Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What type of quilter are you? And opening the box ...

Recently I've become a dedicated "Sewcialite" at my LQS. We meet every Monday and work on our projects. Some of us are prolific - git 'er done types... and some of us (such as yours truly) are of the "... it's all about the process..." variety.  Perennial starters, stoppers, re imaginers, tuck away for another day types.  Additionally I'm a prolific "check out what's new" type. I set up, grab my coffee and go for an informal fabric stroll up and down the aisles imagining future projects and how "that fabric would be just perfect for..." Since I am also a compulsive scrappy quilter type (I never met a scrap I didn't like) I'm big on visiting the remnants section. With me - no piece of fabric need be an orphan.

But I digress...

A few weeks back as I was leaving I was quietly presented with a white box. I was asked if I was interested in doing a friendship block. I was surprised. I really wasn't sure what was in the box or what I was getting myself into but it was one of those "yes - and" moments so what could I do but say "yes!"

I took the box home and opened it. It was full of black, red, and white fabrics of all prints, stripes and sizes. Several blocks were already completed. They were beautiful. The only requirement was the block should be "somewhere between 12 - 14 inches". My challenge would be making the block.

I rummaged through the fabrics and found a number of half square triangle blocks already made. With those as my springboard I decided to do the "bearspaw block". I spent most of the afternoon (and next day) looking through books and websites looking for the required dimensions. I got bogged down.

Plan B - make more HST's and do pinwheels. Once done - I wasn't really satisfied. The blocks looked flat next to each other.

I moved to another project and let this problem stew for a bit. And then it came to me. I bought Liberated Quiltmaking ll  several years ago. I became a big Marston fan when somewhere in the first chapter - Gwen solved all my eternal quilting dilemmas with this simple statement (or words to the effect)  "if it's too big chop it off - if it's too small add more". My love for making quilts was pretty much off to the races after that.

And so it was time to revisit the block entirely. A bit more slicing the dicing and voila! Liberated Party Pinwheels!

This block finished at 13.5 inches and it has a lot of movement in it! Another "yes ... and" opportunity met with success.

(Linked to the Needle & Thread Network).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

YES - AND...

A few Saturday mornings ago, I was listening to the radio and an actor was being interviewed. She was in our city for the annual High Performance Rodeo festival. Okay I admit I wasn't really listening until - I heard the words the words "Yes, and..." Then my ears perked up. The actor went on to elaborate that the phrase "Yes, AND..." is a foundation block of Improv Theatre.

YES - Accepting of the invitation.
 AND - engaging and carrying the dialogue forward.

And because Improv can throw us unexpected curves - we must listen.

YES - AND...

These are the exact two words I have been struggling to understand ever since I started my Improv Handbook of Modern Quilters exercise.

I turned to Dr Google to learn more. Two little words that can have all sorts of applications from theatre to quilting to being a better boss. Two little words wading into uncharted waters. Unfolding, uncertain, perilous, uncomfortable. On the other hand - delightful, playful, unconventional. Sometimes scandalous. Heartfelt. Taking risks. Free fall.

Yes! - AND... abandon preconceived ideas of where we will end up. We are in the middle of the journey and it is unfolding. We are part of a collaboration between ourselves, our fabrics, our tools.

Yes! AND... carry the scene / quilt forward.

Link to WIP Wednesday - needle and thread network. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In praise of routines and exploring options...

Good morning! So today's instalment is coming to you from my local coffee shop (which is actually a chain - but close to the drop off where Mom is buying groceries). I generally use this as my opportunity to do other errands like picking up bread, going to the bank etc. But most times I just go for coffee bring my iPad and surf the net. A bit of a time waster - which is okay.

 For 2016 I'd like to do a bit more documentation of my work - and have a bit more of my own work to document. I started a journal to keep the scraps and bits / ask the random questions / feelings and thoughts for my Improv Quilt Handbook QAL group that I recently joined. My LQS has just recently started a Monday "Sewcialites" day for unstructured sew days. It runs whether there is no one - someone - everyone! This will be my Quilt In Process day in which I work on my current UFOs. My goal here is to keep working on one UFO until at least the top is done. If all goes well I'd keep at it until it's sandwiched quilted and has it's binding. As in "completed". I hoped to put the kibosh on signing up for more quilt classes, yet managed to sign up for 2 "mini classes" on the weekend despite this. But both are "technique driven" so I think this is okay. Workshop 1 is learning how to sew in zippers which my "Sew Together Bag" requires. I already have the pattern and the fabrics - so this will keep me moving forward with stash reduction. The second class is on the ins and outs of sashing - which is a complete mystery to me.


I am having a difficult time keeping on track with the first limitation "choose 3 fabrics" I'm down to choosing 3 colours in varying shades yellow / green / orange. Having said that the pink snuck in there somehow and purple is waiting stage right. Everybody wants to join the parade. My personal goal was to use stash only. Technically I have - but I purchased some one fabric last week without intending to use it for this. I may need thin out my fabric choices further - mantra less is more.

This is my second attempt at fabric selection. My first round was picking fabrics from the stash that I didn't like much and was willing to let go for "experimental purposes". After reading the thoughts and reflections of a few others regarding fabric selection - I decided to pull the fabrics I love. Not all my lovelies play together nicely (some pretty big personalities there) so some fabrics went back on the shelf. I am also flummoxed about modern theme fabrics with novelties and traditional. At the end of the day I've decided if I don't get something happening here I may as well just go back to patterns. No  surrender! 

Happy Stitching!

(linked to the Needle & Thread Network - WIP Wednesday).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Live from the Improv!

