Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long :: Q2 Finishes Link-Up

Here we are at the end of another quarter of the 2016 Finish-A-Long! Remember, the FAL is now global, and a community of bloggers across the world are jointly hosting. Our hosts are:
It's time to link up the projects on your 2016 Q2 FAL list that you finished. First, a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:

While everyone is busy linking up, we will also feature a week of tutorials. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2016 Q2 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Here's a refresher on the link-up "rules":
  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Your link for each finish is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please use the 2016 FAL button or the hashtag #2016FAL in your blog posts about FAL finishes.
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original Q2 list so that we can verify your entry.
  • Please become part of the FAL community by exploring the links of others and commenting. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2016 FAL Facebook page is here and do follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2016fal and #falq2yourname (substitute your Instagram ID - this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your list).
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q2 finishes link will stay open from now thru July 7, closing at 11PM EDT. Link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings, and we will post the winners on each host's blog. Start making your Q3 FAL lists any time, as the Q3 list link opens on July 8!

Quilt-It Modern

Welcome to my day on Riley Blake Design's Quilt-It Modern Blog Tour! When I was invited to join the tour and saw it was all about the new line of Confetti Cottons solids, I was all in. I chose some colors without really having a plan, and by the time they arrived, I was thinking big and bold, like a super-sized traditional quilt block made modern.

After debating all sorts of blocks, I finally settled on Aunt Sukey's Choice, a block that could be pieced in a variety of ways while emphasizing different colors as well. Speaking of colors, I chose Mermaid Tail, Lime, Dandelion, and Rainforest, which make a bold statement against the mixed ‘background’ of Cloud and Sand Dollar.

Finishing at 48" square, the jumbo Sukey block goes together quickly and would make a generous-sized baby quilt or small lap quilt. I'm sharing a mini tutorial in case you'd like to make your own!

Supplies needed for quilt front:
1/2 yard each of Mermaid Tail, Lime, Rainforest, and Cloud
2/3 yard each of Dandelion and Sand Dollar

Cutting instructions:
8 - 8.5" squares Lime
4 - 8.5" squares Mermaid Tail 
4 - 8.5" squares Rainforest 
16 - 8.5" half-square triangles (HSTs) in Sand Dollar and Dandelion [To make 1 pair, cut 1 - 9.5" square of each color; place together, marking a diagonal line on the back of 1 square; sew 1/4" on either side of line, cut on line and press seams open. Trim each HST to 8.5" square.]
[EDA 1/14/17: A reader questioned the size of the pieced center, and until I get a chance to test in fabric, I've added the measurements according to the completed quilt. Sorry for any confusion or error.]
1 - 12.5" (11.5") pieced center diamond [Cut 16 - 3.5" (3.25") squares in a mix of colors. Piece rows and columns to create a 12.5 (11.5") unfinished block.]
2 - 13" squares Cloud, cut on diagonal [Sew one triangle onto each of two opposite sides of pieced center block. Press. Sew triangles onto 2 remaining sides and press. Trim to 16" (16.5") square.]

Arrange squares and blocks according to diagram. Piece rows and press, then sew columns together.

There's such a delightful variety of color in the full line of Riley Blake Confetti Cottons, which I found lovely to work with. See the complete schedule of the Quilt-It Modern Blog Tour below, plus you can also follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #ModernQuiltTour.

June 27 ~ Andy/A Bright Corner [abrightcorner]
Caitlin/Salty Oat [saltyoat]
June 28 ~ Caroline/Trillium Design [trilliumdesign]
June 29 ~ Debbie/A Quilter's Table [aquilterstable] you're here!
June 30 ~ Jessica/Euphoria Jessica [euphoria_jessica]
July 1 ~ Anorina/Samelia's Mum [sameliasmum]
July 5 ~ M-R/Quilt Matters [quiltmatters]
July 6 ~ Christina/Sometimes Crafter [somretimescraftr]
Natalia/Piece N Quilt
July 8 ~ Katie/Sew Katie Did [sewkatiedid]

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Show Off Saturday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Webinar and a W.i.P.

This post is two-fold in that I wanted to tell you about something, yet before I managed that, it inadvertently affected something else, also worth telling.

So Sunday morning, the Seattle MQG experienced a first. Our Vice President of Programs, Allison, somehow managed to arrange a webinar between us and Karen Lewis, screen-printer and fabric designer of Blueberry Park. Now I don't really expect to take up screen-printing anytime soon, but I thoroughly enjoyed the webinar just the same. It's always interesting to hear the story of a crafter's journey, and Karen's was no exception. In fact, she was really inspiring. She talked about her screen-printing process and how hard work pays off ..... the fact that there are no short-cuts to building skills - it takes practice, practice, practice. She talked about how she sometimes minimizes her response when asked what she does by answering simply, "I make things." But what really struck me was her encouragement to "never say never, and don't be afraid to change directions" and most of all, "don't be afraid of getting it wrong."

Which is exactly what I was afraid of that morning. I'd shared a work-in-progress on Instagram the night before, honestly hoping for some clue if my project was headed in a good direction, or totally 'off'. It was met with mixed reviews, and I kept debating with myself where to take it next, or whether to just stop, or at least stop for now.

