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April Bee Sewcial Blocks and Other Makings

Boy oh Boy, April has been a productive month thus far!  Not only did I tackle and succeed (after some missteps) in making some challenging curved blocks for Diane (random thoughts…do or “di”: Me Bee-ing Sewcial) in our Bee Sewcial group, I made something with my new serger for the first time and as we speak I am in the process of dying some fabrics (a first for me and next time I need to remember to keep the gloves on the whole time.  Call me Ms. Blue Hands.), I started the month off finishing some gifts for a dear quilting friend and her gorgeous daughters.  I made a dress up using some linen, vintage lace and even used my serger to make finished edges.  I knit together a sweater from FrogTree Bamboo/Wool yarn in the Wallaby 10 ply pattern (Ravelry: Wallaby 10ply pattern by Georgie Hallam) and made up a sweatshirt using a washcloth and fabric scraps in a combined machine and hand appliquéd technique.  The book, Sew Adorable (Sew Adorable: Classic Clothes for Boys and Girls: Vanessa Mooncie: 9781861089311: Amazon.com: Books) from which the dress pattern came was the gift for Mama.  When I see people, I often see them in terms of colors and my friend is all about blues so I channeled the turquoise variety in her gifts.  They were very fun projects. 9L4A7506 IMG_1923 IMG_1952 IMG_1949 IMG_1954 9L4A7503 I am gratefully in the middle of some collaborations with artist friends.  One of my friends gave me a vinyl copy of one of her mixed media paintings to play with.  I combined pieces from it with some donated repurposed leather and made them into a folded clutch of my design with another topstitched Lonestar. IMG_1984 9L4A7581 IMG_1989 In the repurposing arena I also transformed a painted canvas left over from a Musical Chairs Painting Party into a simple clutch.  You guys, this was soooo easy and easily done on a traditional machine.  I think a tutorial may be coming up for a few of these techniques in the future. 9L4A7549 9L4A7550 9L4A7554 And of course, I had to work on my Bee Sewcial blocks for the month.  I was actually feeling a little cocky about the mission we were given.  Diane asked us to incorporate curves into our blocks with a fun color palate that asked for a sliver of black.  I have done so much curved piecing over the last year, I thought this would be an easy month but man it took me several attempts to get the blocks I wanted.  In the end, I think they will go well with the other pieces made by my stellar bedmates. (I came back to edit when I almost choked on my coffee reading my typo but had to keep the original for giggles.  I meant BEEMATES not BEDMATES. Yikes. Haha)IMG_1994 IMG_1945 9L4A7611 IMG_1993 Cheers, Hillary

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My Quilts in Modern Patchwork Magazine and Other Happenings

I just got the news today that the latest issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine is coming to news stands April 21st and two of my quilts are going to be featured!  How do you spell EXCITED?!  I am beyond humbled and flattered by how my quilts are shown in an article by Cinzia Allocca titled “Minimalism in Modern Quilt Design”.

Check out their website for more on what’s inside and there is a link there to purchase a copy as well if you are interested. (Modern Patchwork Spring 2015 – Special Issues – Blogs – Quilting Daily)

With precious free time, I have been playing more with bags, this time using recycled suede.  Believe it or not this is my first Lonestar quilting project.  I have so many other ideas for this topstitching technique.  The possibilities are endless.

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Although we have had to stick close to home this Spring Break because of work, I have been doing a lot of secret sewing for friends (can’t wait to share what I have been working on) and we made a quick trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore in Marin County for some hiking.  The hills were full of wild irises, California poppies and other wildflowers.  The area was at it’s finest.

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And although I can’t share yet my secret sewing, I can share a simple boy sweatshirt I made for a friend that includes an impromptu cloud out of a washcloth and leftover vinyl.  As I was making it, much needed rain started to fall with more on the way.  Who needs rain dances when one can make rain clothing instead? ;)

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Cheers,

Hillary

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A Modern Girl’s Easter Basket

Every modern girl deserves an Easter basket right?  Today I got the urge to make a Spring Bag and decided the bronze vinyl fabric remnant from my favorite upholstery store (a steal for $4 mind you) and it’s fancier sparkly Japanese canvas fabric and Robert Kaufman canvas would go well together.  My friend Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads) has been working the metallic threads so beautifully lately  how could I resist trying it all too?

