Tag Archives: progress

Greenery Quilt Progress

My greenery quilt is slowly growing, despite the fact that I haven’t been sewing all that many new blocks for it over the past month. Between travel, deadlines, and other quilty projects, the greenery block making has dwindled a bit. I’m sneaking two more blocks in this month, but you’ll have to wait just a bit for those reveals! It’s just another reminder of how perfect of a project this is for me–no stress, no worries! I make blocks when I can, and the quilt will grow as it grows!

greenery quilt 2017 nightquilterI haven’t shown much of an update here, so I thought it would be a good time to show you the blocks I do have! I brought my portable design wall right out into the blizzard aftermath, since with all of this white, I thought some green would do it good!

There really aren’t a whole ton of blocks yet, but I’m including blocks from a few different sew-alongs and bees. Here’s a tour…

52 Weeks with the Quilter’s Planner Blocks (with a cameo from the Garden Snail Snail Paced Sew Along hosted by Angie @ Gnome Angel):

unnamed by jane armstrong 52weekswiththequiltersplanner greeneryUnnamed by Jane Armstrong, from the first week of January in the Quilter’s Planner 2017. I started off on the right foot at least! Not one bit of the final layout for this quilt is decided yet, except that this little snail is going to live next to this lovely upward ramp! They seem to go together, and so it shall be.

Doves in the Daylight by Michelle BartholomewDoves in the Daylight by Michelle Bartholomew, from week 2 of the year. Gosh, I love this block!

Double Edged Star by Amy Garro quilter's plannerDouble-Edged Star by Amy Garro, from the last week in February in the Quilter’s Planner. I still want to go back and make some of the blocks I’ve missed, but for now, 1 block per month from the Quilter’s Planner seems to be my pace!

Honey Pot Bee Blocks

greenery quilt 2017 nightquilterThe little improv trees are what kicked off this Greenery quilt, and they were a Wild Card to help get us started with Molli Sparkles’ Honey Pot Bee. Pssst…. I’m a Queen Bee for April, so I’ll be adding another block to the mix soon. You’ll just have to wait and see which block!

starflower block ellison lane honey pot bee greeneryStarflower block, tutorial by Ellison Lane, the January block thrown into the honey pot by Molli himself!

Sewcial Sampler Blocks

patience corners sewcial sampler greeneryThis is Patience Corners, block 1 for the Sewcial Bee Sampler led by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. I’ve only completed one block from the Sewcial Bee so far, but I love the classic simplicity of these blocks and plan to make quite a few more (as soon as I finish my round 2 Quilt Theory quilt–my big deadline at the moment!)

greenery quilt 2017 nightquilterAnd all together now, in the snow, since what better time to spread some greenery than a mid-March blizzard!? Per a suggestion by Anna from Mod Quilt Mom, I’m naming my quilt “It’s Easy Being Green 17” since it’s all about greenery and will be comprised of blocks made in 2017. I still might edit it a bit, but for now, the hashtag is #itseasybeinggreen17quilt on Instagram.

Maddie, my helperNo child-assisted blog post of mine would be complete without a hi from my helper, so here’s a quick photo of my adorable helper today (this is for you, Mom aka Grandma)! Maddie had a snow day, and Max, who goes to preschool just a couple towns over, had school as usual. Isn’t it wild the difference a couple towns can make regarding snow in rural Maine!? So today is a fun Maddie-Mommy-Finn quasi-snow day!

With a bit of growing greenery thrown in, since spring MUST be around the corner!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social!

