Savor Each Stitch: Emphasis

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My bee group that is progressing through the book called Savor Each Stitch (by Carolyn Friedlander) is focusing on Emphasis in February. I started out with a rough plan way back in November, thinking I’d do something fairly easy and paper piece a mini from Carolyn’s Facing East pattern which is in the book.

Well last night I was struck by some real inspiration. I was scrolling through IG as I often do and I saw a post by Diane (@fromblankpages) about a fun challenge her LQS is doing called the Crayon Color Challenge (#crayoncolorchallege on IG). You pull two or three crayons from a bag and those are the colors you have to use in a quilt.

I thought this would be fun because of the unknown. But we all know there are folks out there who would get hives just thinking of giving up that much control over a project. That’s perfectly fine too!

I was a little sad that several people responded to my post on Facebook about this challenge saying that they were doing something similar through their guild but the colors they pulled were just not inspiring them to do anything. Maybe I have a different perspective because the colors I pulled weren’t too bad, but I always like to be challenged to push myself beyond my comfort zone (in quilting at least).

So even though after digging around I wasn’t actually able to find any crayons I decided to use pretty markers instead and here is what I randomly drew.

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What is your first reaction? Mine was “yuck”! But I hushed my inner voice and said ” I’m going to give it a try anyway.” And I started to grab fabrics. I knew I wanted to use the Floating Squares score from the Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters (by Sherri Lynn Wood) so I immediately grabbed my scrap buckets.

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This whole time I was thinking about how much that green is just throwing the entire thing off! I wanted to work with those pretty warm colors, why would anyone ever throw green in there? But you know what? That is exactly the point of doing this! So at that point I had spent my free time before I had to give the kid a bath just finding the markers and deciding what to do and I didn’t get to sit and sew anything. That didn’t stop me though. While the kid is in the bath I can usually work on something and still monitor him so I grabbed a handy dandy sketch book and those exact markers I pulled and decided to try to draw Floating Squares. (This is similar to another score in the Improv Handbook, something about creating from a doodle) Now I’ll be honest here, drawing Floating Squares is not overly easy, especially when the sketchbook doesn’t have any grid to follow, but it was enjoyable in the end.

I started with yellow and added orange and red, just like I’m planning to do with the fabric. Then I looked at the picture and asked myself “how am I going to include this green?” The answer? Everything in moderation, so I just snuck in some green here and there. This is what my sketchbook version looks like.

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So I’m pretty excited to actually play with the fabric and see how it turns out! It could still end up a hot mess but it will always be a learning experience for me!

The bee meets on Saturday February 20 and I’m anxious to see if I can have a finished project (that means including binding) to show at the meet up.

Happy Stitches,

Anna

Progress Report: October Use It or Lose It Stash

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I’m not sure how many of you have seen my posts about my challenge with myself and my friend Jennilee (@quiltyjl on IG). We said we would choose a simple shape and turn it into a quilt using only our stash. We were going to do one a month starting in August (because we came up with this idea at the retreat in July) and we decided to do something with squares. Well, I chose a Scrappy trip around the world quilt because it’s very easy and uses a ton of fabric. Also it helped that my buddy Sara E. was also hosting a STATW QAL on Facebook for motivation.  So I cut some strips and dove in as I typically do. I kept up the pace of the QAL which was pretty rigorous, I even won a door prize for posting my blocks! At this time I’m happy to report that I’ve made so much progress that I even ran out of red strips from my first day of cutting! I still have a long way to go before this quilt top is done because I decided I need to be a little more prescriptive in how I use my low volume fabric so that means that I have to make more blocks (each row has to have the same low volume fabric to make a consistent pattern.)
Throughout this process I learned something which I think I already knew but it was a good reminder: I hate repetitive piecing. I get bored very quickly and lose focus. The QAL ended (the rest of the group is challenged to bring a completed top to the November guild meeting in San Antonio) so now my motivation has waned. The only reason I really picked it back up was that I had the blocks up on my design wall and wanted to work on something else but didn’t want to put the blocks away for good! So I’m pushing through and in between piecing strips and subsets I’m working on the Epic Lightning McQueen quilt (#epiclightningmcqueenquilt) for my son. It’s also a racing theme and so I think it will have a little more longevity than just a flat out Cars theme quilt.
This one has also pushed my limits and comfort zone because I chose to follow a pattern, which I also dislike to do. I’m rather frustrated because I cut all the pieces as the pattern specified and they are all squares or rectangles and they are still not lining up! I’m not really OCD when it comes to piecing (it’s hard to be when you prefer to improv or make it up as you go along) but the blocks are coming out wonky and I’m not doing it on purpose and that bothers me. I’m plugging through though because I know that a little wonky never hurt anyone and this isn’t a quilt for a show, it’s for my son to use and love. And he gets excited when he sees the fabrics up on the design wall.

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Lastly I thought I’d share an update on my most recent finished project. It was a triple threat because I used it as my October project for the Savor Each Stitch bee (so fun to have two new people at our meeting this month!) Plus it was triangles which was the shape Jennilee and I chose for October Use It or Lose It challenge,  plus it was a practice of the 6th score in The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters!

