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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Around the world Blog Hop - a game of Blog Tag!!

Hi everyone,

yes, I have been a bit too quiet lately and as always, I will try to NOT be in the future! The end of summer somehow just sneaked-up on me with so much to do around the house, family and yes - even quilting and sewing! Just not having time to write about it...or, honestly - just not as good in FINDING time to write about it, right?

So - what better inspiration and "push" to get back into it and be better than a show of support and love from fellow quilter, blogger, amazing young artist and my dear, dear friend Maer of Hard Rock Quilter ! Visit and follow her blog for some amazing inspirations and creative adventures she shares!

Maer invited me to participate in this really fun and inspiring game of BLOG TAG among bloggers - a phenomenal way of connecting and getting to know so many amazing creatives who also share their journey through blogging - I just LOVE it!!

So it is my turn to tag more bloggers and my tag is Pam Wilde, of Sewing Wilde ! Pam is a friend and fellow Western NY MQG member and an amazingly creative quilter - visit and follow Pam's blog to enjoy lots of inspiration!
Pam's turn to answer few fun questions will be next Monday, October 6th and here are mine:

1.  What are you working on?

Oh, that is my favorite question! ;) 
Even though summer always gets in the way of many sewing hours, with its garden and outdoor stuff and house projects, I squeezed in some fun! Couple of weeks ago I took an amazing class from world famous Quiltaholic - really an excellent teacher, traveler and quilter, Bonnie Hunter of  . Oh my goodness - that was just so much fun!! If you looked around my blog, you might have noticed that I an not much of a scrap-quilter...But I do truly, truly LOVE them and admire them!! It seems that I just can't do them??
Well, if I love anything - it is to try something new, to challenge myself and LEARN something new! All accomplished in this fun class, thanks to my friend Robi (a phenomenal scrap quilter who even cut a whole bag full of squares and strips for me, to add to variety) and an amazing inspiration of Bonnie's quilts. 
We were working on Blue Ridge Beauty quilt:
Yeah, pretty spectacular, right?
Here is my start - yes, me the passionate strip-piecer actually made four-patches from squares!! For maximum variety, you know... Not to mention that all the hard work of cutting all these was done by Robi! (did I mention she is a good friend?)

Pairs sewn, seams to the blue, pairs joined with that nested seam...and voila!! Piles of four-patches!!
And an excellent, EXCELLENT tip from Bonnie about "spinning those seams" - a much better way to press the seams in a four-patch block, to have it lay flat and - even more importantly for this pattern - have all the seams NEST later! Did I mention EXCELLENT tip??

Now isn't this a lovely, SCRAPPY sight:

Then I tried even more new things - making HSTs from strips, by using the Easy Angle ruler! I have to say - I do LIKE it!! It works from strips of a "regular" size (much like my beloved Thangles) and it is easy to use!

Two pairs of neutral-blue strips are on this pile and then you cut and flip, and cut and flip...

Take the pairs and line 'em up to chain-piece... Yes, you are sewing on the bias and if you are just a bit careful, it's OK! I have to say - having the Dual-feed on my PFAFF is what I really, really LOVE in this case


And ready for some block assembly:

These blocks are simple and easy, but they do give so many layout possibilities! did I do as a scrap quilter? What do you think?? :)

Now for some REAL scrap magic! Towards the end of the class, Bonnie wanted us to talk about block layouts, so she asked for everyone's finished blocks to have plenty - regardless that they were made in all different colors and styles of fabric (from Kaffe Fasset to Civil War - I kid you not!) - and look at this scrappy magic!!

YEAH!! Don't you just love it?? I DO !!
There might be a closet scrap-quilter somewhere inside me... :)

OK, OK...not so fast! I also did do some "more familiar" for me stuff too! He...he...
Played a bit with my beloved "ombre" or color gradation fabrics, trying to develop some new fun ways to use it.
So I started by just doing some free-form curvy cutting and piecing (you know, one I love to do, blogged about "HOW-TO" of that for the border of the Migration table runner, HERE - scroll all the way to the end!)

Then layered two strip-sets with opposing colors and cut some squares, then cut them diagonaly, then sew...

And here is the result of play!

