Thursday, August 31, 2017

Storm Before The Calm...Storm At Sea

It's always nice to try something new.  A new hair style, a new food, a new technique.  It means we are open to trying something different.  

Our Guild is doing a Paint Chip Challenge that is due at our next meeting.  I was so thrilled that we were going to do this when it first came up at a meeting a couple months ago.  I've seen other guilds that have done these and it always peeked my interest.  Basically, we were randomly given two actual paint chips.  The rules are pretty simple.  We must use the two colors as the starting point and are allowed to add one more color and a neutral.  

Simple.  Realizing our 'reveal' meeting is quickly approaching I needed to get my butt in gear and come up with a plan.  My colors are gorgeous...IMO!  A beautiful teal and golden yellow.

So what was I to do?  Yikes!  There wasn't much time to ponder or worry about my current 'mojo' rut.  Out of the blue the idea of 'Storm At Sea' came to mind.  Its a block that interests me, a block that can be toyed with using colors and a block I could paper piece for accuracy.  
Why not?  Let's do this!

My first fabric pull started with this batch of fabric.  Great start!  Love the magenta!  If only it was that easy!

I'm not much of a planner.  I'm a 'fly by the seat of your pants' kind of a girl!  It's easier for me to play it by ear than plan every detail.  So, when I picked my block and picked my fabric I was sure I had it in the bag.  I did not!  

Storm At Sea
I'm making a 24" x 24" mini quilt that requires nine 8" blocks.  I'll be paper piecing these blocks for accuracy and know I love paper piecing!  

The above block was my guide to color placement.  And I tried.  While cutting the pieces for my templates, I quickly discovered I didn't have enough of this color, then that color and then I cut the wrong went on and on!

When I'm paper piecing numerous of the same block, I like to cut all my pieces prior to stitching. I cut, sub cut, cut the wrong color, cut the right color and eventually...finally...I think I hashed it all out.

It was a frustrating process.  Working from my stash didn't go quite as planned.  Whats better: having a well rounded stash of lots of colors or having a stash that has plenty of yardage but not much variety?!  

There are nine templates for each block.  Nine.  I know!  You would thing a little 8" block wouldn't be so involved, but it is!    

The small square in a square is 2 1/2", the larger one is 4 1/2" and the diamond is 2 1/2" x 4 1/2". That little one is just adorable!!


Tomorrow I hope to take all the parts and pieces, put them together in a timely fashion with no fuss or muss. 

And hopefully, they will all turn out to look like much like this one.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out.  It could be good, or it could go terribly wrong!  

Storm at Sea is one of those blocks that trick you into thinking there are curves, yet there are none.  In a quilt, there is a lot of movement and flow, which I'm hoping will come through with my quilt.  It's hard to say what will happen.  It could end up being 'The Calm Before The Storm' instead!

It was a fun exercise in making do with what you have on hand!  Have you made a Storm At Sea quilt before?  Would you do it again?


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Drunkards Path :: Getting My MoJo Back

It's taken me a while to get back in the swing of things lately.  I feel like I've done very little in the way of quilting the past couple months.  I thought the best way to get back into the thick of things was to work on a scrap project I started back in July.  My Clammed Out & Scrap Magic post talks about what to do with scraps from a previous quilt.

If the fabrics and color seems familiar, they are!  They all came from the infamous Glam Clam quilt I recently finished.  So many scraps!  

While cutting out the Clams for the Glam Clam, I was left with a ton of scraps.  It seemed like the perfect time to make some drunkards path blocks.

I had a tub full that I glue basted and quickly set about chain piecing those pesky curves. Except...they really weren't that pesky to sew!  


I choose to glue baste the curves to save myself from getting frustrated, and so I could put the pedal to the metal while chain piecing.  It seemed like a great idea...and it was!

I marked the center by folding and pressing a crease in each piece.  Here, I marked it with pen so you can see it better.

A small bead of glue goes a long way!  It doesn't take much to hold the two pieces together.

I line up the center point and with the tip of the dry iron I slowly move the top piece around the curve.  It doesn't take long for the glue to set.

Repeat the same process for the other half.

Before you know's done!  There is a little fussing that has to be done when attaching the two pieces, like holding the top piece out of the glue when setting the glue with the iron.

Its worth it to me!  Usually when making this block I would press the seams towards the white. This time I pressed towards the print.  I didn't want the print to be seen through the white, which happens when you are doing just about any block.  

I did a lot of trimming so my blocks were good and square.  These ended up being 4".  I'd like to say they stayed that size!

They did not!  I wasn't terribly consistent with perfection when I slapped these together! When I put four blocks together they were a little askew!  I was only concentrating on lining up the curves for one big circle.  

