May 3, 2016

I Am a Maker

I am a maker. I am a designer. I am a lover of fabric in all it's glorious colors and prints. My soul is fed by playing with pretty fabrics and designing new ways to cut that fabric up and sew it back together into something new and exciting.

If you are reading this post, chances are you are a maker too. There is great satisfaction in making something with your hands to use yourself, to give to someone special, or donate to some worthy cause.
May Is For Makers |

After contributing to the Pattern Writing Series put together by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, I saw just how many others there are out there like me. Quilters with a passion for coming up with their own designs and taking that idea to the next level by writing a pattern. As the series demonstrated, writing a pattern does not happen overnight. It requires time, time and more time.

So when I read Lindsay's post May is For Makers it struck a cord. I usually feel compelled to design my own things. I also love the free stuff out there just as much as everyone else. But I should also support the other independent pattern designers out there. Why not send a little quilty/sewing love their way?

I'm jumping on the May is For Makers wagon. I will be purchasing from other small, independent designers this month in an effort to pay it forward and show them my support for what they do. I will post about what I buy here on the blog and on Instagram using #mayisformakers.

I'm also inviting you to support just one independent designer's work out there. Someone who inspires you with their work. Maybe it's a bag pattern you know you'd love to make. Maybe it's a special dress you'd love to make and wear this summer. Go ahead. Buy it. Make it. And show your support. Spread the love and appreciation.


April 28, 2016

Remember Me?

If you've forgotten who I am I don't blame you. I haven't been here for a while. My intention is to blog once a week but April truly disappeared. Believe me though, I have been in my studio doing an assortment of sewing projects and new quilts.

Earlier in the month I made this name tag to wear at my modern guild meetings. Right from the start I knew it just had to be a leaf. I pieced a variety of leafy green prints. Added a little curved side. Then my name. I love how it came out. Just right for reinforcing my leaf identity.

The back includes a little pocket to hold a few business cards.

I also finished up these two MidCenturyBee blocks for Stephanie. Her subtle palette came from a photo of a window in the old Gibson guitar factory. The building now houses the Kalamazoo Academy of Rock where her daughter was recently accepted. Stephanie's quilt will help raise money for some much needed restoration of the building. She called this her Gibson palette. The quilt will be so lovely when it's done. Good luck with the fundraiser Stephanie. You can see her quilt come together over on Instagram @stephiepeterson.

I've also been busy working on several quilts this month. Some are for a new pattern under development. More on that in a later post. I'm also starting a quilt for our newly claimed guest room. My problem is in deciding which quilt to make. I know I want some low volumes like these . . .

And some splashes of Kaffe color with like these . . .

Stay tuned for what I finally decide on. My plan is to try a quilt-as-you-go technique. I've done this for table runners but never a bed sized quilt. Hope it works.

I'll leave you with this sweet image of Charlie, my daughter and her fiance's bird. He and my Offset quilt match. Maybe that's why he likes it so much. Isn't he pretty?


April 11, 2016

2016 Finish Along Quarter 2

I haven't linked up with the Finish Along since early 2015. I'm thinking it's time.

So without further ado, my 2nd quarter list . . .

1. Quilt and bind my latest Kaffe quilt. This one will be new pattern I'm working my way through and I just love how it looks. Deep, rich colors. All you Kaffe and big scale print fans stay tuned.

2. Piece, quilt and bind the Amy Butler version of the above mentioned pattern. It's all cut and ready to go. I'm really excited about this one. A new color scheme for me . . . oranges and darker blues.  Hmmm, dark blue seems to be a theme.

3. Quilt the top that first put this pattern in motion. The top has been sitting around for at least a year. Time to wrap it up.

Amy Butler quilt pattern by Springleaf Studios

4. Bind my leafy checkerboard. I finished the top in February. It was quilted in March. Now it sits. Binding it and putting it on the bed is long overdue. This is the biggest quilt I've ever made and I've been procrastinating something as simple as the binding because I don't relish the thought of tugging it through the machine yet again. Silly silly me. Just do it!!!

5. Start my first QuiltCon entry. I have a concept. I have fabric pulled and ordered. Time to start cutting, piecing and playing.

I think I'll leave it there for this quarter. There are a lot of other things I'm dreaming up but I'll save those for next time.

You have until April 16th to add your list to the Finish Along.


March 30, 2016

Icy Cold / Red Hot

Last week it looked like this outside . . . icy cold.

But inside it looked like this . . .  red hot colors.

Bright little scraps came from these red hot little churn dash blocks.

My March Mid Century Modern Bee blocks were made for Linda.  Each block features red along with one other saturated solid. The colors are so intense they proved hard to photograph.

Hope you like them Linda. You can visit Linda on Instagram at lkhomework. Check out her feed to see more about how she's using all these bright blocks.


March 28, 2016

The Name Game

Just popping in to let you know I'm featured on The Name Game sponsored by my dear friend Cindy over at Live A Colorful Life.

