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Friday, April 27, 2018

Thank you, Maria Shell!


My completed workshop sample top
      Last weekend, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take an all day workshop with Maria Shell. Her website is here.  I absolutely love her work, and was thrilled to be able to meet her and to learn some of her techniques!  

    The day started with Maria showing several of her beautiful pieces, and she gave permission to share pictures.  Stunning work in color selection, shape and construction, and in the very detailed quilting!









  
    The workshop was called Linear Blocks, and focused on making traditional quilt blocks with mat cut linear pieces.  I have never mat cut fabric before, (no ruler) but am now a huge fan!  I love the organic look of the pieces.  

    I was anxious to get going so I quickly pulled a palette of nine colors from my bin - a really dark green, a light bright green and a yellow; a dark purple, a blue and a light blue, and a melon, a black and white.  I didn't think too hard about it, but just though the colors looked interesting together.    I was curious as to how these colors would work.   (Next semester I am taking a class in color theory - right now, I am just going by my gut!)

      I chose to play with a rail fence pattern.  In addition to cutting solids, I was inspired by Maria's creation of little striped pieces.   I had cut enough strips to make 9 little blocks, and put them together over the course of the day.   Some were straighter than others!    I ended up piecing a little nine-patch from these blocks. 
     Once I got home, really pressed it and trimmed the ends, I really like how it turned out.  As soon as my classes end for the semester next week,  I am going to get this little 18 inch squarish piece all quilted up!  I think this will make a cheery hanging.  
Pressed, trimmed and on my design wall! 
     I am already sketching a bigger (and better!) version of this same concept, using some more ideas from the workshop, and a more controlled palette. I can't wait to start cutting the fabric! 

     Thanks to Maria Shell for being such a great teacher and an inspiration and thanks to the Western New York Modern Quilters for putting on this workshop and having me as a member!  What an inspiring group of quilters!  

Take care,
Gretchen 


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Solids! How much in your stash?

     In my time, I have made several quilts that are totally solids.  I have made a few more that are mostly solids, with a few prints sprinkled in.   I am taking a workshop this weekend with Maria Shell, and am so excited to be experimenting with her techniques with solids.   I had to put together a bin of fabric to take to the workshop, which provided me a great reason to start to take stock of the solids in my stash.
     I have been keeping my quilt fabrics in bins in my laundry room, organized by colors, primarily, with a few bins for solids by color family.  As time went on, more fabrics were just folded on shelves, or tucked away.  As I work on setting up my new sewing space, I have been moving only the fabrics for current projects upstairs.   Time to haul the solids up.  
     I did not take before pictures of the mess, because it was embarrassing.  Although I had, years ago, regularly ordered half yard color bundles from a now-defunct on line store, I didn't really think  I had many solids, and was wondering if I needed to get more before the workshop.  Now that I am done with the sorting process - the answer is NO!   
     So, I unloaded the bins, and started pressing.   I made half yard cuts from one yard pieces, and folded up the neutrals where I had more than a two yards.    Cuts that were about a quarter yard were separately pressed and folded.    I have a smallish bin of smaller but still usable pieces.  
     I started by putting together a bind of primarily half yard bundles of different colors of fabric, to which I also added some quarter yard cuts in other colors.  Turns out, this bin has 35 yards total of fabric!  I truly had no idea! 
Workshop bin!  
     But, that wasn't the end of it.  I made up a separate bin of half yards that were duplicates of the ones in the workshop bin.  Another 12 or 13 yards total.  
Extra smaller bin!


     I folded the neutrals (light tan, white, grey, black, and some yards of a deep navy) to put on my shelf.   Probably another 12 - 15 yards.
Neutrals on the shelf!
  I have a much smaller bin of bits and pieces.  I am not going to worry about how many yards are in this bin.  I just am going to figure out what to do with these bits! 
Bin of scraps. 
     As I was writing this confession, post, I realized that I didn't photograph a bin of solids that is still in the basement.  Last year I got organized to make a pixelated quilt, and chose a gray tone photo to work with.  I carefully ordered about 8 yards of various colors to work with.  However, my two current art classes are focused on black and white and the value scales, so I am getting my fill of all shades of gray and have put that project aside until classes are over in May! Next semester, painting and color theory -  can't wait!   
     So, when I add those numbers up, it is really a shocker!  I have at least 70 yards of solids in my stash!   I'd better get cutting and quilting! (and better stop shopping!)  (and I don't even want to think about how much printed fabric I have).  
      How much solid fabric do you have in your stash? 

Take care,
Gretchen
  

    

Friday, April 6, 2018

Moody Beauty!

     Thanks to those Facebook reminders, I realized that April 7 is the 5th anniversary of my blog!  Glad I had this piece done to mark the occasion!  
     I have finally completed the New York Beauty hanging!  Given the dark, rich, moody colors, I am calling this Moody Beauty.   As I have recently recounted, I had finished the blocks, which were 5 different patterns of New York Beauty blocks, in April of 2017.  The blog from last year can be found here.  
     I had started these with some scraps of Kaffe Fassett material, combined with Kona solids and a few other bits and pieces.  I was testing the patterns with the idea of making an entire bed quilt from newer Kaffe fabrics I had been gifted.    Although this started as just a tester piece, I loved the colors and the mix of fabrics, and decided to put together a wall hanging.   The piece is 32 inches square.    I haven't decided whether to tackle the larger quilt.  
     I also decided to use this as a test of some dense quilting that I had seen in others' works.  I have close ups of the 5 different sections below.




     I used a variety of threads on the top, with a turquoise Aurifil thread in the bobbin.  I had a large piece of pale lavendar Kona that I used for the back.   I quilted heavily on the printed fabrics, and kept the solid points unquilted.  They pop quite nicely.   You can see the quilting much more easily on the back.  Neither the quilting nor the piecing is perfect by any means, but I am absolutely loving the final product.   I had just enough of the purple bubble fabric to use as the binding.  I had considered the black and white stripe that is currently my go-to binding, but I found it too distracting.  
     I was spurred to finish by a flyer for another quilt show at my local little library.   I had a quilt hanging in the show last year, and it was a very nice little showing of local quilting.   I went to hand in my slip yesterday, and was told it had been cancelled because of lack of entries.  I pointed out that the slip didn't even require the return of the entry form until May 5 (a full month away), but was not persuasive enough!  I am still shaking my head over this one!  
     I will hang this in my new sewing space, and then will share pictures of that redo!

Take care,
Gretchen