Quilty Birthday

2019 Birthday Gifts
2019 Birthday Gifts

No, my birthday is not in February, but I didn’t have a chance to show off my gifts until now. I am not trying to make anyone jealous.

It was a pretty big quilty birthday, which is not always the case. I got a new cutting mat. I have smaller cutting mats that go with me when I travel or participate in Sew Day. The mat I use in my workroom, however, is the one I got when I started making quilts more than 30 years ago! It was time for an upgrade and I am using and loving the new one. It does make a difference.

I received some new Tula dots. I’ll have to figure out something fabulous to make with them.

Charm square project tote
Charm square project tote

I also got a number of new project totes, which is great! I really like putting my projects in totes and keeping everything together. This little tote (right) fits charm squares. Not sure how I will use it, but will figure something out.

I haven’t tried everything out, but am slowly working my way through all the new stuff. I am so fortunate to have such great friends. It was so nice get things related to my passion.

Green Strips Donation Top

Green Strips donation top
Green Strips donation top

The Green Strips donation top and back is finally finished and ready to take to BAM.

I made it from green scraps and a yard of Kona Cream that Amanda gave me. The scrap bin is right next to my sewing machine, so I can reach in an rummage without even getting up! It would be a bad thing except I have to get up to iron and cut, so I still get steps in.

The block was inspired by Alison, as I think I have mentioned, though she does hers on a foundation. That is probably a good idea, though I didn’t have a lot of problems with bias.

Green Strips donation back
Green Strips donation back

I dragged down the green bin and pulled out some yardage I didn’t think I would use for the back.

What Are Scraps?

Blue scrap drawer
Blue scrap drawer

As I work on the strip blocks, I have been pondering scraps. My scraps are small. Often times they are smaller than 2.5″. Not always, because periodically I get sick of sorting scraps and larger pieces end up in the scrap drawers. I am forcing myself to add more pieces to the bag for filling pet beds, because I have a lot of fabric and I probably won’t get through the yardage much less shreds of fabric. Pet Beds are a good cause. A lot of my fabric does not go to the landfill because of Pet Beds.

When my bins get too full, I get out my Accuquilt and cut up scraps into smaller pieces. One problem with Accuquilt cutting is that I only have certain dies and certain projects that need certain pieces. I need 2″ squares of blue,green and purple but not of white. I need 2.5″ squares of all colors, but not all scraps are large enough to cut a 2.5″ square. The whole scrap management thing is really a headache, which is one reason I have been defaulting to pet bed filling lately.

Alison's Blocks
Alison’s Blocks

A lot of what I keep are strips. I keep them, because they can be useful, but not large enough for 2″ or 2.5″ squares. I am using up some strips making the blocks Alison showed me (right).

Larger scraps, like half a FQ, stay with my yardage. I do that partially because my scrap bins are already overflowing and there isn’t space. I also do it because if I can cut more than a 2.5″ square out of the piece, I don’t really consider it a scrap. I occasionally find something I can use for a large-ish scrap requirement in a scrap bin. If I do, as mentioned, I was probably sick of sorting scraps.

I have used a lot of scraps for journal covers, which is a fun exercise in improv piecing and color combinations.

What do you consider to be scraps? How large are scraps in your scrap bins? Fill out the 1 question scrap survey and I will report back on the results in another post later.

Last FOTY 2018?

FOTY 2018 (December 2018)
FOTY 2018 (December 2018)

This particular grouping looks really nice together – the attraction of a fabric line, I suppose.

My quiltmaking supplies and tools are put away while I care for the YM, so this may be the last group of patches for FOTY 2018. There are still a few days until the end of the year, so we will see.

FOTY 2018 – early November

FOTY 2018 squares - early November 2018
FOTY 2018 squares – early November 2018

I cut all of the fabric that was waiting on my ironing board to be cut. I tend to press fabric when I am stressed, but I don’t always get to cutting up the pieces I need for future projects.

I really should have been packing for two trips I was taking, but instead I cut fabric. Now I have a completely empty ironing board and a lot more pieces to add to my various boxes. Future projects: here I come!

FOTY 2018 AGAIN…Finally

FOTY 2018 -October 2018
FOTY 2018 -October 2018

I finally got enough squares to make an interesting post for you. The last time I posted was in August, so not horrific, but long enough. I am not cutting up fabric and the pace I should be. I keep just piecing.

You’ll notice the MetroScape fabrics mostly missing. I am waiting to finish the top before I cut up many squares, because I’d rather have those fabrics missing from FOTY 2018 than not be able to finish the MetroScape quilt. I think I’ll have plenty.

FOTY 2018 – August

FOTY 2018 - August 2018
FOTY 2018 – August 2018

It took me awhile to cut enough squares to make a good post. I did it and am still making progress.You can see that many of the fabrics are from the Stepping Stones n.2 piece. There are a few from Ends n.5 and also some from the Tool Tote. It is fun to see the fabrics I used in projects in this quilt.

