Sunday, May 25, 2014

Finished: The One Less Traveled By

Whew! The Bloggers' Quilt Festival can take a lot out of you!  I think I saw them all.... And appreciated all the lovely comments back and forth.  I had a few that were no-reply which always makes me a little sad so if you didn't get a reply, that's the reason.

Anyhoo!  The Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild had a UFO challenge.  "UFO" is always a challenge for me since I rarely have any.  I tend to stick to only a few projects at a time and frequently go full-steam-ahead until they're done.   I do have ONE long-term UFO but it's in storage and I haven't seen it in years. If it has survived the storage process, I will finish it likely as soon as it's freed.  Other than that, I don't think I have anything that has been waiting more than two years.

I did have a crap ton of HSTs rescued and salvaged from other projects (specifically ones for my sister). They've been trimmed up in little bunches of 1.5" squares at Wednesday guild gatherings for months and months.  I'm not saying people made fun of me, but more than one of my quilty friends questioned my sanity. :-)  The intent was always to make a trip around the world or something like it. So the time had come to do something with it. So I dug into the scraps and grabbed my Kona Silver yardage and went nuts.

It started with tiny but traditional,
then moved to tiny but a little more irregular,

to larger,
to very irregular....
like a set of paths not quite found by feet yet.

The quilting is.... uhm, not my best. I rushed a little in a push to meet the deadline (I have never not finished a SMQG challenge!)  I'm a little out of practice and always more convinced of my skills before I sit down to use them.  However, I more or less got the look I was going for: more tiny and structured in the wee blocks, loose and watery as it moves outward.  I'll try to remember to either leave time or to take more next project.

I added a couple of blue chunks to the binding, letting them fall wherever.  The back is unspectacular and with fading light and borrowed quilt holding help, I totally forgot to snap a picture of it.   It's most silver with a little piece of blue floral.

Approx: 68x78"
More than 650 - 1.5" HSTs salvaged and used up.  (I have about 6 left over...)  One GIANT ziploc bag no longer crowding my sewing space.  And I am content.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Broken Windows

So the BQF totally snuck up on me this year. It was only a month or so after the last one that I fell off the internet and while I have been making and sewing, I was feeling like I didn't have anything I wanted to enter. However, there are a few things I haven't shared yet. Like this one...

As a mini with fabrics I would never choose, this piece was a little out of the box for me. And I dealt with it a little in the box, too.  At Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guid, we had a challenge to use a bag of someone else's scraps. I got Erin's and she actually enjoyed handing over the ugliest bag of scraps ever seen in Saskatoon.  She even taunted us as she threw the bag in the mix.  Fabrics? Not modern. Colours? Non-descript.  Size? Larger than your average scrap. Hmmm.... Workable?

I embraced the messy!  I started with the batik. Some folks love 'em, some hate 'em and I'm somewhere in the middle. I use them, sparingly, and not on their own.  But this one had nice little boxes in a regular pattern, like frames.  I freehanded some shapes,  stay-stitched the lines, trimmed the excess and folded the seam allowance back. Then I backed each opening with a little piece of one of the horrid little scraps, and reverse appliqu├ęd it to the batik.

Then I quilted it within a sixteenth of an inch of its life.  I started with a neutral cream colour and decided it needed red!

The binding was made from another one of the scraps. I knew it was going to be difficult and there was no way I'd be able to hand-finish it with the density of quilting on the back - I even debated ways I could get a way with leaving unfinished.  Once it was trimmed, I felt I lost a lot of the rustic, broken quality I was getting so I recaptured it by attaching the binding to the back and stitching it down unevenly along the front.

This is the first quilt I've actually hung on my walls and I'm happy with how it turned out.

Title: Broken Windows
Size: 18x11"
Category:  Small quilts?
Pieced and Quilted by me.

Thanks so much to Amy and the sponsors, everyone who stops by, and everyone who shares their work with the rest of us to make this festival so much fun! Can't wait to see what everyone's been up to!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Whirlwind of Classes and Talks

It's no secret that I've been a busy girl as of late.  I'm decent at spacing out my commitments and making sure I don't have too many things pressing at the same time. My calendar usually looks well-balanced and responsible. However, I often forget to leave room for the incidentals and unschedule-able things, like illness, vehicular issues, and Acts of Nephew, among other things good and bad. A particularly crappy inclement spring has seen more barometric changes than the weather network* and left me with less energy and fighting spirit than usual. Renovations have meant my sewing corner has moved, rotated and/or been inaccessible since January - tricky when keeping up with two guilds and two bees! And then, of course, there's been hockey. Glorious hockey. Junior, Olympic, NHL, KHL, AHL, WTH?... I will admit that while I sometimes drop the ball on keeping up in quilting blogland, I never go more than two days without checking in on the hockey blogs. In fact, I was caught at a guild meeting streaming a game during a presentation.  I was LISTENING, of course, to the presenter and looked at all her slides, but I also didn't want to miss any changes in the score.  That being said, if I'm the presenter and you are in the audience, feel free to live-stream sporting events.  Just keep me updated on the score!  (NOTE: this does NOT apply in the scholastic setting - secondary students are required to pay attention in class, even if I'm boring.  Therefore, if you by any strange chance or coincidence are a high school student who has me as their classroom teacher at any time, I will not accept any excuses of "But Ms. M..... !You said on your blog....". So there. You have been warned. Also - how did you find this blog, anyway? Get off the internet, go outside and/or do your homework, please and thank you!)

Speaking of giving talks, classes and presentations...

I had the distinct pleasure of leading a workshop on improv piecing at Saskatoon Quilters' Guild spring retreat at the end of April. I do a lot of improv piecing (crazy piecing, free-piecing, what have you) These were the samples that I made up plus more that I made during/after the workshop:
Most of my job was just to give encouragement and provide a little guidance on making such unusual pieces cohesive. Here is all the beautiful work they did!
I was a proud, proud teacher, (though truly I think an improv workshop leader is really more of a permission giver and 'can't' preventer than instructor.) They all had such different styles; not surprising since they've all been quilting for years. Having never given that workshop before, I was quite pleased with how it went. The gals gave me some great and constructive feedback, too.

At the last meeting of Saskatoon Quilter's Guild, I got to see some of their work continued but wasn't able to snap a pic. I had the privilege that night to give a talk on modern quilting. Of that, I have no photos but since no one fell asleep, I think it went well, too. Put a mic in my hand and I can talk, boy!  Only trouble?  When you're the speaker - you can't stream the hockey game...

*As one of many folk around here with climate migraines, I can say that spring is not a great time of year, especially with the yo-yo of sun/snow/sun/snow/rain/snain/snow/sun/rain we've had this go-round. If these manned missions to Mars advertised a permanently consistent air pressure in all compartments, ships and colonies, migraneurs would risk experiencing every bad thing that's ever happened in a scifi film.... Aliens, schmaliens!