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Thursday, November 13, 2014

I am back!

Hey everyone,

Got a bit sidetracked here and neglected my poor blog... Yet again. :(
To be honest, not much quilting or sewing has been going on lately... With sewing room switch, some machine trouble and life in general... So not much to share (boo hoo...) but I decided to jut pop-in for a little bit anyway! 
Speaking of sewing room, not complete but making progress - at least it is usable now and I just want to sew, quilt, cut, play...
The shelves for all the fabric came from my local, favorite quilt shop that recently closed... Yeah, that was a bit of a heartbreak (story later) but I am so glad to have this little piece of history and memory with me... Great shelves too! :) 

And then the big fabric move has begun... Oh boy.

That was a start... But it will be all worth it in the end of course!! :) And yes - I am purging some too! Want some?? 

But I actually did get to sew just a little bit!! I had to finish my Modern Quilting Round Robin for this round so here is what I did: 
- we are Improv Piecing group and this is what I got in the mail this time:

Cool huh?
On the left there is a piece of fabric that, after some pondering, I thought I will use. To me, at this stage this piece needed an "eye resting point"... Don't you think? 
So here is what I did:

Some curve cut-sew-and slash first.
Some more of that cool fabric on the bottom:

And just a pop of color at the end:

What do you think? 

I am really enjoying this MQ Round Robin - specially because we decided to do mostly improvisational piecing! That is somethin I always admire but didn't do much myself - so here is a chance to stretch myself!!
Do you like to do this - join some fun group/project to force you to "step out of the box"?
I really love doing that. Of course, can't wait to see how my quilt will look like at the end!

Off to start sewing, quilting or cutting something!! Hope to have some more to share very soon,
have a wonderful Thursday everyone!

Marija

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Hi everyone,

Do you like this social media trend called Throwback Thursday? I really like seeing people's memories, old photos, dogs when they were pups... Somehow I always miss to do it myself, but hey - today is the day!!

This being a quilty blog for the most part, while searching for some photos I stumbled upon this folder called "Woven Whispers"...


Well - Throwback Thursday here I come!
I really love this design and remember having lots of fun playing with colors and applique and yet... somehow I forgot all about it??
  This was my first chance to design patterns for a brand new line of fabrics! A well known fabric designer, Ro Gregg asked me to do it after seeing some of my designs through the QuiltWoman.com where I have few patterns published. I was so excited!!
Fabric line was Marblehead - just gorgeous colors in a marble texture. I played with many different designs with this fabric collection, but this one was picked as kinda "new and unusual" - and yet, can you see what it is, what it is based on?
Yup - just a good old Rail Fence block!
In this case, I just arranged it in a 9-patch grid, with a plain (or print) square in the middle:

or with plain (background) square:


You can do just few colors, put blocks on-point and get this:


Or go to town with colors, like here:


Or do a color gradation that really illuminates the quilt:

Once you go to use many colors, like above, it would be difficult to sew Rail Fence blocks into that 9-patch larger block that is shown above ahead of time and keep the color placement correct.  In that case I keep my RF blocks separate, place them all the way I want them on the design wall and THEN maybe take them as 9-patch units to sew.

Oh I even played with incorporating a photo into this design by replacing few of the bigger 9-patch blocks with a photo (so this would be a square with photo transferred on fabric):

With photos of my beloved Golden Chain tree in full bloom..

Or with some of many gorgeous Clematis flowers...


Isn't this fun? I really want to do this for real one of these days... :)
There is NEVER enough time to make all the quilts we can dream-up, right? 

So when this new collection called Marblehead was coming and I was fortunate to be asked to make something to showcase it - I got to actually MAKE one of these designs!
Here is my design in EQ, colored with Marblehead:


And then it came to life... :)

Ready to be quilted:


And then some quilting fun: (all quilted with three different colors of 50wt #Aurifil - and if I remember correctly, this was one of the first times I quilted with Aurifil! Yeah - fell in love real fast.)



By the way, this was all raw-edge, fusible applique and most often, I don't stitch around applique shapes but rather secure them down (and give them texture!) with just quilting over them.
Do you do the same?




LOVE the sunrise light on this!! :)




So this is a large wall hanging size (or actually you could just throw it over the sofa, like this? ), but the beauty of this pattern is that it is so MODULAR! Make larger blocks and it becomes lap size or even bed size quilt!! Choose to do applique or NOT! In my pattern I included those versions too.

Speaking of the pattern - yes you can get it, right HERE on Quiltwoman.com web site. (OK, shameless self-promotion is over now!)

And as long as we are going down memory lane - I looked and realized that I blogged about this design just a little bit way back in 2012, and that post has actual colors (with ID numbers!) of all the Marblehead fabrics I used in this quilt, together with a dark color variation - you can find it HERE

So how's that for a #tbt Throwback Thursday?
Maybe I forgot about this one because the quilt itself is not in my possession any more? But there are more future quilts that I want to make on this theme...

Do you have a quilt you made and kinda forgot about? 

I have to say that now I am inspired to look back some more and see what I was doodling (or planning in my EQ) and then forgot about... ? :)

Oh and not to leave out my buddy from this trip down memory lane - look at big boy Marley when he was just a pup!!


How cute was he!?! Kids, grand-kids or our furry kids - they all grow up way to fast, right?

Thank you so much for going down the memory lane with me today, have a wonderful weekend,

Marija

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Choosing quilting patterns... and other life's bits (new sewing room!)

Hi everyone,

hope your Fall is going well and it is as colorful as mine here - I just LOVE fall colors!! I find myself loving every season for one reason or another, but fall is by far the most spectacular when it comes to color, don't you agree? Just look at this glorious color display!

