Friday, March 22, 2019

I was in a Mood :: Two Moods!

I wasn't planning on this...but it happened.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and let things happen.  In between a couple projects I was wondering what I should work on next.  While contemplating the next step, I came across a stack of 8" Me + You Indah Batik Hexagons.  I had two sets of these and actually made a rainbow quilt with the print blocks, but the solids were still there...waiting.  

 

Why not!  May as well use them while the mood is right!  I had almost every color I needed to complete a rainbow with the exception of two colors.  No problem...I have plenty of solids to round out the spectrum!



The only thing I had to do is cut the Kona Snow triangles.  Pretty easy and fast.  Last time I used these hexagons in a quilt I sewed the rows diagonally and said it was confusing.  In the comments people wondered why I did that when I could have saved the trouble and sewed horizontal rows instead.  Well, live and learn!  It had never occurred to me to do that, but I certainly did just that this time!



It made the piecing process so much easier!  It was a palm to the forehead moment!



The blocks were pretty simple to line up and with a few exceptions it was pretty perfect.  There will always be exceptions especially when this is a project that is my 'in between' ideas project.



I've got it half way pinned right now and hope to start some quilting on it very soon!  I'm not sure how detailed I want to get with quilting.  The wide open spaces are tempting, but I may go simple like the last one.  

Another project I've been testing or playing with, is English Paper Piecing honeycombs.  When I was at QuiltCon I naturally bought a few things and honeycomb templates were one of those things.

  

I'm always in the need of an evening hand stitching project especially when I don't have bindings to sew on.  I came across a booth that had a bunch of finished Lucy of Boston blocks and they were so pretty it peaked my interest.

I glanced to my right and saw a smaller version and that was all it took!  Instead of the usual 1" honeycomb templates, I opted for the 1/2".  They even had 1/4" templates...I'm crazy, but not that crazy!

I also bought a few things from different vendors like some 100wt Poly Invisifil thread, an adorable hummingbird needle threader and a very cool old time vinyl zipper pouch.  Everything from this haul along with scissors, glue pen and fabric fit nicely inside and if I ever went anywhere, would make a great travel kit!



I've mad two blocks and as you can see they aren't show stopping!!  This is why I don't get along with prints!  Even the Liberty of London prints I used can't make up for the lack of pizazz!  I'll try again with some other print, that I'm sure of.

The first block I cut the fabric with the acrylic template but found that there was just too much to wrap around the paper template.  The second one I trimmed it down and it did make it easier.  

As for the 100wt thread, it's strong!  It's also thin!  You have to be mindful that you don't accidentally wrap it around where it isn't suppose to go and only discover that you did later!  I really do like it though and maybe it'll make me a better stitcher or give the illusion that I've improved! 

You might have noticed that I made a new header for my blog.  I have two options, this one being the most minimal of the two.  I'll probably switch back and forth until I decide which is the best fit.  I had a vision on the logo and my son helped to bring it to life.  





What do you think?  Please be brutally honest with me!!  One or two or neither?  Any ideas on how to improve or change it?  I'm not a graphic artist and have no desire to be one, but I do like feedback!



LINKING:
PEACOCK PARTY   TGIFF 


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sultry Interlude :: Mad for Solids 2019

Here we go again!  Mad for Solids is in full swing!  If you aren't a March Madness basketball fan, I promise you'll be a big fan of this competition.  After all, it's all about fabric and I know you love fabric!  March Madness the quilter's way!  

This year there will be eight beautifully curated bundles of Painter's Palette Solids to make you drool!  With 168 colors to choose from the bundle possibilities are endless.  



This is where you come in!  

The eight curated bundles are placed into a bracket.  Two bundles go head to head each day and the one that receives the most votes advances to the next round.  You can vote for your favorite on InstagramFacebook, and Inspired by Fabric (one vote per site per day, please). 

At the end, and this is the best part, there will be four fans selected to win the curated Championship bundle!  But you have to vote to enter and win!  

This fabric is amazing!  Not just because there are 168 Painter's Palette Solids colors to choose from, but the quality of the fabric is second to none.  It's plain and simply luxurious!

Which brings us to my curated bundle!

SULTRY INTERLUDE
I tend to pick bundles based on places I love and this one is no exception! A beach sunset is mesmerizing to watch and you can’t help but stand watching until the last sliver of the sun has dipped into the horizon. That would be my Sultry Interlude! The colors I selected remind me of those moments where subtle yellows, oranges, pinks and reds melt together until they eventually fade away...until tomorrow! 


