Tuesday, January 16, 2018

November BeeSewcial: Maximalist Improv

23"x24" BeeSewcial November 2017

When I read the description for November's #BeeSewcial block :  Maximalism, fun, happy, all color, no rules, no rulers proposed by Leanne @shecanquilt let's just say I was thrilled.   "Time to laugh and play" how cool is that for prompt?!
building parts
My scrap basket was a perfect place to pull shapes that were already partially cut into bits of inspiration as a starting point.  I also dipped into my fat quarter stash to find the right color and larger pieces when needed.  It was a weekend of scissors, freehand rotary and stitching with no pins.  Definitely my kind of fun. 

composing with "chunks"
I've worked this method enough to know not to get too attached to what I see mid-way on the design board.  Things change and evolve as I sew parts together and I try to remind myself of that.  Although it may look random, in the moment, when I'm in the zone, there are a ton of composition decisions being made. 

The photo above shows the the left and right quadrant on the design wall separated and the photo below showed them overlapped and pinned in place.  With gentle curves I can get away with no pins which I prefer to help keep the momentum going but there are steps near the end where pinning in place to position the key visual "connections" is helpful.  

rare pinning in place before the glue

Excess is left until after I've sewn the joint as seen below in this underside process shot.  The split egg shape has become a favorite thing to include and something I'd like to explore in a series.  
underside before trimmed
Here's a link to see the blocks Leanne has received from my other mates HERE.  There is something so satisfying when they are all together and also a huge relief to see proof that it didn't get lost in the mail.

Split Egg - a Future Series

Maximalist Circles for Leanne November 2016

Waves Depth Flow block for Felicity March 2017

Block for Di 2015
One of my fist BeeSewcial blocks and a design that I'd love to super size into a quilt is this one for Di.  I think that subconsciously it sparked the "Reflections" theme that I chose when it was my turn back in 2015.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

my 2018 Q1 FAL Goals

Welcome!  If you are looking to LINK UP your own 2018 Q1 FAL goals, go to THIS POST and scroll to find the blue "add your link" button at the bottom.   

Take a look at what I'm hoping to get done:

My 2018 Q1 FAL Goals

Nine seems to be a good number if for no other reason that is how many fit conveniently in a mosaic grid.  Last quarter I got 3 out of 9 done and I'll be happy if that's the case this time, especially if two are my BeeSewcial UFOs.

From top to bottom left to right they are:

1. QuiltCon Mini Swap: I've pulled fabric with only a sneak here because although it's a two way swap (I make for her and she makes for me) the actual reveal won't happen until we meet in person in Pasadena on Saturday Feb 24th.  

2. Ocean Improv:  Today's the birthday of a friend who I'm just beginning to make a quilt for.  Fortunately he likes batik and improv and it will be fun to sew from stash and scraps.  no real deadline 

3. Ultra Violet Pantone Grannys:  Using my granny swap blocks from way back in the Flickr days seems like a good multi-task but we will see how this one pans out as plans are loose. 

4.  Big Stitch for Me:  So I chose a favorite improv piece to use at the big stitch workshop recently to force me into making something out  of it for myself.  It is one step closer than sitting as a flimsy but still just stacked on the projects pile.  

5.  Eyes:  These gorgeous BeeSewcial 2017 blocks have been staring at me begging to become the quilt they are meant to be.  Top of the goals as I have come pretty close on the layout and love, love them.

6. Color Workshop: I had so much fun at the Tara Faughnan class and was on a roll with many more strips already cut.   No deadline or idea who this will be but I would enjoy myself spending time with this process so I put it on the list.

7. Weight of Love:  When I had the chance to take a repeat workshop with Libs Elliott at PIQF in October I jumped on it.  The parts from QuiltCon honestly don't look all that different so rather than having the UFO weigh on me, it's my goal to get it done.

8.  Stretch: Many of these BeeSewcial 2016 blocks were hand delivered to me in Pasadena at QuiltCon which clearly marks the passage of time since I'll be heading there in a few weeks two years later almost to the date.  With a cohesive limited palette I thought the prompt would be easier to compose into a quilt but have been quite puzzled by the puzzling when attempted many times so far. No excuses.  It's a tip top priority.  

