Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sewing and Stashing

Whether you’re joining me from Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts or from Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles, I have something for you today.

First, a recap of what I’ve been up to the past month or so. As my regular readers know (and may be sick of hearing about!), I’ve been taking the Curves Class at Stitched in Color. It’s been seriously satisfying to conquer my fear of all things curvy. In some ways, my past experiences sewing bags prepared me for curves in quilts, and my curve-piecing skills are coming along nicely (with the help of my seam ripper). To date, I’ve finished four class assignments:

Clockwise from top left: clam shell journal cover, drunkard's path potholder,
orange peel pillow, and Oh Christmas Tree mini

As far as my stash scene goes, dear Sunday Stash readers, I’ve been living a lie. I had convinced myself that I was a smart fabric buyer, that I buy sensible yardage to stash and that other fabric purchases are for specific projects. The truth is, I cannot resist quality quilting cotton at good prices, especially when that quilting cotton comes from one of my favorite designers.

Exhibit A: a jellyroll of Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line, bought on sale at the Fat Quarter Shop. I confess: I bought this jellyroll for a guild swap, but I liked it so much that I kept it for myself and bought something different for the swap. (The shame!) Although this jellyroll is on the small side, it contains both colorways for the line: blue and orange.

Exhibit B: my picks from Purl Soho’s sale on Florence. I have zero idea what I will do with the jellyroll or the coordinating yardage, but I knew I needed to keep my options open—which means I bought yardage from both colorways:

I’m not ready to use this fabric yet. (It took me years to make a serious dent in my full set of fat quarters from Denyse’s Hope Valley line.) If the perfect project were to present itself or were recommended by a savvy reader, though, I’d consider getting my rotary blade ready to go. : )

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I'll Take That in RGB

I have this thing for red, green, and blue. They’re my default color palette. I prefer a red close to cranberry, a green with a big dose of gray, and a pale blue that lately has been bordering on aqua.

Maybe this phenomenon isn’t unusual. Perhaps you have a set of colors you consistently prefer over others. Here’s where the weirdness starts: My mom also likes red, green, and blue. Her house is decorated in a dusty pink, greens on the continuum of sage to sea foam, and Williamsburg blue.

And now it gets weirder. My 6-year-old likes the same three colors. When he was just 18 months old and faced with a pile of colored blocks, he would separate the red, green, and blue blocks from the others. In fact, we found collections of all sorts of red, green, and blue objects squirreled away around our house. He so consistently preferred those colors that I made the cupcakes for his second birthday with layers of red, green, and blue batter.

My stash reflects my fondness for this color palette. I’ve had one special fat quarter stashed away for many years, waiting for the right project. It’s an old print from Maison de Noel by 3 Sisters, and it appeals to my more traditional side. It’s a sweet paisley, but I know I likely wouldn’t have bought it in a different colorway.

I finally cut into this fat quarter for my latest finish, an orange peel pillow ...

If I had to summarize this project in a single word, it would be fiddly. With this Curves Class assignment moreso than the others I’ve finished (including this journal, this mini, and these potholders), I unpicked seams and at times scrapped an entire quadrant to start afresh with newly cut fabric.

Despite the failed attempts, I’m happy with the results, and it’s satisfying to step by and bask in the glow of a few nicely pieced curves. I like squares, rectangles, and triangles well enough, but the softness of these curves makes me want to sew more of them.

I paired 3 Sister’s Maison de Noel with Kona Snow and this off-red from French General.

I didn’t think quilting—or maybe my quilting?!—would have added to this piece; I liked the clean look of the curves without quilting lines. To add substance without adding batting, I chose to interface it with Pellon Thermolam, which seemed to work well. 

Curves classmates: I have one thought if you plan to sew this project. Do you remember Rachel’s original? (My apologies to other readers! I can’t find a public pic of Rachel’s pillow!) She cut all four main template pieces from a single square of fabric with a large-scale design. The result is amazing, but I chose a more forgiving nondirectional fabric. I actually made six quadrants and scrapped two wonky ones, but since I used a nondirectional, it didn’t matter which of the six I used in my final pillow.

I have two more projects for this Curves Class: my rainbow color wheel, which needs to be quilted and bound, and my Oodalolly (see Rachel’s original here), which is currently a heap of fabric. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more on these projects.

Before I sign off, I wanted to send a shout-out to my fellow Curves classmate and all-around favorite quilty person. Kim Soper, the talented lady behind Leland Ave Studios, was not at QuiltCon last week, but her Long Island Modern Sampler was—and it won first place in the modern traditional category. To read more about this quilt and to learn where you can find the patterns for the individual blocks in it, visit Kim’s blog post on the subject.

Long Island Modern Sampler, courtesy of Leland Ave Studios

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Color Me Scrappy

Hello, readers—both regular visitors and newcomers from Scraptastic Tuesday.

Scraps are like laundry: As soon as you get them under control, there’s a new pile to deal with. And like laundry, my scrap-busting efforts are ongoing. 

I’m excited about a scrappy project that’s been simmering on the back burner for months. It’s my take on Laura Jane Taylor’s Obsession quilt, from her book Quilt-opedia:

Obsession, from Laura Jane Taylor’s Quilt-opedia

I’ve already culled through my scrap bin once, cutting squares for this beauty. Three months later, my scrap collection has grown. It’s going to take another thorough pass, locating prints that will work, before I have enough to start piecing. I’m hoping the Art Gallery charm swap I’m organizing with Chelsea, which wraps up in the next month, will fill in any holes. (Sorry, folks: the swap is full.)

The more imminent project, however, is my first color wheel. Originally blogged about here, this quilt is an assignment for the Curves Class I’m enrolled in. I started piecing before the class began and had to put it down for a month to work on other quilts. That time apart did me and this quilt some good. I was able to consider the color transitions with fresh eyes and, taking the good advice I received from readers to heart, made some changes.

I added an orangey-yellow wedge, edited out a blue tribute to Denyse Schmidt and Carolyn Friedlander (sadness!), and reworked my pink wedge. I’m feeling good about these colors and this layout and all the scraps I’ve used. It’s time to sew these slices together and finish this quilt up!

My last snippets of Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee line are in the teal wedge.

The scraps from a Sew Together bag and a wonky star
compose the new orangey-yellow wedge.

I make it sound easy, but I suspect that I’ll be making some last-minute changes here—it’s not the wedges, but the overall size. A 40” x 40” quilt seems big for a wall hanging. (What do you think?) I may end up enlarging this project and make it a full-size quilt. Because that’s just what I need, right? A full-blown quilt project to quilt and bind.

I am really excited to see this come together and hope to reveal a finish by the end of the month!

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