Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 - A Year in Review

It is always good to look back at the year that was and see how far  you've come and contemplate on what lies ahead.

First the year that was.

For me 2014 started and ended on a high note with 'Antithesis' being placed in the final ten for the Riley Blake Challenge in February and 'Ode to the Past' being accepted for QuiltCon 2015 in December. Both were a pleasant surprise and huge confidence boosters. 

During the course of the year I worked on different kinds of quilts, each time learning a new skill.

1. Hexie mini 2. Rainbow wall hanging 3. Ode to the past 4. Greek cross quilt 5. Riding the wave of optimism 6. Flowery ballerina 7. Fade 8. HST series - II 9. HST series - I 10. Antithesis 11. Charms quilt 12. Bohemian Rhapsody

I also participated in my very first quilting bee. Scrapbeelicious - an online bee and an in person one with the CJMQG guild. Both were really fun and forced me to try things I would not otherwise. I also made a bunch of good friends in the process.

2014 was also the year I attended my first quilting retreat - Mid Atlantic Mod. I cannot begin to describe how much fun it was. The highlights of the retreat were shopping at Burkholders, the tote bag swap and putting progressive quilts together. I know atleast one of the quilts was accepted for QuiltCon 2015.

I also participated in the Supernova Friendship swap with Heather from Quilts In The Queue, a fun collaboration. I not only made a good friend but looked forward to seeing her blocks arrive each month. Can't wait to finish the quilt. Finally a quilt that will stay with me.

2014 has also been a year of big changes for me which has taken much of my focus and energy. On the upside I have made a ton of new quilty friends in Seattle. Can't wait to do more sewing with them in the coming year.

Last but definitely not the least I am thankful for the quilting community and all my blog readers that provide me the support and inspiration on a daily basis to push myself outside of my comfort zone and try new things. It is this, that really keeps me going.

Now for 2015. 

Being mindful of all the changes I need to get accustomed to in the coming year my plan is to keep things simple. Continue to make quilts I want without any hard commitments which should give me plenty of flexibility to get adjusted while still keeping things fun. I am excited to sew with SMQG in the coming year and their support has already made the transition much easier.

Hope you have a great holiday and wish everyone a happy new year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A mini quilt

I started this little quilt in June of 2013 when I got a mini charm pack of Malka Dubrawsky's Simple Marks and started making hexies with it. Then the project dragged along and it was only last week I actually finished it. This little mini is similar to the one Malka made. I really like the pop of color and is definitely going on the wall in my sewing room.

I have established that there is a two year lag between me buying fabric and actually putting it to use. There is little I can do about it. I buy fabric faster than I can sew ;)

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday

Monday, December 1, 2014

An Ode To The Past - QuiltCon Entry 2015

My entry for QuiltCon 2015. 

I decided to submit this at the last minute to live up to the spirit in which it was made.

First the story behind it. I worked for an investment bank in New York before recently moving to Seattle and this illustration adorned the wall of my office for the 10 years I worked there

It is a Bauhaus illustration by Wilburn Bonnell III (Circa 1971) with a quotation by James Agee. The Ad is from the series 'Great Ideas of Western Man' by Container Corporation of America. 

The writing on it:
In every child who is born, 
under no matter what circumstances,
and no matter what parents,
the potentiality of the human race
is born again;
and in him, too, once more, and each of us,
our terrific responsibility towards human life;
towards the utmost idea of goodness,
of the horror of error,
and of God

I saw it every time I walked into office and it was the only constant in the ups and downs of my career and the fast changing corporate climate. It did not mean much to me initially but its bold and masculine appearance was a constant reminder to me that corporate America did not favor the weak or the timid. I had to navigate my way through just like the fellow next to me. Through the years it served me well. So as a tribute to all the life lessons I learnt there I decided to turn the illustration into a quilt.

In order to make this quilt I needed five varying shades of gray fabric. At the peril of sounding like an ad for Kona solids, it really was my only choice. Found the perfect five shades of gray. The quilt top came together relatively easily. Very simplistic. I did not want to take away from the bold blocks so decided to quilt each block with a self colored thread to further enhance the texture. Each colored section is quilted in a square spiral. This was a laborious process on a domestic sewing machine, but worth it, I think.

