Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Sew-In Giveaway

It's that time of year again! 

Join us for the 

Boxing Day Sew In

Wednesday, December 26th.


Our family has a tradition of having a "Pajama Day" the day after Christmas. The change in the tradition is that where I used to spend the day on the floor playing with Legos or whatever the toy of the year was with my kidlings, now I spend the day in my sewing room recuperating with fabric while my grown children are doing whatever college kids do. 

In honor of my friends from other places of the world for whom the day after Christmas is a venerable tradition named Boxing Day, my Pajama Day has become the Boxing Day Sew-In.

So why don't put on your jammies and slippers, and join me? We'll be chatting away on Twitter through the day (I'm @sandyquiltz if you're not already connected with me there).

In honor of yet another day of giving, I'm holding a give-away here on my blog. You can enter beginning as soon as this blog goes live at one minute past midnight on December 26th, until 11:59 p.m. Almost a full 24 hours to take your chances!

The one lucky winner will win two things--count 'em: Two!

The first item in my giveaway is one brand new DVD of a quilting documentary named "The Skin Quilt Project." From the back cover: "....This provocative film explores the significance of preserving the African-American quilting tradition, as well as how the practice of quilting brings self-confidence, cultural awareness, and self-esteem to the African cultural heritage. As they share their stories, the women and men in this film help us to consider a quilter's unique ability 'to see the beauty in all colors.'"

I own a copy of this documentary and found it extremely thought-provoking, as well as a wonderful celebration of quilting, quilting communities, and the artistic impulse that anyone can relate to regardless of their skin color. I highly recommend it and hope whoever wins it will enjoy it as thoroughly as I did1

The second item in my giveaway is, honestly, helping me clean out my stash for the new year! I have far too many 2 1/2" strips kicking around. So whoever wins this giveaway will also receive a grab-bag of 50 (fifty) 2 1/2" strips from my stash. The picture is just a conglomeration from the stash--your grab-bag may or may not include strips pictured. Trust me--I won't just send you the ones I don't like. :-)  I'll just close my eyes and grab 50, I'll make sure they're all full WOF and cut straight, and they're yours. You'll be helping me out immensely, and hopefully you'll be able to use them in some wonderful project soon!

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment here saying what you think you'd use a 2 1/2" strip for. You can be as creative as you want--it doesn't necessarily just have to be in a quilt!

Don't forget, you must have your email address included in your comment or accessible on your profile, or I won't be able to include you in the giveaway. 

Have a wonderful Pajama Day-slash-Boxing Day. Don't forget to check out any other giveaways that are linked to this post!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Quilty Resolutions Giveaway

In episode 113 of my "Quilting...for the Rest of Us" podcast, I describe the requirements to enter into my 2013 Quilty Resolutions Giveaway. I also said that I'd be embedding the online submission form into the show notes for that episode. As it turns out, for some reason Wordpress won't play nicely with this online submission form, so I've moved it here to my blog.

Please be sure to listen to episode 113 (using the link above or the embedded player on the right of this webpage) before completing this submission form to enter the giveaway--otherwise you won't know how to complete the form! The giveaway closes on January 15th, 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Street Weeks 3 & 4

I didn't finish Week 3 until the night before Week 4 was posted so I didn't do the linky last week. And I still haven't finished trimming the blocks, so technically I'm not sure I consider that I've completely finished week 3. But there it is, move on. I can finish trimming later.

I really like the way these blocks look--the colors work well together.

I got Week 4 finished tonight--all trimmed and everything. (Netflix got me through!)

For some reason, even though these are all the same colors as the above blocks, I'm not as keen on the way some of them turned out. Some of my reds are more of a brown-red that isn't quite as striking next to the purple. However, I'm relying on having all of it work together once I'm looking at the entire pieced top rather than individual units.

(Sorry the picture is a little blurry--it was pretty late when I finished!)

Be sure to check out Bonnie's blog and link-up to see how everyone else's are turning out--it's been fun watching how all the different colorways are playing out!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Finish! Disappearing 9-Patch

Disappearing 9-Patch WheelchairI completed the Disappearing 9-Patch I pieced during the Black Friday Sew-In. I've posted pics of this in progress so the finish isn't quite as exciting a reveal as usual, but there it is. They always look that much more interesting when they're completed!