After assembly, I trimmed all the blocks to 7".  Now that's something I can work with! 

I've played with several layouts since making the blocks, and even had to make more.  The top layout is a possibility, but this last one is not.  In order to do that one I would of had to sew each row together and hope all the seams lined up.  I love the layout and know that one to shall become a quilt!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Star Light, Star Bright

So, we all know it's Eclipse day today!   Many of us will get that once in a lifetime chance to see it in all its glory.  I'm excited even though I don't have the proper glasses.  ARGH!  I'm still going to experience it, and it is okay to look at it with the naked eye without glasses when the sun is totally covered...take a chance or not?!  

I have to say all the hype has gotten to me.  While I was in Oregon it lead every single news story several times a day. Then when I got home, same thing.  At 1:27 PM (CST), for two exciting minutes...I will be busy doing nothing more than watching a event...a big memorable event!

Before that, after that and for those don't get to see 'that', I thought I would share the only sewing I have done in a month!  Yep!  You heard that right!  I won't go into detail, but it's been a terrible month for me and my family.  

I spent two weeks in Portland with nothing more than a needle and thread.  English paper piecing is the ideal travel project.  Before I left Nashville, I had a mad scramble to come up with an EPP project to take with me.  I ended up keeping it super simple.  Diamonds. 

I'm going to sound like a broken record again, but the hardest part was picking the fabric.  I settled on Kaffe Fasset fabric for the center diamonds and added a bright solid for the outside.  I was in need of very bright, bold and happy colors.  Kaffe Fasset fit that bill to a tee!

My little EPP kit was filled with the essentials.  Scissors, thread, clips, needles and glue pen. I also brought the extra fabric both in prints and solids.  I grabbed Aurifil Sandstone thread (2370) in 40 wt.  I was hoping the color would blend with all the bright colors of the fabric and disappear...and it did!  I have to say it was the perfect choice!

Of course you must have plenty of the most important component of EPP, the templates.  I found this template at Sew Quickly where you can cut hexies, jewels and diamonds from one PDF template.  I love the versatility you get with this PDF.  I printed page after page on card stock and then cut the out with scissors.  

I used two different prints for each star.  Some prints I fussy cut so they would stand out, some were cut with a texture and color in mind.  The fabric I was working with were smaller pieces, so getting three pieces that were exact was sometimes an impossible task.   

After the stars came a solid that I felt would pop with the combination of prints.  I tried to be strategic, but it didn't always work out that way.

This one is the perfect example of semi-fussy cut diamonds.  The three circles are not the same, but they each have a green ring.  The other diamonds have the same linear blue print.

Here is another example of fussy cut matchy match!

I ended up making nine complete hexie stars and three stars.  With another half a dozen more in the pipe line.  

This was purely a project to keep me grounded, give me an emotional escape and keep my mind occupied while I was in Portland.  I still don't have a clue what I'm making or what it will become. Frankly, the last thing on my mind was a plan.  It was more important to have a distraction and not a plan.

Now that I've come home and had a chance to look at these sexy hexie stars, I've decided I want to make more and more!  This will be my long term EPP WIP!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

'Finely Tuned' :: Design to Quilting

The beauty of scraps!  I always get a little 'twinge' when I end up with a pile of scraps from a previous project.  Call me strange, but it's fun for me to reconfigure, twist and turn and come up with a quilt.

This is my funky creation from scraps I had left over when I made a whole slew of placemats. Check out Geometric Placemats to see the original source and From Trash To Treasure! The Process how I took the scraps and pieced the quilt.  
Finely Tuned
51" x 65 1/2"
It still takes me a while to come up with a quilting idea, and when the idea finally came to me I jumped in!  Which also led to...there's no going back!  Once I started I couldn't change my mind and flip the script.  Regardless if it was easy or hard, it was happening!

To be honest, I think I picked my thread colors before I knew what my quilting plan was!  I first used Aurifil Dark Pewter (#2630) and quilted in the ditch around most of the dark lines in the quilt.  Aurifil Aluminum (#2615) and Bright Pink (#2425) was used for the rest of the quilting.  


I set about mimicking the vertical design with 1/4" spaced lines in the center portion of the quilt alternating with ping and grey thread.  

The triangles were the only place where I quilted a different pattern than the rest of the quilt.  

The real fun began when I was able to start quilting in the border!  At first I thought it was going to be a nightmare, but soon found out that wouldn't be the case.  

I was able to wiggle and maneuver the quilt around pretty easily to accomplish the maze effect I was after.

