30 April 2012

McCall's Quilt Design Star... about to roll

Submissions have been closed, and voting begins tomorrow May 1. There were 147 submissions in the amateur category for this contest, and in the voting pages, my quilt is currently listed at #144 (page 24 of the gallery view, I think).

I encourage y'all to go to the main page for the amateur contest and check out all of the entrants and vote for your fave(s). For more information about rules and to view entries in the professional category as well, visit the contest home page.

27 April 2012

Fat Quarter Idol at Sew, Mama, Sew!

So, a little respite here. Have you all seen the weekly contests going on over on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog?? This is one of those contests that is purely FUN. No putting your own creations on the line, no crazy deadlines, just playing with fabric swatches within a stated theme. And isn't that one of the things that drives us quilters to the medium?

This week's theme is "Meet me at the Picnic." I had fun choosing my 12 prints from their fabric selections. All you have to do to participate is create a Pinterest board (according to their specifications) and post to their blog page for that week's theme.

Since I can't seem to figure out how to create a mosaic of my pinterest board, if you're curious about my picks, you can see them here: http://pinterest.com/lindabeth/sew-mama-sew-fatquarteridol-meet-me-at-the-picnic-/. (and if anyone has tips on doing that mosaic, I would much appreciate any help for future use!) But here are a couple sneak peeks

26 April 2012

I know I haven't been a very good participant of blogland lately. Not sure what to say about that, or if I just pick up the reins and go from here.
(my comfort quilt right now)

(one new design that inspired me earlier this week. The scale on this can be deceiving... this is 40"x40".)

This evening I came across a blog post by Rachel at Stitched in Color that really resonated with me. She was talking about a certain hesitation AND at the same time desire to bring one's personal life into light in a crafting blog. She also addressed a hiccup in confidence when considering getting into the ring on some of the contests and juried shows in the field.

Both of those themes have been weighing on me lately, too, which I think might explain at least some of my "radio silence." And inevitably they are intertwined, am I wrong? I don't want this to turn into a pity party, or a list of complaints and shortfalls, and I am sure no one reading this wants that either, but sometimes it's hard to talk about what I AM accomplishing without addressing what might have driven me in that direction.

That said, my focus this week has been dedicated primarily to a couple of competitive endeavors whose deadlines are fast-approaching – like in two days, approaching.

At the end of March I saw a call for entries from McCall's Quilting, looking for submissions for a contest they're holding, "Quilt Design Star, 2012." Now, I don't expect I have a chance in a million to get anywhere in this one, but I am trying to embrace the idea of putting myself out there and working toward specific goals, and, well, this qualifies as both, right? And we as artists and creators have to take these chances to make more chances for ourselves. It can be a huge challenge and often ends in disappointment (at least for me), but there is a passion and love for the process that keeps us at it.

And then there's the Portland Modern Quilt Guild's special exhibition at Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this summer. I decided months ago that I wanted to submit one or two quilts for consideration, but with no information forthcoming I didn't keep a specific target. Then at last week's meeting we got the low-down, including our submission deadline, just 10 days later (which will be this Saturday). I'm kind of excited about what I have in mind to submit, and they are being quite lenient on what stage your quilt is currently in, thankfully, but the news came to me on a day when my ego was feeling a bit bruised. Let's just say that the last week has been full of indecision, uncertainty, some self-deprication, and ultimately getting down to business.

Making a decision

and getting down to business

(blocks were made by the members of Friends + Fabric = A Modern Stash Bee group on Flickr. This is missing blocks from one of the members, so hopefully they'll arrive before I need to finish piecing this, on the off chance I DO get into the show.)

I feel like I have so much more I want to share from the last week or so, but now maybe isn't the time. And by "now" I mean this late at night after I've been at the studio all day and can hardly keep my eyes open, not necessarily the more general idea of this juncture of time and experience. (see, I'm starting to totally babble and lose coherence.)

So goodnight for now, and thank you for sticking with me.

22 April 2012

Running Warm and Cool

Some of you may remember seeing my finished top from the Warm / Cool Quilt Along hosted by Jeni at In Color Order during 2011.

Well, it's taken me a while, but I finally threw together a backing and picked up some batting, and hope to get this puppy quilted in the next couple of weeks. I'd been looking for an excuse to buy something from Malka Dubrawksy's "A Stitch in Color" fabric line, and here was the perfect piece and the perfect use, as far as I could tell.

