Monogram baby quilt

So my attempt at an outdoor backdrop for hanging quilts has sorta failed me, and I am now at a loss for easy ways to document my work. So far every effort just distracts me from sewing and feels pretty underwhelming compared to some of the lovely photoshots I see out in blogland…

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So maybe I’m really not meant to be a blogger, but I did want to get at least one more shot of this quilt before I mailed it off to the baby receiving it…I learned a lot in the process of putting this together, including that all those little tiny crazy pieces can be really time-consuming!

Also!!! I found my notebook from Quiltcon and now I can credit the following contributors to this Improv Round Robin from Sherri’s workshop, just as fellow Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Members Martha and Deb and I begin our own version to pass amongst ourselves!  My original Quiltcon contributors included:

Martha Peterson, Seattle, WA

Kim McPeake, Charleston, SC

Judith Dollar, Houston, TX

Mary Jane Orsburn, Houston, TX

Maria Renna

Sarah Bialene (sp? sorry the handwriting was kind of tough on that one!) Spencer, OH

and Felicitas Kiayer who I believe was from somewhere in Europe…she left an email address so I will try to reach here that way as well.  I would love to hear from any of you if you get a chance to share yours as well!

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And here is one more attempt from my makeshift photography studio on the porch, this is better quality than my last, so I guess there was some improvment!

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December

I’m barely keeping up with a one post each month goal, but I guess that is better than I was doing a year ago.

I submitted two quilts to Quiltcon last Friday, which feels like a wonderful accomplishment because I have never submitted a quilt for anything before…thanks to my friend Jamie for loaning me her awesome camera. I submitted the very unconventional Blue January quilt in the Small Applique category after really struggling to choose the best category.

I also completed the Dear Stella Maasai Mara challenge.

The Dear Stella top was really pieced in a week, and quilted and bound in two days. This doesn’t broadcast quality work, of course, but it did teach me some valuable project management skills!Needless to say, this is also my first photography of my own work with intention. Fortunately I had a white wall and decent lighting, but unfortunately by the time I photographed the Dragon Lullaby quilt for the fabric challenge, I had no natural daylight and the incandescence does sort of yellow the image. Hopefully it is still acceptable!

This feeling of accomplishment lead to an overwhelming urge to get up and start finishing yet another UFO from my recent past, so perhaps I will be posting another photo within a week here, I’m currently quilting it. I have been talking to some friends about celebrating “antiprocrastination days” and I have an upcoming exam for my teaching certificate. This blog desperately needs some updates and has been languishing for a while but I figure it was good to put something new up in the meanwhile.

Seamripper Lane

Alex Anderson once wrote an article in her Quilter’s Newsletter column about respecting the seamripping so much she wore a gold seamripper around her neck. I hated that article so much I still remember it ten years later. I hated it because I am a sloppy finisher. I love design, I am full of big ideas and aspirations, but like a child when it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time around I usually just settle for a variation of the crappy homemade look because I feel like “whee, I’m done, on to something else!” I’ve recently come to realize how I’ve been shooting myself in the foot. Just like the giant bed quilt I finally made from a pattern instead of designing as I go along and literally cutting corners to avoid too much time planning instead of actually running the sewing machine needle through fabric. So anyhow, this post is dedicated to Alex Anderson because working on a quilt for someone else from a pattern, I also made a mistake (either that or: the pattern I so diligently followed left out a snowball corners step on one of the long panels on the edge of the quilt) which absolutely required a small detour down Seamripper Lane. I was so darn pleased with myself when I was back on track and everything, including my matched fabric seam, was back in place looking lovely. (new photo to come) That wasn’t so bad, I thought, hey , it was even really just a new kind of handwork, I can do it while watching tv!

