Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Stash

One of the things I love about commission sewing is the freedom (and trust) my clients hand over. I'm making a queen-sized plus quilt for a college friend and her boyfriend, inspired by this quilt by Ashley Newcomb of Film in the Fridge. After I suggested that the plus blocks cascade from light to dark green, they gave me the freedom to choose fabrics. And boy, was it fun to keep hitting the "buy" button. :D

I chose mostly tone-on-tone fabrics in a variety of colors, plus some solids (and stayed away from  most "flowery/girly" prints). I can't wait to start cutting! Thanks to the Intrepid Thread for their awesome selection of greens (all conveniently grouped together)!

I also couldn't help throwing in a couple of half yards I've been eyeing (they were on sale, too!). Apparently I really like orange and red lately - my stash is happy, too, because I don't have many of these. Do you go through phases of colors you like to buy?

I've been sewing like a fiend this weekend and I can't wait to share in full. In the meantime, Instagram has some hints...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Improvisational Sewing Lecture @ LIMOD Guild

This is Post 1 of 3 about my recent classes and lectures. If you are interested in booking me, please visit the Teaching and Speaking page for more information, and feel free to email me (I'm scheduling for June to December). I also have a page on the Modern Quilt Guild's Teacher and Lecturer Directory. My specialties are improvisational piecing, free motion quilting, technology in quilting, and modern traditionalism, and I can tailor (no pun intended) my lecture or class to your needs! 

 Thanks @limodqg for the Instagram pics - this was the first time these inverse Orange Peel quilts were together!

Last month, I visited the Long Island Modern Quilt Guild (LIMOD) to give my lecture/trunk show on Improvisational Sewing. The drive from western NJ was long but I had great company (my very supportive and dear mother). I couldn't wait to meet my online friend Kim and her guild members!

My presentation provides both inspiration and information on the different kinds of improvisation, based on the quilts from QuiltCon 2015 (my personal photos and descriptions) and my own quilts (in pictures and in person). When I was packing up my quilts to bring to the meeting, I couldn't believe how many improv quilts I have! If I cared, I might be embarrassed. ;)


I also give pointers on how to start piecing improvisationally if you've never tried it and/or are apprehensive. Ironically, the guild started an improv challenge that night! They asked me to incorporate some info on Modern Traditionalism, which I was happy to do. We also discussed free motion quilting on your home machine because all of the quilts I brought were quilted by me.

Apparently I was eating my hair here, but I was super into my quilt, so it didn't matter.

Thanks for having me, LIMOD! You were so welcoming and I hope I get to see some of you at future QuiltCons or at your guild again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Small Project Edition

After making a few larger quilts in the last month or so, it seemed time to work on smaller projects. Here's what I've been up to:

Diving through my Anna Maria Horner scrap bin (yes, it's separate from my color-coordinated scarp bins - don't judge) to come up with this sunset color scheme. I used the "planned improvisational piecing" technique that I can't seem to live without. Hopefully my secret partner for the #annamariahornerminiquiltswap on Instagram will love it!

I've already fused on some white orange peels... stay tuned. And yes, my partner indicated that they like orange peels... so, you know, I had to!!


I've been finishing a custom double-sided table runner for a coworker. She gave me two huge pillow covers and asked me to cut them up and coordinate them with solids... my pleasure! I thought strips of varying sizes would be perfect. This one is just waiting to be bound, and I'll be handing it over next week.

Finally, I've been working on the "Flutter" baby quilt from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by my friend Heidi Staples - I'll be sharing the whole thing during my stop on the blog hop on June 22! For more info on the blog hop, see here. Also, I'm selling this quilt - see my identical post on Instagram for the details. Plus, if you purchase soon, you can help decide on the backing, quilting, and binding! But I mean soon - this baby is on its way to being finished soon.

Busy Girl Sews Tour for Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

I have a lot of actual quilting to do coming up, too - this behemoth is waiting its turn! I've been planning and re-thinking the design for at least a week, so hopefully I'll start on Friday.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stripey - A Community Quilt

Meet "Stripey," a quilt made by a community for a special girl in our midst.

You can read here about how I gathered blocks from students all over our school district (and sewed them up with them). It was a whirlwind day but it was so rewarding! Sewing them together on my own time was also very therapeutic (mindless sewing and pressing), and with just the stipulation that the blocks would alternate directions, the quilt pretty much laid itself out on its own.

The kids (grades K-8) came up with some awesome color combinations!