9. Minimalist Winter:  Left overs and cut offs can often become something special in their own right. As I've mentioned before, I feel like a maximalist by nature and a minimalist by influence.  Broadening my aesthetics is something I value and want to encourage of myself. 

I'm linking up my 2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 goals HERE and hope that you will to.   Be sure to check out all of the details and deadlines for the new year ahead on the permanent FAL tab on my blog.  All of the hosts are happy to hand hold to get you going.  Like anything new there can be a learning curve with participating in a linky party so we are here to help!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 FAL Q1 Link Up

It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q1 of the Finish-A-Long.  We are hoping that the FAL community will inspire you to work on your unfinished projects this quarter (and throughout the remainder of the year) and to get them finished!

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world.  Our hosts are:

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about.  At the start of the quarter you post and link up a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you link up each successful finish from your original list.

Each linked up finish is an entry into the draw for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.  There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish.  The 2018 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q1 of the Finish-A-Long - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):

Fat Quarter Shop Logo
$50 Gift Certificate
During Quiet Side Logo
3 PDF Patterns
Sew Sisters Quilt Shop Logo
$25 Gift Certificate
Quilting Jetgirl Logo
2 PDF Patterns
Sew Me a Song Logo
$20 Gift Certificate
Happy Quilting Logo
3 PDF Patterns
Charm About You Logo
2 PDF Patterns
Make Modern Magazine Logo
3 Six Month Subscr.
Studio 39 Fabrics Logo
$25 Gift Certificate
Tartankiwi Logo
$25 Gift Certificate
Sew Sweetness Logo
A Minikins Bundle
Mad About Patchwork Logo
$50 Gift Certificate
Blossom Hearts Logo
2 PDF Patterns
Clover & Violet Logo
$30 Gift Certificate
Finish A Long Logo
Join Us!

So, now it is time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months!  Take a photo of each one and make your list.  Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes.  So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project. 

If posting on social media (Flickr, Facebook & Instagram,) it will be very helpful if you tag your list with #2018FALQ1yourname (where yourname is unique to you.)  Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing project progress or finishes, helps the host to make the connection to your original list quickly and easily.
IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link up your finishes when the quarter closes!

The 2018 Q1 link for your list of proposed finished is now open below on my blog and each of the hosting blogs.  You need only link your list once, on one blog - the link will show up on all of the blogs.  If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, post a mosaic of your projects and put your list in the description.  Don't forget to include your unique hashtag.  Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it. 

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community.  Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists.  We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

If you want you can follow us on Facebook: Finish-A-Long and/or on Instagram @finishalong, too.  We'll post encouragement during the quarter, and reminders when the finishes link-up opens at the end of the quarter. 

When creating your list there is one thing to remember...No deductions for not completing something so...Aim High!  Nothing to lose!!!  Well Now...Get those lists together and get linked up.

The Q1 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, Monday January 15, 2018 - as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link (you can also see how much time is left below the linked up images on the right.)

Remember: you only need to link up at ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Best Nine and 2018 Planning Party Goals

Most Likes on IG for 2017 
Early December I ran the 2017 "Best Nine" for my Instagram likes and posted but before sharing on the blog I thought I'd run another to see if there had been any changes and sure enough, my Free-Range mini that i just blogged about this morning popped up on the mosaic.  

The only duplicate was my QDAD QCon challenge quilt Bend Don't Break, one with me posing in Savannah and the other on my bed at Retreat.  Last year Reflections made the cut 3 times in various stages and this year again on while the longarm - clearly liked and no argument there. 

The Quilts Planner 2018
Because I haven't been very organized in 2017 and haven't blogged as regularly, pulling together a recap of what I've made will take some time so check back for a belated post that will hopefully happen soon.

Planning for 2018 will be made easier since I got a new Quilter's Planner for Christmas.

Here are my 2018 Goals linking up to the #2018PlanningParty with Yvonne who blogs at Quilting Jetgirl:

1. Organize:  My stash is in desperate need of attention.  After retreats and workshops the piles just collect and it's hard to tell what I have and where to find it.  

2. Purge:  This one is tough for me but I know I'll feel better keeping the most likely to use stuff and finding a good home for the rest.  This is especially true for notions.

3.  Pause:  "Admire, Don't Acquire" is a phrase that I read somewhere (sorry I can't remember to give credit) No point in thinning my stash if I continue to collect more without restraint.  I'm not going on a full fledged fabric diet but I'd like to be less impulsive. 

