Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review of Quilting in 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, I've enjoyed reflecting on my year of quilting adventures.  There have been many wonderful memories made both in my studio as well as in the larger quilting community--but here are some of my highlights from 2015.

First up is my annual quilting New Year's Resolutions:
1.  Experiment with Fabric Dyeing and Manipulation
Hand Dyed Fun in 2015
As you can tell from this explosion of color, I had a lot of fun learning to hand dye!  I had 5 dye parties where I experimented with various folding manipulations, creating gradients, tray dyeing, thread dyeing, and dyeing an assortment of clothing/accessories.
Special thanks to:

  • Jane Dunnewold's Craftsy class:  The Art of Cloth Dyeing
  • Frieda Anderson's book "Fabric to Dye For"
  • Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn's book "Tray Dyeing"
  • My friend Chris C who was my partner in crime for two dye parties
  • Doug for helping me to hunt for plastic containers/trays, create my outdoor wet studio and was very generous when I needed more "materials" to dye.

2.  Continue my Battle Against UFOs
Attack on UFOs
UFO successes:

  • I was able to complete 7 of my own projects that were started in previous years.  The two projects in the lower left corner had components that were made in 2012!!!
  • I purged several UFOs as part of the UFO Exchange, and brought home a large quilt top with some large squares of colorful fabrics that were given new life in two new projects including an improv strata quilt that is in progress.  
  • I started and finished a total of 20 brand new quilts in 2015.
  • And I only added 7 new UFOs to my docket, many of which are still in progress and I am very much committed to finishing!

3.  Learn new quilting designs/techniques to add more beautiful texture to my quilts
Textures from 2015
I love enhancing my quilt tops with such fabulous textures during the quilting phase!  This year, I added many new tricks and techniques to my quilting tool kit including:  new free motion motifs, hyper quilting, trapunto and match stick quilting!!

Many thanks to:

4.  Put myself out there more as a Quilter
2015 Quilting Successes
This was a very exciting year as I celebrated several quilting victories:

  • My Wicked Windy & Winding Ways quilt published in AQS magazine and the Wicked Challenge book!
  • Seeing several of my quilts on display at both our SCVQA Quilt Show and PIQF
  • Leading a demonstration on Interleave Quilts for my fellow members which really started off a trend on so many wonderful Interleave quilts being made!!
  • My DNA Mapping:  Past, Present and Future winning Viewer's Choice at the SCVQA show
  • Joining SAQA and being paired up with a fabulous mentor Terry Waldron who has been incredibly generous in sharing resources, tips and tricks she has learned as a professional artist/instructor!
  • Engage more with the online quilting community.  I finally signed up for a Facebook account, where I have connected with so many friends, family and certainly the vibrant online quilting community!!  I continue to post my work on my blog with a total of 57 posts!  I also worked through Alisa Burke's Art of Blogging course and found it really helpful in creating intentionality in my posts and overall blog design.  I am also gaining more traffic visiting my blog by participating in several link ups, cross posting to Pinterest and Facebook!   And I've participated in several online challenges/quilt alongs.
  • Designing original quilts/blocks and entering them into challenges including the MQU Modern Makever Block Challenge, A Focus Through a Prism monthly Challenges, Be Creative Quilt Challenge, EQ7/Timeless Treasure Block Challenge, Fiber Shot for SJMQT, MQG EZ Triangle Challenge AMB Mini Quilt Challenge, MQG Riley Blake Fabric Challenge and of course, the Hoffman Challenge.

2015 Challenge Entries
5.  Incorporate technology into my quilting process, designs and documentation
This year, I embraced technology in my quilting adventures:

  • Completed Pixeladies Photoshop Essentials 1 and 2 online classes to learn how PSE features in my quilting.  These lessons have come in especially helpful as editing was needed for pictures taken during our monthly meeting show and tell.
  • Watched all the video tutorials and worked my way through 4 online courses through EQ University to learn how to use EQ7 in designing my own original quilts/blocks.  These lessons were brought to life as I turned to EQ7 for designing all 7 of my Focus Through the Prism challenges, all five MQU Modern Block challenges, the Be Creative Quilt Challenge and even created a virtual block for the EQ7/Timeless Treasures block challenge!

