Paris

Every October I take a large chunk of vacation time to spend with my kids.  Typically I also make a goal of independent study on some area I feel lacking.  A couple years ago inspired by religious violence in the world I chose to actively learn more about religions I knew little about.  One of my friends took me to her Jewish Synagogue and we also listened to the teachings of a Buddhist monk.  Another friend took me later to a traditional Catholic service and yet another brought me to his Mosque.

All were surprisingly foreign territories for me but none so much as the Islamic Mosque.  My visions had been unquestionably filtered through the media and the high profile Islamic extremists so often pictured there.  On the Friday of my visit, my friend and his wife helped me put on a hijab.  We walked through the Mosque center visiting with people as we watched the children gather in their version of “Sunday School” and watched members collect used clothing and supplies for the poor in the area.  My friend’s wife and I filed in with the other women to the back of the Mosque while my friend went to the front with the other men and sat down for the service.  Prayers were said and all the bowing and kneeling seemed meditative and reminiscent of calming yoga sequences I love to settle into.  Children flitted back and forth between mothers and fathers.  The setting was undeniably warm and casual.  And then the Imam got up to speak and you know what his sermon was about?  Conservation, helping those in need and having compassion and understanding for people in other religions “because in the end we are all worshipping the same God.”  That’s right, I had experienced the most liberal sermon of my life.   As my friends and I drove back to their home they told me that all contributions to their mosque had to be in cash as they were concerned credit card or check records if discovered could make them vulnerable to locals who did not like Muslims.

Fast forward to this last week and the horrible violence experienced through the world in the name of Islamic extremism.  My heart sank especially for the city and care providers of Paris as I know this city well and could imagine being on duty there as the rush of wounded flooded their Emergency Department doors.  This creative world of mine seemed kind of silly in context but as I process my emotions in making, I couldn’t help but put something together.  I cut into some beautiful First of Infinity linen generously given to me by Lecien Fabric and next thing I knew I was making up one of my Mini Museum bags with a French Flag variation in appliquéd leather on the front.  If only there was more room, the Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi flags would all deserve a place on my make.

My heart sank in equal measure for my friends who brought me to their mosque and I know are feeling more vulnerable because of world violence perpetrated under a warped vision of Islam.

As a side note when I went to these different religious ceremonies in sum what I came away from was the commonalities.  In each an ancient language was used (Arabic, Hebrew, Latin).  Each held great comfort in the value of prayer or song and each held special reverence for their children and their participation in the process.

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That’s a lot of thought pent up in one bag huh?  The good news is it can carry a big load.

Hillary

Quilting From Every Angle Blog Tour and Giveaway

Nancy Purvis ( owen’s olivia ) is a quilt designer and maker I have been following for awhile.  Her designs speak to me.  They are clean, modern, bold and interesting.  The minute I knew she had a book being released I preordered and when it arrived an interesting thing happened, I felt compelled to make not just one item using her beautiful designs but TWO.  In reality it was hard for me to pick from the gorgeous patterns featured and I am sure there will be more to come.

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Quilting from Every Angle: 16 Geometric Designs
By Nancy Purvis
Interweave/F+W;
http://bit.ly/1jw4098

Nancy was kind enough to include me with some amazing other makers in her blog tour.  Make sure to check the rest out for what are guaranteed to be inspiring creations and more opportunities for book giveaways.

BLOG TOUR

11/10- Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts

11/11- Hillary Goodwin (ME!!)

