Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Country Church Quilt

Quilt #9 in my Through Ellyn's Eyes series is finished and it makes me really happy. It's a simple little country church and it has a lot of meaning for me.
Two of my late great uncles were Presbyterian ministers. This has carried on through the generations. I am still a Presbyterian today and my faith is an important piece of who I am.The uncle I knew best was Uncle Les. His church was a sweet little country church in upstate New York. In addition to pastoring, Uncle Les and Aunt Delia had a farm. Mostly they harvested grapes that were sold to Welches. I have fond childhood memories of visiting them in their country farmhouse.
 More walking foot quilting on this one, Also, I'm really becoming fond of big stitch hand bindings on my quilts.
My collection of quilts is growing and I am seeing some distinct themes developing. Which quilt is your favorite so far?


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Color of the Year 2021

 I always look forward to the announcement of Pantone's color of the year. This year's colors really resonated with me...

Pantone's swatches for its latest Colors of the Year: Illuminating, a vibrant light yellow, and Ultimate Gray, the first neutral shade to ever be selected.

Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. Both beautiful, separately and together. In fact, I have decorated my guest bedroom and bath in these colors. So it felt good to dive in and use them together in a small quilt. Small because the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild will be displaying them in the display case at the library again this year, as we did in 2019.

I actually made my quilt several months ago. After I pattern tested my friend Jane (Twiggy and Opal)'s Sparkle quilt, I decided to make a much tinier, two color version as a personal challenge. I used Kona Bright Idea (Illuminating) and Kona Overcast (Ultimate Gray) and made this 12" version of Sparkle...

Today it heads off to the library display. I hope to get up there sometime this month to see all of the quilts from our guild.

Have you made anything with this year's colors of the year?

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Going Up!

Eight weeks into my Through Ellyn's Eyes project and I'm still having so much fun. Beginning to see some patterns and learn some things about myself so that's awesome. This week I dipped back into buildings. I love buildings and architecture and find so much inspiration in cities. 

While I have a bunch of things sketched out in my sketchbook, when this week rolled around I really didn't know what I wanted to make. It kind of freaked me out a bit! I am always itching to get started on my next mini in the project but this week I kind of hit a wall. Nothing inspired me. Luckily I had other things to work on and deadlines to meet, so I kept busy. Very late in the week I had this vision of a ladder climbing up to a high, open window.....
Going up has a story to tell... what do you think it is? Did someone already climb up through the window? A forbidden boyfriend perhaps, sneaking in behind her paren't backs? A mischievous teenager who had snuck out after curfew? A burglar? YIKES! What do you think the story is?
I love how this one plays with my City Windows quilt. Both have a cartoonish feel, don't you think?

Eight quilts finished so far! Where do you think I'll go next?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Barn Quilt

 Quilt number 7 is complete for the Through Ellyn's Eyes project. In keeping with my buildings theme, this one is a barn. A tiny barn! With a teeny tiny barn quilt....

that teeny tiny barn quilt measures 3/4" square. Yup. It's so tiny.

I used Kona Red, Capri and Chartreuse, and Kona Corn Yellow and Glacier for the itty bitty quilt part. The finished quilt is 18"x20" and was quilted on my domestic machine with a walking foot. I added a little bit of hand stitching on the barn.

So, seven weeks and seven mini quilts! Onward...

Friday, August 20, 2021

More Triangle Play

More than two years ago, I was inspired by this triangle pattern, created in stone on a highway bridge near my home.  

I managed to create a foundation paper piece pattern to represent each section and, after some playtime with the pattern, made this mini (still unfinished) to replicate the bridge.
Then, I put it all in a box and promptly forgot about it, as we do. Sigh...

Fast forward to this week, when I pulled it out again and decided to use those triangles in a playtime mini for my Through Ellyn's Eyes project. I decided to use my Kona Red, Orange and Tangerine since that gave me the most monochromatic shaded look (not really. humor me here. Honestly it ended up with quite a bit of contrast).