In order to get just the right lines around the border, I would do a series of 1/4" lines using a ruler and my hera marker.  Once I had completed a round, I marked another series and repeated the process until the end and I was satisfied.

The back isn't quite as intriguing as the front, but you can get a sense of design a little better.  It does fit in with the front as far as colors are concerned!

Ignore the uneven lines please!  I'm quite sure after I wash it it won't matter one bit!  Usually I wash all my quilts before sharing the finish.  This time I just didn't have the time.

Which leads me to ask, do you usually wash your quilts before sharing?  I wonder about that! Also, if you are putting a quilt in a quilt show, is it common practice to wash quilts first or not? Curious George here!

I am not sure exactly why, but I decided to name this quilt 'Finely Tuned'.  For some reason all I could envision was an instrument being tuned.  The neck of a guitar, the scroll or tuning pegs of a violin and even the strings inside of a piano.  Actually, my Mom came up with the name and it grew from there!  All the more reason to keep it as 'Finely Tuned'!

What I like about these 'improv' or 'scrap' designs is hearing what others see or feel from looking at it.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, art is objective and that's just the way I like it!!

If my last few posts have seemed scattered or not my usual style, it's because I have been in Oregon for the past couple weeks.  As of today, I'll be heading back home to Tennessee. It's time to get back to 'things', get back on track and readjust.  

So, thank you for sticking with me!  I am so, so thankful for all the support I have received from everyone.  Yes, it's true...Our quilting community is like no other!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Stash :: Distraction, Long Over Due

Nearing the end of a long few weeks, I'll be heading home soon.  It was nice to be with family and very much needed.  Today I was able to take a brain break from all that has been going on the past few weeks.  

Today I was out and about!  The perfect distraction at the perfect time.  My daughter's 'bestie' from first grade Anne, picked me up for a fabric diversion and lunch!  This was needed for so many reasons...I don't even know the last time I was in an actual fabric shop! Rather sad, I think!

Don't judge!  I can't take selfies...ever!  This is me and Anne at our first stop on our excursion.

So, Annie was a trooper!  I promised Britt I would be on my best behavior and try not to embarrass her too bad!  I don't think I did.  We had a lot of fun, laughs, shopping and food!   

Cool Cottons is a quilters paradise!  So many amazing fabrics!  From prints to solids...I was in heaven!  If you come to Portland, come here! 

After walking into the shop, Anne fell into conversation with the owner who she knows very well. When she asked if I was Jayne, I thought she was psychic!  How did she know my name?  Anne was just as surprised as I was!  Turns our Anne's mother, Bev left me a gift certificate!  Surprise and shock...Bev is the sweetest lady you will ever meet.  Thank you so much Bev!

I scoped the entire shop before I started grabbing bolts of fabric!  I was grabbing with reckless abandon!

I wish I could tell you the details of each fabric.  But alas, I cannot!  I am not current on any thing and tend to grab what I like regardless of who designed it or manufacturer.  

I saw this little print and about wet myself!  It was too adorable to pass up!  Carousel Unicorns!  I don't usually go for 'cute', but this is cute with a capital 'C'!

Naturally I wandered by the bolts of solids.  Bolts and bolts of Kona...which I did not buy, but drooled a little when I saw them!

Instead I hit the Studio E Peppered Cottons and Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons.  The colors!!  I yoinked some colors I knew I didn't have in my stash.  Each one will properly petted and admired now and once I get home...I assure you of that!

Before heading to the second and last shop, we stopped for lunch and an adult beverage! Albacore Tuna Melt!  A short break to recharge ourselves.

Our last stop was Bolt.  Another fun shop full of fabric pleasures!

The neon pink caught my attention, thank you Cotton + Steel!  I couldn't resist and frankly, didn't even try!

Well, what can I say here?  Perhaps my favorite print ever!  Anna Maria Horner's Echinacea. This was a good find and rather unexpected!

The other two were impulse buys.  In actuality, all fabric from today was all about impulse! 

A few more solids made it in the stack because they were pretty...because I needed them...because, because, because...

The last piece and probably the biggest curve ball for me was this fat eight.  It's my first Liberty of London purchase EVER!  I was powerless when I saw it.  I!

The house, the colors and all those tiny details!  I may just stick it on the wall and stare at it! 

That's my story!  I don't often splurge like this, like a mad women!  But it had to be.  It was so much fun to touch, feel and ogle the hundreds of bolts from both shops.  I should get out more often! 

My day with Anne was wonderful and a day I won't soon forget.  This day I needed for many different reasons.  Moving forward isn't always easy, but a necessary step in the grieving process.  

Thank you Anne, Bev and all of you who sent prayers, thoughts and sympathy to me and my family.  I am forever grateful.