Friday, October 29, 2021

Triangle Trees

 Who else loves a good sew-along? I was excited when Nicholas Ball announced another Improv Triangle Sew-along this month. His improv book is one of my very favorites and his triangle method is the best. First I thought, can I do this? I don't want to neglect my Through Ellyn's Eyes project. boo. Then I thought, wait! What if I make it part of my project?! Jackpot. 

This time around, Nicholas encouraged us to make our triangles holiday trees. I pulled the colors from my project that speak Christmas to me, Kona Red, Chartreuse, Glacier and Capri with a bit of Kona White thrown in. 

First up, make a pile of triangle blocks...

look at the awesome snow capped trees! suggested by Nicholas

Then I started moving them around on my design wall. This is one of my favorite parts of improv quilting...
My layout changed a bunch of times before I landed on this completed quilt. Here it is, all done! It's the biggest quilt in my series so far, 43"x25". Walking foot quilted in all the colors on my domestic machine and faced for a nice clean edge.

like my cute shoelaces? I wove them on my inkle loom

You can see the quilting better in this photo. I love where the colors cross at the bottom...

So there it is! Quilt #13, Triangle Trees! 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Welcoming Lamp

I've been working on a very special quilt  for a while now, and I'm happy to share it with you today. This is Welcoming Lamp.......

There's quite a story behind this one, so get yourself a cup of tea and settle in. 

Several months ago, through the wonders of the internet (instagram and Zoom) I met Karen Bolan, a gifted modern quilter from California. Karen and I quickly realized we had several shared passions, the biggest being a passion for inclusive community and a love of collaboration. Both of us enjoy sharing lectures on collaboration with guilds. We began meeting via zoom to talk about different ways we could work together. Basically, we wanted to collaborate on our collaboration lectures. These zoom meetings were filled with rich discussions on community in quilting and both of us had quite a few light bulb moments along the way!

Pretty quickly we knew we wanted to work on a collaborative quilt together. Karen and I decided to set basic parameters (size, colors, inspiration theme) and then each work with a group separately to create half of the quilt.

Our inspiration became The New Colossus,  Emma Lazarus' poem which is printed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. We talked a lot about creating a welcoming space for refugees and others who are oppressed. 

For my half of the quilt, I met with my friends Chris and Susan at a day retreat center nearby. I asked Chris and Susan because I knew the three of us each had different skills to contribute and that we would work well together. Chris has a great eye for color and is fearless when it comes to improv! Susan is a true artist and her design skills are something I often tap into. We worked as a team to design and piece our half of the quilt. We really got into a groove and it came together in a day.
Chris working at the design wall.

Chris, Susan and I with our finished top

 Our design thoughts..... the gold "sun" is the crown on the statue, and the gold slab is her torch. The strip piecing at the bottom represents oppression; prison bars, or the wall at the border... or perhaps refugees in a  long row leaving their homelands. The bright blues in the "sky" represent hope for the future.
I took our pieced top home, quilted it and added faced bindings. If you look closely at the bottom you might see something you don't ordinarily see on a quilt. It's half of a separating zipper tucked into the facing! Karen and I wanted a way to both attach and separate our quilts so they could be displayed as one quilt or two.

Here you can see the zipper with our two quilts zipped together:

Karen's half of the quilt came together very differently than mine! She had quilters each make one block representing a line from the poem, then she assembled them together. You can read all about her process over on her blog.

I encourage you to find ways to collaborate in the quilting community if you haven't already!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Firefly Tote

In a total change of pace, I made a bag! I love making bags and have neglected it lately. On a recent quilt shop hop in San Antonio with a friend, I saw the pattern for Noodlehead's Firefly Tote and decided I needed to make one pronto! This is the project size. I plan to make the tote size soon.
I love the accent fabric so much! It's Forage by Anna Graham, a Robert Kaufman woven fabric. Also, until I typed that this very minute, it didn't occur to me that the pattern and the fabric were both designed by Anna! Duh! The navy is a Dimples print from Andover.
It was fun to add one of my little leather labels. This pattern was a pretty quick sew and I really love the finished bag.