The finished mini is 12" square and uses 3 FPP bridge patterns and 3 reverse patterns. I quilted it with my walking foot in several thread colors to match the fabrics, echoing the angles in the triangles. I'm calling this one Triangle Play 2.

So, with six quilts on my design wall, I can see some trends evolving! Several more ideas are already in my sketchbook which is good. I had worried that I would run out of steam, but that does not seem to be the case! Whew!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Blocks for E.A.

 It is my sweet friend E.A.s turn to request bee blocks from our Quilts Unscripted bee, I'm telling you, every month I appreciate the quilters in this bee more and more. Each one offers up such carefully thought out prompts that encourage me to dig deep. This month was no exception.

E.A. asked us to explore the idea of holding space for someone, whether that means thinking about people who hold space for us, being fully present for us, or us holding space for others. She wanted us to think about how that feels and to create identical (or as close to identical as improv can be) pairs of blocks on this theme.

After many interesting conversations with people close to me, some deep personal thought, and maybe even a few tears, I created two pairs of blocks for her.

For my first pair, I used blues and grays to represent turbulent waters. Often when I am struggling with something in my life I feel like I am drowning (interesting since I have a pretty intense fear of water to begin with). The lightness at the top and the rays coming down represent incredible people in my life who hold out their arms to me in my darkest times and pull me from despair. For some of them, holding space means sitting with me, listening to me and holding me until I find peace. For others, it means speaking difficult truths into me in a kind and gentle way.  (deep enough for you? if you came here for laughs today I'm sorry to disappoint!)

My second pair of blocks takes a whole different turn. They illustrate how it feels for me to hold space for my three adult children (represented by the three triangles above). The soft pink at the bottom represents home, where my husband and I both literally hold space for them, if they ever need a place to land, and figuratively hold space for them in our hearts. I believe that knowing we are always here, believing in them and ready to catch them if they need us, has allowed them all to soar and succeed. The really cool thing has been watching them hold space for each other over the years. 

So I thank E.A. for giving me the means to articulate (both in words and in fabric) thoughts that I have had for many years. These blocks will be winging their way to Nashville soon.

Monday, August 16, 2021

a collaboration with Ally

A few months ago, when all of the kids came to visit, Ally showed me this image she had created on her iPad and asked if I could make it into a quilt for her. Challenge on!
While not colors I usually work with, I was happy to do it for someone I love. I set about collecting fabrics  with Ally in mine. I enjoyed every step of putting it together.

And just in time! This week Ally receives her MSW (Masters in Social Work) from UT Arlington. Quite the accomplishment! And she was able to achieve this remotely from her home during the pandemic, with her trusty dog, Malibu by her side.

Nice work Ally!


Friday, August 13, 2021

Sit a While

 Quilt #5 in my Through Ellyn's Eyes series is complete! I somehow became fascinated with the graphic image of a chair. I love the meaning behind it too, a place for a friend to take a seat and spend some time with me. Community is so important to me and having a cozy place where my friends feel comfortable hanging out has become so valuable especially during the isolation of the last year and a half. Often during that time friends would drop in on my front porch to chat, swap bee blocks, pick up guild door prizes and the like. We would always end up sitting a while, masked and safely distanced. Who knew chairs could be such an important symbol?

This quilt was improv pieced using Kona Red, Glacier and Capri. I walking foot quilted it on my domestic machine and bound it in red, adding a few hand stitches to the front as I often do. It finished at 17" x 18".

As I continue to work through this project, I find that my series is sorting itself into some distinct mini categories along the way. Specifically, this quilt alongside my Casting a Light quilt forms the beginning of a graphic images category.

Both quilts feature a single image and both have tiny hand stitched x's on the binding.

I realize now that my aqua pearl cotton is a size 12, making it more subtle than the other colors which are all size 8. 

So, there are now five completed quilts in my projects. to read all of the past posts about this project, click here.

