Monday, April 14, 2014

gypsy brunettes

After returning from inspiration-overload at SewDown Nashville late last night, rather than do the obvious thing and share all about the incredible workshops that I'm guilty of overgramming on IG since last Friday, instead I'm going to take a slight detour and share my March gypsy wife progress in an effort to give myself time to fully process the last 72 hours :)

Of course there's the big Pershing block...

Lots of little pinwheels.

And because there were just too many color combinations jumping out at me last month, I even made a few extra teeny tiny blocks from some of the scraps.  I'm definitely thinking this will be more than a throw-size by the time I'm done with it!

And to be fair, this post isn't a complete departure from the weekend.  You see, I finally got a chance to meet a couple of my fellow gypsy brunettes Daisy and (fearless 'along-leader) Michelle down in Nashville.  I hope they don't mind me sharing this picture of the three of us... ;o)  And to all the other gypsy-wifers, we missed you!

Daisy of Ants to Sugar, me, and Michelle of Factotum of Arts

And that's that!  More to follow in the coming weeks about just everything we were up to down south!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a mascot and a flag {#opgivewarmth}

As promised, I've updated the #opgivewarmth page with a few more (necessary) details, so please pop on over there for shipping information and other logistical musings.  

One thing I'd like to emphasize here is that I've changed my mind on the 12.5" block size.  Instead, feel free to send any block whose finished size is a multiple of 3.  Whether you feel like making 3" or 36" (finished) blocks, so long as you remember to include an extra 1/2" for seam allowance I'll take whatever suits your fancy!  (I think I can hear Alison audibly gasping from halfway across the world about how I've just multiplied the work for myself, but in the abstract I like the design flexibility that having a variety of sizes will afford, so let's just hope this new plan pans out in practice!)  

And while I have your attention, I wanted to share some of the designs brewing around this month's palette...

The coyote you've seen (though he's been tweaked thanks to some IG friends who pointed out a, um, sneaky detail that I'd embarrassingly overlooked).  So, moving right along, how happy am I that there's already something in the flickr group from one of you?!  Erica made the beautiful AMH feather (it's long been on my own wish list, so I can't wait to incorporate hers into one of this month's MVOB quilts!)  Extra bonus?  I've seen snippets of another block in the works from Aoife of thREDhead (also, I love that she provides a clip of how to pronounce her name over on her blog; I was totally saying it wrong in my head).  

And because I was in a bit of a pink-y mood after strip-piecing stripes and testing out those geese for my friend Amanda of Material Girl Quilts, I decided some little HSTs featuring my all-time favorite AMH print were in order (field study sundials in glow, for those who are wondering).  A little inadvertent scattering on my desk (the present holding cell for this project) ultimately led to this pseudo-patriotic affair...

Ironically, my motto as a little girl was "Say no to pink."  Suffice it to say, I'm sort of smitten that this little flag stands for just the opposite.  I can only hope it finds its way to a little kid who's more openminded to the color than I was at that age.  ;o)

Linking up with Lee.  Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

welcome! {also, beware of dog-like creature}

Hello (again)!

Just wanted to welcome any newcomers popping over from Freshly Pieced today :)  I'm Sarah (as I hope you've figured out by now), and {no} hats in the house—yep, all lowercase, grammatically incorrect, and ostensibly entirely unrelated to quilting (or is it?!)—is my little corner of the interwebs.  That, along with my nooks on bloglovin', craftsy, etsyflickr, and instagram, but it all started right here, so there.  :o)

Seeing as it is W(ip)ednesday around these parts, I figured I'd share a bit of my most recent progress.  As you might've guessed, it's #opgivewarmth-inspired...

And as affable as it looks.  Because blankets aside, every kid deserves a 2' furry friend, right?

Even if it is a coyote.*  (!)


*Pattern by Violet Craft, for whom I pattern-tested this spry little animal and fellow four-footed behemoth, Sir Sunset Stag, both of which are part of her upcoming Forest Abstractions design.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#opgivewarmth {april 2014}

After yesterday's wordy post, I figured I should be brief today.  So without further ado, I give you "color scooped," the inaugural #opgivewarmth palette.  Read up, and dig in.* :)


*And while you're off getting started on your 12.5" blocks, I'll be putting the finishing touches on shipping logistics and an FAQ section for the #opgivewarmth page.  Have something to add?  Ask about it here so I can include it over there :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

#opgivewarmth {their very own blankets}

I'm continually awestruck and inspired not only by the innovative, thought-provoking and often just downright beautiful quilts that come out of our community, but also by our shared commitment to using our talents for good when we identify a group or a cause in need of just that.

