Friday, May 31, 2013

Endless Design Possibilities

 As long as there are continual design possibilities and decisions throughout the process.....I'm good.  I'm real good!!!

Consider all the choices involved in designing a quilt; color  fabric, shapes, lines, thread, quilting, style......and that's just the beginning!!

I think it's important to find a process that one is comfortable with and that gets the creative juices flowing. 

For me, I love making continual design choices as I go....that is probably why Quilt As You Go is such good fit for me. Even after all the blocks are quilted, there are still several design possibilities.

 Since most of my blocks are usually individual rather then repetitive, block placement is a huge possibility in and of itself. If there are twelve different blocks, each having four sides...... how many combinations could one come up with???

 I think I just might leave the answer to that question, up to the mathematicians ...all I know is there are more than I can count.

 As I piece and quilt my blocks I get excited about the unknown possibilities that lie ahead.
Quilting Choices....You know how I love my spirals! 
 Fabric Choices....I'm often adding more fabrics into the mix, almost to the end.

I go back and forth between all the steps.....never really knowing the end result , until the end.

Once the blocks are finished and the block placement decided there's still joining and binding decisions to be made. All the reason for having a large and diverse stash.....I mean I really can't be running to the quilt shop between every block or can I? Well, sometimes I do.

I could be designing on paper or with my computer but hey, FABRIC IS MY MEDIUM FROM BEGINNING TO END!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When All Else Fails....Just Start Cutting Strips

Thanks for all your wonderful comments on what you do when you're in a down cycle. It's so helpful to know I'm in such good company.....

Here are some of the fabrics I pulled out of my stash, during the past few days. A while back, one of my wonderful nieces asked If I would make her a quilt....time to get started.

She's loving the colors of Debbie's (Eschhouse Quilts)  quilt on the cover of this month's Modern Patchwork Magazine, as am I, of course.
Just a little aside.....In this issue is an article by Amy Ellis about The Blogger's Quilt Festival.
It was a lovely surprise to see Colour Shot included in the article!! (I was even quoted in the crazy is that!!!)

Back to the project at hand....I just happened to buy this lovely fabric when I was in Austin for Quilt Con.....hmm, just maybe I can come up with something. The colors are perfect!!
 So....I ripped a chunk of all the above fabrics and just started cutting strips. As you can see It didn't take me  long to create quite a mess of those strips.
There's nothing like some wonky, QAYG, log cabins with luscious, colored strips to loosen up one's creativity!!  We'll see if this works out...... 

Good thing a quilting buddy is coming over to quilt with me tomorrow....another great way to get motivated!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Goes Up.....Must Come Down

Quite often, for me, the last step or stitch of a completed quilt is the first step down, into a time of creative discontent. This is especially true if I've been riding high on a wave of extreme know the kind; fabric flying, ideas bombarding you from all directions and almost non-stop stitching. 

After coming down from a euphoric quilting high, a low is almost sure to follow. I chalk it up to the ebbs and flows of creativity. This is not unusual for me, yet each time it happens I'm unprepared and restless. Riding the crest of the wave is exhilarating....but what goes up, must come down.

My motivation comes to a screeching halt......yet the discontent and restlessness gnaw away at me. Do any of you   go through this as well?? How do you cope? How do get your muse back?

I've listed a few things I do to prime the creative to speak:

  1. Finish something previously started, especially if there's only mindless sewing involved.
  2. Go through my quilting books.
  3. New Fabric perhaps??
  4. Start something new.....even if I have several other projects waiting for me to finish.
  5. PHYSICALLY GO INTO MY SEWING SPACE....even if all I do is stand there.
  6. Take a complete break.
  7. Organize my space.
  8. Start playing....just for the heck of it, no expectations
  9. Spend some time outdoors.
It sometimes helps to ask myself what's stopping or blocking me:
  1. Does a specific project have me stumped?
  2. Is there something else going on in my personal life?
  3. Am I just to busy or perhaps not busy enough? There's a balance to be had with that.
  4. Too many deadlines...or not enough deadlines, again what works for me?
  5. What stymies me and what motivates me? 
The answers aren't always the same just as the solutions aren't. The recurring theme as I go through this process is: I DO MY BEST WORK.....WORKING FOR ME. Sounds rather selfish doesn't it. I don't necessarily mean the quilt doesn't go to someone else in the end it means giving myself compete creative license  Trust me, it's a liberating way to work.
  • No rules
  • No palette restrictions...except by me.
  • No deadlines.....only self imposed ones.
  • Not for any specific person
  • Not for any specific place.
  • Not for any specific purpose
When I work for me....the creativity unleashes itself, whereas when I try to create something tailored to another person's taste.....things seem to go awry.

At the moment I do have a few projects on the list that aren't for me and that could be part of the problem. And of course, as you can see from the pictures below, I have no shortage of works in progress to choose from (these are just a few).

I would love to hear how you keep up your creative motivation.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wall Hanging/Blogger's Quilt Festival

 Ripple Effect I 
 The spiral quilting reminds of the ripple effect of throwing rocks into a is the first of what just might be series of Ripple Effect Quilts. 

Ripple Effect I (35" x 39")

Detail of the spiral quilting.

 I started out with an assortment of bright graduating fabrics.....and just experimenting with reverse, raw edge applique.
Wanting to tone things down a bit, I sliced the blocks and set some strips in.

The blocks were quilted separately with concentric circles, before being joined.

As I worked on this piece I decided to turn it into a wall hanging rather than a quilt....binding it with facing type edges. 

I'm submitting Ripple Effect I into this year's Blogger's Quilt Festival Quilt Festival.
Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -
Thanks again for putting on this wonderful event, Amy

Find yourself a comfy chair and maybe a pot tea and enjoy the fabulous work our fellow quilters have much inspiration!!!

Ripple Effect II / Bloggers Quilt Festival

My usual tendency is to work on multiple projects, but every now and again, I stick to a quilt from start to finish, unable to stop. Ripple Effect II is one of those quilts.

Ripple Effect II (50" x 68")

One Sunday afternoon, I went down to the studio feeling restless and to be honest in a bit of funk, with a lot on my mind. I started playing with some wonky, curved piecing.

The quilt seemed to make itself as I tapped into the melancholy side of my temperament. I was hooked!! A little over three weeks later the quilt was done.

I was surprised by the visual impact the over-sized blocks created.

Life is not always easy....relationships  are often complex. The ripple effect of our words and actions can work for us or against us. Negativity and criticism can spread like a cancer, taking on a life of their own but positive actions and words also have a ripple effect.

As I quilted the individual blocks with ripple like quilting I thought of the many positive actions by others that have effected my life....and how even a smile or kind word can have a huge effect on someone else.

This quilt is my personal reminder........I would much rather have positive effect in this world than a negative. In other words....I do need to bite my tongue now and again or should I say on a regular basis.

I'm submitting this quilt in this year's Blogger's quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side. Amy does a wonderful job of putting together this amazing quilt show....pop over and enjoy, you won't be disappointed. Thanks Amy, this is always such an amazing event.

Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -

Monday, May 13, 2013

When All Else Fails.....Finish Something

Since my creative muse seems to have vanished at the moment....I spent some time organizing and sorting fabrics and such, always a good thing.

Then....I finished Ripple Effect I 
Ripple Effect I (39" x 35") 
 I used a facing type finish.
 Check out those corners

I wasn't happy with my corners at first, but then I happened on an article by Ricky Tims.....

Quilt Life (June 2013)

I really like this method because it eliminates a fair bit of the bulk in the corners.... plus I really enjoy this magazine.

I used some reverse, raw-edge applique for this quilt....I feel a tutorial coming on.

It's back to Alberta, tomorrow, perhaps my creative muse will be waiting for me there.