I also returned to my all-batik version from the same QAL. I needed some completely mindless work on Thursday (it was just one of those days), and I had the first 6 rows of HSTs arranged and stacked in order, so it was just a matter of chain piecing.

Which leaves me with about 2/3s of the quilt top to put together... including figuring out layout from this point down. Thankfully I've already sewn all of the HSTs, so I can go straight to the fun part!

Hope everyone's having a splendid weekend! Portland is swimming in sunlight this weekend, and I'm looking forward to joining a friend for a bike ride and margaritas later on! But first, the back yard is in desperate need of some mower action. And off I go.

More photos from Montana

It might not seem so, but I didn't get nearly as many photos while on our trip as I would have liked. And one photo opportunity that we ALL missed was taking any shots of the family when everyone was all together (I think there ended up being 12 of us in all). Do any of you all have a similar story of getting a group together after many years and getting so caught up in the moment forgetting to document?

However, the next day I did manage to get one people shot
(From right to left: J making one of his "I'm on the wrong side of the camera" faces, J's brother Ned, Ned's girlfriend Addie, and Laura - J and Ned's awesomely sweet mom!)

And then back to shots around "town"...
On a visit to Missoula's carousel, which I'm told is made from all hand-carved and hand-painted wood for the horses. It's my understanding (though I could be wrong on this one) that they were each done by local artists.

So, can you see what I saw in this sign, which put a smile on my face and my camera to my eye?? (and I'll say it's pretty true, from our assessment)

The giant chess set on the patio of Bayern brewery - one of Ned's hobbies.

And back to the scenery shots:
First thing in the morning from the back door of the neighbors' garage apartment where J and I were staying

As the light begins to change...

Becoming a gorgeous day!

The still partially frozen Seeley Lake

And I'll end this post with the few shots I got of the herd of elk we saw on our way back to the homestead. Being the city girl that I am, I apparently scared them off before we got a good shot, but maybe I'll know for next time (and thankfully the only things with which we were shooting were cameras... if it had been hunting season the response to my scaring them off would have been VERY DIFFERENT, I am sure)!

17 April 2012

Finding my way back

The trip was excellent, and I'll be posting more photos in the coming days, but now it's time to get back to the sewing room.

I spent my first day back in the studio catching up on all of my April bee blocks — and redoing the one I had actually put together before the road trip.

Friends + Fabric [AMSB]
April is Karen's month, and she wrote a stellar tutorial for making up a variation on a quilt she made previously, seen here.
My first try... at a glance looks good, but I put the rectangles together backwards. That'll teach me to follow a tutorial after only printing out the first 2 pages, preparing for sewing without access to my computer, but wanting to save paper!

So, I began my work today picking out stitches while re-watching an episode of Greek through Netflix.
Hopefully with the right orientation this time!

Block #2

Seeing the two side by side gives a great view of the value contrasts (which is something Karen was looking for in these blocks and will make a stunning, stunning finished quilt!)

Design Camp [think outside the block]
This is an improv swap with a relatively loose format, but this month Mary gave us some guidelines within which to work. She sent out packets with strips of yummy autumnal Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs prints along with some Kona Butter solid and a strip of one other solid. She shared a tutorial for making up chevrons (or french braids) to be encorporated into the blocks, but left the overall layout up to each of us.

do. Good Stitches - Bliss Circle
This year seems to be starting off with the representational blocks for this group! Marian pointed a tutorial by Heather of Olive and Ollie for these sweet little house blocks.
I was going for a little mid-century masonry and an ivy covered roof on this one!

I love how the pattern on this Joel Dewberry fabric looks like we're peering through a beautiful ironwork fence!
Unfortunately, these blocks didn't end up exactly the target size, but thankfully Marian is being super flexible about it! And on these guys my problems with pressing all of these seam allowances open is much more evident than in the other bee blocks for the month. I can certainly understand the benefit of that technique in bee blocks, but it's not always the most efficient method.

All in all I think today went pretty well, and as an added bonus, I got to finish it off by meeting a friend for dinner at Ya Hala, a spectacular Lebanese restaurant in SE. And now I am {enjoying?} a pretty intense film that keeps drawing my attention away from this post, "The Bang Bang Club," about a group of photojournalists in South Africa in the mid-'90s. Holy _ _ _ _! Worth watching, to be sure!