Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scrap Attack Quilt Finish!!

Over the long holiday week-end, I was able to finish my Scrap Attack Quilt!  This quilt was started over a year ago as part of "Stitched in Color's" Scrap Attack Quilt Along.  I used it to tackle my batik scrap bin.  It's not only scrappy, but also a sampler of several block designs and quilting motifs. My camera really doesn't like the black and white contrast, so DH took a few shots at different exposures to "see" it.

The only thing that's not scrappy about it is the back!  Is that funny or what?  This fabric was a gift from one of my sister-in-laws who was cleaning out a basement, and let me go through her fabric before sending it to Goodwill!  Sweet!

As mentioned in the prior post, I tried to make up a few of my own quilting designs.  This "cells" design is my favorite!! I was finally able to use my Aurifil 40 weight thread for all of the quilting!  I love it, and my Janome handled it beautifully.  The top is all pieced with Aurifil 50 weight (as are most of my quilt tops).

Finally, I used a brilliant idea / tutorial that Melissa at Sew BitterSweet Designs recently shared.  I used the monogram feature on my Janome to stitch a label into the binding!  I LOVE this idea / technique!  I will for sure be using this in future quilts!!

I'm also linking up with Melissa and Shanna's A Lovely Year of Finishes for the month of May!  Come see what others have finished!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cold Snap and Scrap Attack, and Some New Free Motion Designs of My Own!

Like everyone else, I've been glued to my TV watching the aftermath of the horrible storm in Oklahoma that happened this week.  My mom's side of the family are all originally from Oklahoma, but none of them, thankfully, were affected.
State of Oklahoma

One of the best things about quilting your own quilt is that you can stitch anything you want into it.  I love stitching little "hidden messages" into my quilts.  I've been trying to finish up my "Scrap Attack Quilt this week, and decided to stitch the state of Oklahoma into one of the blocks.  It's hard to see, but it's there.
Topo Map




I decided that since this is a scrappy sampler quilt, that the quilting should be as well.  It was also a great excuse to practice some of the designs I have wanted to try but didn't want to commit to a whole quilt. Here are some of my favorite designs.  A few are from Leah Day's website, but I'm trying more and more to create my own.  I made up some "cells", "spirochetes", and "protozoa".  I love Leah's "topo map" design, and will for sure be doing this again, as well as my very own new ones  I also attempted a "stream bed", and tried again to learn to like pivoting designs, but alas, I'm afraid I really don't like them.  Hate to admit it, but I really don't like traditional feathers either... not even enough to attempt them, but maybe my next design will be real feathers :-).

I also decided that I'd try to use a thread that doesn't "match" the sashing, and like how that turned out too!  I'm hoping to finish up the border and binding today or tomorrow.

Finally, here's a shot of our garden that I took last night as the sun was going down.  We had a record cold snap last night, and got a good freeze, but luckily our efforts to protect everything worked.  A few weeks ago we had record high temperatures.  I can't help wondering if the massive tornadoes and our record temperature extremes are related to global climate change.  I believe that they are.  We as a family have taken many steps to try to minimize our impact, but I sure wish governments would step up to the plate and address this most important issue.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Peace and Gardening

I have managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing recently, including my "To Boston With Love" prayer flag, above.  It spells out "Peace" in Morse Code.  It, along with hundreds of others, from around the world will be a public display of art in Boston to show support. I made an extra block for me, as I loved the colors guide that they picked for these flags, and because it reminds me of my dad.  He was a Ham Radio operator, and knew Morse Code.  He'd occasionally interject dah's and dit's into daily family conversation.  He also signed all of his correspondences with "Peace".  The 5 year mark of his passing is coming up in a matter of days, and I've found myself reflecting a lot about all sorts of things recently.

Luckily, the garden always needs to be planted this time of year.  It's a nice way to distract myself with happy things like baby plants and seeds, and the promise of fresh vegetables to share with my own family. 

I don't care how difficult people say teenagers are, I love having mine and they have been incredibly helpful this year weeding, mowing, tilling and planting.  My boys were an incredible handful when they were young, so maybe this is my karma for that.  Who knows, but for the most part, this is my very favorite part of parenting so far.  I love seeing them excel and succeed, and develop into the adults that they will soon be.  It's like seeing all of my hard work pay off.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have the time that I do to spend with them.  I know from my dad's sudden passing 5 years ago that I can't take this for granted.