I first 'met' Cindy online through our blogs. Then she invited me to become part of a new online bee she was starting. The bee is called Mid Century Modern and we're in our 4th year together. This bee has brought me absolutely wonderful online friendships, and, thanks to QuiltCon, real life friendships as well. Cindy and I were QuiltCon roomies in 2015 and had a blast together.

Pop on over to Cindy's Name Game and learn a little more about me and my blog name. And while you're there, check out Cindy's blog too. She had three quilts in the QuiltCon 2016 show!! And she was featured just last week on @52Quilters on Instagram. If you don't know her you really should. @liveacolorfullife on Instagram.


March 18, 2016

Cascade Amy Butler Style

My newest finish . . . Tequila Sunrise.

tequila sunrise quilt, Cascade quilt pattern by SpringLeaf Studios

I've been wanting to make a new quilt with my Cascade pattern and when these lovely, mostly Amy Butler, fabrics found their way to the top of my stash it was time. After months of winter drab, some intense color therapy was definitely in order. Think tropical sunsets or desert blooms.

In the beginning, I pulled several fabrics for consideration. Some are Kaffe Fassett. There's also some Tula Pink and Valorie Wells. But mostly it's Amy Butler prints from her Bright Heart and Soul Blossoms collections. While not all are from the same fabric line or designer, they are mostly from the same manufacturer so the coloring works quite well together.

To start, I auditioned the fabrics on my design wall to determine which ones worked. I eliminated the far left top row as too white, the 4th and 5th from the right in the middle row because they had too much green/blue and the far right bottom row plus the big floral hanging down lower. Leo was a great help in the selection process. He really knows his colors.

Once the final palette was chosen, the cutting got underway. I just love to see the pile of trimmings build up. Even though none of this is really useable I still have trouble throwing them away. I've been known to throw trimmings like these into glass jars just for the color. Now I toss them in a bag to be used later for pet bed stuffing. What can I say? It's hard to let go . . .

With the pieces cut, the next step was figuring out the arrangement of prints. I started by nailing down the large square arrangement on my design wall. I ended up placing the cool colors in somewhat of a value sequence from dark to light. The colors are so intense and saturated there isn't a great deal of value change so it's mostly a contrast of color rather than value. After the large square positions are determined, I placed the small squares that form the triangles by folding them over on the diagonal.

Piecing the top went quickly once my design decisions were made. That's one of the things I love about the Cascade pattern . . . it goes together fast. All the seams nest so the alignment is easy too.

Basting isn't my favorite thing to do. Usually I clean the floor, then spread it all out and baste on my hands and knees. Talk about sore knees and lower back!  So this time I used my folding craft table. I could only do part of it at a time and was a little worried the back might not be smooth enough but it all worked perfectly. I can't see doing a very big quilt this way but for quilts up to about 60" wide it works fine. And to think I nearly sold this table because I wasn't using it. Whew . . . glad I didn't. It's coming in handy for a lot of things. And my back is happy.

I quilted wandering wavy lines from top to bottom. The back is pieced with a row of blocks and I needed to make sure these were as straight as possible to the quilt front when I basted the layers. I think it turned out pretty darn good.

Finishing up wasn't without a small glitch. I managed to twist the binding when I sewed the ends together. It wasn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last time I make this mistake. Bet you've done that one at least once too. At least it's an easy fix.

I usually hand stitch my bindings but this time I used the machine binding method where you sew the binding to the back (instead of the front) and then fold it over to the front and top stitch it down. I like this machine method because I can see how the stitching lines up along the binding. It's not without it's problems though. For one, the binding is just never as straight as my hand stitched binding are. For another, I don't love how the stitching shows on the front. But it's better than when I stitch in the ditch and blindly try (hope) to catch the binding on the back. That method never works well for me. I'll keep trying and experimenting with my stitching alignment and maybe I'll get better and it will look nicer. I used aqua thread on top to match the binding and orange in the bobbin to make the backing. Worked fairly well. Do you have a preferred machine binding technique?

I tossed it on my studio chair last night after finishing the binding and first thing this morning a certain fuzzy girl found her way underneath. Isn't she sweet?

If you're interested in Cascade you can find it on Craftsy and Etsy.

Linking up with NTT at My Quilt Infatuation.


March 17, 2016

Sharing My Greens

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  

It seems like a great day to share my greens. Green has been my favorite color for quite awhile. In my house. In my clothes. In my quilting.

I've been thinking about pulling my greens and making a really saturated all green quilt. Maybe using little bits of just about everything I have. Super scrappy and improv.

I've also been toying with a green Kaffe quilt. Who knows where or when these ideas might take shape but it's fun playing around with them.

It might also be time to finally get this green beauty quilted. It's been hanging with the other finished tops for way too long. Hate to admit that far too many of my quilts end up hanging in my cabinet awaiting completion.

Lastly my green checkerboard went off to be quilted this week. I don't have a photo of the finished top but you can get the idea here. It will soon be finished and on my bed. WaHoo!  I'll share finished photos once it's all done.

While you're in a green state of mind jump over to my green color post for even more green inspiration. And while you're at it visit all the other color inspiration posts here.

Hope you enjoyed a little green in your world today. I'll be enjoying a green beer or two tonight. Cheers!    : )