Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Purse Palooza

I'm excited to be guest posting over at Sew Sweetness today as part of Sara's Purse Palooza series. A whole month of bag pattern reviews with giveaways every day? Yes please!

Go check out my review of the Make It Perfect Mini Messenger and be sure to enter today's giveaway. Sew along with us - any bag or clutch you'd like - and link up by November 14th for a chance to win to even more awesome prizes.

See you over there!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A little bit of improv

I did something today that I don't normally do when sewing. I took out some scraps and cut with reckless abandon. No rulers, just eyeballing it. I have about a million projects and bee blocks that I'm in the middle of but I just wanted to do something a little different without any worries as to how it would turn out.

I watched Malka Dubrawsky's class on Creative Live a few weeks ago, 10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting. It was fun to watch along while Malka and the in-studio students happily sewed along. I came away with a lot of great ideas about putting blocks together in an improvisational way. My friend Sandi wrote a great review of the class over on her blog if you'd like to read more about it.

So back to today. I cut up some black and white squares and sewed up some half square triangles. They weren't exactly the same size and they were not perfectly square. It was fine. Still worked out. A la Malka, I added in some color strips and made them all fit together. It was freeing and fun. I might just start making more of these every now and then until I have enough for a big pillow. Maybe even a quilt. We'll see how that goes.

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday over at She Can Quilt.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Motion Friday: The Inbox Jaunt

Ever since discovering my love for free motion quilting, I've been on the lookout for FMQ styles I like. I've found quite a few but one of my faves is Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt. She creates the most awesome FMQ motifs and then shows her readers how to do each one with step by step photos. She even tells you what kind of fabric and thread she's used.

Lori makes it so easy to practice and learn her designs. Plus, she comes out with a new one each week! I've tried a few of them and really liked each one so far. Most recently I used her Perfect Pencil tutorial and it worked like a charm.

The Inbox Jaunt: The Perfect Pencil-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

My version of the pencils
A few other favorites:

The Inbox Jaunt: Double Loop Vine FMQ tutorial
I made a serger cover with Lori's Double Loop Vine motif

The Inbox Jaunt: Dragonfly FMQ tutorial

The Inbox Jaunt: Nora's Rose FMQ tutorial

These are just a few of the TONS she has on her site. Definitely check her out if you have not already!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Design Surface Patterns from Scratch

Welcome to my stop on the Design Surface Patterns from Scratch blog tour. I hope you also checked out Heidi at Lost In Reverie yesterday. Two months ago I came across a promo for Bonnie Christine's class on Creative Live, Design Surface Patterns from Scratch. Bonnie is a designer for Art Gallery Fabrics and has come out with some beautiful collections. I had never really given much thought to surface pattern design but I liked Bonnie's work and the class sounded interesting so I followed along for the three day class.

Wow, did I learn a lot! She was kind enough to start with the basics for people like me who had never even looked at Adobe Illustrator. From there she went on to reveal all of her secrets and her entire design process. It was a wonderful look into her world.

Practicing making a color palette from a picture.

I did end up signing up for the 30 day free trial of Illustrator on Creative Cloud and I'm practicing some things while I have that trial time. I'm not sure yet if I'll keep up my subscription afterward though as it's not especially cheap for something I may not use very much. What happened to just being able to buy the software and then you own it? That would make things much easier.

Making a butterfly along with Bonnie - that's the class video in the lower right corner.

I'm hoping to have a blog header and all kinds of other fun goodies designed before my 30 days are up. While I learn, I'm having fun following along again with Bonnie's class. If you've ever thought about designing fabric or other surface patterns, I would highly encourage you to buy this class. Rewatching little bits at a time and being able to pause and rewind has been very helpful. And she covers so much - you will definitely get your money's worth.