11/12- Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles

11/13- Anna Graham of Noodlehead

11/16- Rachel McCormack of wooden spoon quilts

11/17- Tara Larson of RAD & HAPPY

11/18- Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane 

11/19- Holly Hughes of Holly Gets Quilty

11/20- Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft

11/23- Pat Bravo of Pat Bravo Fabric Design and Jesse Maloney of  Art School Dropout

11/24- Astrid Slagle of Red Red Completely Red

11/25- Holly DeGroot of Bijou Lovely

11/26- Christopher Thompson of the tattooed quilter

11/27- Spoonflower of Spoonflower Blog

Those who know me understand that I have a special passion for bag making.  I decided that my first make would be a bag using Nancy’s Stones Quilt pattern.   I sized the pattern down to three quarters size, used 9 “stones” instead of 15 and utilized a bag design of my own.  I also used Pellon Flex Foam Stabilzer for the first time-a wonderful discovery.  It gives my bag some nice heft and shows off the quilting beautifully.  I will be using this more in my makes.  In any case, I grabbed some bright Kona solids and used a Carolyn Friedlander print as background with new black leather for the base and handle.  I am pretty pleased with how it turned out and think it shows how different this pattern can go with varied color themes and fabrics.

Quilting from Every Angle - Stones Quilt beauty image

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A fun discovery that may be obvious for many experienced makers but was a lightbulb moment for me as I was making this bag was how to make the fabric pattern around the “stones” orient in the same direction as the overall background fabric.  I chose a PATTERNED background and SOLID “stones” in contrast to the opposite shown in the book which made the fabric orientation an issue.  I really wanted the background fabric to all be oriented in the same direction so as to make the piecing less obvious (these kind of details are ridiculously fun fodder for me).   To solve this dilemma while cutting the “stones” for the pattern, I lined up the background fabric scraps behind the solid “stone” fabric IN THE SAME ORIENTATION as the overall background at each corner then cut on the line simultaneously across both “stone” and background and pieced.  I think and hope this  makes the quilted bag front look cohesive and it is definitely a technique I will keep in mind for future makes.

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As I said, surprisingly I couldn’t stop at one design from Nancy’s book.  We have just completed a huge remodel including finishing a closed deck and setting up a hammock underneath it.  It is a perfect place to lay down and take naps but was in dire need of a winter pillow to snuggle up with. Using elements from the book’s Mesa Quilt and fun hand dyed printed fabric from Kelsey Boes (Lovely and Enough) and yarn dyed fabric from Jennifer Sampou (Jennifer Sampou ), I made a yummy pillow.  I flipped the light and dark fabrics on the left side and right side to give the pillow symmetry making it a little different then the Mesa Quilt but unmistakably Nancy.  The pillow has recieved my husband’s approvel, and he is a tough sell, so I know it is a good one.

Quilting from Every Angle - Mesa Quilt beauty image

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This pillow is pretty fun with points up and down.

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I heartily recommend this book and am excited to share a copy with one special blog reader. (hard copy for those in the US or digital copy for those outside the states).  To enter, please tell me about the first craft/quilting book(s) you remember sewing from and how your style is now compared to then. (For the record, I started with Kaffe Fassett’s Quilting books, still have every copy and continue to find inspiration from all of them).  I will pick a winner randomly by 5 PM Monday, November 16th.  If you are a no-reply blogger please make sure to include your email address so I may contact you.

For the Record:  I was given a free copy of this book to help me make projects but before I even received it or asked to participate in the blog hop, I had already purchased the book and started to make.  My opinions are and will always be my own.

Hillary

 

Addendum:  THE WINNER BY RANDOM DRAW IS BUNTYW.  I WILL EMAIL TO SEE IF YOU WANT A HARD COPY IN THE STATES VS A DIGITAL COPY IF OVERSEAS.  IF NO ANSWER BY NEXT MONDAY, I WILL PICK A NEW WINNER.

One Month

In two days I start back to work again after a month off.  I have logged many hours doing continuing education for Dayjob, baked almost every variety of pumpkin muffin/scone/cookie you can imagine and of course have been creating.

In a month:

Pattern Play (I replicated the Tate Museum flooring pattern using a modification of Latifah Saafir’s Glam Clam Pattern in bag form.  For fun I added a knit pillow of my design to match my previously finished quilt top with buttons covered with treasured Umbrella Prints fabric):

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Bag Design (repurposing photos I had taken on canvas)

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Block Making (for my Bee Sewcial group and shown with a minimini quilt made by Stephanie Ruyle).