For those of you jumping into the middle of the story, I'd been wanting to make a Disappearing 9-Patch for awhile so I decided a bit on a whim to grab a charm pack I'd had in my stash for a year or more--Moda's "Portugal" line--and just went to town without worrying about how big it would end up. The center came out to something like 26"x26". Since I wanted to make it for a person in a wheelchair, I looked up what other people had found to be a successful size, and the suggested size was a rectangle. Since I wanted this done quickly, I opted for the simplest solution, which was putting honkin' big borders top and bottom with more reasonably sized borders on the sides. I wasn't sure about it at first but it's grown on me. (I put all the measurements in my original post on this linked above. Frankly, I don't even really remember them now! Too many other quilty projects in between.)

Dis9P detailEverything was out of my stash. I got to use not only the charm pack, but about a yard for borders, a couple of yards for a backing (yellow--not pieced), and gee, maybe a quarter yard of the blue for the binding. Probably less.

I did a simple meander with yellow thread in the center and a pretty dark red shinier thread in the borders, so it blends but still gives it a little spark with the shine. (Sorry the picture's blurry--the lighting was bad.)

It turned into quite the happy little quilt. Originally it was going to be a donation quilt but then I realized after I had the top pieced that I didn't have a gift yet for a family friend that I always do something for at Christmas, and since she's in a wheelchair, this was perfect. So it got repurposed for her, and I know she'll love it.

I'll be making more of these in the future as donation quilts, I know--although next time I'll use two charm packs so they'll take up more space!

I got Easy Street Week 3 done, technically, before Week 4 was posted, although I'm still trimming up some dog-ears. I've started the cutting on Week 4. It's going relatively quickly since I had a lot of 2" strips of the required fabrics left from previous weeks. I don't have much doubt I'll have them done by Friday, although we're decorating our tree tomorrow night so I won't get back to my machine until Tuesday. I didn't do the linky on Bonnie's blog last week; may not get to it this week. I'm still playing along, though! (I'll post pics of 3 and 4 together later this week.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Postcards a-Plenty!

And so the great reveal! Although if you follow Sandi's blog, you've already seen the reveal since she got her post done last night and I'm the Sandy-Come-Lately in this pairing!

Here's the postcard I got from Sandi. Isn't that fussy-cut ornament just adorable? I love how it also includes the little loops on the top of each ornament. She did really nice decorative stitching on them as well with variegated thread. It's just adorable! It's got a place of honor on my mantle this year and will become a decoration that's put up every Christmas. Sandi and I have decided to make our postcard exchange an annual tradition!

Here's the one I sent Sandi.

Someone asked me to describe how I did this. I (oops) neglected to (dang) take photos during the process (shoot). I'll do my best to give a verbal description here. I had a ball doing it, although I made some parts a little complicated for myself. Live and learn. Also, I did this during a sew day with my guild so I was away from all my usual supplies. I'd grabbed some that I thought I might use before I left, but had to improvise a bit here and there.

I had the basic image in my head of a crazy-quilt-esque background and a close-up, off-center pointsettia. From there, however, it was design-as-you-go. I decided to take the log-cabin-style approach to the crazy quilt piece.

