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Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of 2018

    Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a year end "Best of 2018"Linky Party, where bloggers share their 5 "best" posts.   I certainly didn't post as often in 2018 as in other years, but still found 5 of my posts that I liked the best.  Mostly they are posts about the few quilts I completed!   2018 seems to have been the year of unfinished projects in many respects!  More to come in 2019!

     1.  My post about my Off the Rails mini quilt.  I had such a wonderful time taking a class with the incomparable Maria Shell, and I am totally sold on her mat cutting method and use of color!
     2.  Joan's Kira Quilt post.  I tried a Gundren GE design pattern, and it turned out beautifully!  I will make this pattern again!  
     3.  My post about the  Magnolia Mystery Quilt that Cheryl put together.  I love how this quilt turned out, and I sent it to a friend who was going through some tough times.  I was happy to share that cheery quilt!
      4.  My post about my Moody Beauty wall hanging.   This was a project that I worked on for a long time, in fits and starts.  I was so pleased with the result (although it doesn't photograph particularly well!)
     5.  My post on finishing the Quiltville mystery quilt top from Bonnie K. Hunter - On Ringo Lake.  I really enjoyed the process of making that quilt (even though the pieces were smaller and more precise than I am used to).  I think it made me a better quilter.   I also enjoyed being part of such a huge, supportive and creative community.  So many quilts made from the same pattern!  This top remains unquilted, but it is next in line!
     I will post a Quilts of 2018 recap early in the new year - I have a few pieces that I will be able to share soon after the new year.  I am also participating in a blog hop in late January, and will have plenty to share about making a quilt from an upcoming book from TeresaDownUnder.  Then I start back to school.  I am feeling a bit more confident in my drawing and painting skills, and maybe I'll even share some of those works!  

Happy New Year! 
Gretchen 

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Kira Quilt for Joan!

     I am so pleased that, despite the rush of end of the semester projects, I was able to finish the quilt I was making for my nearly life-long friend Joan.   Joan taught math for a long time, and likes things neat and orderly.  That is not my normal quilting design style, so when I saw the pattern for Gundrun Erla's "Kira" quilt, I knew I had to get it.   I checked out her color palette to try to get a sense of what colors would work.
     I thought that the 12 fat quarter assortment from Tonga Treats Tuscany line would blend well and complement her colors.
     I used this opportunity to purchase Gundrun Erla's Stripology ruler, which was well worth it.  I did the cutting of the fat quarters and piecing together of the middle at my fall quilt retreat.  While the pieces went together beautifully, the layout was a bit trickier.  Perhaps it was the wine we sipped while sewing! 
     I have circled the blocks that looked OK at first, but thankfully, someone noticed that they were off!  I hadn't sewn them together, and was able to get they layout straight.
     Because I mostly design my own quilts, I don't often purchase patterns, and I guess I didn't actually read through this one before I started because I got the center piece on my wall, and realized I didn't have any fabric for the wide border.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I was able to find a few yards of the now discontinued fabric online for the border!
I got the top done and pinned for quilting in early November.
The addition of Betty and Judy to our household has complicated the quilting process.  They are fascinated with the Tiara - so I needed to get the basement room where I have the Tiara arranged so I could shut the cats out during the quilting.  Since their beds are in that room, I also had to remove the quilt after each quilting session!  It all worked out, and now I have a system in place!   

Yes - I am talking about you two scalawags! 

I ended up quilting with an overall easy going meandering stitch, in tan, which blended well with the off white batik back (also used in many of the lighter blocks).
The back of the quilt fabric
 The quilt crinkled up nicely when washed and dried.
The first attempt at taking pictures of the finished quilt was a bust.  It was too windy, even at the part of our yard that rarely gets wind! 
The next day was calmer and I was able to get a nicer picture on the deck.
A nice warm quilt for a snowy winter!  You can tell it was cold because my trusty quilt holder is wearing gloves!

Take care,
Gretchen

Friday, December 7, 2018

Thank you, Crazy Mom Quilts!

