Lectures and Workshops

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Brooklyn Tote Pack

I'm so excited! Svetlana Sotak, at Sotak Handmade introduced her newest pattern today, the Brooklyn Tote Pack.  I was lucky to be chosen to pattern test this bag for her before I left for Quiltcon and I'm so happy with the outcome.

First I must tell you, when I saw the pattern, I decided I needed a plain denim bag and this was the perfect choice for it. If you've followed me for very long you know that "plain" is not usually in my vocabulary. I decided to do it anyways and the result was lovely...

Lovely but BORING! LOL Not Svetlana's fault at all. The pattern itself was perfect. As always, her instructions are clear and the details are awesome. Zipper pockets both outside and inside, tote handles (she used leather, I chose webbing for mine) and removable, adjustable backpack straps as well. 
I did line mine with this adorable cotton & steel lamb print that I had in my stash, which made the inside fun & cheerful.


I know I'll get lots of use out of it. But first I had to fancy it up a bit. So I went a little crazy with embroidery (no pattern, I just kept stitching until I was "done").
And now I think it's perfect! I really love this bag.... Thanks Svetlana for letting me try it out for you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

QuiltCon classes

I always have the best luck with the classes I get for Quiltcon! This year I took two half day (ok, evening!) classes. The first one was with Melanie Tuazon. I didn't know much about Melanie when I signed up for her class, but just the title sucked me right in.... Planned & Unplanned, find your improv groove. Boy did she deliver!


Melanie was encouraging, approachable and a terrific teacher. In the end I came away with finished blocks for a quilt top...

my mom says it reminds her of post it notes & I agree! I plan to add dark gray (I know, it looks black but it's not) borders so it "floats" and I think I'll call it "Take Note".

My second class was with Debbie Grifka and was titled Every.Day.Creativity. I've followed Debbie for a long time on social media and really admire her work. She's in her third year doing a hundred day project and has inspired me to think about one I could do. I loved every minute of her class and connected with Debbie on so many levels!
I came away from her class with two finished projects, this 10 inch quilt which is partially done here and a 4x6 "postcard" quilt.
This one is titled "Nashville" because it poured rain the entire time we attended Quiltcon! Not a bad souvenir!

Monday, February 25, 2019

MQG Mini quilt swap

This was my third year entering the MQG Mini quilt swap. Since I attended Quiltcon this past weekend (more posts yet to come on that!) it was a highlight for me to meet my swap partner Julie. This is the quilt I made and took to her. It was designed by Jayne of Twiggy and Opal, who graciously shared the paper piecing template with me! Bonus.... I got to meet Jayne this weekend too!
We chatted for a long time and I loved finding all five (yes! FIVE!) of her quilts in the show. Here's my favorite....
Anyways... back to the swap! I met up with my partner Julie and we were both a bit giddy...
I'm happy to say, she loved her quilt from me. And I absolutely adore the one she gave to me!
I can't wait to head home and hang it in my studio!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

more improv

Maybe I should rename my blog "ellyn's improv place"? Can you tell I'm totally hooked on improv? I find it so freeing to just sew things together until it looks right. Most recently, I've been limiting myself to small samples, just to try different techniques. This one is my take on Sherri Lynn Wood's Score #6 from her book Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. Our Improv small group, the Comedy Club Quilters, decided to play around with it this past month & this is where I landed.

Basically this is an exploration of modern flying geese. I used gray and yellow, the colors in our guest bathroom (maybe I'll hang it in there eventually?) and my sample ended up 10"x12" (never mind that the examples in the book are all considerably larger, even bedsized). I quilted it on my domestic machine with random wavy lines...... done and done! 


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Retreating with the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild

Last weekend, our guild had a day retreat at the Best Little Retreat Center in Texas. Such a wonderful facility... AND you get to go home and sleep in your own bed at night. Can't beat it. 

There were so many wonderful projects in the works....

I finished up a couple of children's quilt tops to send to my mom. Her church group is working on quilts for each of their Angel Tree children at Christmas...
And I finished up this quilt top, with improv Xs made with the strip sets from the Sherri Lynn Wood workshop I attended last fall. I think I'll add some borders to make it big enough to snuggle on the couch.
A fun and productive weekend for sure!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Improv Round Robin Quilt

Back in November, I shared the process when the Comedy Club Quilters Improv small group did an improv round robin. Since then, my quilt top has been hanging on my design wall crying out to be finished. Presented with a gap in my "Must finish immediately" list, I got to matchstick quilting it yesterday.

Originally I had thought I would make my topper into a bag. The longer I looked at it, the more I wanted it to be a quilt. In the end, I'm very happy with my decision.

My finished quilt is 24" x 28". I added a block of each member's signature fabric across the bottom, but otherwise left the improv topper untouched. Today I finished it off with solid black binding to frame the whole piece out.
Big thanks to Bonnie, Trae, Chris S, Chris D, and Susan who all had a hand in this quilt! What fun it was to collaborate with all of you.

And thanks to Sherri Lynn Wood who literally wrote the book on Improv and inspired our round robin.