Sunday, March 22, 2015

Creating a Work Flow

When I'm in improv mode (which is most of the time), I find it helpful to create a work flow of sorts. I don't usually do much in the way of sketching before I start, but tend to cut right into the fabric, which begs the question....WHERE does one begin? And after one has begun and the fabric is flying in multiple directions.....HOW does one keep on top of the chaos?

Sometimes it begins with an inspiration, but more often than not, it can be just a simple technique that I'm trying out. I have started being a bit more observant about what works for me and what doesn't. I have also taken note of what size strips I seem to gravitate towards and seem to use over and over again.

After choosing a few colours I just start cutting a variety of strips.

Here are some buckets of my favourite strip sizes.....they just happen to be the same widths needed, in the various QAYG  joining methods I like to use and also the width I prefer to use for binding. Well, actually I plan it that way.
My favourite  go-to strip widths:
  • four and one half inches
  • two inches
  • one and one quarter inches
  • two and one half inches
I used to try and sort them by size.....that just didn't seem to work for me. As soon as I started sorting, by colour things became a little less chaotic.

Something else I like to do when I'm in that improv mode is set up a machine at standing height for piecing.
Right next to the machine, I have a pressing board and right next to that is a cutting board.

I go from:
  • cutting
  • to piecing
  • to pressing
  • to cutting some more
  • and on back again

Because I often Quilt As I Go (QAYG), I sit down at another machine for that. All throughout the process I keep adding more fabrics and putting stuff up on the design wall. And then I start the whole cutting and piecing process etc. all over again. At this point I don't worry to much how it will all come together. I find working this way to be a very interactive process. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Unexpected Delight

Every new learned technique is like another tool in the tool box or another colour in the palette, to be explored and applied in anyway you like. The more tools in the box the more options available to you as a quilter.  You don't have to use any technique in the same way a particular book or teacher does....just add it to your arsenal of tricks and apply it your way.   Or,  mix it up with other techniques and see what happens.  After all, this your creative journey
After arriving in Victoria,  I had the unexpected opportunity of going to a workshop, on elongated triangles, by Katie Pedersen, co-author of the book Quilting Modern.  I have been reading Katie's blog Sewkatiedid for several years, so I was thrilled to spend some time with her, here in Victoria.  Katie teaches a very informative workshop with a relaxed and calm vibe.  I  love having the freedom to take the technique in any direction I wanted. A few of my quilting buddies were waiting to see how long it took me to deviate from the instructions.....darn, I messed up my first triangle.....but hey, I loved the result anyway and just went for it.


Of course, I couldn't resist turning it into a QAYG project.
 Katie, sharing all of her beautiful quilts!!
 So lovely seeing Katie's quilts in real life.

 There are those  lovely Elongated Triangles

 Not only did Katie bring a carload of quilts, just look at her beautiful display of cushions.

 Jo-Anne and Katie
And as usual, me with that goofy smile I seem to reserve just for photos and Katie (just sharing a laugh over something outrageous Jo-Anne said to get us smiling).
All in all, what a lovely unexpected week.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fearless Quilting

Ah....FEARLESSNESS in quilting gets my heart beating a little faster. You know the cliff diving, wind surfing, roller coaster riding type of fearlessness. All, of which I wouldn't attempt, in real life, even if my very existence depended on it. In other words, I sort of....okay, I really like to play it safe. I am basically a non-risk taker. Just ask my kids, they will verify this without blinking. There is always talk of my "Worry Line" showing. But when I quilt.......I get to ride the wave, fly through the air....well, you get the picture.

When I registered for Quilt Con I got booted out of the system three times. By the time I got back in, most of the classes were full.....I managed to get into one workshop, but that was it. At first I was a little disappointed but I decided to check out the lectures. For me, this really turned out for the best.

Luke Haynes...... just jumped right into the deep end of quilting....he didn't seem to know there were rules. I mean, why would you change a sewing machine needle unless it was actually broken!! Fearless!!!

Victoria Findlay Wolfe....When something doesn't work, what do you do....cut it up!!!! Fearless!!!

Sherri Lynn Wood.....Ruler free! Letting our work come from a deeper place!  Fearless!!!

Having Sherri Lynn's workshop...It was a struggle limiting myself to only a few colours for this particular score from the Improve Handbook for Modern Quilters. Never fear....if it doesn't work out I'll just cut it up!! Fearless....right??

Then there's Jacquie....always ready with a smile and a hug. Jacquie gave a fabulous lecture on The Art of Teaching. So completely authentic, when sharing her experiences as a teacher (the negative as well as the positive)! Fearless!!!
Pardon the goofy expression on my face.....there seems to be a lot of that whenever the camera comes near me. And yes, we planned our co-coordinating outfits. Kidding!!