But after Karen's "don't be afraid of getting it wrong" statement, I think I actually said out loud, "I'm just going to do it." Meaning I was going to keep those improv X blocks I liked so much, sew them onto the improv lines block I was afraid I'd ruin, and see what happened.

So for better or worse, I moved forward with the design that was simmering in my mind. Karen had reminded me that whatever it became didn't need to be perfect. It didn't even need to work at all. With this project, on this day, I just needed to do it.

So I've since added a third 'border' of improv squares and then some, and I hope to start quilting yet this week. It's been an uncertain path. But sometimes you just have to make and see where it takes you.

Monday, June 27, 2016

15 Items to Pack for Going and Sewing

Finally! I gathered supplies and packed my Maker's Tote with the basics, so it's ready to go next time a sew-in or retreat rolls along! Rather than tear my sewing space apart every time I sew away, I wanted this tote ready to grab and go. So check out what I've packed and remind me what I've missed!

1. small cutting mat - My 8" x 11" mat fits easily in this large tote.
2. rotary cutter with a fresh blade
3. rulers - An assortment of smaller favorites.
4. sewing machine needles - Just in case.

5. all purpose scissors 
6. snips - These are my favorite to have next to the machine no matter where I'm sewing.
7. spare reading glasses - Can't do much without them.
8. marking pens - I really like FriXion markers but use them mostly in places that won't show in the finished project, like seam allowances. 
9. hera marker - My most frequently-used marking tool.
10. a tool to push out corners, as in pouches - I like using one of my grandma's crochet hooks.

11. pincushion
12. pins
13. thread collector - The collapsible Gypsy Bitty Buddy is perfect for traveling.
14. notebook and pen
15. business cards - Again, just in case.

So here's what my tote looks like 'pre-packed." Still plenty of room for the the current project and any necessary thread and supplies. I'm expecting this to come in quite handy whenever it's time to go and sew!

The handmade items shown in this post include:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Studio Eight :: Zippers

It's been a few months since I've done any studio improvements, other than a new machine, of course. But recently I was totally inspired by Katy/The Littlest Thistle and her recent Organizing Your Sewing Supplies series, and I even challenged her for a solution for zippers. I was still mulling over my options when hubby came home with a nondescript household hanger for a totally different purpose. Lucky for me, it didn't work for him, so I nabbed it, thinking it would be totally perfect hanging in my sewing closet, holding my zips.

So I ordered some 2" binder rings, grabbed some paper clips and blank tags, and started sorting my collection of zippers.

Each ring holds one size of zipper, and is labeled so it's easy to see what size I'm looking for. I had more than six different sizes, so some hooks hold multiple rings, but they're all still pretty visible and easily accessible. Better than all stuffed in a zipped pouch, eh?

So I'm pretty pleased, and grateful to Katy for giving me an idea I could adapt for my own space!

For previous studio updates, see hashtag #aqtstudio on Instagram, or individual posts below:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

just take it one stitch at a time

In the spirit of the challenge, this one isn't even going to get a binding. The instructor for June's Mighty Lucky Quilting Club challenge, Angela "quilting is my therapy" Walters, suggested since 'practice is key,' that's exactly what we should do.

The topic, Say Something with Free-Motion Quilting, wasn't really something I thought I'd use on my quilts, but then, I decided it certainly wouldn't hurt to at least do the challenge, because you never know. I cheated just a little by combining the two assignments into one 17" piece. But I did try both cursive and block letters, so there's that. And, I used up some scraps making my quilt sandwich, so there you go.

I felt like I did pretty good connecting my cursive letters and backtracking on the t's and dotting those i's and that j. But the movement between the block letters was much trickier, and I'm not too keen on what I did. But it's practice, right?!

Live and learn. Or at least try. 

You can see all my Mighty Lucky Quilting Club challenges here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Illustrating Low-Volume

When I shared the Crosscut block tutorial recently, one of my followers asked "what are low-volume squares?" - my beginning place for those blocks. I once wondered the same thing. Nowadays they find their way into plenty of my projects, but I thought I would answer the question by showing some of my favorites.

There is quite a variety when it comes to low-volume fabrics, and you might consider me a bit picky about the ones I choose to use. But here's some pulled from my stash:

1. Tone on tone - white, cream, or a mix.

2. Black on white, off-white, or cream - oh yeah.

3. Multi-colors on white, off-white, or cream - not my most-used. Usually I prefer low-volumes with little color, but these I love.

4. Dark blue on cream, pale gray, or white - also good choices.

5. A single color on white, off-white, or cream - also not my most-used, as I tend to stick to neutrals, but these are pretty irresistible.

6. Gray on cream, white, or pale gray - some of my very favorites.

7. Black text on white or cream.

So think white, off-white, or cream tone-on-tones or more likely for me, simple designs - prints, graphics, or texts - on a white, off-white, cream, or light gray background. They can add alot of dimension to a project where you might otherwise use a solid. So now you know!