Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Nominee

If you follow me anywhere other than this blog, you already know that my Mod Mood has been nominated in the Viewer's Choice category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side. This is the 6th year I've participated in the festival, and I believe my first nomination. So even though I've plastered it all over social media, for the record I wanted to share here too. Because the fact remains, this is Mod Mood's home, here is where I've shared the most comprehensively about her, and she's participating in a blogger's quilt festival after all.
I'm gonna be mushy. But real. Knowing someone(s) out there nominated Mod Mood for this particular category is deeply satisfying. I thank you. She is in mighty fine company - with quilts made by many of my friends even - and the basic truth that I actually have a quilt that qualifies to be in a group of modern quilts .... well, it all makes my heart full. Again, I thank the women of Bee Sewcial for welcoming me in, for challenging me and affirming my work, for making such terrific blocks for this quilt. And to all of you, I appreciate you being there and cheering me on. Every day, it's my pleasure to live and create alongside you.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Improv Xs

Well it's my turn to plan FAITH Circle's November quilt, and we're going with improv. Simple X-blocks, all pieced together into a 12.5"x 24.5" strip. I'm asking for 2 or more blocks per strip, with smaller blocks in finished widths of 4", 6", 8" or 12".

For colors, we'll be using any shade of blue for backgrounds; any blue, turquoise, teal, or bright green for the crosses. An occasional gold or orange would be ok in the cross strips too. I learned way back in my first month as a quilter for FAITH Circle that a bit of warm with the cool can't hurt.

I've also encouraged any contrasting bits in the Xs. I mostly used block trimmings from one block to make the 'arms' of another, piecing strips together randomly to get the lengths I needed. Note that depending on the size of the beginning fabric and the ending block, the Xs sometimes hit the corners of the block, sometimes not. I like that! Hopefully the group enjoys making these as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Untitled in Green

A friend at work recently asked if I'd make a wall-hanging for a charity auction he was supporting. I gladly said yes, loving the freedom of his instruction to make whatever I wanted. I chose improv.

It had been a while since I had stepped up to the cutting table with no real plan. I guess since I was still in a mod mood, I'd chosen a fat-quarter of Bloom Modern II by Jason Yenter along with a length of a natural Kokka cotton-linen blend. Krista/Poppyprint's improv under the influence technique came to mind, so I went ahead and cut a fat-quarter of the blend, placed it right sides together with the cotton, and started marking, sewing, and cutting, creating a squarish focal piece surrounded by negative space.

Quilting a squared-off zig-zag with Aurifil 50wt #2310 (light beige) gave the quilt considerable texture.

I  had an extra strip of piecing, so I cut it to work into the binding, above and below the main point of interest. Annnnd, I'd run out of the natural-colored linen by now, so I turned to a slightly darker shade of chambray to fill in as needed.

Though very simple in design, I thought there were enough little features to give this piece some interest. Finishing at 24" x 36", I hope it finds a home with someone who thinks so too.

Monday, October 26, 2015

About that Emery

Last month, I shared a Sunday Stash post where I showed you an unusual purchase I'd made - that being a bottle of ground emery. What is emery? "The mineral emery is a hard rock. When pulverized into sand, it is used in many kinds of products, like emery boards and sand paper. Long ago it was discovered that emery makes a great pin cushion filling and has been symbolized by the old-fashioned emery-filled strawberry attached to a tomato pin cushion." [PlumEasy Patterns] The pattern for a sweet little PlumBerry "Sharpen and Shine" Pin Cushion is available on the PlumEasy website by the way.

I opted to make a small patchwork pincushion to fill with the emery. You know, the rummage-through-the-scrap-basket-for-scraps-that-make-you-smile kind of patchwork.
ETA: I forgot to mention that Trisch/hadleystreetquilts let me know that emery will leak through cotton, so it's best to line it with lycra. Trisch kindly sent me some scraps she had, and I basted a piece to each section of my pincushion before constructing. 

I confirmed that patchwork is one thing, but constructing teeny-tiny 3-D objects is not my forte. Imperfect as it is, I'm happy with my little emery pincushion, and I think my needles will be too.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mod Mood

The making of Mod Mood has been an interesting excursion, beginning with some twist of fate when I was asked to join Bee Sewcial at the beginning of the year. I wasn't looking to be in another bee, but this bee was so different. It was all about using solid fabric. It was all about improv. It was all about derived inspiration. And it sounded challenging in a new way that quite honestly, I just couldn't resist. As the months went by, we were given the most interesting inspiration cues - a Chihuly glass exhibit, poster blocks, transparency, curved shapes, a song(!). Along the way, I indeed was challenged, both by the prompts themselves, as well as the techniques (or lack of?) needed to actually create quilt blocks.

