Monday, October 1, 2018

bee blocks for Tracy

It's October! New month means a new challenge for the Solid Seven bee. This month, Tracy requested 80s themed, neon solid bee blocks. So much possibility here.  I was traveling when she announced the theme and by the time I got home, many of the obvious choices had been taken. You really need to check out our hashtag, #thesolidseven, to see what everyone came up with. Here are mine, soon to be popped in the mail....

This one was a doozy! I plotted it out on graph paper then pieced it and appliqu├ęd the TV on top. Those center angled pieces were a challenge but I think it came out right. It's huge, almost 24" square, but I left to borders big so Tracy can cut it down as needed.

I decided to do something easy after I finished the MTV block. Tetris anyone?

She said she'd like words too.... I debated quite a few phrases and finally landed on Where's the beef? Who else remembers that cute little old lady in the Wendy's commercials? She cracked me up. Oh, I did embroider an apostrophe in "where's" but I forgot to snap a photo of that before I got my blocks ready to mail. You'll just have to believe me!

Pretty fun! I'm up next month. I've chosen a theme and a color scheme and can't wait to share it.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fifth Saturday September

Today is the fifth Saturday of the month, which means it's time to present our next challenge projects at Boast & Toast, at Not Your Mama's Quilt Store. I'm not there for the fun today, but I dropped my project off ahead of time. I hope someone takes lots of pictures, because I love seeing what everyone has done!
This time the challenge fabrics were the cosmic print, the red tone on tone and the black grunge in the photo above. I added some extra black grunge and some pieces from my  stash that picked up the same colors. Oh and the tiny aqua border too...
My finished quilt is called "left out". Although the triangles are all the same size (cut with a ruler), I improv framed them so each square is different. The finished quilt is about 36 square. I quilted it on my domestic machine using one of the grid patterns from Jacquie Gering's Walk book, which I just love. Mostly red guetermann thread (my machine prefers guetermann) with a touch of aqua quilting. Can you find it?

Hope you're having a great, crafty weekend.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

wedding quilt

My best friend's daughter married her college sweetheart this weekend. We were so thankful to be included in the festivities. She had requested a quilt for their bed, mostly in blues, so of course I was happy to make one for her. I mixed in some greens and purples, mostly grunges and solids.
I used a pattern from the quilt book We Love Color which I had made before, but I enlarged the blocks so the quilt would be bigger. It's a fun pattern because the centers of the pluses are basically improved.

My pal Diann quilted it for me...

her quilting choices are always spot on.

 Wishing them all the happiness in the world.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

weaving more towels

I love having such a great assortment of colors of yarn to play and experiment with! I just finished up these towels using a combination of red and orange yarns...
I'm tempted to use these in my own kitchen... we'll see! The yarn is a combination of Valley 8/2 cotton from WEBS and  Bluegrass Mills cotton 6/2 yarn from The Woolery.
They are done in waffle weave using a 10 dent heddle on my rigid heddle loom. The binding is an Allison Glass quilting cotton that I love!
With my extra warp, I played around with learning how to do a clasped weft. This is something I look forward to exploring further! On the bottom is a clasped weft with doubled threads, on the top is single. I think I like the subtlety of the single threads much better...

I also wove some solid fabric to use for bag making. And now my loom is bare... time to warp up something new!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Amber Clutch

Svetlana Sotak from Sotak Handmade has done it again! Her newest pattern, the Amber Clutch, was released this week and I was lucky to get to pattern test for her again. Testing for Svetlana is such a pleasure, as her patterns are professionally done, easy to follow and produce such great finished products. This one was no exception.

I had some good sized pieces of my fifth Saturday challenge fabric sitting on my cutting table & decided it would make great bags. (don't worry, you'll get to see my actual challenge finish soon! I'm really happy with it). Anyways, back to the bags...
They turned out so cute! I even added my personalized leather tags to the front. As you can see, the pattern comes in two sizes (the small one is just big enough to hold my iPhone 8+).  The larger clutch has a welt pocket to hold extra small items...

opened up it looks like this...
I loved making these so much, I decided to jump in and make one from a piece of my hand woven fabric...
I even put in the welt pocket! Using Svetlana's awesome directions, it went in without a hitch (I MIGHT have held my breath snipping and turning my handwoven fabric but I shouldn't have!)
I will definitely be getting braver with my hand woven pieces after this!
Here's a peek at the cute lining fabric I used (quilting cotton)

Hop on over to Svetlana's blog for more cute clutch pictures and a link to her shop!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

my Curated Quilts entry

I love playing with the Curated Quilt mini challenges each quarter. This time the prompt was House.....
Here are my City Dwellings. totally improv (you can tell because the rooftops don't fit right, LOL). I had fun quilting each row house in a different manner.
It measures about 12" square. You can see all of the quilts that were entered here. I love to see all of the different ideas!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Bee blocks for Ailish

Our latest solid seven bee blocks are for Ailish and I popped mine in the mail a couple of days ago. I was really excited by her prompt.... she wanted improv rainbow blocks using curves. I had so much fun with these! First up an improv dresden rainbow....
I wasn't real excited about the way I added the square in the corner, but overall it's a fun block. Then I had this idea using some gentle curves...
And I absolutely love the way it turned out! Ailish was not concerned with size or that the blocks were square, which was helpful.
My third block was a fun one too...
All totally different which was fun for me! I love being a part of this bee so much. Hope you like the blocks Ailish!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

I'd Rather be Reading

In several of my quilty groups lately I have tossed out the question.... "if you're not quilting, what are you likely to be doing instead?" My answer? Reading! I'm a lifelong lover of books and reading. Some of my earliest memories involve loading up on books at the library.... first picture books with my Mom, later early readers and then chapter books. When Mom would chase us outside to play, I would usually sneak a book with me and curl up under a tree (or in the tree!) to read.