     This blog is a thank you to Amanda Jean Nyberg, who has blogged as Crazy Mom Quilts for over a decade.  She recently posted that she is moving on.  Her blog post has been a constant on my bookmarks bar, and is the reason my little blog exists.
     I have been quilting since taking a class at Joann Fabrics in 1999 (not including a few efforts in the 1980s!).  I joined a guild, worked, quilted, raised kids, quilted, and ran out of steam.  I quit the guild and stopped sewing quilts, but didn't give away by stash! 
     In late 2012 and early 2013, I discovered the world of quilt blogs, and began to regularly follow a few quilters who were making bright, fresh, modern quilts.  Crazy Mom QuiltsCluck Cluck Sew  and Film in the Fridge were my go-to blogs!  I loved them.   Bright, colorful, modern and easy - their quilts were just what I wanted to make.
     I jumped on board with a string quilt and an around the world quilt, which were both the internet craze at the time.  I loved the world wide community of quilters. 
The first blog inspired quilt!  
     Inspired by these bloggers, I decided to start my own blog, initially just to document the quilts I had already made in one place, and then to share new quilting experiences.
    Crazy Mom Quilts hosted a linky party  "Finish it up Friday " which introduced me to many more wonderful quilters and their blogs.  I spent many hours reading these blogs, and getting inspired.  I started designing my own quilts, because so many others did.  I got some quilts published in magazines, because I saw that it could be done.  I have successfully entered on line contests, and happily finished many mystery quilts. 
    When I retired from my full time job in June 2016, my original plan was to concentrate on designing quilts, and marketing the blog.   I have certainly done so, but surprised myself by following an old dream, and enrolling in art school!  So, there are times when the quilt blogging slows done (like now- final projects due!), and times when I work on other creative ventures, like my mixed media collages. 

A few of my mixed media collages
      I have put my collages (perfect for a sewing studio), on sale for the holidays on ETSY, and you can get there from here.  Use the code HOLIDAY20 to get 20% off (shipping is free!)
      I am in awe at how consistently Amanda Jean was able to keep up her blog - it is hard work to make quilts, remember to photograph them, and then to write about them regularly!  I thank her for the many years of enjoyment and inspiration I got, and wish her well.
      I am just about finished with a quilt to be gifted, and will then be able to show it off!  In the meantime, I need to finish my art projects, get cracking on Christmas decorating, and get sewing!

Take care,
Gretchen


   

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

ETSY sale


Grainline

PrePlanned
  A quick post before the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I have added two pieces of original collage art to my Etsy shop, and everything is on sale for 15% off during Cyber week (November 20 - 28)  Free Shipping within the continental United States.   Link to the shop is on the right hand side of the blog.  Please visit! 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Take care,
Gretchen

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stalled and Stymied - Part I

      I am stuck!

     I have several projects to work on, and am having trouble getting anything done.  It may be that my two studio art classes are keeping me busy enough creatively.  It may be the onset of the dark and cold winter.  Who knows, but I need to start making some progress!   Has this ever happened to any of you?

     I had been procrastinating on pinning my completed "On Ringo Lake" top and the top I created for a friend at my quilt retreat.  I finally got going on those, and as always, it wasn't as bad as I feared, once I got the backing sized correctly.    I clear off my craft table, pull up both sides, and start with the center of the backing (right side down) and pull it taut and hold in place with big binder clips.  I then smooth out the batting, and then lay the top on top.  Once I have the portion on the table top done, I have to move it around, but I get a rhythm going and get it done pretty quickly.  I had to go buy more pins, since I was pinning up two larger quilts!   I have discovered that listening to books on tape really makes the process go quickly.  Nothing too serious or high brow - I am currently working through the James Patterson Murder Club series!