So when it came time for my month, there was alot to consider. I finally settled on the theme of "Bee Sewcial Goes Mid-Century", providing my bee-mates with a pin board which included mid-century modern shapes and patterns as well as my chosen palette. I asked for blocks that borrowed elements from typical mid-century modern graphics and boy did they deliver! Block size was left to their discretion, asking only that they equal the equivalent of 2 - 12 1/2" blocks, which led to a wide variety of sizes and the need for a unique block layout.

When it came time to put the quilt top together, it was a tad tricky, so I came up with a solution that worked for me, adding some order to the random-sized blocks yet preserving the improv feel and look. I made an 18"x22" frame of painters tape on my design wall, then pieced together a few blocks to fill the space, using other solids as filler as needed. And so it continued.

Backing is the very fitting mustard martini from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern collection. When it came time for quilting, I didn't think twice, as a few weeks before I'd happened upon an organic zig zag stitch when doodling in a free-motion class with Christina Camelli, and I knew it would perfectly suit this quilt. As the final finishing touch, I did a faced or knife-edged binding, using a tutorial by Anita/Bloomin' Workshop

To put it mildly, the entire process of bringing this quilt to fruition has provided alot of satisfaction. There is so much I love about it, from the opportunity to create with such gifted women to the challenges of piecing the components into a whole and free-motion quilting a quilt this size, to seeing it hang in our family room. It's totally put me in a mod mood.

Quilt stats:
Finished size: 62"x65"
Fabric: variety of solids
Thread: Aurifil 50wt - #2600 (light gray)
Collaboration: blocks were made by the amazing women of BeeSewcial
Quilted by: myself, freemotion
Binding: faced, using this tutorial
Category: Modern Quilts

Previous entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival:
Room Temp, 5/29/15 ~ Keychain, 5/19/15
Red Hots, 10/27/14 ~ Unlocked, 5/16/14
Crazy Rainbow, 10/25/13 ~ Absolutely Mod Pop, 5/19/13 ~ HST Love, 5/17/13
The Stars of Summer, 10/26/12 ~ Hopscotch, 5/19/12
Mango Revisited, 10/28/11 ~ Supernova, 5/13/11

Feel free to create alongside Bee Sewcial by using the hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial on Instagram. 
This quilt was on my 2015 Q4 Finish-A-Long listLinking up with the Bloggers Quilt FestivalFinish It Up Friday, and Fabric Tuesday.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Modern Sampler :: Block B

Even though I was feeling pretty good about my first "Block A" in the Modern Sampler Quilt quilt along, I was kind of dreading working on Block B. It had alot of pieces. I made the piecing easier by printing a mirror image that allowed me to paper-piece the rows 1 by 1. From there it was easy peasy.

I do see 1 little piece I think is misplaced at the bottom of the center column, so I'll fix that one of these days. But otherwise, I'm pretty happy with where this quilt is heading!

Linking up with the Modern Sampler Quilt link-up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

So what's with the copper mugs?

On one of our last nights of vacation last month, we consulted yelp for dinner suggestions and ended up at the Elements Tapas Bar. While we waited for food to start coming, we perused the drink menu, and I mentioned to hubby I'd been seeing the Moscow Mule on menus all summer. So we did the obvious and tried one, and lo and behold, it came in an icy cold copper mug. Nice touch, right? {tasty too!} Come to find out, that's tradition, originally (and maybe still?) a marketing ploy! But when hubby started making Moscow Mules at home, he made sure they came out of the kitchen in copper mugs. As it should be.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Midway Medallions

You've seen my medallion quilt as I've worked on it through the year, and I thought you might enjoy seeing some other medallion works-in-progress. All the makers are members of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, and you can see this year's monthly border assignments on our blog. I know there are a few more where I either couldn't identify the maker, or connect for permission to share, so you might want to check out the Instagram hashtag #seamqgbom. But here's most of them, with links to their Instagram accounts if you'd like to see more.







Matt/odditease (yes, Matt is making 2!)


