Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sewing ADD For Me

Last night's girl's night was awesome. Eight of us cozied up in my living room and shared our creativity. I just worked on some needlepoint but this morning I'm back at my machine. Actually, I've been having a little bit of sewing ADD lately. I have a few quilts brewing around in my head. I pulled a stack of fabric for one of them. I'm not sure if I'm going to add hand stitching or not but I pulled a roll of Pearle Cotton just in case. One thing is certain though, my broken triangles are making a comeback.


I also finally bit the bullet and bought three yards of the AMH "Field Study" voile that I've been drooling over lately. Since I'm not working I put myself on a fabric diet, but I finally caved at the last LAMQG meeting and bought it. Our meetings are held at my favorite fabric shop, Sew Modern, and it's always difficult to walk out of there empty handed. But my birthday is coming up and I have a wedding to attend in May so I thought that was the perfect excuse to wipe up the drool and buy it.


So I am working on some things for me. And I realize that lately I haven't been as good about posting about my process here. Frankly, I do a lot more process posting on Instagram. You can follow me over there as well, if you'd like. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spontaneous Girl's Night

I am just loving having time off from work. I've been going to the gym, enjoying the amazing weather we've been having here in Southern California, spending quality time with my husband and sewing. It's such a luxury to be able to sew all day if I want to or NOT sew if I'm not feeling it. Usually there is so much pressure to sew in the limited amount of free time I have and now that weight is lifted and it feels so good. 


My husband left for a convention in Austin this morning, so I have the house to myself for the next few days. When I'm working I would relish the time alone and hole myself up and not answer the phone if I didn't feel like it. But now that I'm a woman of leisure it's giving me the perfect opportunity to invite some friends over for a spontaneous stitch 'n bitch. After dropping my husband and his partner off at the airport early this morning, I turned our living and dining room into our workspace for tonight. 


I moved my new machine and table into the living room with the iron and ironing board, leaving space by the purple wall for another sewing table and machine if one of my friends brings theirs over. 


I turned one of our kitchen counters into a cutting table. 


Then I put a couple more cutting mats down in a corner of the dining room floor for a larger cutting space in case anyone needs to square up a quilt or something. 


Finally, my old machine is set up on the dining room table for anyone who wants to use it. And there's enough space left for at least two, if not three more machines. 


And I have lots of comfy spaces for people to sit and hand sew if they fancy. I haven't decided yet, but I think I might focus on some hand work tonight. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Scrappy Trout Along

Recently I had quite a lot of amazing crafty girl time. My friend Liz hosted some sewing at her place. And so did my friend Liberty. Then I also hosted a little stitchy slumber party at my house. Only one person actually spent the night, but most of us were up and sewing away until 2:30 in the morning. I used that opportunity to jump on the Scrappy Trip Along train that's been snaking it's way across Instagram. I've never participated in one of these online sew alongs before, though I've wanted to, but now that I have free time it seemed perfect. I blame it all on Ramona and Liberty. They made me do it!


I decided to go monochromatic with this one. I wanted to make it for our living room and have it big enough for my husband and I to cuddle up under it together. I considered making it purple since we have a large purple wall in the room. Orange was another color I considered to accent the orange chair that's a favorite of ours. Ultimately, I settled on my favorite neutral, gray. I thought it would be the perfect blender in the room and it could allow for pops of color to shine through in the prints used.


I knew my husband would love the scrappy style and Ramona convinced me that it could come together quickly. Who knew that the secret to this quilt was that it's actually strip pieced! Okay, so it took a little longer than I anticipated but I had the top pieced in less than a week. And it even was nicknamed the "Trout Quilt thanks to my friend Melissa. She said it reminded her of fish scales, which I think is kinda' cool!