There are also some new fabrics, which makes me feel happy, because I am getting fabrics cut and organized for future projects.

This is making me think of putting together FOTY 2017. I really need to get to that. Should I finish the Aqua-Red Sampler first or put that project back on the back burner and move to FOTY 2017?

I have so many projects!!! I need more time to sew.

Finished: Fabric of the Year 2016

Finished: Fabric of the Year 2016
Finished: Fabric of the Year 2016

Fabric of the Year 2016 is finished. I actually finished it a few weeks ago, but getting photos without the help of the YM is a challenge.

I didn’t spend as long on it this year, but the fabrics were also quite a challenge: many fewer solids and tone-on-tones, which are easy to gradate.

2016’s shape was a 3 inch square and that was pretty easy to put together. I’m not sure about the border, but I am not taking it off.

Finished: Fabric of the Year 2016-back
Finished: Fabric of the Year 2016-back

The back was super easy to make! It came together so well. I was shocked, because I often struggle and fight with backs.

More FOTY 2018

FOTY 2018 - mid-May
FOTY 2018 – mid-May

I have a very small update for FOTY 2018.

One of the things about cutting 2.5″ squares is that I can cut and cut and cut and still only have covered a space approximately 12 inches by 15 inches. When I go to put this quilt together, this will come in handy as I can add all of the dark squares I want and realize my dream (finally).

Most of the pieces cut are from new fabrics that have pressed and were waiting on my ironing board for me to cut them up. I was looking for blues so I could make more HRTs. I found I needed more of the right facing rectangles to make the last Spiky 16 Patch block I need for a donation quilt.

FOTY 2018 – April Progress

FOTY 2018 -April
FOTY 2018 -April

The last time I wrote about this project was March. I have actually made a lot of progress on this quilt, though it might not seem like it. The shape and size are small for this year, so I will really need to step up my cutting game.

Time has been short recently due to a lot of family events, but I have had time to press and cut shapes from my new fabrics. This means lots of new squares for FOTY 2018. In this group you will also see lots of familiar fabrics. Fabrics show up from the projects on which I have been working recently.

There is also something a little different this time: the butterfly. After I washed the fabric, I wrote myself a note to fussy cut one of the butterflies. I did, but I am not sure it will end up as is in the final project. I don’t want one fabric to dominate. If I buy (or use some already in the fabric closet) some other fabrics with fussy cuttable designs, then I might keep it. For now, the opportunity is there.

Flapper Apron

Decades of Style Flapper Apron
Decades of Style Flapper Apron

I finally made this Flapper Apron from the Decades of Style pattern company. I purchased it at the Speckled Hen during my shop hop with Amanda in January. Not too shabby, actually. Not that much time has gone by.

Frankly, I am on a mission to use up at least 100 yards net of fabric this year and these aprons take two yards. I have an idea to make a series of them for gifts and this was the first one. It is for me and I used some of my my recent Philip Jacobs fabric purchases.

Flapper Apron
Flapper Apron

On the Church Ladies apron that I made before and use almost every day, I interfaced all the parts, so it has a bit of heft (stiffness??) to it. Some parts are too stiff. On this Flapper apron, I only interfaced the pocket, so my phone wouldn’t fall out. I am now concerned that I should have interfaced more of it, perhaps with a lighter interfacing than the ShapeFlex I normally use? It feels a little lightweight to me and not able to protect my clothes from wet splashes and drips. (Yes, this is pretty, but I intend to use my aprons)

Flapper Apron - inside
Flapper Apron – inside

I am kind of sorry I used this great fabric to make the first one, a sort of test, but I firmly believe I should use my good fabric. I also firmly believe there is more fabric, so I suppose I have more fabric I love and can make another apron if this one isn’t up to par.

This is two sided, so I can turn the inside to the outside if I want. I put one pocket on both sides. I only need a pocket for my phone as I don’t put spoons and other kitchen gear in my apron pockets.

The other thing I need to think about is the neck. I thought I didn’t need to adjust the circle for the neck, but I like my aprons to cover almost up to my neck. In this case, the top of the body of the apron falls below that. I think this is a case in which I should have had SIL#2 help me do the fitting.

This apron was not difficult to make and I like that you use 1 yard of fabric (though I bought 1/25 yards and that gave me some room to maneuver) and is cut on the bias. I was able to finish it in a few hours during one day. I did make some changes to the construction based on my recent experience making the Superheroine apron.

FOTY 2018 Starts

Fabric of the Year 2018 Jan-mid March patches
Fabric of the Year 2018 Jan-mid March patches

I finally had enough cut pieces to write a post on the Fabric of the Year 2018 piece. This year I chose a 2.5″ square so I could have a realistic chance of doing the Ellsworth Kelly style layout. The size of the pieces from Fabric of the Year 2017 makes this layout realistically impossible. First of all, I don’t have a design wall large enough to accommodate such a large piece. Second, I would have to cut all the pieces down to a square and I want to work with the subway tile shape. Third, I don’t want to wrestle such a large quilt. FOTY 2017 will probably be a monster anyway and I don’t want to add to it. It seemed better to start afresh with an idea in mind.

