Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WIP: Handstitched Medallion

Over the winter, I took the Handstitched class offered by Rachel of Stitched in Color with my friend Daisy. While Daisy took on five of the smaller weekly challenges, I decided that I wanted to attempt the medallion quilt.  I knew it would take me longer than the nine weeks the class spanned, but with three kids, that's just my reality!

I have been chipping away on this fun pattern little by little and here is where I stand:

Handstitched Medallion Border 3

The center of the medallion is a reverse applique flower with a visible blind stitch done in perle cotton.  You can see more detailed pictures on my instagram account.  

The second round includes half square triangles embroidered onto a white background.  I haven't finished all of these yet as they take a REALLY long time for me to do, especially while juggling my little ones. 
Detail of embroidered HST process

The third border includes this modified Storm at Sea block.  You can see in the picture above that these serve as cornerstones to a pieced border.  Those fun little two inch squares running along the sides will serve as space for some fun hand quilting when the time comes!

Even though this is a long term project for me, I have found that I really enjoy the experience of hand piecing and I see much more of it in my future.  I also have some embroidery projects in mind as this project begins to get a little too large to take with me to daily activities with my kids.  The embroidery fits quite nicely in a small pouch that is easy to tuck into the diaper bag!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Planning for TMQG Retreat 2014

This weekend is the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild's annual retreat.  It is an opportunity to get away, socialize with like minded quilters, and make some progress on those WIPs and holiday gifts! We have a very open format without a program for the weekend which leaves for a LOT of time to just sew. 

This is actually my first sewing retreat and I have to admit that I am a little overwhelmed with the idea of picking and packing my projects.  My children will be going with me and we are all staying with my parents a short distance from the retreat site.  I am so lucky that my parents are willing to watch over the littles while I focus on moving forward on some of my projects, but I also feel an obligation to be available for bedtime and to spend some time for my parents as well.  All of this leaves me wondering how much time I will actually be quilting and how many projects will I need to take with me to fill this time?

So here is my current plan:

Emerge Quilt - I finally got the star appliqued onto the background and I have a general quilting plan. I got the first stitches down and I am looking forward to making some real progress on this one.  This project will be my priority for the weekend. I need to choose a binding for this project.  I am not sure I will get to that stage this weekend, but perhaps I should pack a few options just in case.

Basted and appliqued! Now onto the quilting.
Vice Versa BOM Quilt - I have pieced the blocks for January, February, and March and my 4 year old son has now claimed ownership of this project, so I better get moving on the rest of the blocks. (On a side note, even though I am only through the March block for this pattern, I am really debating jumping on board with Gen X's 2015 BOM Moccasin as well!) I need to choose a backing and binding for this project as well.

Image courtesy of http://www.genxquilters.com/
I also have a few smaller projects to work on for the holidays including two pillows for my mother-in-law and a paper piecing project for my dad. And as always, I keep my first english paper piecing process in my purse for those moments when I can fit in a little hand work.

How much do you pack when you aren't sure how much work you can accomplish? What limitations do you put on your packing? 
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Amazing Fabric Gift

Have you ever received a gift, and you're not quite sure what to do with it, but you know it is awesome? This weekend, my aunt invited me over to go through some of her stash she wouldn't be able to work with.  She is a more traditional quilter and so we often use different types of fabric and trade with each other.  She is also a yard sale queen and picks up great finds on a regular basis.  This week, she had a huge stash of fabric strips! 

This is only about a third of what she gave to me. Tons of ziploc bags full of strips! Some of the strips are WOF strips and some are precut into lengths that my aunt thought she would use for some log cabin blocks.  They range in width from 1.5 inches to about 3 inches.

This little grouping looks like such a fun kids block bundle! I love those watermelon-eating dinos!
What would you do with strips like these? My first plan is to make myself a laptop bag, but what next? There were a lot of pink and purples not shown here too.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stash Bee Signups

Hi Friends, happy Thursday!  I was hoping to have some progress to show you this week, but with the NC State Fair and a preschool field trip to a local pumpkin patch, my sewing time has taken a bit of a hit. And then yesterday my little guy took a spill that required a few stitches in his sweet face!  He was a champ though and hopefully things will quiet down starting today so I can get back to my machine.