But now I think I need to make it bigger. At first my husband thought it was too big. Right now it's measuring about 96"x72", but now he wants it for our bed, which is king sized. So that means I need more gray. He also went crazy for the text fabrics so I'm on a mission to find a few more gray tonal text fabrics because I want to push the scrappiness even farther. If you want to take the trip too you can find the tutorial here. Just beware, it's addicting!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

QuiltCon Day Three Recap

The third day of QuiltCon was just as great as the first two. It was the morning after the 80s Dance Party and there was still residual Eighties paraphernalia lingering about. But today, I had a full-day workshop on Free Motion Quilting on you Home Machine with Elizabeth Hartman. If you know me at all, you probably know that I am a total chicken when it comes to free motion. Yes, I really love the aesthetic that straight-line stitching lends to quilts, but it's not always right for every project. And I am not ashamed to admit that it scares the living daylights out of me. As I mentioned before, I am not confident in my drawing skills and what is free motion if not drawing on quilts with thread. 
Goofing around on the walk to the Convention Center.

I had debated between taking Elizabeth's class and Angela Walters long arm class and at one point considered taking both. But ultimately I decided to try to crawl before I could walk. Plus, I am far more likely to use these skills on my machine at home than rent a long arm right now. I was excited and nervous walking into class. but I loved Elizabeth's teaching style and before long we were working on our own practice quilt sandwiches learning a variety of stitches, starting with stippling. Wanna know the best part? We all got to practice our sewing on brand new Janome Horizon machines!


My friend Jamie happens to be the fastest stippler in the west and I have always admired her skill but I have struggled with the curves. Well, okay, I've only tried free-motion twice before and probably only for two minutes each time before ducking right back into my comfort zone. I realize I can't hone my skills if I don't practice them so this class was the perfect way to force me to do so.


I had two big struggles. First, drawing myself into a corner that I couldn't get out without crossing. And secondly, the occasional sharp point would rear its ugly head. But after a bit I started to ease into it and feel a *little* more comfortable. Elizabeth would circulate the room giving each of us individual attention, support and guidance. It was great having her look over my shoulder and give me pointers along the way.


Occasionally Elizabeth would return to the front of the room and teach us a new design. First we started with the more curvy designs that were natural progressions off of basic stippling. While I was still getting backed into corners and would get a little scared I slowly started to feel more comfortable with some design and more frustrated with others. But then we started the more angular design. 


I'm a straight-line quilter so I thought that the more angular designs would be right up my alley. Boy, was I wrong. I struggled even more with the angular designs and my frustration built. Elizabeth actually come over and told me (and I know I wasn't the only one in class) to go and have a glass of wine at lunch. And she was dead serious. So I met Liberty and Nicole for lunch and had a beer-rita. 

The gorgeous Liberty and our beer-ritas.
Over lunch Liberty gave me a little pep talk to help ease my anxiety. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and tend to be my own worst enemy and during class I was the only one getting into my own way. One of the lessons I learn and re-learn constantly in quilting is to find beauty in the imperfections but I was struggling today. I am so thankful to have such amazing, supportive friends to help give me the kick in the pants I need to try and leave the perfectionist behind and let go. 


After lunch we practiced a little more before Elizabeth handed out fabrics for us to make design sample books. But as soon as I started on my first one I got frustrated again. She suggested that  move back to working on a larger quilt sandwich and practice more because it was easier to work on a larger project than a smaller one. So I made a new large quilt sandwich and continued to practice.


Ultimately I learned a lot from the class. And I am more confident that I was about my free motion skills. It just all comes down to practice, practice, practice. And then more practice. But at least now I am at least confident enough to start attempting free motion quilting on some of my charity quilts to try and master my skills. I'm going to start with stippling and work my way up.


After class, Liberty and I skipped Denyse Schmidt's key note lecture, and took advantage of the nearly empty vendor floor. It was the perfect opportunity for me to get a picture in front of my quilt. I felt weird doing it with people around. In fact, whenever I would walk through the quilt show I would hide my name tag so people couldn't identify me. 

