October 29, 2014

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge

Can you guess what this pile of scraps is for? Yep. The QuiltCon 2015 Charity Quilt Challenge.

I designed the quilt our Boulder Modern Quilt Guild is making and must admit when I first saw the colors I was both sceptical and a little uninspired. Working with this palette was a challenge . . .  a good challenge, but still a challenge. I guess that's why it's called a challenge project right?  However once a few ideas started coming together, the colors also fell into place. Turns out most of the guild felt the same about the colors. Many said they weren't ones they would have put together and yet everyone ended up liking how they were working in our quilt. My least favorite . . . the burnt orange.

In contrast to the color challenge, I found designing with an alternative grid to be lots of fun. While many of my quilt designs are block based, I still look for creative ways to use the blocks and love exploring all the possibilities. Playing with blocks and alternative grid ideas while designing this quilt was no exception. I think the design works quite well and creates a lot of movement, especially with the addition of the partial blocks.

The next challenging part came with the construction. It's a paper pieced design which I always find a challenge. Really, what was I thinking? Definitely not my favorite type of sewing. No matter how hard I try, I always make a few mistakes. The fabric doesn't cover the entire area. I forget to trim the seam allowance before adding the next piece. I sew on the wrong line. You get the picture. And ripping out those teeny, tiny, itty, bitty stitches is a b___!  Everyone, including me, struggled at times. Let's just say seam rippers were in high demand.   : (

But thanks to the help of our fantastic members, we not only persevered, we conquered!   : )   This past weekend we whipped out ALL the blocks. Let me say that again . . . ALL 36 paper pieced blocks. DONE. Way to sew ladies! I was very impressed that everyone hung in there. No one even came after me with a rotary cutter for designing a paper pieced quilt. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Here's how it looked by the end of the day. I'm loving how the blocks and colors are working.

We'll be assembling the top at the next sew day in November and that should be a breeze after all the paper piecing. Yea! Then it's basting, quilting and binding. I think we'll be in good shape to have it all done in time to meet the challenge deadline.

Stay tuned here at SpringLeaf Studios and on our Boulder Modern Quilt Guild blog as I post about our ongoing progress.

I'm also curious . . . are you part of the QuiltCon 2015 Charity Quilt Challenge? If so, what has been the most challenging part for you and your guild?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. This is a big WIP for our guild. 

October 27, 2014

A Little Fall

Just thought I'd share a couple of weekend fall photos. Old quilts  . . .  new photos. I really like the outdoor pictures of quilts that are popular in the quilting world these days and have been trying to take more of this style when I can. I know this type of photo usually has nothing to do with the quilt's function and maybe doesn't even make sense to some of you. But they are so much fun to compose and style I can't resist. It's also a great way play up the quilt's theme or even the name.

Enjoying all the fall colors recently, it occurred to me I better get out and try for a couple of good photos before the color and leaves are all gone. And since I don't have any new, more modern quilts that fit the fall color scheme I took out these two older quilts.

During the photo below, my husband literally fell into the job of quilt holder upper in more ways than he bargained for. I told him to move a little closer to some leaves and he slid right down the hill . . . holding the quilt up all the while I might add. Isn't he sweet? Thankfully he wasn't hurt and neither was the quilt.

This shot was taken right in our front yard. We don't always have many nicely colored leaves but this year there's a nice thick layer. I love shuffling through crunchy leaves.    : )

Can you tell I like sunflowers? Besides these quilts I even decorate with sunflower and yellow dishes for the fall season. Mostly flea market and thrift store finds. Love going on the hunt for treasures.

If it's fall where you live, get out and enjoy before the leaves have fallen. We've often had a snow fall by now here in Colorado but this year has been a beautifully sunny, long fall. Hope it will last till Halloween.

October 18, 2014

Craftsy Pattern Designer Awards

I recently did some serious and much needed tidying up around the house and refreshed the decor for the fall season. I like to use quilts as part of my decorating and actually hang many of them here and there.  But one quilt I've never used in the house is Cascade . . . my all time favorite. It's been primarily used by my daughter, but is home right now, so I decided to hang it on my bedroom wall. It's not a fall quilt by any means but it fits my bedroom perfectly.

Can I just say I feel in love again. The colors are so calming and the fabrics so inviting that I find myself drawn to exploring the design while I lay in bed. And I love seeing it when I wake up in the morning. Maybe it sounds silly but I truly do enjoy this quilt more than any others I've made. I love the colors, the fabrics and I love the extra matching pillows made from the leftover HSTs.

I also love this photo taken over the summer in the mountains.

This all leads me to something I don't usually do here on my blog. I'd like to ask you to nominate my Cascade pattern for the Craftsy Pattern Design Award?

Craftsy is sponsoring their first Pattern Design Awards and all patterns are eligible to win. Plus, if you submit a nomination, you are entered for the chance to win a free Craftsy class and they have some wonderful classes by many top notch well known quilters. All you need to do is go here and enter this URL for my Cascade pattern. You can also go here to learn more about the contest. Heck I'll even shamelessly invite you to tell you friends and they might win a free class too.

