March 31, 2015

First Quarter, Second Finish

I'm really excited to share my second finish of the quarter for the 2015 Finish Along. It's another version of the quilt I shared here last week. That one was hot and happy, this one is cool and calm.

My Mid Century Modern bee mates pitched in to make several of the blocks. I then filled in the rest, balancing out the colors. It's always so fun to see the fabric choices everyone makes. Rarely are there repeat fabrics and rarely are there fabrics that I have in my own stash. All this adds tremendously to the variety of blocks. I asked for dark grays, lime to chartreuse greens, and light neutrals like these.

Look at all the variety of fabrics. Isn't it fun?

It was quilted by Karen of the Quilted Moose with the same boxy design used for the first quilt. I just love the texture this overall pattern adds. I chose a slightly darker gray thread because I really wanted the quilting to show rather than blend too much.

While I love the look of a pieced quilt back, I don't often take the time to make one. For this quilt it was well worth the effort. Our bee does signature blocks when we make blocks so I wanted to include them on the back as a record of all those who contributed to my quilt. I love my Mid Century Modern Bee!!! Thanks ladies for all the wonderful blocks. You're the best.  : )

Once a quilt is finished, I really enjoy trying to take styled photos. It's not always a success, but it's fun to find great outdoor locations or pull out interesting accessories around the house. I was hoping for some nice spring greens but it's just not quite that green here yet. I'll be trying for more shots once the leaves come out a bit. Does anyone else besides me scout out locations when you're running errands around town? I find myself looking at fences, stone walls, silos, buildings . . . anything that has good texture, color and background for a quilt. Here's what I've taken so far.

I loved this crazy fence. A plain chain link with plastic strips woven through and then this fabulous vine growing all over it. Maybe not the best fit for this particular quilt but I couldn't resist. I may try again with a different quilt and maybe even once the vine has some leaves.

This is the third time I've made a quilt using this block. The other two are shown below. The bright one at the bottom of the photo was blogged about here last week. The top one is from a jelly roll called Highstreet by Moda. Amazing the difference in appearance between these three quilts even though they all use the exact same block. These differences are one reason I have so much fun designing and then exploring variations on a theme.

This design, including many of these explorations, will be part of a new pattern I plan to release in about a month or two so stay tuned.

As a parting note, I named this quilt Tumble Weed because I have been calling the block Tumble since I first designed it last year. At this point in time, the greens remind me of all the weeds sprouting amidst the rocks in our side yard. There's definitely a similarity in the color scheme. The actual pattern name may change at some point, but in the meantime the weeds just keep multiplying. I really should go pull a few but I'd much rather sew.    : )

I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and the 2015 Finish Along.

SpringLeaf Studios

March 26, 2015

First Quarter, First Finish

I've wrapped up my very first finish for the first quarter of the 2015 Finish Along. That's a mouthful.
This is also my first time participating in the FAL. Quite a few firsts. A couple of years ago I said I was going to do the Finish Along and then nothing. Zip, zero, nada got finished. This year I want to make a more concerted effort to finish at least one or two projects a quarter. I listed four things for this quarter. Yes, knowing myself, four was being optimistic. Two is what will be done. WaHoo!  Let's hear it for two! Any finish is a good thing for me.  : )

Here's my first finish. Right now it's called Tumble. Time may bring a new name. Any ideas?

I confess these photos were actually taken almost a year ago sans binding. Yup. A year ago this quilt was almost done . . . just needed the binding. Why did it take sooo long simply to sew on the binding? I have no idea. New fabric probably beckoned. What can I say?  I know for many of you this doesn't seem like a big finish, but for me it is. I have way too many tops and nearly done things, so to get something totally done is a big deal. I really need to feel this type of total finish satisfaction more often.

This was the first quilt made using a block I designed quite awhile back. I took a scrappy approach and used all kinds of dots from my stash in a very hot palette of pinks, yellows, oranges, and reds. It was quilted on a longarm by Karen of The Quilted Moose. I chose a boxy shape that had a lot of similarities to the block structure and was quite happy with the results. Here's a detail.

For the binding, I used Kona Cerise and inserted sections of striped fabric along each side. I love the extra touch this gives to the edge. Not overpowering, but a nice little spark of added interest.

I found the perfect fabric for the backing. A Michael Miller fabric that has all the colors from the front and is a very cheerful print. Couldn't have asked for a better fit to the quilt front.

Speaking of dots, it's not even funny how many dotted fabrics I have in my stash. (Note to self . . . don't buy any more dots for awhile). Seriously. Although in a QuiltCon lecture by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, she said if something isn't working just throw more polka dots at it. What a fun idea. I could throw a lot of polka dots at my quilts and still have some to spare. Stripes too.

