100 Day Circle Quilt

Have you ever done a 100 day creative project?  I have heard about these so many times, and even participated in one of the sew-a-longs for the Tula Pink blocks, but I have never set out to do this type of project on my own.  As a confessed binge-quilter, it seems inspiring to work a little bit on a project everyday to end up with a major project.  Once I decided to do the project, there were two big questions: What to do? and When to do it?

Block 1

There were two quilts that I have been contemplating that would have worked well for a 100 day project.  The first is a form of structured improv quilting, and the second was a circle appliqué quilt.  The appliqué quilt ended up winning out since I am currently lacking a hand sewing project, and it is much easier to work on if I’m out of my sewing space.  Currently, I’m not scheduled to go out of town for the first 100 days of the year, but I do like a certain degree of flexibility.

Block 2

As I was deciding when to start the project, I was actually going to avoid starting on the first of the year so I won’t hear all of the statistics and news stories of how quickly people abandon their resolutions.  So why did I start this on January 1st?  I was looking at major days on the calendar, and realized that my birthday falls on the 100th day of the year.  I really don’t know how I had never realized this before, but that timing was too perfect to pass up.

Block 3

I am currently planning a quilt top that will have 100 blocks that each finish at 8″ square.  The first three blocks are shown in this post, and they have all been concentric circles centered on the background square.  I am not sure if I will continue this trend all the way through the project- there are so many other compositional options to consider, and I want to let the project evolve.  I am planning to use mostly solid fabrics, but there are going to be a few prints mixed in in the coming weeks.

I will be doing an occasional progress post here on the blog.  If you want to watch my progress daily, check out my Instagram feed or #100daycirclequilt

2017 Wrap Up and 2018 Goals

2017 has flown by and once again it is time to look at the year to come.  I must admit that I was a little hesitant to look back on my goals for 2017, mostly because I hadn’t looked back on them since they were written this time last year.  I was stunned that I managed to come pretty close on most of my goals, which gives me some hope for the year to come!

Review of 2017 Goals

1.  Write and Publish Quilt Patterns:  I did a block of the month with a local quilt shop, and I also did their Row by Row this Summer, so that is 13 patterns right there!  I also have a couple more patterns that are really close to being ready!

Bee Block Composite and RxR 2017

2.  Submit to Magazines:  Infused Plaid was a project in Modern Patchwork magazine near the beginning of the year, and Taking Flight was in the same magazine this Fall.  I have another quilt that is currently at the magazine office, and will be published at the beginning of next year.  In addition, a few of my quilts appeared in articles and gallery sections of other magazines including American Quilter and Simply Moderne.

Modren Patchwork Quilts 2017

3.  Enter and Attend Quilt Shows:  I did pretty well on this front.  The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts finished its rounds of the AQS shows with a third place at Daytona Beach.  Infused Plaid has done exceptionally well this year.  It was in six shows this year and received three first places and a “Best Use of Thread” award.  Six of my other quilts were in national/international shows this year.  I attended more shows this year than ever before.  QuiltCon in Savannah was fabulous, and I attended both the Spring and Fall AQS shows in Paducah.  I went to the MQX show in Illinois for the first time, and had a great time at the AQS Des Moines show demonstrating the A-1 Longarm in their booth.

4.  Teach Quilting Classes and Do Trunk Shows:  Check and Check!  I taught at both Sew to Speak and Dabble and Stitch this year, and did a few trunk shows at nearby guilds as well

5.  Grow Longarm Business:  This picked up a great deal this year, and lately I have been consistently busy

6.  Blog Consistently:  Most of the year was a fail on this front, but I joined in on the 31 Day Blogging Challenge this month, and while I have missed several days, I have blogged more than the entire rest of the year.

7.  Work with my Guilds and Groups:  I was the Charity Chair for the Central Ohio MQG this year, and we did a lot of sewing for Days for Girls, which provides reusable feminine hygiene products to help keep girls in school every day of classes.

Goals for 2018

1.  Write and Publish Patterns:  I am doing another block of the month this year, and this year’s project will be blocks that look like specific buildings around town.  I’m starting with the Dabble and Stitch building and then we will move to landmarks around the city.