2017 Goals and a Lush Idea

In my style, I’ve well missed the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, but I thought I would write a quick post with my 2017 Goals and word for the year, both to share my focus and to hold myself accountable!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to focus on this year, and I’ve decided that I really need to make my mantra: “Finish What You’ve Started”. I have ample projects that were begun with excitement and then quietly forgotten before reaching completion, and I also branched out into a few other big new endeavors in 2016, such as pursuing quilt photography work and designing for Quilt Theory. I’ve been helping Stephanie with the Quilter’s Planner Instagram account, and that has been extremely fun but also takes time. I also have a few potential teaching opportunities that I’m excited about in the coming year. Combined with being a full time mom of three little ones, keeping house, tending chickens, and in the proper season, gardening and adventuring along the coast, my plate is pretty full as it is. So it seems right to set my engine for steady on and just keep plugging away in the direction I’m going.

project planning for 2017
I’ve used the Projects at a Glance page in my Quilter’s Planner to list WIPs from 2016 on the left and new projects in 2017 on the right. The right shows my color palette choice for my 2017 bee and sew alongs–greenery!

That said, I also recognize that there’s no way I could go a full year without trying anything new. For that reason, I also plan to participate in a few Sew Alongs and a Quilt Bee, as I outlined in my last blog post. The relaxed, no-stress mentality will let me fill those block making moments in between my “finishing” so that I can stay fresh and excited about making. I also plan to play along more regularly with the #beesocial prompts, since they stretch my creative spirit more than anything else I’ve encountered. I’m already beginning with Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads’ first prompt for January–Resolution. Watching the video she included as part of her design inspiration prompt reaffirmed the word I selected to guide my year (I definitely recommend clicking over to her post and watching the video. It’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.)

Which brings me to my “one little word”–the one word to guide my year. 2017 will be my “green” year. There are so many influences to my selection of this word, from my lifelong love of nature, my degree in environmental science, to all that’s been happening in the world around us. Sparked initially by Chawne Kimber’s quilt “The One for Eric G”, the first statement quilt I saw that made me hold my breath as my stomach took a nosedive, and made me realize that this amazing craft can be used to inspire positive change (more than just making the world a more beautiful place one stitch at a time), further melded and inspired by the Make Do Quilt challenge posed by Sherri Lynn Wood last year, and always continuously inspired by Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and her focus on using reclaimed textiles in her creations, I have decided on “green” as my word of the year and “finish what you’ve started” as my guiding mantra.

I love how Cheryl from Meadowmist Designs set measurable steps for herself in her goal setting post, so here is my attempt at the same. This year, I will try to:

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!);
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things!
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week!
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!)
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!!

Phew, I’d better stop there. I think this is a great start to my goals for the year, and I’m curious to see how successful I am at meeting each of these goals. Note that I have not included pattern design in my specific goals this year. Aside from Quilt Theory patterns, two of which I plan to develop and release this year, I am letting pattern writing be more relaxed this year so that I may focus on my other goals. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though!

quilter's planner WIPs from 2016So far I’m off to a decent start and have made good progress on one WIP (Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid), and have finished another, which I’ll share later this week. (Note that I’ve added quite a few old WIPs to this list since this photo was taken).  I’ve begun to play with the #beesewcial prompt, and am incorporating repurposed textiles into it! Baby steps!

I hope your year is off to a great start!

I’ll be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social so that you can all hold me accountable this year!

Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Rainbow Progress

It’s official. I completely understand the draw and very well may be hooked to meticulously cut scrap quilts! I have been having so much fun putting together my Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt for the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew Along on Instagram. The pattern is by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, and is one of the fabulous quilt patterns included in the 2016 Quilter’s Planner. It’s technically my first scrappy quilt, and to add to the fun, I decided to make it an Eye Spy quilt for my 4-year old son Max.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt It is such a great feeling to be creating for one of my children again (Finn’s quilt blocks are still sitting in a stack, untouched since that 12 month milestone–yes, that’s next on my list!). Every time Max sees the progress, he says, “This is fantastic!” with the enthusiasm only a four-year-old can exhibit. There’s nothing like an exuberant cheering squad to keep the motivation burning brightly.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quiltWe are in the second week of sewing for the sew along, so hopefully I will have the quilt top completely sewn together by Monday. Time will tell if I actually meet that goal with all of the kids home and lots of family Thanksgiving time on the docket, but I’m hoping to at least be close!

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt
Yes, I accidentally created one extra block, but the funny thing is, I was thinking about one particular quilty friend the entire time I was making that block, so I’m taking it as a sign that the extra blue block has different plans. More on that later *wink*

I’ve completely finished all of the rainbow center portions, and am diving into piecing the white-grey-black border portions of each block. I love how the rainbow gradient ended up, and it is so much fun to see little peeks at previous quilts through the scraps used here.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quiltI put a few contingencies in place to ensure that I love this quilt even though scrappy quilts are not typically my style, and I think they are proving to be quite successful. First, I used a very large ratio of Alison Glass fabric in the rainbow portions of each block. I love just about all of Alison’s fabric, so letting her color palette and fabrics play a strong hand is a surefire way to ensure I will enjoy looking at the quilt when it’s finished.

The next two will be a lot easier to see once the neutral outer portions of the blocks are complete, but I’ll mention them anyway. Second, I am using all one solid (Kona medium grey) for all of the “light grey” pieces in the pattern, instead of an assortment of scraps. This will provide a consistent and solid resting place for my eyes, just in case I get overwhelmed (although at this point, I have a feeling I’m going to LOVE looking at this quilt, so it might not have been needed). Third, I am using all of the same silver stars on black fabric for the centers of the lighter rings in the pattern, and light Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper palette (Andover Fabrics) for the centers of the dark rings. Again, a little detail that will be consistent throughout, amidst the scrappy remainder of the quilt.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt progressI love seeing my favorite designers’ fabrics together, too. The top right block in the photo above combines my favorite Carolyn Friedlander fabric from her first line Architextures (Robert Kaufman Fabrics) and the fabulous Alison Glass Grove in Grass from her Sun Prints (Andover Fabrics). They are the perfect compliments to that sweet little mushroom in the middle! Love.

If you want to spend the next week sewing to catch up, you still can join in the sew along (there are some fabulous prizes still to be won, too!); get all the details here. Also, now is a perfect time to order the 2017 Quilter’s Planner–for yourself so that you can join in on the *Spoiler Alert!* 2017 Sew Along during an inspired and productive year, and as gifts for all of your creative friends and family!

Okay, back to sewing and baking!

Many wishes for a peaceful, healthy, happy Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. I’m grateful for you and your continued support and inspiration in this wonderful quilting community.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since I haven’t linked up on here in far tooooo long!

Making Time & A Thrifted City Sampler Update

I’ve finally decided that the day isn’t going to arrive when I have a window of “free” time where I’m just sitting around wondering what I could do. The past few months have been really busy and exciting with a lot of new opportunities and projects, and while a lot of big projects are finally wrapped up–the photography for the Quilter’s Planner is complete and the amazing planner is now available for sale, Quilt Theory has been announced and our premier line of pattern cards have been released, I just finished and mailed a quilt sample for a pattern that will appear in the February 2017 issue of Love, Patchwork & Quilting magazine, I’m manning the Quilter’s Planner Instagram feed and leading its (and my) very first Sew Along–there seems to always be one more thing. I’ve finally decided that I’m going to make time to work on little side projects, AND I’m going to make time to blog regularly again so that I can share my projects, process, and inspiration with you. You can hold me accountable for taking time to sew for me, okay?

thrifted city sampler progressTo kick off this new resolution of making time for my own sewing on top of my more business-directed projects, I made three more blocks as part of the #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie from Gnome Angel. I think I left off around block 22 and the challenge is now heading into the 80s, but as I do with most projects, I set my goal low and I’m happy with just picking up again and making whatever blocks I can. As you may or may not remember, I am making my blocks entirely out of old and worn or thrifted garments, including a black leather skirt, some wool slacks, some cotton-poly blend men’s shirts, and an old pair of corduroy maternity pants. It has been *really* fun sewing with different materials, and with a mostly grey-scale color palette, I’m really focusing on textures within the blocks.

The environmental impact of our actions and the philosophy promoted through Sherri Lynn Wood’s #makedoquilt project are a large part of what spurred me to use only thrifted materials in these blocks, and so I’m presenting each block on Instagram photographed with some plant or natural phenomenon. In each description, I am sharing some information about the species or some interesting fact about its relationship with the rest of the environment. My hope is that by learning more about the world around you, you will feel more invested in preserving and improving it, or at the very least, minimizing damage done to it. This is truly a fun project that combines three of my passions: quilting, the environment, and photography.  Since it has been far too long since I’ve shared my creative process with you, I thought I’d share my three latest blocks and descriptions here, too. All blocks are from Tula Pink’s City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book, and so I’m calling my quilt the Thrifted City Sampler (#thriftedcitysampler).

block 73 thrifted city samplerBlock 73: old wool trousers, thrifted cotton-poly men’s shirt

Remember the milkweed from Block 15? Well here it is in all its seed dispersing glory! After a fun chat with Sharon from Sharon Holland Designs the other day about the amazing seed dispersal technique of jewelweed, I decided to make these next posts all about seed dispersal. As with any organism, the continuation of the species is an extremely important aspect–almost THE main purpose–of life. Since plants can’t move, they’ve developed some really clever ways to ensure their potential offspring (aka seeds) get spread far and wide and/or have a good chance of success.

Milkweed seeds are attached to a thick, light weight fluff tuft that, once matured, emerges from the dried, cracked open seed pod and is carried by the wind. Wind dispersal!! This helps spread the species into new areas, giving the species as a whole a greater chance to survive and thrive. Can you name another common plant that uses wind seed dispersal??

block 72 thrifted city samplerBlock 72: thrifted black leather skirt, pink cotton women’s capris, my husband’s worn-through 100% cotton slacks.

We are fully in the most drab time of year in Maine. The gorgeous leaves are mostly brown and dropped, the flowers are in their winter form or gone, everything is finding dormancy. But plant identification is still not only possible, but fun! I hope you enjoy finding the beauty in winter weeds with me.

These asters have a small tuft that allows for wind dispersal, but they also use power in numbers to their advantage. A super hardy weed, asters produce many flowers, approximately 300 individual flowers per flower head, with many seeds resulting. The sheer number of seeds helps promote the success of their species. Paired with the wind, it’s no wonder there are asters everywhere!

block 77 thrifted city samplerBlock 77: thrifted cotton-poly men’s shirt, old cotton slacks, worn men’s shirt, black leather skirt.

Another fun installment in the “amazing seed dispersal” adventure is burdock. Burdock (Arctium) is equipped with hooks and spines that latch onto any creature passing by too closely (just like Velcro). The creature continues walking until the spikey, itchy seed pod irritates him enough, spurring him to remove it and toss it aside, hopefully (for the burdock) on fertile ground. This allows the seeds to spread far, far further than a stationary plant could reach. While this is a super cool seed dispersal trait, anyone who has “fixed” her children’s coat, hair, and wool mittens after the child has discovered a burdock plant fully understands the annoyance the poor deer, bear, foxes, coyotes, and other creatures must feel toward this and similar plants! (Note that I was VERY careful not to let my block touch the seeds when taking this photo. Those barbs are sharp and definitely would result in pulls in the fabric.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these blocks and their accompanying environmental tidbits. I’m looking forward to updating you on the other small side projects I’ve been working on between deadline projects, AND hope to even finish some of the many (oh, embarrassingly many) works in progress that are stuck in the “soooo close to finished but temporarily abandoned pile”.  I have so much fun to share with you! Hope you’ve been well, and I’m looking forward to being more present in this space again.

 

Works in Progress: A Little of This, A Little of That

I have a lot of simultaneous projects going on right now, which is pretty typical of my sewing style. I like to have a selection of projects so that when a free moment arises, I have something to work on, but also have a choice as to what I work on each day. It helps my creativity feel refreshed and helps avoid inspiration slumps. When in doubt, I start a new project since I have no shortage of projects I *want* to create, and there’s nothing like curating a new fabric pull or cutting into a new project to renew my excitement for sewing.

It’s been a while since I’ve showed you my ongoing projects, so I thought today would be a good day! These are my most frequently worked upon projects; there are scads more on the semi-permanent back burner that I will pick up again when my plate clears *just* a bit. Today, the highlights!

IMG_5280First up is my ongoing epic Carolyn Friedlander Modern Hexies project. This is my on-the-go English Paper Piecing (EPP) project that lives in my purse. I’m making progress at a bit slower than snail paced this summer, since somehow those free moments that allow for hand stitching while the kids are occupied are few and far between. And oddly, all three kids have not simultaneously fallen asleep in the car on the way to a store even ONCE! What was somewhat regular with two kids is likened to a golden unicorn with three. But still, one stitch at a time, one hexagon at a time, this project progresses.

andover foundation paper pieced project alison glass handcrafted patchworkAnother project I’m plugging away on is a fun one for Andover Fabrics. They were awesome enough to send some Alison Glass Handcrafted Patchwork to me, as well as some yardage of Constellation by Lizzy House from her Whisper Palette collection. I picked up some Andover textured solid from my LQS Fiddlehead Artisan Supply to round it out. I’m working on a new geometric foundation paper pieced pattern, with meticulously cut sections of the gorgeous Handcrafted Patchwork fabrics. There will be a tutorial going up on Andover’s blog very soon, as well as the pattern release, so keep your eye out!

quilter's planner photography outtake karen lewis quilt acadia maineI’ve also been out on three different quilt photography adventures with my amazingly gifted quilt holding assistant, aka my husband. We have been having a blast photographing the quilts for this year’s Quilter’s Planner in a sampling of the gorgeous natural locations in Maine. The planner is now available for preorder! Reserve yours HERE… there are a limited number of early bird specials and some really fun extra bits this year! I’ve shared one fun outtake above, but more will be revealed in the coming weeks. Hint: Shown here is one of the 14 patterns that will be included in the planner this year, this one by the ever talented Karen Lewis! It’s so gorgeous; I can’t wait to show you more! Be sure to preorder yours now; you can read all about it on its Indiegogo page here.

Alison Glass fabric pull for Terrazzo quilt by Lee HeinrichThere are many other fun projects waiting patiently on the decks, including a Terrazzo Quilt (pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced) made using all of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints 2016 provided by Fat Quarter Shop (the fabric pull is shown above!), a simple new pattern I’m making for a secret side project with some fellow designers, a baby quilt for one of my best friends from college who is having her second baby soon (see the quilt I made for her first baby here), a quilt pattern that will appear in a magazine early next year, and more!

Phew! What have you been working on?

I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times & Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts since I love to see what everyone else is working on.

Work in Progress: Cyclic Mini Mini

I’ve been debating whether to show you another mini mini quilt I’ve been oh-so-slowly working on over the past months, since I probably could wait until it’s finished to share. Then again, I love to share my process, and perhaps by showing you each step, you can better see what goes into my thought process as projects evolve. I also think that this project is a perfect example of “use the method that works best for you”. There are no hard rules in quilting, right!?

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progressI’m nearing the finish line with this little one. It features some of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander fabrics, with a goal of playing with transparency in a cyclic way. I created a mini 2″ square foundation paper pieced pattern for each quarter of this mini mini, resulting in about a 4″ square. I used the template I designed for accurate piecing of the center spokes, and then have used different methods for sewing the outer curves.

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress traditional curved piecingOne of the fun perks of dragging projects out over obscene lengths of time (chuckle with me for a minute, here) is that it becomes a documentation of skill development. Two of the four curves were pieced using traditional curved sewing, and the wobbly, puckery wonk is indicative of my amateur curve abilities a few months ago. In fact, my original plan includes a needle-turn appliqué element over the curve, since I knew that it would most likely be something I would need to mask a bit (possibly a lot bit).

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress You can see on the green quadrant that there is another dark curved piece added on top of the curve. That is needle-turned and does a fabulous job of covering the little inconsistencies of my tiny curved stitching. Use the method that works best for you, right!?

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress six minute circle style curved sewingHowever, since completing the first two quadrants of this mini mini, I have learned and conquered the six-minute circle style method of curved piecing, which results in an amazingly smooth and seemingly flawless sewn curve, as demonstrated on that blue section shown above.

Quite a few people have asked about this method, and since I have not yet found a tutorial for curved (both improv and regular) stitching using this method, I’ve decided that I need to create a tutorial. I will share that as soon as I’m able! It is SUCH an amazing method that, while it takes a bit of extra time to execute, the final result is well WELL worth the effort. Especially for those of us who may not have fully mastered curved sewing just yet, or who have a particularly high desire for perfectionism in sewing. Or at least who delight in nearing perfection, since there is truly no such thing (and that’s ok!)

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress I am currently contemplating the quilting for this mini mini, and am leaning toward some simple, large, hand stitching to secure the layers and add just a bit of interest. I also have some travel plans coming up, so as long as I can get the top prepared and layered, hand stitching might be just the thing to take with me on my trip. I’m really happy with how this is progressing, though, and I’m grateful as always for the patience of my quilty friends as I slowly process, evolve and execute my plans for their personalized mini minis. I’ll be sure to share the finished mini mini once I finally complete it.

I think using needle-turn appliqué to hide a weak point in my sewing is totally legit, don’t you? What little tricks do you use to help make your completed projects shine?

Carolyn Friedlander Modern Hexies Progress

It’s no secret that Carolyn Friedlander is one of my favorite fabric designers. Last year, I made an entire quilt featuring her Doe fabric line, with cameos from Botanics and Architextures. But as her new fabric lines come out and continue to coordinate so well with her originals, I decided I wanted a quilt that truly showcased her varied and gorgeous fabrics. What better than a Modern Hexies mini quilt using Nicole at Modern Handcraft’s fabulous method?!

carolyn friedlander modern hexies progressNow, I’m already putting myself up against a wall a bit, since I began this project after Architextures became all but extinct. I’m hoping, though, with a bit of luck and a few insider tips, I can eventually acquire at least a 2 1/2″ square of each of the fabrics from Architextures.

architextures by carolyn friedlanderThanks to a tip from Allison at Campbell Soup Diaries, I recently picked up one of my all time favorites, plus Ledger in Ivory, from Westwood Acres.

architextures by carolyn friedlanderThrough the #getyourquiltywishesgranted event on Instagram a few months back, I obtained a few more archaic Architextures prints, as well as the Carkai mini charms I’ve nearly made into hexies.  I’m on my way!

hexagons carolyn friedlander fabricI already have basted hexagons from all of Botanics and most of Carkai. I have some scraps left from my Doe quilt, so I’ll see where that brings me and go from there.

backed in text from architextures
Might be a bit too busy for my aesthetic.

I think I will make a few more hexies before ultimately deciding whether to back the hexies in my favorite Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal, or to stick with solid white. Perhaps I’ll be crazy and use one of the still easily attainable text prints from Architextures as the background. Time will tell.

If you have any tiny (2 1/2″ square at least) scraps of Carolyn’s Architextures fabric, please let me know if I can persuade you to send them my way! I will be happy to compensate with fabric, chocolate, or cash money. And of course gratitude. Lots and lots of gratitude.

I thought I would link up with Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday, but it appears I’ve been out of the WiP loop long enough to have missed that she’s taking a (potentially permanent) break from her link up.  Oops! Still check out her blog at Freshly Pieced since she’s always making something gorg! I’m also going to go wild and link up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash since I’m finally sharing my new CF acquisitions.

Slow and Steady

I’ve been quiet here, not for lack of sewing, but for lack of *shareable* sewing and computer time. I’ve been working on my first commissioned quilt, and I’ve been buckling down to try to get it finished. I’m having fun with it, but as is the case with just about every project, it’s taking me a bit longer to get together than I had hoped.

hst progress quiltPerhaps one day I will learn that “I’ll just make a background of half square triangles (HSTs) and then I’ll just appliqué on top…” really is equal to cut, sew, press, trim, sew, cut, sew, press, trim, sew, on repeat for days, and while aesthetically “simple”, it is far from actually simple. The just is deceptively dismissive, but resides heavily in my planning process. I think part of my nurture goal for the year should include eliminating some “just” and being more realistic with my goals. In the meantime, I’ll continue making slow and steady progress, and enjoying the journey.

hst progress quiltI can’t share much, since who knows if the recipient may be reading this, but here are a few peeks at my progress, and at the awesome project that has been filling most of my sewing time as of late.

hst progress quiltI promise to show the final quilt once it is finished, gifted, and received. All I can say is that the half square triangles are “just” a canvas for something greater.

hst progress quiltBack to the final stack of HSTs!

I’m linking up with Lee’s Works in Progress Wednesday and Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social for some fun socialization in this online quilt world.

How Small Can You Go?

I’m certainly testing this question lately! I’ve written about the mini mini quilt swap craze, and while it seems to have died down a bit on Instagram, I’m still plugging along working to complete the many mini minis I have promised to swap. Such is life when sewing gets done 20 minutes at a time! One such mini mini has morphed into a true test of “how small can you go?”

mini mini fpp featherI designed a tiny foundation paper pieced geometric feather for the mini mini I’m making for Renee at Quilts of a Feather, since I wanted to create a purple feather (her favorite color is purple and feather is probably a clear choice), but I also wanted it to be unique. The tiny pattern crazy me developed has 60 foundation paper pieced pieces in block smaller than 3″x4″.

mini mini fpp featherBelieve it or not, the foundation paper piecing part went smoothly. That’s one of the wonders of foundation paper piecing–you can literally sew ANYthing.

quilting stiletto in useI’ve only removed the papers from half so far, but even that isn’t too bad. I quite enjoy it, actually. When foundation paper piecing, I set my stitch length to 1.2 so the paper basically melts off. I encouraged some of the teeny tiny smaller than 1/16″ bits to come off using a cute stiletto I received as part of a swap last year. (Aside–did you know that a stiletto in quilting is a skinny tool that is thicker and a bit more blunt than a pin, and is used to help feed your fabric through your sewing machine, hold down little corners while sewing, or any other task you can derive? I *just* learned what a stiletto was and so I’m trying to use it more!)

mini mini fpp featherJoining the two halves, on the other hand, was where the challenge truly arose. I broke a needle trying to get through all of those layers, and eventually settled on hand cranking my machine through the thickest part.

mini mini fpp featherNeedless to say, this baby does not lay flat, nor can I hope to press it flat no matter how much Flatter I use.  But no worries! I plan to use a double layer of batting, perhaps only under the feather (I think it’s called trapunto) so that at least it won’t seem too out of place. But it appears I have my answer: this is as small as I can go, at least with this pattern!

I originally planned to trim the outer edge and needle turn appliqué the feather to the background fabric, a gorgeous glimmering square of Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous. After requesting some tips/advice from Carolyn Friedlander via email, I am approaching it in a different way per her advice; instead I’ll do reverse appliqué, where I’ll cut the hole in the background fabric, place it on top of the feather, and stitch it down around the feather’s edge. While it will be my first time trying reverse applique, I think I have a much better chance at success using this method. Thank you, Carolyn!

mini mini fpp feather
I’m leaning toward the lighter purple Aurifil for the stitching, so that it will blend in with the Loominous.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how this mini mini turns out!

I’m linking up with Works in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, since it feels like ages since my last link up!

Tiny Bits of Progress, Literally

My sewing progress check-ins have been scarce lately, but I have been doing a little bit of sewing. Some consists of projects that I can’t quite show yet, but some consists of literal little bits of sewing: mini mini quilts. The mini mini quilt swap idea has certainly blossomed since my first post about the mini mini I received from Michelle, and it seems that I’ve spread the bug to quite a few of you (Yvonne, Allison, and Jennifer are three who I know have jumped onto the mini mini quilt conga line–it’s a party, afterall!–but I’m sure there are more!). I’ve also agreed to a lot of swaps, but with a relaxed deadline. Many of you swappers asked me to make something I love. I know myself well, though; if I let the momentum go, it *might* be tough to get going again. So I decided to make a few mini minis, trying out techniques or ideas that I wanted to try. Here is a sampling of mini minis in progress, new and old.

mini mini quilts in progress
Clockwise from top left: Rainbow strip remnants, mini snail house, first attempt at improv, a yet-unknown mini mini component, and small stitching inspired by Chawne Kimber.

This collection includes two “old” mini minis–a foundation paper pieced snail house that I designed a year or so ago for a mini house along, and is actually a large-sized mini mini at 5″ (top right); and, another practice go at small stitching that I created upon returning from the Slow Stitching retreat, inspired by Chawne Kimber (bottom left). There’s also the beginnings of another not-yet-fully-formulated mini mini in those pink donuts (bottom center), my first attempt at improv (bottom right), and a couple rainbow strip remnants that I made while creating Yvonne’s mini mini, which is finished and you’ll hopefully see on Friday (top left). Here are some closer looks.

improv mini miniMy first attempt at improv was actually an interesting exercise on two levels. It was inspired by a solid improv mini mini Yvonne was creating, which appealed to me since it looked like improv with intention. The 4″ block consists of four 2″ blocks, each built in a wonky, triangular, log cabin-esque style with the same five fabrics and sewn together. I figured it was as good a place to start my journey into improv as any, and gave it a go. My end feelings were, “Meh” but the response on Instagram was overwhelmingly in the other direction. The photo received 118 “likes” and many comments along the lines of “beautiful!” and “love love LOVE”. This struck me as funny, but is yet another indication that we all have our styles, and what may seem “meh” to you might be absolute visual perfection to another! So I will quilt this up and swap it with someone who hopefully loves loves LOVES it.

mini snail house mini mini quiltThis mini snail house is really quite cute, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s clearly time to quilt it up as a mini mini and see who claims it first.

mini rainbow strips quiltingThe first rainbow strip I made was far too large to use in a mini mini, since it had 1/4″ strips of color and black. When I switched to 3/8ths of an inch and a few less colors, it turned out perfectly. I’m intent on using both of them in mini minis, somehow.

sew smallerSew smaller, Chawne said. Sew smaller, I did.

Finally, as of yesterday, I have begun another mini mini quilt. I’m honestly astounded that it actually worked, but I’m resisting the urge to latch onto a new obsession and make multiples of this one. I present to you: Modern Hexies, Crazy Mini Mini Edition.

super teeny tiny epp hexagons 1/4"I used the fabulous Modern Hexies tutorial by Nicole at Modern Handcraft, and just shrunk it down to 1/4″ EPP hexagons. Instead of actually basting the teeny hexagons, I used Flatter by Soak and pressed the dickens out of them with a hot iron. Astoundingly, I didn’t even burn my fingers, although I don’t know how.

super teeny tiny epp hexagons 1/4"I am loving how this one is turning out, and can’t wait to finish it! The toothpick helped with little adjustments while gluing, and is a good size reference.

super teeny tiny epp hexagons 1/4"I’m linking up with WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. I really AM working on something(s)!