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Inspired by the hexie quilt design and techniques of Nicole Daksiewicz (ModernHandcraft)  I cut up the vinyl in several 1 inch wide diamonds and laid them out in an asymmetrical design.  I then glued them down to the green canvas with Fabri-Tac by Beacon (a permanent fabric glue), let it dry and then started straight line quilting it down to my fave Peltrex 70 Ultra Firm Stabilizer.  Stephanie had advised using a nonmetallic thread for the bobbin which I did and I used a metallic sulky thread for the topstitching.  Stephanie had suggested a top stitching needle as opposed to a metallic needle but I was afraid it would not go through all my thick layers so I used a leather needle which worked well.

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This glue basting thing is the next best thing to sliced bread-no lie!  You guys need to try this!!  It is a life-changing technique (or at least Sew-changing technique) for sure. Next up I quilted the back in the same pattern as the front except without the vinyl diamonds.  I love this pattern so much I think I will use it in future quilts.  And do you see those crosses on the diamonds?  Perfect for Easter, no?  My accidents are my best friends.

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Lastly I sewed them all together in another version of my Mini Museum Bag and added a zip pocket on the inside.

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In quilting news, recycled men’s striped shirts cut at odd angles has been keeping me busy and a Triangle in a Triangle quilt is evolving.

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Happy Spring Break Everyone!

Hillary

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Old Blue Eyes

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Losing myself in some thoughtless creativity this week.  My work has been especially brutal from an emotional perspective-too much tragedy for certain.  Can sewing be therapy?  YES, YES, YES!!!

I finished a quilt top that has been several months in the making.  I was initially inspired by wood panelling made by artist Ariele Alasko (ariele alasko)  For me, is easy to see many of her designs interpreted as quilts.  It morphed in the making, as my creations always do and required sewing and unpicking several times to get right.

On my daily drives I pass by a beautiful abandoned gas station.  It is a remnant of the old Lincoln Highway that is now virtually unused since they built Highway 80 here in Northern California.  The blue wall and wood paneling of the station called for pictures (and that color combo deserves a quilt too don’t you think?).  While I stopped and set up my portable backdrop, the elderly owner came out to chat.  No question he was leery of me at first but warmed quickly when he saw my quilt.  It is hard for anyone to be threatened by that.  As I drove away I realized the quilt needed to be called “Old Blue Eyes” as the blue diamonds remind me of a steel blue gaze and in reference to the lovely old man who let me take pictures on his property.

Hillary

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Hello Spring!

Hi everyone! Are you feeling the seasons change in your part of the world?  We are definitely in the midst of some major shifts and boy is it nice.

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A couple weekends ago, I took the kids to the Sonoma Valley for some hiking and exploration at the Jack London State Park and on the way there we went to the “Unconventional and Unexpected” exhibit to check out the quilts from the book of the same name.  What a treat this whole trip was.  We loved hiking around Jack London’s estate and seeing his homes.  That man traveled to the far reaches of the world (Alaska, Hawaii and Australia), established a working ranch and wrote several well known books and short stories all before he died at the age of 40-INSPIRING!  Minus the philandering and alcohol/drug abuse, I want to be Jack London when I grow up. :)

The quilt exhibit was also fantastic.  Being the only ones there, the person at the front desk kindly gave us our own private tour.  She showed us the quilt backs and even the glass window effect shown on the last pic above (evidently they discovered the pretty effect when showing off the quilts to some local Elementary School students.)  Those bright polyester quilts are dreamy!

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In my own creative world, I have continued to play with the Triangle in a Triangle blocks and have started working on one of my scrubs quilts in earnest.  (One of them is going to be a bias tape quilt which I had alluded to in a previous post.  My wandering mind has veered me in other directions since I last posted but I will come back around to it.)

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I have also been playing with recycled leather and made up some Springy bags.  At some point I need to share my tricks for leather appliqué as I have discovered a few really helpful techniques.  The orange leather by the way is from a skirt donated by Bianca (Thanks! I made them!).  That generous donation has spawned at least 4 different recycled leather projects-AMAZING!