Are you interested in taking part in a quilting bee?  The Stash Bee is open for signups for the 2015 year now!  For more information, check out this post and sign up here. I hope you will join us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Q4 2014 Finish Along

Hooray! I feel like I am finally in a groove with some of my projects, and so, I am going to set some goals and join in the Q4 Finish Along at The Littlest Thistle.
1. Emerge Quilt 

This guy is all basted and now just needs quilting and binding. I have to admit though that this quilt has me seriously considering purchasing a new machine.  I spent too much time fighting with the tiny throat space on my machine.  I spent most of my day at work today thinking about whether I should take what I have done out and start again! I think I decided yes, but I am going to sleep on it.
2. Vice Versa BOM
Given that I've only completed the January blocks and cut the February pieces, it is a good thing I have our Guild Retreat in November to work on this project!
GenX Vice Versa BOM
3. Christmas Stockings
These may or may not have been started when my first was about 3 months old... and now I have 3 kids...
Guess that means this is the perfect time to add them to my list to finish up this quarter!
4. Tumbling Blocks
This quilt is one that I have put aside for a little while for a number of reasons, one of which is fear of failure. While the 3 items above are my priorities for this quarter, this quilt and my fear should not hold me hostage any further! If time sincerely permits, then this quilt is back on the table!

5. Depression and Anxiety quilt designs
I have two quilt designs rumbling inside my head, and while I have no delusions of even coming close to completing these quilts for the FAL, I wanted to put them on this list as encouragement to put pen to paper and get the ideas out of my head and into a more useful state.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

It is still Monday, right? This is what happens when you have three children 5 and under and your husband goes out of town for the weekend - your Monday post goes live closer to Tuesday than you would like! Anyhow, thank you for visiting if you are here from Ants to Sugar or Veni Vidy Vicky, I'm so thrilled to have you. 
On with the blog hop!
What am I working on?
Most of my sewing time recently has been spent on my Emerge Quilt from the Angled Class by Stitched in Color. I love that Rachel is able to present a way of designing quilts with triangles and diamonds of various angles in such a way that makes the angles perfectly easy standard seam sewing.  This class presents 5 different quilt patterns and I hope to make each of them in time but the Emerge pattern appealed to me the most so I want to stick with it even as the class moves on.

Sorry about the terrible exposure - late night quilting at its finest!

I also started my first hand sewing project during a recent girls' weekend with my mom and her sisters.  The 4 hour plane ride to Las Vegas was the perfect opportunity to do a little slow stitching.  This is a pattern by Katy from I'm a Ginger Monkey called Spring Carnival.  I hope to make a pillow from this eventually and hopefully one day I will get to make one with a color palette similar to Katy's as well.  I'm not exactly a speeder sewer, but I'll be taking this little kit with me to guild meetings.

How does my work differ from others?
I don't know that my quilting differs from others but I hope that you find that my blog has an authentic voice.  I am a mom who works full-time and I struggle daily with depression and anxiety.  Quilting is my creative outlet and a place where I can express myself.  My Emerge Quilt represents a light that glows when I am sit at my sewing machine.  I am working on an original design based on my experience with anxiety this year.

Tumbling Blocks by Undiscovered Optimist
Why do I create what I do?
Quilting connects me to my grandmother who passed away a few years ago.  I ended up with a large amount of her stash that sat in my garage for several months.  I loved the beautiful things she created but I had no idea where to start. So the fabric just sat and sat until I finally decided that it was time to start.  No idea what I was starting but I was determined and so I sat down at my computer and googled something related to quilt patterns.  Suddenly I was in a world of blogs with stunning work and there was no end in site.  I am so thankful for the blogging community!  This virtual community gave me the courage to find my local Modern Quilt Guild and take some technique classes at Spoonflower.  My anxiety would typically keep me from reaching out to a community of strangers like this.  This was just the beginning of my love affair with this diverse art.
How does my creative process work?
Like so many of us, I just work on what I feel drawn to.  I have been more determined to remain focused on my Emerge Quilt, but I have a list of projects in various stages of piecing.  At first this made me really uncomfortable, but I am learning that this is part of my creative expression.  If I am going to express myself and my mental health is reflected in my work, then what I work on is going to vary from time to time.  
GenX Quilters BOM January block - definitely a WIP that needs some attention!
Thanks again for stopping by!  As I am quite new to this community and so many bloggers have taken part in this awesome blog hop already, I don't have anyone to pass the baton to, but if you want to carry on this fun little tour, leave me a comment and I would be happy to send my readers your way next Monday!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

In to something new

I was inspired at our last guild sew-in by Lauren who was working on this english paper piecing pattern. Quilting in general is pretty new to me but since I had two long flights on my way to and from Las Vegas this weekend, I thought I would give english paper piecing a try.  

I thought the Passacaglia pattern was a bit much for a newbie so I started with Katy's Spring Carnival pattern instead!

I am using a Denise Schmidt layer cake, one of my first fabric purchases. I don't have too much of a plan as I am mostly hoping that it fabric selections will come as I go.  Fingers crossed!

Have you tried something new recently? I'd love to hear about your experience too.