And then tomorrow comes and we get to witness the full force of Mother Nature all over again. Each night there's a different masterpiece of color being presented for all to see.  



You just can't watch too many sunsets!  It's almost impossible to pull yourself away from watching until the very last sliver has vanished!



Because I don't get to go on vacation often enough, I like to capture that moment in fabric.  I can look at the bundle and it most definitely brings me back to that moment where I couldn't help but stop everything and take it all in.



The colors I selected for my bundle are:
Hot Pink:  121-147, Blush:  121-119, Verbena:  121-118, Daredevil:  121-146, 
Amber:  121-123, Clementine:  121-108, Pencil Yellow:  121-003, Banana:  121-083


A beautiful array of fabrics representing my perception of a sultry sunset!



Naturally I'd love to have your vote!  You can help me or your favorite palette advance to the championship game by voting!  And remember, four winners will be selected to win the  championship fat quarter bundle...but you have to vote!


VOTE HERE:  Instagram, Facebook, and Inspired by Fabric (one vote per site per day).





GOOD LUCK!!
The second round might not start until later in the day in case you'd like to vote!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Woven Stripe Runner Test

Every once in a while I need to stop everything and test out an idea.  What better way than with a table runner?  If you don't know if a new design will work out as you hope, making something small is a good way to test ideas.  It takes less time than making a large quilt, and gives you some creative time to play!


MODERN STRIPES
14" X 46"
In this case I feel like my time was well spent!  My design came through just as I had hoped and planned.

I choose to use woven stripes for no other reason than I'm trying to work through my stash.  The background is where I was focusing on the most.  I wanted to create more interest but not in an over the top way.    



I used two neutrals, Putty and Tan for the dual effect.  I like the subtle difference between the two shades, and especially like how they work together to create motion.  It isn't mind blowing, but I think is effective!



I've got some other ideas that doesn't involve woven stripes!  I love the colors in each stripe, but if you've worked with woven fabric you know there is almost always a slight distortion that happens when quilting.  I use starch every time I venture into the world of woven fabric.  It helps but it isn't a cure all!



I kept the quilting simple by adding 1/2" lines in the stripes and three rows of 1/4" lines in the center of the neutral fabric.  



All in all, it was a fun distraction!  I'm anxious to try some other ideas and designs along these lines.  There may be a quilt in the future or another runner at the very least!



I also want to remind everyone that it's time for 'MAD FOR SOLIDS', the March Madness extravaganza!


Voting Starts March 18 - 25 

Eight designers have curated fat quarter bundles featuring Painter's Palette Solids.  Each day two bundles will go head to head and the one with the most fan votes advances to the next round.  

You can vote each day for your favorite on Instagram, Facebook or Inspired by Fabrics blog (one vote per site per day), and at the end of the tournament...four lucky people will win a bundle of the winning palette!

I've been lucky enough to participate as one of the curated designers for a few years and it's always a challenge, yet so much fun coming up with a special combination!  Hopefully you'll like what you see...and perhaps throw a vote my way!


Here are the eight designers:

HollyAnne Knight
Jayne Willis
Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill
Nicole Daksiewicz
Annabel Wrigley
Emily Jane
Tania Denyer
Teresa Silva

LINKING:
PEACOCK PARTY   TGIFF 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Little Snips :: Review

I was contacted recently and asked if I'd be interested in testing and reviewing fabric scissors from Warm Crochet.  It was an offer I couldn't pass up!  Having the right tool makes all the difference and having a good pair of scissors is essential. 

WARM CROCHET
I have three pairs that I use regularly and I know first hand just how frustrating it is when they don't do the job they are intended for.  While I had intended on replacing mine, I no longer have to do that. 

I was provided these scissors at no cost to me and will share my honest opinion based on repeated use, feel and functionality. 

ELIZABETH & VICTORIA SCISSORS
When buying scissors I look for quality, which usually involves a brand name.  That strategy didn't work too well for me all these years!  Next is size, and size does matter!  I like a small size that is portable and can easily be tucked away.  

Durable, sturdy and small.  That's not too much to ask, right?!  



I've never bought a pair of scissor based on how pretty they are!  It might be that I thought of something that was ornate couldn't possibly be functional.  Wrong on my part!

 

These scissors are functional...beauty and all!  I was surprised at just how comfortable they were to handle.  

The scissors are lightweight, yet feel very sturdy.  Sharp and easy to handle with a perfect point at the end for snipping in tight areas.  They are made of stainless steel and alloy which hits the durability button!



