MQG Riley Blake Challenge Quilt

Several months ago when the Modern Quilt Guild announced a challenge using these fabulous fabrics from Amanda Herring’s Cottage Garden line, I knew that I had to participate.  I am really excited to share this finished lap quilt today.In the Garden teal side

These prints are Gorgeous!

Riley Blake Challenge Fabric

The Rules are pretty straight forward for this challenge:

  • Make something fantastic that is quilted
  • Make something you have never done before
  • Challenge yourself to learn something new
  • Use only Riley Blake Cottage Garden fabrics and coordinating Riley Blake basics and solids

I was really excited to discover that this line of fabrics also had a pink color way.  With this information I knew that I wanted to do something reversible.  I have been fascinated by potholder quilts lately.  I love the idea of making mini quilts, another current obsession, come together to make a larger piece.  Potholder quilts almost always are constructed from square blocks, but on this project I thought it would be fun to try using hexagonal blocks.  Since each section is bound separately, the binding would highlight the hexagon construction from both sides of the quilt.In the Garden pink side

The front section focuses on the teal and grey fabrics in the collection and is made with six equilateral triangles per hexagon.  Some triangles are a mix of fabrics which were strip pieced together, others were a larger piece which was fussy cut with or without an added border.  In the Garden teal detail b

The back of the quilt highlights the pink fabrics in the collection, and on this side I decided to attempt a directional pattern to draw your eye across this side of the quilt.  For this I did strip piecing like I had used on the front of the quilt.  This time, instead of cutting the strip pieced sections only into triangles, I also created full, half, and third hexagon shapes.In the Garden pink detail a

For all of the hexagons, I pieced them to be larger than I ultimately wanted them to end up.  By doing this I was able to quilt each block and trim it to size before binding them.  The most challenging part was getting the centers to align properly, but with careful pinning and a lot of patience it worked out.In the Garden teal detail a

The quilting is an all over floral pattern which echoes one of the Cottage Garden prints.  This was the first time I dared to quilt a larger piece using free motion quilting.  It helped that I was quilting smaller pieces rather maneuvering a large quilt through a small machine.  The tricky part for me was maintaining size continuity in the quilting design throughout the quilt.

In the Garden pink view

 

In the Garden teal detail c

The blocks were each bound in pink and/or grey bias that I made using leftover sections of fabric.  The pink text fabric is the dominant binding so I selected a matching thread to join the hexagons.  For this process I used a triple zig zag on the sewing machine and laid the blocks flat beside one another to stitch their edges together.In the Garden photo shoot

Quilt Stats

Title:  In the Garden

Size:  50″x 61.5″ 

Techniques:  Machine piecing, potholder style quilt

Quilting:  Free motion, all over floral motif which reflects the print in one of the fabric designs

Fabrics:  Cottage Garden fabrics by Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake and Riley Blake solids

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced using white Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with white machine quilting thread, and assembled with pink Gutermann Mara thread

Binding:  Bias strips of leftover Cottage Garden fabrics, cut in 2″ widths, machine stitched to one side, hand stitched to the other

What was new?

  • Hexagonal blocks assembled into a potholder quilt
  • Using free motion quilting on a larger project
  • Using only one collection of one designer to create a reversible quilt
Goal #16 is finished!

Goal #16 is finished!


2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

This summer, I am thrilled to have joined up with a group of amazing new quilt bloggers for the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

The hosts this year are:

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

I am so happy to be a member of Cheryl’s group, The New Bees.

New Bee Button

I really encourage you to stop by the other New Bees members who are posting this week:

I started blogging in December of 2014 and the first quilt that I shared, Petals in the Wind (Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!), is still one of my favorites.  This quilt has been accepted into the American Quilter’s Society shows in Syracuse, Grand Rapids, and Chattanooga this year.

