July flew by! Mainly that was because I spent every spare moment hand-stitching on my blue hexie EPP project (see above). I sewed at the campsite, I sewed in the car, and I sewed on the couch...a lot. But! For those of you who read my blog post yesterday, you know that I finished the hexie's! Read more on that below...and here for my blog post.
Works in Progress (WIP): I don't feel like I really worked on any WIP's. Or maybe I should say that the projects I worked on this month became finished projects. So no WIP's to update.
New Projects: nope. None.
Traveling Bee Blocks: Yes! I did make 6 bright, fun, wonky stars for this month's round of traveling bee blocks. (See above for a quick shot of my blocks before I popped them in the mail on the way to work.) As always, you can check out #iwishicouldgotootravelingquiltbee2 for additional fun photos of all of our projects.
Finished Projects: Yes - again! This month I NEEDED to finish my local guild's star challenge project, and my blue hexie quilt. And I did! See the link above for way more pics and info on my blue hexie quilt.
Fabric Purchased: 6.25
Fabric Used: 2.75
Net for the Month: 3.5 UP
Net for the Year: 51.5 UP
I made one big fabric purchase this month: 6 yards of the Cotton + Steel fabric below to use in a class at Sewtopia Milwaukee next month. We're going to make skirts, so I thought I'd make one to go with my annual Halloween witch costume. Stay tuned on my second-ever garment-sewing attempt...
It's done! The English-paper-pieced (epp) quilt that I started April 28 is done! And in time for my local quilt show.
For those non-quilters who are reading this post, "EPP" is a hand-piecing technique used to make a quilt top using paper templates. That means that I sewed this entire quilt top by hand. For that, I'm giving myself a big old self-high-five.
I tried EPP for the first time at the Sewtopia retreat in Salt Lake City last April. I turned the block from the class project in to the pillow shown here, and then immediately started this quilt.
About a month in to this project, I decided that this was the quilt that I wanted to submit to my local guild's quilt show in August, so I put the pedal to the metal, and honestly I feel like I didn't do anything but sit on the couch and hand-stitch during any free moments that I had in July.
Since I was trying a new-to-me technique for this quilt, I decided to continue that trend and used wool batting , and cotton lawn for the backing. I wanted a light-weight, higher loft quilt that had silky soft backing. Honestly, quilting this quilt was not pleasant. The quilt-top shifted something terrible, and I had to re-baste part way through. That, my friends, is a soul-crushing thing to have to do. I love how the quilt turned out, and totally will send a quilt to a long-arm quilter to quilt with wool batting; but I myself hope to never quilt a quilt with wool batting again myself.
Having said that piece about the wool batting, I will say that I am very happy with my decision to quilt the quilt using wavy horizontal lines. I think that the lines help camouflage some of the wrinkles and puckering that were caused by the quilt sandwich shifting during quilting.
Finished Size: 65" x 73"
Method: English-paper-piecing using 2 1/2" hexagons. Papers were brought from Paper Pieces.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Wool, twin size. Purchased from the Fatquarter Shop.
Backing: Cotton + Steel Lawn solid in Magenta, also purchased from the Fatquarter Shop.
To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, check out #MyrthsBlueHexies, or see this blog post, or this one.
P.S. - We got a new (old) chair lift chair this week, and the kids and I had fun using it as a quilt photo-shoot prop today. :)
Hey, Look! It's only the 3rd of July and here I am blogging! (Patting myself on the back.)
Works in Progress (WIP):
July was a good month. I worked very diligently on the first (dark) memory Quilt (above), and got the top finished. I also laid out the background blocks for the light version of the memory quilts (below), AND - I ordered backing fabric for both. That's going to remain secret until I actually quilt the quilts tho. Let me just say that I feel like it's perfect for remembering my cousin. To see WIP pics of these quilts check out #quiltsfromBeau on Instagram.
I am really enjoying working on my blue hexie quilt (I'm still plugging along on my blue flowers), and this month I started to think about what my next big hexagon quilt would be. I didn't want to do another monochrome hexie quilt, so I decided to play with layouts that would utilize multicolored hexies. Then I began cutting all the bigger pieces in my scrap bins, along with a bunch of low-volume stash pieces.