My beautiful friend Jamie in front of the famous Austin "I Love You" graffiti.
A couple of us LAMQG ladies decided to explore South Congress for dinner so Liberty, Liz, Jenny, Jamie and I headed out there and started with drinks at Jenny's hotel where we met up with some of the hardworking QuiltCon organizers. Then we went out for pizza and it was so worth the wait. I have to say, one of the greatest things that happened at QuiltCon was just getting to know some of my guild friends even better. I felt like I really got to know my girlfriends on a deeper level and it was wonderful. Just little things like that made the whole weekend worth it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

QuiltCon Recap Day Two


I woke up early on Friday morning, Day Two of QuiltCon, already a little exhausted, but I had an early workshop with Lotta. When I heard that Lotta Jansdotter was teaching a class on textile printing I knew I had to sign up. It's no secret that I'm in love with Lotta's aesthetic but there was also a desire to just share the same space with her for just a little while as well. Artistically speaking I can't draw very well so I was hoping that her class would also help me stretch myself a little. And it definitely did. 




During the first part of the class Lotta taught us how to carve our own stamps and we learned the art of fabric stamping. That little voice inside of me that always reminds me that I can't draw immediately had me a little nervous. I started getting in my head (even before the class started if I'm being totally honest) about what shapes I would design and carve and then finally I was able to let go.



I decided to take a cue from the quilt I had in the show and I made a broken triangle stamp. Once I got into the groove I quickly discovered this process was liberating for me in it's simplicity. The same imperfections I am drawn to in hand quilting inspired me here. I love the slightly flawed look of hand printed fabric. I think that's one of the (many) reasons why I'm drawn to Lotta's aesthetic. Even though she has perfected the repeat in her mass-produced fabrics, they retain a handmade quality that I find so pleasing. 



It was so much fun to carve the speedball and play with the fabric inks, seeing where slight blemishes arise and deciding to either fix them or leave them. With some of my speedball leftovers I played around with more random patterns as well. It was so inspiring to see all of the amazing designs that my fellow classmates were creating. 



The second half of the class we learned about stenciling and made our own stencils, then tried printing on some of Lotta's fabrics to see how we could enhance existing prints. I actually came out of the class invigorated and ready to try the process at home. I think I, personally, prefer the block printing because of the more organic, handmade feel but I will definitely be trying both processes at home sometime soon. 





After Lotta's class I had lunch with Liberty, one of my favorite ladies and one of my roommates here at QuiltCon. Oh, how I do adore her. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the first LAMQG retreat I attended last year and our friendship continues to grow. We tried some down-home Austin BBQ and then headed back to check out the vendor hall before she (and a few of our other friends) had to run back to class. 





My afternoon was free, so I explored the booth and the Quilt show in between lectures. I dropped into the panel discussion, moderated by my amazing friend Latifah, on getting published your work in a magazine and another lecture by Angela Walters on Free Motion Quilting, which I found very interesting and funny. Angela is a crackup! Then, lucky me, my name was picked in a drawing and I won an entire set of the Setacolor fabric paints - the same ones we used in Lotta's class. 


After the vendor floor closed for the day I met my old friend Jay for drinks and then dinner, which is always a good time. Then I quickly changed and met him and Matt back at the 80s party, along with many of my other friends. 


Then Jay, Matt and I had a hair brained idea to go out for drinks after and took a pedicab to another part of town, but we didn't like the scene so we god back in another pedicab and called it a night. Good friends, new skills and some surprises made for a great day two.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comfort Quilt


There was a secret project I was working on over the summer. I couldn't share it until now. I've been running the Sewn Together Bee for over two years now. As we neared the end of the last round of the bee one of our members experienced a tragedy in her life. Her mother passed away and her grief was consuming. Unfortunately, she also missed out on her month in the bee after working so hard on all of our blocks. 


So we did a little stalking and came up with a color scheme and a plan and got to work. It seemed like she gravitated towards blues and greens and also pinwheels. So the members of the Sewn Together Bee started creating pinwheel blocks for her and sent them to me to finish. 