Thanks for supporting me and my little pattern shop. I'm not a big name designer nor do I try to be. I'm just a quilter who loves the process of designing and writing patterns and of course making a little $ here and there to feed my addiction.   : )

In closing, I'll leave you with a this little bit of fall inspiration. Cheers.

October 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Don't be too shocked . . . I've written two post in two days after two weeks of being missing in action. October is my month to be queen bee in both the bees I belong to. My first thought was to have both groups do the same block so I'd have enough for a bigger sized quilt. Sounded good but in the long run I opted for different blocks from each group.

I'm having my local modern guild make Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks in blues, aquas and greens. It will probably become a baby sized quilt for a charity donation somewhere down the road. I didn't realize just how many aquas and greens I really had until I pulled them out to press and cut the strips. It would have been easier if they hadn't needed pressing in order to cut accurate strips. Made quite the mess. A good mess but a mess none the less.

I'd like to dig into my older fabrics and cut tons of strips to make more scrappy trip blocks and use up the stash bit by bit. I really love the look of all Scrappy Trip quilts and it's a perfect block for making a block here and there when time allows. Especially if the strips are cut and ready. If you haven't already tried this method by Quiltville, here's the tutorial link. If only I had a few quilty elves to cut and clean up for me while I sleep, I'd get lots of blocks made and use up lots of fabric.  : )

My other bee is an online group where we work from our stash so it offered the perfect chance to test a new block design and see what develops when a scrappy approach is used. Don't know what to expect but it will be fun to play once all the blocks arrive. I'm loving this gray/green combo.

In the mean time it's nice not to have blocks to make this month. Gives me time to work on my QuiltCon entries. I'm still hoping to get a couple of quilts done in time to enter. I also just designed a quilt for our modern guild to enter in the QuiltCon charity challenge. We'll be starting it at the next sew day toward the end of the month. Like always, I love the design part . . . just need to get more of the sewing done.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Always fun to see what everyone is working on.

October 14, 2014

Mid October Already!!!

Say it isn't so . . . mid October and I haven't posted once this month. Time just seems to slip away like the leaves are slipping from the trees and the warm temps are fading. My last post was for the Around the World Blog Hop. If you'd like to learn a little more about me and my process check it out. My daughter also posted for the same hop and she'd love to have you take a look and even start following her as she begins to build her blog, Emily Claire Studio.

Today I thought I'd post about a wall hanging/table runner I made awhile back that's in the fall issue of Stitch Magazine. The theme was contrast and you can't get higher contrast than pure black and white. The idea had been floating around in my sketchbook and this particular theme seemed like the perfect excuse to make it up and submit the concept. Thankfully the nice people at Stitch agreed.

I have a real passion for colorful large scale prints. Fabrics by Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler being at the top of the list. But some of my designs are much better suited for solids. Point/Counterpoint was one such project. I considered several color combinations and even prints as I played around with the early designs, but in the end I chose pure black and white because I wanted to make a very bold graphic statement.

While a good deal of my work is based on blocks and I have lots of fun exploring all the possibilities with blocks, the other side of my design process explores things like line, shape, scale and contrast. Studies in abstract composition lie at the heart of these explorations and they often work best in solids.

My biggest challenge when working with solids is the machine quilting. You may know that the quilting part is not what I enjoy and solids really beg to be quilted well. Deciding how to quilt an all solid quilt can be a struggle. All that space available to create great texture. I thought about pebbles to contrast with the lines but in the end simple straight lines seemed to be all that was needed. More lines might have been nice but then again minimal is minimal right?

The design produced a lot of leftover half square triangle pieces so I put them to use in a small pillow as part of the final submission. There are so many great arrangements you can make with HSTs that I do think you could play with them for a year and never exhaust the possibilites. Especially when fabric options are thrown into the mix. Here's what I included with my submission. Which one is your favorite?

I'm linking this solids post up with Sew Solid Sunday at Esch House Quilts. Hop over to see Debbie's latest all solid design and get a little inspiration.

September 29, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Thanks to Cindy of Live a Colorful Life, it's now my turn on the Around the World Blog Hop.
Cindy and I will be roomies at QuiltCon and I'm looking forward to meeting her in person for the first time after spending the last couple of years getting to know her as part of the Mid Century Modern quilt bee. I'm ever so grateful that she invited me to be a part of the MCM bee because I have gotten to know so many wonderful quilters not to mention make some great blocks.

What am I working on?
Seems like an easy enough question doesn't it? Yet I find it hard to put into words since I'm working on lots of ideas and designs with little to show for it in terms of sewing. My studio cabinet doors are covered with sketches as I contemplate which quilt(s) I can get done in time to enter in the QuiltCon show. I was lucky enough to have two quilts in the 2013 QuiltCon show (you can see them here) but I didn't get go. This time I am going (yea!!!) and would really like to enter something. The deadline looms so I need to make progress from sketches to real sewing very very soon. Are you going to QuiltCon? Do you plan to enter a quilt?