After searching for a layout that I liked, I settled on the design on the right. You can ignore the colors shown in the design: it's very tedious to color a design using 20 colors, so I usually select 4 or 5 and just use those for the computer design. In my head I know that the quilt will have way more colors and variety. I sewed one block just to make sure that I liked how it was coming together (above left), made a mental note on what fabrics worked well (saturated ones) and then cut lots more fabric. However, now I am going back to focusing on my blue hexie quilt. For all the pictures of my blue hexie's, check out: #Myrthsbluehexies
The second new project that I started in June required me to cut apart my Kona fabric color card. I designed this star in Illustrator after a computer class at QuiltCon in February. I was very intrigued with using transparency to see how the colors interacted. I want to make the star for a challenge with my local sewing group, so I had to figure out the fabrics that would work for the overlapped parts. A friend reminded me of a FREE program designed by Anne Sullivan of Play Crafts that would help with that selection process. On her website you can upload a photo (or a jpeg of something you've designed in Illustrator), and the program tells you the Moda Bella or Kona Cotton solids that are closest to the colors in your image. How awesome is that? So I noted the fabric names, pulled them from my newly cut-apart card, checked that they looked good, and then ordered the fabrics. I really was dreading trying to match the colors on my own and was so happy to be able to use Anne's program: the "Palette Builder."
I finished my first ever hand-pieced item. Yes, I did quilt it by machine, but the whole front of the pillow (above) was pieced by hand. This pillow started as part of a class with Libs Elliott at a Sewtopia retreat in April. It was my first time trying "English paper piecing" (epp). I liked it much more than I thought I would, and the class is what spurred me to try the bigger hexies in an actual quilt (my blue hexie quilt). Can't wait to pull out this pillow next February.
Above is one of the purchases that I made at Stash Fabrics this month. I got to know Stash Fabrics when they were the pop-up shop at Sewtopia Atlanta. One of the best things about their shop is the fact that you can buy fabric in 1/4 yard cuts. Most fabric shops have a minimum cut of 1/2 yard. With my blue hexie quilts, I'm going for variety and don't want 1/2 yards of fabric - so I happily picked new fabrics from Stash and look forward to including them in my quilt (and not having a ton of blue fabric left over).
When my order arrived, it included the note below:
How cool is that?? I am a person who never ever ever wins anything. So I was very excited to receive the red and blue fat quarters of Kona. Did anyone see a pic of my purchase in the Stash newsletter?
Fabric Purchased: 25.75 yards
Fabric Used: 12.5 yards
Net for the Month: 13.25 yards UP
Net for the Year: 48 yards UP
This month I made basically 3 larger fabric purchases:
1. Christmas fabric to make pillowcases for my 3 children
2. Backing fabric for the two memory quilts
3. More blue fabric for my hexie quilt
I haven't yet used any of the Christmas or backing fabric, but I did do well immediately cutting almost all of the blue fabric. I expect big "usage" numbers when I quilt the memory quilts and make the pillowcases.
This month I noticed that making a quilt top (or almost 2) with all upcycled clothing fabric really skews (in my mind) the fabric usage and purchases. I'm not counting the converted clothes in my usages or purchases. So I made a quilt top and didn't get to say that I used any fabric, and on the same note, I didn't have to buy any fabric. I guess that it washes out in the end, but when I make a quilt top, I enjoy seeing how much fabric I used up making that top.
**Note - Since I worked on two sets of traveling bee blocks in May, I didn't have any that I worked on in June. Stay tuned for July's bee blocks!
Ugh - here it is June 13, and I am just now getting to my May Fabric Diet post. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing what I use vs. what I buy; and each month it's interesting to go back through pictures to see what all I worked on this month. But somehow its super hard to motivate to write the monthly summary blog post. I'm going to do it right here and right now though.
Works in Progress: in May, I continued to work on my blue hexie english-paper pieced project (#myrthsbluehexies). I absolutely love having something to do in front of the TV at night, on road-trips, and during long kids' sports events. I need 35 full hexagon flowers, and numerous partial flowers. I believe that I am currently at about 23 full flowers done (I've done a few more since I took the above picture). I seem to be able to do about 1 per night.
