Thursday, August 25, 2011

July Quilting Bee Blocks

It's been pretty quiet on the sewing front around here. The move and subsequent unpacking & settling in combined with, well, the mere fact that it's summer has kept the whole family busy, and me -- generally exhausted from both all of the work associated with the move and the blasted HEAT -- away from my sewing room.

Thank goodness for at least a little bit of "obligation sewing" -- it gets me back to the machine when I might otherwise choose reruns of "The Millionaire Matchmaker" or some other such drivel on Bravo. (PS. Does anyone else fail to see any "real" in the lives of the "Real Housewives"?)

do. Good Stitches | July

I took one evening last week and banged out two spider web blocks in a red & aqua color scheme. I know this is an EXTREMELY popular color combination these days, but I (surprisingly) had to dig pretty deep into my scrap bin to find enough pieces to make these two blocks. I guess it's not a palette that I naturally gravitate towards. Love 'em, though!

do. Good Stitches | July

These blocks were made for the do.Good Stitches charity bee.

(P.S. these pictures were taken on my new back deck. Not a bad substitution for my old back deck, where all of my other pictures have always been taken, huh?)

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Bloggers' Choice Fat Quarter Bundle

If you read my blog regularly, you could probably tell pretty easily that my favorite part of the quilting process is choosing the fabrics for my projects. I love focusing in on a color story, or a print, or a pattern, and mixing and matching different fabric to make the project come to life.

The piecing, quilting, and binding? ... yeah, that stuff gets done mostly out of necessity.

I was flattered to be asked by Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop to take part in their newest program, the Blogger's Choice Bundle series. This series features fat quarter bundles, made up of 12 prints and 3 solids each, selected by several different quilt bloggers. After browsing the site for some inspiration I began gravitating towards this mix of navy blue, dark forest green, teal and white, with charcoal grey as my solid of choice -- quite different from many of the brighter quilts I've been seeing made lately. I think this somewhat masculine mix of colors would make a really great quilt for a boy's bed.

Look what came!

I was VERY excited to receive one of my bundles recently, and I'm trying to decide what kind of quilt to make with it. What do you think? Do you like it? What type of project would suit it best? For a few more days, you also have the opportunity to win one of my bundles! Head on over to the FQS' Jolly Jabber blog and leave a comment for your chance to win.

Oh, and while you're there, can you let me know what type of quilt I should make? I listed a few early thoughts in my post over there, but can't decide ...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

TMQG Pillow Swap

In my role as "swap swami" for the Triangle Modern Quilting Guild, I try to organize fun activities and swaps for the guild members. Earlier this summer, I introduced the idea of a pillow swap where everyone makes the same size pillow cover. By keeping the format consistent, I thought it would be fascinating to see the different directions that everyone would pursue in their designs.

Central Park Pillow

We decided on a standard travel-sized (12" x 16") pillow form to keep the project relatively small and manageable. I had a lot of leftover scraps of Kate Spain's Central park line and the coordinated shot cottons that I originally selected for my Carousel quilt, originally featured in issue 4 of Fat Quarterly, and decided on a half-square triangle pattern that really highlights the different colors and patterns in the fabrics.

Central Park Pillow

I tried something a little unusual for me, which was to use a colored thread for my quilting. I took a risk and quilted the pillow top in orange thread with an all-over meandering free-motion pattern. It certainly made the quilting pop off of the pillow rather than subtly recede into the background.

Central Park Pillow (back)

I finished the pillow with an envelope back that featured some leftover HST units and some contrasting prints. Overall the pillow was a ton of fun to make, and I think / hope the recipient (Bethany of Crafty Geeks) really liked it!

