Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Time out

My name is Jess, and I put quilts in time out. How does this even happen? Well, I get into these "sprints" that have five stages:

1. I get *SUPER INSPIRED*, all of a sudden, to work on a project, and it's all I can think about.

2. This goes on for a couple of days. Maybe even a whole week. Once, it was an entire month of bliss.

3. At some point, something gets repetitive (or in some cases, I catch I-just-want-to-finish-itis, which is NOT ideal for a hobby that's supposed to be relaxing!).

4. The fallout begins, and the quilt and I have a little break-up (okay, that never really happened with Pumpkin Spice Latte, but that was a unique circumstance).

5. I nurse my wounds and eventually find a reason to return to the project.

The medallion is still evolving, and it is now sitting folded up somewhere in the time out corner, and I am over here. I love love love it, but we needed a break. After sewing all the pluses (there were *only* 20 but picking out the fabrics took at least 2 hours), getting IG and Liz feedback about a middle border, and piecing said border, I couldn't look at it anymore. That's okay though -  I'm sure I'll be back at it soon enough. I think I'll be piecing a thin black border (white specked) around the pluses (I feel like it needs one more little pop of black) before the last border (or... will it be the last? I just don't know yet, and that's the most fun part!).

That border of jewel tones was way too exciting (but just exciting enough for a lazy Sunday afternoon). There are Lizzy House cats, jewels, navy and purple Domino Dots, Bike Path, my favorite tone-on-tone Pearl Bracelets, and dandelions. Sigh. I originally thought of a black border, or a solid purple or navy border, but this is WAY better! When in doubt, go with color - a message to future Jess.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bag lady

Some may call me a bag lady. I'm always hauling things places; I have five jobs, so there are wardrobe/shoe changes, binders, food, etc. that come along with me. Everything needs to be in a (nice) bag to make it all happen (my philosophy). :) Those who come to CJMQG meetings are witness to me hauling a ton of stuff! Granted, usually one of those bags has a quilt, and you all know how much room they take up. I seriously need to make a huge bag for lugging quilts around!

I'm on my way to creating monsters out of my oldest nieces. Emilee just had a birthday and she asked for a purse... who was I to object? She forgot that she had asked, though, so when she saw the box, she said: "Is it a quilt?!?!" Like I said, I'm creating monsters. ;) I told her she will get one soon - she got one for her last birthday!

The tote bag is made from Let's Eat Grandpa's fabulous  Bloomin' Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG) tutorial. I've made a pillow using it once before - it's a perfect project for scraps. Be warned though - lots of thread and time are necessary. :)

The back. I swear I pressed it at some point... probably way before I finished the bag.

I hope Emilee loves her new bag! I gave bags to my Maine nieces last year when we visited. It's probably time to come up with a new quilty gift...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sunday Stash

What started with needing some fabric (yes, needing) for the Michael Miller Modern Quilt Guild Challenge turned rapidly into a buying spree from The Intrepid Thread. I love that store (I'm not getting anything for saying that, I just really do!). Julie and her team are wonderful, personable, helpful, and generous. I've been buying fabric from the shop since its very beginning.

From the back: there's two colorways of Petal Pinwheel prints (they remind me of cathedral windows) for the challenge, some luscious emerald-and-metallic Botanics, Lizzy House jewels for a current project and for stashing, the purple cats from Catnap (I've been eyeing those up for a while now), a steal of my favorite print from Jeni Baker's Nordika, Violet Craft birds (I can't get away from those - did you hear she's coming out with birds in light purple and metallics?!?), and... those Domino Dots just fell into my cart, you know... :)

By the way, all are half yards (or full yards...). I've been buying half yards for a good year now because, guess what: fat quarters just don't do it for me anymore! I quickly learned that for binding, I always need at least a half yard. Though, let's be honest, most of these aren't destined for binding (possibly the jewels or Domino Dots only). Anyway, that aside, I still use large cuts of fabric... and now it's not all gone when I finish a project. :) For a more thorough and entertaining explanation of my feelings on the subject, you can read Don't Call Me Betsy's break-up with fat quarters. I'm with you on every word, girl.

Julie also generously sponsored Mid-Atlantic Mod with fabric (I got a FQ of Alison Glass in my swag bag! Woo!) and provided a discount code for attendees, so I figured showing some sponsor love was indeed necessary. Thanks, Intrepid Thread, for always having all the pretties! I hope to visit in person someday!