I kinda like this!! What do you think?
The curvy checkerboard stuff on the right is another attempt at play...we'll see how that will go, not so sure now... :)
That is the latest from my sewing room, so lets get back to the BLOG TAG and questions - next one is:

2.  How does my work differ from others?

Hmm... that is a tough one. I am not even sure that is does? And I am not sure that I can actually answer this? Isn't it maybe more for others to say that? What do you think?
One thing I can say is this: I love to play and experiment. I try to use traditional patchwork and piecing to "paint" a picture of something (like flowers, or landscape...), to bring the feeling of it, rather than to actually represent it literally (like with applique or actual landscape quilts). 
Something like Hungry Caterpillar made out of Snowball blocks: (blogged about this one HERE)

Or some flowers made from HSTs and QSTs: (blogged about the design process for this one HERE ) that different than others? Not so sure and maybe it's not even important? What is important is to have fun in creating what you love. My passion is to encourage anyone who will listen to try it and do it. 
Next question:

3. Why do I do what I do? much time do you have? Ha ha!! Yeah, I could talk about this for a long time, but really the short answer is - I just LOVE it. It makes me happy, it fulfills my desire to create and play, it gives me such happiness to give what I make to my loved ones. The added bonus - as I teach others to quilt I take such pleasure and gratitude to inspire others to be creative. I take this as a gift and privilege that should never be taken for granted.

4. How does my creative process work?

I doddle a lot, I always have. Since I don't carry a small purse but rather large one, a good size notebook (with square grid) is always with me and it has so many scribbles in it... Inspired by nature, by some gorgeous fabric, by some lines and shapes I saw. Not everything becomes something, but even just that doodling it a fun thing to do, right? If some do go from a doodle to a quilt, it usually goes from a doodle into my EQ7 first and then into fabric. Actually, the two last links above, for the blog posts about those two quilts - they have just that, a process that got me to making them, so take a look if you like! :)

Well, this was fun! It is a good thing to answer some of these basic questions from time to time - it makes you think and reminisce! 
I would LOVE to know what you think, what is your creative process and why YOU do it - let me know! Continue with this fun by checking out Maer's blog (and ones that came before her) and then next week, Pam's blog!

Thank you for spending time with me and have a wonderful week ahead,


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sew cute and Indelible... sewing in Grandmaville again (and sort of a tutorial too!)

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had  a great long weekend here in US and just as wonderful one anywhere else!
Summer is winding down, although it seems it only decided to show up here in Buffalo area - we had few of those hot and muggy days here...not my favorite for sure, not to mention that big snow-dog of mine... But, he still smiles, as long as we are walking and exploring the neighborhood!
 Love that pup so much. :)

I am still not in the full sewing mode it seems...somehow between the garden and house projects, that sweet granddaughter and all -  hours of the day just run away from me. But that's life. Garden gives you back the fruits of your labor...

...and house projects" - hey they are actually SEWING related!! You see, now that two out of three children are out of the family home, it is time for me to expand my tiny sewing space a bit more.. So, final house project of the summer - my new sewing space!! Woo-hoo!!!
First things first - room had to be painted, so guess what I was doing during this weekend - furniture moving, cleaning and...speckling!! I have to say, it made me smile that speckle is in COLOR!! Lovely shade of pink-lavender that changes to white when dry - so cool!
Can't wait to finish this and show you my new space!!

But in the meantime - that sweet, adorable, cutest-in-the-whole-world granddaughter of ours is growing, smiling, giggling and of course inspiring some more baby sewing!!

I already have so many cute sewing patterns for all kinds of outfits and clothes for her... don't ask! ;)
But seriously now, one of my favorite sources for very cute patterns is Create Kids Couture site. So many cute, useful and wonderful patterns there and they come in so many sizes! I have several of them and so far tried Baby Wyatt's Shortalls for my little girl - and really, really LOVE it! Very clear instructions and photographs to guide you through. So much so that I was comfortable enough to actually change and modify the pattern too!
Yes, you saw that right - pattern is actually for a BOY'S overalls, but stick with me here and you will see how I changed it to be a GIRLY one! :)
Our little Juliana is three and a half months now! Growing and giggling and getting cuter by the minute...Oh I am so smitten with that little girl and cherish every minute spent with her. She inspires all these cute, pink and baby-girl things, but for this one, I wanted something little more "grown-up"...?
There it was on my "current inspirations" shelf, (read: all over the sewing room since I love it so much), that beautiful INDELIBLE pile of fabric - yes, the first, gorgeous collection by my friend Katarina Roccella , the one I already blogged about few times.

So - that was it! Next sewing in Grandmaville produced this:

Oh, I LOVE it so much!! :)

Well, if you looked at that link above for Baby Wyatt's Shortalls, you will notice that mine doesn't look much like it, does it? But, YES - I still used that pattern and all the very good instructions in it, with few little modifications to make this, and that is what I want to show you today.
Pattern has only one piece to it (really neat!), with the dashed line marking the second piece (lining for the upper part). Here is mine, cut out for the size 0-3 months:

If you look at MY photo of the overalls, you will notice that I used that Lining piece to create a separate piece for my front too, since I wanted the bottom part to be a bit gathered and wider and kinda "pouffed-up" a bit? (is that even a word?)
So for cutting out the main part of the overalls, I simply placed my pattern so that this dashed line is on the edge of the fabric:

Isn't this print beautiful?? I love that teal color with those small hints of deep purple and gentle pink that allows you to accent the print with those colors!