   The next step, of course, is getting them quilted!  I use my Tiara for this job, and generally quickly set up the pinned quilts on the machine, which I keep in the basement office area.   Yet, I have hesitated.    I have not used the Tiara since we adopted our kittens, Betty and Judy, who are now about 7 months old.   They are pretty, aren't they?
  The kittens also play in that basement office, and find all machines quite fascinating.  The printer, the scanner, any video playing on the computer screen get lots of attention.  I know the quilting machine is in for some attention, too.    This paper towel roll happened to be in the basement, and also got lots of attention! 
 Yikes!  My plan now is to shut the cats out while I quilt, and plan to remove the quilt from the machine when the cats are in their beds (which are also in this same multipurpose room!)   It is actually putting the plan into action that seems to be a problem!  

Despite the stalled work on my quilting projects, I have made significant progress on other things.     I am thrilled that I already sold a few of my original mixed media collages, and put two more up on Etsy today.  If you are looking for the perfect artwork for a sewing room - take a took!   The link to my Etsy shop (SnugHarborStudio) is on the right hand side of the blog near the top. 
"Sew Loop Here" 

"Boy/Girl"

I have another project up on my design wall that needs to be worked on as well.  I'll share more about that in my next post!  It was too depressing to write about too many stalled projects at once! 

It may be that Thanksgiving will arrive before that next post!  Have a happy and peaceful one.   I am thankful for my family, friends, and the ability to make quilts and take art classes.  How lucky I am!

Take care,
Gretchen


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"DO NOT CUT PIECES APART"

     As many of you may know, I recently returned to college - enrolling part time in the Fine Arts department at a small local college.   I initially thought that taking art classes would improve my quilting and quilt designing.  What I didn't realize was how much I enjoyed creating art in pencil, oils and acrylics, in addition to fabric!   I am enjoying this experience so much, and am so lucky to have great teachers, and really creative and welcoming classmates! 
    Just like in quilting - I couldn't throw away some scraps from a class project, and decided to try making a line collage.  I had some painted squares of paper, and rummaged around and found some orphan garment pattern pieces in my sewing room.  I experimented with the medium to attach the paper, and ended up fairly happy with the result.    A picture of the initial piece is at the end of the blog.
     I continued to experiment and tried paint on paper, rather than cut color squares and ended up creating a series of  small line and color collages.  I like how the pattern lines and markings are not obviously from a sewing pattern until you look closely (or unless you are a sewist!). 
     These turned out so well that I got some nice square frames, and framed them up, and am taking the big leap from giving away my art pieces to selling them!  One of my pieces is already in its new home, and I have another four on sale in my newly revamped ETSY shop.  I changed the shop name from Snug Harbor Quilts to SnugHarborStudio to reflect a broader range of offerings.    There is a link to the ETSY shop on the right hand side of this blog!
     Some of the photographs below were taken without the glass since I was having a hard time getting a good photo, but the finished piece is 12 x 12 square, matted in white shot, with glass.  The artwork is about 7 1/2 inches square. 
This one is entitled "DO NOT CUT PIECES APART"
 ,
"Robe Back"

2" (5cm)

(Left Side)
     I will be putting more up in the ETSY shop in the next few weeks, and expect to be making some more in different colors.   I like each alone, but they look nice grouped, too.


     I really appreciate you visiting my blog, and hope you visit my ETSY shop as well.  Please share this with anyone you think might enjoy this art!

     Here is the initial piece I made - somewhat different from the collages I framed up!  

Friday, October 5, 2018

Quilt Retreat

     I returned Sunday afternoon from my second quilt retreat with a wonderful group of quilters from the Eden Quilt Guild.  What a beautiful weekend it was!  Lots of sewing, lots of laughter, lots of good food and friendship.  Not so much sleeping (and I was the first to bed each night!)  
      Since starting this semester at college, I haven't gotten as much sewing in as usual, so this long weekend was the perfect way to make progress on several projects.  One project was the kaleidoscope quilt, using this big bright floral fabric.  
On the wall at the retreat.
     I had precut my triangles, and sewed them up (in half hexagons).  I placed them on the design wall to start to get a sense of layout possibilities.   Once I get a layout, then I can sew by rows, thus avoiding any Y-seams
     What I didn't realize until I returned home was that I had about 10 more sets of triangles in the bottom of my fabric tote.  I am nearly done sewing those up, and will be working on getting this put together.  I am loving the variety of images created by this method! I separated them on the wall to ensure that I don't create two that look too much alike.  Each set of triangles has three possible variations.  I like to try them each out, and then sew up the one I like the best of the three. 
On my design wall.
      I also had cut out some squares to make a wall hanging for a friend from this fabric.    




