Monday, February 2, 2015

catching dreams by sunrise {black & white}

Last fallwhen it felt like all my quilting friends were at Market and I was living vicariously through them on IGa very surprising (and welcome!) comment came through on my feed, from none other than Robert Kaufman fabric designer Jennifer Sampou herself... (The anticipation!)  So when she emailed later asking if I would join in on the Insta Blog Hop to celebrate the arrival of her latest line, black & white, I didn't think twice.

From the start I knew I wanted to do something with feathers (consider it an ode to one of her signature prints in the collection).  Initially I was going to stitch up (and drafted patterns for) over half a dozen different "painted" feathers, but when it came time to decide on a layout, nothing seemed right.  Until I stumbled upon a light and airy dreamcatcher while looking for nursery inspiration...  (Lightbulb!)

I quickly got to work merging all my sketches in photoshop and ultimately came up with this...

A subdued, crib-sized dreamcatcher dripping with five brightly painted feathers.  Most of the quilt is pieced with black & white fabrics (and coordinating Studio Stash Yarn Dyes) in the "ash" color story.  To add some dawn-inspired splashes of color, I used a range of blazing shades from the kona sunrise charm pack.  (The pack itself also has a great selection of pinks and greens, but I went with the more heated hues to play off the sun rays in the design.)

For the quilting, I was going to stick with what I know best (straight lines along the "rays"), but when I asked my friend Amanda of Material Girl Quilts for a second opinion she suggested I venture outside my comfort zone and try a little free motion quilting.

..I mean I'm no Angela Walters, but e for effort, right? ;o)  For the binding, I used one of Jennifer's Studio Stash Yarn Dyes, with a little fiery gradient from the kona sunrise charm pack for another added pop of color.

And that's that!  Thank you so much to Jennifer and the wonderful folks at Robert Kaufman for the invite and the beautiful fabric.  And lucky for you all, they've also provided this little "taquito" pack for me to give away here...

C'mon, how cute is that?  Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.  I'll pick a winner next Monday, February 9th.  Congratulations to commenter no. 9/127, Anita!

In the meantime, there are other great ways to win too!  Jennifer will be giving away a fat quarter tower of the complete collection (just head over to her opening post before February 8th), plus a taquito pack and a copy of one of her new patterns over on IG (just post your own black & white project—or a favorite from the hop!—and tag it with #blackandwhitefabrics and #jennifersampou).  

And of course you can visit all the other stops on the hop for more inspiration and extra chances to win, too!

January 31 Angela Pingel
February 2 Sarah Sharp - {no} hats in the house << you are here :o) >>
February 7 Jennifer Sampou

Thanks for stopping by :o)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

painted leaf {igminiswap}

For some reason, I've had an itch to paint these days...

This time, it was painting leaves!  Or one leaf, to be exact.  ...For now.  (Our toddler has now requested a pink leaf.)  Either way, this one was inspired by a recent free people post on IG (no surprise there, right?)

It's splashed with a rainbow of liberty lawn scraps, along with some bright white sundial-esque accents radiating around the stem.

The background is a blend of creamy low volumes to complement the classic liberty hues.  And it's finished off with a slew of straight lines.

Well, mostly straight anyway.  ;o)  The mini measures just under 20" square and will soon be making its way to my #igminiswap partner.  Just as soon as I figure out the best international shipping route... eep!  Here's to hoping my partner can forgive the delay? :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

gypsy vagabonds unite! {november giveaway}

Well my friends, after yet another month of radio silence, I'm back!  With nothing new to show for this particular post thanks to a relaxing holiday weekend, coupled with a heaping helping of QuiltCon sewing.  But now that that deadline has (nearly) expired, I have turned to my November gypsy wife blocks, which I'll share later this week.

And in the meantime, this shot of gypsy wife makings from months past will have to suffice...

So, are you sewing along?  Interested in catching up?  Perhaps now is a good time to remind you of what we have up for grabs this month...

(Rainbow not exactly included.)  Since I'm making my gypsy wife using exclusively Liberty tana lawns and Oakshott shot cottons, I've joined forces with my dear friend Heather of Crimson Tate and Michael of Oakshott to bring you two Liberty F8 packs (pictured above) and one whopping $100 voucher to use as your heart desires at Oakshott.

All you have to do is link up your November progress right here!  (Erm, and by right here I mean keep scrolling...)

And for those of you who might also have been tied up over the holiday, fear not.  The link will stay open until next Sunday Monday night, giving you (and me) another week to cross these blocks off your list.  ;o)  Can't wait to see how everyone's designs are coming along!

