Fibs & Fables Fabric

5 01 2016

Not all that long ago, I won a gift certificate to I used it towards a half yard bundle of Fibs and Fable by Anna Maria Horner.

Fibs & Fables Bundle

Being that I’m an impatient type of person, I wasn’t content to let it sit in my stash for very long, so on the last day of 2015, I started starching, pressing, and cutting.

A couple of evenings ago, I was able to start piecing, and I am so very, very glad that I have converted to starching my fabrics:

A Start

When choosing which fabrics to cut at what size, I decided I wanted to preserve the integrity of the large scale prints in the collection. As I piece, I’m attempting to keep them spaced across the quilt, and to disperse the color groups.

So far, so good, even if piecing is slowed by my running between the machine and the design wall.

2015 – The Year in Review

28 12 2015

This has been a year… One that I wish I could go back and do-over, but at least 2016 is nearly here?

While it was a creatively satisfying year in many ways, it was an incredibly frustrating year on the professional front. I was released from the university, my supervisors electing not to renew my contract. Thinking on it still makes my heart hurt – I wrap up a lot of my self-worth in my job, and I honestly felt like I was making a difference, and that I was valued. To learn that I wasn’t, that I didn’t ‘fit within the budget’ – that kind of broke me for a while. I’m not sure that I’ve completely recovered, either.

As I said, creatively, it was a satisfying year. I finished five quilts and participated in a round robin. I think I would love to participate in another round robin, but I would be more finite in what I would want to others put into my quilt – as in, I would specify certain things, whereas I had allowed a lot of creative freedom in this round robin.

That said, I’ll probably continue to abstain from swaps in general. I would like to finish more projects, and swaps only add to my UFO/WIP pile.

Traveling Bee-utiful Swap

1. Lone Star – Complete, 2. Traveling Bee-utiful – February Round, 3. cseawright Traveling Bee-utiful Top-in-Progress, 4. Traveling Bee-utiful April for Forestbuckets, 5. Traveling Bee-utiful April for Sunseak, 6. Farm Quilt II, 7. Something Like Progress, 8. Traveling Bee-utiful – July, 9. Traveling Bee-utiful Swap – September Addition, 10. October Addition Complete, 11. Traveling Bee-utiful November, 12. My Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Top

The Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap was a fun, but often frustrating, experience. It did push me creatively, which was great. I came away with a better understanding of my creative process. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the quilt top that came home to me. I know for sure that I’m not ready to quilt it.

2015 was also highlighted by several quilt finishes, of which I am quite proud. I’m usually a starter, and still have eleven WIPs to clear out of my queue. I did, however, commit myself to finishing projects by participating in the 2015 Finish Along, and A Lovely Year of Finishes. I fell off of completing projects as the fourth quarter of the year approached – I just didn’t have a lot of time, thanks to the holidays.

Night Sky Completed Quilt - Front

Night Sky was my second attempt at a Camille Roskelley pattern. I did this one as written, and using up my grey, yellow, and white/black fabric stashes. I actually picked this project because I’m a sucker for a quilt-along, but the quilt-along never actually reached completion on the hosting blog.

3xS Completed Quilt Front

3xS (Stars, Squares and Scraps) was supposed to be a leader/ender project to use up my scrap stash, and some neutral solids I had hanging about. It ended up being stupidly fast to piece, because I had everything pre-cut. And then, because I was itching for a finish, I hurried to quilt it.

Embers - Front

I then completed Embers, which was actually the first quilt top I’d done from a Camille Roskelley pattern. I actually had drafted it without the pattern, and re-sized the block to 16″, but purchased the pattern after I’d done all that because I felt guilty. The quilt top had been sitting in my to-be quilted pile for some time, and I just felt like it was time to be done with it.

High Tea Quilt Front

Back in October 2014, I tested a pattern and then the top sat around for a while. I do that a lot… I often get discouraged at the idea of quilting something, because I just don’t have the desire to force a quilt through my domestic machine.

Also, I wasn’t that in love with the top, though I worked from stashed fabrics. Funnily enough, once I’d quilted it and then washed it, I fell in love. Now, I sleep with it most nights.