So now for the meat of my little post: I just completed my second seam-ripping project of the month! I am in a Pretty Little Pouch swap with the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, renewing my love of the new “modern” quilting fabrics, thinking a lot about color and my grandmother’s modern quilting style, and making swap blocks for the flickr 3×6 swap 3x6 Bee(they call them online quilting bees or “hives” now, I think this name should be reserved for group quilting, for instance, what I would love to see VMQG invite participants to do at the Vancouver Maker Faire next month). And so I made a sampler pouch with very little pre-design: once again, my sew first, think later plan was back in full swing, I immediately improved pieced a few modern-looking panels and handquilted them in the border crossing lanes last weekend. I even used pearl cotton left over from the shibori scarf project from last month on one side! Then yesterday I tried to put them together using covered zipper ends from the flossie teacakes make-up bag tutorial but did I follow directions?

No! I failed to account for the length of my panels, the length of my zipper, and the final measurements of my french seams (final width exactly equal to the working length of the zipper). But I was really pleased with my zipper placement and catching the folded-over lining on the inside, so I proudly took a photo of that.

But after I finished the seams, it was lumpy and awfully and the zipper end was distorting down into the corner seam on one end. Ugh, I didn’t know what to do. Well, actually I did, I enjoyed two episodes of Community with the kids while I removed the tiniest seam stitches from the entire pouch, twice (french seams are double seams sewn in reverse sides of the finished product). Then, because I really can’t stand unfinished seams in bags and pillow cases, I kindly serged the edges.
Not bad, I can even use the bag now, but I think I know who its for…the lovely woman watching my girls tonight so I can go to the Vancouver Quilt Guild Meeting with all my silk tie blocks for the Maker Faire. Hooray, my favorite night of the month!


And fortunately I can at least discuss this at the upcoming meeting this evening because my lovely friend Trina just offered me and awesome childcare combo (yaaaay, I think I will give Trina my sampler pouch tonight). I know that living in Vancouver alone has contributed a lot to the last few months of prolific sewing…but it comes at a price and I have really come to cherish these monthly meetings. They are the best group therapy ever and I have felt really happy and welcome and not-at-all excluded for being not hip enough to be modern! I feel sad that I am preparing to move back to Seattle just as I was starting to connect and crawl out of my cave. Fortunately, I have already joined the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild and I am also reconnecting with several Seattle friends including my “quilty” friend Toni at http://sewwithme.wordpress.com/! Dang it, that girl just invited me to Aprons for Haiti too – now I have to finish it to send off, I am never good at keeping my crafts!

I’ve bounced back from my year and have been very very busy with a big quilt, a baby quilt design in progress, a ridiculous apron I started making myself for mother’s day, several small quilt panels and appliques for unknown or possibly swappable projects, and have also discovered the flickr quilting community (what happened in a year, a whole new hipster quilting community sprang up around me and I missed it!) of “Modern” quilting and I am making up for lost time with lots of little mini projects. And oh yeah, big ones too, I hope to insert a photo of the big Izumi Pond quilt I’m making for our Girl Guide District Commissioner if I can get around to basting it this week: I am still missing the two signature squares that are preventing me from completing the back.

Blue January

This began as a project for this year’s gala but it was a last minute inspiration and was not completed on time (ahem, still isn’t, but did I mention I have a new baby nephew and his quilt gets bound first…). It is called “Blue January” and contains cottons hand-dyed and shibori by me, commercial cottons, silk drapery remnants and is entirely hand quilted and embroidered. A friend told me not to tell too much about my work but the embroidery is obscure enough, ask if you are curious. I started planning the quilt top on January 10, 2009 and had begun binding by the Bayview Gala on February 17th, so this whole fast process of concept to design and execution was fun and fast for me despite having the sleeve and binding delayed.

Bad photo? You bet, but iPhone publishing while I put the kids to bed: priceless!

Past work again

Here is last year’s art quilt that sold at the Bayview Gala for $500.  100% cotton fabrics, some commercially dyed, some hand dyed by me, machine pieced, hand appliqued, fused, and hand buttonhole stitched with cotton and silk thread.  It is based on the elementary school catchment maps in our neighborhood and contains a few landmarks.

Bayview Catchment 36" x 48"

Bayview Catchment 36" x 48"