17 February 2015

Jetplanes and the love of Quilts

Hey ya'll ←  Look! I'm ready to go South! Put me on a jet plane!

I hop on a plane down to Texas tomorrow morning.  Before I go, I wanted to leave this post here with a little guide to the quilts I have hanging in the show.

Firstly, I'm so excited to be able to share this quilt with you.  This is called "A Dance for Emily" and I made it following Sherri Lynn Wood's score for her upcoming book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. (That's an affiliate link.)

Don't like my bad photo of this quilt?  Well, my photo was snapped at Camp Stitchalot in November, if you want to see a better photo of it, GET THE BOOK!  I was so excited when I found out that my quilt was selected to be photographed and used in the book.  Sherri will be signing the books at Quilt Con if you are there (check the app for times, but I believe it is 12:15 on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday @stitchlabatx booth 216.)  Of course, you can order Sherri's book at Amazon or another bookstore, it is coming out soon. I love everything I've seen from this book!
A Dance for Emily

The Emily of "A Dance for Emily" is Emmmy Lizzzy.  Her love of rainbows and cats and cheerfulness inspired the fabric choices in this quilt. This was quilted by Lynn Harris, who also knows Emily, so when I was telling her my rough plan for the quilting and said "It's all Emily-ish, if you know what I mean!" Lynn knew what I meant.  I'll do a proper post on this quilt when the book is officially released. :-)

I'm so pleased to have Arne hanging in the show.  This is one of my all-time favorite quilts and a much-loved and used pattern.  If you're inspired to try your hand at this quilt, you can buy my pattern in my Craftsy shop.

Prill is also hanging in the show!  I was a bit surprised that this quilt was juried into the show as I don't consider it my best work.  Though I suppose it is strong on a design front...its just that some of the points aren't there, and not in an intentional way.  Eeek.  Anyway, it is fun to look at and check the back if you can....VELVETEEN.
Prill Quilt

Last but not least, my Improv Echoed Hexagons quilt will be hanging in the  "quilt of the month" exhibit.
Improv Echoed Hexagons Quilt Pattern from Rossie Crafts
MQG members can download this pattern for free in the resources section of the community's website.  Anyone else can purchase a copy in my Craftsy shop!

I'm really looking forward to seeing the show in Austin, taking a class with the ladies of Gee's Bend and sitting in on a couple of lectures--as well as giving a lecture and teaching my appliqué classes!  I hope that everyone that goes has an amazing time and everyone that's at home has fun seeing pictures coming out of Austin. I know that big events like this can be difficult, for those who can afford the time or money to go, for those who are too shy to take full advantage, and for those who want to see their quilts hanging, but didn't get past the jury.  I feel quite lucky to be able to go to QuiltCon and to teach there.  I feel lucky to have four quilts hanging in the show. I was sad that the quilt I consider my best work of 2014 didn't make it past the jury.  However, everyone I know that has been working on QuiltCon has been doing their utmost to make it fair and good and awesome for the community, so as much as I might wonder at some results, I accept them. There is always next year.  My wish is for peace and fun...and for everyone to focus on the love of quilts!

"It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much and what is done in love is well done."  - Vincent Van Gogh

13 February 2015

give the past the slip (you must WIP it!)

In the continuing adventures of #youmustwipit Phase 1, I pulled out the bits of a quilt top last seen 69 weeks ago.
Okay, so if memory serves, what was going on was that I had bought a fat-eighth bundle of Hand Drawn Garden and matching solids from Westwood Acres. I had used most of it to make my test quilt for my Flyers pattern (pattern not out yet, sorry).
The Flyers Quilt
The Flyers quilt is mostly half-square triangles that are cut on the Accuquilt, and so the scraps were half-square triangles and a few string pieces. I had decided to challenge myself to see if I could make a whole ‘nother quilt from the scraps of a fat-eighth bundle.

