Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday #2

Here's a little story for you.

Once upon a time there was this girl, let's call her Jane, who had been quilting for many years. She'd reached a lull, been lured away by other crafts, and was a little bit over the juvenile fabrics of her children's requisite baby quilts and the drab country prints and calicos that were all over the market. 
So quilting took a backseat to babies and scrapbooks and life in general, but the need to cut up fabric and then sew it back together again never really goes away. So a couple of years ago, she began to search for quilting blogs to look at. One of the very first blogs she discovered belonged to Amanda Jean, a quilter with endless talent, particularly for putting together fabrics. And that was all it took to get Jane back in the game. She looked at quilting in a whole new, modern, light and the love affair was rekindled.

So it's no surprise that when Amanda Jean and Cheryl's book, Sunday Morning Quilts, was released, it was an autobuy. Modern scrap quilts? Totally my thing.

While I haven't made a quilt directly from this book yet, their concept of sewing my scraps into slabs to make new fabric totally resonated with me. I promptly sorted my scraps by colour and then, whilst in the shower one morning (because the best ideas always happen where there's no pen and paper), I came up with the perfect design based on their slab concept to use a heap of coloured scraps and also a whole bunch of predominantly white scraps and yardage - featuring a lot of prints that looked great at the time but were really hard to use.

And thus, Rainbow in the Clouds was born.

Slabby strips in whites and the colours of the rainbow. I am working on this quilt only at quilt group, and I'm about half way there, just got the top end of the 'bow to go. And I'm loving it.It is so liberating to just sew without worrying about perfect cuts and 1/4 inch seams, and the result is so effective. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review - Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters

The words ‘Then quilt as desired’ written at the end of many quilting patterns puts a fear of dread in the heart of many quilters and is probably the reason so many quilt tops remain unfinished. I, for one, often overlook the actual quilting part of the process, though I'm now realising it's another artistic layer in the whole process.

I am always looking to improve my quilting skills - I don't have the time to hand quilt and sending a quilt out to be long armed isn't a financial option for me. Plus, I want to be able to say I made all of it. So, quilting it on my trusty domestic machine is the only option.

I chose this book because I wanted to improve my FMQ skills, but it revolutionised how I think about the whole process as well. For starters, it is geared toward modern quilters and modern style quilts, which is totally my thing. 

But in it, Angela says, "But over and over, I see quilters piecing such beautiful quilt tops only to resort to an allover quilting design, unsure of how to quilt it or doubtful about their quilting ability." Can you say 'lightbulb moment'? The idea that I don't have to stick with one overall design is so freeing, liberating, and a kinda exciting creative challenge. I had never really contemplated using multiple quilting patterns in a single project, but Angela does this with such stunning results and it's changed how I look at quilting. I have already designed my first quilting pattern with this method in mind and just need to get that flimsy basted so I can get into it.

I also really love how this book is divided into three sections, with a really clear general introduction, lots of step by step patterns and a section on how to use the designs in modern quilts. This book covers all bases and is an excellent resource.

I am not usually this blown away by books, but this one is an absolute must buy for any modern quilter. I love it!

PS: Angela blogs over at Quilting is My Therapy.

Disclaimer: I am a member of CTPub's Troupe, which provides review copies of their titles, including the fabulous Stash Books imprint.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Stash #1 - The Travelling Stash

I hadn't heard of a Travelling Stash  until Cassie talked about it in one of my FB groups, but once I heard about it I was so in! 

In case you don't know, a travelling stash is a big post parcel filled with lots of awesome fabrics and sewing notions that travels from participant to participant. When you get the stash, you get to unpack it (it is astounding how much you can cram into one of those 3kg post bags), ooohhhh and aaaahhhh a lot, pat some fabric (fabric must be patted regularly, like a cat). And THEN there's the tough decision of choosing what you want to take out of the stash. 

The stash arrived in my hot little hands on Friday and it looked like this:

Seriously, all that fitted into one post bag.

I opened it up with my girls, who helped me choose some goodies for our personal stash. There was lots of great fabrics but I'm a sucker for brights so I chose some gorgeous bright prints, a couple of 1/2 yd cuts, some FQs and some charms. The girls also took a great liking to a penguin pattern, some ribbons (it's purple, mummy!) and some metallic thread. It was like taking them to Spotlight but without having to say no at the end of the trip.

So this is what we took out:

The deal of the stash is that whatever you take out needs to be replaced with something from your stash to the same value, so I popped in a couple of patterns, some notions, some fabric transfers and lots of yummy fabric. Here's what I added:

So this is what came out, and what went back in. Now she's ready to go to her next lucky recipient.

Linking up with Fiona's Sunday Stash segment. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday #1

I like putting a #1 in my title, because in a little way it implies I only have one WIP (or maybe it means one of many...). I wish one WIP was the case, but sadly it's not. My inability to finish anything hit somwhere in primary school and hasn't gone away some 30 years later. So I have many, many works in progress - and we've only just met, so I'm not about to disclose the actual number to you just yet ;).

Instead I'm just going to focus on one of the WIPs that is forefront in my mind at the moment - my New York Beauty paper piecing.

I've been quilting for years (about 17 in case you're wondering, but trying to remember exactly is like trying to remember how old I am), but the thought of paper piecing always kind of freaked me out. So this year, I made learning how to paper piece one of my quilting goals. And after reading up a little bit and trying out a test block with disastrous results, I decided I wanted to make a New York Beauty quilt. Cos there's nothing like jumping in with both feet and hoping for the best....

Anyhow, I started following the NY Beauty quilt along over at Sew Sweetness ... and then I got busy and lost track of the weeks and now I have 2 blocks done, one close to about half finished and seven to go - so I really need to get cracking on this baby since I have other paper piecing projects I'm itching to get on with.

So here's my progress with these blocks. The vision is bright colours, using Sketch by Timeless Treasures for the centres, black for the background and lots and lots of scraps for the points. So far I'm loving how they're coming together.

 So not as completed as I thought!!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

Monday, July 16, 2012

A little welcome

If I'm ever asked to describe myself in a few words, creative is always at the top of the list.

Why? Because it defines me, it makes me happy, and I think it's one of the most important qualities a person can have. So, yeah, I value my creativity above plenty of other things in my life. There's plenty I can live without in this modern, busy world, but if I go for more than a few days without being (or at least thinking) creative, I get to be a very.cranky.girl. And it ain't pretty. 

So this blog is a documentation of my creative journey, an exploration of what comes out of this creative space (my pretty little craft room, and my pretty little head). I've often made the excuse that I don't have time for blogging, but sometimes I feel I need someone to answer to in my creative journey or it becomes way too long between finishes and I find that spark stops firing and I get into a lull (cue that very.cranky.girl). 

Oh yeah, and what do I create? Quilts (generally of the modern variety), scrapbooks, refashioned clothing, the odd chocolate dessert, cool things for my kiddos, cool things with my kiddos.... and whatever else I think I might like to try. 

So come along, join this creative trip with me. I look forward to getting to know you.