I did not want to add a visible border to the quilt and was wondering what to do when I saw Victoria Gertenbach's tutorial on facing a quilt. Just what I needed. Frankly I had not heard of the term 'facing a quilt' till I read her tutorial. Newbie!!! Love the crisp edges.

For the back I used Quilter's Linen in black and a newspaper print I picked up at my LQS. It has notable events from history printed in the form of news items. Love the fabric, must find more. You can see the facing and the quilting more clearly in this picture.

I agonized about submitting it as a QuiltCon entry. Self doubt began to sink in: It was not good enough, other quilts were much better. It would definitely get rejected. I wouldn't tell anyone I submitted an entry this way no one will know it got rejected.......and then I stopped myself. This is not what the illustration meant to me. For all its worth one thing that corporate America has taught me well is to take rejection and criticism like a champ and move on! 

So there in the spirit of the idea behind the quilt here is my QuiltCon entry.

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday Listings

With the move and the reduced size of my new sewing room I need to right size. As a result I decided to list a few of my quilts for sale on Etsy

I have currently listed the following:

HST quilt 1 - Listed here
HST quilt 2 - Listed here

Bohemian Rhapsody - Listed here
You can read more about the making of the quilt by clicking on the link below the image. Each one is handmade with care and pre-washed.

With the upcoming holiday season these would make great gifts for any kid or toddler. The two HST quilts would make a great gift for siblings or twins. Bohemian Rhapsody is completely hand quilted with Perle cotton and is extremely soft to the feel. 

I love these quilts and hope they find good homes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2014

It's Bloggers Quilt Festival time and I love looking at all the amazing quilts entered in the festival.

My entry this year is my Michael Miller challenge quilt titled 'Riding the wave of optimism' in the original design category. You can read more about the making of the quilt in the original post.

The wave was the hardest part of this quilt. It did require some level of ingenuity to get the right look. I love what you can achieve with applique and shall definitely be using more of it in the future.

Category: Original Design
Dimensions: 30" x 41"


Be sure to check out the other amazing entries on Amy Ellis's blog and a big thank you to her for hosting this twice a year.

My previous few entries:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dead Air....

This blog has been ignored just like my sewing for a few months now. The move has had it's share of surprises and frustrations. Re-establishing routines, down sizing, re-adjusting......re-calibrating. Last but not the least, a steep learning curve at my day job. All these things have taken up much of my energy and attention. 

In the meantime to satisfy my quilty cravings I have
  • Connected with Seattle MQG. A very fun bunch of quilters. Can't wait to get more involved with the on going activities. I have been to two meetings now and have been blown away by the quilts I have seen so far.  
  • Been reading a lot of quilting books. I am now itching to make some items from them. Some of the ones I really liked are:
  • I have been also been keeping up with my Quilt Design a Day (QDAD) exercises. I haven't been posting my designs as this has turned into more of an experiment for me. I have been playing a lot with color and form. I will probably write up a few posts on what I have learned so far.  I have also gotten more comfortable with Electric Quilt Design Software (EQ6). It has some quirks but I think I am getting a lot more comfortable with it.
Leaving off with some of my recent experiments.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Connecting from the left coast....

After agonizing over the impending move from NJ to WA for a few months now, I am finally here in Seattle, WA trying my best to settle in, feel at home and make new friends. It's been a roller coaster of emotions along with a lot of planning and hard work. Oh well change is for the better right??? 

For now, I only have the essentials for daily living with me here in Seattle and it does not include a sewing machine. No, it did not make it on my list of essentials, blasphemy!! In the meanwhile to satisfy my quilty cravings I started an EPP project. This pattern is called Spring Carnival by Katy Jones. She has templates available on her website for download. I walked over to the nearest fabric store and bought a yard each of black and white text fabric and began putting the pieces together. I love the dramatic contrast of the two fabrics.

I am planning to turn this into a pillow but can't make up my mind if I should go with a dark or light background. Please help! Which would you prefer? Or should I pick something different all together?

On another note I joined the QDAD group started by Anne Sullivan of Play-Crafts. I decided to give original quilt design a chance and see where it takes me. I am not sure if I can commit to a design a day but even if I get 1-2 a week I would be happy. Persistence is key. Here are my first two designs. I don't know how to get rid of the grid lines in EQ7 so the patterns don't look as pretty but gives a good idea of how it can be constructed because of the visible lines.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Greek Cross Quilt done!!!!