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Anne Bogel's soon to be released second book, "I'd Rather be Reading". Some of you might know Anne from her blog, Modern Mrs Darcy, or her podcast What should I read next? Lately, Anne is one of the sole reason's my TBR (to be read) list is longer than it's ever been.
While I'd Rather be Reading could be a read-in-a-day book, I chose to savor it over several days. I will admit, the book sent me down several rabbit holes. One afternoon, I found myself curled up on the couch happily watching the movie You've Got Mail! Anne had talked about the movie in her book and I hadn't seen it in probably 15 years or more. What a delight! Now I can't wait to visit the bookstore in New York City that inspired the movie. Books of Wonder just happens to be a few blocks from where I'll be staying on the upper west side of Manhattan next month. Serendipity I say! I half expect to run into Meg Ryan while I'm there...
This awesome book, which releases on Tuesday, is the perfect holiday gift for all of your reading friends. Anne's delightful storytelling made me want to read other books even more (I reached my 2018 reading goal in August. Not a coincidence). Also, there are amazing preorder bonuses if you order it before the release date. You can check those out at Look at all of these goodies!
You should know that I did receive an advanced copy of I'd Rather be Reading for free. However, if you know me at all, you also know that all of the opinions in this post are my very own, from my heart.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mondrian Blocks

I recently had the opportunity to test Jayne (Twiggy and Opal)'s new pattern for these awesome Mondrian Blocks. I had played with Mondrian style blocks before, nearly three years ago when my friend Chris requested them as bee blocks.  At that time, all I knew to do was to improv piece them (though honestly I didn't  realize then that improv was what I was doing!). Oh, but Jayne has made it so much easier with these paper pieced beauties!

Her pattern includes the two 9 inch blocks that I tested and mini 4 inch blocks too! It includes great photos and diagrams, coloring sheets.... the works!
The pattern is available in her Craftsy shop, here. Hop on over and get one for yourself! you won't be sorry.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Quilt Plano 2018

Yesterday, my friend Bonnie and I went to Quilt Plano, an annual quilt show that is held nearby. I had entered my very first quilt in a show! My Try All The Things improv quilt was entered in the modern category.
Imagine my surprise when I learned I had won a second prize ribbon in the category!
I was thrilled enough to have a quilt hanging in the show. I never expected to win a ribbon!
And guess what? Bonnie's improv quilt won  second place ribbon too!
Bonnie's quilt was made at Debbie Jeske's workshop just like mine.

Because of the sizes of our quilts, we were forced to enter them in different categories. Mine was just barely big enough to enter in the Modern category. Bonnie's was smaller so she entered it in the small quilts category.

It was so awesome to see so many modern quilts throughout the show. This has been a very traditional show for many years. I love to see ALL of the types of quilts, the workmanship is amazing! What a fun day!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

dish towels

oh, hello! I didn't mean to go missing. I've been working away on several different projects that I can't share just yet. 
Right now I have pretty, neutral dish towels on my loom. I've been spending my weekend weaving waffle weave.
I love the texture of it and it makes for nice, absorbent towels when it's done.

What are you working on?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

shower gift

What fun I'm having celebrating my best pal's daughter Megan this weekend, just weeks before her big wedding day! Today I was happy to finally give her the shower gift I made for her earlier this summer.
Four quilted placemats to match her aqua dishes and with a lesson learned from my friend Trae, I backed them all in Christmas fabric...
In fact Trae gave me that cute fabric! and I still have plenty left over for me.

Of course I wove Megan some pretty dish towels to match....
Waffle weave, 100% cotton yarn doubled in a 10 dent heddle.

I hope she enjoys them all for a long time!  What's your go to shower gift?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Solid Seven July blocks

This month the Solid Seven bee is making blocks for Briawna...
I actually got mine done early and shipped off to her already! Briawna asked us to make Wonky Log Cabin blocks in the style of the Gee's Bend Quilters. She requested clear, bright colors with a touch of black in each block. No pinks or purples as she is making this quilt to gift to her husband who saw some Gee's Bend quilts and was intrigued by them. This was really fun!

It was great to dig in my solid scrap bin and use up some of those little pieces.
And of course, the wonky log cabin piecing fit right in with my deep dive into improv this year. I may need to make a quilt like this one for myself.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Be Calm

You might remember these tiny improv blocks I made way back in January. 

They sat in a box, forgotten for several months. A few weeks ago I came across them and decided they needed to become something. So I pulled out my low volume scrap bin and turned them into nine patches (each one measuring 3 1/2" square)
in my low volume bin I found some 60 degree triangles already sewn together (I wonder what those were for? I have no idea!). Some of the triangles were even improv pieced. Hmmmmm....
I was on a roll now. I added some x blocks...
and some improv polka dots
An instagram friend said my creation spoke "be calm" to her. I made improv letters so now it literally spoke it...
A little rearranging and some tumbling triangles down the side and I had a quilt top!
Far from my usual riot of color craziness, isn't it? But in this world of constant bad news, it's just the message I needed. Maybe you need it too?

Once I got the quilt top together, it NEEDED to be quilted. I had borrowed Jacquie Gering's Walk book from our guild library and found so many great tips in there for quilting small quilts with my walking foot. I started with vertical lines, 1/2" apart. my intention was to add horizomtal lines to create a grid. Again I was coaxed on instagram (thank you Debbie!) to add diagonal lines to the mix. She was right! It was exactly what I needed...

A faced binding finished it off. An unplanned project but I'm so glad I took the time to make it happen!