The 2.5″ shape also means I can get pieces out of small leftovers where needed. I am excited, though FOTY 2017 being undone still drags a bit. I am making progress on my list, so I can’t complain too much.

FOTY 2016 Ready to Quilt

Yes, I am reporting on another quilt top/back ready to quilt. The last one was the Triple Star.

Fabric of the Year 2016 Top
Fabric of the Year 2016 Top

Fabric of the Year 2016 is ready to take to Colleen. I spent enough time on gradating the colors together, but quickly realized that there were some prints that weren’t going to gradate and I needed to not beat my head against the wall.

I am pleased with the way it came out, but those blacks and browns are just a PITA and really, really irritating.

This quilt is affectionately called ‘Year of the Duck”, thanks to SIL#2.

FOTY 2016 Back
FOTY 2016 Back

I really wanted to use a certain Philip Jacobs fabric for the back, but I restrained myself, because I want to use it for something I can see or use more often. I compromised and used a lovely peony-old fashioned rose-some other kind of random flower print.

FOTY 2017 is coming up in the queue. Not next, but soon.

MQG Creative Webinar

Periodically, I am actually able to take advantage of some of the benefits of my MQG membership. Last week, I watched a webinar with Malka Dubrawsky on using prints called Creative Webinar: Printed and Patched: Designing with Patterned Fabric with Malka Dubrawsky.

My overall first impression was that there is an assumption that modern quiltmakers don’t use prints. I see a lot of MQG people buy lots of FQ collections. Wasn’t there some crazy hullabaloo over Heather Ross and some castle/princess collection a few years? Blueberry Park is pretty popular as well.

I tried to take this weird impression and set it off to the side so I could gain some knowledge from the webinar.

Malka said that prints have graphic information. There seemed to be another assumption that we are used to using small scale prints because they read as colors. She talked about using larger scale prints as graphic messaging. Dubrawsky said that using a variety, both large and small scale prints, creates interest.

She divided the presentation up into points:

  • spaces
  • movement
  • color/color contrast
  • common print
  • random

I think that I may have missed one or two points, but I got some good information out of these, so the webinar was worth my time.

When Malka talked about spaces she was talking about dividing up the quilt’s surface into different spaces. She, then, talked about using prints in those spaces. You can also organize blocks as spaces or into spaces to use prints.

Movement went right past me.

She used Color / Color Contrast as a different type of organizing tool, which I thought was interesting. One example was dividing up a quilt into warm/cool.  Again the idea was about organizing fabrics on the surface of the quilt so you can use printed fabrics. I don’t find this to be necessary in my work, but I thought the concept was interesting and it might be worth trying.

She encouraged makers to create rules for ourselves to use prints so they make sense across the surface. I do this with my quilts in general.

I had no idea what Dubawsky meant by Common Print. She was referring to using different colorways of the same prints all together. I have always loved this concept. I often like having all the prints in all the colors. Remember my Half Moon Modern drama? Malka says that it allows for easier color and shape focus.

She said that using prints can produce ‘hidden treasures’ that don’t show up when you use solids. Prints create another point of interest, more to look at.

Random: hard to make work, but can work. This was difficult for the presenter to explain and I can understand why. She threw out:

“Simple shapes, colors go together, big spaces. Active background electrify prints rather than toning them down. Focus is on color rather than design.”

Overall message is that makers need to organize your fabrics and design so that they work on the surface. She said that design is really important and I was thrilled.

She encourages people to make their own FQ packs.

Yay! She uses batiks all the time. She calls them modern batiks – modern, bold, graphic designs. Malka also said that she doesn’t really like the older style, watercolor-y batiks. I got the impression that it was the motifs on the surface of the fabric rather than the batik process she didn’t like.

To start: Pick (buy or create) a fabric collection you really love – she buys entire FQ bundle- and then play around with different ways of organizing fabrics. Small/large prints or warm/cool colors. Use a simple geometric design. Challenge yourself. I also got the impression that she was saying to be brave.

Her new designs will be available on Feb 1 on her website as PDFs. Printed patterns will be available Feb 20. She is also doing kits.

A recording of this webinar is on the MQG site for your viewing pleasure, if you are a member.

 

On a Roll

FOTY 2016 stack
FOTY 2016 stack

I made a lot of progress over the weekend and finally pulled out the squares from FOTY 2016.

Yep. 2016.

It has been awhile.

Mom was sitting around chatting while I was sewing, so I asked her to sort them for me. She had never done that before, so it was a challenge. She didn’t realize how much of a challenge it was to put fabric squares together with ‘like’ colors. She is more used to painting and that is a whole different experience. She also uses a color theory system called the Munsell system.

Now I have stacks of squares in semi-color order with which to start. I wasn’t going to gradate them again, but they are too large to add in black or charcoal squares a la Ellsworth Kelly. I don’t want to make another giant quilt.

I don’t think it is next on my list, but it is coming up.