What I learned at QuiltCon 2015- Austin, TX

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 1.  Austin always smells.  Good like food.  Or bad like skunk.

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[American Context #68] Double Elvis by Luke Haynes

2.  You don’t have to get it to like it, and you don’t have to like it to get it.

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Self-Portrait, Year Two (Beneath the Surface) by Penny Gold

3.  It’s okay to be uncomfortable.

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4.  There are an awful lot of pros to traveling alone.  And some cons too.

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5.  When stopping to trade pins or chat for a moment, it is a good idea to find out to whom exactly you are speaking.

Nancy Zieman.  That's all I can say.

Nancy Zieman. That’s all I can say.

6.  I need a set of about 5 or 6 really good questions because “You are amazing” is stupid and a waste of an opportunity.

[The American Context #16] Christina's World by Luke Haynes

[The American Context #16] Christina’s World by Luke Haynes

7.  Documenting credits for each piece of work photographed is essential.  Especially when sharing with others.

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8.  Defining modern quilters/quilting is still controversial and subjective.

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9.  Next time, get the one with the quilt block on it.

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10.  Some things just have to be experienced in person.

Dadgum Bag(s)

I have a tendency to prattle on, and this post might be one of those.  I don’t mind if you skip to the pictures.

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Two quick facts about me.  One- I have never really loved making any kind of bag.  I get a wild hair from time to time and make one- only to remember why I don’t make bags.  Two- I try really hard not to cuss.  It is a point of self discipline to me, for several reasons that we can explore on another day.  My friends know this about me, and they think it is funny when I get aggitated and use words like “dadgum”.  Which I use a lot when I am making bags.

With this in mind, it makes total sense that I agreed to lead a sew-in for different types of zipper pouches for the Plantaion Quilter’s guild, right?  There was a call for zipper pouches to fill with toiletries for a local women’s shelter, and of course, I had the brilliant idea that we should get together to make them.  I was taught not to make suggestions unless you are prepared to lead the way, so I didn’t have much choice.  I also wanted hours for my #520in2015 project, so I practiced some bags and packed up my stuff to go sew with the girls.

IMG_8863In my research, I found a handful of tutorials online that I really liked for making zipper pouches, and I was surprised that with a little practice, they were totally doable.  In fact, I learned enough in my practice run that when the girls chose a pattern that I hadn’t actually made yet, I was able to lead it with only a couple of hiccups.

So, here’s a short list of links for zipper pouches, most of which are already pretty prevelant on the Internet.  I learned something from each tutorial, sometimes by doing it wrong the first time.  I learned which way I like best to box the corners, and when it is best to have hidden seams on the inside of the bag.  Of course it isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Noodlehead
Fully Lined Zippered Box Pouch by It’s a Pretty Modern Life
Boxy Bag Tutorial by Kelbysews
Let’s Make Dumplings! by Michelle Patterns

With this success, I quickly moved forward, confident in my newfound bag-making skills.  With QuiltCon on the horizon, along with apparent social expectation to swap and wear button pins, I thought perhaps I could make a crossbody  sling bag to sport said pins.  I found what looked like the perfect pattern- simple, not even a zipper in sight.  It was a free download, something I could easily share with my friends.  I even waited until the day before I was to leave for QuiltCon 2015 to make it, because surely with all of my skills it would be a quick and easy project.

Ahem.  It was neither quick nor easy, and I am contemplating returning to my “I don’t do bags” state of mind.  In fact, it was such a bad experience that I am not going to share the link with you.  Not that it would matter, the only part of the pattern I ended up being able to use was the actual paper pattern for the shape of the bag.  I would share the gory details, but I don’t want to waste time or energy on complaining about a free bag pattern, no matter how reputable the designer or the publication.

I did finally end up with an acceptable sling bag, and I actually love it. As long as I don’t think about my ripped off thumb nail while trying to turn it right side out through the 2″x 20″ handle, or how many ways I had to modify the directions, or that I wasted a yard of fabric and interfacing, or… oh, nevermind.  The point is that in the end, it is mostly the bag I wanted.  I love the Echino fabric it is made of, and so glad that Intown Quilters has a pretty awesome collection of it to choose from.  I would have liked to buy it all.  But not to make bags.

