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!

Sewing Apron!

A good sewing apron can make working on a project a lot easier, especially if you are like me- leaving a trail of supplies wherever you go!  This summer I will be working in a theatrical costume shop creating patterns for the clothing worn on stage.  An apron is even more helpful in this communal sewing environment when you not only have your tools laying out, but everyone else’s as well.  My old apron was getting pretty sad after about six years of use, so it was definitely time for something new.

Sewing Apron front view

I have gone through a few aprons over the years, and lately I have liked a half apron tied at the waist rather than a full apron. The last apron I made had a single pocket, and the apron before had about half a dozen different pockets.  For me, having lots of pockets made sense when I was doing wardrobe and needed to have separate areas for different sized safety pins, a threaded needle, scissors, flashlight, etc.  One pocket is fine working in a shop, but I decided to try a different format to mix a large pocket with separate area for scissors, seam rippers, and pencils.

Denim is durable, coordinates with most of my work clothes, and I had some left from a previous project!  I lined it with a pink solid cotton for added durability, and trimmed the whole thing with a bias cut stripe by Lotta Jansdotter.

Sewing Apron back view

One thing that has driven me nuts with previous aprons is how it is difficult to sit down with much of anything in the pocket. Getting poked with scissors is no fun!  I wanted to give this apron just a little bit of fullness so it will fall more naturally when going to sit down.  I didn’t want to gather the denim, so I added a small pleat to each side.  This seams to do the trick- no poking!

Sewing Apron detail

Hopefully this apron will get several years of use- just like its predecessors!

Goal #26 is Finished!

Goal #26 is Finished!

I’m linking up with Sew and Show at Straight Grain this week.  Please stop in to see all of the wonderful work shown there!

My Return to the World of the Quilter!

 

I am so excited to be here and to finally get this blog up and running.  I have been wanting to do this for awhile, and I have enjoyed following the blogs a lot of you have been writing.  I am not new to the world of quilting, but I have taken a bit of a sabbatical for about 15 years.  During that time I have developed skills in other areas of art, design, textiles, and sewing.  I hope that I have become a much stronger textile artist because of these experiences.  I think that it is only fair to tell you a little about myself before I dive right in, so here we go!

( I have shamelessly taken the remainder of this post from the “about” section of this site, so expect a case of déjà vu if you choose to read both!)

cassandra_beaver


I love to create.  For me this takes many forms with this blog mostly focussing on my life as a fiber artist.  My mother taught me to sew starting around the age of three or four (the details are a bit fuzzy!)  I learned to quilt first, then I started sewing clothes, and quilted clothes.  After that I entered a career where I spent a lot of time sewing clothing as well as other things.  I have recently returned to the quilt world, and I am excited to share my adventures with you.

Why the not so dramatic life?  Almost my entire professional life has been spent in the theatre.  And no, I’m not an actress.  I am trained as a scenic and costume designer, and have also spent many years working in various technical roles behind the scenes.  These experiences inform my overall design aesthetic as well as helping me to develop skills which allow me to execute (almost) anything I can dream up.

Vital Stats:

Name: Cassandra Ireland Beaver

Education: MFA in Theatre Design (Specifically Scenic and Costume Design)

BFA in Painting (the Fine Art kind) and Drama: Theatre Design and Technology

States in which I have Lived:  Ohio, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Connecticut, Indiana

Places I have Visited: 29 US States, Germany, France, Belgium (well, the bus tour I was on had a rest stop there so that counts, right?), South Korea

Q&A Time

What is your Quilting Style?  I identify myself as a contemporary quilter because I’m going to make whatever I am inspired to create, and I have no intention of plunking myself inside a box.  My quilts each have a particular style, but I do not.

Okay then, what style do your Quilts tend to have?  Most of the pieces I create would be classified as either Modern or Art quilts, although occasionally something more traditional may appear.

What is your Greatest Quilting Strength?  A rather neurotic tendency to insist on seams lining up perfectly and points being sharp

What is your Greatest Quilting Weakness?  Free motion quilting (remember the neurotic thing?)  I shall conquer this!  Or else you will discover me huddled in a corner muttering something about inconsistent stitch lengths.

Do you have any experience teaching what you discuss here?  I was a college professor teaching scenic and costume design for a few years, and I managed a university (theatre) costume shop for a couple of years before that.  I have taught a lot of people how to sew, but not as many how to quilt.  I hope to return to teaching soon in a more quilt-based capacity!

How can I contact you?  You can email me at:   cassandra(at)thenotsodramaticlife(dot)com

What about that theatre stuff you mentioned?  If you are so inclined, please check out some of my theatre designs at www.cassandraireland.com

What is the best piece of advice you can give to a fellow quilter?  Be fearless with your work!  Try a new technique!  Create an original design!  You are in control of the fabric!

Thank you so much for visiting!  Your comments are important to me, and I will make every effort to respond!