Friday, December 14, 2018

I Can’t Say No to Scraps / Beauties Pageant 11

Each of these beauties features Rifle Paper Co. designs, from Cotton and Steel.

A friend from guild attends each month’s meeting with a bin full of scraps from her business making nursery items. These are good scraps, people, including lots from Rifle Paper Co., which I love the look of but rarely buy myself. I try to pick from these piles of castoffs with care and restraint. The truth is, I always leave a meeting with a fistful of scrappy goodness.

I decided recently that enough was enough. I could continue to hoard these bits and pieces in my scrap bin if I started to actually use some of them. So use them I did, during Cheri Lehnow’s Tiny Tinkalong Sewalong in November. (You can find the pattern on Etsy and the sewalong announcement on Instagram. Participants’ beautiful finishes can be viewed here.)

I couldn’t imagine chopping up Alice for use in a quilt. I’m happy she gets the
spotlight here.

This pattern is easy peasy. So far I’ve made the tiny version (which is the small size printed at 65%), and it’s perfect for my Cotton and Steel snippets. The hardest and most time-consuming part is choosing the fabric and finding a good cord or ribbon to use as the drawstring.

I did buy yardage of this print, one of my favorite ever. It was the
palette inspiration for this quilt.

These tiny treasures will hold gift cards and chocolates for my children’s teachers this holiday season. : )

Are you doing any holiday sewing? Share any recent finishes—for gift giving or for yourself—in this week’s Beauties Pageant!


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, November 30, 2018

Apparently, I Have a Thing for Trees / Beauties Pageant 10

When it comes to decorating for Christmas, I’m a tree girl. Now, my tree isn’t fancy (actually, it’s a 16-year-old artificial one from Target that my husband refuses to replace because it works fine). But we get it up and decorated as soon as the Thanksgiving crowd leaves my house each year, and it’s lit pretty much from then until the new year.

This year, I decided I really only needed the tree. Well, the tree and a front-door wreath (which is like an honorary tree) and quilts. Any other decorations were unnecessary. Once I started laying out my quilted decorations, though, I realized they’re all trees!

Exhibit A: My Tree Is Trimmed mini (see the tutorial here).


Exhibit B: The mini I made during the curves class I took at Stitched in Color.


Exhibit C: My Christmas tree quilt

You know what this means, of course. I have some Christmas making to do for myself. Realistically, that won’t be happening anytime soon, but coming to From Bolt to Beauty for Christmas 2019: something other than trees!

This tree-related rant is not a clever way to distract you from my lack of a finish. I do have a finish, a big, yellow finish. I’m not confident that it will get into QuiltCon, but I love, love, love it. Read more about it here.

If you have a finish, we want to read about that, too. Add your post to this week’s linky!


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Near Wild Heaven: My Two-Color Challenge Quilt

I designed my two-color challenge quilt in EQ7. This shows the final color
placement (although I chose to construct some sections of the quilt differently
than depicted here).

Over the summer, the Modern Quilt Guild announced that American Patchwork and Quilting would be sponsoring a challenge at QuiltCon 2019, in Nashville. The premise was simple: design and make a quilt using two colors. Any fabric and thread used in the quilt top had to be one of those two colors.

As far as challenges go, I found those parameters to be overwhelming. There were too many possibilities. So I approached the creation of my quilt as a value study. I chose two colors—yellow and white—and decided to use a combination of prints and solids to create the effect I was aiming for.

This picture makes the quilt look more mustard than yellow, but it shows the three
different prints up against each other. I think this combination of fabrics works!

The biggest obstacle was finding fabric. I needed multiple prints that all had the same exact color of yellow but that would read as different values. Buying fabric online wasn’t an option; I would have ended up buying yellows that weren’t close enough to include. Instead, I scoured quilt shops in person, taking bolt after bolt to the window to evaluate the color in natural light. I ended up with three prints—one high volume, one mid, and one low—from two different manufacturers (Free Spirit and Art Gallery).

I thought a chunky design would best show the contrast between these prints, so I designed a lapsize quilt with a background that placed the three yellow prints up against each other.

Here she is in all of her yellow-hued glory!

