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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

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5/325 Quilt Complete

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-You are more likely to die these days from a Prescription Narcotic Overdose then a car accident.(CDC – Facts – Drug Overdose – Home and Recreational Safety – Injury Center)

-There were enough narcotics sold in 2010 in the US to distribute 40 Percocet and 25 Norco to every citizen in the country. (Addiction USA: Painkiller sales soar across nation – NY Daily News)

These may seem like shocking statistics but they are not at all surprising to those of us who work in the Medical Field and despite this news Narcotics remain an important tool especially for acute pain and end of life care.

I finished my 5/325 Quilt, a statement piece highlighting the mixed blessings of prescription narcotics (in this case, the most common formulation of hydrocodone/acetaminophen).  To see the process behind my quilt top construction go here: 5/325 | Entropy Always Wins.

Once again, I used Kona Cotton in White and Hand Dyed Fabric in Blue by Kim Eichler-Messmer (Kim E-M Quilts).  Trying to echo the pluses and minuses of narcotics, in the white spaces I machine quilted echoing Plus Signs and in the Blue fabric quilted Minus Signs using Aurifil thread.  I hope the echo effect reflects the impact both pain control and addiction have on the community as a whole.  For the back, I used linen in khaki and scrub bottoms from my time working in Seattle and Cleveland.

I will begin soon to look for venues to get this quilt and it’s message out.

In other news, I finished a quilt block for the Bee Sewcial group.  Kari is leading us down a more graphic design path this month.  I had an idea that morphed as I was making it, once again without a drawn up plan.  It is miraculous that these turned out to be equilateral triangles that made the whole thing work.  I would like to explore this design concept more.  See Kari’s blog post here: Craft Happy: Bee Sewcial: February.

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I am also prepping for Quiltcon next week and am so excited to meet many of you.  I grew my “garden” of linen flowers and will bestow them on my Bee Sewcial and “Nude is Not a Dress Color” friends.  Say “HI” if you spot me!

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I am waiting on some buttons to pass out as well.  Did I really make and order up buttons to share? (so not me but love the message)

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Lastly, check out the gorgeous lanyard Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads.) made me.  It it constructed out of Doe Fabric and a repurposed Sari.  I am one lucky duck.

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Hillary

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Creative Distractions

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This Monkey Mind of mine has kept me distracted on several fronts.  Needing a little Spring in the middle of dreary winter, I came up with the idea of painting heavily starched white linen and making up linen flowers to embellish everything I own.  I experimented spraying starch, tinted with watercolor paints, on the linen and  also tried painting the linen with acrylic paints in all shades of pink before cutting out petals and hand sewing them together.  This has been a popular project among my friends and daughter hence more coming up.

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I’ve also been working the sticks and made up a cowl for a girlfriend and a baby girl dress for another.  Both are made out of malabrigo yarn.  I increasingly love well engineered knitting patterns and this simple baby dress qualifies with it’s “knit in one piece” construction, knit in pockets in a complimentary gray yarn and spots to use two of my blue vintage buttons. (patterns here: Ravelry: Bulle pattern by Karen Borrel and Ravelry: Vite Cowl pattern by Kristi Johnson)

I was fortunate to take my kids to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at Alcatraz in San Francisco this weekend.  The exhibit is a combination of visual and audio art meant to honor and bring attention to imprisoned artists around the world.  It was a treat to see but I think I fell most in love with the whole Alcatraz experience: San Francisco on sunny winter day, the quiet beauty, the history, the smell of Eucalyptus on the island and the color scheme . . .  SWOON!  A project in Alcatraz Palette is in my future for certain.

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Cheers,

Hillary