New Projects: in May I began 1 new quilt using upcycled shirts, shorts and pants that belonged to my cousin who passed away unexpectedly last December. I sortof knew what I wanted to do for this quilt, and experimented on ways to construct the block. The quilt top below (finished in May) was a result of that experimentation, as was this quilt top. I like both of my experimentation quilt tops, but I wanted the memory quilts to be less wild. Is that the right word? Maybe more modern, less choppy? Since the fabrics were of varied textures, colors, and patterns, I wanted the blocks to be simpler. So when it came time to begin work on the memory quilt, I used a completely different tactic to construct, and went for a two-fabric look for each block. I am really happy with how it is going so far. You can check out #quiltsfromBeau to see more pics.
Traveling Bee Blocks: This month I worked on two sets of traveling bee blocks. I'm not sure how this worked out (I'm supposed to have 1/month), but I got to work on bright flowers on a low-volume background for my best Canadian friend Jen Johnston (top two pics - my blocks are on the left), and bright improv houses for Kristin Rauch (again, my two block are on the bottom left). All of our quilts for this year can be found at: #iwishicouldgotootravelingquiltbee2
Finished Quilts: this month I actually finished 3 quilts! The postage stamp quilt (top left) is a donation quilt, the one on the right was for a friend, and the bottom Christmas quilt is my traveling bee quilt from 2017 and I absolutely love it. I would give it a blog post...but I know I won't get to it. Let me just say here that I am so grateful for the quilty friends who contributed blocks for my quilt and I really can't wait to get it out and snuggle in it all Christmas season.
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 6.5 yards
Fabric Used in Projects: 9 yards
Net for the Month: -2.5 yards
Net for the Year: 34.75 UP for the year
Small things that I'm celebrating this month:
- I only made one purchase of fabric, and that was to back my chain of diamonds quilt and make some wine bags. Both of those projects are done and fabric has been used up.
- This month I bought less fabric that any other month this year.
- I am down over all for this month (-2.5 yards)
It was a good month! I am happy about all that I accomplished and will try harder to have my June summary post out closer to the very beginning of July.
Recently, I saw this blog post by Amanda Jean Nyberg and I also read her book No Scrap Left Behind. I liked a lot of quilts in the book, but didn't necessarily want to make them with scraps. So I set out to re-envision her patterns to make quilts with fabric from my stash. For this quilt, I used rectangles and squares, rather than cast-off bits from half-square triangles as she does.
I quilted the quilt on my machine and opted for straight lines - both horizontally and vertically. I would have stopped with just the horizontal lines, but I feel that a quilt has better drape if it's quilted a little more than that would have been. So I went on to add the vertical.
60" x 64"
As mentioned above, I used several different gray and pink fabrics from my stash. The white is a Michael Miller Solid (Bright White), and the backing is Rae Ritchie for Dear Stella. I bound the quilt using sprinkle (Stardust colorway) from Cotton + Steel.
Another month has come and gone, and once again I feel like I don't have a whole lot to show for it...other than a bunch of new fabric. BUT, now that I'm looking back through photos from April, I'm realizing that I did actually sew a fair amount. It just maybe wasn't in my actual sewing room that I did the sewing. Read on!
In April I attended my 5th Sewtopia retreat. This time it was in Salt Lake City, UT and the teachers were Libs Elliott and Jacquie Gering. Libs taught curved English Paper-piecing (EPP) and we made a hexie/heart block using in her Heartbreaker EPP pattern. This was my first time trying out EPP, and I was skeptical about liking it. Thank goodness for lots of friends who do lots of EPP and all of their advice and patience in answering my questions. After getting through the hard part (the curves of the heart and the skinny triangles that make up the rest of the heart hexie), I actually liked the process of hand-sewing. I really like how the hexagons (hexies) are so big so the projects go quickly. In fact, I liked it so much, that I came home and decided to start a whole hexie quilt! Summer = road trips in my house, and these hexie blocks are going to make the perfect on-the-go project.
But back to Sewtopia: Jacquie Gering showed us how to use improv piecing (no pattern) to make house blocks. I started off with a bunch of low-volume fabrics to make up the interiors of my houses. Jacquie kept encouraging me to add fabrics with more contrast, but honestly I wasn't feeling it with the combination of fabrics that I had brought along. I finished the three houses shown below, then added a little tree for some contrast. That injection of green helped me like the project a little more, but I still didn't love it.
