Thursday, October 31, 2013

BQF: wish upon a shooting star {baby}

My second entry into Amy's Fall 2013 BQF happens to be the (only) other quilt I've finished since the summertime:  daydreams + 'shott{ing} stars {baby quilt category}:

For anyone who missed it, 'shott here stands for oakshott.  As in, many thanks again to Michael Oakshott and Lynne of Lily's Quilts for sending what I now know to be called the Lakes fat eighth pack my way back in September as part of their monthly Made With Oakshott challenge.

The Lakes shot cottons all share a blue warp, but it was really interesting to see how differently all twelve shades interacted depending on the lighting and angle of the fabric.

After handling them a bit, I found something of a divide in the pack.  One group gives off a warmer, purply vibe...

Doesn't the trickery come to life in this shot?  Wait, is that a hint of blue?  Red? Pink?!  Yes, yes, and yes, friend!

...While the second, cooler set comes across a little more crisp:

Side bar:  There are only four different oakshotts in this block.  Can you tell which two aren't repeated? #neveradullangle

How fortunate that these were destined for a day-and-night themed quilt before arriving on my doorstep :)

Because two sides...

Means twice the fun ;)

Be sure to swing by the festival (if you haven't already) for lots and lots of inspiring designs!


Friday, October 25, 2013

BQF: once upon a forest {scrappy}

Hard to believe that half a year has already slipped away since the Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival, yet here we are :)  Last spring I opted for a little bit of glitz and bright bursts of color, so I figured I'd start off this season's show with something a little more, shall we say, subdued?

Enter "Once upon a forest," my first piece for the Fall 2013 BGF {scrappy quilt category}:

Since I've already written ad nauseum about this one, I figured I might take this opportunity to shed a little bit of light on my design process rather than rehashing all of its roots.  (Of course you can always just skip straight to the main post if you don't fancy yourself a passenger on a fellow quilter's train of thought.)

So it all started back in April with this fanciful, pink/green wildflower grove:

Then—with the exception of a couple of silver/tan feathers and a lyrical red/tan woodpecker—it all stopped.  Until August (read:  after the bar but before the Forest QAL linky deadline).

By now you've likely noticed I've been using color pairings to qualify each of these blocks.  And that's because looking at the first three blocks together, alongside the fabric pull for the yet-to-be-sewn purple/silver fox, I had absolutely no clue how all these blocks could co-exist in the same quilt and still feel like "me."

For a while I dragged my feet and kicked myself for using such (relatively) bold fabric choices for the grove; I guess its brightness struck me as inconsistent with my original low volume vision.  But at the same time, it had this magical quality that I wanted to preserve in some way.  After several failed fix ideas (one involving Joanna's chameleon pattern), I realized there simply weren't enough hours in the day to incorporate even more blocks, let alone the nine intermediate-my-arse remaining in the QAL!

So I got out my pencil and paper, sketched a simple, sash-free 3x4 grid, and tried to configure a traditional layout based on what I'd sewn thus far.  In doing so, I found I needed designs with minimal whitespace bordering the grove block to offset its otherwise bold vibe.  Of all the QAL patterns, only two fit the bill:  the roaring deer and the pine marten.  So I penciled the grove in the lower righthand corner of my sketch, and contained its color by placing the pine marten to its left, and the deer's chest just on top.  (To help facilitate the transition, I decided to extend the green in the treetops up into the deer, while overflowing the grove's floral path into the pine marten's rock.)

In that manner, I planned the blocks one-by-one, assigning each its respective palette based on some feature of a neighboring design.  And just when I thought I was ready to assemble the top, comme ça... husband commented that (1) baby-size blankets are useless, and (2) we have enough of them.  Wildly untrue on both accounts, **but** admittedly, it did get me thinking about ways to make this quilt more "useful" (read:  husband-size) without compromising the intricacies of the patterns themselves.

As I was pondering my options, I started to aimlessly cut 1½" strips from the countless desaturated prints used throughout the blocks (fortunately, the three shoeboxes-ful of fabric were still quarantined from the rest of my stash).