I've spent the past week regularly using these scissors in a variety of ways and I honestly don't have a bad thing to say about either pair.  They check all my boxes for what makes a good pair of scissors.  Plus...they are pretty and it makes me feel special when I use them!

If you are on the hunt for some sexy snips...I do recommend these Warm Crochet scissors.  
Surprisingly affordable!


Right now you can get an extra 10% off when you use coupon code: JAYNE  

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Circle of Geese Plus :: A Fast and Furious Project

I'm trying to get back in the swing of things and start regular blog posts again.  I feel like I've been on vacation minus the sand, surf and sun that usually is the destination of choice!

Some time after I finished my pastel quilt Pink Haze, and before QuiltCon, I was looking for a project.  Something that was small, something that was quick and most certainly something with color.  


HOT GEESE
17.5" x 17.5"
One of my favorite paper pieced patterns is Circle of Geese by Piece By Number.  It's a pattern on BluPrint (formerly Craftsy) and free to anyone.    

 

I've made three versions of Circle of Geese, each time adding my own twist.  Borders, colors and quilting are fun ways to change it up and in a sense make it my own.  As much as you can when using someone else's design!



This is the finished design before borders.  I used 12 different shades from yellow to red in the circle and and Kona black for the background.  You can print the pattern so the circle goes clockwise or counter clockwise, and it consists of four sections.

Each section is identical which makes it easy to precut pieces.  I like to figure out the size, cut four and sew each piece before I move on.  It makes the process quicker, easier and less stressful for me!



This time I added the three geese on each side for more color, visual interest and to increase the size.  It took a few tries to get the side geese the right size, but with EQ8 I was able to do that with minimal paper waste.  



The border geese couldn't much more simple!  Once I figured out the placement, the rest was pretty straight forward.  Add a couple background pieces and the task was done!



I could have done a better job at lining up the border geese on all sides so that they were all the same.  As you can see from this photo, the orange side goose lines up point to point, but the yellow side goose does not.  Honestly it didn't even occur to me to check that part!  Perhaps there will be a next time!

 

When it came time for quilting I knew I didn't want to quilt the geese.  If I had I would of wanted to use matching thread for each goose, and I didn't want to get that detailed with thread.

I stuck with black thread and created a geometric star in the center to begin with.  From there I figured out certain points that I could use to continue the geometric design using lines.  It came together in the end.  



The back is a metallic gold piece of fabric I've had for years.  I'm not sure why I would have bought this...but I did.  This was a good time to use it for the back and in a weird way it kind of fits.  I mean, it's black and it has circles!  

I'm not sure why that it is, one of my many quirks I suppose!.  It isn't because I think I could improve the pattern.  It could be an ego thing...I gotta make it mine!  I don't know.  I just know that's the way I work, the way my brain works!

Do you follow the rules or do you color outside the box?


LINKING:
PEACOCK PARTY   TGIFF 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Dazed, Confused, Overwhelmed: QuiltCon 2019

I think I've finally come down from my first QuiltCon experience!  In a way I'm still soaking in what I saw and experienced.  To say it was amazing would be an understatement!

I'll admit I was unprepared for the entire show.  Having never attended QuiltCon, I didn't know what to expect and I was freaking out well before I even stepped foot at the venue.  My first day was so overwhelming.  When I enter the quilt exhibit, I was immediately filled with a sense of 'Holy Hell'!  The quilts, the people, the vendors, the noise.  I was dazed and confused, all the sensations you get when you've been over stimulated!  My first thought was I'm not coming back, this is too much!  That feeling stayed with me much of the day until I was able to calm down, relax and enjoy the moment.

Next time I'll have a sense of what to expect and I'm sure I'll handle it so much better.  QuiltCon is like the Super Bowl of quilt shows.  Everyone talks about it, everyone enters, everyone shows up...at least in my mind!  I've come to the conclusion that I am far too insecure about my ability and my quilts.  Did I compare my entries to other quilts, yes.  Did I think they weren't up to par with other quilts, yes.  Did I stand off to the side and watch people get up close and personal with my quilts, yes.  Did I eventually get over my insecurity, yes.  To some extent.  

I don't want it to sound like my experience was horrible, because it was not.  Not at all!  I loved it and marveled at the artistry of every single quilt I saw.  Every time I walked the exhibit I saw something new.  I got to finally meet people I feel like I've known forever and become friends with through social media, people I've admired (fan girl), and so many others that that alone made it amazing.  My only regret is that I didn't get to meet everyone I wanted to meet!  I found myself always looking at peoples badges that were hanging around their neck to see if I knew them!  

