Thursday, April 28, 2016

Picture-Worthy :: Two

As promised, I'm back with more marvelous quilt photoshoots!

It's a curious thing - as I've shared these over the last few months, I've been surprised how many comments I've gotten from readers being fearful to take their quilt out 'in public' for photoshoots such as those in today's post. With the possible exception of the one taken in the Swiss alps, it seems to me these photos might have been taken in 'everyday' settings - even perhaps locations stumbled upon while the quilt-maker was out and about. I know when hubby and I go out for a photoshoot, sometimes we have a destination, but just as often we drive around looking for an interesting setting. And honestly, rarely do we spend much time in one spot. We often stroll nonchalantly to our target area, snap a few times, and off we go. Most people ignore us, and if they do pay us any mind, they are only complimentary - and maybe a little envious. So really, it's not scary at all!

So that's all said to encourage you to try it - you just might like it! And you'll have memorable photos such as these as reward. . . .

Star Wars Quilt by Holly/Holly Gets Quilty [hollygetsquilty]

Migration by Kristi/Initial K Studio [initialkstudio]

Berry Bravo by Kristin/Life in the (907)

My Way by Kris/Sew Sunshine [kmjarchow]

Take Wing by Lisa [sewwhatyoulove]

Flock of Stars by Jodi/Tales of Cloth [talesofcloth]

The Photoshoots pin board is getting more inspiring by the day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Slab Three :: Gentle Curves

For some reason, even though I was looking forward to tackling this month's #seaSLABbom
assignment, I wasn't really happy with what I was coming up with once I got started. The topic was gentle curves, and though I had done my fair share, they just weren't speaking to me. [In case you're new to improv curves, our BOM leader, Matt, suggests this tutorial by Anne/Play Crafts on Lily’s Quilts.] 

Finally, I cut into it, rearranged everything, and liked it a little better. Though now that I've posted this, I'm inclined to go at that right side with my rotary cutter, but we'll see. As it is, my piece is just 21"x25", a tad smaller than suggested, but I think there will be plenty of room for tweaking when it's time to put the blocks together later in the year.

Meanwhile, the block was a welcome addition to my improv strings and triangles blocks, and three months in, these colors are still making me verrrry happy.

Linking up with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Picture-Worthy :: One

It's been several weeks since I shared some favorite photoshoots, but that doesn't mean I haven't been collecting some great ones to show you! So many in fact, you'll get a double dose this week. Enjoy this batch, and I'll see you later in the week with more!

Black and White by Cynthia [ahhhquilting]

Cherry Blossom Bright by Amanda/A Crafty Fox [acraftyfox_amanda]

Emerging Illusion by Allison/Allison Sews [allisonsews]

Washi Tape by Cathy/Blueberry Patch [cathyeric]

Burst by Rachel/Rachel Rossi Design [designsbyrr]

Sail Away by Gwen [elletaylor7]

You'll find even more lovelies on my Photoshoots pin board . . .

Friday, April 22, 2016

Worth 1000 Words

In 2009, hubby and I went to Europe for the first time. In contemplating how to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, we realized we were the only ones in our family who hadn't been. Both of our kids had, our parents, all of our sibs, nieces and nephews. Yup, everyone but us. It was time to rectify that. fast forward . . . .

After 15 hours of travel, we arrived in Florence, Italy, and after dropping our bags in our room, of course we headed out exploring. Just a half-block away, we turned a corner, and saw this.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I immediately, involuntarily, stepped backwards around that corner. It took a few moments before I could catch my breath and peek around the corner again. And ever since, I've considered that moment I first saw Il Duomo di Firenze my first meaningful glance of Italy. The next morning, we hurried back over to the Duomo and climbed to the top (463 steps!) and were once again mesmerized by what we saw.

Florence was a perfect introduction to Europe, and that photo of the Duomo came to mind as I read about this month's Mighty Lucky Quilting Club challenge: Using a Personal Photo as Inspiration for Piecing with Alison Glass [alisonglass].

I shared much of my beginning process in a previous post, but I'll back up just a bit to tell about the materials I chose to use. Fabrics for the front were mostly shot cottons from stash and one scrap of Essex. I loved the feel and bit of sheen, and had the perfect colors for the dome of Duomo. For backing, I thought a print from Angela Walters' Drift was the perfect choice, and reminded me of so many windows we'd seen in Italy.