The Greek Cross block has always seemed very bold and definitive to me so when I needed to make a quilt for a teenage boy who is in a rock band, it was the first block that came to mind. I tried to make it as masculine as possible in the hope it will get used. I bust out my stack of Curious Nature by Parson Gray and picked only the blue and gray fabrics from the line. For the background I picked Quilter's Linen in Stone. I love the textured look. 

Blocks were very easy to make. I even have a tutorial on the sameThe quilt top came together relatively easily. 

For the backing I decided to give it a music theme. I used Concerto Orchestra Stripe White and Concerto G-Cleff White/Black from Bernatex Fabrics. The recipient plays keyboards so I thought this fit in nicely. Pretty masculine print IMO.

Keeping in the same vein I quilted it using a boxy pattern with gray thread. Curves come more easily to me so it was a challenge to quilt the sharp corners. However I found that if I hesitated a bit at each turn I achieved the required look. Thanks Angela Walters for the tip. I think her workshop was one I learnt a lot from. 

In the close up you can see that the gray fabric in the two blocks differ slightly in color. Well I ran out of the Quilter's linen and had to order more and found that the shade was not exactly the same. Different dye lot. Lesson learned for next time. Stock up on the fabric before starting a quilt. Oh well I hope after a few washes the difference will be less apparent.

Lastly for the binding I used a Spider Web in black from Northcott Fabrics. It frames the quilt nicely.

I was thinking of going all cross bones and skulls on the quilt but I think this is a happy medium where both the kid and parents would be happy. Quilts for boys are always so hard.

At times I really drag my feet on a project. This was one of those. I had less than 2 square feet of quilting left and had folded the unfinished quilt and put it away.  Finally decided to finish it and call it a day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One of my early quilts

This quilt top dates back to Sept. of 2011 when I initially started sewing and quilting. I was not yet introduced to designer fabric and was a frequent visitor to the local Michael's for fabric. I was not a big fan of the fabric to begin with and abandoned the quilt top as soon as I discovered better fabric. However while packing I came across the quilt top and decided to go ahead and finish it anyway. Maybe it could be a charity quilt or I could give it to someone who likes it. 

It is always good to look back and see how far you've come. Also are there folks there who abandoned working on the quilt tops because they fell out of love with the fabric? I would love to see the unfinished quilt tops. Do you plan to finish it some day?

Friday, July 25, 2014

And then there were four

The Supernova Friendship Swap is moving along. Heather and I are churning out our blocks a month at a time. Here are the first four.

Am in love with these so far.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Riding The Wave Of Optimism - MQG Challenge Quilt

Early one morning at work I heard the phrase "Riding the wave of optimism" and it really stuck in my head. I kept trying to envision what a wave of optimism would look like. A few days later I came across this image and to me it symbolized the phrase. A nice big colorful wave symbolizing optimism and the little sailboat riding it in the hope to make it through. 

My quilt for Michael Miller MQG challenge is based on this image. I used the "made fabric" concept by Victoria Findlay-Wolfe which was then cut up into a wave shape backed by some Pellon fusible interfacing. I appliqued the wave using a straight stitch and tiny zigzag stitch for the other pieces. 

For the background I used the same "made fabric" concept with shades of blue to give it some subtle variation instead of a print fabric.

The vertical straight line quilting symbolizes falling rain but I don't know if it comes across that way. 

Finally I found a perfect Michael Miller print for the binding. The colors blend perfectly with the rest of the quilt giving it some definition. This quilt is again unlike anything I have made before but oh well what was that saying about trying new things......;)

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Radio Silence

Sorry for the radio silence but with the impending move, sewing has become wishful thinking for me. I try to snatch a few minutes here and there to sew. Most of the paraphernalia is in boxes and can't find half my notions. Anyway it's been over a month since my last post so thought I would quickly drop in and say what I have had a chance to work on.

I am participating in the Supernova Friendship Block Swap along with Heather from Quilts In The Queue and these were the blocks for June. I am already late for July. I love how the blocks look placed side by side.

I also finished a block for Stephanie at Simple Sewendipity for the Scrapbeelicious bee. She had asked for the little vines block by Elizabeth Hartman. Love how they turned out and so quick to make.

Linking up to: WIP Wednesday