I also traveled around the 7th grade to gather more signatures from those who couldn't make the event. Staff from all over the school signed, too. These large pieces now grace the back of the quilt, along with some extra blocks.

Armed with all of the love from this giving community, I went home and stitched all-over with my free motion foot in a woodgrain motif. This quilt is pretty large (around 60" x 70") so it took some effort on the part of my arms! At least I didn't have to lift at the gym that week :D (is it only me who uses that as an excuse sometimes? Okay, probably).

Pretty purple Aurifil thread (50 weight, #2582). I bought it for another project but I HAD to use it for this!

This would be a GREAT project for a class or group of kids who are interested in making a quilt for someone, with the help of an experienced sewist. :) If you'd like to try it, read my first post and let me know if you have any questions!

 I've been told that this quilt is bringing cheer as intended. Nothing makes me happier than to see kids get excited about sewing/quilting, and to bring some extra happiness to someone's life. All in all, it was seriously humbling to work with the kids on this project... it brought a little extra joy to my life, too. :) Tearing up over here just thinking about it. Thank goodness for sewing.

This project and my time were generously sponsored by the Lopatcong Township PTA and the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission (thank you for your trust in me!).

Burlap Brights Blog Hop and Giveaway

Today, I'm over at Sew In Love With Fabric, Benartex's blog, with a improvisational block tutorial (Wonky Piano Keys) for the Burlap Brights Blog Hop. If you've never tried improvisation, this is a great way to get the hang of it. Plus, you can play with these pretty textured fabrics (which look like burlap but are actually quilting cotton). I enjoyed varying up my warm vs. cool colors, and it would be so fun to make a whole quilt of these, don't you think? So many options, and it comes together quickly. I hope you enjoy the tutorial!

For a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the six Burlap Brights I used in my block, you can complete any or all of the following:

1. Followers of my blog can leave a comment. Just let me know how you follow (Bloglovin, Feedly, Instagram [@quiltyhabit], etc.). 

2. Head over to Sew in Love with Fabric and sign up to follow their blog by email or blog reader. Then leave me a comment letting me know that you did so.
3. Follow Benartex on Facebook and leave a comment here.

The giveaway will remain open through 6 pm EST on Sunday 5/24. I will choose a winner through the Random Number Generator and email them. Good luck! 

Burlap Brights Blog Hop Schedule:

May 11: Chris from Made by ChrissieD  
May 12: Mary from Mary on Lake Pulaski  
May 13: Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
May 14: Debby from Debby Kratovil Quilts  
May 15: Kristen from KD Quilts
May 16: Benartex design team
May 17: Stephanie from Stitched Together Studios  
May 18: Julie from The Crafty Quilter  
May 19: Cynthia from Quilting Is More Fun than Housework  
May 20: Jessica from Quilty Habit
May 21: Wendy from Ivory Spring

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Sonnet" and "Amsterdam" - Finished Quilts for Cloud 9 Fabrics

 Photo by Cloud 9 Fabrics

Last week, I sewed up and quilted two commissioned quilts for Cloud 9 Fabrics' Quilt Market booth in Minneapolis. I loved every minute of it! Cloud 9 Fabric is super soft (certified organic cotton) and the designs are so unique and just lovely. I'm not getting compensated to write this post, by the way - these are just my opinions!
I didn't have anyone to help me take pictures that day, so I had to settle for inside.

I made a quilt from the Sonnet pattern (free and designed by Elizabeth Olwen) with Elizabeth's "Morning Song" fabrics. Readers may have noticed that I don't often follow patterns, but this is one I would definitely make again. The top came together fast (a few HSTs and large cuts of fabric), and I love how it gives off the illusion of folded-over paper.

For the quilting, I was on a tight deadline and I knew I would be bored to tears with straight lines. You know I love to quilt! I threw a couple of ideas past Liz and she liked the topographical map design. You can see a version of this by Leah Day here; I am looking to do a video tutorial of my method this summer. I can tell this will be a go-to free motion quilting design for me.

And here it is, hanging at Quilt Market!

I also made a from the free Amsterdam pattern, which was designed by Michelle Engel Bencsko. Michelle's new Aubade fabric has touches of metallic, which I absolutely fawned over. Some of the fabrics are all metallic, too.

These colors would make a great baby quilt such as this one. The piecing took longer than the other quilt (lots of HSTs) but it was fun to see tulips popping up on my floor/design wall. I really took advantage of the white space on this one; I pebbled in the sashing to make it pop.