Petals in the Wind

Petals in the Wind

Modern Log Cabin is the first quilt that I made after I returned to quilting last year.  It is a “potholder” style quilt that reverses from grey to blue.  This quilt was exhibited at the AQS show in Paducah earlier this year and will also be in the Modern Quilt categories at Grand Rapids and Chattanooga.

Modern Log Cabin

Modern Log Cabin

My pet project for 2015 is to make 50 mini quilts over the course of the year.  So far, I have completed 23/50.  Mini Quilt Mania gives me a format to experiment with a variety of quilting techniques without having to commit to a large project- it’s like keeping a sketchbook!  Details about this project as well as a full list of the mini quilts can be found in the Mini Quilt Mania post.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

π, pi, PIE!

π, pi, PIE!

Embellished Spring

Embellished Spring

Marsala Mini Quilt

Marsala Mini Quilt

Rainbow Roundabout

Rainbow Roundabout

Fruit Crush

Fruit Crush

May Flower

May Flower

Yellow Rays

Yellow Rays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you’ve seen a bit of my work, would you like to hear how I got here?

How did you learn to sew?  My Mom started teaching me to sew before I was even in Kindergarten, so the details are a little hazy.  My first quilt was completed when I was about eight, and once I was old enough for 4-H,  I did sewing projects every year for the next decade.  As I grew older, I moved away from quilting and toward clothing construction.  Quilting by hand was just so painfully slow, and after finishing one twin sized quilt, I was done.  In high school I did make a couple of machine quilted jackets that I received student awards for at the American Quilter’s Society Fashion Show in Paducah.

What did you do then?  I went off to college to get a BFA, and since I could sew, I was assigned to do my work-study job in the costume shop of the Drama Department.  I ended up double majoring in Painting and Theatre Design and Technology and later went on to earn an MFA in Scenic Design.  I have worked with many theaters over the years, including ten seasons with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and have worked at a few universities as well.

What has Theatre taught you about sewing?  I am pretty sure I can sew almost anything at this point.  I have created custom patterns and constructed clothing for almost every historical period, sewn stage curtains and drapes, done upholstery, and devised stage props ranging from drawstring bags to a 25′ long pleated, cylindrical (and very phallic), pink velour pillow with tassels at the ends.  Knowing that something very specific has to be created within a certain time frame means  there is little time to worry about messing it up- at some point you just have to dive in and make it happen.  You also become really adept at solving the “challenges” that seem to develop with each project.  This is excellent preparation for devising quilt patterns!

How did you return to quilting?  I was at a job where I wasn’t required to sew a lot, and I thought that maybe I would sew something for myself.  I wandered into a locally owned shop and was stunned to see all the new quilting fabrics.  Pair that selection with fact that machine quilting is now far more acceptable (even expected!), and I was hooked!

Quilting Tip:  Every once in awhile create your own challenge.  Limit it to a small, quick project like a mini quilt or simple bag.  Restrict parameters  so once you start so you will have already limited the choices you have because sometimes having infinite options can really slow us down.  I like to preselect a project, color scheme, and time frame.  An example could be:  One weekend to create a quilted bag using only the colors of black, white, grey, and green using fabrics and supplies already on hand. These small projects can force us to think creatively and can help improve our problem solving “toolbox” for other larger projects.

Blogging Tip:  At the beginning of the year  I created a eight inch square mini quilt that I have used as a background image for all blog “signage” that I have needed.  It provides a consistent element within the blog, and I always have an image available for posts that don’t have a feature quilt picture.