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Minimalist Design Play with Leather Scraps

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Anatomical Stitch Sketching

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Fabric Making

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Quilt Finishing (with amazing quilting by Jessie Ziegler)

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Self Portrait Work In Process (with my first bias strip quilt using scrubs on hospital sheets)

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My creative and family life are feeling extra rich after this sweet time.  Grateful

Hillary

Slow Stitching

I am halfway into a month off of work and ironically as I rush around trying to fit the rest of life in I find myself more stressed then relaxed?  That soooo is not what vacation is about right?

Inspired by the book “Slow Stitch” by Claire Wellesley-Smith, I decided to slow things down a bit with handwork.  I have always found peace in knitting and excitement in sewing (excitement in sewing??  Haha! I’m sure that sounds so funny if you are not a maker.)  It turns out at least for me that sewing can be relaxing if you do handwork in little bites.

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I started the process by cutting up some ill fitting jeans and doing reverse shibori with bleach on the pieces in various folding patterns.  Holy Cow, what a fun easy, quick process that was.  All my future jeans are destined for bleach jobs.

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Every night as I have been sitting and watching movies with my husband (such a rarity during the rest of the year), I have been devising and stitching up new little patterns with bits of felted wool, recycled leather and silk floss.  The shibori Os called for some Xs so a theme took hold.

I wasn’t quite sure what was to become of this concoction but finally settled on a bag I have been dreaming up.  It called for a leather border with mitered corners and to add more interest (and help attach it to my extra firm pellon interfacing) I machine embroidered with invisible thread even more Xs and Os.  I used the back of a vintage feedback for the inner part of the bag.

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This thing is VERY impractical with silly little pockets on the inside that don’t hold much but I am in love with it as an art piece.  And as with most of the makes I love, it is destined for someone else worthy.  I think they will get the wonkyness of it.  I hope so.

Hillary

Design Play

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I’ve been perfecting my skills lately at the game “How Can I Make That Into A Bag/Quilt/Mini Art Piece.”  Are you familiar with my favorite game?

My Pieces and their sources of inspiration in picture order:

-The Doctor is In Second Edition:  A new bag design I made up out of cotton, wool and leather inspired by one of the quilts featured in soon to be release book by Heather Jones. (Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday (with 40 Projects): Heather Jones: 9781617691768: Amazon.com: Books)

-Stitch Sketching everything I can imagine including a drawing of feet by the Louise Bourgeoise.  Uneven tension never looked so good.

-A Baby Quilt Top using the Glam Clam pattern ( Glam Clam Quilt (8″) by Latifah Saafir – Crafts ) I adapted to look like flooring in the Tate Museum.

I am also really enjoying the black and white #beesewcial and #inspiredbybeesewcial blocks following the guidelines set out in my last blog post many of you are displaying on Instagram.  Keep them coming!!

Lastly, although I was quite looking forward to a deadline-free September, a wonderful opportunity came up this week and it looks like I will be designing a piece for an art exhibit in Seattle.  My mind is swimming with ideas.  Time to focus and make.

Hillary

I’ve

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

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

Two Friends – Two Bags

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated 1000 followers on Instagram by giving away a custom made bag of their liking to a follower and a friend they tagged.  I picked by random two delightful and talented sewists Valerie (Between Quilts) and Nicole (Mama Love Quilts).  Go check them out they are lovely!

In any case, I wanted to make something extra special for them that reflected their friendship with some connection using designs of my own.  By lucky coincidence, a pack of beautiful Marimekko fabric I bought on sale and some new leather I picked up were available and sent me easily into creative mode.

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Nicole had highlighted a previous bag I made out of recycled orange and white leather so I ran with that idea, this time using new white and blue leather with a bit of the Marimekko Pink Unikko print.  I hadn’t written down the dimensions of my previous bag so I winged it (wung it?) as I tend to do.  The leather this go around, probably because it was new, was a little stiffer then my previous attempt but I am pretty pleased with the results.

