22 October 2011

Limited Palette I-Spy

It's been several years since I have made an I-Spy quilt. The fact that my stash of novelty fabrics doesn't seem to have diminished at all recently confirms this. Over the years I've enjoyed putting these guys together, keeping the parents of the recipients in mind as best I can. Here's a little evolution of some of the I-Spys I've done:
(original design by Ami Simms, in her book Picture Play Quilts)

(please excuse the picture quality.... these were done long before I took much care in documenting)

and then a couple of years after that one:

and most recently (for a little tike who is about to turn 2 in just a couple of weeks!):
(another design from the Ami Simms Picture Play Quilts book)

Now, I'm about to start a new quilt, and I've decided I really want to do another log-cabin style I-Spy, but instead of using the whole spectrum of brights out there, I am leaning toward a limited (and rather subdued) palette for this family. I started pulling some focus patches the other day and decided to just get started on a few of the blocks to see if I like where it's going. This is all I have so far, but I think it will work...

I'll be posting more as it develops. Happy Saturday!

21 October 2011

Nubees blocks from Sept.

For a few weeks now I have had all 6 of my blocks from the September round of Nubees block swap, but realized that I hadn't taken a photo of all of them to post.

I have some ideas on how I want to set the blocks (maybe adding 1-3 more), but not sure what colors I am going to choose for the background of the quilt. I keep leaning toward grey, but am afraid that that's almost overdone at this point. Maybe the soft blue? I'm open to suggestions...

Step by step...

I got to spend my Thursday working in the sewing studio, but again feel like I was less productive than I'd have hoped. However, I did manage to finish 4 out of 8 of my 6.5" blocks for October's Seams Perfect Bee.
which when things get pieced together, will look more like this:

Becky pointed us toward a quilt from Karen Griska, highlighted on her blog, Selvage Blog. Without a doubt it is an extremely effective and eye-catching quilt, but I have to admit I did not have fun trimming all of the strips down to 1.25" and fussying the seam allowances (though, I wasn't really TOO fussy, honestly). However, I am sure that some folks didn't love the technique that I chose for my month, so I was happy to do this for Becky!!

I managed to get the strips cut for the next 4 blocks (hopefully enough of them), but have put off the piecing until another day. Unfortunately that's not all that I put off as of yesterday. I had been planning to go to the guild meeting for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (PMQG), but by 5:30 I was going through my new box of tissue at a rapid rate, and my energy plummeted, so the idea of hanging around an hour just to go downtown for a 2 hour meeting didn't jibe with me. Which is really too bad since I missed last month's meeting, and I'll be out of town next month. This also means I won't be participating in the holiday swap, but that's how life is sometimes, no?

20 October 2011

November BLISS block

At some point over the summer Michelle - a.k.a I Like Orange, Too, the host for the Bliss circle of do.Good Stitches, put out an entreaty for someone in our circle to step in as quilter for the month of November. For those of you not familiar with how this Flickr group operates, each of the circles in this charity bee has a combination of "quilters" and "stitchers." The quilters are each responsible for choosing the design for the group's quilt 2-3 months during the year, communicating during that month with the rest of their circle, and piecing together the blocks he/she receives, then quilting and binding the piece before sending it to that circle's designated charity. Stitchers, on the other hand, are simply responsible for putting together (generally) 2 blocks each month and sending them off to that month's quilter. I joined the group as a stitcher, knowing my dislike for actually quilting things! However, after several weeks passed and no one else had expressed an ability to step in for November, I decided to challenge myself and commit a little bit more to this group. And that is how I have come to be next month's quilter for the Bliss circle.

I've decided to go with a relatively easy block to piece, leaving size and details flexible, but with specific colors and general style.

I'm looking for the equivalent of two 12" blocks (in the photo above I have one 12" block, one 8" block and two 4" blocks... or, say, four 6" blocks = one 12" block, but no need to be too precise). Please use a solid in any shade of orange, blue or aqua as the background, and prints in the opposite color PLUS black and white prints for the pieced strip going through your block.

Here's a quick little tute on how I did these guys:

I started by selecting a group of background color options, and scraps in blues, oranges and B/W.

Cut your backgrounds into squares or rectangles that are approximately the desired size of your finished block

Selecting from your scraps, start piecing a strip using a single color story mixed with your B/W. Your strip can be anywhere from 1" to about 3" wide, depending on the finished size of the block. Don't worry about being exact as you'll be trimming the edges once you have the strip to the appropriate length.

(I find it easiest to chain piece, so I was working on all 4 strips at the same time, but you can see that each one stays with being EITHER orange OR blue.)
Continue piecing your scrappy strip until it reaches about 1/2" to 1" longer than your background piece. If you are going to piece it in at an angle, make sure you allow for the extra length for that.
As I was approaching the lengths of my background pieces, I simply held the strips up against them to "measure." Oh, and I don't think I have yet mentioned - please pair the pieced strip with a background of its complimentary color (blue with orange and vice-versa). When you have that complete, press your seams in one direction. Trim up the edges of the strip so they are even.