Random Facts:

  • Right now I do freelance work.  Most recently, I worked as a draper (costume pattern maker) for the Summer Nutmeg Series of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.  If you would like to see photos, please check out their Instagram at https://instagram.com/ctrepertorytheatre/  This summer we did Les Mis, Peter Pan, and Xanadu.  The metallic silk chiffon dresses for Xanadu are especially fun- so shiny!
  • I have traveled to 29 US states and lived in Ohio, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Indiana
  • My favorite food is a pretty even tie between pizza, saag paneer, and any sweet baked good
  • Growing up I raised chickens (mostly White Plymouth Rocks)
  • When I sew I almost always watch Netflix (Downton Abby is a favorite) or listen to a podcast (I’ve been catching up on Modern Sewciety)
  • My most commonly requested baked good is a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

I have been thinking a lot about gathering inspiration for quilt designs and color schemes and will probably be writing a post on this soon.  What are your thoughts?  Where do you find your inspiration?  Do you tend to be more inspired by quilt related items (books, magazines, quilt shows, etc.)?  Or do you tend to draw more inspiration from seemingly unrelated sources (art, nature, architecture, etc.)?  Is it a combination of these?

Thank you so much for coming by, and I hope to have you visit again!

2015 Third Quarter Finish Goals

It feels unbelievable that we are already half way through 2015.  I spent most of the second quarter away from home (and my lovely fabric) so I have a bunch of project roll overs since not everyone could come along for the ride!  Right now I am in Cape Cod for a bit of a break before heading home where I can’t wait to hit the ground running!  

2015 Finish Along Q3

I am excited to once again join in the Finish Along fun with Adrianne at On the Windy Side.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Goals 1-14

In order to keep up with (and make up for being a bit behind on) Mini Quilt Mania I am planning to make a 14 more mini quilts for the second quarter of this year.  These are in various stages of completion: sketches, patterns drafted, fabrics chosen, and I even have several tops completed.

Quilt 5 / 50

Goal 15

In January I started a starburst quilt based on my Happy New Year! mini quilt, and this project is a rollover from Q1 and Q2.  I have this piece over halfway quilted right now, and I would really like to get this one finished up this quarter!Starburst process

Goal 16

For my Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake challenge quilt I am making a “potholder” style quilt using hexagonal bound blocks rather than the more traditional squares.  This quilt will be completely reversible, with one side being predominantly turquoise with the other side leaning toward the pinks in the collection.  I made a lot of progress on this quilt in Q2, and I have actually just finished it as my first finish of Q3. (Post to come soon!)Riley Blake process

Goal 17

I joined my Simply Mini Quilt Swap a few days ago which is my first online swap, and I am so excited to create a mini with someone else in mind!  The deadline is mid October, but I am optimistic that I will finish in this quarter

Goal 18

I signed up for the Modern Quilt Guild’s Michael Miller Challenge, so I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the fat eighth package.  I have worked out a general design and some Michael Miller solids are on there way to me right now.  I am sure I will be tracking down more of the challenge fabrics once I’m certain which ones will be the most useful.  This project doesn’t have to be finished until the end of November, but I would love to have it complete before that!

Goal 19

I designed and made these cute little blocks for my Baubles Quilt months ago.  I would really like to get them made into a quilt! (Roll over from Q2)Baubles Blocks

Goal 20

This “secret” project (roll over from Q1 and Q2) is still quilted, ready for finishing, and needs to stop hanging out under my work table! Here’s hoping this quilt makes it into a finished pile this quarter!secret project process

 

 

Goal 21

This quilted pillow top needs a zippered back and finishing.  (Roll over from Q2)Pillow Top

Goal 22

This Bionic Bag is a rollover from Q2.  I have all my pieces cut, interfacing fused, zippers installed, sides assembled, and the outer panel quilted.Bionic Bag process

Goal 23

I started a set of placemats last fall.  I have a set of four that just need the binding finished.  (Roll over from Q2)

placemat process

Goal 24

I started sewing this hexagon project when I needed some handwork.  I’m not entirely certain how large this is going to get, but I’m hoping to discover what exactly this wants to be.  (Roll over from Q2)Hexagon process

Goal 25

In the first quarter I created a baby quilt sized Sweet and Simple Hashtag Quilt.  This quarter I hope to make a lap quilt size version of this quilt.  (Roll over from Q2)

Sweet and Simple Hashtag Quilt

What about you?  What are you looking forward to working on in the next few months?