How does my work differ from others?
The main thing I bring to my work is my sense of design. I almost always make a quilt from my own original idea and believe they have a strong graphic quality to them even when they are block based. As a matter of fact, I love designing a block and then exploring all the possibilities for how it can be used. Another aspect of my style is color which is usually bright and saturated. The final thing I might mention is my love of large scale prints . . . especially from the Kaffe Fassett collective. I love the color and the riot of activity a large scale print offers. Many of my more graphic concepts are well suited for solid fabrics and I do love the look of an all solid quilts. But once I've worked with solids for awhile, I'm drawn right back in and need a strong fix of prints to feed my addiction. One last thing about my style is an interest in sometimes using traditional prints like batiks and florals in more modern, unusual ways. I've got to find some way to use up my older stash.

Here's a glimpse at some of my work both old and new.

All solids make for great bold, graphic compositions.

All prints make for a riot of visual activity. This is where I'm most at home. And the second quilt shows the variety within a single pattern design which is another thing I love about designing. Same design, same arrangement, just a different fabric application.

Here are some traditional fabrics used in a bold new ways. 

Why do I create?
It's who I am at my very core . . . a designer first and foremost. I have a graphic design degree and over the years felt drawn toward quilting which provided the opportunity to combine color with printed pattern to create designs in fabric. My husband and I recently went to Taos, NM to visit the galleries and get a little art fix. During one conversation I commented on how I love to photograph nature and yet those photos don't necessarily translate directly into my quilting. In other words, I don't make art quilts from my photos. But nature is very inspiring to me so I found myself wondering why it doesn't make a more direct correlation to my quilt designs? Later in the trip I finally made the connection  . . . it's a matter of composition and it does impact my quilting. I'm always composing when I take pictures. I love the details, the line and shape, the color of what I see. I do the same thing when I design a quilt. I play with a composition using line, shape, pattern and color. Sometimes that inspiration might come from my photos other times another source like fine art. I guess that makes me a composer which is certainly ironic because I know nothing about music.

Here's one such composition from our trip . . . do you know anyone who photographs a garden hose?

How does my creative process work?
You could sum up my process this way.

  • I play. I play on the computer way too much designing and manipulating to see all that's possible. This exploration is also part of what I include in my patterns because I really want you to explore the options that a given design might hold. I also play with fabrics to see how they speak to me. I'm trying to spend more time with the fabrics and less time on the computer but it's hard. Guess I'm addicted to both. The computer is my sketchbook and I could seriously play all day.
  • I consume a healthy dose of dark chocolate on hand at all times.
  • I consult with my colleagues.

This is me playing with fabrics . . . this concept will hopefully become a new pattern next year.

This is me playing with the design possibilities of an idea on the computer.

These are my design colleagues. I am fortunate to have several . . . 

Sometimes one of them has a strong opinion . . . 

Other times they just don't pay attention . . . 

But I can always count on these artistic consultants and am grateful for their input and support . . . 

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little more about me. It's been fun thinking about these questions and has given me a chance to reflect on what I do and why I love it.

To continue the fun of going Around the World, I'm nominating Stephanie of Venus de Hilo. Stephanie was one of my earliest followers and blogs from the lovely Hawaiian tropics. We share a love of color and Kaffe Fassett. In her bio she says; "I like intense prints (the kind with 18 different color dots on the selvedge), bright colors, bold design, and in-your-face color and pattern combinations. I get a kick out of exploring new possibilities with traditional blocks and methods, combining them with current fabrics and bold colors in unexpected ways."  I couldn't have said it better myself. Can't wait to meet Stephanie for real at QuiltCon.

I am also nominating someone very very close to home, my daughter Emily of Emily Claire Studio who just started blogging this year about her jewelry and living the creative life. I'm hoping she can spread the blogging fun into another creative area beyond quilting.

Emily and Stephanie will be posting next Monday, October 6. I hope you'll visit their blogs and keep the journey Around the World alive. And thanks again Cindy for inviting me on this blog hop.

If you've read this far, thanks. I know you've probably already read plenty of these posts and no doubt may have participated in it yourself. I don't know the background of this hop other than it's been going on for awhile. It's a really fun way to share a little about yourself plus meet and get to know more about other like minded bloggers . . . so enjoy the journey.

September 26, 2014

Emily Claire Studio

Just popping in to let you know my lovely daughter has another local jewelry show this weekend.
The Firefly Handmade Market is Sat Sept 27 from 10 - 5:00 and Sun Sept 28 from 11- 4:00 at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall in Boulder. Her booth will be on the west side of the street in front of the Apple store. They have a little write up about her on their blog . . . see the Sept 16th post.

I know I've said it before, but I'm so proud of her for pursuing her dreams of designing jewelry. It's not an easy life to be an artist but she is making inroads on lots of levels. Two shops now carry her work. The Artisan Center on 3rd Ave in Cherry Creek, CO and Aspen & Evergreen on Elkhorn Ave. in Estes Park, CO. Plus she has several more markets lined up for the rest of the year. Go Emily!

Of course for those of you not local, you can always see her latest work on her website
Emily Claire Studio and her Etsy shop. She would also like to invite you to follow her blog.
Just visit her blog and click on the Bloglovin button. You can also follow via email if you prefer.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and don't forget to stop by the Firefly Handmade Market.