  • I had with me a lot of green scraps from my scrap bin plus a couple of holiday fat quarters. I cut a bunch of strips that ranged from about 1 to 2" wide. They were mostly longer than 4" but not entirely--you can see where some of the shorter ones were used in the lower right. 
  • I used a piece of muslin as a background, and cut it slightly larger than 4x6", giving myself a little wiggle room in case things shrunk up on me with all the seams I knew I was going to have.
  • After a false start with the sewing first piece (see below), I realized that I really needed to stabilize the muslin before proceeding. I've decided beginning an experimental project with some seam-ripping is a sign of good luck. My story, going with it.
  • I happened to have some of the Ricky Tims Stable-Stuff Poly with me, which is great but isn't fusible. I had a very lightweight fusible of some sort so I cut the stabilizer to the same size as the muslin, then fused the muslin to the stabilizer. So much for needing room for shrinkage now, since the stabilizer would take care of that. Still, I like me some wiggle room.
  • I started with a yellow-green scrap that I cut into a random pentagon shape and then used just a dab of glue to help hold it on the stabilizer. (See the yellow-green peeking out from behind the flower? That was the starter patch.) Then I took my first green strip, lined it up right sides together along one edge of the yellow-green pentagon, and stitched. I pressed it open and then took my next strip and sewed it to the next edge, and so forth, moving around the sides of the pentagon in succession. I only trimmed anything that was hanging way over--for the most part, you're sewing over any extra bits and since this was all going onto a stiff background and nothing I was going to be trying to hand-quilt through, I didn't have to worry about close trims.
  • Since it's a rectangle, you eventually can no longer go in even rounds and have to just start filling in space with strips. I just had to think through a little bit to make sure the strips would cover the entire space I needed to cover and not leave me with a random blank spot in an awkward location. This is where I did find it helpful to have much longer strips that I'd then trim back to fit better after I sewed.
  • Once the background was complete, my friend pulled up a picture of a pointsettia on her cell phone and I looked at it for some direction--that's when I realized it had several layers of petals, some lighter than others. I had a couple of red fat quarters with me but needed something lighter. Fortunately, my sew-buddies were generous with their scraps! (I traded some back with them too--great way to get new-to-you-fabric!) I just free-handed the cutting of the petals, then used a dab of glue baste to hold them down until I could do the machine blanket stitch around the edge of each petal. Originally I was going to do french knots in yellow for the stamen in the center, but I wasn't sure how much would actually show once I put the binding on (see below) so I bagged that idea.
  • I played with a variety of decorative stitches on my machine along most of the seams. Hadn't used most of those stitches before. Some worked better than others, but hopefully Sandi didn't look too closely. :-)
  • Once it was done, I fused it all to a piece of Peltex double-sided fusible, then cut my backing fabric and fused that on, and then trimmed it all to a true 4x6" size.
  • Because of all the pieces on the crazy-quilt front, and because I now had several layers fused together with the stabilizer still in there (didn't want to risk ripping it off when all those seams were involved--and it doesn't have to be removed) I had to put a binding on it. I didn't think a decorative stitch would really work in that instance, and it would've been a real pill if I'd tried it. So I put a narrow binding on completely by machine, with a certain measure of success. That's something else I need a little more practice on. 
Sandi and I had agreed ahead of time that we'd send each other pictures of what our postcards looked like when they arrived in our respective homes so we could test out whether the postal system would damage them. No damage at all! Now, if we were to have used embellishments of any kind, using an envelope would definitely be safer. But I'm pleased to report that our experiment worked beautifully, we've started a new, wonderful holiday tradition, and we both had a blast.

So, my friends, start making postcards! They're a hoot!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Total Color Tuesday--Last One!

We've done it! We've made our way through all the color harmonies presented in Color Magic for Quilters. By the way, this blog series in no way replaces you buying the book. I've only looked at the color harmonies. The book presents a wealth of other information, "workshop" exercises, tons of examples, and several patterns that will help you explore the harmonies in greater depth. This book is a fantastic reference--several women in my guild swear by it and I've really enjoyed my practice of working my way through each color harmony. Not only do I feel like I've broadened my color horizons, but I also know my stash a whole lot better. I'll be using this book as a reference forever after.

So put Color Magic for Quilters on your holiday gift wish list!

With no further adieu, onto the last two color harmonies.

Throw 'Em All in There

 For this color harmony, you just use 'em all. Or, at least, some significant quantity of the colors on the color wheel.

Your first thought might be, of course, scrap quilts. And yep, those are a great example of this color harmony. Some well-known quilters have said that the more colors you use in a quilt, the better they all work together. There is still some art to doing this well, though--you will want to consider having a place for the eye to rest and so forth. But as usual, it all depends on what effect you want to achieve in your quilt. Maybe you don't want anyone's eyes to rest anywhere!

So here are a bunch of fat quarters I've matched up to various points on the color wheel. You'll note, of course, that several of the fat quarters are multi-colored. That, of course, works well in a color harmony that uses everything! Additionally, those kinds of fabrics will help everything play nicely together.

Here are the same fabrics re-arranged.

What do you think? Would you make a quilt like this?

I can see it.

Another way to approach this--and the way most of us are probably accustomed to--is to find a multi-colored focus fabric and then work off that, but pull several more of the colors off the focus fabric than we might usually. So here I have a multi-colored focus fabric that manages to hit almost every color on the color wheel (although sorry--I covered up some of them with my fat quarters). Then I found fat quarters that picked up a lot of the different colors. This is clearly an example of the multi-colored color harmony. Obviously quite workable.

