Thursday, August 15, 2019

Love Letters

After the intense quilting I did on Reel Window, I wanted to work on something relatively simple and straightforward: block-based, minimum planning, and no marking is the key. I looked through my frighteningly large stash of quilt tops, and pulled out Love Letters.

Love Letters is based on the pattern Glitter Pen by Cheryl Arkison. Or, more precisely, I think I read in the blurb that the design came from her daughter who was only 6 at the time. (How amazing is that?) It's a black-and-white with a pop of color type of quilt, which I love. For the pops of color, I used the Love Letters fabric collection by AGF Studio.

For the quilting, I decided to play with the geometry of this quilt by doing lots of straight lines, but spice it up with some free-motion quilting. I picked a few curvy favorites from my arsenal (feathers, serpentine lines, ribbon candies, wishbones, swirls) and mixed them up all over the quilt along with the straight lines.

White is undeniably one of the colors that show off quilting the most, but the downside is that it is extremely prone to varicose veins (darker threads on the back of the quilt showing through). I definitely had some issues with that in this quilt, but once off the frame, they become much less noticeable.

One thing I really like about this quilt is that at certain angles (or when I squint) I can only see the beautiful and striking pattern, but when I get to a different angle, the texture on the white fabrics really shows. It reminds me a bit of those billboards where the picture changes at different angles.

This quilt was relatively stress-free and I really like the end result. I was planning on making this quilt for my guest bed, but I love it so much that I've decided to steal it for my own bed!

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Minikins: Charm School Wallet

The Charm School Wallet is my 3rd wallet of the year, and possibly my favorite so far. It is designed by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness as part of her Minikins Season 2 collection. I absolutely adored the fabric I used, which is one of those rare finds in a quilting store when I wasn't even looking for it. It's from Starlight by Katia Hoffman, and my only regret is that I didn't buy more at the time. I paired it with a black Moda grunge, which is a lot more interesting than a solid black fabric.

Making this wallet was a bit of an exercise in frustration. The difficulty of this is probably beneath the Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet ... well, actually it is supposed to be a lot easier, if only I could stop and listen to the instructions. But I didn't, and I ended up putting the snaps in the wrong place ... twice. The 2nd time, I didn't want to rip it out again as I was very close to damaging the fabric, so I improvised a bit and trimmed some pieces. But it worked out, and at the end everything still lined up ... whew!

This is definitely my most practical wallet so far, as it's able to fit a lot of cards, and there's a zippered pocket for my phone. And though it wasn't part of the pattern, I had to add a wrist strap to make it really useful for me. I used some leftover cork that matched the grunge pretty well, and any excuse to pull out my rivet press is a happy occasion!

I'm so in love with this wallet, and it is such a great way to show off a piece of fabric that otherwise would be hidden in my stash. But now, back to quilting!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Black (and White) Beauty

I absolutely love black and white, and I've been looking to make a black and white quilt for a long time. The only problem is that black and white, while great to look at, feels a little boring for me to work with. I would miss the prints, the fun colors ... or so I thought until I set my eyes on Sedona.

Sedona is a pattern from the geniuses at Sew Kind of Wonderful, and it's a row-by-row pattern in black and white featuring 11 different blocks, about half of which involve curved piecing. I love the look of curved piecing, but I'm really awful at them. Luckily, this pattern allows for a ton of trim-down, so even I can end up with curves that look decently good.

I started Sedona as part of a sew-along, but very quickly I realized that I don't have the patience to follow along in a sew-along. Once I really get into the project, that's all I really want to work on. Watching the rows come out one by one on the design wall is also really encouraging, because the look of this quilt is just so graphic.

After a few weeks of working on little else, I finally finished piecing Sedona. I kept it hanging on my design wall for a few days even after I finished it, because every time I see it, the impact of it strikes me. I just love it!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fremont Tote

I'm about to go on a 2 week trip (including a 14-hour flight with a 7 year old ... wish me luck) to Shanghai, and I wanted to make a bag for the trip. I wanted something that was roomy, versatile, and able to withstand the rigors of weather and travel.

Enter the Fremont Tote designed by Ellie Lum of Klumhouse. I was in love with this bag as soon as I saw it, because there's lots of hardware (which I love), it has a great look, but feels very hardwearing. That's probably due to the materials it's made out of: waxed canvas. Oh, and that mustard yellow? One of my favorite colors, for sure.

I've never used waxed canvas before, and it's probably one of the heaviest fabrics I've worked with, but surprise surprise, this is probably one of the easiest bags I've ever made. I suffered no broken needles, no screaming in frustration, no tears, and I didn't even break out into a sweat. This bag is that easy, and thanks to the materials and the hardware, it looks really professional!

