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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Through Ellyn's Eyes

In the last several weeks, an idea has been percolating in my brain. Today I am putting it out there for the world (or at least a few of you!) to read, so that you can hold me responsible and follow along with my wacky plan. So here we go!

Much of this idea came to me after reading Lisa Congdon's book, Find Your Creative Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic. Actually, reading it for the second time, highlighting portions that spoke to me (honestly, it would have been easier to highlight what didn't speak to me! ha!).  This book really got me thinking. What is MY creative voice? Do I even have one? I decided it was worth the time and effort to go chasing after it. Thus, Through Ellyn's Eyes was born. Here's what I know so far:

Goal: To create a cohesive body of work in an effort to develop my own voice.

Timeline: Six months, July-December 2021. I am planning to commit 10+ hours per week to this project. 

Colors: Use of seven specific Kona Cotton Solids, plus black and white. Narrowing down my colors proved to be a chore, but I am happy to say, this step has been completed.

The colors I will be working exclusively with are:

  •     Kona White
  •     Kona Black
  •     Kona Red
  •     Kona Orange
  •     Kona Tangerine
  •     Kona Corn Yellow
  •     Kona Chartreuse
  •     Kona Glacier
  •     Kona Capri

Although I will use only these colors, I do not intend to use EVERY color in EVERY piece of work.

Other parameters: Based on my current personal trends, these are my intentions, which may evolve as the project progresses. I plan to make a series of mini quilts, allowing me to walking foot quilt them on my domestic machine. I also plan to include some pearl cotton hand stitch accents in most or all of the quilts. These will all be original designs. Modern characteristics that I currently focus on include high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism and use of negative space. I intend to incorporate many of these in each piece. 

Lastly, I will continue to dabble in other creative work outside of this project. So, you will continue to see bee blocks, other quilts, weaving, etc in this space. I will document this project both here and on my instagram account, using the hashtag #throughellynseyes. If you peek over there now, you will see that I have already been working on my first quilt for this series! I'll share more about that very soon.

I hope you'll follow along, give me feedback and maybe even begin an exploratory journey of your own!

Monday, July 5, 2021

Pandemic Porchdrop

 I shared a while back that my improv small group, Comedy Club Quilters, completed an improv round robin this spring. It was fun and different from past round robins because of the pandemic, thus I named my completed quilt Pandemic Porchdrop. I realized I never shared the finish with you.

I ended up adding borders with a green "stripe" just to frame it out and make it a bit bigger. I rather like the effect! I pieced the back and added a faced binding...
Those squares running across the back? They are pieces of each of our signature fabrics. I embroidered each maker's name on her signature fabric so I would remember who did what down the road...

After I machine quilted some random wavy lines in green, I decided to add some hand stitched Xs here and there. These were done with a variety of size 8 and 12 pearl cottons...

I love the end result! And the dear friends who had a hand in it.