Edited to add:  No blog necessary to link up! InLinkz also accepts links to flickr and IG :o)  If you're having trouble linking up, please comment below or shoot me an email so we can fix that, stat.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

skipping in the rain {and a giveaway!}

Not surprisingly, Juliet of Tartan Kiwi is at it again with her mad paper-piecing skills.  As I'm sure some of you might recall, she recently debuted a massive bear, which turned out to be a wonderful reason to break into my newly acquired stash of oakshott lyon and summer stripes:

This time, she's dreamt up a playful silhouette, skipping in the rain with umbrella in hand.  Okay, technically she's "Singing in the Rain." :o)  And because my oakshott, liberty, and low volume stashes are the only fabrics that aren't packed away in bins at the moment, my selection should come as no surprise.  Though I originally had my heart set on a favorite watercolor tana lawn print (tresco c) for the umbrella...

Until it occurred to me that the limited bit I had to begin with had already made its way into liberty and justice for all.  But all was not lost!  Because I soon realized that this would be a perfect start to a quilt for our niece (my cousin and his wife live in London, and I actually picked up this black and white floral on my celebratory trip to Shaukat when we were in the UK for their wedding last fall).  Full circle :o)  Of course I'm hoping they can tell it's a girl dancing in the rain.  ...My husband thought it was someone running with a large rock for a head.  (Perhaps I should've seen that coming and opted for a striped umbrella per Juliet's original pattern.)

Speaking of which, if you're wanting to try out this pattern yourself, Juliet has offered to provide one lucky ready with a complimentary copy of this pattern plus two others of the winner's choosing!  (And yes, that includes big bear!)

To enter, please leave a comment below.  I'll pick a winner next Wednesday (October 15th).  For those of you who just can't wait until then, you can grab this pattern for just $2 over the next two days in Juliet's craftsy shop.  And as an added incentive, Juliet will even refund your money if you win :o)

Happy sewing, everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

#opgivewarmth {october 2014}

Seeing as more than half my social media faves these days tend to be indigo-inspired (think all that shibori dyed goodness), this month's #opgivewarmth palette should come as no surprise...

And because it also happens to be my month as quilter for my do.good circle (believe), I've asked my bee-mates to make simple geometric patterns of their choosing in an inky blue monochromatic colorway for an eclectic mixed-print design that's been brewing in my head for too long (read:  long enough for me to recognize that its best chance of coming to fruition is with the help of some friends).

So last night I had fun with some stripes, half-rectangle triangles and a teensy 1/2" checkerboard.  So much so, that I hope to carry over the print-mixing theme into this month's batch of #opgivewarmth blocks.  Indigo plaid, pluses, and plenty more to follow!

For those of you who missed the announcement (or would like a refresher), this project is a monthly callout for charity blocks that will benefit My Very Own Blanket (specifically, children in the Indiana foster care system).  All styles and piecing methods are welcome.  I only ask two things:  (1)  that your block(s) fits a 3" grid system (i.e. finished sizes of 3", 6", 9", 12", 15", etc., so add a ½" to each of those to allow for seam allowance), and (2) that they mesh with that (or any prior) month's color palette:

Address for #opgivewarmth blocks:

My Very Own Blanket
c/o Sarah Sharp
P.O. Box 4586
Carmel, Indiana 46082


Monday, September 22, 2014

around the world {without leaving the house}

A few weeks ago I started noticing all of these "around the world" posts in my feed, but I didn't truly appreciate them until I started sifting through what a few friends had written.  And just when I was starting to feel left out, two invites popped up in my inbox within 24 hours of one another:  one from my 2014 valentine Anne of Play Crafts, and the other from appliquér-extraordinaire Casey of Casey York Design.  (Thank you both!)  I have such great respect for each of them as designers and I'm so happy to call them friends.  If you're not already familiar with their work, I highly recommend you change that, stat.  Anne just let the cat out of the bag about her upcoming book. And Casey's brainchild will be debuting later this fall, alongside which Casey has been hosting a wonderfully informative yearlong series, "Crafting a Book," for anyone who's got the publishing itch (raises hand).  (How I have the good fortune of having such talented friends still eludes me.)

As for little ol' me, I suppose I should turn to the questions...

What am I working on?
Whatever I can, whenever I can!  (Which albeit isn't as often as I'd like, but isn't that always the case?)  There's my liberty and oakshott gypsy wife (which, by the time I'm done with it, will be more of a gypsy king for our master bedroom).

A massive lyon-bear for our daughter's big girl bed.

The first glimmer of life in a "muddy" wintry forest for the nursery (see what I did there?)

And of course #opgivewarmth is always going on in the background, because the beds in our house are certainly not the only ones that need a touch of handmade comfort.