Spice Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery Quilt

As I said, I’m a sucker for quilt alongs, so when I saw the 2015 Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery Quilt Along advertised on reddit, I jumped on board. I mainlined the quilt top in two weeks, using only stashed fabrics, and then hurried to quilt it. This quilt went to live with friends that I thought needed a permanent hug.

So, that was 2015 in a nutshell. I’d call it a good quilting year, but I’d really like to do more in 2016. That WIP queue is calling my name. If I can convince myself to be adventurous with quilting, I might actually knock four of my WIPs out fairly quickly.

Swirling Sea of Stars – Completed Quilt Top

24 12 2015

It’s been a long time in coming, but I finally put together enough blocks to call Swirling Sea of Stars a completed quilt top.

With working the holidays in retail again, I realized I needed to sew for my own sanity. I needed something simple-ish, and near completion, so that I could have that pleasant burst of accomplishment.

Swirling Sea of Stars was definitely near completion. I’d stalled out at needing four more blocks, and had even started piecing those four blocks. 16 quarter stars had been languishing under my sewing table for months.

Over a couple of days, I buckled down and got to sewing:

Scrappy Piecing
The sixteen quarters stars on the left were all I needed. The three stars on the right were just waiting for their pale-centered brethren to be made complete.

And then, finally, finally! I had a completed quilt top. I made only as many blocks as I had solid fabric for. My EQ7 design called for 144 blocks, but I may have drawn the design with smaller blocks than what I actually made:

Swirling Sea of Stars

I love how the quilt top actually turned out, with the variations in the widths of the scraps. And I especially love the way the stars actually stand out.

Swirling Sea of Stars Quilt Top

For me, there will always be something wonderful and magical about using my scraps to make something like this. So much of what I used could have just been disposed of. Instead, I’ve made something that I can appreciate for years to come.

It’s Home! My Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Top

23 12 2015

My quilt top for the Traveling Bee-utiful Swap made its way home a few weeks ago. It’s so large that I had to wait until I could take it to work and photograph it there, on our empty floor space. I could carpet my living room with this quilt top.

My Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Top

I’m debating ways to quilt it, but I might make some alterations first. We’ll see.

For the moment, this top is going into my UFO pile, to await the day that I’m ready to tackle it again.

Finished! Sewing Room Quilt Top Additions

23 12 2015

I’m late in blogging about it, but I did actually complete my addition for the last quilt top in the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap.

I had a lot of disparate parts, that I needed to make into a cohesive whole. Making them whole would have been easy – COHESIVE was another matter entirely.

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 1

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 2

I kept letting myself get psyched out by the project. Frankly, I let myself get stuck on one idea, and couldn’t get myself out of the mental rut. Somehow, I’d convinced myself that I needed to make representational blocks – images of tools, essentially.

I couldn’t find patterns that I was willing to pay for, and I definitely didn’t feel up to designing something myself. So, I got stuck. Repeatedly.

Until finally, I re-read the description for the ‘plan’ for the quilt top, and realized that I could do something else entirely. Up to, and including, splitting the disparate parts that I had into two quilt tops, so that the original quilter would be able to hang her quilts on the wall.

Traveling Bee-utiful November

Ultimately, I decided to piece the words “DREAM” and “DESIGN”, to complement the word “CREATE”, which had been pieced by a previous quilter. I then sandwiched one of the panels between the words, and left the remaining panel (featuring a really awesome seam ripper) alone, to be its own mini-quilt.

In the end, I sent it out, pretty happy with what I’d done. I’d go back and change a couple of small things now, but it’s done, and so is this swap for the year.

A Fun Surprise for Me!

30 11 2015

I participated in the Trunk Full of Quilts digital trunk show/link-up, hosted by Soma of Whims and Fancies. Soma was generous enough to line up some prize packages for participants, and I won!

It’s so rare that I even try to win any give-aways on quilt blogs, that it was a huge, and very pleasant, surprise.

Trunk Show Prizes

The prize package included several goodies, including this box of Aurifil thread, and a voucher for a free Craftsy class.