I'll be making more of these for sure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Down the Rabbit Hole

I've finished the 12th quilt in my Through Ellyn's Eyes series and it is a bright and happy one. I'm calling it Down the Rabbit Hole because several people mentioned that it had an Alice in Wonderland vibe to it.

Basically, this is a very improv log cabin, if you look closely, with a very loose courthouse steps layout (warm colors on the sides, cool colors top and bottom). I'm prepping to teach an improv log cabin class and thought it would be awesome to add some more samples to my class prep. The finished mini measures 15"x19".

 I channel quilted straight-ish lines 1/2" apart on my domestic machine and used all of the colors from my series in this one..... which is a bit wild, but I like it! 

So, here are the 12 quilts finished for my series so far, with more in the works!  Which one is your favorite?

Friday, October 15, 2021

Harlequin Maze

Where does your quilty inspiration come from? I just never know when it's going to hit me. A couple weeks ago I found myself really studying the stained glass windows in the chapel at church (I know, I know, pay attention Ellyn. And I was, I promise.)

These windows are so incredibly beautiful. This particular day, it was those diamond shapes that spoke to me. 

By the time I turned them into a quilt, they had changed a lot. First off, the color. And then, I started removing some of the dividing lines. Soon this maze evolved.        

I had already made a bunch of black and white quarter square triangle blocks. They were just hanging out on my design wall patiently waiting to be used. Add in a curvy line and a bunch of tiny floating triangles and Harlequin Maze began to evolve. I quilted it with my walking foot and big stitched the binding in red. Presto! Quilt #11 in my Through Ellyn's Eyes series was done in no time.

Colors used: Kone Black, White and Red.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Quilts Unscripted Bee Blocks

Quilts Unscripted Bee continues to inspire me! In September, Carole challenged us to make blocks that represent Time in a  prescribed color palette. Songs about time kept coming to me, including my favorite song of all time, James Taylor's Secret of life....

One part of the song says "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time... any fool can do it. there ain't nothing to it. nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill. But, since we're on our way down, might as well enjoy the ride". It always makes me think of a roller coaster! That's what I was going for here.

Block two was time "slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future...

And yes, I do know block three looks like olives! hahaha so it goes with improv.... it's an hourglass with sand keeping track of time. Hey, I tried!

Chris had September and asked us for black blocks with bright lines that intersect.... or don't. Basic geometry. I loved it! I know Chris is a rainbow fan so block one was a rainbow....
blue and green lines for block 2....
and a rainbow ladder for block 3,

 I'm really enjoying this bee! If you want to follow our shenanigans, check out our hashtag on instagram, #quiltsunscripted.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Comedy Club Telephone Quilts

Recently my improv small group, Comedy Club Quilters, did a "Telephone Quilts" activity. We had so much fun! Read on to find out how we got from this adorable dog photo to this final quilt...

First, Loide's daughters sent her this darling photo as inspiration for her quilt. None of the rest of us got to see it at this point...

We had decided ahead of time that all of us would make 14" square quilts based on our inspiration. Here is what Loide made in response to the photo....
Then Loide sent a photo of her quilt to Chris D. who made this quilt in response....
And Chris sent a photo of her quilt to Bonnie, who did this.....
Bonnie's favorite color, red, makes an appearance
And then things began to go rogue! Anne, having received a photo of Bonnie's quilt, was inspired to make this.....
is that a pinwheel I see?
And Susan, inspired by Anne's quilt did this.....
When I received Susan's photo I saw buildings and a night sky. Here's my quilt.....
And finally, Chris S. made this quilt in response to mine....
It was fun to lay them all out together and see the progression....

I highly recommend this fun activity to your small groups!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fall Leaves


I love when challenges collide and I am able to use one project to fill multiple challenge spots! That was the case with Fall Leaves. As you can see, I used my Through Ellyn's Eyes colors, Kona black, red, orange, tangerine and glacier. I used the maple leaf tutorial here,  which was a challenge put forth by my guild, McKinney Modern Quilt Guild. The finished quilt is 18" square.
I quilted a diagonal grid on my domestic machine and big stitch hand stitched the binding down. Quilt #10 in my series is done and #11 and #12 are both underway!