If you ever have the chance to hear Victoria speak . . . go. Definitely go. She is a marvelous speaker. Well spoken, articulate and quite funny, not to mention very talented. It's obvious she loves what she does and it's so beautiful how her work ties in to her childhood with her grandmother. I don't share any history of quilting in my family and am envious of those who do. In my case, it's all starting with me and I need to pass on the love.

I'll be back soon with my second finish for this quarter. If you're playing along, how are you doing with your first quarter list?

If you're not playing and have loads of unfinished projects stashed away (come on admit it . . . I know you do) why not join in the finishing fun next quarter. Just click the link below and find out more.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and the 2015 Finish Along.

SpringLeaf Studios

March 19, 2015

QuiltCon, the Magazine

QuiltCon 2015 seems so long ago now. I had the best intentions of writing several posts about the quilts, the classes and lectures, the whole event . . . they just didn't get done.  I also felt a little QuiltCon overload from reading all the other posts and Instagram pics out there. Perhaps it's a little after the fact now, but there are still a couple of things I want to share with you.

Today, it's this sweet little quilt that was in the special QuiltCon magazine put together by the folks who produce Modern Patchwork at F & W Media. It's a small baby sized quilt that's easy to make plus it looks great in any number of fabric/color combinations.

Below you can see my original submission. (please excuse the somewhat fuzzy images). I submitted my concept before making the quilt and provided several alternative color examples as well. My preference was the yellow/aqua version with the large scale prints that you see on the first page. I think this color combo is cheerful and sunny. Plus I would love to see more examples of modern quilts using prints . . . especially large scale prints. Anyone with me?

The magazine chose the pink and gray version. Honestly it's probably my least favorite of the color combos I submitted but it's still a sweet little quilt.

I'd love to make a couple more in other colorways. It really is an easy quilt to throw together. Really. The circles are appliqued using fusible that results in a turned edge so everything is nice and finished. If you'd like to make your own version you can get the magazine here. They are also selling kits of the pink/gray version here.

This is a great issue stuffed full of lots of modern projects plus some good articles. I hope they'll continue to publish these special issues each year now that QuiltCon will be a yearly event.

Maybe next time you'll try submitting an idea.  Seriously . . . go for it!    : )

SpringLeaf Studios

March 11, 2015

WIPs WIPs, Everywhere a WIP

WIPs WIPs, Everywhere a WIP.
I think I hear a song buried in there somewhere. No wait, it is a song . . . signs signs everywhere a sign.  Now that you've got that tune stuck in your head lets move on shall we?

I have so many WIPs I don't know where to start. QADD has definitely taken over and I need help. I came back from QuiltCon so inspired and now I'm brain dead. Focus has not always been my strong point but I'm working on that.

Here's a glimpse into my chaos.

A new project is underway that involved lots and lots and lots of stash busting. Did I say LOTS?  See how the pile grew and grew?  I made an incredible mess pulling fabrics from all over just to audition a wide variety of prints from modern to traditional. Then I cut one 5 x 7 piece from a total of 100 different prints. Putting them away was NOT fun but at least it's done. Now I need to figure out the next stage of the quilt design. Ideas are there but not solid yet.

Project started at QuiltCon in my Improv with Intent class with Cheryl Arkison. I really enjoyed the class. Cheryl was a great teacher and I wish the class had been longer than three hours. I've got some ideas on this one but admit it will be awhile before it surfaces again.

I'm also feeling the pull to finish these scrappy trip blocks and make a quilt for our bed. Traditional leaf prints with a more modern feel is what I'm hoping for.

Which leads to the other scrappy trip I started during my month of the guild bee. Need to wrap this one up so I can donate it.

Then to tip the scales, my Riley Blake challenge fabric arrived today. I really like it for the most part . . especially the bird and floral print. What to make . . . hmmmm

And of course there are the Finish Along goals I set for the first quarter. One done, four to go. I'll be happy to get one more done.

I'll leave you with something I've never shown before. My box of unfinished tops. I'm afraid to actually count how many are in there.  Enough said.  : )

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

SpringLeaf Studios

Drunkard's Path QAL: Coloring Page

March is here. It's time to sew up another Drunkard's Path block for the QAL.
Have you sewn your block for the month yet?

If you haven't started, it's not too late. It's never really too late to join in. Really. All the info will be here, under the QAL tab at the top of my blog, nicely pulled into one location so you can see all the earlier posts and join whenever you feel inspired. I hope you'll consider playing along.

I also thought you might enjoy having a coloring page of the overall block arrangement so you could play with other color options besides the red/green Christmas version that I'm making. There are just so many fun possibilities for this design including spring colors for a floral feel or modern brights for a propeller feeling. See this post for a refresher on some of those ideas.

