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.

***

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!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Hex on the Beach ~ One Year Later

Never again. Never again. I kept saying this to my husband as I painstakingly stitched together hexagon after hexagon, in what is a 1000 hexagon quilt. Each time, he reminded me that I said this after my last English Paper Piecing project, and the one before that, and the one before that ...

I fell in love with Hex on the Beach by Tula Pink when I saw pictures of it surface at Quilt Market a year ago. Throughout the past year, this became my road trip project, my quilt guild project, and my waiting room project. It was super portable, and I just loved having something to do with my hands during those times when I can't be at my machine. This is perhaps why I love EPP.

It was during the final assembly process that I really started to burn out. It would have been good for me to work on something else alongside this project, but for some reason I just couldn't divide myself. And so, I put every other project on hold and after many many weeks of stitching hexagon after hexagon and waking up every morning with my thumb joints in pain, it's finally, finally pieced.

I absolutely love it. Tula Pink's solids & pom poms is one of my favorite fabric collection from last year, so I think this quilt which features all the colors so brilliantly laid out is just stunning. But that being said, I'm still not entirely sure it was worth the effort and the injured thumb joints and all the times I pricked my fingers ...

But it's a lovely quilt top, and I'm sure it'll be lovelier still when I finally get around to quilting it, which at the rate I'm going, means possibly never. But I've come to terms with the fact that I might never get around to quilting all my quilts.

And ... surprise surprise, I already have my next English Paper Piecing quilt all lined up. But I probably won't start it for quite awhile. For the next few months, it's going to be all about machine piecing and machine quilting (with a few accessory projects thrown in), and I'm so glad!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Harris Clutch Wallet

I've clearly been on a clutch wallet kick lately, because even though I only made the Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet a month or so ago, I just finished another clutch wallet: the Harris Clutch Wallet by Diane Spencer Ogg.

What made me particularly excited about this wallet is the fabric I used. While auditioning for this, I found some yardage in my collection that I totally forgot about. I've come to the point in my stash where I no longer really know what I have, apparently. (But that's a problem for another day.) I was very excited to see this fabric, and immediately knew it would be perfect.

This wallet won't hold that much, but it holds my phone and my cards, which really is all I need most of the time anyway. It was a very quick make, even though I had to resew some parts because I misunderstood the instructions. I'm pretty happy with it, overall!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Stargazer Block of the Month ~ Months 1 to 4

Well, I'm quite late in posting this. 4 months late to be exact. Toward the end of last year I surveyed the available block of the months starting in 2019, and I decided to join Rebecca Bryan's Stargazer BOM for several reasons: I thought the quilt was absolutely stunning, I was obsessed with star-themed quilts (still am), and I liked that Rebecca provided multiple sample colorways.

I decided to use the Princess colorway, which is a lovely combination of purples and teals. I would never have thought purples and teals went together ... but Rebecca did. And boy was she right. I also decided to go for the 80" x 80" size, because it was going to be same amount of work as the smaller sizes, and I might as well get the biggest quilt I can out of this!

I had planned to start this in January and follow-along with the class, but then I got really distracted with other things in my life and sort of lost my sew-jo for awhile. But in late April, I feel like I got some (most?) of it back, and so I decided it's time to work on this!

Months 1 & 2 were very, very easy. About the only thing I really had to watch out for was that I didn't end up using the wrong fabrics. Although Rebecca taught freezer paper piecing, I still opted to use traditional paper piecing, because that's what I like most.

Month 3 was quite challenging, and took me a few days to crunch through. My points weren't exactly perfect, but they were good enough for me. Month 4 was even easier than months 1 and 2, and once again the only thing I had to look out for was making sure I used the correct fabrics.

Well, I'm almost all caught up, though not quite because Month 5 had become available recently and I haven't gotten to it yet. But hopefully I won't be quite as behind with this project, going forward!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Mod Mountains Sew-Along

At the beginning of this year I joined 2 sew-alongs. But I didn't blog about them because I had a feeling that I'd fall behind. And fall behind I did. I haven't even started one of them, and the second one ... I'm several months behind too.

