Tuesday, February 25, 2020

QuiltCon 2020

Ah, QuiltCon. My favorite quilt show. The only show I feel like I must attend. The place where I feel overwhelmed and inspired, intimidated and rejuvenated, all at the same time.

Last weekend I attended QuiltCon 2020 in Austin, and as always, it was an exhausting but fantastic time. I tried not to overload myself, but still ended up with 4 classes over 2 days. It was supposed to be 5, but I had to cancel one at the last minute.

I took 2 longarm classes (Fill It With Style, More Than Just Lines) with Jodi Robinson where I learned some great ideas for background fillers. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a quilting rut where all I can come up with are swirls and more swirls, so it's nice to take a class to get more ideas! However, I realize that I don't like the longarm portion of these classes. I'd rather they be drawing / design classes so I'm spending time learning new designs instead of spending time on a totally foreign longarm machine.

My third class is called Making Color Work with Heather Black and it's a very interesting class, totally different from anything I've ever done before. The class uses watercolor to explore color theory, and though I knew most of the theory, actually experimenting with them is a totally different experience. Now, I'll never get tint, shade, and saturation confused again! My watercolor skills are horrendous, but it was a fun class and I think I shall play with these color ideas more ... digitally, that is.

My last class is Serpentine Line Designs with Angela Walters. I'm a total Angela groupie so I always try to get a class with her whenever I can. I always feel so inspired being in the same room as her, enjoying her energy, humor, and enthusiasm, and of course learning from her. She is such an idea factory!

Taking classes is great, and form 49% of my reason for being at QuiltCon. But what is the 51%? The shopping, of course! At most quilt shows, I'm interested in about 10% of the booths. At QuiltCon, I'm interested in all the booths. I had originally planned to drive so I didn't have a restriction on how much I can buy (budget notwithstanding) but at the last minute I scrapped my plans and flew to Austin instead, so I could only take home what can fit in my suitcase ...

... which still turned out to be a lot. This is due to me bringing as little clothes as possible so I can squeeze in as much shopping as possible. Hey, I've got my priorities!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Scrappy Market Tote

The Scrappy Market Tote is a class by Christina Cameli on Bluprint, and I have watched it quite a few times, but I kept procrastinating on making one of my own. Improv terrifies me, and scraps intimidate me. So imagine how I feel when I'm faced with a project that's both improv and scraps.

But I finally decided to give it a shot. I'm using a palette of yellows, blues, and greens, and I combed through only the top of my scrap bins and already I was shocked at how much scraps I have accumulated over the last few years.

I then made a variety of improv patchwork, just putting things together however I want. Bias edges? No problem! Weird angles? No problem! Chop up whatever, add whatever. Anything goes. It's both terrifying and freeing at the same time. Improv completely goes against my usual factory assembly process, so it's challenging but also exciting because I never quite know how it's going to look.

After that, I auditioned which of those will make it into the final bag. This is the part I really had to rely on instinct, to tell me what works where, and especially if I need to insert extra things here or there to break up a space, to unify a space, or to add more jazz.

Since the panel is quite busy, I'm really glad for the big solid piece at the bottom of the bag to help tone it down and tie it together, and the matchstick quilting also helps unify it. However, I haven't done walking foot quilting on this scale in years, and now I remembered why I learned to free-motion quilt: because I hate doing walking foot quilting.

After all that, assembling this bag was the easy part. I also made a false bottom for it to give it a bit of structure. I'm super proud of this bag, because it far exceeded my expectations. I didn't think I could handle scraps or improv, so I'm quite amazed at how it turned out. It's a really gorgeous and happy bag to look at, and it's quite big too!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Color Pop

Once upon a time I bought a Tula Pink jelly roll, expecting it to be full of pom poms & stripes. I had a project all planned for it, but when I opened it up, gasp, it was not what I expected! Instead of being all pom poms & stripes, it also had some solids, and the fabric distribution was wrong for what I wanted to make.

But you know how jelly rolls are ... once opened up, they can never go back to that pristine, pretty condition. Once opened up, it's a mess and is demanding to be used instantly. But I couldn't figure out a way to use it up. Imagine my delight when just a few weeks later, Cluck Cluck Sew launched a new pattern ... Color Pop, that uses exactly the jelly roll I had!

Of course I bought the pattern the day it came out, and I really enjoyed putting together this quilt top. It was so easy, so colorful, and so fun. That was more than a year ago, and I finally pulled out Color Pop to quilt. After Santorini which was crazy and intense, I wanted something more relaxed.

I kept the quilting fairly simple on this quilt, as I didn't want the quilting to overwhelm all the gorgeous prints. The low-volume background fabrics in particular, I really really love. They just seem to shimmer.

I filled the background frames with straight lines and feathers, and alternated it between each block for more interest. I love to quilt feathers, but they're not right for every quilt. Here, they felt right at home.

For all the fun prints, I did my usual dot-to-dot geometric designs. They're quick and fun and are a nice contrast to the feathers and flowers.

This is one of the happiest quilts I've ever done. I had some coordinating Tula Pink green / gold yardage in my stash so I used that for a fun and stripey binding. I love the way it turned out, and this was a very low-stress, easy going quilt. It's exactly what I need in between more intense quilts. I had a smile on my face almost the whole time I was working on this quilt. It's just so bright. So fun. So ... pop!


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

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