Back to pattern modification - you can also notice on the photo above that I placed a pattern piece so that I still had extra fabric on both sides? That is because I wanted my lower part to be wider and a bit gathered too, so I need that extra width. Also, I wanted pant legs to be longer, so there is extra fabric for the length too. While you can add to the length easily, you can't just add this extra width to the sides - that would completely change your piece and it would NOT not work. You need to add it in the MIDDLE of the piece.

Here is a simple way to do it:

Just make a "pleat" in the middle of the fabric that will encompass that extra width - fold it in the middle so much that your pattern piece will now lay on top and reach the side edges of the fabric - hope the photo above is clear? Here is another one:

I pinned the fold in place so that it doesn't move and shift, placed the pattern piece on top, marked and cut.
Since I didn't use the UPPER part of the pattern piece, this also means that I needed to cut DOUBLE for that one (pattern calls for just TWO pieces, for the lining, but I needed FOUR - for lining and FRONT upper part). I simply layered TWO different solids (yes, the lovely pink and deep purple to accent the print!), both folded right sides together, placed my UPPER pattern piece (one above that dashed line), marked and cut:

So here are all my pieces, ready to sew:

Well, because of my modifications, now the bottom part doesn't match the upper part, right? Quick basting stitch on the top edge of the bottom part, pull the thread and GATHER the piece to match:

Repeat for the other pair and then sew them together (with right sides together of course), and... VOILA!

From this point on my friends, this project is EXACTLY the same as the original one in the pattern!
So I proceeded with sewing on the lining and following all the clear directions to finish the overalls...

... with one more modification! Since my bottom part was wider and gathered, I also wanted the bottom edge of the pants to be gathered, with elastic in it for easy use.
Here is what I did:
- while hemming the pants (as per pattern instructions) I made the hem a little wider (mine was about 1 1/2" wide) and stitched it double, making the casing for the elastic and a small ruffle bellow that:

These overalls have snaps in the inseam (between the legs), therefore once I threaded the elastic inside the casing, I had to stitch the ends in place, BEFORE folding and hemming that inseam:

This little bit of zig-zag stitching is NOT visible, since it is folded into the hem.

After I folded and sewn the inseam hem and added my snaps for closures, it was time to PLAY!!
With embellishments of course!
Made a small ruffle for the front and used a cute decorative stitch on my Pfaff to stitch the top part (and secure the lining too on the inside)

Made a little pocket for that Binky and few Yo-Yo flowers (in this case these are just two different size Yo-Yos, one from 3" diameter circle (pink) and one from 2" one (purple))

All of the sewing was done with 50wt Aurifil in pale pink (my favorite for baby-girl sewing!) and this gorgeous dark purple! Hey, it's no secret that if I ever win lottery, I WILL have EVERY color and EVERY type of Aurifil in my sewing room. I'm just sayin' Universe, are you listening? ;)

SEW...after all of that - here are few photos of the finished overalls:

Can you tell that I loved how my Black-eye Susans also accent the gold color in the gorgeous Indelible print? (by the way this print is called Florete Stains Tealberry)

Forgot to say that this pattern goes together really quick, even with all of my modifications! It took me maybe an hour to make it and then I spent some beautiful time just hand stitching those little flowers and ruffles...thinking about my sweet little girl and smiling all the way...
Yes I am really enchanted with her.

Hope you have the chance to stitch something cute for a little girl or a boy soon!

Thanks for visiting and have a lovely week ahead,

PS - you didn't think I will leave you without showing off our princess, did you? He, he...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Transparency colors effect in EQ7 - a quick tutorial

Hi again everyone,

two blog posts in two days! - this has to be my record for all times... ha ha!
Oh well, one of these days I will learn how to better plan my blog posts and schedule them, and be consistent and.... you get the picture? Honestly, I have all these things in my head and in my sketchbooks and on bits of paper...I want to share it all (in many ways, not just here) but better organization (of little extra time that I have) still escapes me... As always, if you have any good tips, please share! :)

But back to our topics of the day.
If you read the previous post, I started this little experiment of creating the transparency effect with colors in my EQ7. Playing with primary colors was fairly easy because you know what happens when you mix red and yellow, or blue and red (see previous post HERE)... but if you want to use colors further away from primary, subtle shades, it becomes a bit more tricky to figure out which color exactly will bring the transparency effect.

