Monday, September 1, 2014

Tag, I’m It!

Have you encountered—or participated in—the Around the World Blog Hop that’s been circulating online yet? Chelsea over at Patch the Giraffe tagged me last week, so here I am with my answers to the getting-to-know-me questions and two blogs I’ve, in turn, tagged for next week’s installment.

What am I working on?

I generally have two or three quilts and a small project or two in the works at a time. And although I refer to myself more often as a quilter than as a general sewist, I recently realized that those small non-quilt projects are particularly important to me. The faster, more frequent payoffs sustain my momentum and help me tackle the bigger quilting projects.

Clockwise from top left: Farmer’s Market quilt, purge pouches,
a rainbow pencil roll, and a Noodlehead tote

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work straddles the line between the old and the new, vintage and modern. (Heck, even my house reflects that: it’s Crate & Barrel meets antique shop around here.) I can summarize my impetus for delving into quilting in two words: Denyse Schmidt.

A unique quality I have is the fact that I’m the new kid on the quilt block. In my life before parenthood, I was in publishing, and my colleagues and I were always excited when a new hire started. This person had “fresh eyes”—an unjaded perspective that wasn’t sullied by too much exposure to the work at hand.

I’ve been quilting less than 18 months; I’m on quilt #11. I’ve decided I need to work on more of my own designs before experience starts to undermine my own newbie perspective on things. In many ways right now, I don’t know the typical way to piece certain designs or perfect certain quilting skills. I don’t know what’s possible—or not. I see that quality as a positive. It’s time to leverage it, girl!

Why do I create what I do?

I was hardwired to create. Without an outlet like quilting, I wouldn’t feel like a whole person. Honestly, it is that simple.

Park Bench hexies, blogged about here

How does my creative process work?

A project for me almost always starts with a challenge. Can I piece a top like that? How can I use those scraps of fabric? Can I capture that person’s style—as well as my own aesthetic—in a single quilt?

The interesting part of my creative process, which has only come to light since I started blogging, is the importance of writing about my quilty adventures. Somehow, documenting my projects in both pictures and words has become a necessary final step. It’s how I reflect on my personal triumphs and ponder the I-wishes and if-I-could-do-it-agains.

Alicia Paulson’s Jane Market Bag, blogged about here

Who are the next stops on the blog hop?

OK, it’s time to pass the baton on to two other bloggers. I fancy that the three of us are members of an elite quilting club whose members bring only little boys into the world. (And they have me beat: I have two little guys and they each have three!)

Kim at Leland Ave Studios: I started keeping tabs on Kim as soon as I encountered her Carnelian & Iron quilt, and it was following her blog that gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start my own. Her work trends more modern than mine in a way that nudges me out of my comfort zone in a good, good way. Some of my favorite projects of hers are the recently unveiled Diamonds in the Deep quilt and her Qypsy Wife quilt, the thought of which makes me curl up in fetal postion (what a huge undertaking!).

Audrey at Hot Pink Quilts: Truly, the name says it all: Audrey is not afraid of color. (Like any good New Englander, I am!) A woman after my own heart, she continually strives to further hone her technical skills … on her 60-year-old Singer. Let me direct you to two of her amazing quilts: her quilt for her third sweet baby boy and her latest iteration of Jaybird Quilts’ Northern Lights pattern.

I encourage you to check both of those blogs out. Time reading those women’s adventures at the sewing machine is time well spent. : )

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Tangent in Voile

Summer in New England this year has been weird and wimpy. The dogs days have been few and far between.

On one hand, this is wonderful. Already, in August, it feels like fall. I’ve worn pants a few times, turned off the AC, packed my swimsuit away until next year.

But is the fall weather here to stay? I’m banking on summer making a reappearance, no matter how briefly. In fact, I worked on my wardrobe just in case I’m right with another flirting the issue skirt, by Anna Maria Horner and made in one of her voiles. I made one back in May. This latest iteration is pretty much exactly the same; I tweaked some of the measurements just a bit.

If the idea of sewing clothes intimidates you, this is the skirt for you. There’s no pattern to work from: you’re really sewing four big rectangles together and adding some elastic to the waist. I find voile a little annoying to work with (give me a hearty quilting cotton any day!). This skirt is so easy to construct, however, that you will have no need to unpick stitches and risk hurting the delicate fabric.

Can I just say that my other noteworthy finish of the week was Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody? A skirt and a novel wrapped up in the same week that there’s no summer school, no camp? Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good, but still anxiously awaiting the start of school! (If you haven’t read my ode from earlier in the week, rest assured that I’m a better sewist than poet.)

Linking up to TGIFF at Devoted Quilter and Finish It Up Friday, as well as Sew Cute Tuesday ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Ode to the Start of School

Summer-time slowdown, little time to quilt or sew.
I want to work on my WIPs, get in the flow.
I have bags to finish, quilts to piece;
It’s time I complete my flying geese.
Those two little boys have a summer with Mom
But—alas!—all the while, I dream of QuiltCon.
Just when I’m about to lose my cool,
I remember my only hope: the start of school.

Like you, I have too many WIPs to fit them all in one photo! Starting with the Anna Maria Horner print in the bottom left and working clockwise, the ones pictured here include: another flirty skirt in a fabric from AMH’s Innocent Crush (to be finished today!); medallions from Park Bench, by Jaybird Quilts, in Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics; two Amy Butler prints that will become bags; the beginnings of a rail fence quilt from scraps and Rae Hoestra’s Lotus Pond; various fabrics in poppy and gray that will become a pieced back for this quilt.

Are you, like me, anticipating your kids’ return to school?!

Linking up to Let’s Be Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation ...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Low-Volume Inferiority Complex

Hello! If the fabulous Molli Sparkles sent you, welcome. I’m Michelle: long-time sewist, newbie quilter, Sunday-stash virgin.

For the record, I’d like to say that I’ve been quite good. In fact, I’ve been purging. I have two quilts in the works that use up some long-neglected fabric, and I even transformed a lost-cause fabric into some sweet pouches.

But you know how it goes. I headed to a local quilt store for some yardage to back my Birds of My Neighborhood quilt. I didn’t mean to partake in any stash-building; it just happened.

I blame the low-volume collectors. They’re everywhere, and honestly, I want to be just like them.

First I saw the low-volume loveliness around Maryse’s crosses. And then Chelsea showed off the low-volume additions to her stash.

I limited myself to just three half-yards. Aren’t they beautiful? From left to right, they are Mod-Century by Jenn Ski for Moda, Edo Blossom from Makower UK, and a beige-on-beige polka dot from (I think) Quilting Treasures.

I did get my yardage for this quilt. It’s a light aqua and is also Mod-Century, which is such an awesome almost-solid. I love the visual texture that print adds to a quilt.

The frogs are Meadow Friends by Deb Strain for Moda. I needed a bit to add to one of my purge quilts. (Hey, sometimes to use up fabric, you need to buy some fabric. It’s the reality of quilting, people. Do not judge!) And the orange floral is Farmdale Blossom from Alexander Henry.

That last find was sheer kismet. I saw that print at Blue Elephant Stitches recently, in gray, and loved it. As soon as I walked into this shop I saw the orange colorway. I restrained myself to a quarter-yard, thank you very much.

I’m so glad I jumped on the Sunday-stash train. I’m feeling good about these purchases. My rationale is solid. The low-volume selections are the start to a nice collection. Nope, I have zero residual guilt about buying during a purge season. None!