Once again, the Ives Color Wheel (a.k.a. 24-Point, or the one used in Joen Wolfrom's 3-in-1 Color Tool) was intimidating to my stash. They cowered in fear. I just don't have enough fabrics to really work with the whole 24-pointer on this one.

Of course, this color harmony doesn't mean you have to use every color, just a lot of them. I simply moved on. I have other things I want to accomplish again!

Throw 'Em All in There, But Have One Stand Out

This is simply a twist on the one above. You're still using a boatload of colors, but you're using a bunch of one color to make it stand out. This one is, more simply speaking, multiple colors with one main color.

I didn't bother with the usual color wheel pictures on this one because, well, you get it. But it did give me a chance to mess with a fabric I just bought during the Black Friday weekend online fabric sales. I got the main focus fabric in this picture from Fat Quarter Shop on super-duper sale. I ordered two yards but they only had a yard and a half (plus a few inches) so I took whatever they had left. It's a wonderful, vibrant, chaotic fabric that I have no idea yet what I'll do with but I can't wait to figure it out! Serious love fest with this fabric going on!

Anyway, I pulled a bunch of greens to make that the main color, but it plays up against all the riot of color in the main fabric.

Yep, this would definitely work.

Play time!

This is it. Your last opportunity to play along. As usual, link up your blog posts as you play with these color harmonies. Let me know what you think--have you, or would you,actually use any of these types of harmonies in a quilt? (As a note--I'll leave all these links open until December 31 so you can play catch-up if you want. Thanks for your patience as I went through this process--I learned a lot, and hope you were able to expand your color horizons as well!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reporting In...WIP (almost done!) and Easy Street W3

Easy Street Week 3 Progress

I got all my pieces cut for Easy Street W3 today, but decided I was going to space out my work on it this week for the sake of my soul. I get irritable when I have to do the same thing over and over again--it loses all sense of joy for me. (Something I've learned from my approach the last two weeks!) So this week I'm doing it in parts--cutting today, sewing tomorrow. Not sure I'll get all the sewing done tomorrow since I'm not sure how long I'll have to work on it, but I should be able to make significant progress after work.

Still can't post pictures of my postcard for Sandi yet, since she hasn't received it. I'm trying not to panic that I somehow misaddressed it! Meanwhile, I've received hers--it's wonderfully fun! I won't post pictures of that one either until the whole story is over. So that gives you something to look forward to. I'll also post more info about how I made mine once she gets it (I'm trying to think positively here....).

Another Work in Progress

Meanwhile, here's what I spent all of Sunday afternoon working on. This was originally going to be a donation quilt when I realized it would actually make the perfect Christmas gift for a family friend who is wheelchair bound. I do usually get her something every Christmas but haven't made her anything quilty yet. This will be a nice bright spot in her apartment, I think.

Hoping to get binding on tomorrow night, and then I'll be able to post it as a finish!


I just discovered that Podbean is down because it's moving everything over to Amazon Web Services. I don't know if this means anything to the administration end of my podcast--we didn't get any notifications that it was happening so I'm hoping for the best. (Working on the "no news is good news" theory.) However, it does mean that my podcast, as well as any other podcasts hosted on Podbean (which includes several of us quilty folks) are currently unavailable. Supposedly it should be back up tomorrow morning. Again, here's hoping for the best....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Finish--Just Playin'

 A few weeks ago, I decided to play with a technique I'd been wanting to mess with for awhile. So I gathered up a bunch of snippets of embellishment threads, yarns, and cords.


Became this... 

 (This a little more close up...)

And soon became this after I soaked off the water soluble stabilizer.

And then it sat for awhile.

Last night I dug into my fat quarter stash and turned it into this:

Which is dimensional, by the way. My current modus operandi.
 Each layer was done by itself, quilted, and then attached the layer beneath or above. 

 (Can you see I free-handed some feathers to frame the thread? First time for that too!)

