Modern Quilt

First up were these blocks, originally sewn up for a friend's wedding gift 2 years ago, made from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern line.

WIP 8 - Amy Butler Midwest Modern Quilt

WIP 9 - Fresh Cut Turning Twenty Quilt

Next up were another set of blocks that I sewed together a LONG time ago ... as in, this was one of the first set of quilt blocks that I ever made. They're made from some of my favorite Fresh Cut prints by Heather Bailey, and the pattern is the popular Turning Twenty. This one actually still needs its final border.

WIP 9 - Fresh Cut Turning Twenty Quilt

WIP 5 - SewConnected Quilt

Then I moved on to my growing pile of quilting bee blocks made for me by my many talented Flickr friends. I started with my original virtual quilting bee, the SewConnected group that I started back in September 2008.

I absolutely LOVE this quilt. It's just so ... happy. It features so many of my favorite fabrics, including Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt, Farmer's Market by Sandi Henderson, and Flutterby ladybugs by Tula Pink. They all go so well together.

Why did I wait so long to put this together??

WIP 5 - SewConnected Quilt

WIP 7 - SewConnected 2 Quilt

By this point I was on a roll, and I was so excited to move on to my SewConnected 2 quilt. I had my SC2 friends make me mini improv houses, and boy did they deliver. I opted to use a light grey (Kona Ash) instead of white as my neutral, and I'm so glad that I did. I know I am going to LOVE this quilt for years to come.

WIP 7 - SewConnected 2 Quilt

WIP 6 - SewConnected 3 Quilt

I rounded out the weekend with my SewConnected 3 quilt, made from Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks line. I asked for quarter log cabin blocks and love the way all of the prints are mixed up together. I think this line has cemented its place as one of my all-time favorites.

And yes, those are my sexy mankles (man-ankles) in the photo above! : )

WIP 6 - SewConnected 3 Quilt

So there they are -- 5 quilt tops in 5 days. I can add them to my stack of tops ready to be quilted, which was already stacked 4 high. Oh, what's that? You want to see them, too? OK, your wish is my command!

Here's a colorful quilt top made from a line of fabric called "Mendhi" by Bill Kerr & Weeks Ringle of FunQuilts from a few years back. The pattern is the free Brick Path quilt by Amy Butler.

WIP 2 - Mendhi Quilt

This is another top made from some Amy Butler prints -- this time, her Lotus line. The pattern is called "Flip a Coin" and was featured in one of the (or even the?) very first issues of Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts magazine.

WIP 1 - Amy Butler Flip a Coin Quilt

Here's a pretty basic (i.e. no pattern) HST / pinwheel quilt made from a charm pack of Look & Learn by American Jane and bordered with some of my favorite ruler fabric:

WIP 4 - American Jane Pinwheels

I got a lot of great feedback on this next quilt when I first started blogging. And here it sits, still unfinished. It's another Turning Twenty quilt, this time using some wonderful Prints Charming fabrics.

WIP 3 - Spaceboy Turning Twenty Quilt

So some of my unifinished stacks of blocks have turned into unfinished quilt tops. But that's OK, right? One step at a time ...

I still have a bunch more to work on, including my Cottage Quilting Bee, Bee Inspired, Buzz Cuts, and {Bee} Imaginative blocks.

Any thoughts or suggestions on backing, binding, or quilting designs for any of these? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, August 13, 2010

July Bee Blocks

Yay! It seems that I am all caught up on my quilting bee blocks -- both making the blocks themselves, and blogging about them! It helps that I've pared the number of bees I am in down to 2 ... MUCH more manageable and, as a result, I am able to take a moment and enjoy the experience again. It helps that the two bees I am in are both GREAT.

First up this month is {Bee} Imaginative, where July was fellow manquilter Ryan's month. He sent a selection of red & aqua fabrics and asked for asterisk-inspired blocks in multiples of 3". I was able to make a 9" and a 12" block. I was excited to use some of my Circa 50 by Monaluna for Birch fabric.

{Bee} Imaginative for Ryan

Over in Buzz Cuts, swapmistress Kimmie asked for colorful flying geese blocks made from fabrics from our stash. I thought this was a great opportunity to cut up some of my Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Buzz Cuts |July

I don't use Kaffe's stuff very often, but I think there are some occasions where it really fits the bill. I especially love the flying geese-like print that I used within the flying geese. How meta.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Butterfly girl embroidery

Just a quick post to share a piece of embroidery that I recently finished for a swap with Aneela of comfortstitching fame. I based this piece on Freedom, a print by one of my favorite artists, Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios (with permission, of course). See the original print here.