I knew when I chose the shot cottons that they would be really lovely to quilt up. I used five Aurifil 50wt threads - 2000 (light sand), 2250 (red), 2314 (beige), 2600 (dove), 2730 (delft blue) - each to emphasis an element of my 'fabric photo'. And I went out on a limb and chose to free-motion quilt this one - totally not my norm, but in this case seemed worth the stretch.

I attempted to add more of the photo's detailing, and overall I think that worked. I especially like how the dome turned out, and the 'windows' on the right side. I'm a little disappointed with what I did in the sky portion, but I was on a roll, and while I was quilting away with those feed-dogs down, I figured I should practice something other than straight lines. So there ya go.

Overall, I found this project to be very challenging improv-wise - not the curves, but the 'corners'! But I think I learned something important in my decision to 'crop' my photo for the final quilt, which is only 17" square. I actually think the lack of detailed piecing in the buildings allowed that dome to remain the focal point and the overall piece, an uncluttered look. It seems in the challenges so far, there is the obvious stated challenge, but always something more to learn, and I think that's my been my favorite part.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Eventually, you'll hear more about this photo and why I chose it for my April Mighty Lucky Quilting Club challenge, Using a Personal Photo as Inspiration for Piecing. But for now - I have had a few inquiries about my process as I've been posting progress photos over on Instagram, so will share a bit of that today. 

Honestly, I'm still new enough at improv that I rarely know exactly where I'm going with it. But with this piece, it at least made sense to start with what seemed the trickiest part - the dome of that Duomo - a cathedral in Florence, Italy. Often when I work in improv, several 'sections' are created, then they are puzzled together, so that was my starting plan here.

I used a technique I learned in this basic tutorial for free-hand curves, an 'overlap' technique to cut and join the two pieces indicated below. There's really no specifics - I just glanced at the photo, then cut a similar curve. I stitched, pressed, cut a new piece, and continued on to finish the dome. If things needed trimmed and reshaped as I went, that's what I did. Next were several strips of blue 'sky,' each with a bit of detail from the top of the dome.

Once I got the dome and sky pieced, I worked on the base as well as the surrounding buildings, keeping them pretty simple. Piecing like this isn't straight-forward for me. There's always fiddling to see what will give me the look I'm after. So I keep my seam-ripper handy, to tweak things as needed, sometimes it's as little as opening a seam end to add another element.

I realized pretty quickly that my scale was larger than I'd intended, considering I'm doing all of the Mighty Lucky challenge pieces at 17" square. So I decided to 'crop' my photo, knowing that would eliminate some of the detail I might otherwise have included. It was at that point that I decided adding more detail with the quilting was the way to go - maybe not quite the original challenge, but it's improv, and that's the way it happens sometimes.

So now the top is done, and I'll be quilting for a while now. . . first time free-motion quilting on my Juki! Hopefully in a few days I'll have a finished work to show you! Meanwhile, if you have any questions about what I've done so far, feel free to ask!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hexies Redux

My go-to gift came through for me again, as I made a set of potholders for a house-warming gift over the weekend. I've even shared a similar set here before, but it's been a while, and the pattern is so darn good, it seemed worth sharing again.

The tutorial is Caroline/SewCanShe's Log Cabin Hexi Potholders, and yes, partial seams are involved to get started, but it's all so doable, and a perfect scrap project. I used one layer of Insul-Bright with 1 layer of Warm & White batting, which is my standard potholder filling.

So give them a try next time you need a little gift. And do tell. What's your go-to quick gift?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Triangles, Repeating Patterns, and the Color Blue

Marci had a multi-faceted prompt for her Bee Sewcial blocks this month in regards to shape, pattern, and color, which was alot to think about. I really wanted to make improv triangles, though it was clear that this wasn't the time to go crazy. There needed to be some order to pull off the repetition.

One of the little extras in Marci's prompt was asking us to include dark navy or black in each block. Also, we were given the option to include other fabrics than plain solids, which made me happy since I found a blue/black shot cotton in my stash, and it made a perfect backdrop in block one.

I think I still had strings on my mind from last month when creating triangles for block two. The secondary goal for this block was to make it entirely from triangles, some plain, and some pieced, and that actually worked pretty well.

Both blocks are 12 1/2" unfinished. Do glance at both #beesewcial and #inspiredbybeesewcial for some really awesome blocks this month!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long :: Q1 Winners!

2016 button 500 best

Time to announce the winners for the First Quarter of the FAL. Those of us who are lucky enough to be hosts this year have enjoyed being inspired by all of you and your Q1 finishes - a record breaking 838!!