Ahem. Currently no idea what I'll now do with this. It doesn't have an obvious way to hang it (no binding to sew a sleeve into), so I need to do some more thinkin'. And playin'. But even if it never hangs anywhere, it served it's purpose. I experimented, tried a few techniques at once that I've been wanting to try, and I had a ball playing. What have you experimented with lately? Fabric-wise, that is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Total Color Tuesday--Gettin' Bizzy

Sorry--last week totally slipped my mind. I was in a Black Friday Sew-In Frenzy all weekend! Got a lot done, but completely blipped on Total Color Tuesday. However, I've discovered we only have two weeks left--this week and next, and we'll be done with our color study. Or, at least, we'll be done with this particular book. Next spring my design study group will be focusing on, yes, you guessed it.... color. So you may be seeing more but it'll have a very different feel. More show n' tell, I suspect.

In any case, back to Color Magic for Quilters and this week's color harmonies. We're gettin' bizzy and inviting all sorts of colors to the party!

Skip, Skip, Skip to My Lou

So in this week's first harmony, we're hopping around the color wheel on one foot and picking up every other color to use in our project.

This is a good harmony for you indecisive folks out there.

The technical term for this one, if you want to impress the troops at an upcoming holiday party, is "full range of alternates." Doesn't that make it sound all scientific-artsy?

I rather arbitrarily started with green and started hopping, which gave me green, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow. (My red looks a little purpley here but trust me, it's red.)

I could see this as a baby quilt, of course. Lots of fun contrast. I could also see doing a scrap quilt with this in a wide range of values--my colors here are all pretty saturated because it's faster for me to put together these harmonies that way. If I wanted to futz with it, I'd have some tints in there (those are hues with white blended in) to soften it up. Maybe even go all Easter Egg on it with a range of pastels. If you used shades (hues with black blended in) you'd be heading into Amish country.So, some definite possibilities there.

The Ives Color Wheel (CMYK, or the one that Joen Wolfrom favors) is a whole different matter on this one. I imagine these color harmonies would be defined somewhat differently. Skipping every other color on a 24-point color wheel looks very different from skipping every other color on a 12-point wheel. I didn't even bother going into my stash--I'd have been here all night.


Meet the Angles

 Now we're into triangle color harmonies. Toning it down a bit and sending a few colors home from the party early.

Colors on a triangle, which you may know as a "triad," is more familiar. These colors are naturally balanced--nature loves a triangle.

We're probably most familiar with the primary color triad: red, yellow, and blue. Can you say, "baby's room?"

There are, of course, the secondary color triad (orange, green, and violet), and the tertiary color triad (yellow-orange, blue-green, and red-violet).
 I went simple and stuck with the primaries. Again, my red is looking terribly purple-ish in this picture. Sorry about that!
 In the Ives color wheel, we have a lovely combination of yellow, turquoise, and magenta.


Margarita, anyone? There's not even any snow on the ground yet where I live and already I'm thinking of tropical beaches.








The Angles Bring a Friend


Start with your colors on the triangle, then jump across the color wheel from one of those colors to find an accent. 

I jumped across from red to pick up green.

For the Ives wheel, I went across from the turquoise to pick up orange.

Now I want a mojito. And a beach chair.

Play time!

Your turn! As usual, link up your blog posts as you play with these color harmonies. Let me know what you think--have you, or would you,actually use any of these types of harmonies in a quilt?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy Street Week 2 Progress and Sew-Day Report

I've completed Week 2 of Easy Street--so far, due to some well-timed days off, I've been able to keep up! I hadn't used the Companion Angle or Easy Angle rulers before (Bonnie Hunter's recommended rulers for her mystery quilts) so this was my first run with them. It took me a little bit to figure out the best way to use them without having my hands at odd angles while cutting and risking lopping off a major appendage. I used an Olfa rotating rotary cutter mat, which helped tremendously. If you don't have one of those, add it to your wish list! I use mine frequently.

I was cutting a lot of the purple pieces from small scraps so that took longer since I had to cut all three sides of each piece in most instances (to have straight edges) rather than a strip and a few slices to get multiple units at once. It felt good to use up some scraps I've had around for awhile, but it took so long that I'll be thinking long and hard about that trade-off in future steps, if it comes up again.

I had a sew-day on Friday and half of Saturday with one of my groups of quilty peeps, which is how I was able to get Easy Street done on the day the clue was posted. Woot! I did also get some other stuff done. I can't post a picture yet of my other completion this weekend until the recipient receives it. But it's of the postcard variety.

For more results from Easy Street Week 2, visit Bonnie Hunter's blog and linky.