Friday, January 13, 2023

not quite a quilt coat


Hello friends! I have a fun finish to share with you today. Here's me in a denim jacket I recently dug out of the back of our coat closet. I'd forgotten I even owned it! I looked at it for a bit and then I had an idea. So I set to work.

Last weekend I was on retreat with my quilty pals and I whipped up this improv panel using some extra solids from projects I had brought along. I used a few of may favorite shapes and techniques, triangles and Xs, skinny lines. The finished panel measured about 13x16 inches, but if you have a jacket of your own I recommend measuring the back panel between the seams before you begin.

Even with measuring I cut off a couple of elements to make my panel fit. Here are some steps I took to attach my panel....

I made a pattern that fit perfectly in the space I wanted to fill. I used pattern tracing paper so I could see through it. When I had the perfect fit, I laid it over my improv panel and two layers of cotton flannel. Then I cut all three layers into the perfect shape.

I bound the edges of my layers with a single layer of 2 inch binding. I used bias cut strips to accommodate the curves on the sides of my pieces. I sewed the binding onto the front and neatly folded and pressed it around to the back. I didn't worry about the raw edge on the back since it would be completely encased.

I pinned my piece onto the jacket and machine stitched all the way around at the outer edge of the binding. 

I wanted to secure my piece to the jacket back so it didn't pull away. Using  size 8 perle cotton thread I stitched xs, running stitches and chain stitches embellishing the improv piece. My stitches went all the way through the layers attaching them to the jacket. And yes, you can see the back of my stitches inside the jacket.

I really love the end result! I did add a few embroidery stitches to the front of the jacket just for fun but the real party is all in the back! Will you be making one too?

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Quilts Unscripted 2022 recap

 Well, hello there! It seems I up and stopped blogging about six months ago! That was totally unplanned. I've still been over here creating and learning new skills. I'm not sure why I stopped blogging here, but now I am back with all of the good intentions a new year brings. 

I thought I'd start by reviewing all of the bee blocks I made last year for the Quilts Unscripted Bee! Our improv bee is currently in the middle of it's second year and going strong. Here are the blocks I made in 2022.....


In January we made blocks for Emily.  Her request was for blocks that represented our dreams, goals and growth using analogous colors on the color wheel. My first block represents my dreams/hopes for the world, peace and calm....

My second block represents my personal dreams of joy and energy.
In February I requested improv log cabin blocks using the Kona color of the year, Cosmos in a prescribed color palette. These blocks became the quilt "Darkest Before Dawn" which will hang at Quiltcon next month in Atlanta! 
I'm delighted to have another quilt accepted into the group category this year! Thanks to my awesome beemates  who sent me incredible blocks.

In March, Sarah G asked us to make improv sawtooth stars.  I had fun with these...

In April, Isabelle requested all the colors and tiny piecing. Such happy blocks!

May was the first month of our second year as a bee and it was  E.A.s turn. She had us make blocks that literally say "hope". Check out her instagram to see photos of her powerful finished quilt.

In June, Chris asked us to make signature style blocks inspired by a beautiful Ukrainian egg she had bought. I made her these...

July was Charles turn. He asked us for abstract art slabs using colors he sent to us. This was challenging and fun!

In August, Sarah R had us making blocks inspired by outer space. Mine are a nebulous and a shooting star.

Elizabeth had us make improv grandmother's fan blocks in September, with black corners. Another block I had not worked with before!

Our October prompt was from Allie. She asked us to make ladders with white backgrounds. Crazy fun!

Our final prompt for 2022 came from Carole. We were to make half rectangle triangle blocks using black for one half of the block and bright improv for the other. I had bought Latifah Saafir's HuRTy ruler months before and never took it out of the packaging. Time to learn something new! What a great ruler. And Latifah has awesome videos that step you through it. I've become a big fan of HRTs since November and I promise you'll see more uses of it on this blog soon. Here are the blocks I made for Carole...