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So, if you see me and my bag at QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, TX, please stop me and say something nice about my bag. Maybe even help me come up with a better name than Dadgum Bag.  I need the positive reinforcement.

Quickie Infinity Scarf

quick*ie /’kwike/ adjective 1. done or made quickly

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This obsession started several months ago when Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread brought samples of her new line of fabrics to the West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  Charms is her latest offering via Kokka, and some of the prints are available in double gauze- an amazing lightweight, soft fabric.  Yummy.  As soon as I touched it visions of billowing curtains and flowing skirts started to fill my head.  It was not to be.  Kokka is an amazing fabric, but quite honestly, is a little pricey.  It’s perfect for an infinity scarf, but the often suggested 2 yards put this project out of budget.  So, I stood in front of the Kokka fabrics at Intown Quilters and plotted and planned.  This was the result…

 Quickie Infinity Scarf

(2) 1/2 yard cuts of Charms double gauze

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Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout pattern.

Cutting-  Trim off selvedges.  Rotary cut both pieces to 16 1/2″ x 30″.  (You can improvise here on the 30″- if you want it a little tighter, make it less, if you want it a little looser, make it more.  You should have up to about 40″ to work with.)

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With right sides together, sew the two pieces together on one short side.

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 Again, with right sides together, sew the length of the scarf together, making a long tube.

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Turn the tube right side out, as shown above.

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With right sides together, pin one side of the tube to the other side of the tube as shown.  Only pin about half of the tube.

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Stitch the layers of the tube together, turning the tube as you go.

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When it gets to the point that you can’t stitch anymore, backstitch and stop.

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The hole in the seam of the scarf should look like the photo above.

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Hand stitch the hole closed.

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Voila!

Everyday Diva

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Sadly, the pics of this diva just don’t do her justice.  But honestly, it’s part of what makes her a diva in the first place.

I’ve mentioned before about being part of Schnitzel and Boo‘s Mini Quilt Swap, and that in Round 3 I had two secret partners to make for.  If you’d like to see what I made for my other partner, just click here.

But this post is all about this Everyday Diva, and the gorgeously talented recipient- Alexandra, also known as @alexouq on Instagram.  Let me tell you, if you haven’t seen Alexandra’s work before, you are truly missing out.  The mini that she made for the S&B swap is absolutely jaw dropping.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a few shots of her work…

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See what I mean?  No pressure here to make something fabulous.  No, none at all.

I don’t know a lot about Alexandra, other than she has impeccable taste in fabric, crazy mad English paper piecing skills, a sense of humor, a kind heart and a beautiful life.  I can only imagine all of the places this woman has been to and the amazing things she has been able to see and experience.  I also know that I may have tempted her to come to Savannah, Georgia here in the USA for QuiltCon in February 2017- which would be nothing short of fantabulous.  Just sayin.

Like so many projects, this one just didn’t want to get off of the floor.  Point one towards divadom.  I poured over fabrics- these were too dark, these were too novelty, she already has these…  Good grief, fabric, would you please speak up and tell me which one of you wants to audition for this part?!?

And then, like a true diva, in the afternoon hours of the day, the fabric finally showed up.

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I absolutely love Art Gallery fabrics.

Well, alrighty then.  While it took her a while to make her grand entrance, a grand entrance it was.  Now what?  I waited for a day or so for the fabric to speak to me, but she wasn’t having it.  I was on my own.

That’s when I remembered this beauty.  A friend of mine, an amazing quilter named June Hanes, made this quilt several years ago, and it seemed perfect for Alexandra.

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Click on the link to purchase the “Everyday Best” pattern by Piece O’Cake

 The main blocks in this quilt are 16″ square, and I knew with a little border here or there, it would be perfect for a mini.  And, I knew immediately that I wanted to finish it as a pillow cover.  Actually, she kind of demanded that I finish her as a pillow cover.  As divas do, you know.

And so the paper piecing, and curved sewing, began.  What I don’t have a picture of is Miss Diva having a fit about which fabrics I sat her next too at the ball.  For pity’s sake, it took a couple of rounds to just get the center bits done.

