Thursday, November 23, 2017

Making the Most of Retreat Sewing

Last month, I went to Cape Cod with my guild for a weekend of sewing and socializing. It was crazy fun and went all too fast, but I was pleased with my accomplishments for the weekend: I wrapped up three quilt tops!

I have friends who work on a project from start to finish at retreats. That isn’t appealing to me. Even at home, I need multiple projects at different stages of being sewn and quilted to keep things interesting. To me, a retreat is more like a sweatshop than a creativity fest—I want to get things done!—so I aim to maintain a good level of productivity.

I choreographed my work for the weekend like this: I had all three quilt tops planned out in advance, with all the necessary fabric selected and cut before my trip. For two of these projects I sewed blocks, too—it was easier to nail down the layout at home instead of on retreat, where design boards are in short supply.

The first project I tackled on the Cape was an easy blue and orange baby quilt. I finished the top the first day at the retreat, and that quick success propelled me into project #2: another Christmas tree quilt. My final project was that same baby quilt pattern in subdued colors.

My Christmas tree project is at the longarmer, and the subdued baby quilt is basted and waiting to be quilted by me. The blue and orange baby quilt, however, is 100% done. (For the record, that’s a month in advance of the deadline. The baby isn’t even slated to come until the end of the year!)

Project Details

Quilt pattern: Little Man from Simplify by Camille Roskelley

Size: 40.5" x 51.5"

Fabrics: This fabric pull was easy to assemble—a fat quarter or less of each print was all that the pattern required. I had a little bit of the animal print in my scraps. The other fabrics are from a Maywood Studios bundle of Dawn KimberBell basics that my husband bought for me. The background is Kona Lake.

The backing features a low-volume print from Bonnie and Camille’s Happy Go Lucky line. All the fabrics I used were from my stash!

The Rest of the Year

I have two more finished quilts that I need to blog about before year’s end. I will also need to bind my two Christmas tree quilts, make a bag, and sew and cross-stitch a stocking. You are my witnesses: I will not add any last-minute sewing projects to my to-do list! Usually, I ditch sending out Christmas cards so I can add another project or two into the mix. But the cards have already been ordered and are waiting to be sent. This holiday season will be marked by sanity! (Alas, I can make no promises, however, about the new year.)

How does the next month look for you? Will you be making up to the last minute? Will it be sewing and quilting all month long, or are there other holiday crafts you enjoy? I used to make my own Christmas cards. Hahahaha—that will never happen again!

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Two Words: Free Scraps

November is the busiest month of the year for me. It always includes a visit from my family over Thanksgiving, a visit from my husband’s parents before they head south for the winter, and my older son’s birthday. Then there’s the submission deadline for QuiltCon on November 30. I want to submit at least one quilt this year—right now I have zero finished!

All of this has me maxed out, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking on a big reorganization project here at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters. I’ve overhauled my sewing storage and decided that I need a clean slate on the scrap front. Would you like to help me with that endeavor? I’ve collected several lots of scraps. Ninety-nine percent of them are at least 2.5-inch squares or bigger. Most are prints. Some are solids. If you live in the United States, you’re welcome to claim whichever lot(s) you’d like. I just ask that you pay for shipping. (I’ll be sending by USPS, probably by flat rate envelope or box because it will make things easier for me. I’d expect to pay $7 for a flat-rate package filled to the brim with scraps.)

To claim your lot(s), add a comment below. Important: If you’re a no-response blogger, you’ll need to provide an email address in that comment. I’ll follow up via email to figure out PayPal payment and your shipping address.

: )

** Right now, everything is spoken for except lot 12. Thanks! **

Lot 1: PinksClaimed by Cortney

Lot 2: RedsClaimed by Kathy E.

Lot 3: YellowsClaimed by Cortney

Lot 4: GreensClaimed by Elaine W. on Bloglovin'

Lot 5: Blues, part 1Claimed by Allyson

Lot 6: Blues, part 2A claim on this lot is pending

Lot 7: PurplesClaimed by Elaine W. on Bloglovin'

Lot 8: BrownsClaimed by Julia J. on Bloglovin'

Lot 9: Neutrals/low volumesClaimed by Ann O.

Lot 10: ChristmasClaimed by Kathy E.

Lot 11: Denyse Schmidt (both big-box lines and quilt-shop collections)Claimed by Beth P.

Lot 12: Downton Abbey (this includes five finished blocks and scraps from this quilt) Claimed by Melody A.

Lot 13: Denims/home dec/other substrates (I’m happy to split up this lot because some of the pieces are substantial; list what you want in your comment)

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Long Time, No Blog Post

Quilty friends, hello! I haven’t popped in, in a month and wanted to give you all proof that I’m still here and sewing. Blogging is a blessing and a curse. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve met and the skills I’ve learned through it, but it is a time suck. And what does my blogging time cut into? My sewing time, of course.

So since I last blogged I’ve been doing a lot of sewing and quilting. I’d love to share the highlights—and corresponding pretty pictures—with you.

First off, I helped my guild, the New Hampshire MQG, wrap up a charity project we were working on. This post, over at the guild’s site, will fill you in on all the details. What I’ll tell you here is that the design is by Krista Hennebury, a Canadian quilter and designer, and it is a great scrap buster.

It can be hard to find a good group quilt project. If you choose one with a lot of special cutting or matching seams, you could be in for a big headache. This one worked out well. A guild mate and I handed out scraps from the guild’s stash, asking sewers to supplement with their own scraps, so there was zero precision cutting up front. Then, when piecing the leaves into rows, we strove to get the green stems to match up between the blocks. Inconsistencies that existed elsewhere in the leaves—which is what happens when you have a bunch of people working on the same project, right?—were rendered undetectable.Yahoo!

Also, I had the pleasure of venturing to Cape Cod with my guild for our annual fall retreat (we also retreat in Maine in the spring). I hadn’t been on a guild retreat in a while, and a weekend with my friends was just what I needed.

I spent a good chunk of that weekend working on a second Christmas tree quilt. (Check out my first one here.) I also pieced two baby quilts, which are in the process of being quilted and bound, and scored some awesome swag: two of Latifah Saafir’s Clammy templates.

Surely that was enough to make for a fabulous weekend and worthwhile retreat. However, my guild mates and I also enjoyed a trunk show with Melissa Averinos. I know Melissa’s work well, but seeing it in person is a different experience. Pictures don’t capture the texture of layer upon layer of fabric or the subtle low volumes she uses or the intricate detail of her piecing and applique.

The retreat was just a few weeks ago, and I am already raring to go again!

Are you active in a local guild? I am thankful for the NHMQG! If you haven’t hooked up with an organization near you, I recommend checking it out and considering getting involved with the planning, programming, and meeting execution. You’ll get so much more out of the experience! After two years of serving on the board, I am stepping down, mainly because my whackadoodle family life makes attending nighttime meetings difficult. I am still plotting ways to contribute, though. Right now, I’m thinking of reviving some past programs, like organizing a monthly fabric swap or a designing a guild T-shirt. : )

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