Well, my trusty EQ7 came to the rescue there and I will show you how!

Let's start from the beginning.
First, to achieve this layout and have an easy way of coloring, - as well as possibly sewing later! -
I started with this layout: 3" blocks (horizontal setting) and 2" wide sashing between them:

The reason I did this, specially having a sashing (where there really isn't any VISIBLE sashing of course) instead of just a grid of same squares, is because I wanted somewhat "offset" overlap, not one with squares overlapping half way.
Here is how this would work:

Basically the sashing is a center of each of your individual squares, and four 3" blocks around it are the corners of that square - hope you can see what I mean above? I colored one square red and the other yellow and above the uncolored square will be the transparent overlap. It will be orange of course:

Now that is easy! And you can have another one - overlap yellow with blue:

So that was the easy color choice I was talking about. Now on to the more subtle colors and how they would "mix":
Here is one of those:

Pink and gray might not be a very difficult one, since of course the overlap will be some "grayed-out" shade of pink, but finding that exact color in the palette of solids that is provided by default in EQ7 might not be that easy... However, you can MAKE your own tints and shades in EQ and also the GRADES too!! GRADES means that you can do a gradation of colors going from one to another color and here is how:

1. Find one of the two colors you are overlapping - here I am showing PINK - and RIGHT CLICK on it with your cursor
2. Drop-down menu will appear and on it, you need to choose "Add Grades", like the photo shows, and click on that.

3. When you click on it, a certain gradation of colors will appear - on the left end of it will be the color you picked, (sorry, somehow a photo made my chosen color look more like orange than the pink I actually choose!), but on the right end of it will be some default color (yellow here) - so you have to change that.


4. Click on the little triangle that is right by the yellow color and a whole palette of colors will appear in a drop-down window (photo)

5. You need to look at them and try to find your OTHER color (in my case it was GRAY, remember?). Granted, this window in not big and sometimes it might be a bit tricky to find that exact color, but even it if is NOT exact but very close, you are likely to have what you want at the end.
6. Click on the color you want and...

VOILA!! The gradation of colors between your two chosen ones will appear!! COOL!!

7. Now you need to click on that "Add to Sketchbook" button you see on the bottom left of that window, to save all these in your palette.

It will show up at the END of your palette of solid colors (so don't panic if you don't see it as you look - you need to scroll all the way to the right and it will be there (photo shows it as last 10 colors in my palette)

8. Now you just need to pick one of the shades to color that "transparency square" - usually it is a color close to the middle between the two that works the best.

Here is my choice:

That was easy, right?
This way you can find that "transparency" color between ANY two colors you want!
But of course there is MORE you can do... :)
Remember when you did that first RIGHT click on the color and menu dropped down, there were more choices there? YES! - you can also do few more things to expand your solid color palette in EQ!

If you click on "Add Shades and Tints" you will get a nice light-to-dark gradation of that chosen color. In the photo below, I right-clicked on the ORANGE color that is right next to the upper left corner of the window and got this nice gradation:

If you click on "Add Tones" you will get a gradation of your chosen color (same orange here) with addition of more and more GRAY to it:

And of course what we did in this tutorial, adding GRADES - here is another example showing two quite different colors, that same orange from above and blue:

What a lovely, amazing set of all new colors!! Don't you agree?? I just LOVE this!!

Oh and if all this is not enough for ya - yes, you can add even more colors by choosing your own! There is one more choice in that menu - "Add Color" - if you click on that, you will get this and be able to make your color:

Slide that cursor up and down, left and right till you get what you like!! FUN!!

OK, so that is how I did ALL of my choices in the quilt above, and I ended up with a nice set of new gradations and colors at the end of my default solids palette, you can see most of them below:

Isn't this neat??
I am sure lots of you knew this already, and of course it is somewhere in that fabulous manual that comes with the program, but for many who are just starting to explore EQ7, or are not too keen on reading the manual -  I hope this is a good, quick tutorial on how to do this.

Of course, using this transparency way of coloring, you can achieve really neat effects in coloring some classic blocks too! Here is just a quick example of a simple star block (made from four Quarter-square triangle units, using a partial seam... I love this simple block - we can talk about this one and how to make it, later too!)

I only did a quick coloring here, with only two transparency combinations, (hey I can play forever, but really need to finish this tutorial and post it! he he), but you can see the possibilities, right? :)

Oh and then the fun of actually picking FABRICS to MAKE all these beauties for real... Solids or prints that read as solids - what would be your preference? Hmmmm...

I hope you enjoyed this little trick that your EQ7 can give you and please let me know if you have any questions or show me what you create - I would love to see!!

Have a fabulous Wednesday,

#EQ7  #EQ7tutorial  #transparency