Last spring, Amy of During Quiet Time and Berene of Happy Sew Lucky helped send love to (my native) Boston when an unthinkable scenario evolved into an inescapable reality.  Just the other month, my friend Alison of Little Island Quilting returned home from a trip to Mexico City forever changed and downright determined to gather quilts for children who could use more warmth in their lives.  Lynne of Lily's Quilts is an inspiration for no shortage of reasons, one of which includes her unwavering commitment to Siblings Together (in Lynne's words, "an initiative dedicated towards promoting positive contact between siblings separated by care").  And of course, Rachel of Stitched in Color is an obvious example with her 250-deep arsenal of individuals banded together in the name of do(ing) Good for charities near and far. 

In fact, it was Rachel's do. Good Stitches that led me to Jessica, the founder of My Very Own Blanket.  MVOB is an Ohio-based non-profit committed to making children in foster care feel valued and comforted.  Its main initiative—as the name suggests—is to provide them with handmade blankets (often the only personal items these children will take with them to their new homes).  So last winter, when the time came for me to send my first quilt on behalf of our circle, I began to question just why I was shipping a quilt from my home in Indiana to a foster care child in Ohio, when there are without doubt—simply by virtue of the society in which we live—children in need much closer to home.*

After of few months of idle thinking, I wrote to Jessica and asked if there was anything she could do to help me lay the groundwork for MVOB in Indy.  After a few emails, several games of phone tag and a nice long chat, I had a plan.  A small part of that plan includes monthly block callouts.  A big part of that plan includes you.

I know many people view charity quilting as an opportunity to clear out unwanted fabrics or produce items they wouldn't necessarily keep in their own home.  Personally, I have two points of contention with that philosophy.  First, to borrow the recent words of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, "Give your best work[.]  People who have nothing deserve the very best, more than anyone else."  Second, I cherish whatever little time I can spare at my machine, and much prefer spending that time with fabrics and designs that are near and dear to my heart.

So in the spirit of sewing somewhat more intentionally, my one "condition" on these callouts will be color-coordination:  each month from here on out, I'm going to post a color palette to the blog, flickr group, and instagram (@nohatsquilts) and call out for 12.5" (unfinished, unquilted) blocks.**  And no, they will *not* all be monochromatic (though you're welcome to sew your block(s) in a single color way if you so choose).  All I ask is that your blocks fall somewhere on that (or any previous month's) color scheme.  Use one color, use them all—your call.  Likewise, the design is 100% up to you.

As a working mother I am well aware of the myriad of constraints on our time these days, so I don't expect (but would welcome) intricate patterns and/or regular participation.  It's just that if you do ever have the time and feel inspired to give back, please keep #opgivewarmth in mind.  

And if you can't sew, for whatever reason, please consider spreading the word.  In our county alone (one of 92 in the state), the Department of Child Services moves 60-80 children each week.  Each week.  We will never be able to work fast enough.  But I pledge to turn all of our #opgivewarmth blocks into beautiful quilts and make every ounce of creativity count.  Because every child deserves some warmth and comfort.  Will you help me give that warmth?

*For those of you struck by the same sense of irony here, I encourage you to reach out to Jessica.  She's hoping to grow her regional platform into a national one and I'm sure she would welcome any discussions if you're inspired to assist with similarly-aimed efforts in your area.
**P.O. Box address and logistics soon to follow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

sunset stag {in stripes and plaid}

Meet Sunset Stag, my latest adventure in paper-piecing.  This time, rather than opting for yet another tiny endeavor, I was thinking BIG when I offered to pattern-test this three-foot, four-legged friend for Violet Craft.

Truth be told I've had a stack of fiery sunset hues set aside ever since my nephew was born on a snowstorm-y day in January.  I considered several other concepts between now and then, but none of them felt right.  So I pressed pause and attended to a project with a different kind of radiance while waiting for inspiration to strike.

The alphabet starbursts sprinkled across the dusky sky may or may not spell out his initials and nickname ;)

Before I knew it, Violet's #forestabstractions patterns over on IG had planted a lasting (and promising) seed.  (My in-laws are all kinds of animal lovers, so this was truly perfect for their latest addition.)