Finally, believe it or not, I've only made a few queen sized quilts, and only have 2 in our house, both in use.  The one on our bed is a flannel "Turning 20" quilt that is at least 7 years old.  Even though I'm trying hard to finish up all of my unfinished quilts, I decided to make a new queen sized quilt for our bed and used the "Square Foot Gardening" book / method for my inspiration.  Each block is a square foot, with the "plants" spaced out accordingly.  Better yet, I haven't bought any fabric for it yet, using all scraps and stash fabric... I didn't realize until after I started making it that 2 of the green fabrics are from yardages that 2 of my sister-in-laws gave me, so it's a nice reminder of family as well.  I hope to have more progress to share in the days to come...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Solar Threads Quilt

I think the Blogger's Quilt Festival, a few years ago, was my first introduction to the world of quilt and fiber arts blogs.  I really enjoy looking through all of the entries each year, and discovering new blogs and people!

If you're new to my blog, welcome!

This year I also knew that I wanted to enter my "Solar Threads" quilt.  I made at as a "Project Quilting" challenge, wish upon a star.  I essentially translated my blog title into a mini quilt!  The ROYGBIV category seemed perfect for this.  I'm a rainbow-a-holic...

I've made a few "New York Beauty" quilt blocks, and found a pattern that I liked, and sewed it up (foundation paper piecing) with the some batik fabric.  I love rainbows, and wanted to reflect the way light from the sun changes into the spectrum of colors.  I also needed "thread" in the piece.
I was most excited about doing the actual quilting on this, so decided that I'd make the free motion quilting the highlighted part of it. I used some of Leah Day's free motion quilting designs and even made up a few new ones of my own.

It's one of the first time I've ever used contrasting thread to highlight the quilting instead of matching to hide it.  I must say I'm thrilled that I worked up the courage to do this.

I used an invisible binding, and purposely used an almost white backing to further highlight the quilting! This is going to be my "go-to" method of finishing these smaller art quilts for sure!! 

Be sure to check out all of the other wonderful quilts at Amy's blog!!

Blogger Quilt Festival: Organic Chemistry Quilt

I think the Blogger's Quilt Festival, a few years ago, was my first introduction to the world of quilt and fiber arts blogs.  I really enjoy looking through all of the entries each year, and discovering new blogs and people!

If you're new to my blog, welcome!

I knew that I wanted to enter this newly finished quilt this year, but wasn't sure what category to enter it in.  Since all of the molecules are appliqued onto the quilt, I decided to enter it in the applique category, even if it is very non-traditional!

I started this about 2 years ago, as part of the Modern Quilt Guild's challenge, which had a theme of "organic".  After machine embroidering the hexagon and pentagon "molecule rings" onto all of the blocks, and then hand embroidering the first few blocks, it quickly became obvious that I wasn't going to get it done in the time period allotted.  I had time to stitch the blocks during  a cross-country road trip 2 summers ago, and even stitched together the back that same summer.  Then, I put it away and it sat for a very long time...

I think it sat for 2 reasons... the finished quilt wasn't as nice as I had envisioned in my mind's eye.  I love the concept of it, though, and wanted to see it realized.  I love geeky science quilts!  The other reason was that I had no idea how to quilt it.  In the end, I pretty much just closed my eyes and started quilting it, hoping for the best.  The hexagon quilting too forever, but I'm glad I endured and got it done!  I was thinking about adding some free motion quilting in addition, but decided that I like the "simplicity" (ha!), or clean lines of the hexagonal quilting, and left it alone. The back is pieced together from all of the various fabrics that I used to make the hexagons and pentagons on the molecules.

It's 60 by 75 inches.  Each appliqued and embroidered square is backed by muslin to keep the stitches from showing through the fabric, so it's a thick, heavy quilt as well.  I think if I added up all of the time I spent hand embroidering each block, researching the chemicals, and quilting this beast, I probably put more time into this quilt than any other.  Whew!

Be sure to head over to the festival to see all of the other amazing quilts there!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIP Wed: Another Sea Star, Postcards, and Pole Vaulting

With this warmer weather, and a busy Spring, my sewing endeavors have all but come to a screeching halt.  I did manage to get May's "Lucky Star BOM" star finished.  I'm calling mine sea stars since I'm using Tula Pink's Saltwater.

I've fallen way behind in the Forest QAL, and just dug out my May Finish Along quilt yesterday to put it on top of the pile.

I did finish a few postcards for family.

Our biggest "finish", though happened Friday, as my 2 boys' track seasons came to an end.  I managed to capture this end-of-the-season picture of my oldest's very last (unsuccessful) attempt to clear 10 feet in pole vault.  He beat his personal record by a foot at this meet, and hopes to compete at the varsity level next year!  He also has a birthday this week, and will legally be able to start driving soon!  Any advice for those of you who have had teen drivers?!?!