 

Cotton and Steel Quilted Purse

This week I managed another finish for my Second Quarter Finish Along.  This purse was pretty far along already, so it really didn’t take too long to finish, and I am thrilled with the result.

Cotton and Steel purse exterior view

I had made a similar quilted bag last summer and have been carrying it ever since.  I liked the design pretty well, but I did make a few modifications this time around.  The new bag is slightly wider and deeper, although the height is the same.  Depending on how things would shift within the previous purse, it could be difficult to remove larger items such as my wallet, so the size change has helped immensely.  The last time around, I made the exterior pockets almost exactly the same size as the base bag, which meant that it was sometime a bit tight getting my keys or phone into those pockets.  This time I allowed for more ease, and it seams to be working well- nothing is falling out, but is much more easily accessible.  The interior pocket of the new bag is also sewn in so that there is an additional pocket created behind the zippered pouch.

Cotton and Steel purse interior

All of the fabrics are Cotton and Steel.  I could hardly wait to get my hands on this Viewfinders fabric from Melody Miller’s Playful line, and I paired it with the Hotcross Buns print from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Mochi line.  The interior pocket is made of a Kimberly Kight Homebody print and lined with a red print from the Cotton and Steel Basics line.  I found this fantastic trim at a quilt show to finish off the exterior pockets, but it had been cut and packaged, so I’m not sure who designed it.  Does anyone recognize it?  I love that it incorporates so many colors that are in the viewfinder print.

Cotton and Steel purse detail

 

The quilting design is concentric circles which were randomly placed around a large fabric sandwich.  Once the quilting was done, I then cut out the individual pieces for the purse.  The main sides of the purse, the exterior pockets and the bottom of the bag are all quilted using Warm and White cotton batting.  The handles are strengthened with woven iron on interfacing, and the top of the purse and interior pockets are lined, but have no additional support.  The top and bottom edges of the bag are finished with bias tape which helps the bag keep its shape.

I have been carrying this bag for a few days now, and I am really loving it.  There may be more bags like this in my sewing future!

 

Goal #15 is Finished!

Goal #15 is Finished!


Yellow Rays: Mini Quilt #23

This mini quilt, the second in my color series, has been a long time in the making.  I started this baby in the midst of a crazy work schedule, and eventually had to ask myself what I wanted from this piece.  Was it to be done? Or was I going for awesome?  Neither of these answers would necessarily be wrong, but I had to aim for the latter on this project.

Yellow Rays mini quilt

Since I’ve been patterning and sewing like a crazy person to get through this summer theatre season at work, I have been doing a lot of projects where “finished” is the major goal- opening night comes whether or not we are completely ready.  (This isn’t to say that things aren’t well made- we just can’t expect “perfect” when we are moving at this kind of pace) It was kind of nice to cut myself a little slack on deadlines for this project and make something that is really well thought out and constructed.

Yellow Rays front view

The segments of yellow were strip pieced first and then slashed diagonally and spaced with a piece of white Kona cotton between them and to the side.  I am trying to use this series of quilts to explore various methods of activating negative space in the quilt composition.

Yellow Rays front detail

Green Grass, the first quilt in this color series, was quilted using free motion quilting with a mix of green and white thread.  For this quilt, I thought it would be interesting to move away from organic quilting and try some different linear patterns with my walking foot.

Yellow Rays back view

 

Yellow Rays back detail

Quilt Stats

Title:  Yellow Rays

Size: 20″x20″

Techniques:  Machine piecing

Quilting:  Linear quilting with a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Assorted yellow prints and white Kona Cotton

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced using white Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with white machine quilting thread and 50 wt cotton Aurifil in yellow

Binding:  Scrappy yellow prints also used in the quilt top, cut on the bias in 2″ wide strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

What was new?

Exploration of linear quilting designs to activate negative space using a walking foot

 

Quilt 23 / 50

Quilt 23 / 50

Goal #9 is Finished!

Goal #9 is Finished!