Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Perscription: Orange Peels

Well, I don't tons of fun quilty updates to share with you today. But I do have a photo from of this week's work in progress!

Confession time: I've been sewing while on drugs.  Fortunately mine would be of the lightweight prescription painkiller variety.  In my defense,  the RX says I shouldn't drive or operate heavy machinery, but it said nothing about operating a sewing machine!
Anyway, the meds are working well, and I'm bouncing back quickly from my minor surgery.  But the drugs do make me a little drowsy and unfocused, so when I got a creative itch, I needed a simple repetitive block to work on.
Enter, orange peels.

I'm seriously in LOVE with these orange peel quilts, both feature scrappy low volume backgrouns and fun bright peels: Emily's Rainbow Orange Peels and Jessica's Scatter Quilt. I just saw that Jessica lives and quilts not to far from where I grew up, in NJ. She doesn't know it yet, but I am pretty sure we need to be best friends. Just sayin'.

I'm using the fusible interfacing technique from this tutorial by Emily.

Apologies for the slightly unfocused fuzzy cell phone photos. Let's go ahead and call that an intentional sneak peek into my foggy state of mind. 

So, the bad news is I technically started a new project but the good news is that it's scrap friendly, there's no deadline and I don't have to worry about messing up a 'real' project if I'm a little loopy.

Let's call this one a win.

Linking up:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Practicing creativity with QDAD

You've probably seen some Design-Seed images floating around the interwebs. People use them for all sorts of inspiration; for painting, decorating homes, and of course, for quilts!
(Image Source)

Inspired by design-seed's daily images, and armed with a few basic rules, Anne @ Playcrafts has laid out a really cool community-based creative design habit she calls Quilt-Design-A-Day, or 'QDAD.'

I've seen her and other bloggers' designs for a few months now. And while I have admired them, I never thought to give it a try.

I have a tough time sticking with new habits for more than a few days, and honestly, I just didn't want to get into it and then stop and feel like I had failed.

Until this week, that is.... 

Hubby and moved earlier this month, and I have yet to get my sewing space set up in the new apartment.

I haven't been able to sew for almost a month, and I'm getting a wicked creative itch!! I mean, staring aimlessly at Pinterest and Instagram can only do so much, ya know?
(Image Source)

So earlier this month, when MQG announced it was hosting Anne for a webinar on QDAD,  it seemed like the right thing to do was to watch it. 

It. Was. Awesome.    Like, I may have to rewatch it and take notes kind of awesome. Seriously.

If you are a MQG member, and didn't see the webinar live, you can watch the recording here. I promise there will be at least one thing that really resonates with you.

Tonight I took a few minutes to hop on Design-Seeds, to open a blank word document (no fancy tools here) and I started playing with shapes and colors. Here's what I ended up with:

Is it innovative and genius? Umm, no. Did it stress me out or make my feel bad about my skills? NO!
I'm declaring it a design SUCCESS!

I probably won't do a new design every day, and I definitely don't have the time or desire to post all of the designs I do get to make here. But don't be surprised if a few of my more successful (or terrible) designs pop up here, as I'd love to get your feedback and constructive criticism!

So, do you QDAD? How do you exercise your creative muscles? 
I'll show you mine, if you show me yours!

Linking my design work up to these fine parties:
 stitch by stitch

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Romeo, oh Romeo!

Have you ever had an idea, and jumped in head first with no solid plan?
That kind of happened with this quilt, and somehow it all worked out.

Our wonderful volunteers pieced 14 quilt tops at the inaugural Caring Star Quilts sewing day this spring. 

It was a truly inspiring day (read more here)

There were a few more quilt tops that needed to be sewn after the fact, so a few core volunteers started work on additional tops before the big presentation to our local ill, injured and wounded veterans. 

I was one of them, and I knew right away that I wanted to play off of the improv squares we had placed into the border of the Team Juliet quilt.

I gathered up scraps from the sewing day and got additional scraps, large and small, from the project coordinator, Meg. 
The plan (if you could call it that) was to make improv pieced blocks and to ‘float’ them on the background.
So I started with these, and just kind of kept going. 

And I kept going.

And then I did some math. Kind of….

Just enough to make sure the final quilt was close to the required 60" x 70" dimension for Caring Star Quilts.

Okay, I really didnt do any math. Basically, I moved my design wall boards to the floor. It was a highly technical, advanced approach, that went something like this:

  1. Lay design boards on floor.
  2. Measure.
  3. Cover ‘extra’ design board with the first blanket I could lay my hands on.
  4. Grab blocks, toss on floor.
  5. Stand back, squint, rearrange. Repeat.
I cut the background fabric, trimmed it down and squared as I went.
Here you can see (if you look carefully) that the white background is growing!

By the third photo there, my energy was low, it was late, I had no daylight, and the growing top was getting more and more difficult to wrestle under my machine.

I started to get cranky…. not gonna lie. Hubby asked if I was alright, and I responded that the quilt and I were having some growing pains. In that moment, I realized that the counterpart, to Juliet, was Romeo.

Finally, miraculously, I fudged seams and straight lines until all of it was pieced.

And I handed Romeo off to get quilted. 
I may be partial, but I think Romeo is a handsome fellow. Just look at the quilting! The volunteer who long-armed Romeo, chose just the right modern grid pattern to accentuate his wonky square awesomeness. 

Despite the growing pains and tight deadline I am so happy with how this quilt came out. It is made (with the exception of the Kona Snow yardage background) entirely from scraps. 
The scraps are the not quite big enough, not quite square enough, not quite right cast-off scraps that would otherwise be considered trash, or waste.

I may be over analyzing here, but consider that the motivation behind this project is to bring comfort and love to wounded ill injured, and to their caregivers. To bring hope and support to the unsung heroes who care for our veterans who feel broken, and maybe even a little cast-off.  There is a strong symbolism to turning these ‘scraps’ into something unique, and beautiful.

I can’t say that I’d make this quilt again.

Another improve quilt? Absolutely, but another one just like this? Nope.

 It is a one-of-a-kind. There won’t be another in the world like it, one that has been touched by so many people who care, and gifted to one who is so deserving of their support.

Once again I am honored to be part of the caring Star Quilts volunteers.
So, Romeo, even though we only spent a short time together, you will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Linking Romeo up to these fine parties:
I Quilt @ Pretty Bobbins  Needle and Thread Thursday