October 6, 2015

Charity Challenge - October

Welcome back to the this month's Charity Challenge!  I must say, this month has been the biggest challenge so far!  I was out of town a lot in September and am away again now, so it has been difficult getting ready for Quilt Market at the end of October and trying to get this quilt done.

No Clouds
As you can see, my No Clouds quilt for September isn't exactly finished - the top is done though! I'm on my annual fall retreat at the moment but my usual 4 day retreat has been shortened to 2 days due to a work trip. I'm still hoping to get this quilted today!

Knowing that October will be as busy as September, my plan for this month is to quilt a top I made quite some time ago. It is one of the big (60" x 80") ones for my traditional guild and I will be excited to get it done! I designed the quilt as part of a scrap challenge to myself after taking a class with Bonnie Hunter.  I have given it the spiffy name of Alternating Nine-Patch.  It uses 4" squares of lights and darks.  I bet you have some of those!  You can download the pattern here.

While I'm disappointed that I'm a bit behind this month, I still feel pretty good about my whole Charity Challenge.  After all, I've already donated three quilts this year and No Clouds will be #4, so I'm still way ahead of last year!

Thanks for following along on my journey!

October 2, 2015

Do you improv?

Maynard Plaza 2013
I've been listening to some podcasts featuring improv quilters.  I LOVE most of their work, but it isn't the way I work. It makes me wonder: should I be working this way?  Does my work need to be free-er?  Less planned?  Is improv for everyone?

I have done some improv - I took a class with Jacquie Gering at the first QuiltCon.  It wasn't strictly an improv class (we were working from pictures of architecture), but it definitely wasn't a "plan it out in advance" process either.  I also took a "class" from the Gee's Bend quilters at QuiltCon earlier this year and really enjoyed my class with Luke Haynes (also at QuiltCon this year).

Jacquie's class 2013
I guess what I learned from these classes is that, while I appreciate the serendipity that can happen when you work in an improv style, I prefer to work out my ideas on paper or screen before I start sewing, rather than working them out in fabric.  I wonder if it is just because I quilt for my job, so I'm more goal oriented than I would be otherwise, or if it is just that I'm not cut out for improv?

Luke's class 2015
Maybe the crux of the matter is this:  if you are doing planned out work because you fear making a mistake and don't trust your own judgement, then maybe improv is freeing as you learn to set aside the fear, trust yourself and enjoy the process.  But, if it just isn't your thing, it just isn't your thing and that is OK too.

What do you think?

[I apologize to those of you expecting a Charity Challenge post.  Somehow my brain was sure that the first post of the month was on Tuesday of next week, not today.  By the time I realized I was wrong, there just wasn't enough time to get my quilt finished.  Please come back on Tuesday for the next Charity Challenge post!]

September 29, 2015

Sneak peek!

Sorry for the off schedule blogging the last couple of weeks!  I've been out of town so much, it has really cut into the sewing time and made it hard to get everything done.

I'm home this week and am gone again next week - part pleasure and part work.  I'll be spending the first couple of days at a retreat with my Handwork group.  The later part of the week, I'll be in Atlanta working on plans for my business for the next few months.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of a pattern I'm working on.  The pattern instructions are finished - I just need to bind the quilt, get the photo done and the patterns printed - NBD!

Quilting by the wonderful Kathy of Thread Bear Quilting!

September 22, 2015

Machine Quilting with Style!

I'm thrilled to be part of the Machine Quilting with Style blog hop today!  Christa Watson's new book is chock full of amazing information about quilting your quilts on your home sewing machine.

I don't recall exactly how Christa and I first crossed paths online, but I've been lucky enough to meet Christa in person as well.  She is one of those people you just like instantly - enthusiastic, knowledgeable, fun and always upbeat!

Detail of quilting on Rain - I love the use of colored thread!
I knew Christa was an accomplished quilt designer and quilter, but I was seriously impressed by a half hour demo she did at Quilt Market last spring.  My regular readers know that free-motion quilting is not my strong suit and I was blown away by the constant stream of ideas and information that Christa passed on during her demo.  Machine Quilting with Style contains all that and more.  Christa has included lots of information about batting, thread, pressing, setting up your quilting space, how to hold and position the quilt for quilting, stopping and starting, as well as 18 different quilting designs.

Facets might be my favorite quilt - hard to say though!
Machine Quilting with Style covers both quilting with a walking foot and free-motion quilting - making it the ideal book for those wanting to quilt their own quilts.  Christa discusses each of the quilting designs and then shows a great quilt featuring that design.

Vote here for your favorite quilt and see if it is chosen for the quilt along Christa will be hosting in January!

Christa has organized a mega blog hop - check out all the participants below:
All images courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane.

September 15, 2015

A scrap project!

I've been setting aside scrappy strips of fabric for a while now to make a rug for our bathroom. I came across the idea several years ago on Amanda Jean's crazymomquilts blog and then in her book, Sunday Morning Quilts.

If you are having deja vu here, it is because I included this information in my newsletter a couple of months ago, but somehow did not blog about it.  I'm pretty sure I started this rug earlier this year - probably in the spring.  It's been sitting next to me on the couch for quite a few months.  Fall is starting to make our bathroom floor quite chilly in the morning, so it was time to finish it up!

Nubby texture!
I started with size 15 knitting needles and 35 stitches (about 15" wide) and just knit garter stitch until I ran out of fabric strips.  Conveniently, the rug was about 24" long when that happened which is a good size for our small bathroom.  Most of the strips I used were about 1" wide with a few a bit wider and a few a bit narrower.  Most of them were the full width of the quilting fabric.  Both Amanda Jean's blog post and book suggest using two fabric strings at a time, but I only used one.  I'm not a great knitter and thought it would be too hard for me to handle two at once.

It would have been nice to have achieved better color distribution as the beginning of the rug (shown at top in the picture above) has more color variety than the end.  On the other hand, that is true improv scrappiness at its best!

Having done this colorful rug, my monochromatic side wants to make one next in white, cream and black.  I could just cut strips off my yardage!  Probably not going to happen, but you never know...

Have you ever knitted or crocheted with fabric?

September 11, 2015

Charm pack winner!

Lindaroo is the winner of the Good Neighbors charm pack.  She hasn't made a pincushion before so Amanda Jean's great fabrics are sure to be the perfect inspiration she needs!

I had such fun reading about your pincushions (or lack thereof), I wish I could have replied to you each individually - it is such fun to share our enthusiasm for quilting!  Thanks to all for playing along!

The pincushion party continues through the end of the month, so check out the sites below for more pincushions and chances to win!

Blogger Name
Blog URL
Amanda Jean
Melissa Corry

September 8, 2015

An exciting day...

I'm off today to Des Moines, Iowa to tape an episode of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting!  Wish me luck!