 Poor Marley is used already of me stopping every so often and not only taking pictures all the time but trying to get him to stay and pose too... Poor guy! Doesn't his face look like saying "really mom, another photo?", ha ha! Good thing he loves me...

But I "spread" my annoying habits to other family members too - Oliver, our grand-puppy is getting quite good in posing too during our Monday walks when this grandma is baby-sitting (by far the BEST part of my week!!)

OK, back to quilting now.

Remember that project I worked on two weeks ago and shared a peek and few small quilting tips? I can finally show you the whole thing, yay! My friend Martha's new pattern, Cherry Orchard is on the web site and this little table topper is actually a BONUS you will get as a free download, when you buy a pattern - how cool! So here it is:


I love the hexagon shape!! And yet, it is really not difficult to piece (Martha's instructions are really clever and make it easy!). The original pattern is for a lap size quilt and a long table runner and this hexagon shaped topper is a bonus.
Isn't this gorgeous?

So now you see that I was right to be a bit nervous when Martha asked me to quilt the hexagon topper for her? :)  (read about it HERE)
So here is a little story on how I wen about choosing what to do, thought you might want to know or it might inspire you to try something new?
Starting in the center (as you always should - quilt from center of the quilt - out) - here is a blank hexagon:

My FMQ instinct immediately thought of some feathery plumes...or some cherries and leaves...but I decided to try "less is more" way and go just for some straight line hexagon echo:

Here is one thing that I did and SHOULDN'T: instead of going for the TRUE "from the middle, out" way and marked the center (smallest) hexagon first and then echo it with bigger ones - I went for stitching in the ditch around the dark plum border and then echoing towards the center. I got away with it this time and was very careful about keeping everything straight...so no puckers in the middle, but I am telling you - DON'T DO IT this way, it's risky and tricky!
OK, dodged that bullet (and learned my lesson in NOT being lazy to mark things!), let's go to the next step:
This was the basic unit here, the cherry tree. I knew I wanted background around the tree to be more densely quilted so that tree "pops out" and then something fairly simple within the tree. So I went first with some tight spirals around the TOP of the tree:

At this point I switched from sage green Aurifil 50wt thread to the dark purple/plum one, to quilt the cherry trees. Decided to go with quilting three cherries and some leaves in them. Never did cherries before but decided to be brave, ha ha.

It might be a bit hard to see it, since print is quite busy, but you know what - that was a perfect and very forgiving way to try our that motif (other than doodling on paper, which I did first!) - busy print really hides your quilting!

Hope you can see cherries? :)

Now it was the time to go tackle the triangle space between cherry trees and bottom of the trees (and switch back to the sage green thread color). By now I was "brave" with those cherries and decided that a pair of them should go right there on display! Now I was a bit nervous and decided to actually just lightly draw them, just to have a guide...
Can you see it?

It was very light, I even used just regular pencil for this... And then, VOILA - cherries! :)

What do you think? OK?
I was actually quite happy with them! (and that is not always the case, I can be really harsh to myself...)
Once cherries were all done, time for the bottom of the trees space and some "grass" in form of modified McTavishing - that I was comfortable with! :)




And finally, for the outer border, I went back to something I am not as good at but want to get better (yeah, you guessed it - it was back to that forgiving, very busy print! he he...) - PEBBLES! I am so not good at pebbles yet, but getting better... I hope! :)

Pebbles from the back...

And that was IT - all done!! 
As I mentioned in the previous post - all of this was done with these two lovelies from my palette of  50wt Aurifil - I really want more shades of this gorgeous plum/purple color!! 


So - what do YOU think? Agree with my choices of quilting? Do you have any other suggestions I could try for next time?

How do you go about choosing your quilting? I would LOVE to know! 





The most important - Martha did love it!! YAY!! 
Remember, you can have this gorgeous pattern and free bonus - find it HERE!!

Few other life bits - I am moving my sewing room into a bigger space!! Hooray!!
This is the second larges bedroom in our house and it used to be at first the oldest son's room (he is now happily married) and then our daughter moved into it when she came back from NYC, and now, since she moved out again, it's time for me to spread a bit! :) Don't get me wrong - it took quite a bit of me to actually do this... I am one of those parents that holds on... he, he. But our daughter was on my case to do it, convincing me that the smaller room (my current sewing room) is just fine as a guest room. After all, I sew every day and we have guests only few times a year, right? 
Move is going slow, started from painting first (just needed to be clean, fresh coat of paint) and then the best husband in the world helped to make this awesome design wall:

I just LOVE it!!
So what is it? Its house builder's insulation boards from Home Depot - they are 4 ft x 8 ft, light foam, with that foil-y cover on top. They are wrapped with white felt (I found wide one at Joann's for $2.99/yard!!) and then hubby built a light frame behind them from 1"x 2" x 10 ft slats. Needed them to be sturdy. The we got couple of those double-sliding closet door rail sets and hung these two boards as if they are closet doors. Behind them will be all my shelves with fabric!!  
Did I mention I just love it? :)
This past weekend I actually did the majority of move! Fabrics (and LOTS of it!) is not organized yet, but that will take time and some new shelves, but  - I can sew and work in it already!!
New sewing and cutting area:

Future set-up of Grand Quilter (of course thread rack will not stay there...):


And that lovely design wall with some temporary shelves already tucked behind it:


Way, way more work to be done, but I am excited to finish it!! 
Stay tuned, I will share more photos as I make progress. In the meantime - thanks for spending some time with me, hope you will leave me a comment about your quilting choices or your life bits.
Have a lovely week ahead and - Marley says:

SMILE!!

Marija

#quilting #Aurifil #quiltingchoices #newsewingroom