Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pattern designer? Or not?

Garden Party Quilt
When I first started quilting, I made every quilt using a pattern. Down to the color choices. As I grew, I felt the need to create my own designs.
It was so much fun! Maybe I did have a creative bone in my body after all.

I posted photos of my original quilts on this blog and received a lot of positive response. Us quilters are such a supportive group. This, almost naturally, lead me to create tutorials, which led to writing patterns. I'd found a way to bring in a little extra income and have a good time doing it.

Then it happened. I started overthinking things. Feeling forced to come up with new designs that quilters will like and want to buy. It wasn't as much fun any more. Fewer patterns (and fewer quilts) were being created. I never really gave it a lot of thought other than feeling guilty about not coming up with anything new.

Fast forward to April 2018. Our guild retreat was coming up and I had no project to work on. Bonnie Hunter and her lovely scrappy quilts had just visited the guild in March. I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone - use up some scraps and have a project for retreat. Deep inside I felt a little guilty for making a quilt using someone else's pattern.

Oh my goodness, how much fun it was! I picked Bonnie's Garden Party pattern because it used 1.5" strips, which I had a lot of. (You can find it in the "Addicted to Scraps" book, if you're interested.)
Garden Party Quilt
I couldn't wait to finish this quilt when I got home from retreat.

Last Thursday a friend showed me the Pecking Order pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I'd been wanting to make a quilt for our master bedroom for a long time but just couldn't come up with a good "design". This looked quick and easy, so I started this project. (Jenny has a video tutorial over here.)

Pecking Order Quilt
More fun and so relaxing!

I really hope letting go of my "need" to constantly think about creating new, original, "sellable" things, will bring the design mojo back.
For now I'm just going with the flow.

P.S. Did I mention that I met Jenny from MSQC at the Iowa Quilt Museum last month? She is so sweet!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spring has sprung!

A little late this year, but it's here! Spring!

I went hunting for quilts to put on the quilt ladder and, along with Pinwheel Party and my Grandmother's Flower Garden, stumbled upon my Spring Fling quilt. From 2009!!
I'm amazed that, between 2009 and now, my preference for brighter colors has not changed.

(The Spring Fling pattern is available in the Craftsy store.)

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Fanning seams for less bulky blocks

Since I've been working on and posting pictures of my Garden Party quilt on Facebook and Instagram, I've gotten some questions about the fanning (or spinning or popping) of seams on blocks.
Like this:

In response I added a new video tutorial to my YouTube channel. The link is in the sidebar if you'd like to take a look.

Oh, and here's the latest progress photo. All the full green blocks are done. 21 more "flowers" to make. And a whole bunch of half blocks!

(Please excuse the quality of the photos. The light indoors is not all that great.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm using my scraps!

In March, Bonnie Hunter visited our guild. I've admired her use of scraps to make stunning quilts for years and, between my recent scrap organization frenzy, her visit, and an urgent need for a retreat project, I determined it was time to make a scrappy quilt. After much research (thank you Pinterest), I decided on the Garden Party quilt because it uses a variety of scraps and all 1/2" strips, which I have a ton of.

I found the book containing the pattern on amazon.com. The printed version is $19.99 and the Kindle version $9.99 so, for the first time ever, I decided to buy a digital "picture book".

I cut all the background strips (solid scraps, because somehow I don't have light scraps) in advance and, come retreat time, I was ready to get to work.
When I got home, I put all the blocks up on the design wall to gauge my progress. Not bad, but I have to make 100 "flower" blocks, so I have a long way to go.
Back at it this morning.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fabric Organization, Part 3

It's been a while since I posted the previous two installments sharing my fabric organization/storage method: yardage & medium pieces. There's a reason for that (other than life getting away from me).
I'm not quite sure my "small scraps" storage method has been 100% finalized. I'll share where I'm at with this and, if you have any input, please share.

I knew the secret to the smaller scraps would be standardization. My problem was (and still is) figuring out which size cuts would be most useful. Maybe, when I eventually get around to making a scrappy quilt or two, it'll become clearer.

This method applies to anything smaller than around 1/4 yard of fabric.

This is my "scrap" bin. When it gets full (or I have time on my hands), I'll either fold the larger pieces or cut the smaller ones into strips and/or squares.

My rule is as follows:
If I can cut a strip of at least 12", I'll cut a strip. If not, I'll cut squares.

The sizes I'm using right now are:
1.5", 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 5", 7", and 10". (Update 04/18 - I've eliminated the 7" cuts. No idea why I ever thought that was a good idea.)
I do not cut 1.5" or 2" squares (only strips) because I've already determined that I will NEVER be sewing together squares that tiny. I could do strip piecing and make 4, 9, or 16-patches though...

At the moment I'm using these Sterilite containers for storage. I have to admit I'm slightly addicted to these. I have 12 and counting!

These bins are getting a little full so I'll either have to get more (yay!) or start sewing...

Stay tuned...

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Monday, February 12, 2018

New Obsession

Hi! It's me! Still kind of on the fence about blogging but thought I'd give it a shot again.

When I was at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November, I saw an exhibit of Sue Spargo's quilts. If you don't know anything about her, she is known for her folksy wool applique quilts. One of them really spoke to me.

What most of you probably don't know is that I grew up in South Africa. So did Sue. Many of her designs are inspired by her childhood in Africa, especially Folk-Tails.
Photos of her quilt in Houston:

Between the exhibit and a friend asking me to pick up some needles at Sue's booth for her, I was hooked. I bought the pattern book there and then.

The next step was a journey of sourcing wool for the project. And then I could start!

The pattern was originally a BOM and the quilt consists of 30 blocks.
I started the project around Christmas and hope to have it completed this year. It's quite addictive so it shouldn't be a problem.

Pics of my first blocks:

I'm going to try to post regular updates again from now on. There will still be "real" quilting posts too.

Also, if I'm a little lax over here, you can follow me on Instagram where I'm a lot more active.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Fabric Organization, Part 2

In my previous post I shared how I organize scraps between 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard.

The rest is a bit of an experiment.

My larger pieces of fabric (> 1/2 yard) have always just been folded up and stored in a tote. I never even looked at them and, frankly, was pleasantly surprised at what I found when I started looking through them.
After some online research, I did the following:
I decided to "file" them. I ordered these magazine backing boards from Amazon.com. They're acid free and not too thick.

Next, I found these file storage bins on Target.com. They were kind of pricey but exactly what I needed.
(Interestingly enough, when you fold yardage twice along the width, it's around 11"!)
I know that yardage rolled onto cardboard sheets would get to be bigger than 8.5" x 11", so I needed bins with a little more volume. These are 11.19 inches H x 13.75 inches W x 17.5 inches L.
I also needed them to be clear-ish so I can see what's inside each bin without opening it.

I folded each piece of fabric along the length one more time (since yardage is already folded once) and then rolled it onto a cardboard sheet as tightly as possible without bending the cardboard. Lastly I secured it with a pin.

As you can see, these fit quite nicely into the tote.

The most yardage I have on a sheet so far is around 6 yards and it's working just fine!
Up next, the small scraps.

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