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So there it is, it’s super small, but it took me a few hours to piece because I was trying to teach myself how to sew triangles without looking at a tutorial!  Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it seems. And yes, it’s quilted with free motion triangles and I only did a zigzag on the edge because I didn’t feel like doing a binding or facing. I’ve already hung it up in my cubicle where I am replacing all the minis I got in swaps witb minis that I’ve made myself.  The swap minis are on display at home in my sewing loft.
Well I guess that about sums up the month of October for now. Next week is my birthday and 4 days of classes at Quilt Festival!  I may have overdone it a bit since I’m kind of wishing I had allowed myself an extra day off to go get a pedicure and get my hair done or something. I’ll be in class all day every day and then I’ll have to go home and be mommy and wife in the evening. Maybe I need to take Monday off the next week so I can recover! Too bad I have too much going on at work to allow that.

Thanks for reading all this even though you’ve probably seen it all through FB or IG. Happy Thursday!

Anna

Savor Each Stitch bee – contrast

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This is a mini quilt I’m working on to explore contrast for my savor each stitch bee tomorrow. The red is actually a lot prettier in person and the other color is a dark grey. I’m planning to quilt it in circles for some really fun contrast. This was a difficult study for me and we are meeting a month early due to everyone’s schedule. So thankful hubs took the kid out last night so I could relax and sew. It’s been an incredibly stressful and frustrating week at work.

Work in Progress Wednesday – Savor Each Stitch

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A study in lines and some contrast for the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee

 

My Savor Each Stitch Book Bee group had another meeting last Saturday. I hadn’t really made much progress on my little project other than the hand stitching of the middle section of the background. Luckily, Friday was a holiday from work for me (and the boy could still go to daycare) so I was able to relax and really savor the stitches! I decided to machine stitch the sections on either side of the center (both for the contrasted look and for the sake of time). This was a fun way to explore lines which is the subject of the first chapter.

Originally I was going to use some other fabrics for the circles (or squircles, because they are cut from squares) but I decided that since I’m most likely going to hang this project somewhere in my cubicle and look at it often, I should use fabric that I love to look at, so I decided to pull some of my Amy Butler stash. Luckily the circles are quite small so I used the scraps I had on hand. The next chapter in the book is about Contrast and I originally interpreted that as the colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel, which is why I pulled blues and reds. Red is not a color that I usually use in my projects and it’s a little outside of what Amy Butler typically uses in her designs (we’re both water signs I think because we both love greens and blues, in fact her birthday is in the same month as mine!)

After my discussion with the other bee participants, I feel I need to explore contrast a little more in a different project, but this one has been fun and I think I may try to mount it on a frame instead of just doing a facing. I like the idea of making it literally 3 dimensional to enhance the texture of the hand stitching.

One thing I did learn was that if you put Steam a Seam on the back of something that you plan to hand stitch, you should leave a small area around the edge without the interfacing because it was difficult to hand stitch the pieces once they were steamed on the quilt. And yes, they are hand stitched around the edge.

Don’t forget you can quickly see more pictures of my progress for this bee if you look up the tag #savoreachstitchbee on Instagram.

So that’s my WIP for the week. What are you all up to?

Happy Stitches,

Anna

Savor Each Stitch – Book Bee

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When I saw this book, Savor Each Stitch, by Carolyn Friedlander, I knew it was a book I wanted to get. I hesitated because, well, I keep telling myself I’m not going to buy anymore quilting books (maybe 2016 will be a no buy zone for quilting books!) but in the end I decided it would be a great book to use in a Book Bee. Now, you may be wondering, “What the heck is a book bee?” Or at least I know my husband was wondering that. I mean, you guys love to quilt, why would you want to go and just talk about the idea of quilting? Of course, explaining things to him is not always the easiest task (still can’t explain why we like to cut up fabric just to sew it back together, or why we need patterns in the first place if we want our quilts to be original). I invited members of the Houston Modern Quilt Guild and anyone else who was interested to meet me at Panera Bread on the first Saturday of the month from 1-3ish for food and conversation about this book.

Last Saturday was our first meeting and even though we had a small group, I think it’s going to be a fun challenge to work on projects that focus on the concepts of design that Carolyn features in her book Savor Each Stitch.

Our first meeting focused on the first chapter of the book about Lines. We talked about what project we want to make as our focus during this book bee. I already knew I wanted to make Aerial Grove (or some variation of it) but it’s not very “line oriented” except as we looked at it, we noticed, the background is quilted with straight lines that hint to the rows of orange trees (or at least I think they do).

I went home from our meeting inspired to start pulling out fabrics and get started! So, I’ve added yet another project to my WIPs BUT this time I have a schedule. We have to bring something to the next meeting in April and I am determined that I’ll have my background quilted and have started putting the circles on the top. In fact, my background is already pieced and basted for me to quilt!

If you have this book and want to join us virtually, please let me know! We’d love to have you along for the journey!

That’s my Wednesday Update, how is your day going?

Anna