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For the second design, I chose the same Unikko print but this time on the outside of the bag along with some dark blue suede in what I call my Mini Museum pattern.

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I made inset zippers for both bags and had fun fancying both up with metal feet and pull tabs for the zippers.

I think these gals who I now consider friends genuinely liked their bags and honestly I LOVED making them.  This whole virtual world can feel like a weird online dating game sometimes and I hate that some people know me more by what I make and my tagline rather then by face and up close interaction but I guess this is the new world and no question I have made some amazing friends here.  If you are interested in seeing even MORE of my pictures and are not already tired of me, you can find me on Instagram here: Hillary (@entropyalwayswinsblog) • Instagram photos and videos

My May Bee Sewcial Block came together last week as well.  When Marci gave us our assignment (Bee Sewcial | Flickr – Photo Sharing!) for the month to work on a village block, I kept thinking of San Francisco from Marin County looking across the Bay.  That image informed my weird shaped block.  It is fairly literal though totally improv.  I hope it works for her quilt.

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Cheers,

Hillary

A Maker’s Gonna Make

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A Month in Making:

Messenger Bag with Reflective Material donated by Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads) and repurposed seatbelt closure-my design :: Linden Sweatshirt out of a vintage tablecloth :: Linden Sweatshirt out of organic fleece I hand dyed-both as part of #memademay :: My first adventures in free motion quilting with help from the book Stitch Draw by Rosie James :: Umbrella Prints collaborative project begun :: Blue WIPs.

In other news, I’m delighted and I know we are all flattered that the Modern Quilt Guild referenced Bee Sewcial (Flickr: The Bee Sewcial Pool) as a guide for Quiltcon West’s Charity Quilt Challenge for next year.  Check it out here:  Member Charity Challenge | QuiltCon West.

Best,

Hillary

A “Maker’s Curiosity”

Do you ever wonder if you have too many creative hobbies?  Although knitting and sewing have been mainstays for me, I have ventured into embroidery, cross stitch, clothes making, jewelry making . . . well you get the point.  I believe the skill and practice of making causes one to look at the world differently.  We makers start to examine more closely how things are constructed and what materials they are made with.  That study often propels us to the next question of whether we can make it ourselves which at least in my case, leads me into new creative hobbies. (I treasure this “maker’s curiosity” by the way as it seems a rarer and rarer characteristic in our buy everything from Target, disposable culture.)  All these words to say I have ventured into some new creative fronts this month while continuing work on my mainstays of quilting, knitting and bag making.

Dying Fabric requires a ton of rinsing muscle power and a ridiculous amount of water.  Who knew? The results however are hard to compete with.  Following directions from Malka Dubrawsky’s “Color Your Cloth” and Kim Eichler-Messmer’s Book “Modern Color” I dyed some organic fleece in various shades of blue using both dry and wet dying techniques.

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Using this pretty substrate I decided to try sewing knits for the first time with my new serger.  It’s a tad ridiculous how easy my machine makes its all for me.  I decided to make the very popular Linden Sweatshirt (Linden Sweatshirt – Grainline Studio) and had to adapt it a bit by making the neck opening a little wider, lengthening it an inch and making a wide split cuff at the bottom.  I look Kind of silly in the pic but man this sweatshirt is comfortable and I already have plans for others.

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I decided for the first time as well to combine fabric and knit together in the Shawl Collar Baby Coat by sweet k m. (Direct Download PDF Knitting Pattern Shawl Collar by sweetKM)

What better fabric to use then some hand dyed by Kim Eichler-Messmer from a previous order and I topped it off with a vintage button.  The pattern recommended using a felt heart on the inside to better secure the button.  I will definitely use this technique in future sweaters.  What a cute detail!

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I ended this week by making up and testing a new bag pattern.  Oh this is a good one!  Look for more examples and maybe even a pattern or tutorial in the future.

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Merry Making.

Hillary