Linking up with Sunday Stash.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The medallion grows

I've been doing a lot of "secret sewing" for friends lately, so those pictures/explanations will have to wait. I haven't been totally unproductive with selfish sewing, though!

When it's time to add another border, I always stall a bit. Since this medallion is entirely my own design, it gives me way (way) too many options (Pinterest is a blessing and a curse). It also invites a fair share of quilty math, something no amount of blog reading or practice will probably ever get me to love (sorry!).

First, I sewed on a border of Anna Maria Horner's Social Climber in Teal, specked with my all-time favorite print from Kate Spain's Terrain. The roses are supposed to be radiating out from the center. Now there's only scraps of each of these fabrics left ( :( ) but at least I'm keeping this quilt forever, right? They were screaming to be used! Plus, very little math was involved. Sew, press, and love.

Next, a large border (the AMH explosion above happened as I paired up fabrics). The plus or cross block became popular with the advent of the Marcelle Medallion by Alexia Abegg; I've known for a long time that they had to be a part of my own medallion quilt. Instead of the outermost patchwork border, though, I made them closer to the center. There are more borders to come here, people!

I've been sneaky about avoiding "the maths" up until the plus border. Mike helped me figure out a ten-inch (finished) block based on Lori H. Design's 5 inch plus block (and no, it's not just doubled! :D). If anyone is interested in the measurements, I'll post them! I feel like I will be using the plus block a LOT in the future - like, for a whole quilt. Bonus points - they are perfect for chain piecing!

 I'm toying with different cornerstones for the border (I really want to try making a 10 inch version of this block).

What block or quilt you are just way too excited about right now?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sister Quilt #2 - Quilt top!


I was on a roll this weekend! My second Sisters' Ten BOM (block of the month) quilt, made last year through a very thorough and helpful BOM at Gen X Quilters, is finally on its way to completion. For months the blocks and sashing sat in a plastic tin - no more! You know when you get the urge to work on something? Yep.

This quilt is special to me (left in picture^^) because I already made a similar one for my sister (in her colors) (right in picture). This one is for me. I'll be sharing a bit more about that when its done and we take pictures of both quilts together! Hopefully this spring!

This one shows the colors a bit better. I used Kona Medium Gray as the background, and a palette of my favorite sunset colors (purple, red, red-orange, and orange). The scrappy strips of colored fabric (in the negative space) are my own addition to the BOM quilt; I also added them to Marisa's quilt.

Mike and I saw the stained glass effect in this picture, and he suggested that we tape the quilt up against the window. Thrilled with the results (thanks, sweetie!):

I want to do this with all of my quilt tops now! Like, ALL of them. Also, I didn't press the middle sashings yet, so I bet it would look even cooler when neatly pressed. :)

Photoshoot outtakes:

Hope you got to spend some time outside, too! We waited a little too long (too much food) to get the *best* natural light pictures, but that's okay (plus, there's always the final photoshoot).

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Sewing

I found myself with a bit of free time today, so I checked out my list of to-dos for quilting (there are a lot)... and decided I was in the mood for some improv curve play. I used a tutorial from Sew Take a Hike to start.

This fabric is for the Michael Miller MQG Challenge - Michael Miller generously supplied all participating Modern Quilt Guild members with fat eighths of their Petal Pinwheels line. It's springy and fits with many different solids. I'm also one to stretch a solid's color (as in: yes, this is close enough), so I'm not that reliable. :D

The challenge isn't due until June, but I want to have it completed for the June meeting. Guilds can compete in challenges on their own, so our guild's challenge is curves. I'm anxious to see what people come up with. Read: you don't HAVE to do curves, CJMQGers, unless you want to! BTW: the 3 winners win fabric for a whole. year. That's a good enough reason to enter for me! Well, just for the fun of it, too!

Overall, I have a very vague idea where this is going, but I'm loving that. It's odd because I'm a planner and a person who likes consistency. I think I'll be playing quilt-hop all day and working on a bunch of different projects. Later, I'll spend some time with the husband: out to dinner, probably some How I Met Your Mother (we're marathoning the whole thing; I've seen it but he hasn't, and we're in the middle of Season 2), and some dessert baking for tomorrow (strawberry chocolate pie - our first try).

