Friday, June 28, 2013

Mystery Finally Resolved

Back in January 2012, McCalls unveiled a 3-part Mystery Challenge quilt pattern which I followed as each issue came out:
Part 1:  January 2012
Part 2:  February 2012
Part 3:  April 2012
I prepped the binding, and I was proud of myself for using all the corner pieces from the snow ball blocks to create a medallion for the quilt back, framed with spare fabrics.  
Back Medallion pieced from the snow ball corner scraps
Close Up of Quilting with Walking Foot
But then it came to a screeching halt for over a year as I worked out the quilting phase.  Every few months I would tackle one of the sub-units starting with the blue stars, followed by the yellow crosses, orange flowers and really got stuck for the paisley snowball blocks and border units.  So it sat for a few more months...until I finally got inspiration from Pinterest where I found a star idea that could be adapted for the border pieces.  I managed to quilt them all in just one afternoon!  And since the binding was already prepped, I added the last few stitches this morning.
Here is the final quilt (sans label as I just decided who will be the lucky recipient of this quilt)...
June 2013:  Mystery Ending Revealed

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marion Coleman: African Inspirations

Last night, Marion Coleman presented her "Stitch Africa" lecture and trunk show.  Prior to the meeting, I was unsure what would lay ahead, but that all disappeared once I entered the hall and immediately drawn to two glowing quilts:  Serengeti 1 and 2.
Top left going clockwise:  Serengeti 1, Detail of Serengeti 1, Detail of Serengeti 2 and Serengeti 2 by Marion Coleman
African Fabrics that were simply too gorgeous to cut up!
Marion's presentation began with a sampling of African fabrics, many of which she confessed were simply too gorgeous to cut.  So instead she simply pulls them out on occasion just to admire and touch.

One of the benefits of serving as historian is my reserved seating--front row center, usually next to the featured artist!  I introduce myself as the historian and request their permission to take pictures and oftentimes I am able to ask a few questions about their quilt making.  As she was setting up her trunk show prior to the meeting, I noticed she had a unique wood and wire hanging system that helped them to easily hang straight.  So I inquired about it and she made sure to incorporated it into her trunk show.  After the meeting, several members were also checking out her unique quilt hanging system...which I captured a close up for future reference.

She then dived in with her extensive trunk show that included a wide range of quilt styles featuring African fabrics, culture and heritage.  It was an inspiring trunk show filled with beauty, color, movement, sound and fun.  I will certainly keep my eyes open for African fabrics to add to my stash to add a pop of fun and culture.

Below is a sampling of some of the quilts that I especially enjoyed...
Marion Coleman's Quilts:  Market, Samples, Log Cabin, Sisters, Masks and much more!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pinterest Addiction

Here I am trying desperately to finish up some of these quilting WIPs and UFOs, and then I go and discover Pinterest!  It took me a few minutes to get set up and start exploring the features.  But once I started searching for hints of quilting inspiration, it was on!  I feel like a kid in a candy shop oohing and ahhing over so many sources of creativity and pinning them to my different boards on design, color, and quilt patterns.  I've spent what must be hours frantically scrolling awesome images that have certainly fueled my creative spirit!  I get a little high each time I see a cool image or pattern that can be enlarged into a wall hanging or full sized quilt.  Then you get little messages when other people repin your images or start following your boards, which can be another little boost that you are onto something.  I started out with some broader categories which may later have to be broken down once I narrow down which quilt design interests I will explore next...
Just 3-4 days on Pinterest: 9 boards, 474 pins along with several repins and even a few followers!  
As I hopped from board to board, the quilting possibilities were limitless!  I have so many fun ideas for future quilts already dreamed up in my mind...I just need to take a break from surfing Pinterest so I can actually sit at my sewing machine and quilt!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

For a good time, add a splash of alcohol!

Rather than spend another Saturday night in front of the tv watching reruns, it was time for some good ole' weekend fun.  And what better way to spark the festivities than with a splash of color, some solo cups and alcohol!  No, no, no...not that kind of alcohol for imbibement.  All for tye dyeing fabric!

Here is our recipe for some Saturday evening fun:
  • Solo cups - not for consumption of alcohol
  • Rubberbands
  • 5.5" squares of fabric (prewashed or pfd)-we used 5" and it was a bit snug...and this way you can easily square them back up for later use
  • Assorted sharpies--medium thickness works well
  • and a bottle of alcohol!  Not tequila or vodka but the hard stuff:  rubbing alcohol in a spray pump! 
Use rubberbands to keep the fabric swatches taut over the opening of the solo cups.  Take care to have a seal over all fabric sides.

Create your own original designs with the sharpies on the fabric swatches.  

Once your design is complete, generously spray alcohol on the design.  You can then swirl or rotate the cup to enhance the bleeding effect of the rubbing alcohol.  We found the blue markers had a great bleeding effect.  

Leave the fabric on the cup until completely dry!  I waited almost 36 hours before attempting to iron.  And while I did spritz with a little bit of water, there was some further bleeding.  So you may want to protect your ironing board.  

Alcohol Free Creations:

Sharpie Swirls

Cool Petals

Colorful bands by Doug
Effects from Alcohol:
Blurred Bands
Psychadelic petals
Warning:  Alcohol can be addicting!  We made 5 each in a very short amount of time!  
Now--what to do with all these funky swatches?!?  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breaking out of my Quilting Rut

Skippy and Whimsical Whirligig Quilt Top
I've been in a bit of a quilting rut.  Several of my WIPs have presented me with design dilemmas that  I haven't been able to resolve.  Two or three that need quilting motifs, a few more in need of a border to frame the quilt top, and at least one set of large blocks that need to be laid out into some kind of exciting layout.  I kept trying switching gears with different projects hoping to make progress on at least one of them to no avail.

Then I attempted to further procrastinate with some heavy duty cleaning and organization...a few naps...and finally I had to confront these WIPs before they became UFOs.  I spent several hours researching and brainstorming design ideas...and then headed to the studio to put at least one into action.  And without any warning, I  finally I got my quilting mojo back!  I tackled the borders on one quilt, starting the quilt back and was still quilting after midnight!  I woke up this morning resolved to tackle some overdue quilt labels and continue progress on the quilt from the night before.  I am happy to say its layered and ready for quilting.
Label # 1
Label # 2 and already packaged up to be shipped out
Label #3