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In my attempt to Spring Clean I have also been tackling my UFO pile and combined two quilt backs to make one quilt.  It is so simple it would almost more qualify as a blanket.  This heavy quilt out of remnant bin red denim and silver corduroy, red linen from my enormous fabric stash and ikea canvas Triangle block pleases me to no end however.  It is HEAVY and the texture is squishy and it is made of non-boutique substrates; a WINNER for me on all counts  This quilt will get used and loved in our house and will fit right in with my crew.

Wishing you some similar sublime weather and creative vigor.

Hillary

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Playing with Transparency: Bee Sewcial Blocks for March

It is feeling like Spring here in Northern California.  I am appreciating my bulbs that have already bloomed and the warmer weather which seems in stark contrast to the rest of the country.  (We would gladly take some of that snow and rain however given the multiple year drought we are in the midst of. Yikes!)

In any case, the March Bee Sewcial block challenge matches in palette and mood our current weather.  For details on this month’s challenge, check out Melissa’s instructional post on Flickr (Flickr: Discussing March is for Melissa! :) in Bee Sewcial).  I must reiterate how fun this Bee has been.  It is forcing me to step out of my creative comfort zones and I have learned so much.

When planning my blocks for the month, I searched high and low on Pinterest and in Flickr for “transparency” inspiration.  Nothing seemed quite right so I finally settled on images that came out of the blue.  Translating those images to fabric was the big challenge and after considering several options, I decided to simply convert the scale pictures I had drawn directly into paper pieced patterns.

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Making the points line up perfectly was the only real challenge of it all (along with picking the left over paper pieces off the back of the fabric.)  I can imagine glue basting would work well for this (another new method to try out).  I am now completely hooked on making paper piecing patterns.

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And I think I can now call myself an official quilter after making two ginormous design walls.  That’s right, I will no longer be doing design layouts on the floor.  What a concept!  Now I just have to find a better fabric cutting spot as the floor is still my go to.  Kneeling, bending and squatting are good for you right?

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Though I enjoyed playing with the new colors in Melissa’s palette I needed to nurture my creative rebel side a tad and made up the block above.  This design has been in my head for awhile.  I can imagine a quilt made of several similar equilateral triangles.  Unfortunately my darn new ideas keep competing with old plans for time on my sewing machine.  I have so many plans lined up I’m going to have to farm out some tops for quilting by others I think.

My mailbox and heart have been bursting with love from the huge hearted quilting community I now feel a part of.  Anne de Waxholm (Holland) (https://www.flickr.com/photos/anne_de_waxholm) and Berene (Canada) (@happysewlucky on Instagram) sent me their contributions to the “Nude is Not a Dresscolor” project.  Don’t they play well together?

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I also got some similar blocks from Krista (Poppyprint) while at Quiltcon along with other special goodies and a signed copy of her new book (Martingale – Make It, Take It (Print version + eBook bundle)).  I can’t wait to make a couple of projects highlighted in it.

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Chawne Kimber (completely cauchy.) was super sweet and sent me some of her Quilting business cards, some fabric and a pin of one of her gorgeous Quiltcon quilts.  I was bummed to miss her at the event but appreciate our ongoing dialogue online and look forward to a face to face meet up sometime in the future.

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Lastly, along with her gorgeous Shirt Blocks, Berene sent me some hand printed linen tags that make reference to my day job.  They read “Quilts are the best medicine” , “Inject a little creativity into life”, “flesh and fabric are my canvas” and “give me sutures or thread and I will stitch beauty”.  Crazy amazing and generous right?!  These are going on some of my quilts for sure.

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Wishing you a creative weekend.

Hillary

 

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A Quilter’s Dozen

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I finished my pieced Maze and Vale Circle Quilt today.  It reminds so many people of donuts that I am calling it “A Quilter’s Dozen” Quilt. (the name was suggested by an Instagram friend.  Thanks T. Ninoe)  To see the details of my planning and piecing look back at my previous blog post about it (Quilting Calm | Entropy Always Wins).

Concentric Square quilting with Aurifil thread centered over the upper secondary square pattern was done in hopes of highlighting it. I used pepper cotton in a blue for the backing to match the Japanese indigo dyed circle on the front and bound it all in a natural linen.

I am about to embark on a complicated bias tape quilt (my first attempt at bias tape quilting).  Wish me luck!

Hillary