I purchased a kit which meant the leather / hardware is all there, which is very helpful as I did not want to have to source all that, considering I don't use this kind of material all that often. The only tools I had to provide was a rotary punch, a hammer and screwdriver. Putting in the hardware is very, very fun.

I'm super happy with the end result. You know how sometimes you make something and it just doesn't look like the picture in the pattern? Well, I think mine looks about as close as I could expect to the picture in the pattern!

There are other colors this bag kit comes in, including a black on black that I'm eyeing. All I need now is a coupon and an excuse.

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I'm currently on vacation and both my email and blog access is blocked, so I won't be able to reply until I return. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Reel Window

If I rated my quilts based on the amount of time they spent on the frame, Reel Window would rank at the top. By a long shot. I think this quilt spent a record of 10 weeks on the frame. I had a lot of other fun things in my life distracting me, and I just kept procrastinating on working this quilt. Actual number of hours that went into quilting this quilt is ... probably ... 16? 18? I don't really keep track. Maybe I should.

The pattern is called Open Your Window by Zen Chic, and the fabric is also by Zen Chic (have I mentioned yet that she's my favorite designer?) called Reel Time. So I combined the two to name this quilt Reel Window. When I finished piecing this, I thought to myself that this quilt feels very retro and simultaneously techy. Swirls would be so wrong for this.

So of course I had to quilt swirls. But they are embedded into a network of circuits, which is also why this quilt took forever. My machine, as fabulous as it is, just doesn't like this design. No, let me rephrase that. My machine hates this design. So it was a rather frustrating process, even if the end result is pretty cool.

I quilted the focal fabrics with some simple geometric designs and filled in the empty blocks with ghost blocks. I used two designs, a dot-to-dot design and a piano key-type design.

The back of this quilt shows off the circuit design even more.

In conclusion, I really love this quilt and I think this is some of my best quilting yet, but it completely exposed a major shortcoming with my machine. I don't want to make this post any longer, so I'll probably write about "the defect" in a future post. For now, I'll enjoy this new addition to my quilt collection and enjoy adding a new design to my arsenal.

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Powered by Quilting, and Meadow Mist Designs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

QuiltCon 2020 Registration

Well, that was easier than expected!

I get antsy every year while registering for QuiltCon. It reminds me of registering for college classes, that nail-biting nervousness. What if the server crashes? What if I can't get into the classes I wanted to get into? I always come well-prepared, and two minutes before registration begins, I could feel my heartbeat gradually increase in speed.

There are lots of quilt shows every year across the US, some even fairly local to me, but for all these other shows, I'm rarely, if ever, interested in the classes. For QuiltCon, however, I make my schedule weeks in advance where I'm triple-booked on every slot and I have to keep prioritizing, all the while lamenting that it's impossible to take every class I want to take. With that state of mind, it's really easy to overload myself, which is what happened two years ago, and I told myself I wouldn't do it again.

But of course, I did it again. I signed up for 5 classes over 2 days, and I can already feel that I'm going to be very tired by the end of it, but I can't resist the temptation. Here are the classes I'm currently signed up for:

Fill It With Style - Jodi Robinson
Playful Color Theory - Rebecca Bryan
More Than Just Lines - Jodi Robinson
Making Color Work - Heather Black
Serpentine Lines - Angela Walters

I must say registration went much more smoothly than I expected. The only thing that made me anxious was that registration didn't open precisely on the clock, but a few minutes later, but unlike two years ago, I didn't see any system crashes and any mass confusion. I got in and out of there in just a few minutes!

Now it's time to figure out how I'm actually going to get there!

Friday, June 21, 2019

An Evening with Tula

It's not often that I get to be in the same room as a quilting legend. I found out just a few days ago that Tula Pink was visiting my local quilt shop for a lecture and presentation, so of course I booked a ticket right away!

I've very rarely walked into a room and been totally overwhelmed. But seeing Tula's quilts hanging in that room, with all of Angela Walters's amazing quilting, was quite an emotional experience. I've seen almost all of these quilts on social media, but to see them in person, I was totally awed. Speechless. Stunned. All those words.

And in my amazement, I only managed to grab one photo. Seriously, what was I thinking? Right, I was too busy being awed.

I never really understood that much about fabric production. To me, I just take it for granted that somebody designed it, it shows up at the quilt shop and I take it home. But to hear Tula talk about the whole process was absolutely fascinating. There are a lot of fabric designers I like, but watching Tula explain how she works, I really feel like she's on a whole other level. The stories, the presentation, the hidden surprises! I own many of those fabrics and even worked with them and I didn't notice those hidden easter eggs.

I had another engagement after the lecture so I couldn't stay long enough for a photo op with Tula, but I did bring one of my favorite books for her to sign: Quilt with Tula and Angela.

Now that I've got both Angela and Tula's autograph on this book, it is officially my favorite quilting book!

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