As the print strips idled on the dining room table, I used some neutral solids to add a 1" white-ish mat around each block.

And then started strip piecing text fabrics... (oh, have I not mentioned that I cut massive amounts of 1½" strips from those as well? :D)

While I was at it, I sorted the remaining strips into color-groups by block, organized them by value (as I've yet to meet a gradient I didn't like), and then strip-pieced the heck out of those, too.  Then, somewhat arbitrarily, I decided a 2" finished frame would add the appropriate "bulk" to the quilt.  ...But just for good measure, I finished off each frame with a ¼" edge before adding the 1" text-y postage stamp sashing.

...And then, to totally shut down any possible "this doesn't even cover my feet"-esque feedback, I churned out 3"x6" wonky-stripey triangle blocks (also color-coordinated), plus a handful of 6" stars to complement the quilting concept as a final (finally!) touch.

The result?

A quilt I love so much that it's been folded up and retired to the cedar closet, where no one—not even the man who unintentionally inspired the design—can get his hands on it :)

Unless of course there's a {blogger's} quilt festival, in which case we can fluff it up for the occasion...

...The irony of a peaceful forest stretched across freshly chopped wood is not lost on me.

Speaking of, if you haven't already, be sure to take in all the other quilty inspiration over at Amy's:


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

something old...

Because who can pass up this challenge?

T-minus 40 days and counting!  So tell me, will you be DWR'ing by December 1st, too?  Who's with me?!


back to linking up with Lee!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

freshly cut lawn

And the liberty goes to... #64 Alyce(!), who will soon be receiving this roygbiv spread of 28 tana lawn prints:

Most pieces measure around 5"x10", so think of it as 50+ charm squares headed your way (nearly 1m by weight  {including best press} in all, but who's keeping track? <<<ahem>>>).

The lucky lady mentioned she was digging navy+teal+coral at the moment, so I initially set out to add a few of those notes from my collection. (Clearly) I wound up with a more complete spectrum.  ...Because who doesn't love a little liberty rainbow?  ;)

Hope you enjoy them, and can't wait to see these resurface in your work, friend!  I've got a similar scheme up my sleeve, now if only I could find the time to take it from the sketching+starching phase to the cutting+sewing stage!  #cantcomplainnowthatIhaveajobtosponsormycreativeendeavors

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 4, 2013

daydreams and 'shott{ing} stars

For anyone feeling a twinge of déjà vu, it's probably because you've already seen the other half of this quilt...

Or maybe it's because I staged a similarly-sashed quilt on the same split-rail fence.  ...Either way, it might be familiar :) 

This double-sided design is based on a traditional quilt block (BB #3713) named for the fourth brightest star in the sky:  Arcturus.  When I first saw the thumbnail in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia, it was love at first sight.  So I tabbed the page and added it to my ever-increasing wishlist of all things quilty.  (And let's not forget the INDEX list!)

(...No joke about the tabs.  I mean c'mon, how else would I remember all of this INDEX-worthy material?)

Somewhere between then and now, I became fixated on this idea of a day+night design honoring this magical block.  So naturally when I saw that Lynne of Lily's Quilts was calling for proposals for the "midnight" or "dusk" oakshott packs as part of her monthly Made With Oakshott feature, I knew just what to pitch.  Of course at the time I assumed I'd use the 'shott cottons as either the "day" or "night" sky, depending upon which one showed up on my doorstep.  But once I had them in hand, I knew they were destined for more than just the background.

Rather fortuitously, I managed to get my hands of some elusive "twinkle twinkle" while the special delivery—courtesy of Michael Oakshott himself—was en route.  Imagine my delight when the oakshott bundle {shot with blues} turned out to be a near-perfect match to the starry hues in the Constellations print...

Shall we say the stars aligned?  I think so ;)  So I turned to my newly acquired copy of EQ7 and started drawing twinkling midnight skies (no doubt inspired by this lovely spread). 

