Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Loves Me, Loves Me Not" - Pantone Challenge mini quilt

This year, the Pantone Color of the Year is Greenery. I've never been a huge fan of green, but my fabric stash says otherwise. Anyway, Pennington Quilt Works (my awesome LQS) gifted our guild 2 bolts of Kona Lime to start a mini quilt challenge, and I had to admit that this particular shade of green is lovely.

It took a while to pin down inspiration for this quilt, which had to be 18" square (I like to "go big or go home," even with mini quilts). While flipping through my sketchbook, I found an orange peel design from at least 2 years ago. It reminds me of that scene in Disney's The Little Mermaid when Ariel pulls petals off a flower ("he loves me, he loves me not"). In a less romantic sense, it's a graphic design with an unexpected modern element (one peel falling to the side).

Instead of trying straight applique orange peels like usual, though, I was itching to form them with improvisational curves; I had just worked on improv curve blocks for one of the group quilts at the Mid-Atlantic Mod retreat. I really loved adding in random prints to complement the solids.

I had forgotten how much I LOVE sewing improv curves, and, well, curves in general. Once you get the hang of it, it's quite fun. So I set to work creating 3 white and purple petals and one green petal falling off (why purple? Because it's the best color, and it looks amazing with green!). I adhered Heat N Bond Lite to the backs of the peels before raw-edge-appliqueing them onto an improvised green background. Some of the background scraps disappeared under the applique, but I was prepared for that.

Finally, I decided to quilt the whole thing to emphasize the falling petal (with wavy lines, one of my favorite FMQ motifs). Instead of just pebbling around the rest of the "flower," I quilted smaller and bigger pebbles in groups to create interest.

To achieve this effect, I used up ample amounts of Aurifil 5017 (lime green) because pebbles take a lot of thread! I also used bits of Aurifil 2870 (medium green) to accent the wavy lines. Quilting can shine in a graphic, modern quilt, too! I think this mini quilt will bring cheer to our new home when we move in a couple of weeks (hence this blog being a bit quiet lately). :)

I had to miss the April meeting, but luckily my guild mates are bringing the 30+ challenge quilts again to next week's May meeting (see some of them here!). In addition, they will be on display at Pennington Quilt Works soon and then PNQE (Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza) this fall. I can't wait to see them all together!

Thank you so much to Pennington Quilt Works for the solid fabric. And thanks to Sarah @nohatsquilts and Rebecca @bryanhousequilts for hosting the Pantone Quilt Challenge, which is opening up May 19, tomorrow! I'm entering this one in the mini quilt category - you can see all the entries here through the end of the month. Enjoy!

Linking up to Pantone Quilt Challenge, Needle and Thread Thursday, Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A letter to quilted pebbles

Dear Quilted Pebbles,

You are my favorite quilting motif, hands down. I'm not quite sure what it is about you that makes me want to quilt you all the time. After all, you use up an exorbitant amount of thread. You make my shoulders hurt. Plus, you take a long time to quilt. And when there's a tension mishap, the un-sewing takes even longer.

My current Pantone Quilt Challenge project - more next week.

But, you create AMAZING texture. There are a million different options for creating you (small, large, mixed, oblong, circular, in a line, as a filler, as a cascade... I could go on).

I'll never forget the first time I tried quilting you back in 2012. I wanted to create a cobblestone path like the one I had walked on in Prague. So, I just went for it, and I was hooked.

All in all, pebbles, I'll always do the hard work to make you happen. Never change.


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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sunday Stash - Retreat Edition

It's been a week since I returned from the 4th annual Mid-Atlantic Mod sewing retreat (read my recap here), and I actually have some stash additions to share! I've been really good about clearing out fabric and materials I no longer use/need. Also, I've been destashing fabric that's no longer my style. However, I gathered up an interesting assortment in three days, between the swag bag, pre-shopping at 1 Choice 4 Quilting, and shopping at The Old Country Store and Zooks. Lancaster, PA fabric shopping is no joke.

My favorites amongst these: the Mod mug (AH! I love big mugs), the Goddess Sheet (won in a giveaway by my guild friend Michele and gifted to me - I used one for the first time and loved it - thank you for your kindness, Michele!), top purple leaf fabric from Zooks (it's so me), and the Literary fabric (library book dates) I found at Old Country Store.

Oh, and I treated myself to a lace zipper and variegated purple Valdani thread from the last shop. Yum. I already have plans for that thread in my next portable hand-stitching project.

Finally, check out the glimmer of this Essex linen bundle by Robert Kaufman. It was begging to be photographed. I rarely buy bundles, but all the fabrics in this bundle matched my future linen picnic blanket project, so I went for it. Thank you, 1 Choice 4 Quilting (affiliate link - but I wouldn't link to something I didn't 100% love)!

I'm thrilled to purchase some fabric for future projects. In the meantime, I'm being much more aware of what's in my fabric stash already; I've only been buying fabrics that I need for a specific project, or ones that fill a distinct color hole in my collection. And after I'm done with book sewing, I have big plans.

