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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Hey, Wassily #2 - Quilt Expo Modern Mini Quilt Challenge



     April and early May were BUSY!  I finished my two college art classes, took a 6 week (one morning a week) watercolor class with my mom at a community art center, completed 24 hours of Continuing Legal Education classes, took over newsletter duties for one of my quilt guilds, and co-hosted a wonderful 90th birthday luncheon for my mom! Whew!  No wonder I haven't been quilting or blogging!  
     May 1 arrived, and it was time for the Quilt Expo Modern Mini Challenge (link to web site). I have entered twice before, with "Off the Rails" last year and "Stepping Stones" in 2017. I enjoy this challenge, but couldn't begin to work on my submission until May 8!
     I did have an idea in my head for my piece.  The art of German Expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky fascinates me and his Color Study piece inspired me.  I wanted to work in solids, and use the Kona color of the year, Splash, as a part of this piece.  I decided to forego white or black, and tried to pick a limited and saturated color palette that had some contrast created by using warm and cool tones, and dark and light tones.  I wanted the colors to zing!  
     I also wanted to experiment with free cutting (no templates) and piecing circles.  I continue to be inspired by Maria Shell's work.  I attempted a piece last year, but wasn't entirely pleased with the end product.  The curves weren't as curvy as I had intended and I also wasn't entirely happy with the composition of the final piece.  
I called this Hey, Wassily. 
     I started with a few test pieces to see how much work and fabric was required to make these blocks. 
You need lots of pins to sew curves like these! 

     I had picked 8 colors for the circles, and pieced them one layer at a time, trying to keep the center and finished shapes generally the same size.  I was enjoying the variety and the wonkiness of the shapes!  
     Since I was on a tight timeline, I made lots of decisions as I was going along.  I started with circles of just 2 colors.  I was also undecided about the background, which was between white or Kona's "Splash", a turquoise shade that is the color of the year.  
I put the two color circles on my design board.

     I looked at this for a day, and decided to use "Splash" for the background of all the blocks, and to add another ring of color to each circle.   

     I pieced the background around the circles, and used a square ruler to cut each block 8 1/2 inches square.  
      Once I fussed with the block placement, I began my quilting, using thread that pretty much matched the colors.  I usually like Aurifil for quilting, but didn't have all the colors on hand, and so ended up using Sulky (which worked just fine, too!)  I used a few different designs in the quilting to add a touch more textural interest.   Here are a few close-ups 




     I considered binding the piece in a black and white stripe, and also considered facing the piece.  I ended up binding in the turquoise, to to keep the focus on the colored circles.  
     I am quite happy with this piece, which measures 24 inches square.  I am glad I finished it in time to enter it into the contest.  There are loads of really interesting and beautiful modern quilts entered this year.  Please check them all out!  You can find all the entries in a photo album on the Quilt Expo Facebook page here.    
Submissions can be added through May 21, and winners are announced the following week.  
     Here is a photo of the back of the piece, where you can see all the quilting against the white backing.  
I am heading to a quilt retreat soon, and can't wait!  

Take care,
Gretchen  





Monday, April 1, 2019

Electric Stripes!

   Finally finished the quilt for little Nayla, a new arrival to my big extended family.  
    This quilt is the result of some experimenting with striped fabric.  Last year I had won some batik striped fabric in a raffle.  I loved how fun it was to work with the stripes, and figured out what the fabric was (Hoffman Artisan Batiks Elemental Stripes) and ordered up more.  

     One of the fabrics was in very bright, primary stripes.  
     I cut the squares to make the half square triangles that form the basis of these pieces, and tried many variations of putting them together. 

     I really enjoy the watercolor effect of these fabrics, and how interesting the squares are when mixed up and put back together.  (Isn't that just the beauty of making quilts?) 

     I tried out a pretty big lap size layout, but didn't really know where such a quilt would go.  It was quite vibrant and busy.    I ended up making two smaller pieces for baby quilts out of the squares.

