Sunday, September 23, 2018

Easy Intentional Improv

I'm teaching again.  You can sign up for my Easy Intentional Improv class at Creekside Quilting on November 10, 2018.

Have you ever thought improv piecing looked like fun, but have trouble letting go of patterns and precision? Join us to make an improv block that can be turned into a pillow or joined with other blocks to make a larger quilt. Sample on display in store. Using a familiar intentional piecing technique, we will embrace improv and learn about the importance of color and value in composing our blocks. Improv piecing is the ultimate fabric play. Come have fun with us!

This is the technique I used to make my Riley Blake Fabric Challenge quilt that was a contest finalist.

I've made a few different quilts with this technique.  You get the look of improv, without the time.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Quilts for Foster Kids

The Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilts for foster kids to be included in care packages.  This is a charity project I can get behind.  I went through my pile of completed quilts and picked one that I thought would cheer up a child going through a really tough time.  I also wanted to make a new one, that was specifically for the project.  I followed the directions on Cheryl Arkison's Blog Naptime Quilter.  I made improv slabs 15.5 inches square.  I divided my blue scraps into light, medium and dark.  I tried to leave out the overtly feminine fabrics, so that this would be more BOY.  A few flowers found their way in, but so did lots of Star Wars, so that should balance out, right?  After making 9 blocks I can the lid back on the blue scrap bin.

I sashed the blocks with 3.5 inch strips of Moda's Steel grey.  If I make another of these quilts I may make the blocks 18.5 inches square so I don't have to sash but still have a good snuggle size quilt.  On the back I took a length of light grey and fitted in a row of grey, black and dark blue scraps.  My favorite kind of backing.  

I have it all basted together and ready for quilting, which I will do next week, after my new work mate arrives.  That's right, thanks to the awesome sale at the AQS quilt show this week, I bought myself a Janome 8900, but that's another post.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cross Stitch

I went to visit a friend in September.  I knew I'd need a little something to work on while traveling, but I didn't think I'd have enough hexagons to work on.  Then I saw the Frosted Pumpkin Halloween Sampler and I fell in love.  I've done needlepoint in the past, but always resisted cross stitch.  I've got a new addiction.  I got the border done before I left, so I had t buy a second pattern to make sure I had enough to work on.

But I'm a sewist, so I couldn't just leave it at that.  I had to make a case for my projects.  I took inspiration from the Sewing Portfolio I had just finished.  I measured how big my Q-Snap frame is and added an inch and half all the way around.

 This was a great opportunity to use some hoarded Tula Pink fabric.
I simplified the inside with just two pockets and a loop for attaching scissors or other items.  If I were making another one, which I won't be, I'd add flaps to close the pockets.  I added some pink and white pokka dot fabric to the zipper so that the portfolio would have enough depth to hold the frame.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sewing Room Swap

I jumped back into swaps this summer.  We did a tote bag swap with the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild.  Our September meeting, when we were to exchange totes, got canceled because of some really terrible weather.  Therefore, we still haven't swapped.  The other swap was a flickr one.  We were to make something for our partner's sewing room or something to be used for sewing.  My partner requested something to carry her hand sewing.  One of the items in her inspiration mosaic, was the Sewing Portfolio by Kerry Berry for the Liberty of London blog.  This was totally out of my comfort zone.  I've never sewn with interfacing and I rarely do zippers.
 I changed the pattern a bit, big surprise.  I made it bigger to fit the patchwork panels I made for the exterior.  I also added a decorative zipper pull.
 On the inside, there are 3 pockets and two spool or accessory holders.
I made a pin cushion and a needlebook for my small items.  I also included a spool of Aurifil and seam ripper, so that my partner could hit the ground sewing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Try something new

The DSMMQG is having a tote bag swap.  I've made a few simple bags for the kids in the past for trick or treating or going to the library.  They were simple, nothing complicated.  For my swap partner, I wanted to up the ante a little.  I made a zippered pocket!  I won't reveal the whole bag now, since we aren't swapping until September, but I thought I'd brag a little here.

 The zippered pocket was quite easy, once you got the construction idea down.  As I was testing the zipper (and possibly making every member of my family and admire and test the zipper), I noticed the pocket kept moving around as I pulled on the zipper.  To fix this I carefully tacked the pocket to the outside of the bag.  I made sure my stitches weren't visible from the outside, but just going through the batting.

 An added little touch that will never be visible from the exterior is that I extended the handles all the way through the interior and sewed them into the bottom seam of the bag.  It's a big bag and I wanted it to be sturdy enough to carry whatever my partner puts in it.

Friday, July 26, 2013


This is the first year for a Modern Quilt category in the Iowa State Fair.  The Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild is sponsoring a prize for the blue ribbon winner.  We also agreed we should all try to enter something so that the new modern category is well represented.  This will be my first entry in the fair.  The drop off is tomorrow and I'm getting progressively more nervous.  My entry is a quilt I'm calling Constellation.
This quilt started as a scrap busting project.  I used one of many of the fabrics in my scrap bins.  I've been working on this quilt as a leader ender project for more than a year.  I'm not sure when I would have wrapped this up, if I hadn't decided to enter it in the fair.

I love the texture the dense quilting in the negative space provides.  I quilted this on my home machine, rather than the long arm, because I felt like I had more control for the precision needed.  I used white Superior So Fine in the white areas and nothing on the prints.  I didn't want to distract from the prints and there was no way I could have matched all the colors.
One of the judging requirements is the use of negative space.  I thought doing something interesting with the quilting in the negative space would be a good idea.  I quilted the space in between the wonky stars in a star burst pattern and I continued that to the negative space in the edges.  I created phantom stars in the quilting.
 I am nervous about using pigments to mark quilting lines and the hera marker doesn't show up very well on white.  I finally came up with the idea of just using pins to mark where the phantom star points would be.  It was easy to mark and easy to remove.

I went with a white binding because I thought it was the more modern choice and enhanced the negative space.  If I had been making this quilt just for myself, I would have gone with a rainbow stripe.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Baby Boy Quilt

An old, old, old friend and his wife had a baby boy recently.  What's a quilter to do, but make a quilt.  I did a little research, I asked Grandpa, and found out the nursery was turquoise and lime with brown.  I can work with those colors.

I fell in love with a quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew, Scrappy Summer.  I've been thinking about making a king sized version in blues for my bedroom and thought I'd test how the it looked without a lot of color contrast.

I went through my stash and pulled the turquoise and greens that seemed more masculine.  No flowers, though some seed pods found their way in.  I cut the bigger squares at 5 inches and the smaller ones at 2.75.  I arranged them in a 10x10 grid and sewed it together.  I think cutting took longer than sewing.

 When I paired up the 4 patch square I always used 2 blue and 2 green and I made sure to keep the orientation the same direction to create blue and green diagonals.  I quilted it with a blue green variegated Mettler cotton which I had previously tried to FMQ with.  It broke constantly under the strain, so I thought I would be good to use up on this simple straight line quilting.  The binding is a Connecting Threads stripe that had all the colors in it.
 Now I have to confess this is not actually a quilt.  There is no batting.  As I was getting ready to baste it, I realized this was for a summer baby who lives in Los Angeles.  A traditional quilt with batting would never be used expect maybe as a floor mat.  I know, because, my kids were born in Phoenix and San Diego and I never needed anything but a light blanket.  So I chose to omit the batting and use a soft flannel on the back and hope that this blanket will get a lot of use.