 Here it is at Quilt Market, on the right!


I have several commission quilts and double-sided tablerunners lined up for the summer, and I'm so excited to get started! I'll likely be taking more commissions, too. Plus, I will be working on my own projects in between... so expect to hear from me a lot. :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Soar

My second quilt entry (see the first here) into this spring's Blogger's Quilt Festival is "Soar," my third orange peel quilt, in the Small Quilts category. As the color inverse of "Scatter," this quilt serves as another example of how you can mix planned improvisation and machine (or hand) applique. The colors make me infinitely happy!

I built "Soar" from the bottom up (and can you tell what my favorite color is?). To achieve the color gradation, I set a few strips here and there that were parts of colors surrounding the one I was working on. I share more detailed tips on piecing a "planned improvisational"  background in my Orange Peels and Improv classes. The finished size is 41" x 57".

Orange peels have become a fascination of mine and a great pleasure to indulge in. I have so many more plans for modern traditional quilts with them. Making peels is a process that, while laborious at times, is also thoroughly relaxing. The work really comes into play with the improvised background. In this quilt, I played with the scale/size of peels and placed them all on solid backgrounds so that they would pop against the scrappiness I'd planned. You can see more about the process and many more pictures here.

For the quilting, I felt that all of the rectangles and squares needed to be contrasted with curves. The spirals are supposed to evoke the wind carrying the petals away from the only "whole" orange peel at the bottom left (yes, there's a ghost peel there!).
Lots of Anna Maria Horner goodness on the back. This quilt is for keeps!
Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the Festival!

My past Blogger's Quilt Festival entries:
Fall 2014 (Nominated for Viewer's Choice)
Spring 2012 (First Place in Baby Quilt Category)

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Pebble Cascade

For this spring's Blogger's Quilt Festival, I'm sharing two quilts. The first is my most modern quilt (in my opinion): Pebble Cascade. I really didn't know where this project was going to go until it was already going. It has unexpectedly become one of my favorites ever, and it was both a real challenge and a real pleasure to make.

I made this quilt as part of the Cascade Fabric Challenge through Jessica Levitt and Windham Fabrics, and I'm honored that it won third place! "Pebble Cascade" was the first time I tried two key techniques: bias strip curve piecing and matchstick quilting.

Now that it's finished, I look at this quilt to bring calm, zen, and peace to my life.  To me, it evokes waterfalls and gardens full of flowers blooming. At one of my recent lectures, a quilter mentioned that she saw the curves as branches of the trees giving glimpses of the sky. That's the fun of improv - the message is in the eye of the beholder.


My favorite part is the color gradation throughout the quilt, which was planned out. I pieced the blocks as scraps in an improvisational fashion, and gave myself a stipulation: include one piece of gray and one strip of white in each square. I was going to just sash the blocks, but I wanted to try some bias strip curved piecing (using a slash and insert technique). I'm so pleased with the outcome and I can't wait to try the technique again with more curves. I didn't try to match the blocks up again; it was easier and more interesting to let them end up where they ended up.

The quilting was intense and easily the most time-consuming part of making the quilt.  First, I started pebbling in curves on my home machine (using minimal marking - I just wanted them to mimic the curves in the quilt). The lines were created "organically" with my free motion quilting foot - they are not completely straight and I did not attempt to make them so. They are spaced irregularly and I used 7 different thread colors. I chose colors according to the section I was quilting. You can read even more about the process here, in my original post, and you might want to check out the tutorial and resources I wrote up for Sew Mama Sew earlier this week.

The back - coordinating stash prints and some improv triangles to contrast the curves on the front!

I'm entering this one into the Modern Category. I hope you enjoy seeing all of the beautiful quilts on display at Amy's Creative Side!
My past Blogger's Quilt Festival entries:
Fall 2014 (nominated for Viewer's Choice)
Spring 2012 (First Place in Baby Quilt Category)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Featured on Sew Mama Sew: Free Motion + Straight Line Quilting

I've been working on an article for Sew Mama Sew lately: Free Motion + Straight Lines: Home Machine Quilting Tips. I'm always encouraging sewists to quilt on their home machines.What could be more satisfying than completely finishing the quilt that you pieced?! You can totally do it! :)

If you've never tried free motion quilting before, this technique is a way to test the waters and also emphasize a motif. If you are an intermediate or expert quilter, this is another design idea to add to your arsenal. I hope you enjoy the article and all of the tips/resources on free motion quilting that I've included, too! Feel free to ask me any questions here.


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