Saturday, July 14, 2018

Reorganizing Fabric and Scraps

Over 8 years of sewing, my fabric needs and preferences have changed many times (have you ever looked at a piece of fabric and thought: what was I thinking?!). I think it's important to reevaluate your hobby periodically and make the necessary changes (which is why I have frequent fabric destashes and give a lot away to my quilt guild and students). Your hobby is important and you have to make sure it fits your current space and needs.


Right now, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm making many more scrap quilts than those with yardage, so I'm paring down both my buying and fabric stash (for the record, I usually buy a half yard of something when I like it or need it). Plus, I really want to make quilts instead of holding onto fabric for years and years (this post by Jenny Kae Quilts says it all).

While going through my normal stash piles, I quickly noticed lots of small fabric pieces at fat quarter size or less; since they weren't stored with my scraps, I'd often forget about them. Also, the closet (shared with my husband's computer stuff) very clearly needed a complete makeover. I bought bins on sale at Target (score), which easily close and stack (my other, tiny ones, did not - see the size difference below). These are TWICE the size than the ones I was using! They fit my fat quarters of each color along with scraps. What a relief! Why did I wait so long?


Before, I was also using an assortment of Ziploc bags and shoe boxes to organize scraps. Not only did it look terrible but it was confusing (besides a general organization by color). I felt overwhelmed just stepping into the closet. I didn't give it the time and attention it needed... until now.


Now, I have more room to store scraps together. I combined colors together except for blue, purple, and green, which all needed their own bins (also, I have very few yellow scraps - believe it, Sarah! - so a small bin still holds those). I'm already feeling much more excited about diving into my scraps.


One part of my stash that will remain in tact through change is solids, since I use them possibly 75% more often and in abundance than I used to 4 or 5 years ago. While I don't keep track of them by company or name, I'm happy with the assortment I can pull from for any project. I seem to have accumulated a lot of purples and grays from over the years, and many of these are larger pieces. Solids have become absolutely essential to my quilt-making process (here, they are on the bottom of my storage unit).


Also, during this process, I went through my fabric stash 3 separate times and put together a huge pile to destash (see below). I'm also considering making up a few bundles for sale. I'll be posting these for sale on my separate Instagram account, quiltyhabit_destash, within the next month. Follow this IG account to get updates (sorry, US shipping only).


So, have you gone through your fabric lately? What's changed, if anything? Your taste, needs, space, etc.?

 

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Delaware/Maryland Class Openings

I'm thrilled to embark on a 5-day lecture and workshop tour next week. Are you in the Lewes/Rehoboth Beach, DE or Easton, MD area? There are a few spots left in my Orange Peel and Improv classes! If you're interested, email me for the guild contacts (I don't want to post their emails online). Thank you!

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Quilt designs and improvisation technique are originals by Jessica Skultety.  
 
  •  Workshop - Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes, DE
    • "Orange Peels and Improv" - Tuesday, July 10
    • 9am - 3pm
    • $48 for nonmembers
  • Workshop -  Bayside Quilters of Easton, MD
    • "Orange Peels and Improv" - Thursday, July 12
    • 9:30am - 4pm
 
Orange peels are beautiful and striking traditional blocks that can be manipulated in exciting ways. We'll pair them with "planned" improvisational piecing to make a scrap-friendly baby or wall quilt (44” x 55”) that you’ll be proud to show off! You’ll learn the “stitch and flip” method for making orange peels for machine applique. Then, you’ll use background fabric and my favorite improvisation technique, brick-by-brick, to stitch them into a modern quilt top uniquely your own.
 

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Intersection: Quilting Modern Quilts Blog Series

This is the 2nd of 6 quilts that I'm sharing as part of a series this summer, which explores ways to quilt modern, more minimalistic quilts (than what I usually make). To read a detailed introduction to the blog series, click here. Quilts featured so far: Electrify. Read to the end for a giveaway!

I was going to save this quilt until the end, but it has the same roots as the last quilt. It is one of my favorites of the group, mostly because it came out exactly as I envisioned and all the cool quilting I challenged myself with. This is Intersection.