P.S. This is one reason I'm going to stick around blogging. You can't say all that on Instagram, as awesome as IG is!^^ 

What are you sewing? Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A follow-up

Thank you so much for your lengthy comments on my last post ("Who is the 'modern' quilter?"). I've read them all but I haven't responded to any emails yet, due to feeling feverish and out-of-sorts for the last 24 hours or so. If you haven't read what people have said, take a look. It's clear that the topics of quilter categorization and what "modern" means resonate deeply in the quilting community. I guess we can hope that one day they just won't matter in a negative way.

CoExist Stars 2

^An awesome graphic from Hunter's Design Studio (posted with permission)! It says it all! For further reading on the topic you should definitely see Sam's awesome post, titled "All Inclusive."

I do agree with those who have said that they feel people should categorize their quilts for quilt shows. As the president of a guild, I also think it's necessary to explore the tenets of modern quilting and to challenge my fellow members to try them out. If you are in my guild, please show us your quilts, no matter what!

Finally, many of you, including myself, find "traditional" quilts beautiful and derive much inspiration from them (P.S. have you seen the Quilt Alliance contest? The theme is "Inspired By..."). Overall, I'll say it just one more time: go make stuff!

I don't really feel like moving right now but I'm hoping to be better tomorrow. After a short in-service at my school, I have the rest of the day off - which means sewing time!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who is the "modern" quilter?

And what is "modern" quilting? I realize this topic is a point of contention in the quilt world. I also realize much has been said on the topic. I've been encountering it a lot more lately, including from within my guild, so it seems like a worthy topic to explore further. By the way, this is not to comment on traditional quilting in any way, but instead to discuss the modern quilting world.

The Modern Quilt Guild defines modern quilting in several ways: "the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, [...] alternate grid work, [and] 'modern traditionalism' or the updating of classic quilt designs." It's good to have a definition; it gives us a sense of the movement as a whole.


My definition of modern may be different from others'. I believe "modern" can mean a traditional design using modern fabrics (solids, bright, saturated colors). It can be improv piecing and/or lots of solids as a background. It can be changing a traditional design to be more scrappy or improv-y or unsymmetrical. It can be a totally original improv design with lots of lines or curves or both. It can be any and all of these things put together.

I happen to be a modern quilter who loves dense quilting, deviating from the pattern, and modern fabrics. I often piece traditional blocks and I enjoy precision; lately, though, I've been dabbling in improv and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Botanics quilt top - yet unnamed

As long are we're making things, does it really matter whether or not we are definitional "modern quilters?" Heck, no! So let's quit the negativity and go make stuff!

I think it's the most beautiful thing: that we all have our own style. What kind of modern quilter are you (if you do, in fact, consider yourself modern)? What do you think modern means? I'd love to know!

I've been writing this post in my head for a while, and I hope it came out clearly. Thanks for reading, and seriously, in case you missed it - just go sew!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FAL List, Quarter 2

 I'm rolling over some projects from last quarter's Finish-A-Long list, and there are a bunch of quilt finishes ahead, hopefully! I can be a bit ambitious when it comes to goals, so we'll see:

1. The second Sister's Ten BOM (my quilt) HAS to get done! I want to take pictures of it with its sister, and enjoy it! Since I'm currently quilting another quilt, I have a sad feeling my quilting mojo might disappear for a little while, but hopefully not too long. In the meantime this beast has to be sashed and backed. Here's a picture of some of the blocks (more than halfway through the sampler).

2. My lantern quilt top is still languishing in the UFO pile from last summer, just waiting to be backed and quilted. Some people from the QAL have finished theirs, and they are amazing! I actually just bought some Good Fortune fabric from Burkholder's to incorporate into the backing. Maybe I'll get this one done. Or maybe it will be for the 3rd Quarter. There are higher priorities on the list. I would like to use it this summer, though...

3. The Botanics Challenge quilt, however, WILL be done by the end of June. The quilting is 3/4ths done at this point. I've been working on it all week and I'm very happy with it. Still not sure how I'm going to bind it, though. Suggestions?


4. Finish my Socialite Dress (AMH pattern). This is in the cutting stages of the muslin - I'm using some AMH voile for the real deal. I keep going in and out about it! I know I can do it...but I just love making quilts so much! Lol!