I ended up sashing the blocks that came in small. We made them any size or pattern we desired. With sashing they all ended up 12.5" unfinished. Time was of the essence, since I spent much of the summer gathering the blocks from all corners of the globe. I went with simple straight line quilting on the diagonal to accent the movement of the pinwheels. 


The backing is one Michael Miller print that I picked up thinking the yellows and oranges would contrast nicely with the greens and blues on the front. And I bound it in a simple Kona Olive, then wrapped it in love with a note on behalf of the entire bee. 


Then, one day, unexpectedly I received a beautiful note in my mailbox. It brought tears to my eyes. I rarely have time to sew anything for myself these days. Sometimes I get frustrated and convince myself I'm not joining any more bees or swaps, ever. And then there are days like this, when I am reminded why I do so much sewing for and with others. The reward is much sweeter. I would rather brighten someone else's day over making myself a new dress any day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"A Year of Making Life Beautiful" Blog Tour


Do you know Melissa of Lilac Lane? If you don't, you really should get to know her. I "met" Melissa a could of years ago, both through her wonderful blog and also as a member of the charity bee "A Dozen Quilters". I saw that they were losing a couple members and asked Melissa if I could join, especially since they were turning their focus to charity projects. She gladly said yes. It was a pleasure to work with her through a year of projects to help those less fortunate than us, but an equal pleasure getting to know her better as well.

I am sure some of you remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects I was working on this Spring. Well, they were for Melissa. The first you saw a while back - her super cute "Picnic In the Park" quilt pattern, which she released this Spring and was also recently featured at her booth at the International Quilt Market. And then came the second secret project... Imagine my surprise when she asked me if I would also be willing to make a quilt for her new book, "A Year of Making Life Beautiful: 45 projects to bake, grow, craft and sew throughout the year". I was honored. Seriously? I'm not worthy!
Melissa sent me her elegant, yet easy, "Make Life Quilt" Pattern along with a beautiful array of Hello Luscious fabrics by Basic Gray for Moda. This gorgeous quilt can be made from pre-cuts. I don't usually work with a lot of pre-cuts but, let me tell you, it made life so much easier not to have to worry about cutting all that fabric. It makes for a quilt top that comes together quickly, yet all your friends and family will think you labored for weeks! She also entrusted me to quilt it too. Whoa! Talk about pressure. It was actually the first quilt I quilted on my new machine, and despite it's size it quilted like a charm! But I'm proud to say it's being featured in the month of April in her book, and also was at her booth at Market. My picture can't even do it justice. The sun was at the wrong angle when I had to take the picture!

Make Life Quilt

That's not even the best part. I got an advance copy of the book, and let me tell you, the whole thing is simply delicious! Melissa has such an amazing sense of style and grace. And her warm and gentle personality shines in each and every one of the projects featured in "A Year of Making Life Beautiful". And each project really does help beautify your life even more.

(Make Life Quilt)

Melissa taken her gift for making life beautiful and translated it to the page with all sorts of fun and yummy projects to create. Each month she cleverly features a variety of sewing, cooking, gardening and craft projects that you can make in your own home. No matter your walk of life or where you live, there's something in this book bound to call out, "Make Me!"

(Stars & Stripes Quilt)

I, personally, can't wait to try making the Memory Bag. I mean, how genius is that? I wish I had seen that before I left Chicago and threw away all of my bulky sweaters!

(Memory Bag)

Just flipping through the pages gives me a sense of calm and peace, so rarely found in my hectic life.
Be sure to get your own copy today! They're available directly from Melissa or on Quiltwoman in either spiral bound or hardcover editions. BUT one of my lucky followers and win their very own copy! Melissa is generously donating a copy of her book "A Year of Making Life Beautiful" to one of my lucky readers. So I'm hosting a giveaway! All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment. You can tell me anything but if you're at a loss, tell me what you would like to do to make your life more beautiful. That's it. I'll keep the giveaway open until Monday, June 18, 2012. One comment per person. International Entries welcome. But please, if you're a "No Reply" commenter make sure I have a way to contact you. Good luck!