So the last thing I need is yet another sew-along, right? Well, when Suzy Quilts started her Mod Mountains Sew-Along, I felt the urge to join in. Suzy has this magic of making everything look shiny, exciting, and fun, and I felt myself being pulled in. I tried to resist it, but the clincher? It's a scrappy quilt.

My scraps are seriously getting out of hand, and Mod Mountains is just perfect for me to dig into my scrap bins. I decided on a palette of hot pinks, purples, and yellows.

Mod Mountains is what I call structured improv, because while there's a bit of improv in the mountains themselves which is what makes them so adorable and quirky, the final blocks are all triangles of the same size, satisfying my need for structure.

Laying them out on the design wall is so fun. I love how Suzy's pattern provides guidance for the color layout, to ensure that even though it's scrappy, it's still balanced. For color-challenged people like me, this is super helpful. When I use my own palette instead of a kit, I'm always nervous if it will work, but I think this does! At least, I love it.

This is my first quilt with triangles and I was a little worried it would be hard to put together. But there aren't any matching points in this quilt, which really helps. I think it turned out really well by my standards. Every time I look at this quilt top, it really makes me smile, because I love the scrappy prints so much!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Cross Stitch

I had been on a swirl diet. I was using swirls too much (or so I thought) so I decided to force myself to not use swirls for a bit. For several quilts in a row, I stayed away from swirls.

Well, the fast didn't last very long, because I missed them too much. At the end of the day, swirls are the easiest and most versatile design in my arsenal. They're a high bang for the buck design because they're fast, forgiving, and they look much more difficult than they really are. So ... I'm going back to swirls!

This quilt uses the pattern Cross Stitch by Zen Chic which features her Modern Backgrounds Colorbox, a collection of low volume fabrics, and for the foreground I used some solids from Art Gallery Fabrics.

I drew out two designs for this quilt, a simple one using geometric designs in the foreground and swirls in the background, and a far more complicated version that emphasizes the negative space and created all sorts of secondary designs. The old me would have gone for the more complicated version for sure, but the new me was willing to recognize that it's not always worth it to go crazy. For one, all that work wouldn't even show up very much in the low-volume prints. So in keeping with my resolution to enjoy the process and and not drive myself crazy doing something really complicated nobody can even see, I picked the simpler design. (I'll save the complicated design for when I have a solid background!)

The cross stitch blocks are definitely the highlight of the quilt, so I used some very simple dot-to-dot designs to quilt them down but also allow all the unquilted areas to stand out.

And of course, I filled the background with lots of swirls. I quilted them bigger than I usually would, just because this quilt is pretty big and tiny quilting would have been lost anyway on the printed background. Ah, how I missed my swirls.

This quilt with its printed background and softer colors is quite different from the kind of quilts I usually make, which is usually high contrast with bright saturated colors. It might not be as me, but I'm still pretty happy with it. Sometimes I just have to step out of my routine a bit.

***

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

Friday, April 26, 2019

Minikins: Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet

I've been on the hunt for a cell phone wallet lately, so I gathered all my patterns and decided that the one that fits my needs the most is the Day Trip Cell Phone Wallet by Sara Lawson from her Minikins Season 2 collection.

However, I was a bit scared to make this because I've heard quite a few comments on Facebook about how this project is challenging for a domestic sewing machine. I even looked into commissioning someone else to make it, but it'd take a few months and I wanted it now, so I decided to try it myself.

A few hours and one broken needle later, it was completed. Was it hard? Actually, it wasn't. But I modified the pattern a bit to make it easier and to fit my needs better. First of all, I didn't want the long strap so I made a wrist strap instead. I also eliminated the front pocket and changed one of the accordion pockets to a regular pocket.

I'm so happy with it! It's not a great sewing job, not by a long shot, but I think it looks nice still (from the outside at least) and by the time it falls apart, I'd probably be ready to make another one. I can't wait to use it on my next night out!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Moonlight

My latest finish, Moonlight, uses Erica Jackman's pattern, Harper. It's a fun and easy quilt using basic Drunkard's Path blocks.