When I had three blocks done, I grabbed some deep "orchid" fabric and played around with that and my acid green and low-volume gray fabrics. The result: I love it! See below.
While in Salt Lake City, the only other project that I had time to work on was my Tangelo quilt that I started at Sewtopia in New Orleans (#sewtopianola). This guy is all foundation paper-pieced and takes a loooong time to put together. I think that I had two rows from NOLA, and manged to make three more in SLC. (Tangelo quilt pattern is by Carolyn Friendlander.)
When I get home from sewing retreats, I always feel super motivated to sew and create more. This time around I experimented with a second method of making string blocks (this method is way quicker, and I'll talk about it more later), and I sewed together a whole bunch of half-square-triangle scraps in to a small quilt top.
The other thing that I did at Sewtopia was buy fabric! Here are how my tallies look for April:
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 46.5 yards
Fabric Used in Projects: 13.25 yards
Net for the Month: 33.25 yards
Net for the Year: 37.25 yards up
It was a big buying month. I bought 16 yards at Sewoptia, but then I also decided to treat myself to a large cut (8 yards) of my favorite fabric (maybe ever): Lizzy House's 3 blind mice in the whisper palette. I also added 4 yards of white fabric to my stash and 4 1/2 yards of the new sheep from Cotton + Steel's Panorama collection. On to May!
In March, I finished my Pumpkins Quilt that I started in October 2017. The original quilt and pattern are designed to make this quilt a "fall" quilt, but I decided to make mine specifically for Halloween. I had fun using up lots of orange scraps, and didn't exactly follow the pattern's assembly method (since I was using scraps that I had pre-cut in to squares and not strips or fat quarters). Usually I end up adapting a pattern in some way tho, so that wasn't a surprise.
I can't wait to bring this quilt out in October. Only 6 months to go...
- Pattern is Pumpkins from Cluck Cluck Sew
- Finished quilt size is 58" x 72"
- Panto (quilting) is Spiderweb from Urban Elementz
- Orange fabrics are an assortment from my stash and scrap bin
- Background fabric is Sketch from Carolyn Friedlander
- Backing fabric is Niko from Cotton + Steel's Lil' Monsters Collection
It is time for another monthly Fabric Diet summary! The first two months of 2018 had me buying more fabric than I was using (see my January and February posts), so I went in to March with lots of motivation to make some things and use lots of fabric.
This month I managed to finish blocks for two different quilts in my traveling quilt group (above), and then got started on a donation quilt kick. I started by going through some larger cuts of fabric from my stash and putting together some "whole cloth" quilts to have long-arm quilted. While going through my stash, I came across left overs from a fat-quarter bundle I bought a few years ago. (Click here to see the original quilt.) I decided to cut all remaining fabric from this collection in to square and sew them together as two more donation quilts (shown at the top on my design wall).
Since I was taking a pile of donation quilts to my long-arm quilter, I also prepped some bindings and took a few of my other finished quilt tops. I think that binding always looks so perfect when it's all done and rolled up, so I had to take a picture.
This month I also had a fair amount of secret sewing that I can't yet show. Look for pictures of those projects on my Instagram feed by Monday of next week (April 9, 2018).
Here is the summary of what I bought, what I made, and where my stash stands for the year:
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 15.75 yards
Fabric Used in Projects: 35 yards
Net for the Month: -19.25 yards
Net for the Year: 4 yards up
**I should also mention that in March I pulled lots of fabric for projects and classes I'll be working on in Salt Lake City for another Sewtopia Retreat. I fully expect that I will not actually use all that fabric, and some of it will be entered back in to my stash next month.
Last month I was lucky enough to attend the Modern Quilt Guild's 5th annual QuiltCon in Pasadena, CA. I spent my 4 days volunteering a lot, attending a few lectures and classes, and looking at all of the quilts. So many quilts! For me, one of the most interesting things about attending a large quilt show is seeing all of the quilts in person - up close and in detail. So many times you see a picture of a quilt on social media and don't realize the size of the quilt, you don't see the quilting and piecing, you miss all the little things that make the quilt amazing.