Dabble and Stitch Sign

2.  Enter and Attend Quilt Shows:  Four quilts are going to QuiltCon 2018, two are headed to AQS Daytona, and several more are entered into other upcoming shows, so I am off to a good start.  I am definitely planning to attend the Spring AQS Paducah show.  I am hoping to make it to a couple more shows as well.  I loved demonstrating in the longarm booth at a show this year, so with any luck they may need an extra set of hands again!

Quilts already accepted to 2018 Shows

3.  Increase submissions and embrace both acceptances and rejections:  I plan to apply for everything I want this year.  I’m sure there will be plenty of rejections in there, but I am okay with that, and there will probably be some acceptances that come from it too!

4.  Do more trunk shows and teaching:  I will continue teaching at my local shops in the coming year, and I love doing trunk shows and teaching for guilds.  If your group is looking to round out the programming for the year, I would love to visit!

4.  Start a Newsletter:  I love getting newsletters in my email, and I am eager to start my own!  It seems like an awesome extension of the blog.  I am currently figuring out MailChimp so details will be coming soon!

5.  Work with my Guild:  Next year I will be the president of the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild, and I am hoping that we can come up with some awesome programming for the upcoming year!  If you are in our area, I hope you will visit our group!  We meet the second Thursday of each month at 6:30pm at an area library (the specific location varies).

/Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Blog/Row By Row/2016/Skyline.dw

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a fantastic planning party link up that already has lots of posts to inspire everyone for the upcoming year!  I am linking up there, and I hope you will check out a bunch of other posts as well!2018 Planning Party

I hope everyone has a wonderful end to 2017 and a joyous and productive 2018!

Complementary Composition: A Michael Miller Challenge Quilt

Complementary Composition grew out of the 2017 Michael Miller/Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  This is the third year I have participated in the challenge, and this is the first time that my challenge quilt has been selected for participation at QuiltCon.

Complementary Composition full

The fabric for the challenge is Our Yard, and it is super cute!  This actually proved to be a greater challenge to me, because I rarely make quilts that I can describe as cute or even pretty.  I love looking at quilts that are cute, pretty, darling, charming, etc., but I don’t tend to create work that I would use these terms to describe.  Now the question became- How do I incorporate these charming prints into my personal aesthetic?

Michael Miller Challenge Fabric 2017

When I am uncertain how to proceed with a design, I tend to turn to the elements and principles of design.  While the elements and principles of design never exist purely on their own, I find that sometimes narrowing my focus in the initial stages of a design helps to refine my overall vision for the project.  In this case, I initially focused on the element of color and the principle of scale.

There are so many bright colors in the challenge prints that it allows for interpretation in selecting a dominant color palette.  Blue and Orange has always been my favorite complementary color scheme (two colors opposite each other on the color wheel), and I thought that the vibrant combination would honor the energy evoked in the fabric prints.  To add visual dimension, I selected a lighter and darker version of solid color.  I was fortunate enough to make my initial fabric purchase for the quilt while in Paducah, KY at Hancock’s of Paducah.  They carry most of the Michael Miller solids, so I was able to make my color choices with the fabrics right in front of me.  When purchasing solids for a project, I try to photograph the ends of the bolts just in case I need to order more, which did happen during this project.

Michael Miller Solids

The official challenge only required that two of the prints in the line be incorporated into the finished quilt, but as a personal challenge, I wanted to use each one included in the bundle that was sent out.  In order to make this work with my aesthetic and the color scheme of the quilt, scale was going to be an extremely important aspect of the design.  The most graphic print in the bundle is the black, grey, and white print which is the most closely aligned to my aesthetic.  This would be the dominant print.  The black and white leaf print on the mustard and aqua backgrounds is closely associated with the striped print, and I liked that the spacing of the print give the eye a place to rest in the background and allows it to work with the solid fabrics surrounding it.  I knew that this print was a prime candidate for fussy cutting to highlight the leaf image.