We've all got at least a couple of borders to go, and I'll be sharing round-up posts for the guild to get us through all the finishing. Here's the first on squaring a quilt, ideas for quilt backs, and basting. I'm excited to see all of these quilts progress!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Purse Palooza

Of course you know me mostly as a quilter, but that doesn't mean I wasn't pleased when Sara/Sew Sweetness asked me if I'd like to participate in her annual blog hop and linky party, Purse Palooza. The honest truth is, I'd promised to make my mom The Emmaline Bag, and I had all I needed on hand - expect the motivation. Mom had already selected the pattern and the beautiful fabric, so really there was no excuse. So thanks to Sara for that extra push!
Click here to see more of The Emmaline Bag and read my review. Join in if you like by linking up one of your own bags made between October 5 and November 14. And do peruse the event schedule - Sara is updating links each day, so it's really easy to see all the lovely bags that are being made.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Abstract Solids

It was a fortuitous discovery. When I heard Gwen Marston was going to be the keynote speaker at QuiltCon 2016, I was more disappointed than ever that I wasn't able to be there. So I was perusing her website, happened to glance at the "Gwen's Schedule" link, and wouldn't you know, she was going to be coming very near to where I live! And soon. Quilters Anonymous was bringing her to town for classes (which I couldn't attent since I wasn't a guild member) and a lecture, which was open to the public. Oh joy.

Here's the blurb about the lecture:

Abstract Quilts in Solids 
Quilts made in solids have an impressive history. They were the first quilts to be taken seriously as art. In 1971, Amish quilts from the collection of Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof constituted the first major museum exhibition of quilts shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Using her new abstract quilts as examples, Gwen discusses her work in solids and points out some of the great characteristics inherent in solids. The lecture is illustrated with quilts from her book Ideas and Inspirations: Abstract Quilts in Solids.

I couldn't resist slapping on a visitor's badge in order to be able to see Gwen's work and hear her speak. Totally worth it.

I didn't expect Gwen to be so darn funny! Just delightful. And of course her quilts - full of inspiration . . . and most if not all, hand-quilted.

According to Gwen, some of the key characteristics of solids:
  • They are more paintery
  • They never look dated
  • Artistically....the line between them is very clear
  • They have an impressive history, being the first quilts to be considered as art
  • The quilting shows up like gangbusters

Other bits of wisdom:
  • Embrace the pucker (in talking about quilting)
  • If you get tired of doing something, go so far and quit...
  • Keep it simple while trying to create interest
  • Just have a good time and try stuff

I'm sharing some of the best photos I caught by phone camera, but get a better look at some of the quilts Gwen shared in Abstract Solids on Pinterest. I know I'll be perusing them for a while . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

Bad news: son and daughter-in-law live far enough away that we get down to see them just once or twice a year. Good news: that's enough time that invariably a new restaurant has moved into town by the time we get there, and of course we all have to go. In June, it was the table. Last month, it was Orchard City Kitchen. oh yeah.

OCK is geared around one of our favorite ways to dine - the small plate - known in our little world as 'shared plates.' That way, we can try even more dishes than if we each ordered our own meal....Triple B (biscuits, bacon, & honey butter), white corn with criminis, kale, & herbed goat cheese (oh! and "corn dust" or ground corn nuts), macaroni & cheese with brisket & Seattle's Beecher's flagship cheddar, Korean fried chicken, and charred avocado with ponzu sauce, serranos, and herbs. Ok, we'd never had any of that before!

As good as the food was, it couldn't beat the precious camaraderie around the table. What fun to peruse the menu together, catch up while waiting for the next dish, discover new tastes, evaluate and choose our favorites. Pretty much the best kind of meal.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Improv Afternoon

After working all week on a project for Purse Palooza, and before diving back into quilting my Bee Sewcial quilt, I figured I better work on a couple of the smaller items on my to-do list. Happily, improv was the name of the game.

For Seattle Modern Quilt Guild's QuiltCon 2016 Charity quilt, we were asked to make solid improvisationally pieced diamonds "pieced in a modern style using a main color and one or two accent colors. The accent colors should be minimal, comprising approximately 15% or less of the diamond." The colors available were all in the palette chosen by the Modern Quilt Guild, and we were asked to choose among limited groupings to evenly distribute the colors among the guild. I picked yellow as my main color, with accents of white and off-white. We were also given a template for the final diamond, which measured 13" tall by 6.5" wide. I enjoyed working with a shape that wasn't in my normal repertoire.

Once that was done, I felt warmed up enough to face my Bee Sewcial assignment for the month. Felicity/Felicity Quilts chose a theme of Minimalist Abstract Winter Landscapes in black, white, and shades of gray. Remember, we work only in solids, and other than the white 'background,' I was able to pull the rest from the scrap basket, which felt good. One photo in particular called to me from Felicity's inspiration board. Let me know if you can pick it out, ok?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 Finish-A-Long: Q4 List

There's no denying it: I'm a finisher. I may have lots of quilts and sewing projects in my head, but few that are actually in progress. So my FAL lists are usually pretty short, but at least this time I didn't have to fudge and start new things to put on the list! (Pitiful, I know!)