I already have my next quilt idea rumbling in the back of my mind, and it will match up nicely with another previous quilt. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Mod Tree

The MQG just completed a challenge called the Make-a-difference challenge. Entrants made a "tree" quilt and submission fees were all donated to Trees for the Future. It was a worthy cause and a fun challenge, so I jumped in and made a tree quilt. 

Winners, chosen by member vote,  were announced today, so I can finally share mine with you. While it didn't win, it was very fun to make. As usual, the design came to me in the early morning hours one day. I hurried to get it into my sketchbook, then pieced it together. I really love the bold, graphic nature... you'll see more of that in days to come. I quilted it with my walking foot on my domestic machine and especially loved the echo quilting I did on the left side of the tree.

Though not part of my Through Ellyn's Eyes project due to colors used, I can see how it fits into my aesthetic. Maybe I'll make another in my project colors? We'll see! 

Congrats to those who won prizes. The quilts were all awesome, and all very different. I loved seeing them all.
Mod Tree 24" square

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Triangle Play

 Do you have a favorite shape? I love triangles. More than all of the other shapes! I'm not sure why, although I do love things in odd numbers (three sides anyone?). I love to play with triangles in improv quilting so it seemed like a natural place to go next with my Through Ellyn's Eyes series.

I originally intended to make more triangles in several colors, but, I'll be honest, I got bored with it. So, Kona Orange and Kona Tangerine it is, with tiny pieced lines in Kona White. This finishes at just 12" square.

I quilted wavy ribbons on my domestic machine and big stitched the binding down with perle cotton. Again with some tiny X details just because they make me smile.

So, four quilts done in my series. And I do love the outcome of this little test. More triangles to come for sure....
which one is your favorite so far?

Monday, July 26, 2021

City Windows


Quilt #3 in my Through Ellyn's Eyes series came together in the same fast and furious method as quilt #2! Once an idea pops into my head, it just cries out to be made. I began piecing this one on Saturday and put the final stitches in the faced binding this afternoon. whew!

Though remotely inspired by photos of buildings I have perused on Pinterest, it doesn't really resemble any of them. I knew I wanted to do the windows with tiny borders, a technique I have played with several times in the past. I drew a simple sketch in my sketchbook and just began piecing.

As I am often inspired by buildings and architecture, I suspect there will be more building quilts in this series. This one is pieced in Kona Capri, Corn Yellow, Red and Black. To me it looks like a city straight out of a comic book. In fact, a friend commented on Instagram that she could visualize a superhero flying out of one of the windows! I get that.... and I will say, I don't hate the idea!

The finished quilt measures 17" x 18" and I quilted it on my domestic machine once again drawing my inspiration from Jacquie Gering's book, WALK 2. This one is called Sashiko Chevron. If you look closely, you'll notice that I flipped the bottom zig zag upside down, creating a diamond. It was totally accidental and I reached for my seam ripper then decided I rather liked it! So, design element it is. 

I used a faced binding, as I find this less daunting than matched binding and I like the nice clean edge it leaves. No hand stitching on this one, I considered it but it just didn't seem to fit anywhere. 

So, three quilts done. If I keep going at this pace I'm going to have a lot of minis in this series! 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Bee blocks for Chris

 Quilts Unscripted is in our second month. Chris requested summer themed blocks in blues and yellows and it was fun coming up with different ideas. In the end, I made her three blocks, which have been delivered.

First up are beach houses. I have seen patterned quilts similar, mine are improv. I'll be honest, I'm not much of a beach girl really, but these felt summery to me!
second was a tall glass of lemonade, which is so refreshing on hot summer Texas days! It was fun to create movement with the improv curves and add a tiny pieced straw. 

After making these two, which, though improv, felt pretty literal, I thought I should dive into some actual improv technique. Using Nicholas Ball's rings technique from his book, Inspiring Improv,  I made this hot summer sun. It was really fun to do!
So, month two is complete! These were really fun.