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But this was the moment that I knew that there was a reason she could get away with being a diva.

This was also the moment when I knew she was going to test my courage.  While the pattern doesn’t mention doing this, my friend gave me a tip on how she had dealt with the bulky intersection of this pattern.  The truth is that per the pattern, this center is going to be covered up anyway with a small circle.  So, why not eliminate the bulk and avoid issues in the quilting?

Cut it.  Yup.  You heard me.  Cut it.  I don’t mind telling you that it was more than a little frightening, and even made me feel like I was performing an invasive procedure.  I swear I was holding my breath the whole time.

A little fusible webbing and some crude hand applique skills and all was made well.

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Now, she needed a border.  And since a diva deserves the best, why not make that border a keyboard?

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You learn a few things after quilting for 23 years, and one of the things I have learned is do everything possible not to sew pieces or blocks together in a line.  For instance, one strip to one strip, then one strip to the previous two strips, then one strip to the previous three strips.  It is really important to sew things together in sets of 2, then 4, and so on until you have the desired length.  I wish I had known this earlier in my sewing experience, but gratefully I knew it before I met this diva.

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Well.  Certainly the hard part is over.  Ummmm… No.  How on earth do you quilt something like this without totally screwing it up?  Especially since if you do screw it up, it’s done, because there is only one Everyday Diva.  This truly proved to be the hardest part of this project for me.  I hope Alexandra doesn’t look too closely at the center because it looks like Swiss cheese.  I tried to machine quilt her.  Then I tried to hand quilt her.  I tried this kind of thread.  I tried that kind of thread.  I am pretty sure I had to rip it out at least 3 times, but it felt more like 30.  By the way, this is about the time that my family starts to hide from me.

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While I did all of the piecing with Aurifil thread, I quilted it with Clear MonoPoly thread in the top and “Silver” Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, both by Superior Threads.

And then suddenly.  After a couple of days of crying and cursing, it happened.  I quilted the whole thing in 2 hours.  Diva.

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Finished.  And fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Home is Where You Launch and Land

FullSizeRenderI think I may have mentioned before that I have a slight addiction.  Actually, several of them.  But today we are here to talk about swaps, in particular the ever famous and fabulous Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, created by none other than Kristi McDonough.  I didn’t know about the swap in Round 1, but I got hooked on Round 2.  There was a little glitch in Round 2 and I actually received two minis, although I only made one.  So, when Round 3 came around arrangements were made for me to make for two partners, which was perfect.

One of my partners- Giuseppe- aka @giucy_giuce on Instagram- is an incredibly talented quilter.  He also is eloquent, and his posts are as lovely to read as they are to look at.  He has an obsession with the Flying Geese quilt block and feet, which just cracks me up.  He takes amazing pics of his creations, the places he visits, and the people he cares for.  It was a delight to “stalk” him in true secret-swap-partner fashion.

Inspiration can take a minute to hit, and that was true in this case.  I had a really great idea, complete with a hanging attached pic of his feet, until I read a couple of his posts more in depth, and then the wheels really started to turn.  I’ve included the posts that influenced me the most-

IMG_8846 IMG_8844IMG_8845Giuseppe’s posts stirred something in my heart, and suddenly bits and pieces tucked away in my studio started to gather in my mind, and I knew it was right.  I grabbed the pack of hand dyes from Cherrywood Fabrics, a couple of Carolyn Friedman patterns, and I was off to the races.

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Giuseppe- those feet are just for you. Sorry, no toes, it’s winter.

Even though my gut was screaming with joy over it, I wasn’t confident.  Truly, I was worried that the hand dyes wouldn’t be well received by my “modern quilting” cronies, and I was afraid that it was too artsy, too personal, too much.  But I couldn’t stop.  Like driving through the snow storm because your heart tells you home is ahead, even though everything around you tells you that you don’t know where you are going.

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Click the picture to order Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern “the Grove quilt” at my Etsy shop.

It actually came together pretty quickly.  Kind of freight-trainish.

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Click the pic to go to Jeliquilts’ pattern shop

Is there such a thing as double paper piecing?  I don’t know, but I think that’s what I did.  I used a portion of Kelly Liddle’s pattern “War and Geese” to create the flying geese in the sky above the house, which came from Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern “the Local quilt”.