I took many pictures, and didn't share one on Instagram!  I'm sharing ones that stood out to me in one way or another.  




I am totally in love with this color palette and the design is pretty spectacular!



Amazing right?!  This quilt received a 3rd place ribbon for piecing.



The color combination grabbed my attention first.  But the overall design is striking to me.  This quilt received a 2nd place ribbon for the Two Color Challenge.



This was a 3rd place winner in the Improvisation category.  The perspective of the houses is pretty great!



Even now I'm amazed at how skinny those red lines are!  It hit all my buttons for 'tiny' piecing!


The variety of every thing quilt related was shown at QuiltCon.  Machine, long arm and hand quilting.  Tiny, medium and large quilts.  Improv, applique and paper pieced.  There were many quilts that had matched and faced bindings.  I was surprised at how many quilts were faced and I'll assume that's because of my inexperience at quilt show etiquette!

The last thing I want you to think is that I was disappointed in any way with my first QuiltCon show.  By sharing my experience I'm able to gain a better perspective and maybe I can prepare others.

By the second day I fell into a groove.  It was also the day my daughter came and I was able to share it with her.  She did all the 'proud mama' things like take pictures of me in front of my quilts!  Having a 'buddy' to be with, having lectures or classes make a difference.  And first and foremost, connecting with people makes a difference.  

My husband was a champ during all this upheaval!  He talked me through my day when I needed it, he even bought me a bouquet of flowers to show how proud he was of me!  And the day after the show was over he said it was totally doable to go to Austin next year!  I can tell you I shut him down on that one!  I hadn't even taken a breath in 3 days...I wasn't ready to hear that!

The cherry on top for me was when I received an email saying 'Hypnotized' was selected for the Best of QuiltCon 2019 traveling exhibit!  This quilt will be heading to South Africa, France and Australia!  Safe travels little quilt!    



The only source of knowledge is experience. 
Albert Einstein

From this one experience I gained an enormous amount of knowledge.  Until next time QuiltCon!


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Pick Up Game :: Revisited

This past Saturday we had our monthly Guild meeting, which happened to be an open sew meeting.  I needed something to sew that day...I had nothing in the works...so I invented a new project!  I know, it seems ridiculous even to me!
24" x 24"
But what's a girl to do?!  I took a design I made last year (Connections) for a Curated Quilt Challenge, and revamped it using bright jewel tone Peppered Cottons.

I fully intended to stop right where it was, but something got to me and I felt the need to keep going.  Story of our quilt life, right?!




I've had this Studio E Peppered Cotton fabric for quite a while, and I figured it was about time I use them.  Plus, I wanted to make something with bold colors ever since I finished my pastel Pink Haze quilt.



The blocks are a very simple paper pieced design.  Three sections are all you need!  However, when four blocks are sewn together that's where the magic starts.  You can take it in many different directions depending on your color placement.  

Since this was suppose to be a simple small 'pick up' project, I played with the design and colors in EQ8 until I found one I liked.  Even then, I had to change a color I choose in the original design. 



I was bound and determined to get every seam to line up, which was easier said than done!  Using a large basting stitch (3.0) before sewing a 1/4" seam was used to ensure this would happen.  It helped, but I still had to get the seam ripper out and try a couple times on some of the blocks.  


6.5" UNFINISHED
Even though this was a project to fill time, I learned from previous projects that I would be very sad and dissatisfied if I didn't try for perfection!  So I did my very best!

Dare I say I had so much fun that I felt the urge to go one more round?!  I wouldn't say fun had much to do with it.  But I loved how it turned out and was curious what I could do if I were to add more...



And so I did.  As I was cutting out the fabric for the new round, I had to change up some of the fabric selections.  I pretty much used every stitch of my peppered cottons, which is a good thing.  There is no way this quilt will get any larger, unless I add a border.  After the final round it will be 36" x 36".



If I hadn't precut the pieces of fabric before making the blocks it could have been a disaster!  Midway through brought some color changes and that led to having to
s-t-r-e-t-c-h some of the fabric to make it work.  Otherwise I would seriously been short by 'just that much' and the quilt would have stalled!  As it was I made it work and time will tell if it'll come together as planned!

Today is QuiltCon!!  My first time attending and I can't tell you how excited I am about that!  I've only watched from afar, and now I get a front row seat to the festivities and hoopla!  Plus, the real bonus is meeting many of the people I know only through Social Media.  It's gonna be amazing!  Of course, seeing all the beautiful quilts promises to be the cherry on top of the entire experience!