Some quilts are easy for me to to come up with quilting ideas for, and some are really really hard. For me, Moonlight was particularly challenging because of the printed background. Usually my quilts tend to have printed foreground components and solid backgrounds, so when I have a printed background, I really don't know what to do. The usual fillers I like to do in the background would all be too busy for the already busy background fabric.

But I know that dot-to-dot designs usually look good on prints, so that's what I did in the background. And as a bonus, dot-to-dot designs in the background blocks, when placed together, also create secondary designs. But I was also in the mood for some feathers.

I quilted the moons with an alternating design. It's definitely my favorite part of the quilt, it almost has a glow to it next to the indigo fabrics.

There are no solids to be found on the front of this quilt, which is pretty rare for me. But it allows me to quilt it on the lighter side, allowing for a cuddlier quilt than usual. It's really hard to see the quilting on the front though, but the back shows it well!

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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.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Unchained

My latest finish is a significant finish for me, not because the quilt or quilting itself is significant, but because of the mental process I went through when I'm quilting it, and I named it Unchained for two reasons.

First, of course it's a play on words, since it's an Irish Chain. The pattern is from Jenifer Dick and Angela Walter's book Nine-Patch Revolution. I did modify the size of the blocks so I could use a jelly roll, but the layout is the same.

More importantly, I named this quilt Unchained because by quilting it the way I did, it represents a sense of freedom. When I first started quilting on my longarm, I was just so swept up with how quick and fun it was to finish my tops, and I didn't worry about anything but that it looked good. I didn't worry whether I was being "creative", whether I incorporated at least X different designs, or whether it was "showstopping". But at some point, that started to change, and over the last year especially I was driving myself completely insane trying to come up with something crazy each time. It got to be too much, and there were times I stayed away from the longarm room for weeks on end because I was too daunted.

But with this quilt, I only made myself one promise: I wanted to keep it simple, and recognize that it's perfectly alright not to quilt every quilt like it's my swan song. This is my simplest (in terms of the # of designs) quilt in recent memory, and I feel a great sense of relief at finally breaking out of the chains I had placed on myself.

So, I kept the quilting simple with continuous curves in the Irish chains and an easy, zero marking dot-to-dot design in the negative space that also had a very efficient travel path.

I love the end result, and I especially love the sense of freedom I now feel. My blog is called Savor Every Stitch, not Driving Myself Crazy For No Reason. And hopefully, Unchained will help me to remember that.

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

Rafters

Last summer I worked on a quilt top from a quilt along run by Christa Watson for a pattern called Dot 'n Dash. It was a simple jelly roll quilt that was quick to put together. After a few intensely quilted quilts, I was in the mood for something simple, so I pulled this top out. I already had a plan and was just getting ready to quilt it when suddenly, I decided to abandon all my previous plans and try something unexpected.

I tried to talk myself out of it, but once I had a "vision", I couldn't unsee it. While I was working on this, I was cursing myself for almost the whole time and wondered what I should ultimately name this quilt. Maybe it's the "what-was-I-thinking" quilt. Or the "why-do-I-have-to-make-everything-so-complicated" quilt. When I finally, finally finished it, I laid it out for the full reveal and suddenly I really liked it and knew exactly what I should call it.

Rafters. It wasn't quite intentional, as I just wanted to try a secondary design and have vertical strips in the quilting going behind the horizontal strips, but once I saw the whole thing, all I could see were rafters and beams!

I kept the quilting very simple in the foreground with just piano keys, and left all the intense quilting for the background.

I think the main challenge of this quilt (and why I hated working on it) is because I never quite figured out an efficient travel path. Sometimes that's just how it is.

The back of the quilt is pretty neat looking and I can see the rafters & beams look even better on the back than on the front.

At the end of the day, I really love the end result and I'm so glad I decided to go with my new vision for this quilt. It produced a very interesting effect and I have no regrets about it. So, despite the painful process, the end result is a win for me!

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Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting
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