Complementary Composition fussy cut detail

The busiest prints were going to be the most challenging to work in, so they were going to be used in the smallest pieces.  The 1/8″ slivers of these fabrics create energetic lines and break up large expanses of the solid fabrics.

Complementary Composition Piecing Detail

This quilt is constructed using a structured improv technique.  The pieces are measured and trimmed as they are sewn, but there is no predetermined design for the piece.  I started the process by constructing blocks loosely based on Log Cabin/Courthouse Steps style blocks.  Many of the blocks are built around a fussy cut square or a simply pieced block.  As the blocks were completed, I added them to the design wall.

Complementary Composition Design Wall

Once I decided the blocks were balancing within the design, I filled in the open areas with strips of fabric.

Complementary Composition Echo Quilting

For the quilting of the piece, I wanted to emphasize the linear qualities of the piecing by using a mix of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal straight line quilting as well as echo quilting.  The echo quilting highlights a visually contained shape while the vertical lines give a sense of strength that is balanced by the calming force of the horizontal lines.  Mixing in strong diagonal lines gives a greater energy and a sense of the unexpected to the overall design.

Complementary Composition Use of Challenge Fabric

The binding is a mix of solids with just a small section of striped fabric to draw the eye back toward the center of the quilt.

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Complementary Composition

Size: 63″ x 69″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Structured Improvisational Piecing, Fussy Cutting

Quilting:  Linear Quilting using an A-1 Longarm equipped with digital channel locks that can be set to any angle

Fabric:  Michael Miller Our Yard Prints and Cotton Couture Solids

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Pieced using Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding in a mix of solids and striped print cut at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

Canvas Gift Bags

As I was wrapping gifts on Saturday it occurred to me that a reusable bag would make more sense for several of the items I was about to wrap.  I don’t usually purchase a large amount of any single fabric, but I did have some plain canvas on hand.  Since the canvas has more body and substance to it than a standard quilting cotton, it didn’t even require a full lining.

Drawstring Gift Bag

The Christmas-y fabrics I had on hand were also very limited, but I did have enough to use as a facing on the top of the bag to add a bit of color and create the drawstring casings.  Awhile back I had ordered 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon in a variety of colors to have on hand for various projects, and it worked perfectly for this project.  It was purchased from cheeptrims.com (not an affiliate) which has great prices, but does have a minimum order, so you may want to pool orders with a friend.

Drawstring Bag Top View

To calculate the size of each bag, I loosely wrapped a fabric measurement tape around the gift, leaving a few inches excess to allow for seam allowance and ease.  Half of this measurement was the width of the bag.  For the height I also wrapped the measuring tape around the gift vertically and divided the measurement in half.  I made sure to add 7-8″ to each half to allow for the gathering at the top of the bag and for the ruffle at the top.  The corners are also boxed out to give the bag a bit more dimension.

These bags work great, and I’ll be making more to gift in future years!

Open-Out Box Pouches

The Open-Out Box Pouch was the star of a recent sew-in I participated in.  This adorable pattern is designed by Comfort Stitching.  We came to the sew-in with the bag pieces pre-cut and interfacing pressed into place, so I was able to get two sewn in a few hours.

Open Out Box Pouch Pair

The pouch with the llamas is the one I was making for myself, so I did each step on it before working on the second pouch.  That way I was hopefully making any mistakes on my own pouch instead of the one I was planning to gift.  The matching zipper helped hide some of the first-time-making-a-pattern-awkwardness! For the folded tab, I chose cork for both bags.

Llama Open Out Box Pouch

This bag looks similar to a lot of zippered pouches at first glance, but this one has a separating zipper that allows the bag to open into a boxed shape.  It is great to be able to see everything in the bag, and it sits open without any effort.  Inserting the gusset was a little tricky, but after trying one, the next went really smoothly.

Llama Open Out Box Pouch open

For the second pouch I chose a triangle print in a blue ombre with green lining and orange zipper.  Blue and orange is my favorite complementary color scheme!  This pouch ultimately became part of the gift exchange at the holiday party for one of my guilds, and I think it went to a good home!

Triangle Print Open Out Box Pouch

Triangle Print Open Out Box Pouch open