Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hurricanes, Stacks, and WIP's


One of my Dad's all time favorite phrases for when someone is going to do something regardless is: "well, it was like trying to hold back a hurricane with a palm branch"... you get the picture right? I guess it would be safe to say that this pretty much sums up my stash explosion fabric shopping spree while in the US. Believe it not, there has actually been a method to my madness, and it's been a lot about basics and fabrics that I have coveted for too long:

In addition to my previous stacks, I've added several low volumes to my stash, but I really wanted to add a few low volumes with color. I love this pastel mix and can't wait to make something sweet and delicate with them.



While I find so many solid quilts to be beautiful and just plain brilliant, when it comes working with solids myself, I feel completely at a loss. Somehow creating with a fabric that is almost solid is more my to my taste. Zen Chic's city map and Carolyn Friedlander's crosshatch fabrics are just perfect for that work-like-a-solid-look without actually being solid.



And what would a shopping spree be without one little splurge? This hard to find, OOP (out of print) little bundle of fabrics again from Carolyn Friedlander completed my stash. I justified the price by figuring that this would essentially be the normal price that I would pay for fabrics in Germany anyway. I'm pleased to say that these have not landed into the "fabrics to pretty to be used" category (or in this case to expensive)...



... and here they are in the works: For my Facing East quilt, I currently have two blocks that feature designs from one collection. While I have generally avoided sticking with all one collection for each block segment, I opted to feature two of my favorites as a whole.



What are your stash building strategies? Do you build with basics, and add in fun prints here and there, or do you build project by project?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday & Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Birds of a Feather


If you follow the bi-annual happenings of quilt market, then you probably remember when the queen of craftiness herself showed up in this feathered frock when she introduced her Field Study fabric line. Oh, how the internet crafting world was all a flurry afterwards with various interpretations of her free feathers quilt project... and all with good reason. The pattern is fantastic!

There are various ways that you can make the pattern, depending on personal quilting preferences. One could use traditional piecing styles, the paper piecing method, or my all time favorite... freezer paper applique. I had fun making this pillow using snippits from Dowry and Pretty Potent, on a Chambray Denim background, and a little hand-stitching to make the feathers pop.

  
I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorite projects that I found featuring the fabulous feather pattern:


1. Ms. Craftiness herself booth shot 2. Ants to Sugar invites you to find her mistake... mistake or no mistake, I love it anyway! 3. Grace and Favour mixes arrows (free pattern on the blog) and feathers 4. Badskirt's dark background quilt is stunning, and the backing is amazing too! 5. Field Study 6. I love the paper pieced birds that Sewing Wilde added to her feathers 7. Another great mix of feathers and arrows... and amazing quilting from Schnig-Schnag (german) 8. Three simple feathers with various low volume space from Blue Elephant Stitches - fantastic! 9.  Quilts by Emily, where Denyse Schmidt meets meets arrows & HST's 10. Olivia Jane Handcrafted features the Field Study collection in her quilt. 11. Modern charity quilt that NW Ohio Modern Quilt Guild created 12. Blocks from quilting bee members helped Charm About You finish her dream quilt.

If you are a little unsure about making the feathers or need inspiration for your projects, you can always join in on Ms. Horner's Creativebug class.

What about you... have you made any feather projects yourself? Leave a link... I'd love to see!

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WV Quilt Festival Part I


The longer I am away from home, the more I must process coming to terms with my own identity. I'm not talking about living the next state over from the people and places that I know and love, but a whole continent away! Somehow no matter where I am, there is always something small that is missing from each place. Usually I can go about a year before I start feeling a little out of balance, and experience a deep yearning to be in that familiar place again, with familiar people, and even a familiar language.... for me that place is West Virginia.



When I was growing up, I viewed my home state much differently than I do now, and I think living away from that place you call home can make you realize things that you never recognized before. While West Virginia is not exactly a "hot spot" destination for most travelers coming to the US, there is something rich and pure about the not so populated, "country roads" state. I've come to appreciate the deep cultural roots that makes the mountainess state, and the people, what they are.



While quilting plays a big role in the West Virginia's history, unfortunately that heritage was not passed down in my family like I read other generational quilters tell of. My grandmother did give us quilts from other quilters, and I remember being wrapped up in them studying each little print, picking out my favorite ones. Truly at a young age I appreciated each tiny snippit that made a quilt.



I love traditions and especially making them. In Germany so far we have a standing annual event for Thanksgiving, Spargelzeit (aspargus time), and new Christmas traditions as a family. For the last several years, when I have traveled home to visit my family, I have attended the local quilt show with my one and only aunt who does quilt. We marvel at the skills, designs, and quilting of each one, and know first hand the time that it takes to make each one.... it's almost become our annual tradition.



As I walked through the doors to the show, I felt my heart stir a bit, knowing full well that the tradition of quilting in West Virginia is older than me or anyone that I know. Sewing and quilting has been just as much a part of the culture as the mountains, and I can't help thinking that me stepping into that tradition is somehow about coming full circle.



I was particularly fascinated by the traveling quilt "The First Four Hundred" by Jane M. Crutchfield, which was also hand quilted. "Each block has an element from the cover of each of the first four hundred issues of Quilter’s Newsletter (Sept 1969-Mar 2008).  The first blocks are black and white because that is how the magazine was published initially.  The blocks then go to monochromatic for several issues, then to full color in July 1976 with the Bicentennial Star block."

As I had expected, most of the quilts on exhibit were more traditional in fabric choices and designs, but there were a few modern quilters also exhibiting at the show. Even though my style leans more towards the modern end of the spectrum, I can very much appreciate quilts that carry the art through the generations.