The word FEARLESS just resonated within me throughout all of Quilt Con. The Gee Bend Quilters shared from the heart.  Again....the word fearless came to mind as they sang and shared.

Then, there was the meeting of the other quilters....perhaps a little fearful. But no need, the friendliness was simply overwhelming.

The exchange of cards and buttons......wonderful!!

Meeting up with Kathleen....catching up, exchanging ideas, stories and of course good food!!

Lots of laughter and hugs! Good times with Jo-Anne! 

Meeting new friends and catching up with old was a total delight and I haven't even talked about the quilts. Maybe next post. The show was a delightful visual overload! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quilt Con 2015

I'm having a great time in Austin, Texas at Quilt Con. I spent the day catching up with old friends, meeting new friends and attending several lectures. I had a brief walk through the show and just a quick look at all the vendors.

It was exciting to see my quilt in the show....sort of fun hearing some of the remarks!!! Lots of fun,actually.

The trip started with me getting up at 3 am in the morning and meeting Leanne (She Can Quilt) at the airport. That early morning thing should account for the goofy look on my face. Trust me I am NOT a morning person.

Dinner out with new friends (Christine and Stephanie).

And guess who won first prize in the minimalist category??? Leanne (She Can Quilt) This picture does not do this lovely quilt justice. Congrats, Leanne!!!! 

Tomorrow I have much more time to go through the show more thoroughly. The quilts are amazing. I'll keep you posted!!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bias Petal Score....My process

Last winter, I volunteered to be a tester for Sherri Lynn Wood's upcoming book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I enjoyed my experienced immensely...except for the fact that I couldn't share my process with you, along the way. But good news....I am free to do so now. Rest assured I took plenty of pictures along the way.

To quote the book description on Amazon; "Instead of traditional instructions, she (Sherri Lynn Wood) presents 10 frameworks (or scores) that create a guiding, but not limiting, structure." All of the testers received one of the 10 scores.

When I received the "Bias Petal" score....a little panic ensued. Why you might ask? Well, did the improv part unnerve me? No, not in the least...I have been having my own love affair with improv for some time now. What about the curved piecing or bias strips?? No, not really, curved piecing and I are old friends. What was it then?? The word PETAL....yes, the word PETAL!! Nothing personal...but, but, but I don't do flowery petal type things!!!! Yup....that knocked me right out of my comfort zone....probably a good thing.

 Here is the finished quilt: Shifting Impressions

I needed several bias strips and as usual got a little carried away

Then I cut meters upon meters of bias strips (after all, I wanted variety). I still have plenty of those strips sitting around for more projects.

Whenever working with anything on the bias.....bubbles and puckers can be a problem.But, Sherri Lynn has plenty of little tips to combat those pesky bubbles. My secret weapon is spray starch!!!!

I made several petals....and just kept putting them up on my black design wall. I used several gradient type fabrics and mostly solids or tone on tone fabrics.

I decided to shatter the petals.....somewhere along the process, I stopped thinking of them as petals. I shattered them by slicing through the petals (using my rotary cutter) and shifting them a little and sewing them back together.

 The back of a shattered petal.

The shattering......created a different effect.

I took one look at the wall and the question that kept running through my head in the world am I going to put this all together into one piece???  I was determined to do it all by hand sewing whatsoever.

As you can see, I started quilting sections, with no idea where this was going. And of course I threw in a little QAYG (Quilt as you Go).....and there you have it.

The exciting part of working this way is that the ideas sort of start exploding along the way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Clearing the Deck

Or should I say decks, as in other words, multiple cluttered surfaces. As of late, I have been somewhat confined okay quite a bit confined to the house. My youngest daughter has been dealing with some health issues and is home from Montreal. Soooo....I thought I should make good use of my time. Let me share some of my progress with you.

 A little fat quarter storage....CD holders from Ikea do the trick. In all honesty, I still have two huge rubber maid containers full, that I need to refold, since using them to pack breakables etc. when we moved over a year ago.

 The design walls up and working.....lovely way to display quilts when not being used!!

 The Long Arm all cleared off.....time to start longarming again. that even a word??

 Lots of storage, for works in me, that is just the touch of the iceberg....there are many many more buckets of those. What can I say, it's part of my process.

 See....all clear.

 Extra, sitting down, ironing space.

 I believe in using every nook and cranny....for all those awkward things.

 Storage right up to the ceiling!!!!!


Me and my drill got a little carried I said, I like to use every nook and cranny.

 Speaking of drills.....I even organized my tool area!!!

 Now that the cutting table has been cleared off....does that mean I have to start sewing???? 

Note my design little Paige has been at it again.

We moved over a year ago and I finally unpacked the last box, on Monday......doing the dance of joy!!!!!

Now I'm bracing myself for the Kitchen Reno.


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