The four cross design comes straight from the roof of an old house in Quakertown, NJ (the same roof as Electrify - you can read more about that here). I was completely taken with this design, which is a gorgeous, traditional layout of crosses.

I liked the idea of using a short, somewhat squat version of the Greek cross because it seems more unexpected and unusual. When designing this quilt, I thought it would be interesting to let part of the design disappear off the quilt, and after playing around, it seemed even more appropriate to include 2 different groupings of crosses.

Cirrus Solids used: Amazon (teal), Clementine (orange), Limestone (white), and Shamrock (green backing - see picture further down this post).

Since negative, or blank, space suddenly became a huge part of this design, a bright, bold color fit the bill. Plus, one common question I get about modern quilts is, "don't they have white backgrounds?" Just sometimes. :) Anyway, since I love cool range colors (blue/purple mostly), teal was an attractive choice. And lo and behold, dark orange is complementary to teal (directly across from it on the color wheel). Add some white to let it breathe. Let the orange be the exception.

Cirrus Solids by Cloud9 Fabrics were the fabrics that I really wanted to use for this quilt. They have a beautiful crossweave, which makes it a little difficult to photograph but also makes it shimmer in person. It's hard to convey the exact colors here. I've been working with Cirrus Solids for a long time and I always appreciate the wide range of colors, softness, and solidity. Thank you to Cloud9 for providing the fabrics for me to try out this design.


The quilting itself tested me. When I look at the quilt, I see a circular motif surrounding the outline of the crosses. The key to making this kind of minimalist quilt have an impact is quilting the negative space in an unusual way (that's how I go about it, at least). Once the idea popped into my head, there was no getting it out.

The quilt is quite large (59" across by 67" down), so the large pebble paths were the most intimidating part.  I have loved creating paths like this for a long time, but these are by far the largest I've quilted. I marked them with white chalk (it wasn't an exact science) and then simply filled them in with pebbles of all sizes. I really love the point where they meet (below).

Contrast in size and shape of the quilting can often make the quilt. I used the same color and weight of thread (a beautiful, glow-y turquoise Aurifil 2810, 40 weight) for both the pebble paths and background, and changing scale in the negative space really makes the difference.


I wanted the orange crosses to relate to the large pebble swathes, so I quilted a different pebble configuration there, in Aurifil 2240. Just now, I'm realizing that I used the same free motion motif (swirls) in the white crosses here and the background of the other quilt (with Aurifil 2024). Sometimes I surprise myself. :) I really enjoy using the opposite of the piecing design to quilt (curvy vs. angular, for example).


The final test was the matched binding. This quilt really didn't want a frame; it seemed to float. I actually save the matched binding for one of the last steps of finishing the entire quilt series, but it was easier than expected. It matches up just enough for me (I'm not interested in perfectionism, even if this one does go to a quilt show. That's just what I like. The quilt feels more human to me. :) ).



This quilt was a test of my quilting skills but I truly enjoyed every step. Isn't that what it's all about?

Thank you to Cloud9 Fabrics for sponsoring the fabric, The Warm Company for Warm and Natural batting, and Aurifil Thread for the threads. All opinions about materials are my own, honest ones.


Please note: some people have emailed me about releasing patterns of the quilts. While I'm flattered, sharing the measurements and methods are no longer in my plans, as I explained in the introduction post. If you derive a quilt from my design and share it publicly, I would greatly appreciate a link to my website and a caption noting that you were inspired by this design. This also goes for quilt shows. Thank you!


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Giveaway 

And today's giveaway is a fat quarter bundle of summery Kona Solids by Robert Kaufman (which I used to make samples and practice quilting) and a 2 pack of white chalk pencils, so you can practice your own marking!


Giveaway details: Runs from July 2 until July 9 at 12 am EST. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter  - this helps me when tallying votes. Once you comment on the blog, please be advised that it will not appear right away (I have to approve comments due to insane amounts of spam). You can still comment and not be entered in the giveaway if you so desire (just don't use Rafflecopter below). If you won a previous giveaway from this blog series, you cannot win again.