     However, after putting those on the design wall, I can see that the stripes are not nearly distinct enough, and that this, on its own, is dull and boring.  Back to the drawing board!   These may become another project all together! 

     Everyone at the retreat also worked on a 10-inch block for a guild project, using fabrics selected especially for the project.   I referred to mine as "that damn blue block!" until it was done.  
     I know this doesn't seem like much for 2 1/2 days and evenings of quilting.  One entire day was devoted to another project, and the large center of a lap quilt was completed.  I am thrilled with it, and will soon be putting on the borders and getting it finished soon.  It is a gift for a friend, so I am not sharing any pictures until it is in her hands! 
     Finally, my new little kittens are getting bigger, and seemed happy to see me home!
Judy (in front) and Betty!  
Take care,
Gretchen

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Catching Up~

     A bit more than 2 years ago, I was thrilled to have a quilt published in McCall's Quick Quilts.   A few months later, I got an email from a new quilter, Susan Williams, who had some questions about the quilting.  We exchanged several very pleasant emails, and then life got busy.  I often wondered what happened and if Susan finished the quilt.   I was thinking about reaching out to her, when she got in touch with me to tell me that she finished the quilt, and sent a picture of the finished quilt to McCall's Quick Quilts.    The picture above is a snap of the page in the magazine, which, of course, I had promptly purchased!  Thanks, Susan for the kind words, and I look forward to continuing our email friendship!   I still can't believe that was a first quilt!  Great job!

     In a little bit, I am leaving for a long overdue quilt retreat!  I managed to get a few projects cut out, but for the most part, I am taking stacks of material, lots of tools, and a long to do list.   I'll report back on my progress next week!

I had some problems, all of my own making, cutting out the big floral fabric for a kaleidoscope quilt.  After I got 6 fabric layers all lined up, I cut a 6 inch strip, and then used the WRONG triangle ruler to cut the triangles.
       The pieces look not quite right!  I will find a place for these later on, but I had to refigure my quilt design to account for fewer pieces!  D a r n !
     The right triangle ruler was the 60 degree ruler, which was right there in my ruler drawer!

  The kitties are getting bigger, and feeling more at home.  Here is Judy, relaxing on top of my school back pack!
        While my art school assignments have been keeping me busy, I have also been busy creating some artwork on my own with some old sewing patterns.  I am working on a series of collages, which I am framing to be 12 x 12 inch square, and will soon be putting up for sale on Etsy (and possibly other sites).  I think these are perfect for any sewing room, or any room in the house!    Please let me know what you think!
Take care,
Gretchen

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

"On Ringo Lake" top complete!

Betty loves the quilt top! 
      Yesterday I sewed the final few long seams together to finish the "On Ringo Lake" top.  What a great experience to participate in this mystery quilt with thousands of other quilters worldwide!  My precision in sewing always needs work, and this was a perfect project for that.  I am not certain that the top will lay perfectly flat, but the blocks did fit together well.  The finished top is 75 wide by 91 long (a quickie check with a tape measure), so it will be a bit smaller after quilting and washing! Because it is big, it is hard to get a good picture of the whole thing!
Trying to photograph on floor

Trying to get it all in on the design wall

Even the trusty quilt holder can't quite get the whole quilt top to show!
       I was working on some art pieces this weekend, using leftovers from a class project.  I mounted one piece (not yet titled) to see how it would look.  I realized I used my "On Ringo Lake" colors in this!

     Enjoy the beginning of September!  
Take care,
Gretchen