EQ7 Mock Up Designs Translated into Fabric
More Highlights from 2015:

  • Studio Enhancements including a brand new cabinet build by Doug, reupholstered benches and Lego sewing machines.
  • Shop Hop by the Bay
  • Joining a small quilt group and enjoying the company of these talented quilters (even if it meant I had to join a Senior Citizen Community Center before turning 40!!)
  • February Retreat near Yosemite
  • Workshops with some amazing quilt artists including Katie Pasquini Mosopust, Laura Wasilowski, Kathy Doughty, Karen Eckmeier, Sandra Bruce, RaNae Merrill and Jan Soules.  
Workshop Techniques Added to my Quilting Tool Kit

Last but not least--a whopping total of 27 finished quilts!!
2015 Finished Quilts!!
I am looking forward to seeing what quilting adventures await in 2016!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tackling Some UFOs

With just 28 hours left in 2015, I am working to tackle a few lingering UFOs.  Both of these projects were used for my July Q101 Demonstration on Interleave quilts.  I created a number of step outs of the Interleave Quilt in progress as a visual of the various steps involved.  One of the step outs was nearly complete and just needed a label and binding for completion!   And so I dug it out and got to work finishing this small piece.
Quilting 101 Demo Step Out
Finished/Bound Raspberry Lemonade Interleave
As part of the Interleave demo, I also incorporated a mini tutorial on facing a quilt.  Well, I needed a small project to demonstrate, and pulled out a wonky log cabin blog I had made back in August 2012, as part of a Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild demo on improvisation.
Improv Log Cabin Block
I had some fun doodling different Free Motion quilting designs into the various sections and started to face it during the demonstration.  So all I had to do was add a label and finish facing the other two sides of the quilt!
Faced Back Side of Wonky Log Cabin
Finished and Faced Wonky Log Cabin Mini
With 24+ hours left in 2015, there may be time for me to tackle one or two more small UFO projects!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

For a variety of reasons, it was a struggle getting into the holiday spirit this year.  At first, everything seemed to be such a chore.  We eased into the holiday spirit with his and hers Lego Advent calendars (City for me and Star Wars for him).  The decorations were soon pulled out from storage, but the boxes remained untouched, as Susie Q's recent mischievous misdeeds had us wondering whether it would be safe to even put up a Christmas tree this year?!?  Thanks to the magic of an ex-pen, the Christmas tree went up and stayed up as my two girls were total angels!  What Christmas season is complete without some homemade Irish Cream!  Mmmm!  
Deck the Halls!
Then there was our annual Christmas ornament tradition that we hadn't even started!  We started with some simple round wooden desks that Doug cut, sanded and stained red and green.  He passed them off for me to embellish with metallic Sharpie markers, where I created a variety of mandalas.  I actually enjoyed the meditative and creative nature of each unique design (all 20 of them!!)
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!
The Christmas crafting fun continued as I worked on some secret hand-dyed Christmas gifts for family and friends including t-shirts, socks, boxers/boxer briefs, scarfs, handkerchiefs and even bandanas for some special four-legged friends!  
Santa's Workshop and Special Elves
Hippie Holidays from Susie Q, Panda, my mother, brother, his canine companion Helix and Doug!!
And Santa delivered some special Christmas gifts to us as well!  It is essential that we always have a back up Heinz ketchup on deck for Doug.  So he got a back up Heinz ketchup ornament for the tree, a fun t-shirt and an industrial sized container of ketchup...truly a Christmas miracle!!
Santa Claus is Coming to Town!  Ketchup, Ketchup and more Ketchup for Doug!
And I received a fun assortment of quilting fabrics and notions...
All I Want for Christmas...
All in all, we survived this Christmas/Holiday season...and have 360+ days to start preparing more for next year's festivities!!   

Monday, December 21, 2015

December Midnight Mystery Quilt Along

December's instructions for the Meadow Mist Midnight Mystery Quilt Along took a bit longer than expected...but here are my finished blocks and a possible alternate layout.  Really love how the units come together to form a star.  Will need to wait until the January set of instructions to see if I am on track this time around for the layout of blocks...
December Blocks and Possible Layout

Friday, December 11, 2015

MQU Modern Makeover Block: Bow Tie Burst

Option 1:  James Bond Bow Tie
December's MQU "Everything Old Is New Again" monthly block modern makeover focused on the classic Bow Tie block.

With the new James Bond "Spectre" movie out...I thought about the iconic James Bond tuxedo and tie.  I tried sketching out a few variations in EQ7 but each seemed to fall short on either contrast, construction and/or staying true to 007!

So, I explored some other design options in EQ7 and had fun creating radiating bow ties and playing around with different colorways.

Online voting is open through December 15th...hint hint!
My "Bow Tie Burst" block.  Be sure to vote online for your favorite modern makeover!!