This year Carolyn Friedlander was the keynote speaker and there was a special exhibit of her quilts and design process. I really enjoyed seeing her preliminary sketches and spent more than a minute studying the quilting that she did on her Tangelo quilt.
The quilt below is Carolyn's "Aerial Grove" quilt from her book "Savor Each Stitch." I had seen innumerable pictures of people working on their version of this quilt, but until I saw this quilt in person, I'm not sure if I ever really saw Carolyn's version. I absolutely love the simplicity of the negative space in her sketch, and also love how the quilt ended up - even though it actually doesn't have all the plain negative space. It has lots of negative space, but that space is all pieced with low volume fabrics and has a lot of multi-directional straight-line quilting.
In addition to the show quilts (which have been so photographed, that I won't bother to cover them here), and the special exhibits, there were also many, many charity quilts made by guilds across the world. All of these quilts had to use a set palette, and the theme was "modern traditionalism." Again with these quilts, I was struck by how much detail one would discover when you got right up close to the quilt.
The quilt below was made by the Tulsa MQG and is a play on the traditional "Trip Around the World" quilt. I found the design striking, but after passing by the quilt on my way to a class or lecture several time, one evening I actually stopped and looked at the quilt up close.
Look at what I discovered!
All those orange squares are actually 9-patch blocks, all the purple squares are made up of 9 little flying geese blocks and on and on. Each color in the quilt is made up of a different 9-patch mini-block. There are 9,999 pieces in this quilt. Wow.
The quilt above was made by the Melbourne MQG. There is a lot going on in this quilt, and it took several times walking past it before I stopped and studied all those tiny stars and the details they contained. See that striped star? At first I thought that was just made by strategic cutting of a purple and pink striped piece of fabric. But no - those are tiny little pieced half-square triangles making those stripes. Then see that little white star in the orange and yellow block? That was about the size of my finger nail.
These purple and magenta stars were amazing too. The strips that were used to make them were so thin. I could go on and on with pictures of detail in all the quilts I saw in Pasadena, but I won't. My main point here is that so much is shared on social media these days - everyone enjoys seeing beautiful quilt pictures, but if you get a chance to see a show in person, you need to do it! You'll come away with such a deeper appreciation of the quilts you saw.
The next QuiltCon will be in Nashville, March 21 - 24, 2019. I'll be there. You should go too!
February fabric diet totals are in the book, and full disclosure - I've been sortof avoiding writing this post. Why? Because I bought a lot of fabric this month, and didn't sew a whole lot. But more on that in a minute. First, let's celebrate the little bit of sewing that I did this month. Shown above is my "Blue Strings" quilt. I made this quilt to test a technique for sewing string blocks. For this project, I used 7 1/2" squares of printer paper as my foundation. This method worked just fine, but I don't love ripping out the foundation paper once the blocks are assembled. Before I start my big memory quilts using this method, I think I'll try another technique. Stay tuned. I do love how this baby quilt top turned out though. I am still very much in love with navy and dusty medium blues mixed with gray and off white.
So what did I do this month if I didn't get much sewing done? I went on a glorious family vacation to the Bahamas, and then went to QuiltCon. Both were amazing, but for very different reasons. I plan to write a separate blog post for my 2018 QuiltCon experience, but let me just say here that I knew that I would buy fabric at QuiltCon and I was ok with that. It's so rare that I get to buy fabric in person (not online), so I let myself go with it. Plus, as I said last month, I'm feeling like my stash needs to be rounded out a bit after using up/giving away so much last year. Shown above is what I brought home from QuiltCon (plus a little bit of canvas fabric that wasn't included in the photo). I went a bit nuts at the new Crafted Moon booth and had fun picking up some notions, pins, and things in addition to lots of fabric.
Here is how the month of February finished out:
Fabric Diet Standings
Fabric Purchases: 21 yards
Fabric Used in Projects: 3 yards
Net for the Month: 18
Net for the Year: 23.25
I really hope to sew a lot more in March, and have already finished a few projects. Make sure to follow me on Instagram (Handmade Myrth) to see what I'm working on currently. In April, I go to Sewtopia in Salt Lake City. I am sure I'll be purchasing fabric there at the shop hop and at the pop-up shop, so I need to have a big sewing March to justify more fabric shopping.
Thanks for stopping by!