     The baby quilt tops:
     Nayla is now two, so I wanted something a bit bigger than those pieces.  I decided to add some bright yellow solid to one of the center pieces, and then created a border of the striped fabric.  I ended up binding it in the yellow as well. 
     I like how the yellow sets off the center, and really like how the border looks.  The border had to be mitered, or else it would have looked odd!   The quilt finished at 48 inches square.
      Now that my Tiara is in my sewing space with the other tools of the trade, pinning and quilting went fairly quickly. I am enjoying  listening to the audiobook versions of the Agatha Raisin series by M.C.Beaton while sewing.
   Betty found the quilt to be just perfect and comfortable.  Unfortunately, this means I had to wash it again before sending it on! 
   The backing is a Kona Cotton wide fabric.  I have been looking for an opportunity to use it.  I did a simple big stippling all over the quilt.
     In other news, the "Turnabout Patchwork" quilt I made for the blog hop has also been gifted to another new member of my extended family.  Little Baby Coen is going to be cuddling with the fun circus animals!  
   
     I keep hoping that spring will come soon, but there is still snow on the ground, but there is also some open water!  Hurray!  
     Enjoy the spring, and I'll catch up again soon! 
Take care,
Gretchen 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sewing room in progress!

 My sewing room renovation has taken another step forward!  Here is a pano photo of my daughter's room from a few years ago.  (She hasn't actually resided full time at home since 2007!)
 A year ago, I switched out beds in the kids' bedrooms to make room for my sewing machine, a design wall, and my cutting table, moving out one of her dressers in the process.   This space was great, but my quilting machine (a Tiara II) was still in the basement.   I was still switching from one room to another.
 A few weeks ago, I was decided to give away the twin bed (but not the handmade quilt!), and moved the Tiari up to the room.  I swapped dressers and moved the desk to the wall next to the sewing machine.  I have a serger I got from a guild member a few months ago, and to set that up on the desk.  
Now, all my sewing machine things are in one room!  My fabric stash is still mostly in the basement still, although I have all my solids in the room.  I bring up other fabric as I plan to use it.  I am loving the space!  
I also got to hang my color wheel project from my Color Theory class.   This photo is a bit dark, but it is quite cheerful framed in black over the desk! 

Of course, my daughter will still visit, but I have purchased a nice airbed, and new sheets and blankets, so when she visits, she'll be comfy and cozy! 

Take care,
Gretchen   

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The 2019 UFO challenge

Both of my quilt guilds are participating in a UFO challenge this year.    Basically, you make a list of at least  12 UFOs, (Unfinished objects) and each month work on one.   When I make a list, I always like to include something that I have finished, like "get out of bed".  It makes me feel that I have actually accomplished something!  Since I am so far behind (this is March, not January, after all!), I am going to include a few of the ones I had on my list "in my head" and finished!   While I have lots more, I also included some projects that are so unfinished that they haven't even be started!   So, of course, I have included some things that I did accomplish already this year!   For those who follow me (and THANK YOU!), I apologize that I have been less than consistent about a weekly posting.  The art classes I am taking are kicking butt in terms of time and creative effort!

Here is my "to do" list for 2019.  We'll revisit at the end of the year!  How are your projects going?

1.  Turnabout Patchwork Quilt.✔
      This was a great success and took much of my time in January and early February.  Participating in that blog hop was a blast!

2.  Quilting the Red, white and blue jellyroll charity quilt for SPQG✔
     I procrastinated with this for months - glad to have it done!
3.   Finish little wool needle case.
    This was a little wool work project started at a February guild meeting.  I am hoping to finish this soon!   I need a needle case.

4.   Travel quilting bag.
   I saw someone with this bag several years back, and actually purchased the pattern on line and bought all of the bits and pieces.  I have taken it twice to quilt retreats, and yet, it remains in the bag.
5.   Get On Ringo Lake quilted up.
   This is pinned and ready to go.  I need to figure out what I am doing, and just get it on the Tiara!
6.  Get center of spider quilt finished ✔
7.  Get border on Spider quilt
     I played with many borders on EQ8, and think I'll try to use the rest of my civil war repro scraps to do something like this!  I may sub out a different color for the border to lighten it up a bit.