I have decided to look at some improv quilting this year and have joined a FaceBook group The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. It is based on Sherri Lynn Wood's book by the same name. I have to admit I have been feeling a bit stifled creatively lately as most  all of my current projects are pattern based. Don't get me wrong - I love them all but it seems that the maximum creative input I have is colour and fabric selection. 

So I've decided that Sunday is Improv Day. It is the one day of the week when I don't have to be anywhere or do anything requiring me to get out of my pyjamas - in other words "my time is my own". I'm not sure I can commit to every Sunday - but I did sit down today and started (which for me is 99% of the battle journey).

I also wanted something to actually "show and tell" today. So here is my Improv Handbook Journal Cover. Sherri Lynn encourages us to keep a record of our thoughts, ideas, sketches, project insights and critiques, so we also have something written in our own voice. We are the authors of our own stories.

Granted it is a bit of a mish-mash as I pulled the fabrics out of my scrap bag and just glued them on the cover of a notebook. But -  I really didn't want to "over think" it as this too is own of my biggest obstacles. So I thought "no judgement" just glue it on. Once I was done - I realized that the workbook I had selected felt too small - too confined -  already cramping my style. Since I was on a bit of a just do it binge I cut the cover off and glued it to a larger journal. And now it feels just right!

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Projects & priority setting

Due to last year's semi successes in getting a few finishes in I thought I'd give it another go this year. I  found by actually targeting a few projects for completion I knew where to direct my energies. I belong to a Ravelry group called Quilters Knitting and have found it to be a great source of support online (which is great as I don't belong to a guild). For the Quilters Knitting Group I have posted the following picture for this quarter (quilting projects only):

  1. (Top left) - Circle Game Quilt - 1/16 blocks completed - #2 in process
  2. (Top right) - Chatter of Houses - hand appliqué - 20/48 centre blocks completed
  3. (Bottom left) - Gypsy Wife - all blocks done - need to sew together
  4. Middle right ) Hometown Picnic Quilt - blocks done - joining rows
  5. (Bottom Left) - centre paper pieced Mariner's compass - what to do? what to do?

For my own UFO quarter I have included both quilting and knitting:
  1. (Top) Hometown Picnic* 
  2. (Middle left) Chatter of Houses*
  3. (Middle right) Circle Game *
  4. (Bottom left) Viking Owl socks
  5. (Bottom right) Sandness Shawl
(*in both groups)

Well that's it for now - just thought I'd get my head in the game for where my priorities are!

Linked to WIP Wednesday Needle & Thread Network

Monday, January 4, 2016

I have some completions! Woo hoo!

In the fall I shared a long list of "in process projects".  I joined the "2015 Fall UFO" group via a Ravelry Group called Quilters Knitting. I had to list at least 5 "in process" projects and make an effort to get "something" done, or (at the very least) to encourage others with their efforts. I visit the group threads everyday. Seeing every one's success (plus targeting a few of my own projects) resulted in a few completion's of my own!

fussy cutting and improv QAYG blocks in process

My first finish was a Quilt As You Go Table Runner that I think I had started earlier last year. It was primarily a stashbuster project. I used a panel that I had on hand and fussy cut the autumn themed leaves, sunflowers, nuts and pumpkins and went at it from an improv point of view from there. I highly enjoyed the process, but came to a complete halt when I hit the sashing bit (and into the UFO pile it went). I finally decided to pull it out, return to the tutorial and soldier on. I am embarrassed to admit how easy it was and how intimidated I had been. The technique is from The Quilting Edge

sashing added - QAYG in process
Finally finished!

With a heady feeling of success,  I pulled out my second "time sensitive" project. This was a Happy Holiday Runner that had been languishing from last Christmas.

I spent entirely too much time trying to create a great backing fabric using up my leftovers. In the end I was pleased and I guess the upside is I now have a reversible table runner!

I tried my hand at some free motion quilting (FMQ) with varying levels of success  - bearing in mind that no one who looks at my quilting efforts (in this house) has a clue!

Other than that I finished (finally) my Audrey Cardigan bribing myself that I could start another knitting project if I did.

I'm very happy with how it has turned out but I need to get used to the slippery / slinky feel it has. The yarn is a llama / silk blend and I'm used to warm and woolly yarns!

Well that's it for now. I've a few other thoughts mulling around in my head right now for this blog - just need to let them "moodle" a bit!

Happy New Year!

(Linked to the Needle & Thread Network WIP Wednesday)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

All that glitters...

So - I know. How often can one write "Ooops! Sorry! Long time no write!" and get away with it. It's not wasn't matter of laziness (I don't think) but more a matter to feeling I had nothing to say.

Imagine that! Nothing to say? she said.

I could say I've been in a funk (I have been) but who wants to read a blog about being in a funk? (not me!)

I guess we all feel funky from time to time  - I'm usually pretty oblivious to it all until I stop all my mindless "doing."  And then (once I stop doing) I have occasion to fall into the valley of the funk - I get funky!

Anyways I'm climbing my way back out. I've had a lovely few weeks away from work, done loads of Christmas baking, made some fantastic family dinners (imagine turkey dinner with all the fixings - wine biased short ribs with leek & mushroom risotto - Belgium waffles with fresh berries, whipped cream, bacon and freshly tapped Canadian Maple Syrup - now really can it get any better than that?)

We went to see Star Wars! In 3D!

We've had loads of snow and the sun is back out in all it's glory, so the winter walking is back on baby!

Well that's it for now - Happy 2016!

What type of quilter are you? And opening the box ...

Recently I've become a dedicated "Sewcialite" at my LQS. We meet every Monday and work on our projects. Some of us are prolifi...