I finished binding my quilt, which I’m calling Near Wild Heaven, two days before the submission deadline. It was too close for comfort for my liking, but I am really pleased with how this project turned out! To see what other quilters are doing for the same challenge, check out #twocolorchallenge on Instagram.

Here is a shot of the back. According to the challenge rules, the back could
depart from the colors on the top. I used a beautiful blue-purple floral from
Joel Dewberry and yellows that didn’t make the cut for the top.

Do you participate in challenges (through your guild, among your friends, or in more structured settings like QuiltCon)? What do those projects do for you as a maker? I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have designed and made Near Wild Heaven without the kick in the pants provided by the challenge!

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Finish It Up Friday ...

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Friday, November 23, 2018

A Stash-Busting Rainbow / Beauties Pageant 9

This pencil roll is a rainbow project of mine from 2014.

I started pulling and cutting fabric for a project this week. There is no rational reason for me to be starting something new—some quilty deadlines have come and gone (without the required finish), while others loom in the not-so-distant future—but it was fun to spend time in my stash and use my rotary blade to commit to a palette and design.

The results of that playtime is a rainbow of 27 fabrics ...

So pretty, right?!

I’m not a big rainbow maker (although I have an acute weakness for rainbows of Alison Glass fabrics), but I love how a disparate mix of prints find unity in a spectrum of colors.

I’ll be following Allison Harris’s Strip and Flip Baby Quilt tutorial to make two baby quilts with these fabrics. Why two quilts when I don’t even have one baby to sew for these days? The way I see it, if I’m going to cull through my stash to find 27 fabrics that work together, I might as well make two!

I can’t wait to sew these strips into something beautiful. : )

In other quilty news, I just need to bind and photograph my two-color challenge quilt for QuiltCon before sharing it with you. Yahoo—a finish is coming!

Until then, I’m excited to see what you’re up to. Share your recent finish in this week’s linky!


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, November 16, 2018

Another Friday, Another Flimsy / Beauties Pageant 8

The flimsy parade continues here at From Bolt to Beauty! I may not have touched Me-wow! since blogging about it last week, but I did wrap up the sewing on my Garden Plots quilt top.


This quilt, designed by Alison Vermilya for Moda Bake Shop, is a just-because project for me. In other words, I started this quilt just because I had the fabric on hand, just because I thought the pattern well suited the fabric, and just because I wanted to start something new instead of finishing up a WIP.


My plan evolved as I sewed blocks together, decided I didn’t have enough fabric for/didn’t quite like the look of my blocks, and embarked on some unsewing and resewing. (Plus, I got rid of the heavy-handed pink entirely.) It wasn’t the most efficient of processes, but I tell myself that quilts can come together in organic ways—it’s not all about whipping through project after project, right? And anyway, I really like the final outcome.


One of the fun aspects of making this top for me was the color palette. Before this project, I couldn’t have imagined saying that I wanted to make a gray, teal, mustard, and mint quilt. But seeing those colors together, they work! The mint in particular was an odd selection for me. It was a necessary low-volume addition to the palette, though.


The question now is how I’ll finish this quilt. I pretty sure I’ll bind it in teal. A quilting plan eludes me, though. Should I do something with straight lines on my home machine? Labor over a free-motion plan? I’ve signed up for a longarm lesson at a local quilt shop, so I could also wait and quilt it with a pantograph. Comments and suggestions are welcome ...

As is your submission to this week’s Beauties Pageant!


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, November 9, 2018

Me-wow! / Beauties Pageant 7

The forces of the universe have been aligned against me of late. Between contractors coming in and out of my house for the past month, a series of sunless days, and the overall dwindling daylight as winter closes in on New England, it’s been hard to get any decent pictures of quilts. And I’ve been growing impatient. Eager to show you one of my multiple finished quilt tops, I decided I was going to make a photo shoot happen today, no matter what!

I started off inside, draping one of my finished quilt tops—I’m calling it Me-wow!—over the banister in my foyer ...


That shot gives you a nice idea of the design and colors of this project, but I wanted one that would show you just how many kitty faces I made. So, in an act of desperation, I employed my almost-10-year-old in the endeavor ...