4.  Teach:  I had the opportunity in 2017 to teach a workshop and loved the experience.  It was a lot of work to prepare for but a worthwhile process and very rewarding.

5.  Pace:  I'd like to create without the extreme highs and lows.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy diving in and being so engrossed in a project that everything else disappears.  Maybe just fewer marathon sessions and last minute makes would be an improvement.  

6. Blog Briefs:  The number of posts this last year is pretty thin and thankfully being a 2017 Finish-A-Long host has kept me going.  I'm going to try to share on the blog more often even if the posts are brief. 

7.  Blog Header: I'm emotionally attached to the header I've had for so long but it's getting outdated so I'd like to make a new one. 

Best of Luck with your goals in the New Year!

2018 Planning Party

Free-Range: 2018 MQG Fabric Challenge


Free-Range 2018 QuiltCon Fabric Challenge

"Free-Range" was a definite challenge to make in the sense that I tried very hard to create something that I felt was modern,  brought out the best in the fabric line and represented me as a maker.  I do enjoy participating but not competing.  I honestly thought I might have a chance at being chosen but it was not. 

Here is what I wrote for my entry:

The animals are the center of attention in Free-Range just as they were in “Our Yard” growing up where we had a cat, rabbits, chickens and a few mice too.  An original design based on a log cabin because nothing depicts home more than that.   Intentionally imperfect, the improv-abstraction blocks create a fence to keep the critters in. 

Machine quilted with hand-stitching added to mimic the sweet charm of the fabric. Special care was given to the binding treatment.  

The smallness represents the precious plot of land as viewed from above and the high cost of living in California.
A fun impromptu photo shoot
The Modern Quilt Guild provided the Our Yard F8 bundle and I bought Cotton Couture from my LQS then ordered yardage of the print online. I have SO much left over. 

The Design Process

block sketch
Simple enough, right? It wasn't until after I'd sewn together a good portion of my second block that it dawned on me that although the construction was the same for all four, the center critter orientation was not.  I happened to be at a Sew Day with guild mates who were very supportive of my oversight!
Directional Critters
The color placement ended up reversed from my original mock up because of the contrast between the solids and the printed background.   In order for there to be less focus on the solids I inserted the stripes to break up the center motif and also tie in the grey color in the critter blocks.
mock up
This was another idea that I had for layout and although I think it's really fun, there would be even less emphasis on the fussy cut blocks so it will have to wait to become reality on another day.

alternative layout

alternative layout
There were a lot of cute animals and I had fussy cut an additional four in mustard taking into consideration which way they faced (see I do learn from my mistakes).  I tried and tried and ugh tried to work them in.

Example layout 
Here are just a few ideas that I toyed with.  More just didn't feel like an improvement and bigger was not better or balanced. In the end I'm happy with my decision to keep it simple and close to the original vision.

Finishing Touches

 Continuing the stripes on the binding and the light vs darker aqua for the sides was a satisfying touch.  I had just taken a big stitch workshop with Tara Faughnah so embellishing with floss came to mind.   Pulling out the darker pink found in the fussy animals as well as resembling a chicken footprint was IMO perfect.
Aurifil 12Wt
The lighting was working against me at my usual photo taking spot.  A mini is tough to capture the details of from a distance but I do like this one.

Despite the status of a #QuiltConReject I'm please to say it is a #2017Q4FAL goal success.    If you are participating please be sure to link up HERE.  I've got 3 out of 9 and am proud of them all.

Start thinking about what your 2018 FAL Q1 goals will be and check back for the Goal Setting linky party here on my blog or on any of the 2018 FAL Hosts blogs.   I'll be updating the Finish-A-Long tab very soon with all of the details.

Happy Stitching, Karen

2017 Q4 FAL Link Up

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the fourth quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q4 finishes!

The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
  Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:  

The 2017 Q4 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":

  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.

  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter). Feel free to tag your photos #2017FALQ4yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your list.

  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishalong

  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.

The Q4 Finishes link will stay open from now thru January 6 at 11 pm EST - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.

And don't forget to start making your 2018 Q1 lists as the Q1 list link opens on January 7, 2018. More details about next year's Finish A Long will be announced soon.  Hope you will join us.