P.S. Within the next month, I'll be having a large destash on @quiltyhabit_destash over on Instagram. Check it out if you're in the market for some modern fabric and scrap bundles by color.

Linking up to Sunday Stash.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

2017 Retreat Recap - Mid-Atlantic Mod

I'm finally unpacked and back to book sewing (yay!), so I thought I'd quickly recap where I was this weekend. This was the 4th year Jessica Levitt and Andrew Joslyn have expertly organized Mid-Atlantic Mod, a modern sewing retreat in Lancaster, PA. This year, members from 6 Modern Quilt Guilds + friends (76 quilters) met for a total of 4 days. There's nothing quite like sitting in a gigantic hotel ballroom with your sewing machine and friends, while a wedding and school dance happened right outside (different nights, of course). Here are some excerpts from my trip this year (I was there Friday - Sunday):

 It's hard to describe the scale of an event like this, but hopefully this picture captures it.

Once I arrived Friday night, we had a cocktail hour and show and tell. It was great to catch up with my own guild (I missed our last meeting, so it's been a month and half since I last saw them - and after 5 years together, some of us are very close!). I also had the opportunity to greet members of other MQGs that I've met through this retreat and teaching. It was a great way to start off a night of sewing! Thank you so much to the sponsors of the cocktail hour: 1 Choice 4 Quilting, Fabricworm, Gotham Quilts, Pink Door Fabrics, and Del Ray Fabrics!

My friend Linda shared this amazing bee quilt from our guild! She just finished it - and it's especially spectacular in person. I was going to share another member's bee quilt but I remembered that they asked it be kept secret for now. So I'll leave you with this picture of me sharing my "Burst" quilt - judging by my face, you might want to think twice about giving the microphone to a ham like me.

That night, I started working on my Pantone challenge quilt. This was due at the last guild meeting, but I'll bring it to this month's. I'm also going to enter the online Pantone challenge - how about you? Here's a sneak peek. I actually got a lot done on this project over 3 days.

 I had to test how comfy "Burst" really is - I haven't washed it yet, but it kept me warm that night.

The next morning, I had a lovely breakfast at a local joint with Linda and Susan from my guild, plus Ann from the Lancaster MQG. Then, we went fabric shopping at two of our sponsoring shops: Zook's and Old Country Store (below, where you can see Lin's pure excitement). Fabric shopping in Lancaster is like stepping onto a fabric-covered planet. It's EVERYWHERE.

Saturday afternoon, I taught my Brick-by-Brick Improvisation workshop. Usually it's a three hour class, but the MOD classes are pared down to 1.5 hours. Here are just a few pictures from my adventurous and excited students. Thank you all for making my job so enjoyable.


The next day, I discovered who my secret sewist was: Sarah (@yorebelwoman)! When Chad and I plan this swap, we always assign partners as members of different guilds (Chad assigns my partner so that I'm surprised in the end). Sarah left me thoughtful, well-made, and rebellious gifts for 3 days, including this amazing mini quilt. This was her first time writing with free motion quilting (she watched my webinar first! Isn't that cool? It says, "Nevertheless, she persisted"). I LOVE it, Sarah. THANK YOU!

My secret partner was Hayley from the Philly guild, who I hadn't known before. Hayley doesn't have much of her work online so at first it was hard to decide what to make her. Besides other smaller gifts and fabric, I ended up sewing this bear paw pillow of Tula Pink fabrics (she mentioned loving modern traditionalism, Tula, mint green, and lilac).

Funnily enough, I befriended Hayley over the weekend, starting at the cocktail hour, but I swear it wasn't because she was my secret partner. :) She said she couldn't believe it was me in the end! This swap is my favorite part of MOD, I think.

Okay, last few photos! Here's a final picture of one of the progressive quilts I worked on over the 3 days, with 11 other quilters - the theme was "quadrants." It was a lot of hard work, and Paulette from my guild won it! She ended up gifting it to Jess Levitt, who promised that she and I could quilt it together (YAY! All I ever want to do is quilt one of the progressive quilts, so this made my day). Great job to all who participated.

I also got the opportunity to quilt about a third of my own bee quilt with a curve theme (from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts). This will likely be my go-to "for fun" project whenever we have guild sewing days this year.

I stopped on the way home to visit my brother for dinner. Thanks, bro. :)

And one more picture of our guild's 16 attending members! I'll share more about my fabric acquisitions and swag in another post.

Phew. So, have you ever attended a quilt retreat? What was/is your favorite part, besides the sewing?

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Friday, April 28, 2017

"Burst" - A Finished Orange Peel Quilt

Today, I'm thrilled to share "Burst," my latest orange peel quilt. It was made for RJR Fabrics and their What Shade Are You? blog hop. I took on this project even though I have quite a demanding one going on right now; the design has been sitting in my sketchbook for ages, just waiting to be created. It was such a thrill to make a vision come to life!

RJR provided the fabrics (thank you, RJR!), and I've written about the whole process on their blog today. Click here to read the full post and see more pictures! Plus, if you'd like to win a bundle of Cotton Supreme Solids like the ones I used, check out my Instagram and RJR's, too (there will be two winners!).

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