See? There are cats. Lots of cats. One hundred cats!

I’m making this quilt for my sister, whose birthday in early October has long come and gone. I got about 75 of the 100 cats sewed up in August and September and then lost steam. But my guild’s retreat motivated me to prep the remaining blocks and sashing pieces. I spent the entire three-day event—minus time for socializing and fabric shopping and such—working on finishing up this top.


These blocks, which are actually 25 different designs, are free and from Elizabeth Hartman. Elizabeth held a sewalong years ago for these kitties. At the time, I didn’t have the scraps or inclination to embark on assembling my own litter. Now I’m glad to have scoured my scraps for pretty little piles of monochromatic prints and solids.


Now that I’ve finished this top, I keep encountering these cats elsewhere, on blogs and on Instagram. DonnaleeQ whipped up six comparable kitty blocks, complete with whiskers, for a fundraiser. Angela put out a call to receive these blocks for a quilt for her daughter. I was happy to oblige her by shipping six of my extras to her. : )


What have you been working on? Are you in the home stretch of some quilt projects, as I am? If so, we want to cheer you on—link up below!


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, October 26, 2018

All Sorts of Inefficency / Beauties Pageant 6

Don’t get too excited. I’m currently unsewing all of these blocks!

Confession: I started a new project.

Now, I was not in the position to begin another quilt, but I ran out of fabric for the two-color QuiltCon challenge I had been working on. (This happens when you buy fabric before you decide on a design. Ack—inefficiency!) I could have worked on a variety of WIPs while waiting for reinforcements to arrive—like my Gypsy Wife quilt or my No Latitude quilt or my Modern Medallion quilt—but I succumbed to the allure of novelty.

Grabbing a fistful of fat quarters from Maureen Cracknell’s Nightfall line, I printed out a copy Garden Plots, a quilt Alison Vermilya designed for Moda Bake Shop. I’ve had that pattern on my radar screen all year. I love how it builds on big chunks of fabric—perfect for showcasing Nightfall’s bunnies and owls.

But Garden Plots calls for a jelly roll and yardage. All I had on hand were fats and a tiny bit of yardage. With minimal planning and no idea whether I had enough fabric, I just started cutting and sewing. (You see what I’m doing here, right? Setting myself up for another fabric emergency.)

I was feeling OK with my first few blocks (see picture above), but then I sewed this beauty ...


So now I’m reworking those first few blocks and using a print and solid in each of the frames. Doing suits me more aesthetically. It also helps me make the most of the limited fabric cuts I have.

How about your past week of sewing? Did you, like me, take a rotary cutter to a bundle of pristine fat quarters? If you finished up a project in the works, we want to hear about it. Join the linky below!


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, October 19, 2018

The Other Man / Beauties Pageant 5

Although I haven’t been sewing, I have been plotting my two-color challenge for
QuiltCon. Here’s Mix and Mingle, a challenge quilt of mine that showed at
QuiltCon 2017.

There has not been a lot of sewing around From Bolt to Beauty this week because the Other Man, my Janome 1600P-QC, was at the spa. It returned just yesterday, all cleaned and oiled and ready to sew.

This machine earns my seal of approval. Previously, I sewed on a Janome that was marketed as a home décor machine. I had inherited it from my aunt, and it worked just fine. Pushing a quilt through it was rough going, though. I wanted a machine with a larger throat and something on which I could practice free-motion quilting.

Me and the Other Man.

I quickly homed in on the 1600 by reading what other bloggers were using. Both Anna Graham and Elizabeth Hartman were sewing on one at the time of my search. If that machine could keep up with those sewists’ schedules, I knew it could handle mine.

If you’re in the market for a new machine, here’s what you should know about the 1600:
  • It’s an industrial machine and only straight-stitches.
  • There are almost 9 inches to the right of the needle
  • It is crazy fast, sewing up to 1,600 stitches per minute. You can ratchet that down, however, by adjusting the speed dial.
  • The tension on this machine is a dream. I’ve never had eyelashes with my free-motion quilting or issues when I use different top and bottom thread colors.
  • It comes with minimal bells and whistles, including a thread cutter, needle threader, and knee lift.
I would love to hear about your machine. If you’re finish-less like me, fill us in on why you love your machine in the comments below. Otherwise, it’s time to line up for this week’s Beauties Pageant!
 


