Sunday, December 4, 2016

Another Source for Sunday Stash

About every three or four months, I resolve to stop buying fabric and use more of my stash, but I find myself in a perpetual catch-22: In order to use what I’ve got, I need to buy more saturated colors/low volumes/solids/etc. It’s a frustrating—and at times costly!—predicament.

There’s a guilt-free source of fabric, however, that presents itself on occasion, one for which I am most thankful. It’s those fabric-loving friends of mine.

In the past few months, I sent my odds and ends of Basic Grey’s Mon Ami line (used in this quilt and this one) to Judy, over at Sew Some Sunshine. I know she loves BG’s collections and thought she’d appreciate playing with Mon Ami. I was surprised when a care package from her arrived at my house a few weeks later.

She passed her scraps of BG’s Persimmon, used in her Interlock quilt, on to me and included a mini-charm pack of BG’s Juniper Berry, yardage from Juniper Berry, assorted 2-inch squares, Bonnie and Camille Scrumptious scraps, and Kate and Birdie scraps. I’m pretty sure that list covers it all, but there was so much, it’s hard to say for sure!


Juniper Berry

I’m sure the irony is not lost on you. I tried to trim my stash by giving some fabric away and ended up with more fabric.

Another BG story involves Chelsea, from Patch the Giraffe. She was on Cape Cod with our guild for a retreat back in October. I couldn’t go, but I was not forgotten. There’s this mother of all quilt shops on the Cape, Tumbleweed Quilt Shop, where Chels found some bolts of BG’s PB&J, one of my favorite lines. (I made a quilt with some PB&J mini-charm packs here. I discovered other bolts from the line during this trip.) Now I’m the happy owner of three yard cuts from this long out-of-print collection. Yahoo!


I don’t have plans for any of this loot—yet. It’s all aging in my stash for the time being.

I’m serious, this time, though. I am going to bust my stash! As I grow as a quilter, I want to use more solids, and I stash almost exclusively prints. I have a plan to chip away at the hoard. I’ll fill you in on that scene soon!

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Is This a Nine-Patch?

It’s been more than three years since I started quilting. When I’m not busy being a mom, I’m quilting, talking about quilting, or plotting my next quilting project. I’ve taken quilting workshops, attended quilting retreats, and been to more quilt shops (and spent more money) than I’ll ever admit to. Despite all this, I’ve never been to a quilt show. 

I’ll remedy this problem in February, when I attend QuiltCon in Savannah. I’m already crazy excited about the trip—the workshops I have signed up for, the blog friends I’ll meet in person, and that sweet quilt show. It seemed silly not to submit a quilt to the competition. My first time attending a quilt show could be the first time seeing one of my projects in a quilt show.

American Patchwork and Quilting is sponsoring a nine-patch challenge at QuiltCon 2017. The rules allow quilt makers to interpret the humble nine-patch in any modern way they wish. I had bunches of ideas for this challenge and ended up pursing what I call Mix and Mingle ...

True or false: This is a nine-patch.

When I set out to piece this quilt, I considered one question: At what point is a nine-patch no longer a nine-patch?! I started with an oversize nine-patch, sliced it up vertically, shifted the pieces, and sewed them back together. Then I sliced it horizontally, shifted, and sewed again. What results is, I think, modern, improvisational, and unique, offering just an intimation of the original three-by-three block.

I’m crazy about Mix and Mingle’s palette. The fabric that inspired it is the greenish-gray floral (above), by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake, which I used for two of the nine patches. The combination of orange, red, and gray has me smitten. And the back—eep! I love the back! It’s 100% Denyse Schmidt.

Dear Orange, I love you.

This quilt was finished with an all-over cross-hatch—after all, what is cross-hatch quilting other than bunches of nine-patches in thread form?

A simple cross-hatch for the win!

I know that the QuiltCon quilt show is rather difficult to get in to. I have seen some of the rejects over the years, and they are beautiful. I’m happy with this submission, however. I enjoyed making it, I know it is an accurate reflection of me and my taste, and I look forward to cuddling under it. If it doesn’t get into the show, I’ll be using it before year’s end—ha!

In general, I don’t quilt to enter contests; it’s just not my thing. Is it yours? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments. : )

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Sewjo Is So Low

Friends, all is not right at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters. My sewjo exited stage left, and with it went my enthusiasm for blogging. The root of my problem, I think, is some self-imposed deadlines and a dearth of finishes. Deadlines make this hobby feel more like a job, and although I have four quilt tops at three different long-armers, I won’t be getting anything back for a few more weeks. I need a successful finish to start feeling like myself again.

So what do I do? Play with fabric, of course—it gives my creativity a boost without pressuring me to accomplish anything. Right now, I’m working on assembling a fabric pull for a Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt. This pattern, by Lee Heinrich (Freshly Pieced), was featured in the first Quilter’s Planner, which I have. Kitty over at Night Quilter is spearheading a quilt-along for this design on her blog and on Instagram. I won’t make the mid-December deadline, but I’m hopeful for a January or February finish.

I’m also considering tackling one of the following tutorials and making a just-because quilt—one that I make just because I want to make it, with no goals in mind other than to bust some of my fabric stash.

Amy Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew has released many beautiful tutorials over the years. I’m especially smitten with her Diagonal Strip Quilt Tutorial.  I can’t decide whether I want to chip away at my jelly roll stash or use this fabric, from Kate Spain’s Sunnyside line, as a palette inspiration and cut 2½” strips from yardage to match.

Sunnyside, by Kate Spain

When I saw Little Bunny Quilts’ latest tutorial for Moda Bake Shop, Favorite Frames, I knew it was for me. It features big squares—perfect for the large-scale prints I have on hand. I recently won the entire line of  Maureen Cracknell’s Nightfall collection in fat quarters. (I don’t win often, but when I do, I win big, people! Many thanks for Sharon Holland for holding the giveaway!) I don’t have the heart to chop up the line’s bunnies and owls, and with Favorite Frames, I won’t have to.

Favorite Frames, by Little Bunny Quilts

Nightfall, by Maureen Cracknell

Quilty confession #1: I don’t like pinwheels. They’re too traditional for my taste, but I’m open to a more modern take on them. I’m considering Lisa Calle’s Black and Pinwheels pattern, also found on Moda Bake Shop. The chunky blocks and Xs bring the accompanying pinwheels into the 21st century, and the high-contrast color scheme of orange and black is nice and modern.

Quilty confession #2: I also don’t like the traditional bear paw block. It’s too predictable, unless it appears in Live a Colorful Life’s Delta Breeze tutorial. Bear paws of different sizes in solid fabrics and oriented every which way? Yes, please.

There’s nothing like the anticipation of a new project to help my creativity. Does your energy to create wax and wane, too? If so, how do you navigate the creative doldrums? 

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