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Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid – Bee Sewcial Theme for September

As many of you know I am in a unique Quilting Bee with some uber talented ladies.  Each month, one of the ten members picks a color palette and a loose theme from which we all create blocks for a quilt.  September is my month as Leader/Queen.  Since we have had August off and this last week is crazy busy for me, I am posting my mission a little early.

As background for my theme, I adore modern minimalist design, the effect of negative space and making with meaning so I have decided to combine all these things into one grand mission for the month of September.  Note that from this month forward, we have decided to invite everyone to join us in sewing.  We don’t have room to add other blocks to our quilts but would love anyone to sew right along with us and share what you are making on Instagram by including the Hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial.  We will be checking in on this companion group and commenting as we go so if you are up for the challenge join us (and this month tag me as well @entropyalwayswins so I don’t miss what you are making).

What I ask of my Beemates is to make two distinct quilt blocks no bigger then 10.5 x 10.5 inches (I need even more negative space for this quilt I envision).  I want each of you to use black and white fabric (and I use those terms a little loosely because there are obviously many versions of black and white.  Adding variety adds some depth in my opinion).  Make a design that highlights the importance of negative space (some things are better left unsaid) and lastly make each design mean something.  Perhaps the design is a reflection of your place in the world, your child, family, recent notable event, favorite joke . . .  The meaning doesn’t have to be serious and you don’t need to share it (though I would love it if you did).  In my opinion infusing our makes with meaning steps our making up a notch so spend a little time pondering why and what your block means about YOU.

Pictures tell a thousand words so please feel free to check my pinterest board for designs that inspire me in this way: Pinterest: Discover and save creative ideas . Leannes’s Echoes quilt in my opinion is a perfect example of minimalism and the use of negative space in design.

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Other modern quilters who do this very well include Alexis Diese (materials and method / alexis seise), Lindsay Stead (Lindsay Stead) and S.D. Evans (SDE Quilts).  Although I am including some of my own modern minimalist quilts in this post I intentionally am excluding my own blocks because I don’t want them to influence what you make.

Recap:

-Palette: black and white (any variety)

-Block size: two blocks 10.5 x 10.5 or less

-original minimalist design highlighting the use of negative space

-infuse your block with meaning and share (or not) what it means

-pieced or paper pieced methods are preferred but if you have to use appliqué to get across your meaning, go for it

-Everyone is invited to join us in making these blocks during the month of September.  Bee Sewcial folks only tag theirs with #beesewcial and all others tag with #inspiredbybeesewcial on instagram and we will be following along

I can’t wait to see what you all make!!!

Hillary

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“All Things Being Equal” Quilt Complete

This weekend I finished my quilt tribute to the justice of marriage equality.  For the backstory see my previous post here:  All Things Being Equal | Entropy Always Wins.

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I used my Triangle in a Triangle block to piece striped Goodwill shirts into equilateral triangles that carried more of the same in a secondary pattern.  To further reinforce the meaning, I quilted echoing equilateral triangles that extend into the denim border.  The combination of these three sets of equilateral triangles (pieced, secondary pattern and quilting) all at different angles soothes that over the top urge to put meaning in my making.

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Carolyn Friedlander’s Ledger fabric for the back helps keep score and the iconic equal sign was the cherry on top of my creation.

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To add some humanity and a little imperfection (I don’t like things too perfect honestly) I pieced the binding in alternating red and blue striped shirt fabric from the Goodwill.

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Blessings to all marriages and families who will enjoy the benefits of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.  Now off to make something in a color other then blue.

Hillary

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Summertime

The summer sun shone round me
The folded valley lay
In a stream of sun and odor
The sultry summer day.

The tall trees stood in the sunlight
As still as still could be
But the deep grass sighed and rustled
And bowed and beckoned me.

The deep grass moved and whispered
And bowed and brushed my face.
It whispered in the sunshine:
“The winter comes apace.”

The Summer Sun Shone Round Me by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Summer is flying by in a fit of travel, work and creativity.  We were lucky as a family to travel to Iceland and Banff/Yoho National Park over the last couple of months.  Interspersed with travel I have been working at my day job harder then ever in my career (the ACA has resulted in more people being insured which is a good thing but with a real shortage of primary care doctors our ERs, indeed those across the country, have been overwhelmed).  I digress.  In any case, despite all this busyness I have found time to create though no time to blog or follow blogs.  I look forward to catching up with many of you  Included in the pictures above are some blocks I made for our July Bee Sewcial assignment by Karen (CapitolaQuilter: Bee Sewcial July – REFLECTION) .  They are intended to show REFLECTION and I think are inspired by my travels.  I am excited as well to share that two of my quilts have been accepted to the Modern Exhibit at the International Quilt Show in Houston and Quiltcon 2016.  This is my first foray into the Quilt Show world and I am both nervous and excited.

Happy summer!

Hillary

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More Makings

This last month has been surprisingly productive given the craziness of my work and family life.  I think my creative life feeds on it a little bit though.  The less time I have, the more ideas I come up with and the more I need to make.  Can anyone relate?

I started and ended the month with blocks finished for Debbie in our Bee Sewcial group.  She gave us the mission of making Midcentury Modern blocks.  Find her block post about it here: A Quilter's Table: Bee Sewcial Goes Mid-Century.  What a fun endeavor this has been once again.  I did some improv curves with inset ovals.  I made up a paper piecing pattern for a MCM star, experimented with a boomerang shape utilizing the 6 minute circle technique (It worked!) and lastly made up some very geometric appetizers to finish up this fun buffet.  It’s all I can to keep from sharing my month’s mission which begins in September.  Can’t wait!