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Click the pic to link to Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern “the Local quilt” in my Etsy shop.

At this point I started to get worried again.  It was entirely too large for the requirements of a mini quilt swap.  I panicked and sent pictures to Kristi asking what to do, and she very patiently reassured me that all would be well and to carry on.

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Mini’s are generally not supposed to be larger than 24″ on any given side, and mine was way bigger than that.

Doesn’t it look like somewhere that Giuseppe would live?  I think so.  Now, the quilting….

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While I used my favorite, Aurifil thread, to piece the quilt, I did use another thread for quilting. “Smoke” MonoPoly in the top and “Silver” Bottom Line in the bobbin, both by Superior Threads.

I love binding quilts.  I don’t know what it is about it, but it is one of my favorite parts of the process.  I think that in part it is because I don’t sit down for much of anything, and binding gives me a chance to sit and catch up on a show or two.  This time I think I watched some Downton Abbey.

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Feet.

When it was done I thought my heart would burst.  I honestly think this might be one of my most favorite projects.  Ever.  All I ever want to do is give shape and form to all of the things that are flying around inside of me, and I think this time Giuseppe’s words helped me catch a bit of it and make it real.  Thanks isn’t enough.  I get how you feel Giuseppe- we are different people living different lives in different places, but the feelings are still the same.

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I didn’t put a label on this one. I wrote on the back instead. The backing was something from my stash, a piece of fabric printed with travel themed papers- passports, tickets and such. Apropos.

I headed to my local post office, admittedly a little late.  I knew, through my stalking skills on IG, that Giuseppe was out of town, and I hoped that it would be waiting for him when he got home.  Then I heard about the huge snow storm hitting NY, and my heart sunk a little.  But, all’s well that ends well.  Both he and the package were delayed, and they ended up getting home on exactly the same day.  How about them apples?

And if that wasn’t enough, this is the post he put up while waiting in the airport in LA before he got home-

IMG_8843All I can say is follow your heart and your mind will help you find the way.

Dear Jane, did it hurt?

angela jean:

What a fun read- and don’t we all have a crazy story about creative plans going somewhat awry, or ending in various levels of injury? Enjoy the read, and the quilt’s not half bad either! :)

Originally posted on Granny Maud's Girl:

This week, I feel like I have been exercising, something I usually carefully avoid. Okay, I walk the dog once or twice a day, but I am used to walking distances and I never do anything that might require lycra, or cause pain or injuries. Yet, here I am feeling a little stiff and creaky. Why? Because I basted my Dear Jane quilt on the weekend.

Dear Jane quilt basted before quilting

Here is what I thought was going to happen:

  1. Push furniture to one side and roll up carpet.
  2. Clean and mop wooden floor.
  3. Tape quilt layers onto clean floor and stitch them together.

Dear Jane quilt basted before quilting
Here is what actually happened.

Step 1

On Friday morning, while my husband was at golf, I started shifting furniture. No problem! All the furniture in our upstairs living room has felt under its feet so it slides well and can be moved by one smallish person. This room is perfect…

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Zpagetti Crochet pattern Square Baset – Πατρόν Τετράγονο Καλάθη

angela jean:

I love this idea- such a cute pattern! Enjoy!

Originally posted on Soulmade:

pattern

For this pattern You Need:

*1 ball of Yarn, (I use Ribbon XL, You can buy it here) or in My Etsy Shop. It is perfect for these baskets! But You can also use Zpagetti Yarn which You can buy here or also in My Etsy shop.

If You use Ribbon XL, You need a crochet hook nr 6 (US size 10) When using Zpagetti Yarn use a hook nr 9 or a

hook nr 10. For the rest You will need a stitch marker, You can use a safety pin or a piece of yarn for this to, I use a clipper that’s normally for attaching keys, so be creative ;)

Also an XL needle with a round point to weave in the ends.

The finished baskt will be about 15 cm x 15 cm

*Για αυτο το πατρόν τα χριαστείτε:

1 νήμα Ribbon XL Μπορείτε…

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