Click here for the PDF download of the coloring page, then have fun coloring your very own version.

My block for this month was all cut and ready for stitching. As you might recall, I cut the pieces for all nine blocks at the beginning of the QAL and bagged them up according. You can see that information here. This makes it easy to simply grab a bag and take it to guild sew days. My plan has been to sew one block a month during the open sews. This month however, I finished it up early since I won't be at open sew. And since I was on a roll, I even went ahead and sewed the Jan, Feb and March blocks together . . . row #1 done.  That feels good!

If you aren't sure about the final arrangement of your blocks you might wait on this part until all your blocks are sewn. That way you have the flexibility to move them around. I had already finalized the layout when I cut the pieces so I knew where each block went.

You might also like to read through this blog post on an alternative pressing method. Esther of Ipatchandquilt is playing along in the QAL and found this method worked better for her. I'm all for finding the way that works best for you. In the big scheme of things you'll be happier and enjoy it more.

If you're ready to sew your March block dive in and get it done. You'll be glad you did. Promise.
Then show me what you made. I'm finally on Instagram so if you are too, please post your blocks with  #drunkardspathquiltalong and link to @springleafstudios.  I really do want to see what you're making.

SpringLeaf Studios

March 4, 2015

Post QuiltCon; Getting Back in the Saddle

For so so long QuiltCon seemed very far into the future. Now it's in the past. Time to get back into my sewing saddle and get things done. And if this bad pun doesn't make sense, see last week's silly sewing saddle photo op?

My first week post QuiltCon was kind of a bust due to the combination of snow shoveling and muscle strains that left me hobbling around unable to stand straight. All is well now thank goodness and I'm anxious to get lots of things started.

First up was to get February's Mid Century Modern Bee block done. Carla of Lollyquiltz invited us to a party . . . a layer cake party. Not with layer cake cuts of fabric but with a cute paper pieced layer cake on a stand by Ellison Lane.  People signed up for things like, strawberry with raspberry filling, blueberry with mint filling, and lemon with raspberry filling. Don't they all sound delicious? I'm not much of a baker or cook but a fabric layer cake I can handle. I chose orange cream with mint filling. Yummy!

I'm not sure how Carla will be putting all these cakes together but I do know it will be quite delicious when she's finished. I know they are all making me hungry.

While I was in the bee block groove I went right ahead and made March's block for Cindy of Live a Colorful Life.  She asked for dresden blocks in bright colors with a black and white center. I certainly had fun with this one too. Brights are abundant in my stash and I chose to go with brights and prints combined for some very lively blocks. I ended up making two because they are so fun make.

Now that I'm caught up with bee block making, I can dive into all the goodies that came home with me from QuiltCon. This was my bag emptied out on the desk. Fabric samples, magazines, thread, tape measure, even a watch. I'm toying with an idea to use up all the charm and mini charm packs in a postage quilt. Maybe along the lines of Carla's leaders and enders quilts. She sews little squares together at the beginning and end of her regular piecing and rather quickly has enough little pairs to make an entire quilt. I've just used little scrap strips with no purpose other starting and stopping. Read more about what she calls her free quilt process here.

I also bought fabric . . . of course I bought fabric. When do I not buy fabric?  Island Quilter was there and this is a shop I have longed to visit. I've even schemed vacation ideas that would take us to the Pacific Northwest just so I can go visit the shop and drool over their aisle of Kaffe fabrics. I was quite reasonable I thought and settled for a selection of Aboriginal Dots. This is one line I don't have in my stash. The colors are so hard to judge online so this was a chance to buy a few of my favorite colors in person. They will make a very good addition to all the Kaffe prints I already have.

I also picked up a few of Amy Butler's new line Violette. I've loved this colorway since first seeing it.

A few low volume were thrown in for good measure. I keep collecting these but really really need to start using them. Ideas are percolating . . .

And my last purchase at QuiltCon was an Anna Marie Horner mixed bundle. I've always liked her overall look but not that many individual prints. The colors are little more bohemian to me and not quite my style. This bundle really caught my attention though. I think it will play nicely with a quilt design I have been sitting on for a long while now. Time to start cutting and see how it takes shape.

Ideas are swirling in my head with all these new choices plus all the inspiration from QuiltCon fresh on my mind. Time to sew sew sew . . .  : )

How about you? What are you working on?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Oh, I almost forgot. I'm finally on Instagram for all of you who have been bugging me. WaHoo!!!
Find me at #springleafstudios    I'm just getting started but hopefully will get the hang of it soon.

SpringLeaf Studios