Disappearing (red) stripes:  now you see 'em, now you don't! #themagicofoakshott

For anyone intimidated by the size, the large scale piecing was incredibly straightforward (...once I had assembled the 20-page printout, that is).  But Violet has assured us that the finalized pattern won't be nearly as cumbersome ;o)  

In the meantime, if you're interested in scaling up something of your own and don't mind a little extra prep work, did you know you can print super-sized versions of regular patterns just by using the "Poster" option on the print menu?

Here's how:  After selecting the "Poster" button, enter the magnification percentage into the "Tile Size" field (for instance, for a 12" pattern, 200% will yield a 24" block, while 300% will yield a 36" block).  Then, get out your scotch tape (speaking from experience, gluesticks and clear packing tape are no friends of any sewing machine needles *I* know); trim, line up, and join the printouts; cut the (giant) pattern into its respective sections; and proceed with piecing as normal.

I think you'll be surprised by how quickly an intricate top comes together.  This one just needs a border or two (or three?), then it's off to a new life on the farm :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

shoot for the stars {radiant goals}

Note:  Edited to sprinkle some "stained glass"-esque shots throughout :)

I was really excited about the Pantone Quilt Challenge this year.  And not only because the talented twosome of Anne of Play Crafts and Adrianne of On The Windy Side were our new proud and fearless hosts.  But also because I've sort of been hoarding purple fabrics.  ...Since I started stashing.

So last month, I thought I was ahead of the game when I decided to sketch out a couple of concepts.  And then life happened, other projects took priority, and before I knew it, I had one week left and two stacks of uncut fabric pulls. (Ruh roh.)  And then, out of the blue, my friend Heather of Crimson Tate asked if I would be available to fill in for a guild speaker who had something come up at the last minute.  (Déjà vu?)  I happily obligedeven though it'd cost some pantone-purple sewing timeand quickly decided to demo my {free} paper-pieced arrow pattern for the (our) Indy Modern Quilt Guild.

Sidebar:  I extended the shaft section of the pattern to the height of the page (~11"), and added a few improv stripes and band.

When it came time to prep that weekend (there are things I plan for, folks!), I decided to cut into a few odd-shaped scraps from my liberty (and justice for all) DWR, some leftover oakshotts from this {sweet as honey} quilt, and of course—being a connoisseur of farm-to-stash feedsacks—, a cream-colored sack of Midwestern origin for the background.

As for the presentation itself, I was on cloud nine.  (I might be an attorney by trade, but I'm always up for some quality chats and collaboration with fellow creatives.  And I mean always.)  So much so, that when I got home and reality set in that radiant '(k)id and radiant {koi} couldn't possibly be completed (well) by the challenge deadline, I set my sights on something new.  And then noticed that my arrow-heart had the perfect touch of orchid-purple. 

Serendipity :)  So I just started piecing mini-stars from my liberty and oakshott scraps, drawing upon a few other feedsacks for the background (I've been hoarding a somewhat tattered collection for Tula's city sampler blocks, but thanks to addictive ebay habits there's still plenty where those came from).

So by Wednesday I found myself with a purply-blue arrow and twenty-some odd stars in various stages of completion.  Surprisingly, I knew early on (read: Tuesday) that I wanted—for perhaps the first time ever—to avoid a straightforward grid structure (gasp!).  So I scattered the stars across the floor, cut a host of 2" strips from the feedsacks to fill in the background (à la gypsy wife), and starting piecing them in the best way I thought possible:  at random.  The end result?  (As my IG peeps have already seen...)

"Shoot for the stars."  (It seemed to appropriately capture my sentiments about the events leading up to this design, what with the lofty daydreams of a wholeheartedly creative life and whatnot.)  It measures a somewhat obscure 40" x 61", but I suppose that's what happens when you (I) improvise.  ;o)

The only outstanding question?  How to quilt it.  (!)  My thoughts?
—Tight straight lines in Aurifil on a diagonal (like this other (pseudo) pantone shooting star design) or
—Chunky, organic hand quilting with perle 8 to complement the rustic background (like the other arrow quilt)

Feel free to share yours if you have ideas for me!  And go on and take a look at all the glorious quilts that are painting Play Crafts and On The Windy Side purple these days, or check out #pantonequilt over on IG.  Plenty of inspiration to go around!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge