Museum Demo Day / Star Count #8

Oh, what fun I had last Sunday at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  The museum had invited the DC Modern Quilt Guild to come and demonstrate hand work in the gallery, amongst their exhibit of gorgeous antique quilts.  We sewed a little, we demonstrated a lot, we chatted with visitors almost constantly for the whole 5 hours.  I even did a little repair on an antique quilt someone brought in.  I couldn’t believe how fast the time went.  If I could make a career of that I surely would!

I brought along my English-paper-pieced baby quilt and made a little progress on the orange star.  Other members brought along hand quilting, binding, more EPP, and embroidery.  The table where we sat was such a joyful conglomeration of projects.

Adding to the excitement of the day, my friend Mary Koval had lent me some examples of antique English paper piecing which were unfinished, and still had the papers inside.  With templates cut by hand from old letters and receipts, the backs of these pieces were so fun to stare at.   And the old fabrics… I could pore over these quilts all day and never tire of them.  All that work, all the time spent by some unknown maker, it stays with the quilt long after the maker has passed.  So lovely to behold.

Sunday at the gallery, and later that night, I added a round of shapes to two of my stars- so I’m still at 3, but they are growing!

Only in February…

Only in the depths of winter, and only under a little duress, would something so rainbow-bright and utterly lacking in neutrals come out from under my needle…

I took a break from my EPP baby quilt last week to enter something in the MQG Riley Blake Challenge.  Everybody who signed up for the challenge received this bundle of fabrics:

Receiving the fabrics didn’t really inspire any creative ideas for me, so I washed them and folded them and they sat on the shelf for 5 months or however long it’s been… until a week before the deadline when I knew I had to make something. Hmmm.   The challenge rules allowed other Riley Blake fabrics to be added, so in my stash I found a few more prints in orange and red.  Together with the challenge fabrics they made an almost-rainbow and since this was a Challenge, I figured I should go ahead and try out a color scheme that I wouldn’t normally use.  Looking at it now I realize that I didn’t really use that much of the challenge fabric at all, but it is all Riley Blake stuff so it fits the criteria…

It was fun to put together another English paper piecing design and applique it to a beautiful cross-woven solid that’s been in my stash for eons.  I made it kind of large so it would go together quickly- the center diamonds are 3 inches on each side.   It is hand quilted it with #12 Valdani perle cotton in a spring green.   I’m really liking #12 for hand quilting rather than the thicker #8 that seems to be more readily available. Maybe just because I’ve been making small-ish things.

I love that the MQG hosts these challenges, because it’s so fun to see what different people are making from the same fabric.  But this one, for me, was just a bit of a bummer because I was so uninspired by the fabric.  I like my final quilt well enough, but it just doesn’t excite me like some things I’ve worked on, y’know?  I’m happy I finished it though, because finishing projects is one of those life skills that I need to work on, and now I have a happy little quilt I can pass off to my kiddos to enjoy.

By the way, there are a ton of entrants out there who obviously were inspired by the fabric and made some fantastic things… here is one by Doris Brunnette that made it to the top 10 that I absolutely love:

I’m linking up again with Jessica’s Monday Morning Star Count!

Star Count #6

Finished star # 3 this week!  I didn’t intend it to be all orange, but sometimes it seems like I have no control over these things.  I got a lot of other things basted and little bits here and there sewn together, but I didn’t get any pics of that.  Next week!

This week it was really the motivation of the linkup and the weekly progress report that kept me stitching, so, thanks Jessica for your Monday Morning Star Count!

Ideas for pretty fabric?

Since making the Strawberry Shortcake Quilt I’m finding myself a little obsessed with putting red and bubble-gum pink together.  This little pile of fabrics practically assembled itself on my sewing table and it makes me so very happy, the way the whites and greys and deep blues provide contrast and balance to the sweetness of pink kitties and red cherries. But, I don’t have any idea what to do with it. I’m not going to start any more epic projects right now, but I wouldn’t mind taking a break from the epic for a single-afternoon-into-evening sort of project.  Something, maybe, that would be useful for baby and/or me.  Any suggestions?

Star Count #5

This week I allowed myself to put another star together!  If you’re following along, that brings my total to: 2.  Hooray!

I want to get the quilt mostly laid out before I do too much assembly, so I am free to rearrange the shapes for as long as possible.  But I was really in love with this star, so I felt safe sewing it together.  A lot more shapes got cut out and basted, too, my little tray is filling up and the picture doesn’t even show the shapes that I’ve been playing with on my dining room table.   (They were on the kitchen counter for most of last week, until I left the house to go to the grocery store and my husband moved everything out of sight to the dining room.  So I would have room to put away the groceries, or so he says :) )

Some of these won’t get used in this quilt, but I’m enjoying the idea of building a pre-basted arsenal of shapes, ready to make quick little projects whenever the mood strikes.

Thanks again to Jessica at Life Under Quilts for the Star Count linkup!

Star Count #4

I spent most of my crafty time last week finishing up the quilting on this quilt so I could enter it into the DCMQG’s quilt show.  But there was a little time to baste this little stack of neutral-y diamonds.  The creamsicle orange + neutral color combination is killing me with its awesomeness.  I kind of want to throw out all the other pieces I basted the past 3 weeks and start again with just these.  But that’s just my crafty ADD talking; next week I’ll have a new love either way.  This week I’ll start laying out my shapes; can’t wait!

Why UFO?