As part of this blog tour, Bonnie has offered my readers a free one month membership to the Roost Tribe, a special section of her website where she shares exclusive content, resources, and discounts. Just click here to sign up for your free month. For now, I'll leave you with a color palette I made from a photo I took at a recent trip to the aquarium. I just love all those colorful sea anemones! Be sure to visit Susan at Designs of Home tomorrow for the next stop on the tour.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Free Motion Friday: A Rainbow of Plusses for Lucy

Last winter, we had a challenge with the Modern Quilt Guild to create something with the featured Riley Blake fabrics. I decided I'd add a few more colors and round that stack out to a full rainbow for my little niece. Black seemed like a fun background color but it does collect and show tons of lint.

I traced around each plus with FMQ and then just did some loose waves and a few spirals in the background. I need to work on this design a little more to make is look more like I want it to. One last detail was quilting her name in outlined letters but I now wish I had written it backwards as it's much more visible on the back of the quilt.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Ocean Current

I belong to a charity bee on Flickr called do. Good Stitches. It's a wonderful (and huge) group of quilters that makes quilts for various charities. We are split up into circles of 10 to make things more manageable. My circle, Believe, makes quilts for foster kids that we send to My Very Own Blanket in Ohio. I love this cause!

Each group has stitchers who sew 2 blocks per month, and quilters who put those blocks together and do the actual quilting. I was a quilter for awhile and this is one of the quilts I made. The quilter also gets to pick out the design and color palette so of course I went with blues! My stash is overflowing with blues.

I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to put the blocks together but I knew the half square triangles would give me a lot to work with. I put them on the design wall and just kept moving them around until I had a few layouts I liked. In the end, I really love how this one came together.

The quilting was a lot of fun on this one! I wanted it to be dense to withstand a lot of washing and I wanted to have some fun with free motion quilting. I decided on thin figure 8s for the blue lines and a boxy stipple in the white lines. I was able to get the whole thing done on my Juki in just a few hours! Oh how I love my Juki!

As I was finishing this one up, a terrible landslide tragedy struck very close to home. The Oso landslide killed 43 people and buried 49 homes in Oso, Washington all in a matter of seconds. It took weeks to find all of the victims as the mud and debris were over 100 ft deep in some places. My dad's house is just 10 miles away from this on that same road so it was pretty scary for me. I talked to my Believe circle and they agreed to let me send this quilt to the Oso victims and first responders instead. I hope it's bringing comfort and joy to whomever has it now!


PS - since it's the beginning of the month, it's goal time! I'm going to finish my Oakshott Autumn quilt this month. Promise!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Free Motion Friday: the NW Quilting Expo edition

There were so many great quilts at the expo in Portland last weekend but I think my favorite ones included some free motion quilting. My absolute favorite was Come Sail Away by Emily Graham Blackmer (swiftninjachick on instagram). Holy cow, talk about going for it! She was inspired by some of Tula Pink's prints.

Come Sail Away by Emily Graham Blackmer

Emily had another gorgeous quilt that was 100% FMQ - Chaos of the Mind. Amazing! I'm definitely inspired to try some whole cloth FMQ after seeing these.

Chaos of the Mind by Emily Graham Blackmer

FMQ close-up of Chaos of the Mind by Emily Graham Blackmer

Another cool one was Maritime by Mary C. Schroeder. She FMQ'd the whole thing and then shaded it with colored pencils. It has a really cool effect but I don't know if it's permanent so maybe not so realistic for quilts that will be used.

Maritime by Mary C. Schroeder

FMQ Maritime by Mary C. Schroeder

Elisa Corcoran's Fractured Steel Bridge had some great quilting in the sky and I loved the swirls in AnnMarie Cowley's Cathedral Park.

Fractured Steel Bridge by Elisa Corcoran

FMQ Fractured Steel Bridge by Elisa Corcoran

Cathedral Park by AnnMarie Cowley

FMQ Cathedral Park by AnnMarie Cowley

The gentle waves and pebbles in Fremont Modern by Sally Mayer were great. It definitely gave me some ideas for a quilt I'm working on this weekend.

Fremont Modern by Sally Mayer

FMQ Fremont Modern by Sally Mayer

I had a lot of fun at the show and came away with several different ideas I hope to put into practice soon. Until then, have a great weekend!