All the palettes thus far (July, erm, fell through the cracks shall we say); find out more on this page.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
As my toddler would say, "Hmph?"  So against that backdrop, I think what sets some of my work apart (to the extent it stands out at all) is the thought that goes into it.  And by thought I mean overthought.  I don't know that I consider myself an activist armed with a needle and thread, but I certainly have found fabric as a means of expression on more than one occasion.

For instance, Liberty (of London) and Justice For All...

or Once Upon A Forest (a camp of forest creatures emblazoned with the words of environmental legend John Muir).

Stylistically of course there's my infatuation with a good gradient, and my use of monochromatic and analogous color schemes (I insist on taking the long way around the color wheel when I do choose to venture outside of a more restricted palette).  I know I'm far from alone in those regards and don't by any means consider them unique to me, but they do tend to define my personal aesthetic.

Why do I write/create what I do?
Well this one's easy.  Because I *LOVE* it.  Growing up I was both contemplative and creative, and in a serendipitous way this space acts as a wonderful outlet for both traits.  To many, I'm sure the concept of taking large pieces of fabric and chopping them into little pieces of fabric only to—wait for it—reassemble them into (yet another) large textile comes across as both anti-utilitarian and time less than well spent.  But I beg to differ.  I mean yes, in the most literal sense, I am simply reconstructing a version of what I had to begin with.  But I'm not doing it in a vacuum, and by weaving the fibers of the stories and experiences that inform my design process (read:  all that overthinking I was talking about earlier), I contend that—looks aside—there's something fundamentally different about the finished product even if the sheer physical matter may be the very same.  And so long as I continue to believe that to be the case, I'm going to keep doing what I do.

How does my writing/creative process work?
For me it's all about timing.  Maybe it's the (over)analytical part of my brain, but I just cannot help but try to make connections with what's going on around me.  And because I write and create here for no other reason than my own sanity, I have the luxury of not having to force the process.  So when I'm inspired, I latch on to that muse for dear life, eagerly awaiting to see where I'll wind up.  When I'm not, I simply wait for inspiration to strike.  (Fortunately (and unfortunately), it rarely takes much time; the trade off, of course, being a wish list a mile long!)

Tag some peeps!
To keep the conversation going, I'm tagging two friends, both of whom I have the pleasure of calling part of my local creative circle:  fellow "bee that shall not be named" members Amy of 13 Spools and Amanda of Material Girl Quilts.  I first met Amy earlier this spring and I knew from the start I'd found a kindred spirit:  she's an ombre-obsessed, paper-piecing queen (her first book is due next spring!).  Plus she's recently been showcasing some free motion quilting that rivals some of the best.  Amanda and I met a year ago, shortly after we both heard through the grapevine that there was another quilter in the office (yep, we're just three doors down from one another at work).  Which I believe makes her my first official in-real-life quilty friend.  (Tear!)  On top of that (as if I need to say any more), she's an impeccable sewist, a moda bake shop chef and the mastermind behind the layer cake sampler along (some of you may recall my gradient-fill version, pictured below).

Looking forward to hearing Amy and Amanda's reflections, and thanks again to Anne and Casey for the perfectly-timed tag :o)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"lyon(s)" and (tiger) stripes and BEAR, oh my!

I'm sure most of you have seen at least one version of Juliet of Tartan Kiwi's 30-inch "Big Bear" pattern. (I know I was blown away when I saw Adrianne's polar bear, Michelle's umbrella prints friend, and Juliet's eclectic grizzly pop up in my IG feed over the past few weeks.)  

Though the eyes look like two different blues head on, they're cut from one and the same oakshott swatch.  Whoops!

So much so, that I jumped at the opportunity to pick up the pattern as soon as it was released.  Straight away I printed it on ledger-sized paper (mine finishes at 40"), but I was pretty ambivalent when it came to fabric choice.  Until, of course, the Oakshott summer clearance rolled out, soon after which this stack of fabric showed up on my doorstep.

Okay, technically not *my doorstep* because FedEx takes that signature-required policy quite seriously.
The failed delivery attempt slip, on the other hand, was on our front door.  ;o)

Within no time, their calling became clear:  one big (big) lyon bear for our toddler's bed.  To be honest, I initially thought that my big-paper strategy would yield a 60" bear (evidently my printing math is not quite up to par), so I'm going to add some neutral borders on the sides to match the background before elongating the design with some aztec-inspired rows on each end as originally planned.

By the time all is said and done, someone's going to have a very fun, still-pretty-big new furry friend for her big girl bedroom.  ...Which will hopefully make up for the fact that we will not—in spite of multiple requests—be painting said room pink.  ;o)