Be sure to head over to Freshly Pieced WIP Wed to see what others are working on!  Lee and many others will be in Portland for the Quilt Market over the week-end.  I'm only a few hours away, but since it's open only to businesses, so I'll be watching from my "screens"... If you're going, have fun!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Bouquet

This year for Mother's Day, I wasn't brought flowers, I was brought TO the flowers!

The only thing I asked for was a hike in the woods.  It was such a nice afternoon!!  I think everyone should spend a little time with Mother Nature on Mother's Day!  I hope you all had a great one too!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Necklace Give Away Winner!

I just want to say thanks for all of the entries into my give away drawing this week.  It was so fun to read all of them, even if I didn't have the time to respond individually.  I think my favorite response to what you like to create is "messes", by "nicmowat" LOL 

I received 58 comments, plugged that number into a random number generator and got number 17, who is Melody!  Congrats!  She said:  "I like jewelry making/beading, polymer clay, knitting, crochet, baking, creative journaling and m&p soapmaking. I want to learn some more stuff over the summer."

I'll be getting in touch with you today!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fiber Art Contest Winner!!

I'm thrilled to share some pretty exciting news for me!  I recently entered our annual community art "Open Regional", at the Pendleton Center of the Arts, and won a second place fiber art prize sponsored by our local quilt guild, the Krazy Horse Quilters!!  The judge wasn't even a friend / local quilter, but an art professor from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon!

I knew initially that I wanted to do something with my fiber art postcards, but wasn't sure how to pick which ones, or how to display them.  The thought of a collection of them on a ribbon board came to me, and I kind of figured out via the Internet, how to make one. 

The theme / title of "Wish You Were Here" has many different meanings.  It's the most commonly used phrase on postcards that are sent from vacations, as well as the thought I have every time I send one of these to friends and family for birthdays, holidays, and support.  Of course I also wish I could be there for them, but at least I'm sending a little bit of myself each time I pop one of these into the mail.  Finally, as soon as I wrote the phrase on the back of my art postcard, I thought of my dad, who passed away in May of 2008.  Even though it was 5 years ago, moments like these make it feel like it happened yesterday.

I am very honored, and equally surprised.  It takes a lot of guts to enter something like this.  I didn't even mention it on my blog until now.  Winning a prize makes me feel a little odd too, as there were some pretty incredible pieces and artist who didn't win. It's a reminder of how subjective art judging is.  I'm really surprised at the mixed feelings... a little bit of guilt, but also just the encouragement that I needed.  I'm a rather shy person, so the extra bit of attention is a bit challenging for me too, but I'm also pinching myself and grinning from ear to ear!

Have you ever had this happen to you?  Are these feelings totally normal?

No matter what, I want to thank my readers here, who have encouraged me in ways that many people in my "real world" can't.  Truth be told, my husband and boys are supportive, but don't really quite "get" my love of sewing.  Many of my close friends don't either, so thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!  Many of you have given me advice and encouragement that has lifted me up and validated what I love to do!  You all rock!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Day After Give Away Day Give Away

If you're visiting my blog for the first time, WELCOME!!!  My blog is mostly about sewing and quilting, but today I'm going back to a previous hobby, jewelry making, and offering up a sterling silver necklace that I made a few years ago.

Sew, Mama Sew's biannual "Give away day" always sneaks up on me and takes me by surprise, and this time is no exception.  I throw every bit of fabric in the wash when it enters my house, and I know many people don't, so I decided instead of giving away fabric, it'd be fun to pull out a necklace that I made for a former Etsy store that never sold.

It's 18 1/2 inches long, made with sterling silver chain and wire wrapped clear quartz beads, each highlighted with tiny garnets, amethyst, or iolite beads.

Since it's so tiny, I will ship it anywhere, international as well as the USA.  Just make sure you have a way I can get in touch with you. 

Leave a comment below.  I love hearing about other people's creative interests, so let me know what you like to create... quilts, jewelry, knitted clothes, wood working or anything else...

I'll take comments until Friday at around 5 pm PST, or whenever my kids' track meet ends LOL.  I'll try to announce the winner Saturday morning!  Good luck!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Krazy Horse Quilt Show

This past week-end was Pendleton, Oregon's "Krazy Horse Quilter's" annual quilt show!  It was full of wonderful colorful creative quilts of all varieties.  Here's a few of my favorites, in no particular order!!

It was a whirlwind, as usual, but so much fun.  I enjoy helping with the show almost as much as I do attending it.

I apologize for not putting the names and titles of the quilts with each of them.  My camera battery went dead half way through the show.  I know some, but not all.  I even hesitate to post pictures of other people's quilts, not wanting to ruffle people's feather.  What are your thoughts?  Am I just thinking too much?  To post or not to post... that is the question...