When the time came to pick fabrics for the daytime sky, I kept going back to this lofty idea of daydreaming, which—to me—involves lots of sketching and thinking and writing and traveling (...and tea).  So text-y, map-y, teatime fabrics it would be!

As for quilting, I opted for closely-spaced diagonal lines that shoot across the stars.  (Because I tilted the blocks on the "nighttime" side, I knew the quilting pattern would match up no matter which side I quilted).

P.S.  A big shout out to everyone who chimed in on the thread color for the nighttime top (let's just say when pretty much all your quilty friends tell you to use grey thread, use grey thread!  Done and done.)

Interesting enough, I just stumbled upon Alison Glass's new "Color Plus" pattern, which incorporates similar skinny sashing with bursts of graded color. The bigger coincidence? Both designs hit the interwebs the same day. I'd say something about great minds..., but I'm not sure I can compare to the creative genius behind the sun print phenomenon :)

And that's that :)  Oh, and I wrote my (drum roll please!) first ever tutorial, which Lynne has kindly posted for everyone to see.  (And judge.  But hey, who's worrying about that? {me!})

Now if you haven't already, head on over to Lynne's for everything you need to know (and more!) about how to sew your own Arcturus-filled firmament :)

...Couldn't help myself ;)  Besides, ever since my order of Lizzy House's twinkle twinkle came in the other month, I've been saving these matching pants for this very occasion.  Because who wouldn't?  :D

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Thanks for stopping by!  If you too love traditional designs, be sure to visit the INDEX tab and keep your eyes peeled for lots {and lots!} of "new" (read:  very old) pattern (re)releases over the coming months :)  (And always feel free to drop me a line with potential INDEX candidates if you know of a block that doesn't already have an online pattern;  I'll be more than happy to look into it and see what we can come up with!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

one fish, two fish. blue fish,

Okay okay, you got me:  technically they're birds (three little birds, to be precise).  My mind just immediately goes to the sea every time I see Julie of 627handwork's Block Rock'n Marley block.

September was my first month up as quilter for the do.good Believe Circle.  And believe you me, I had big plans for my big debut all year.  And then I pitched said big plans to Lynne of Lily's Quilts for her Made With Oakshott feature.  As Lynne kindly picked said idea in August—and yours truly has a thing about not repeating projects—, I was back at square one for my September do.good design.  (Oy!  ...And also, score! Mad {mad} love for oakshotts over here).

So when September 1 snuck up out of the blue (I think I was in the thick of the forest at the time), I turned to a block I'd had my eye on for ages:  Marley.  As for colors, I asked my bee-mates to—and I quote—"channel our inner Cath and go with scrappy grays and blues (blue birds on a gray background)."  I have to say, sometimes often I can be a bit of a Sebastian-the-crab (as in, "You want something done, you've got to do it yourself.")  So I am being 100 percent honest when I say I could not be more thrilled to see my bee-mates not-so-rasta renditions of Julie's brilliant block pop up in our flickr group:

Ben     Big Mama Quilts     Debora     Nicole

The best part?  That's only half of what's on the way.  (...No pressure to the other half of the Circle ;D).

Anyway, I'm up again in January and this whole "Omigah-I-can-think-of-a-million-and-one-projects-on-my-own-wishlist-but-get-writer's-quilter's-block-when-it-comes-to-group-project-ideas" has me wondering just how to approach this design dilemma next time around.

So to all you veteran bee-members, tell me this:  What's your design philosophy for bees?*

*Do you treat your "to do's" and the bee-wishlist as one and the same?  Maintain two separate lists?  Are particular blocks more bee-friendly? (Apologies in advance to anyone in Believe who has an aversion to paper-piecing). Or do you throw convention to the wind and just cruise along wherever your creative spirit takes you?  (asks Sebastian).  I'm thinking of borrowing inspiration from my own project wishlist (let's be real:  it's just going to keep expanding anyways), but I'm quite curious to hear how others manage it.

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!  Much appreciated.  ;)