8.   Make another in the Hey Wassily series (make a better one!)
    I am hoping that Quilt Expo does another Modern Mini Challenge this year.  I am going to try to improve on this concept.  (or if I totally run out of time, submit this, I guess!)
9.  Toddler quilt.  I have a design in mind, just need to get it done!
10.  Batik Delectable Mountain quilt.  I purchased fabric for this quilt last year.
11.  Greens quilt.  I have three bins of green fabric, but only got two in this shot.  I may see what I could use for the Bonnie Hunter "Good Fortune" quilt.  Otherwise, I have in mind a improv triangle quilt for all these varied greens.
 12.  Kelpie art quilt.  I wanted to try a pixelated quilt in shades of gray, and have the pattern figured out, the fabrics purchased, and everything except the ooomph to get this done!
13.  Decide what to do with Yellow Kaleidescope quilt pieces.
   All the half hexie pieces are done, I just am not certain how to put them together.  I got tired of seeing it on the design wall, so took it off and put it away.  Maybe I'll be inspired later this year.
14.   Jelly roll rug,  I would like to try one of these.  I have plenty of 2 1/2 inch scrap strips, and lots of small bits of batting!  I purchased the jeans needles to get this going!
15.   Crazy quilt for QCNYS challenge.  This is a statewide group challenge, and I am halfway through my entry.  I have to get going - this is due soon!

16.  Good Fortune.  I enjoyed doing the Bonnie Hunter "On Ringo Lake" challenge, and I have downloaded all of the instructions for this year's quilt.  I  need to make some decisions about the colors and the scrappiness factor.  Pulling out all those greens may help me decide! 
17.  Scrap solids quilt
18.  Patriotic Charity Quilt for Eden Guild.  I just picked up my charity quilt packet, which is due soon.  Better get hopping on that.

That's my list - we'll see what happens!

Take care,
Gretchen




Monday, February 18, 2019

A Giveaway Winner and Project underway


     Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during the recent blog hop.  I had so much fun looking at all the other quilts!  Such creativity and talent!  If you are new to my blog, I hope you visit often and also like my Facebook Page (Snug Harbor Quilts) and follow me on Instagram (@snugharborquilts)! 
     GranChris, who was comment #21 on my blog, is the winner of the pdf copy of the whole Turnabout Patchwork book.  I am going to make another quilt from the book soon!   Congrats, Chris, I hope you enjoy it!
     I can now turn my attention to other projects.  One of my first 2019 "to do" projects was to finish the center portion of the spider web quilt I have been working on for years for my husband.   TaDa!  The center is DONE!
      I love it, and he loves it.  Now I need to settle on a border, and get that done, but I feel great that this part is completed.  It was 240 paper foundation triangles.  I sewed two together to make a square, then removed the paper before sewing any further.   I filled many a trash bin, at least one of which my kittens turned over! 

Here is a close up of one of the sections.  The fabrics are all civil war repro fabrics.
I also managed to finally quilt a charity top that had been donated to one of my guilds.  Pinning the quilt is one of my least favorite parts of quilting, and so I tend to put it off.  I finally got it done. 
     I use binder clips with my craft table to get a nice taut back without having to tape anything to the floor.   I quilted it with a free motion loopy loop which followed the jelly roll strips, using a dark red aurifil.  It looks fine, and it is done and delivered! 

  I have two small projects underway for competitions late this spring, and I am going to get my On Ringo Lake quilt quilted.  It is already pinned - I just need to figure out what I am doing with it!  Stay tuned, in between these projects, I have lots more I want to accomplish!  
    My goal is to post a blog once a week, but I am finding that the studio art classes I am taking are quite challenging and time consuming, so please bear with me if I am delayed a bit on my posts! 
     Take care,
Gretchen