Do you have any quilting traditions? Are you from generations of quilters or did you discover the art in some other way?

All quilts shown are from the 2015 West Virginia Quilt Festival exhibit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Progress


Before I left I was actually able to make a good amount of progress on my Scrappy Windmill quilt and am debating back and forth on whether I should make a smaller version for a baby quilt. It's actually not because I've lost steam, but becasue I think that with so many fun and sweet prints that this would be adorable wrapped on some snuggly, little bundle of joy. I had also thought that this would be a fun "I spy" quilt... can't you just imagine being tucked in with a cute toddler searching together for cats, strawberries, foxes, trees, glasses, crickets, clothespins, frogs, cameras, tiny mice on bikes, snails, tea cups, hedgehogs, birds, and more?


I've still not decided if I will keep the brown blocks in or not, but because I had them made up, I kept them in for the photo. I'll of course need to add a few more blocks even for a baby size quilt... what do you think? With enlarging my currents WIP's it might also be nice to finish something a little smaller instead. Speaking of my other WIP's... remember that little stack of snippits I had? Well, take a look at them now:


As crazy as it might sound, I actually liked working on three different projects at a time. What about you, do you work on multiple projects at once or do you stick to one thing at a time?

Linking up this week to WIP WednesdayLet's Bee Social, and Scraptastic Tuesday

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Still Stackin' & a WIP


When I was pregnant with my oldest son I found that I would crave very specific things at very specific times. At one point I had such a craving for sushi that I thought I would loose it, come completely unglued, and have a serious emotional meltdown if I did not get my hands on a little sampling of these delectable delicacies. The challenge was, of course, to find a way to satisfy my craving without eating the highly forbidden raw fish.... and somehow ordering the cooked versions of my favorites did it! While I realize that having a few favorite Heather Ross designs printed from Spoonflower perhaps is not exactly like having the original, I knew that it would definitely satisfy my craving.



There are two fabric designers that have been at the top of my favorites list for years now: Heather Ross and Lizzy House. I know that there might be a lot of bandwagon people out there, jumping on the latest trend that drives by, but I assure you, I am not one of them. I have been googling and drooling over Heather Ross fabrics for years, but somehow, there was never really the chance for me to score some yardage of her highly coveted fabrics. 



With prints that are this sweet, how could I not add a few snippits to my Scrappy Windmill quilt...




So, who is that one designer whose fabrics always make you drool?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday & Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scrappy Windmill WIP


First there was one... and one became two. Two became four, and then things slowly started to come together...


Color experts, where are you?... I really need your help!

I've been debating back and forth whether I should continue my Scrappy Windmill quilt with some of my dark brown snippits or not. Somehow when I look at the individual blocks, it feels like it is too dominant and takes away from the fresh and juicy feeling that I am going for since I am using lots of greens, pinks (of course), oranges, and yellows.



For the second photo I took the dark blocks out to compare. Does the quilt need the dark contrast to make the other colors pop, or does it look brighter and fresher without them? Any thoughts?



I really am using several of my all time favorite scraps that I had so much fun rediscovering when I did my major scrap sorting earlier this month. 


As silly as it may sound, pulling some of them out again was like running into old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time... and I thought, oh, I remember you... it's so nice to see you again... where have you been hiding all this time?!?



Are there any seasoned paper-piecers out there too?... I'm a little unsure as to whether you really have to leave the paper in the blocks until the rows are sewn together? I had a big "oops" moment when I realized after reading through the pattern directions that you are actually supposed to leave the paper in...  I didn't do this with my Facing East blocks, but so far so good.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Stack 'em Up!


I'm quilting now, so the way I think about fabrics is a little bit different than I did a year ago. Over the years I've collected a lot of fabrics that I would consider to be "main" or "focal" prints, but since I am now regularly quilting, I realized that my fabric stash was seriously lacking in the supporting prints section... not everyone can take center stage, right?


If you live on the US side of the pond, then you might look at my newly acquired stash and think "cha'ching"... dollar signs showing up in your head, knowing very well how much a stack like this might cost. If you live on the German side of the pond, then you know a different story. So to bring the first group up to speed with the second, I'll calculate it for you this way: Take that price that you just calculated, and then double it, yes, I said DOUBLE IT! - that's the price you would pay for the same high quality quilting fabrics in Germany! So while States side, I just had to take advantage of prices that essentially feel like half-priced (I'd be crazy not to, right?) - but I think it's safe to say, that this will be my stash for the year!


The quilting scene in Germany runs at a totally different pace as it does in the US. Quilting in Germany is not as big, even though there are some really fantastic quilters on this side of the pond, and as you could very well guess, tastes, interests, and skills are quite different. Often I can't find fabrics for quilting projects in one place like you can at some of the one-stop-shop, we-carry-EVERYTHING online shops in the US. There are a lot of main fabric prints available here, but often the supporting fabrics are missing, or maybe just one or two other fabrics from a collection are sold together.



Supporting Prints by: Lizzy House Jewels & Constellations, Alison Glass various Sun prints, Marin Sutton Good Natured, Bee in My Bonnet Gracie Girl, Eric and Julie Comstock S'more Love, Carolyn Gavin Spring Street, Gypsy Girl Woodland Key, Carolyn Friedlander Botanics, Jane Dixon.




Text Prints by: Patty Young's Just My Type, Kumiko Fujita First of Infinity, Carrie Bloomston Paint, Eric and Julie Comstock Baby Jane, Sweetwater Elementary Penmanship.

What are you stacking today? 

Linking up for the first time for Sunday Stash from Molli Sparkles.
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