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, October 12, 2018

Six-Sided Perfection / Beauties Pageant 4

I’ve made a few modern hexagon pillows—à la Modern Handcraft—to gift to friends recently. (See them here and here.) I had such fun basting and appliqueing the hexagons on those projects that I wanted to make something in the same vein for myself. I don’t need any pillows, though, and I realized a throw quilt with appliqued hexagons wasn’t super practical, so I came up with this ...

I have had this Essex Linen for a while, just waiting for an opportunity
to show it off.

The pattern is Anna Graham’s Market Bag, from her book Handmade Style. I made a Market Bag before, for my sister. With that first one, I used matchstick quilting and Pellon’s Décor Bond to interface the not-so-well-fitting lining. For this second one, I quilted a less-dense hexagon motif and interfaced with fusible fleece. I also took my time with the lining and made sure it fit well. This second bag doesn’t have the level of structure that the first one did, but I’ve already given it a test-drive, at my guild’s retreat. I give it two thumbs up.

The hexagons were made from a charm pack of Midnight Garden, by 1canoe2.

Note to my future self: I’m not 100% sure which way to go with a third Market Bag. Consider finding a compromise between bag 1 and bag 2, like matchstick quilting and the fusible fleece. In any event, this experience is testament to taking your time and getting the lining right. Your projects are worth it! Also: Definitely mark your quilting lines before you adhere the hexagons to the next pillow or bag; it makes the whole process saner.

I love this hanging pocket and the lining fabric, a Joel Dewberry print.

What are your recent triumphs at your sewing machine, friends? Bring out your beauties for the rest of us to see!



The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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Friday, September 28, 2018

Retreat Prep, a Beauties Pageant, and a Gift Certificate to Win

I have made a lot of Jane Market Bags in the past. Like, a lot.

There has not been a lot of sewing around From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters since my last post. In part, this is a result of my guild’s upcoming Cape Cod retreat. I missed our spring retreat, so I’m super excited to go and have been prepping projects to work on there.

I don’t find retreats conducive to being creative or to making important design decisions. To me, they’re temporary sweatshops, and I use the time to try to get through as much sewing as I can. I like to choreograph my weekend away by planning some smaller finishes and taking a bigger WIP or two.

This year, I have two Jane Market Bags cut and ready to go (see some previously made bags in the pictures above and below). And I have two quilts—both destined to be Christmas gifts—that are in process. All the remaining bits of those quilts have been cut and organized to minimize the math and rotary work I will do on retreat. (Retreats are also not conducive to accurate calculations and the cutting decisions based on them!)

This Jane Market Bag was part of a swap gift.

A weekend of sewing seems like a lot of time to get things done. It’s really not, especially when you factor in catching up with good friends, leisurely meals, and fabric shopping. Perhaps I’ll come home with two completed bags and one finished flimsy? We’ll see ...

UPDATE: The giveaway is closed. Carolanne is the winner!

In the meantime, I’m happy to announce my third Beauties Pageant and giveaway!

This week, Bernie, of Needle and Foot Fine Fabrics, has given me a $25 gift certificate to give away.

I have yet to meet Bernie in real life, but looking through her collection of fabrics for sale, I feel as if I know her. And clicking through her more traditional Christmas prints, to her bright and modern selections from Art Gallery and Andover, to her from her solids and blenders, she’s a well-rounded lady. You know, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. : )

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NeedleandFoot


You have two opportunities to enter to win this gift certificate: (1) Upload your link to the Beauties Pageant (just one link, please!) and/or (2) leave a comment on this post about whatever you’d like (just one comment, please!). Also: If you read my posts through Bloglovin’, click through to my original post to comment.

This giveaway is open internationally through 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, October 5. The winner will be notified via email, so if you’re a no-reply blogger or comment anonymously, please include your email address in your comment or send it to me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com.


The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.



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