  • Screenshot

I picked Mimi Dietrich’s Hand Applique course for my free class. I love the look of hand applique, but want to improve my technique before embarking on a project that’s long been on my wishlist: Erin Russek’s My Tweets.

In addition to these goodies, my choice of several digital patterns were included. I picked:

The final piece of the prize package was a $24 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop. I almost jumped the gun and bought some random yardage, but then I remembered that Black Friday is a thing, and I did my sole bit of Black Friday shopping:

Fibs & Fables Bundle

Yes, that’s a half quarter bundle of the Fibs & Fables by Anna Maria Horner. I finally drank the Anna Maria Horner Kool-Aid. I blame the Helios yardage. It’s my favorite print from the line, though I do like the rest of it – the exception being the Plaited print. It’s the one print in the entire line that I don’t anticipate using.

It was thrilling to win, and I’m so grateful to Soma for hosting the Trunk show, and to all the shops and pattern designers for sponsoring the event!

Trunk Full of Quilts

14 11 2015

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies

Whims and Fancies is hosting a digital trunk show, so I decided to throw together a post and share some of my favorite finished quilts. I thought I’d move from oldest to newest, and include quilts that are favorites for sentimental reasons, as well as because I feel like it’s my best work.

Double Wedding Ring

This was not my first quilt, but close to it. This was my third quilt finished, ever. I made it back in the days before I’d found out about rotary cutters and sewing machines. Yes, this was hand-pieced and hand-quilted in the most traditional of ways! I started it shortly after meeting the man who would become my husband, though I didn’t finish it until after we’d been married. I worked on this thing for three years, and still love it. It’s been retired, to keep from washing this quilt to pieces.

Christmas Cactus Quilt Full View Front

This is a favorite of mine because it was designed by my friend, Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts. She did it as a quilt-along on her blog, and I loved seeing the different versions of this as others pieced along.
CotFW, Round 1 - From EQ to Quilt

I made this quilt as I was working on the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-Along (which is still not finished). I needed a break from that project and decided something ‘fast and easy’ was on the menu. Every aqua and purple fabric in my stash was pulled for this. In the end, I almost prefer the backing of this quilt, for its minimalist modernity.

CotFW, Part Deux - From EQ to Quilt

This was another quilt completed when cheating on the Farmer’s Wife. I noticed that I had quite the scrap bucket going, and was intrigued both by ‘found fabric’ and minimalist design. I spent some time finalizing an idea in Electric Quilt, and went to town. This didn’t really put a dent in my scraps, but it was fun, and a quilt I still love to cuddle under.

High Tea Quilt Front

This was pieced in order to pattern test for Adrienne of On the Windy Side. Though I pulled entirely from my stash, I was initially fairly underwhelmed by my fabric choices. At the same time, it was nice to see prints that I’d hung on to finally going to use. In the end, I love how calm this quilt is.

Embers - Front

I avoided the Swoon pattern for quite a while, but ultimately decided to go with my urge to make this quilt. I re-drafted the pattern, to make the blocks 16″ square. I love how the pinks, oranges, and yellows glow.

Night Sky Completed Quilt - Front

Yes, I use a lot of greys in my quilts! This is from another Camille Roskelley pattern – Night Sky. I made this as part of a quilt-along that never reached completion. The hostess suddenly stopped posting to her blog. By that point, however, I was well and truly committed, and had decided to go with one of my favorite color combinations (greys, yellows and white).

Spice Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery Quilt

This is my most recent finish, and was made as part of a mystery-quilt-along, hosting by Desert Bloom Quilting. I started piecing as the last few clues were being posted. I worked entirely from my stash, and once I’d finished it, this quilt went to its forever home. I had some friends that I felt needed to have a reminder of how much they are cared for.

Since we’re getting into the holidays, there won’t be any new quilt finishes for me in the near future. I manage a retail location, so the next six weeks promise to be a wonderful slice of… um… Well, suffice to say that this is never my favorite part of the year.

So, in case I am MIA through the end of the year, happy holidays to all, and even better, happy quilting!