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Of course, I have been bag making too.  I am really inspired by the new book out by Anna of Noodlehead, “Handmade Style” (Handmade Style: 23 Must-Have Basics to Stitch, Use, and Wear: Anna Graham: 9781940655062: Amazon.com: Books).  I channeled her Tablet Case pattern and modified it (as I tend to do) and made three bags, the last being one for my dad for Father’s Day.  I used my stitched toaster for one, recycled a french knot project for another and did some more stitch sketching/free motion quilting on left over painter’s drop cloth in the shape of a camera for the third.   To add interest, I used unfinished leather for the binding and tiny pockets in all of them.

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My friend Sondra and I are collaborating on some bags together too so I combined vinyl and paper reproductions of her works with leather and took them back to her today as she plans to add paint, mica and other ornamentation.  I can’t wait to see them finished.

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In the selfish sewing department, as we are headed to some cold weather soon I combined some organic fleece I had previously hand dyed with linen and left over Malabrigo Rasta Wool for a scarf.  It was picked as a Craft/Make Magazine online weekly favorite this last week (CRAFT Flickr Pool Weekly Roundup | Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers | MAKE: Craft)-so fun.

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Lastly, I finished up a quilt top I started in December.  I call it “Stars and Stripes” though there really aren’t either to be found on this modern American Flag variation.  I am excited to have a quilt that I can take out on future 4th of Julys.  It’s fun to see it mixed in with my other quilts-geometric lover anyone?

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Happy 4th friends.

Hillary

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A Quilt Collaboration

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Last winter here in Northern California we faced what they thought would be the “storm of a century”.  Since we live on a piece of property with a lot of trees this typically means electricity going out, trees down and several days of time off the grid.  As we prepped bringing out lamps, blankets and our generator, it brought to mind the mood and the phrase “Batten Down the Hatches” and a quilt design was born.  I grabbed a large piece of orange/red Kona cotton and made it a pieced porthole with which i filled improv curved waves and sky.  The huge storm as it turned out never came to pass BUT I was left with a throw sized quilt top that grew on me daily and begged for some special quilting that I knew I was not up to.

I’ve mentioned before that 2015 has been a year of collaboration for me.  This latest quilt is the child of one such amazing union.  The free motion quilting work of Christina Cameli (A Few Scraps) is epic, truly.  To be honest I had no idea how special her art was until I held the fruits of it in my hands.  As I was pondering how to finish this piece, I threw out the idea of collaborating to Christina and lucky me, she said yes.

She filled this quilt with beautiful free form art that tells quite a story.  We both have since acknowledged the fact that somehow working with another makes you travel roads you would have never considered.  I am so thankful we got to travel the journey together.

Christina will be teaching several free motion classes at Quiltcon 2016.  One of them is titled “Wild Quilting” and uses this quilt and other works as inspiration.  Catch this quilt and Christina at Quiltcon if you can.  I promise, you will find her work and teaching inspiring.

Hillary

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Holy Cow, We Won?!

Robin and I are still riding the high of our unexpected win in the Open Category for the 2015 Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition (Umbrella Prints: And the winners are ……).  It is especially humbling when you look at all of the amazing makes out there like this one by my friend Kirsty (Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge 2015 – Patchwork yoke top) and this one by Megan (A little bit of my life: making :: just enough {umbrella prints trimming challenge}).  And I think the Quilt Category was especially rich with beauty this year.  Be sure to check out my friend Dorie’s take (umbrella prints trimmings quilt), Ashley’s (FITF: Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge 2015 | Film in the Fridge), Leela’s (Sunrise Quilt | Miss Leela) and the beautiful winner in this category by Amy (Trimmings 2015).

And for all those who entered or chose not to for fear of putting themselves out there, I entered two bags last year that I think only got 10 views total on Pinterest (haha!) BUT the making of them (and keeping to the tiny scrap restrictions) stretched my brain in wonderful ways.  They expanded my creative approach and became cherished gifts for friends.  So next year if you are contemplating entering, DO IT!

Cheers,

Hillary

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A Collaboration On Friendship and Motherhood – Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge Entry 2015

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What started as a friendship in creativity and motherhood turned into a challenge to expand our horizons and spend some juicy time together.  My friend Robin King (@r0bingail on instagram and Robin Gail Art on Facebook) is an amazing artist and our times together are full of painting, needlework, children and dressing up.  When the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge (Umbrella Prints: 2015 Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge #umbrellaprintstrimmingschallenge) came around again this year, I knew that I wanted to do it together.

To start our project, we had an image in our minds of a child holding something precious and stumbled across a picture of her daughter at a younger age holding one of their ducklings.  This picture became the basis for our piece and Robin drew her image on inexpensive painter’s drop cloth.  Taking inspiration from the work of Kristin LaFlamme (Musings | Kristin La Flamme | Textile Art), I tried my hand at free motion quilting for the first time and stitch sketched over the image with my sewing machine.  Robin and I added some eyelet for a dress and then cut up the beautiful Umbrella Prints scraps into feather shapes that we then glue basted down in the shape of a duckling.  There was little more then lint left after using all of the scraps!  From there I free motion quilted the feathers and fabric down with invisible polyester thread and backed it all with waterproof oilcloth to make a picnic blanket that we got to test out with our kiddos at Robin’s house.

The best part of this project was spending time with such a special, creative lady and trying out so many new things.  I have no doubt we will spend more time together pushing and nurturing each other in our paths as mothers, friends and artists.

Hillary