P.S. all those bossy blocks are tucked away, in a drawer, until I return.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Darn Bossy Blocks

 It's off to the chopping block, for these darn bossy blocks. When working with these large wonky curves it's really easy to underestimate the visual impact. Throw a few large prints into the mix and I'm just not happy.
 So, a little slicing.
 Some more chopping.
Audition some background fabric. 
Oh heck....time to take a walk and maybe just stuff them in the drawer for another day.

Update: I'm so frustrated, that I'm sure my walk will head me straight over to the quilt shop.....oh dear...that could mean trouble. You understand, sometimes a little fabric therapy is a necessity!!! 


Monday, May 6, 2013

Wonky Curves Tutorial

How to make Wonky Curved Blocks (16")
I'm going for a fairly over sized block, but the method works for any size block you would like to make. 
  • Cut a variety fabrics of fabrics 20" square.
  •  Stack the fabrics together, right sides up and clip one corner (through all the layers).
  • This is a really helpful step, as it helps you keep the proper orientation of the block. 

  • With your marker of choice, draw a wonky curve on the top fabric.
  • If you want a perfect curve just use a curved ruler or plate....whatever works for you.

  • Cut through all layers along the marked line, using either scissors or a rotary cutter. I have a tendency to use my scissors because I have a pair of Gingher Scissors that can easily cut through ten or more layers of fabric, plus I probably have a little more control using scissors.
  •  Once you have cut through all the layers you can shuffle the pieces around until they are pleasing to you. This is much the same as the "Stack the Deck" way of doing things by Karla Alexander. The difference here is we cut, shuffle and sew and then keep repeating that sequence of steps, rather than making all the cuts and then sewing. It's so much easier to keep track of the pieces this way.
  • It's my preference to sew with the convex part of the block or the belly on top and the concave on the bottom (right sides of the fabric together. 
 Trust me, this is much easier than it looks. These wonky over sized blocks are a wonderful if you are new to sewing curves. The blocks get squared up at the end so if things aren't perfectly lined up at the beginning or end of the seam....NO WORRIES.
  • Line up the fabric as I have and take a few stitches using a quarter of an inch or slightly smaller seam allowance.
  • Lift your presser foot, leaving the needle down, if needed to line up your edges.
  •  Lift your top fabric as you sew with your left hand and use your right hand to guide the bottom fabric.
  •  Leanne at She Can Quilt put together a wonderful little VIDEO on piecing curves. I highly recommend popping over and viewing helpful!!
  • Here is a picture of the back of the block all sewn together.
  • You can now continue doing the rest of the blocks this way, chain piecing as you go. I often work on just a few blocks at a time, as I'm usually improvising as I go. 
  • Press the seams toward the convex block (the belly).  
  • Stack all the blocks together again, right sides up, lining up the clipped corners.
  • Draw another curve. 
  •  As you can see the blocks start to distort as you continue making cuts and sewing worries, just line up those clipped corners. 

  • Cut along the line.
  • Shuffle the pieces

  •  Sew the seams in the same manner.
  • Regarding the pressing of the seams...there is no really wrong or right way, but when my seams are close together I find it easiest to press the seams in the same direction. 
  • Just keep repeating the above steps until you have as many curves in the block as you desire.
  • At that point I press using plenty of steam and spray starch to flatten the block out.
  • Then square up to desired size.
  1. Square up several pieces of fabric.
  2. Stack fabric right sides up.
  3. Clip one corner through all the layers.
  4. Draw a curve.
  5. Cut the curve.
  6. Piece the curve.
  7. Press the block.
  8. Re-stack the blocks lining up the clipped corners.
  9. Repeat until you have all the all the curved piecing you desire.
  10. Press the blocks with starch and steam.
  11. Square the blocks to size.
As you can see from my sample quilt here......I have worked just a few blocks at a time rather than stacking up all the fabrics at once. This gives each block a little more individuality. I hope this method opens up lots possibilities for you. If anything wasn't clear just let me know.


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