Sorry for the long post but I had some catching up to do! I hope you'll follow our bee's hashtag on instagram, #quiltsunscriptedbee for even more inspiration. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

My 2022 100 Days Project

 Well haven't I been a horrible blogger these past few months? Geez. I will tell you I've been so busy making things I haven't made the time to blog! I guess that's a good thing, right? Anyways, I have some serious catching up to do. Let's start with today's finish, shall we?

Way back in February, I posted here about my plans for this year's 100 Day Project. Just to recap, I purchased recycled men's dress shirts at the Goodwill and planned to make 100 improv quilt blocks inspired by The Great Resignation (if you're not familiar with this concept, google it! So fascinating). I created a wheel using the Tiny Decisions App on my phone which gave me a way to randomly choose each day's block type.

I also created a hand written document to keep track of each day's blocks. Setting myself up for success!
I'm happy to report that I successfully completed all 100 blocks, assembling my quilt top as I went along. The hardest part for me was sticking to only one block each day! The only time I made more was when I knew I was going to be traveling.... I didn't want to fall behind. 

Here's block one...
each block is 5" square

If you want to see my week by week progress photos, you can check them all out here, on Instagram.

I managed to get the quilt back and the binding all out of the remains of my recycled shirts! I quilted the finished quilt top on my domestic machine and finished up the binding today! The finished quilt measures 48"x45" (the extra width comes from 1/2 blocks I added to each row to stagger my layout).

Oh, I also added improv letters to spell out "I Quit", keeping with my theme of the Great Resignation. Many on Instagram thought I meant I was quitting the 100 day project. They were surprised when I kept going! 

I'm really happy with my finished quilt! This year's 100 day project was a huge success for me. Have you ever done a 100 day project? How did it go?

Friday, April 22, 2022

A trip to Arkansas

Well, that was an unplanned and unexpected blog break! I wish I had a fabulous, exciting excuse but I don't. I do have a lot of things to share with you. I'll begin with the most recent fun I had and work backwards!

This week I had the honor of speaking for the Modern Quilt Guild of North West Arkansas. I shared the story of my Through Ellyn's Eyes project with them and the members were very engaged and asked lots of questions. I hope they were also inspired to perhaps begin projects of their own!

My friend Chris went with me on this fun road trip and served as my driver/quilt holder. She's great fun to travel with.

We got to spend some extra time with our friend, Elizabeth Ray. She gave us lots of ideas for fun things to do in the area and restaurants to try. We had delicious crepes for lunch on Tuesday and talked and talked.... oh, and we might have had ice cream for dinner before the guild meeting. shhhh....

Our good friend Christina invited us to stay with her while we were in town. Christina was a guild mate of ours in the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild years ago and now lives in NW Arkansas. Yes, we did drag her to the guild meeting and introduced her to them..... they are lucky to have her as a new member!

Christina's fun loving puppy, Bear, welcomed us warmly and enjoyed lots of pets while we were visiting.

 All in all it was a very fun trip. I'd love to share my story with more guilds...... feel free to send me a message if you'd like me to come to you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Inspiration Mini

Recently my guild, McKinney Modern Quilt Guild, issued a mini quilt challenge. The prompt was "Inspiration". After thinking about it a bit, I knew exactly what my inspiration for this mini would be!

A few years ago hubby and I had our master bath remodeled. One of my favorite parts of the new bath is the tile we chose for a decorative column in our shower. This tile runs in a ventricle strip from the floor to the ceiling. As soon as I saw it I thought "this needs to be a quilt". 


Now was the time to make this happen! I really wanted a hand stitching project to take along on my trip to quilt con and English Paper Piecing seemed to be the perfect way to make this design happen. The only problem was, I didn't have the EPP pieces I needed  and my trip was just a couple days away! So I pulled out a piece of cardstock and started drawing!

8 point diamonds were the main pieces in the quilt. The triangles are just those diamonds cut in half. Add four squares and I'm all set.