Thank you again to our generous sponsors. Rhonda will email all of the winners unless you email her first after reading this post. She will need to hear back from the winners by Friday, April 22 so she can arrange to get your prize to you, and if she does not hear from you by then she will pick an alternate.

Without further ado, the winners - each picked by the random number generator - of the Q1 FAL prizes are:  


The winner of the Oakshott Fabric Gift Certificate goes to Sewgrateful Quilts who made this gorgeous whole quilt:

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tartankiwi kiwi logo

The winner of 3 patterns from Tartankiwi goes to Jackie (@nwpatchwork on IG) who made this pretty rainbow mini:

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intrepid thread_button02

The winner of the $50 Gift Certificate to The Intrepid Thread is Emilee (@amelialoveskat on IG) who made this wonderful pink & green quilt:

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The winner of the choice of 3 patterns from Happy Quilting is Emily who blogs at The Darling Dogwood and made this bright I-Spy Quilt:

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Green Fairy Quilts shopGFQbutton

A $25 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Brenda who blogs at The Quilting Nook who stitched this beauty:

IMG_0556 (2)

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A copy of DIY Block Design from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Allison who blogs at Campbell Soup Diary and finished her Farm Girl Vintage Quilt:

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MAP10 Banners

The $40 gift certificate from Mad about Patchwork goes to Deanna (@sewasigo on IG) who made this handy apron:

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Clover & Violet Logo Buttons
The winner of 3 patterns from Clover & Violet is Taryn (@forkandneedle on IG) who made this lovely quilt:

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Fluffy Sheep th_Shopbutton Fluffy sheep

The winner of the €25 (25 Euro) Gift Certificate from Fluffy Sheep Quilting goes to Jodie who blogs at The Craft Room and made this gorgeous EPP star quilt:

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Christa Quilts logo300 Christa quilts

The winner of a copy of Machine Quilting with Style from Christa Quilts goes to Heidi who blogs at Red Letter Quilts and surprised her mom with this quilt:

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7 Acres Cleared Fabric Shop 9373437_orig

A $50 Gift Certificate from 7 Acres Cleared Fabric Shop goes to Raquel (@colourmehappy2 on IG) who crocheted on beautiful blanket:

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Make Modern Logo
A 6-month subscription to Make Modern goes to Ella who blogs at Throw a Wench in the Works and made this extremely graphic quilt:

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The first winner of 3 patterns from Porch Swing Quilts is Melanie who blogs at Melanie's Kunstraum and made this (along with many other) charity quilt:

Charity Quilt No. 3 "From Outside In" |

The second winner of 3 patterns from Porch Swing Quilts is Allison who blogs at Allison Sews and made these two pot holders out of one pieces of FMQ challenge:

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SunnyDay Supply Square

The $30 gift certificate from Sunny Day Supply goes to @kath34 on IG who finished her second pillow:

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The winner of a copy of Windy City Bags from Sew Sweetness is @Mandarien7 on IG who made this extremely festive quilt:

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sew sisters

The $25 gift certificate to Sew Sisters Quilt Shop goes to Mandi (@must_love_quilts on IG) who made this stunning Tula Pink quilt:

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The $50 Gift Certificate from Mariner's Compass Quilt Shop goes to Mary who blogs at Mary Emmens and finally sewed with knits and ended up with this gorgeous top:

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on the windy

The winner of the Pattern Pack from On the Windy Side goes to Suzie's Armoire who made this super-cute mini:

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The $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Audrey who blogs at Hot Pink Quilts and made this handsome quilt for her daddy:

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The winner of 2 pin bowls from Laurel Bee Designs is Kat who blogs at Kat's Craft and made her brother this matching quilt and pillow:


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imagine gnats button

The winner of the $40 gift certificate to Imagine Gnats is Becky who made this beautifully festive (and extremely early) Christmas table runner:


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Sew Me A Song Logo

The winner of the $20 gift certificate from Sew Me a Song is Staci who blogs at The Confused Quilter and finished one of two identical quilts like this:

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knotted thread 125

The winner of the $30 gift certificate to Knotted Thread is Lynz who blogs at Domestic Light and Magic and made this gorgeous Brumby:


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Simply solida SS_logo_RGB_high

The winner of the £40 (40 Pound) Gift Certificate from Simply Solids is Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilts who made this very pretty quilt:


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Quilt Ranch logo

The $25 gift certificate from The Quilt Ranch goes to Angelina who blogs at Quilting after Dark and made this quilt for the Rocky Horror Challenge sponsored by the Badass Quilter's Society:


Congratulations to all the winners! Good luck on your Q2 sewing!