Embroidery for Aneela

This piece was a lot of fun to create. I had to take a short break from hand stitching, but the embroidery bug seems to have bitten again. More soon ...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wonky Log Cabin Love

It's so great to hear that, nearly a year after first posting them, my wonky log cabin block tutorials are still being used and referenced. I recently heard from Heather, who blogs at olive and ollie and serves as the president of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, and Twitter friend @tarabonistall that the guild recently had a sew-in and used my tutorials to make some wonky log cabin blocks.

Here are a few pics of the meeting from Heather's blog:

Emily's wonky blocks

Amanda's wonky blocks

Gillian's wonky blocks

Andi's wonky blocks

Wonky blocks!

Great blocks, ladies! Big props to the CMQG. Looks like a fun time was had by all. Wish I could've been there to create with you guys!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How a damsel might carry her Kindle ...

I am not sure that I've adequately gushed about Lizzy House's new line Castle Peeps here on the ol' blog yet. It's just so much F-U-N to work with. No matter what it is that you're making, this line really brings it to life. Which is precisely why it was the perfect choice for this next project.

Let me go back for a minute to my time at quilt market. I met so many amazing people, one of the most amazing being Beth Dunn (who blogs at An Accomplished Young Lady). Beth is one of those rare, warm people who immediately upon meeting you feel as if you've known for a long time. In short, Beth Dunn = awesome. I had a great time getting to know her and subsequently keeping in touch via Twitter.

Beth celebrated a birthday recently and decided to treat herself to a Kindle. I immediately offered to make her a handmade Kindle holder because ... well, because I just really enjoy giving people gifts! And I've made a few Kindle holders before from the amazing Moda Bake Shop tutorial (see here, here, here and here).

Because Beth is a true Renaissance woman (like, literally) , a card-carrying member of Team Bronte, and a lover of all things Victorian, I thought a little bit of medieval fabric would be a nice choice to wrap her Kindle in with love. Enter Castle Peeps.

Beth's Kindle holder

I let my creativity run a little bit wild with this one, and fussy cut some of the peeps to sew against a backdrop of castle towers.

Beth's Kindle holder

I used the spear & shield print for the lining and bound it in a black & white polka dot fabric (still not 100% about that choice, but I think it turned out OK).

Beth's Kindle holder (inside)

Here's a little surprise on the back of the holder: a prancing horse!

Beth's Kindle holder (back

I can blog about this now because Beth received it this week, and you can read more about it on her blog here. I'm so glad you like it, Beth! I hope you get lots of good use out of it.

P.S. while writing this post, I realized that I never blogged about the last Kindle holder I made. Take a look at this one, made for one of my best friends who left in May to spend the summer as a student advisor for the Semester at Sea program:

Deer Valley Kindle Holder

I used some of my favorite Joel Dewberry fabrics in an effort to make it more of a masculine design.

Deer Valley Kindle Holder

If you or a loved one have a Kindle, I couldn't recommend this pattern enough. It comes together quickly and is a lot of fun to make.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fashion Forward

OK, OK ... so I know I've been absent from this space for much of the summer. What can I say? Crazy awful full-time job, three little kids all out of school ... I am sure many of you can relate. With summer upon us in full swing, their bedtime seems to be getting later and later, at which point I am WAY too pooped to even think about working on a project. Hence, no sewing = no cool projects to share = no interesting blog posts.

Well, I do have a few things to work on. First is answering all of those awesome questions you guys asked me as part of my giveaway entry. I'm slowly but surely working on those. And oh yeah, I am sure you guys want to hear all about my fabric design class with Heather Ross in Portland a few weeks back. Working on that, too.

But in the meantime, PLEASE enjoy this:

How friggin' cool is that?! It was designed by my super awesome uber-talented swoon-worthy designer extraordinaire pal Melissa Averinos, she of yummygoods fame. And the best part? Yes, you too can have this emblazoned on the front of your very own t-shirt and be the envy of your cul-de-sac.

Read more about it and Melissa's other brilliant t-shirt designs here. I've also put it on my sidebar in case you want some flair for your blog ------>

More soon ... I promise!