I just noticed this neglected project (UnFinished Object, which is something totally different from a Work In Progress, isn’t it) shuffling around in the basement… It was going to be a little circular pouch, last summer I think.  The pieces are almost all together, the inside of the pouch is already cut out, I even made a test pouch out of a single fabric to test my pattern.  So why isn’t it done?  I honestly can’t even remember why this got shoved aside.

Finding this set off a few days of self-reflection on my sewing habits and methods.  (I didn’t let myself start to obsess about my general life-habits; I’m taking baby steps…)  For a while I couldn’t stop thinking about how I must look through the eyes of my mother.  Mom is a very linear person and finishes everything she starts and doesn’t have 37 projects in various stages of completion cluttering up her basement.  I don’t even think she plans her next project until the one at hand is completed.   My fluttering about must make her feel all twitchy until she has to look away and shake her head.

What it is about me that keeps me from seeing things through?  Is it the lure of something exciting and new?  Am I over-committed?  Maybe just self-indulgent and undisciplined? Ugg, I think it might be those last two there.  Time to be honest.  If I don’t wanna do it, most of the time, I just don’t.

While I was working on the Strawberry Shortcake Quilt just now, I didn’t work on that many other things.  Just one quilt from start to finish; it was easy because I gave myself deadlines and I wanted to keep plugging away at it so I could be done and move on to the next project.  I had the goal in mind; gifting the quilt while the baby was still tiny enough to use it, so I knew I couldn’t set it aside and start something else. It worked.  And it felt so good! So I’m working on more of that now.  Goals, deadlines.  And the sweet taste of success when something is actually finished and put to use.  Why did it take me this long to figure this out?  Here’s hoping I do turn into my mother after all…

Star Count

Is it really Monday again?  I did not complete any new stars this week.  But, I did get a pile of pieces basted and ready, and that’s totally progress when you’re talking about English paper piecing.

I am trying to be more disciplined than usual with this quilt.  Normally I would choose a few fabrics at a time, baste a few pieces, make one star, then repeat.  But this time I want to get most if not all of my fabrics selected first, and mostly cut out and basted, so there’s no unhappy surprises at the end.  It’s a small quilt, so there’s less room to hide something that doesn’t work out as envisioned.  And less room for all the pretty stuff I want to fit in.  So I’m making sure it’s right before I sew it all together.  One thing I love about English paper piecing is that it’s so easy to play around with the basted shapes and see exactly what the finished piece will look like before you commit!  I’m bringing in some tan fabrics to give the pretty colors space to breathe, and the deep marine blue to ground all that sweet bright color.

Linking up again to Monday Morning Star Count over at Life Under Quilts!

Star Count

Last night I started a new English paper pieced project!

I have been completely smitten with this teeny floral since I found it at a quilt show last fall.  Like crazy in love, and I’ve been dying for a project where I could really enjoy using it.  Back then I was sure that the family-member-in-utero was a boy (and I wasn’t actually planning on finding out the gender at all until the big day, so a more neutral quilt would have been in order.) I thought this would make its way into a big quilt for me (it still might.)

But things changed and now that we know we are getting another little lady, I’m free to dream up sweet confectionery quilts in sherbert-y hues, and this fabric is the inspiration.

I started a preliminary fabric pull celebrating the pink-peach-orange-raspberry-lemon colors but I still need to pull some neutrals and something deep to ground all this sweetness.  How I love picking fabrics.

I’m linking up again with Jessica Alexandrakis’s Monday Morning Star Count and my count this week is: 1!

How to add a hanging sleeve to your quilt

Tutorial: How to add a hanging sleeve to your quiltIn preparation for the DC Modern Quilt Guild’s upcoming show, here’s a tutorial for a regulation hanging sleeve.  It has a D shape rather than being flat; this allows the sleeve to accommodate the width of the hanging pole without distorting the actual quilt.  The sleeve will be 1″ shorter than the quilt on each edge in order to hide the hooks that attach the pole to the wall.  This is the same sleeve required by the International Quilt Festival.  I’m using white muslin for my sleeve, but you can use just about any cotton fabric since it won’t be seen when the quilt is hanging.

1. Measure the width of your quilt.  Cut a strip of fabric the exact width of the quilt and 9 inches high.  My quilt is 33.75″ wide, so I’m cutting my strip 33.75″ x 9″.  ( You can piece the strip to get the required length.)

2. Fold each short edge over 1/2″ towards the wrong side and press, then fold over again and press.  Now your strip is 2″ shorter than your quilt.

3. Stitch the short edges close to the loose fold to secure.

4. Fold the strip in half, aligning the long edges with wrong sides together.  Press lightly.

5. Stitch the long edges of the strip together with a 1/4″ seam.

6. Using your machine’s longest stitch length, baste 1/4″ away from the long fold you created in step 3.

7. Refold your sleeve so that the seam and the basted fold are roughly centered.  Press the seam open and press the newly folded edges well.  You can press the basted fold to one side if it makes this step easier.

8. With the basted fold facing out and the long seam touching your quilt, align the sleeve 1/2″ from the top of the quilt, centered across the back of the quilt, and pin.  Hand stitch top and bottom edges to the quilt using a blind stitch, taking care not to stitch through to the front of the quilt.

9. Remove the basting stitches on the fold.  Now your sleeve is 4″ on the side attached to the quilt, and 4 1/2″ on the free side, making a D.  You’re done!