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 appliquĂ© 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...

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Exploring Collaboration - BYOC

 

These bimonthly posts with Karen Bolan exploring collaboration have been challenging and fun! Today we are both sharing something exciting that we've been working on for a long time - BYOC! 

You might be wondering exactly what those initials stand for. Blue yams on cake? Buy yarn on clearance? haha nope. It's Build Your Own Collaboration!

Maybe you are familiar with restaurant menus presented this way. Some places have a build your own pizza.... choose a crust (gluten free for me please), choose a sauce (I'll have the marinara) choose a topping (mushrooms and black olives anyone?) and a cheese (always mozzarella for me!). Or build your own sandwich (bread, meats, veggies, dressing, sides), or build your own bowl (I'm going with brown rice, grilled shrimp, all the veggies and gluten free teriyaki sauce). Is everybody hungry now? Yeah, me too.

Anyways, Karen and I got to thinking, what if there was a menu to help you plan your collaborations? And BYOC was born. We even created a BYOC bookmark for all of you! If you are attending Quiltcon this week, find one of us and we will happily give you one. 

Not going to Quiltcon? No worries! We've made a pdf printable you can access from home. Find that here. 

The menu is tried and true! We used it to plan our Welcoming Lamp quilt back in the fall, and we are using it again for our Mushroom project. Does its include everything? No, that would be impossible. In fact that could fill a book. Some things it does not address include Building your Collaboration Team, and Setting deadlines. Topics it does include? Great question.

What is the Purpose of your project? Is it a charity quilt or a quilt for a cause? Is it to educate people? Build Community? A gift or for exhibition? Maybe more than one of these things? You can always check more than one box, it's your project after all!

What is your Source of inspiration? Will it be a topical quilt? Maybe inspired by a photo or another art source. Could be a traditional block or pattern.

What is the Contribution type? Will each member contribute blocks? Maybe your quilt will be done in a series or round robin style. Will you split the labor (one person pieces ,someone else quilts, another person binds) or will it be non pieced art or individual projects that link together somehow? 

Where will you Source your fabric? Will group members work from their stash? Swap frabric? Purchase specifically for the project? Or maybe a combination of these things.

Lastly, how will you Finish your quilt? Will group members piece individually or as a group? will you pay a longarm quilter? Or maybe one of the group members will volunteer to do the quilting. A group quilting bee would be a fun option!

We hope you'll print out our BYOC menu or grab a bookmark from us at Quiltcon and use it to get to Collaborating!

Friday, February 11, 2022

MQG Mini swap

 I can't believe this is the sixth year I've participated in the MQG Miniquilt Swap! It's fun to swap at Quiltcon each year and make a new quilty friend. That was the plan this year but again (still?) Covid got in the way and my partner is choosing not to make the trip. I get that! Did we let that stop us from fun? Heck no! Betty and I decided to FaceTime and swap our quilts live as soon as they both arrived. We were able to do that this week. 

My quilt got to Betty in California right on schedule. I made her a variation on my Welcome to my neighborhood quilt.


She seemed really happy with it.... whew! And here's the incredible improv quilt I received from Betty...

I love EVERYTHING about it! The beautiful colors, the improv, the incredible curves.... Betty nailed it! She also sent me this amazing mister which I immediately filled with water and put to use!

How do I always get the most amazing swap partners? Seriously, I am the luckiest person on the planet. Betty I'll miss you next week..... hopefully we will get to meet in Atlanta next year!

Friday, February 4, 2022

Preparing for my 100 day project

 The "official" 100 Day Project begins on February 13 this year. I have really enjoyed doing this the last two years. You can read about my bojagi project (2020) and my monster project (2021) here on the blog. Both of these focused on learning a new skill, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This year, I'm heading in yet another direction.

I was inspired by the phenomenon of the Great Resignation of 2021, where Americans resigned from their jobs en masse, initially as a covid response then later as a general strike against workplace policies/pay and government replies. I decided to make a quilt in response to this issue. Also, it is not lost on me that while everyone was resigning from the work force this past year,  my husband had the opportunity to return to work in a career he loves, after a long stretch of unemployment. There is irony there for sure.

First step was to gather supplies. I purchased 15 mens dress shirts from Goodwill and another thrift shop, where they had symbolically been left to die as their owners resigned from jobs.

I tried to get a good mix of colors, in stripes, plaids and solids. My pal Chris quickly pointed me to the larger mens sizes where I could get more fabric for the same price. With deep discounts, a senior discount and some good searching, I ended up spending a little over $5 for each shirt.

This is what 15 shirts looks like! I washed them all as soon as I got home. Many had holes or stains which was not a problem for me.

I carefully cut them up, salvaging as much fabric as I could. With fronts, back, sleeves I was able to get approximately 3/4 yard fabric from each shirt. Some of the larger shirts yielded even more.
I also saved as many buttons as I could! I'm always searching for dress shirt buttons to repair my hubbys shirts. These will come in handy!

My plan is to make one 5" improv block each day of the project. These will be random styles of block, as selected by my randomizer wheel.

I created this wheel using the Tiny Decisions apps on my phone. Sarah told me about this app and its will work perfectly! Every day I will spin the wheel and do what it tells me to do. Brilliant!



So, I'm ready! I have missed having a structured project to work on the last couple of months and can't wait to get started. Are you doing a 100 day project this year?