I found a block in one of my quilt encyclopedia’s that looked like this:

I can’t lay my hands on that exact book at the moment (I'm sure it's in a box somewhere) to give you the information on the book and what they call that block. But you can find things very similar to this block under a variety of names in a variety of books, websites, and pieces of software: Double X, Wild Geese, Flying Birds, Triangle Charm.  I thought that would be a fun block to use. After a bit of play on the design wall, I started making blocks like this:

Somehow, having one color be consistent and putting it on point makes all the difference! Since this block seems to have different names based on color and value placement, and I made my own, I've decided to name it "Merging Birds."   Feel free to use this block, it's fun!  It's a 9-patch of half-square triangles.

I remember making as many blocks as I had fabric for and then trying to figure out how to integrate the leftover half-square triangles and scrappy bits. That picture from 69 weeks ago at the top of this post was the result.   I remember being excited by the layout that I photographed, but then putting it all away.  Why?  I’m not sure. I have a faint memory of running out of the Architextures print I was using as the white. And I think I may have needed to move on to something that was on a deadline? What really matters is that these pieces all ended up in a tray for over a year.

When I pulled them back out, I didn’t immediately recreate the old layout, but instead fiddled for a bit and made this new layout…

Homestead draft

I loved it almost as much as (or possibly more than?) the old layout. As one of my instagram commenters noted, this one does look rather "on trend."  I think it has a certain April Rhodes flair to it.

I was a bit torn about whether to piece the old layout or the new. I decided to play with what was leftover from new layout to see if I could/would use the rest of the blocks and scraps. And I got this…which I really liked…

Feast beginnings

I decided to listen to the wise words of Devo and not just “whip it good” but also “give the past the slip” and make the two new layouts rather than the old one.

I finished the last one first…
Feast Quilt

An apology about these photos--I'm motivated to get these quilt tops finished and recorded, but not necessarily photographed perfectly at this stage.  We're fighting with winds and sub-zero temperatures and crazy light right now.  I promise to get everything photographed properly when these are quilted and bound. 

Feast Quilt

I call this quilt “Feast.”  It has three of those merging birds blocks  across the middle;  below them are the darker half-square triangles, which give way to the darkest of the scrap strips. Above the merging birds blocks were the leftover yellow half-square triangles, which give way to the Architextures print. The very top is a half-square triangle and the littlest scraps. That happened because I didn’t have enough fabric to do it another way!

I found the process of finding a fabric to set the piecing into pretty interesting.
Feast quilt in progress
I’m trying to work from my stash for these #youmustWIPit quilts. Since I needed large cuts for the background, I had only a few options. I tried first with a vintage sheet. Then with a gray solid. Then a weird turquoise woven fabric that my friend Lynn had cleared out of her stash. I loved the way the quilt starting singing next to that turquoise. But, I only had enough of it to do some of the surrounding area. Thankfully, I kind of liked the two-toned background that I had made by accident when auditioning backgrounds!  When I tried a dotty stripe next to the turquoise and loved that, it was decided! Feast was pieced, photographed, and then filed away with my other flimsies.  WIP IT GOOD!

Homestead Quilt top

The second finish is “Homestead.” I was really glad I had gone nuts and stashed a ton of this navy and white print from Carolyn Friedlander's new line Doe, because it goes perfectly with the navy and white print from her Architextures line.  I simply love what I was able to do in keeping the print at the same angles as the blocks!

Homestead Quilt - block

Homestead Quilt top with Jon

This one is going to be so fun to quilt--but for now, it's folded up with it's flimsy family.

I made three quilts mostly from a fat-eights pack + a solid and/or blender!  And I love all three.  There are still a few tiny scraps left; I've thrown them into the general scrap bin rather than trying to eek out a fourth quilt (let's not go crazy!)

**I have a professional affiliation with Accuquilt.

09 February 2015

When a problem comes along, you must WIP it!

I’ve got a fun new addition to my sewing room…


…it’s a BabyLock Jane. This high-speed, straight-stitch machine is on loan to me from Baby Lock while I prepare for Quilt Con. You see, this machine will be in the classroom I’m teaching in on Sunday.  Here's a photo I took of myself with it...we're doing introductions over on Instagram, hop on and check out #helloquiltcon if you can.