Next, make a slice through your background, where you plan to add the strip.

Piece them together, press seam allowances toward the background and trim.

And if the finished product ends up a little bit off from the dimensions you were aiming for, no worries. I'm figuring that I'll be putting some filler in to make up for gaps in irregular sizes - I only ask that you trim to square or rectangular, with 90-degree corners, not wonky.

I hope everyone has fun with these guys! If you have any questions at all, or need clarification, just let me know. And thanks to the ladies of the Bliss circle for bearing with me on my first venture as a quilter (in this context!). I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!

19 October 2011

More things under way

I've been pulling together groups of fabrics to make more place mat sets (maybe getting ready for the holidays??)

And started cutting out some of the combos...
which in some cases has led to reevaluating the fabric choices, while others are well on their way...

Now maybe one of these days I'll sit back down at my sewing machine and get them made up.

18 October 2011

NEVER say "never"!

Wow. I can hardly believe that half of the month has gone by without my posting anything at all. I guess it's been one of those months so far.

I've fallen behind on the bees in which I participate - well, not exactly BEHIND, just running up against the latter part of the deadlines. So today, after spending the morning at home doing some homework while I was waiting for my appt. with the "tree guy," I decided I needed to take advantage of this gorgeous, sunny fall day. How could I not take my bike to the studio?!?

Oh yeah, I've been battling this stubborn old cold for about 3 weeks now. I forget how much that can take out of a person, even if you just think the worst symptom is the runny/red nose. I made it to the studio alright, a little out of breath, and had to stop a couple of times more frequently than I have in the past, but so it goes - time to do some sewing!!

I started by whipping up samples for next month's BLISS circle blocks for do.good Stitches - a project I volunteered to take on when our little circle lost a quilter.
(I'll expand on these in another post dedicated to the group and these blocks)

Once I got that out of the way, it was time to attack the block for THIS month's BLISS circle. Becky asked us to make blocks using this tutorial from Lily's Quilts. It's a stunning block, but OH MY GOODNESS!! As I was trimming all of those very very little HSTs, I was thinking to myself, "never again!" And then it hit me as I started laying the HSTs... I had only cut out enough for ONE STUPID BLOCK. Which means I will need to do it all over again, but it will have to wait for another day. But at least I have something to show on the group page:

I also have blocks to do for the Seams Perfect Bee. For some reason, the October hosts on both of these bees decided that lots of precise cutting and many, many seams was the way to go. Okay, so Becky (different Becky, coincidentally) chose a block with only semi-precise cutting,
but then you have to go back and trim the seam allowances before pressing...

I have plenty more work for both of these projects, but I am glad I at least got started. Which can also describe my ride home tonight... I only got started, but was too wiped out to make it very far, so I ended up dumping my bike at J's apartment (about a mile or so from my studio, as opposed to the 5+ miles for me to get home) and taking the bus the rest of the way. It was fortunate that I had that option, otherwise it would have taken me much longer to land and pour my glass of wine, and I would have been REALLY cranky! But thankfully, I arrived less cranky than I was when I got to J's, and have been enjoying that glass of wine. So, how do you all like to unwind after a long day, or feeling like you didn't accomplish all of your goals in the manner that you'd hoped?

09 October 2011

Sunday - let's reflect

It can sometimes be difficult to get back into the swing of things after taking a little break. I'm finding that to be the case with my sewing, not just the blog, but things are beginning to roll again. I only have one NEW item to show for the last couple of weeks, but have been trying to photograph other things and update my Etsy page.

And yesterday I went to a baby shower for a good friend, for which I went to my standard shower gift - the Amy Butler Nappy Bag. It amazes me what a great response this bag gets, but I'm glad it works!

I used a twill from the MoMo collection "It's a Hoot" for the outside of the bag.
(love that owl!)

For the lining and pockets I kind of pieced together some coordinates I had already in the stash - since I didn't actually have the pattern with me when I bought the lining fabric, so I bought short - it ended up being the lining on the back of all of the pockets. But thankfully, I had a bunch of that Robert Kaufman Metro Living in green, which I had passed up on a previous project, and it just happens to work with the MoMo. Yay!

And it's nice how well the Valori Wells "Nest" and Joel Dewberry "Modern Meadow" coordinates fit perfectly as accents in the pockets.

03 October 2011

Rose Festival place mats continued

I managed to finish the first set of these place mats before leaving for our lovely trip to Hawaii last week, but did have to bust out the napkins the day after our return. However, got it all taken care of and dropped off at the Rose Festival Foundation offices on the LAST day for accepting auction donations for their upcoming auction.

Keep your eyes peeled for the converse set of these guys!