I chose 3 shades of aqua solid from my stash (the bathroom is silver gray/white and I use aqua accents.)

Simple grid quilting (after I got home) and big stitch hand binding were the perfect finish for my mini.
The minis will be auctioned off in a guild fundraiser in the fall, so of course I had to make a second one to hang in our bathroom!

What a fun challenge!


Sunday, February 27, 2022

More Quiltcon Highlights

 As promised, here are some more quilts that had me inspired at Quiltcon this year. Many of them made by friends of mine which I found so exciting.

Debbie Jeske's "Rings" hung in the group category and I just love it! So much fun to see quilts in real life that you have long admired online. 

Leo Ransom, a guild mate of mine, won first place in the appliqué category for his stunning quilt "Double the Hipster". Leo's work is just incredible! 
Annie Hadnut had several quilts in the show and honestly, I took pictures of nearly all of them! I joke that I might be the president of Annie's fan club, which is probably true. It was fun to catch up with her at the show in person. Here's "Big Red Ball", just one of her amazing contributions this year.

My pal Sarah had her first quilt in the show, with her entry into the Hexagon challenge, "Hexie Halves". It was fun to see it in person. I only wish she had been there too!

Charles Cameron's "Sudoku" won first place in small quilts. I've had the opportunity to get to know Charles online and loved seeing this cool quilt! Such great precision piecing on a tiny quilt. Each number block is 4 1/4" square!

I thought Kathy Cook's "Planet Triangle" quilt was great fun! It was made as part of Nicholas Ball's improv triangle quilt along.

My beemate and friend Elizabeth Ray had several quilts in the show too. I especially love her entry into the Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge, called "Positive Turning Point".

Another friend I missed seeing this year was Jayne Willis. Her quilt "Behind the Scenes" was a showstopper this year, as her quilts always are!

This is just a small sampling of the magnificent quilts that were hanging at the show this year. Some observations:

  • Color! There were so many quilts in stunning saturated color, more than ever before I think. 
  • Many quilters had a quilt in the show for the first time! More than 1/3 of the quilts juried into this year's show were by first time featured quilters which I love.
  • The show was thoughtfully laid out with clear attention paid to hanging quilts in an order that made sense.
I can't wait to see the show next year in Atlanta! It just seems to get better and better.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Quiltcon Review

Quiltcon 2022 is in the books! Phoenix was a blast (ok truth time here, I'm still in Phoenix! Hubby and I stayed a few extra days to enjoy family here, Dallas iced over and many flights were canceled. We'll make it home eventually!)

It was super fun to see my quilt Urban Emergence hanging in the Quiltcon Together winners exhibit! The ladies from Curated Quilts snuck me into the hall a few minutes before the show opened the first day and I stopped dead in my tracks seeing it hanging there. Oh, and they did an interview with me that you can listen to here

I love when people post who their "quilt neighbors" are at Quiltcon. It was an honor for me to have my quilt hanging next to Amy Friend's winning quilt, Crimped.

One big thrill at Quiltcon this year was when my beemate Sarah Ruiz won first place in the group category for the very first Quilts Unscripted quilt which she aptly titled "Unscripted". Just a fun side note, five of us who contributed to Sarah's quilt were also contributors to my quilt last year!
It was such a thrill to see the quilt hanging and we gathered the five Quilts Unscripted beemates who were present for a fun photo shoot.

pictured: Sarah Ruiz, Isabelle Selak, E.A. Cox, Loide Wasmund and me

Right across from Sarah's quilt was E.A.s quilt, Sinusoidal Sunset, another group quilt that I was so thrilled to contribute to.
And, of course, I dragged Sarah and E.A. over to my quilt for a photo shoot too since they had contributed blocks to it.

 What fun it has been to be a part of so many Quiltcon Group Quilts! I'm anxious to see what our bee can come up with for next year's event in Atlanta.

More Quiltcon highlights to come...