So first up and top priority will be my Bee Sewcial quilt! I am itching to get back to it!! But with vacation, my machine going in for repair, and now some pushing-the-deadline secret sewing, it's been on hold. Believe me, though, I hope to be back at it next week!

I have 2 more borders to do on my SMQG BOM medallion quilt. 112 hsts are what's next, and I can't say I'm looking forward to those, even with my Big Batch HSTs tutorial. But once I get those done, it should be easier sailing.

Lastly, I really want to make a sewing machine cover to fit on my machine when my thread cone is on, since that's how I leave it most of the time. My search for a pattern online has been fruitless, so it looks like I'm on my own for this one. Fingers crossed it won't be too bad to figure out. I've got the front panel done - the Geometric Sewing Machine I finished over the summer - so that's definitely a good start!

It feels like a doable list, while still allowing time for all those yet-to-be-started projects in my head!

Linking up my 2015 Finish-A-Long Q4 list!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Neutral Wheel

Something kind of notable happened this week! I've known it was coming for many months, questioned my own good judgment at saying "yes" more than once, yet when it came right down to it, I was excited, and it all turned out really well.

I gave my first modern quilting lectures.

I know!! Right?!

The Fidalgo Island Quilters had invited me to both of their meetings on Monday to share about "Creative Use of Neutral Fabric." Does that title ring a bell? Yup, it's precisely the name of the award my quilt Common Affection won back in 2013, and specifically the reason I was asked to visit FIQ.

So the last few weeks I've been working on my presentation, which included many of my own quilts that incorporated neutrals as well as an assortment of works by other quilt artists. As a way to explain neutral fabrics to the group, I thought it would be fun to create a fabric representation, and The Motley Wheel by Nicole/mama love quilts came to mind. If you remember, I made my own rainbow Motley a while back, and I recalled it being a pretty quick project, so starting it 2 days before my presentation wasn't totally unrealistic.

I chose to pull all the wheel fabrics right from my scrap basket, which was an added bonus, even though it gave it a bit of an eclectic look. But the assortment included solids, chambrays, linen blends, prints - together, a good example of the versatility of neutrals.

For the background and binding, I chose another neutral print, from Carolyn Friedlander's Doe, and for the backing, "Cubist Perception" from Pat Bravo's Etno. I quilted it all the same as my original Motley - a spiral for the wheel, and a starburst of sorts on the background. I do wish I'd cut out the center bulk after appliqueing on the center circle and before basting, but I just plain forgot.

Even so, the Neutral Wheel was a fun little addition to my presentation. And boy was it a treat to share my love of neutrals with FIQ. They were so welcoming, so appreciative, and yes, a little in awe. Indeed, a very good time.

I've created a Neutrals board on Pinterest - most of the quilts I shared in my presentation are there, and more . . .
Linking up with Finish It Up Friday, Scraptastic Tuesday, and Fabric Tuesday.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Backwards or Not?

When I showed hubby the whole cloth quilt I had basted to take on vacation, he said, "Isn't that backwards?" He'd noticed that what I was calling the 'front' was 1 whole piece of fabric, and the 'back' was pieced. I understood why it didn't make sense to him, but it was exactly what I'd intended.

The Cotton+Steel Mesa that I was using for the front made it easy to quilt without marking, and I randomly alternated between straight lines and jagged, using perle cotton #8. I'd used Pellon Legacy Bamboo Blend batting, which is incredibly soft, and that paired with the hand-quilting created one sweet and cuddly quilt. And for the record, the bamboo quilts like a dream.

Before I was too far into the quilting, I used a dinner plate to mark rounded corners, so I had guide-lines in which to keep my quilting. Once I was home and it was time to choose binding fabric, wouldn't you know my stash let me down, and the only thing that suited me was the midnight peppered cotton I'd bought on vacation. It's not quite navy, but I think if you saw it up close you'd see why it goes so well with the Mesa. Full confession: it was only after I was sewing the binding on that I realized I hadn't cut it on the bias, which you should always do if you're doing rounded corners! I think it was because I was using a shot-cotton that I got away with forgetting. But don't take the risk....

Since I'd hand-quilted the quilt with that perle cotton, I really wanted to incorporate that element into the binding too. I machine-stitched the binding onto the back side, then folded it over to the front and hand-stitched it down very closely to the edge. I know I'm taking a chance, but I just had to do it, and I love the way it looks. I'll be sure and let you know how it wears, for better or worse.

All in all, this was a really delightful foray into a different facet of quilting, and I'm glad I gave it a try. So tell me, is it not really a whole cloth quilt since I pieced the back?? Hmm....

quilt finished at 40"x52"