Oh #helloquiltcon ! My name is Rossie (rhymes with bossy). This will be my 2nd #quiltcon and I'm so excited to be teaching! I'm posing with a #babylock Jane, which is the machine we'll have in my classrooms on Sunday (more on miss Jane later). I'm excited

I’m loving it and having fun exploring its features. As I made room for it in my sewing room, I felt a bit frustrated by how hard it was to make space for—this isn’t the machine’s fault, it is mine! I’m a bit overwhelmed with the amount of projects and stuff I have piled up all over in my room. I just didn’t organize the space very well when we moved in…I thought it was going to be more temporary than it is has turned out to be. What with studio renovations being paused until spring.

I have too many works in progress (WIPs) given this space. This realization, paired with a new machine seemed like an opportunity to finish up some works in progress. You know, just power through a bunch of sewing and learn about the machine as I go!

As a result:  I’m starting a new plan, a plan I call “you must WIP it.” Or, for those on instagram, #youmustwipit

First step was to folded up my finished quilt tops and put them in my clothing closet. I’m going to tackle quilting them in phase two and want them out of the sewing room for now.

Flimsies in the closet

Phase one of “you must WIP it” is going to be turning my partially-pieced quilt tops into finished quilt tops. Maybe not all of them, but a fair chunk.  I've got a lot of quilts where the blocks are done or almost done and they just need to be assembled.

I began with this flag quilt:

Quilt Now Vol.2

I started this quilt last fall at a retreat.

Made my first flag block (Katy Jones's pattern from Quilt Now issue 2). I like it!  #campstitchalot #rossiefliestheflag @imagingermonkey

I came home with seventeen blocks.  This picture shows the seventeen blocks arranged on the back of another quilt.  I like the size of the quilt they are on and was using it to see how many more blocks I needed..thirteen more.  Not a big deal!

Home again home again jiggity jig! First order of business: figuring out how many blocks I made. 17 made, 3 more begun, I think I want 30 total. (Blocks are shown on the back of another quilt whose size I like). #rossiefliestheflag

On Saturday, I cut out the pieces for those flags and began sewing.

When a problem comes along / #youmustwipit / Before the cream sets out to long / #youmustwipit ��

 On Sunday, I finished the piecing the flags and then looking at it on my design wall, decided to add some strips of coins to mix-up and off-set the flags a bit.  The coins are 5.5" wide (or 5.5" tall when going in the rows.

I finished just before the day ended and the light left the sky; Jon and the dogs and I ran out and snapped some pictures.

Rossie Flies the Flag

Rossie Flies the Flag

Another one for the closet!

Rossie Flies the Flag folded flimsy

See you in #youmustwipit phase two, sweet flag quilt!

If you’re interested in this pattern, check out Vol. 2 of Quilt Now. I believe you can now buy digital copies of this magazine! I used a mix of fabrics, but there’s a fair amount of Cotton + Steel 2014 and Priory Square in there.

I’ve already moved on to assembling my Disco Quilt (from a pattern by Jaybird Quilts). Unfortunately, these are columns F-L, and I’m not sure where columns A-E are! Oh well, this whole thing is an meant to clean up my studio while getting a lot of use out of the machine. Looks like I'll need to clean a bit more to find the rest of this WIP!

Rossie's Disco Quilt in progress

A few notes on the machine so far:

  • I love the extension table. It seems to make it easier to feed in big pieces accurately. 
  • I love the noise the machine makes (soft mechanical hum) 
  • The ¼” plate marking is really useful to me while I’m doing some precision work. I plan on trying the ¼-foot soon. 
  • Because the machine is straight-stitch only, it has just a little opening for the needle to go down to the bobbin and this is amazing! The stitches don’t wander off at the end of seams…they are supported throughout and stay straight and wonderful. 
  • I’m loving the needle-down function! 
  • The thread trimmer isn’t working well for me…I seem to end up re-threading the needle every time I use it. 
  • The automatic needle threader is pretty rad! I've never had one before.  It's still a bit of work to thread the needle, but I have 100% success on my first try!

I'll keep reporting back on the machine as I go and eventually do a complete post on it, but I wanted to record my early thoughts.

Thank for reading this far...your prize is selfie out-takes!

Baby Lock

**I think this is clear from the post, but just to be triply sure, the Baby Lock machine is on loan from the manufacturer and I have a professional affiliation with them.  That being said, all opinions are my own and are genuine.  As always, you can check my affiliations on that page of my blog