5. My Michael Miller Challenge piece. Our guild challenge is curves, and I think I'm going for "improv" curves. This is due for our June CJMQG meeting. Since I didn't end up completing the last challenge, and since I'm the president now, I kind of feel obligated to do this one. And the fabrics are pretty.


 ^picture from the MQG site

6. An Ellie Travel Case and pillow cover (and other fun swap goodies) for my quilty friend @sew_into_my_20s (on IG!). We are doing a swap and lemme tell you - excited over here. She's making me a Supertote!! :O Remember what I said about enjoying quilts to much? I figured, one new venture at a time (the dress) so large bag making will have to wait. I'm excited to try the tutorial by my friend Heidi.

7. A pillow cover for another friend - improvy and using some special fabric. Can't show a photo because I want her to be surprised and she sometimes reads my blog. :)

Too ambitious of a large project list? Probably. But I'll try.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sunday Stash: Mid-Atlantic Mod Edition

Oh goodness. You've caught me on the day I share my Mid-Atlantic Mod haul. I'm a little embarrassed about how much more fabric I actually brought home. And I brought a LOT of fabric to the retreat because I was trying/failing to make decisions on my medallion. Ah, fabric.

My guild friend Sonia (@soniabegoniasonia on IG) gifted me the sewing machine fabric on the bottom - gah! I need to make something with this very soon! Thank you, friend! <3 Oh and by the way... those purple cathedral windows on the bottom right... I can't handle how awesome they are.

Rachel, Liz, Jess, and I took a trip to Burkholder's, where we discovered not only new fabric (Mormor, anyone?) but also some OOP favorites (Architextures, Terrain, Simply Color, etc.) I really wish Jess and I had taken a picture of our cart because the bolts were just teetering on top. Why I didn't just go get my own is beyond me… or I really just didn’t want to spend any time NOT looking at fabric…

These two pictures are all of my winnings (thanks to Windham Fabrics for the beautiful Lotta Jansdotter "Sylvia" bundle and to the Intrepid Thread for the Alison Glass Lucky Penny FQ!), plus half yards, lots of FQs, and some fat eighths from Burkholder's and The Sassy Tassel. I bought yardage of purple Lecien fabric (bottom, first picture - YUM) to make a top. The Sassy Tassel also had OOP Amy Butler "Love" (which I mostly missed out on because it came out before I was sewing), AMH "Innocent Crush" (clearly there's never too much of that around here) and Joel Dewberry "Modern Meadow." Thanks, Sassy Tassel!

I overloaded on purples (because awesome purples are hard to find [though getting easier to find] and they are my favorites), and low volumes (yes, I finally bought a piece of Catnap!!). I've been going through LVs like crazy since last November when I made Pumpkin Spice Latte. The Botanics quilt ate up a lot too, so I had to shop… right? I can't get over the "8 Days a Week" fabric from Windham at the bottom of the first picture. It's almost as exciting as the Britten Nummer print from Ikea (that is sadly becoming discontinued :( ).

After this, I literally cannot stuff more than maybe 5 half yards more into my fabric cabinet. I'll either need to use a bunch of this fabric en masse or just get more storage… lol?

So, what are you stashing this week?
 I'm linking up to Sunday Stash @ Molli Sparkles!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Mod Recap

So, what is there to say about Mid-Atlantic Mod? Too much, apparently! I kept finding more things to say, and since this is my blog, I'll say them all! 

Here's a picture of the CJMQG members at the retreat, minus Rachel and Sonia. We are just too cute!  From the left: Neva, Tatiana, Jess L, Robin, myself, Christina, Laura (back), Amy (front), Kathleen

Mid-Atlantic Mod

 Mid-Atlantic Mod was a sold-out, four-day modern quilting retreat made up of the Philly, Central Jersey, and DC Modern Quilt Guilds, as well as other quilters within the area (65 attendees). And it was totally awesome. Driving to Lancaster took most of us 2 to 2.5 hours, so it was super convenient. I have to admit that if I only can afford to go to one event next year, I would be more than content just going back to this retreat. It was definitely the most fun I've had over a four day period in a very long time, and it was so exciting to meet Instagram friends and new friends, hang out with old friends, fabric shop, discover Lancaster, and sew a whole lot. 