Want to see what I received?

travel pillow swap

Caitlin (who blogs at salty//oat) made this adorable little pillow just for me! I love Caitlin's modern sensibility and her minimalist approach to the design of this pillow. She based it on this free block pattern by Ashley of Film in the Fridge, and I feel that her liberal use of white and the carefully selected solid shades is spot on perfect.

travel pillow swap

Of course, the stars of the pillow are the little Heather Ross-designed girls playing with their toy horses. Caitlin is actually works at Spoonflower (lucky girl!) and was able to score these scraps from Heather's recent line with the company. The two vignettes of the girls on the front of this pillow make it extra special for me because of the reference to my twin daughters.

travel pillow swap

Speaking of my daughters, I am sure you can imagine how many times this pillow goes missing, only to be found in one of their rooms!

Thanks so much for my amazing pillow, Caitlin -- it is much loved here in the Quilt Dad household!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quilters Take Manhattan Event

I'm back from New York (OK, for over a week now .. but who's counting?) I had a fantastic time at the Alliance for American Quilts' Quilters Take Manhattan event. It's always great to be back in my home town of NYC, and even better when I can spend time at an event surrounded by so many people who share my creative interests. And, on top of that, one that takes place in a setting as beautiful as the huge loft apartment of Victoria Findlay Wolfe (of Bumble Beans fame).

Jennifer Paganelli, John Adams, Jay McCarroll
Photo taken by Heather Jones (olive_and_ollie)

I attended the Modern Stories: Documenting the Modern Quilt Movement event on Friday evening, which began with some free time to mingle and I MET JAY MCCARROLL! Which was great, other than the fact that Jay told me that he expected me to be in my 60's and wearing a sailor hat. Hmmm, not sure how to take that one, but meeting Jay was definitely a highlight of my summer (as was hanging with Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom, also in the picture above!)

panel discussion on the Modern Quilting movement
Photo taken by Heather Jones (olive_and_ollie)

I was there to be part of a panel of creative folks to discuss the modern quilting movement. Guess which one in the picture above is me? The other panelists (in order from left to right) were Jennifer, Kim Hyrniewicz, Melanie Testa, and Nancy Soriano. Amazing, amazing women. I know what you're thinking, and I'm not quite sure how I found myself on that panel either ... but it was a blast!

It was also great to catch up with Heather, Jackie, and Thomas, and to meet some online friends like Heide and Heather from Jennifer's Connecticut quilting posse.

Speaking of Heather, she has already written up a wonderful recap of the weekend that I couldn't even hope to match, so I'd encourage you to head on over to her olive and ollie blog to read more!

OK, so enough with the schmoozing and gratuitous name-dropping for a while. I've (finally!) unpacked my sewing space in the new house and have eased back in to making some blocks and stuff. I'll be back soon with some actual sewn goods to share.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Big Apple Bound!

I'm so excited to be heading back to my hometown of New York City tomorrow for the Quilters Take Manhattan event, sponsored by the Alliance for American Quilts!

What is the Alliance for American Quilts? From its website:

The Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ) is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our American quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation's diverse peoples and their communities.

In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals:
  • to promote the understanding of the quilt as an important American grassroots art form
  • to make information about quilts available to a broad public
  • to educate Americans about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost
I am so honored to have been invited by the AAF and my friend Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans to participate as part of a panel discussion on Friday night. The topic of the discussion is Modern Stories: Documenting the Modern Quilt Movement, and I'll be joining my pal Jennifer Paganelli and some other fabulous quilters on the panel. Moderating the discussion will be one of my all-around favorite people, the fabulous Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quilt Works. I hope you'll go easy on me, Jackie!

And then on Saturday afternoon, Marianne Fons and fabric designer extradordinaire (and Project Runway season 1 winner) (oh, and our Fat Quarterly Modern Madness winner!) Jay McCarroll will host a fun event at FIT.

I'm really looking forward to spending some time both at home with my family and with so many fellow quilters and artists in New York City. Heather and Thomas will be there, and I'm hopeful that Kate Spain can make it too.

With so many fantastic people all in one place, how can it be anything but a blast?! I'll try to take some good pictures!

Have a great weekend, all.