 Also, I will not be responding directly to all blog comments at this time due to volume and issues with Blogger (unfortunately). Sorry, U.S. entrants only, please. I will email the winner and if there is no response within 2 days or winner is not located in the U.S., I will randomly choose another winner.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



 

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Electrify: Quilting Modern Quilts Blog Series

Electrify is the first in my series of modern quilts to share with you this summer (click here to read the blog series introduction post). It's a design made to combine a classic plus block with an improvised scrappy look, and it has a story inspired by architecture. And it's certainly quilted to life (not death), which is how I prefer to finish off modern designs. :)


Several years ago I was traveling back and forth through Quakertown/Franklin, NJ to get to and from college. This route is a nice scenic one, which takes about the same time as the highway and purposefully avoids the infamous Flemington, NJ traffic circle (which is now even more confusing several years later, but I digress). Anyway, on one drive, I saw this AMAZING motif on a roof there. Every time I drove home, I looked for the roof but couldn't take a picture (I value my life much more than that). So, the image of four crosses joined together at the corners stuck in my head, and eventually, I drew it in my design notebook, hoping to make a quilt someday.


For this quilt, I wanted there to be purple (lots of purple! Bring on the purple quilts!) and finding just the right shade was important. I had made a computer mock up of each quilt for my book - see below - and after trying a couple color schemes, I quickly fell in love with purple, pink, and a touch of lime green, surrounded by gray and white (thank you, Paint, for making experimentation so easy!). This perfect-for-my-quilt purple is Thistle, one of Northcott's ColorWorks Premium Solids. I loved the purple so much that it became the backing and binding, too (see below). Here, the binding serves as a bright frame for the design.



Other ColorWorks solids used in this quilt: Lime, Super White, Smoke, and Fuchsia. What I like most about Northcott solids is that they are super soft (like silk, as they say) but they aren't slippery or buttery. No fraying - just a solid, well, solid - that comes in a huge variety of bright, modern colors. They also wash up nicely!

"Electrify," named for the joining strips, has a lot of modern quilting elements to me (though of course I didn't set out to purposefully check these off). Negative space, improvisation, bold colors, graphic design, and solid fabrics.


Now, the quilting. I struggled with the decision at first. The computer graphics made it easy to experiment with quilting motifs. Originally, I considered quilting straight lines from the middle, radiating out, because that's the movement I see in the design. However, since my book was about intermediate free motion quilting with little to no marking, this would have been difficult to do (really need a walking foot). Plus, since I love free motion, I wanted to take on the challenge of figuring out a different way to quilt.

The spirals in the background serve as a contrast from all the angular piecing. I matched thread colors (Aurifil 2024, white) because I hoped the texture would be enough (it was!). Several other thread colors add more interest to the rest of the design (Aurifil 1243 Dusty Lavender, 5017 Shining Green, and 4020 Fuchsia). For these projects, I had lots of opportunities to switch thread colors, and I definitely indulged!

My unexpectedly favorite part of this quilt is the improvised stripes because a. how I decided to quilt them (one of my favorite go-to motifs) and b. how the white strips on the ends fade into the background. Seeing this quilt come to life after several years of contemplation was positively thrilling. I made another quilt for the book that's also based on crosses, which I'll share in a few weeks.


Thank you to Northcott Fabrics for sponsoring the fabric, The Warm Company for Warm and White batting (which, to me, seems to make the white background shine even more in person), and Aurifil Thread for the threads. All opinions about materials are my own, honest ones.



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Giveaway 

And today's giveaway, sponsored by Northcott, is a Colorworks Premium Solids color card with 2 half yards - one of Thistle and one of Fuchsia!


Giveaway details: Runs from June 14 until June 22 at 12 am EST. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter  - this helps me when tallying votes. Once you comment on the blog, please be advised that it will not appear right away (I have to approve comments due to insane spam amounts). You can still comment and not be entered in the giveaway if you so desire (just don't use Rafflecopter below).

 Also, I will not be responding directly to all blog comments at this time due to volume and issues with Blogger (unfortunately). Sorry, U.S. entrants only, please. I will email the winner and if there is no response within 2 days or winner is not located in the U.S., I will randomly choose another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts.

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