To see more blocks from Quilts Unscripted, check out our hashtag on Instagram... #quiltsunscripted

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Casting a Light

Casting a Light, the second quilt in my Through Ellyn's Eyes series, came together fast and furiously. In fact, from start to finish it was only one day. whew.

First my inspiration. I am often inspired by buildings, especially older buildings, and structures like bridges. Apparently I also have a thing for lampposts, as I have taken quite a few photos of them in different cities over the years. These two in London:

Recently, my friend Lisa posted a photo she took of a lamppost in France, which got me thinking about them again. Then on retreat last week, as I was sitting on a bench in downtown Granbury, TX, I noticed some lampposts there on the square (did I take a photo? NO! I did not. but hey, I took the time to notice them). Early one morning on retreat, I pulled out my sketchbook and drew a quick draft of a quilt. I decided right then and there that it would be the second quilt in my series. 

Interesting note, as far as noticing things..... Hubby and I have been watching the Hulu docuseries about Paul McCartney. One thing that I observed about Paul is his intentional presence.... the way he notices little things in his life and they often become big things in his music. I highly recommend watching it. Anyways.....

This quilt uses  Kona Black, Corn Yellow, Chartreuse, and Glacier. It was totally improv pieced from my sketch and finishes at 16" x 20".

Last week, Sarah surprised me by mailing me a copy of Jacquie Gering's book, Walk 2.0. I had shared with her how much I loved the first book and that I wanted to develop my walking foot skills as I continued this work. I promptly dove in and found this awesome divided diamonds pattern that I thought would work well on my lamppost quilt. I really enjoyed doing it and have found that my walking foot quilting continues to improve!

I bound the quilt in capri and added a few signature hand stitched x's at the bottom.

 I really love the graphic nature of this quilt and plan to explore that element more as I continue.  

and then there were two!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Paint Palette


My first quilt for the #ThroughEllyn'sEyes project is finished and I must say I'm happy with it and excited to move on to my next idea. I'm calling this one Paint Palette. After selecting my color palette, I wanted to create a piece that explores how the colors respond to black background and white background. I love the way the colors seem to change with different backgrounds. The design I came up with reminds me of a watercolor palette, so Paint Palette it is. I'm excited to use this color study as I move forward in my project.

I quilted it with a silver gray thread in a simple grid on my domestic machine (Janome 6600), and used a faced binding to finish it off. I think a matched binding would have been great too, and I wavered back and forth before settling on this. The quilt finishes at 26" x 22".

After it was quilted and bound, I added some small hand stitches with size 8 and size 12 pearl cottons. I've really enjoyed these little touches in my recent finishes.

some Xs in red

Orange Xs and straight stitches in yellow

and teal straight stitches

It's been fun collecting pearl cottons to match my colors.... although I'm having a hard time finding an appropriate green. I'll keep searching!

So I'm happy to have this completed and to be able to say my project is officially underway! You can follow my progress on Instagram.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

so nice to sew with friends!

 Anyone else tired of the whole "shelter at home" business? Me too. While I am thankful for the safety of my family and friends, and incredibly aware of the privilege to be able to stay at home, I am also so thankful for vaccines and dropping Covid numbers that allows us to cautiously be with other humans again. While zoom is a wonderful tool, nothing quite matches being with others in person. 

This past weekend I was invited to retreat with 10 others who are all fully vaccinated for four days. What a treat!

Along with the whir of sewing machines, there was so much laughter and joy! Old friends were hugged, new friends were made and bonds were strengthened. In preparation for the retreat, I made some pin cushions for all of the attendees, using some of my woven scraps.

I finished up several projects (and admittedly started several more. oops). I've been working on my second Plaidish 2 quilt for a while now, and was able to put the final hand stitches into the binding.

One project begun and finished last weekend is this double gauze tunic (Simplicity 9113) which I love! I will say, the fabric was a bear to sew on. I did use a solid cotton for the facings which helped some. 

I feel so refreshed and ready to return to my "normal" life now.