Thursday, the first day, was c.r.a.z.y. I think it took a half hour to unload my car because of all the sewing stuff I brought... whoops. No regrets, though! This includes my entire AMH stash and any neutrals/solids/low volumes/tone on tones I am considering for my medallion quilt... I don't take prisoners.

I used a beautiful Chicopee pillow from Life's Rich Pattern all weekend - it's one of our favorite pillows in the house :)

I finally met Liz! Liz (@beadqueene on Instagram) found out about the retreat from reading my blog. We've been emailing/Instagramming since she told me she was going, and we had the best time together! Here we are with our friend "Crafty Festa" Sara (@craftyfesta)!

Many of us were pretty loopy that first night. The bar had drink specials for the quilters: Round Robin, Seam Ripper, and Pinking Shears (lols). There was a scrap bin to throw your scraps in and pick out new ones and we went a bit crazy...


On Friday, some of us took a roadtrip to Burkholder Fabrics. Never have I felt more like a kid in a candy store. So. Worth. The. Trip. We could have also trekked to some other well-known fabric shops, but we wanted to sew more than shop all day. I know some people who shop-hopped and got some crazy awesome stuff all over! I'll share my haul on Sunday for Sunday Stash. Here's a great picture of us after Burkholder's: 

VICTORIOUS. From left: Rachel, Liz, Jess, and myself - photo credit: Rachel

We joked about wearing "our nice sweatpants" on Friday because there was a wedding reception happening right outside our conference room. Like, you would walk out to run to your hotel room or go to the bathrooms or whatever, and you were in the middle of a reception! We must have looked pretty hilarious. We also had a fun mixer that we have our wonderful sponsors to thank for (thank you!). It was great talking to other quilters and meeting new people, but after a while a bunch of us really just wanted to sew ;). We all sewed the night away afterwards!

Saturday was the day most people had one (or two or three or four) classes. This made it a bit difficult to go anywhere with friends because of schedules, but we made it work. I only took one class - Foundation Paper Piecing - and I haven't finished my block yet :P. Jess *says* she offered the class to help me, and of course I was ten minutes late (Neva, Rachel, Nicole, Liz, and I had a really relaxing lunch and did some MORE fabric shopping downtown and we cut it a bit close). Anyway, I now understand the general process of paper piecing but finishing my block was not a priority once the class ended (I kind of missed one piece and got frustrated and moved on to finishing my Radiant Orchid coasters). When I'm ready, I'll take it back out again and have Jess help me more. I promise I'll post it here, too! I might also just dive into a simple paper piecing project now that I get the gist of it.

On Saturday night, we had a pajama party (out in the atrium there was a big dinner, so again, we looked a bit out of place!). The tote bag swap was hands down the best part of the night. Quilters made tote bags using Essex Linen from Robert Kaufman (thank you!!!) and places them in bags for disguise. The organizers handed out the bags at random and it was like Christmas morning. Everyone was SO excited! I know of a pair of ladies who received each others' bags!

My bag was made by Heather (@heatherkojan), and now I have a new friend! She is amazing! OMG - OOP AMH and the viewmasters by Melody Miller - I was overwhelmed. Thank you Heather for making my weekend! P.S. - The lady who won my bag thankfully LOVES purple - yay!

Sewing-wise, I got a lot done, and so did many of my friends! You can see what I worked on here. And the giveaways. Wow. We had a ton of sponsors thanks to the hard work of Jess, Katie, and Andrew. Thanks to all of you for everything!

Andrew, the president of the Philly Guild, won the Lizzy House Soak nail polish (lol) and he knew I was dying to get my hands on some, so he gave it to me!! <3 I kind of look a bit confused here, and my hair is a mess, but you get the idea! He's a riot. And we worked on AMH feathers together. Thanks Andrew! Looking forward to working with you in the future as presidents!

Behind the hotel. So beautiful! Neva and I took a walk around here when we needed fresh air. :)

We had a wonderful weekend, and the next one can't come soon enough! There was a lot of free time to do what you wanted. I need to remember my bathing suit next year for the awesome pool! I hope you'll consider registering next year if you are from the mid-Atlantic region of the US. And even if you aren't... well, you could fly here... ;)


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