Sunday, December 15, 2013 way.

 (Yes way?!)

I think I've sufficiently refreshed (and re-refreshed) the NYC Metro MOD Quilt Guild's post enough times to accept that my equality-inspired dwr actually placed* in their Double Wedding Ring Challenge.  (Alongside some pretty brilliant pieces, I have to say, so be sure to check them out if you haven't already.)

Thank you to everyone who whispered even the tiniest ounce of praise about this quilt.  Whether you've been around since the crazy spark ignited this summer, or just found me through the challenge, I'm truly overwhelmed by your support.

Thank you.


*While I won't be crossing "Juki" off my wish list anytime soon, looks like I'll be keeping my current machine threaded with colorful hues for what could be a very, very long time.  And more EZ templates?  And fabric? And notions? And books?!  …Good luck topping this one, Sa(m)ta.  ;o)

Friday, December 13, 2013

and the oakshott/aurifil/diamond trio goes to...

Lucky no. three hundred and fifty-seven of one thousand, two hundred and four(!*)Quilting Tangent!

Come Monday, this bundle of goodies will be headed your way.  (Emailing for your address as we speak.)

As for all the other wonderful commenters, while it's not exactly free fabric delivered to your doorstep, Oakshott** is running a bit of sale at the moment so I encourage you to take a look, even if it is just to add it to your wishlist.  ;o)

*Thank you to each and every one of you who offered such beautiful words about my dwr.  You're amazing.  I'm speechless.
**This post is not sponsored by anyone other than me, myself, (my husband) and I; I just freely encourage savvy, ethical stashing habits.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

marley of the sea {do.good}

Anyone who follows me on IG—@nohatsquilts—has probably caught a snippet or two of this design the past few days.  You see, with the last of my circle's September blocks in hand, Sunday seemed like a perfect day to get started on a layout.  But because I'm me and can't really steer clear of some generally organized scheme, first I had to do a little sorting.  So into three stacks these little fish went:  light, medium, and dark (by background).  (I think you can guess how those piles came into play.)

Much thanks to Allison, Ben, Big Mama Quilts, Debora, Lisa, Nicole, Tara, and Vanessa.
This literally couldn't have been done without you all :o)

This quilt was originally inspired by Julie of 627handwork's Marley pattern (part of her *free* block rock'n series), but when I arranged them in the proper Marley sequence, the result was a little too chaotic for my liking.  So instead of flocks of three little birds, I opted for one big school of fish.

Swimming in a sea of Aurifil 2021 :)

I'd say my Believe Circle mates followed the "channel your inner Cath of Wombat Quilts" directive to a tee :)  Added bonus?  This finish comes in the nick of time for Rachel of Stitched in Color's annual Celebrate Good Stitches, an event that honors the 250 volunteer stitches and quilters who make up the 25 circles of do.Good Stitches.

Now it's off to be washed, wrapped, and posted to My Very Own Blanket—a midwestern charity that benefits foster children—just in time to spread some warmth this holiday season.

Now that's something to celebrate.

Monday, December 9, 2013

aurifil + oakshott + diamonds, oh my {giveaway day!}

When it came time to decide how to partake in Sew Mama Sew's semi-annual Giveaway Day Week this time around, you might say I was inspired by the sparkly liberty+oakshott+aurifil doozy I recently crossed off my list (…for now, anyway):

Since I already gave away some of my coveted liberty lawn in September, I'm thinking some other DWR-inspired faves are in order for the SMS wintertime giveaway extravaganza:  oakshotts, precious stones, and aurifil.

Specifically, one delectable F8 stack of oakshott elements {water}:

I don't know about you, but I'm seeing shimmers of aquamarine, emerald, sapphire, and blue topaz in this water :)

Two birthstone block paper-piecing e-patterns {princess + round}:

And three of my go-to Aurifil 50wts {2000, 2021, 2024}:

So let's cut to the chase.  In keeping with the trio theme, you have three chances to win*:
1.  Leave a comment on this post.  (Done and done.)
2.  Leave a second comment if you are a follower (old or new, just tell me how you follow:  Instagram? (@nohatsquilts has finally gotten with the program!)  Bloglovin'?  Feedly?  Email?) (optional second entry)
3.  Help spread the word!  Then leave a third comment telling me how you did that. (Pinterest? Instagram? Facebook?  Quick one-word explanations 100% okay by me!) (optional third entry)

*A word of warning to all "no-reply" bloggers:   I am not a PI, so please(!) include your email address in your comment so I can track you down :)

All entries welcome, near and far.  This giveaway will be open until 8 pm EST (5 pm PST) on Friday, December 13.  A winner will be announced and notified shortly thereafter.

Edited to add:  Thank you (truly) for all the entries.  The giveaway is now closed, and this bounty will be making its way to commenter 357/1204, Quilting Tangent.

Bon chance.  And be sure to check out all the other amazing giver-awayers's posts :)

-- Sarah

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

oh dear, what to do with these diamond wedding ring remnants?

After spending every waking (…and sleeping) hour working away on my NYCMQG dwr entry, I can promise you one thing—I've got more to show for it than this:

Much more.  In fact, five times more, to be exact.

As some of you may know, I originally envisioned this as a king-sized, 8x8 ring quilt (64 in all).  I don't know if it was tunnel vision or merely blind optimism, but until Sunday afternoon I persevered, up to that point having cut 7776 pieces from about a dozen gray oakshotts,

pieced said oakshott confetti into 648 diamond eighths to yield 81 round cut gems,

Yes, lots of the 'shotts were lost in the seams.  The silver lining?
Their thin weight actually lends itself quite well to small-scale paper piecing ;)

cut background pieces and "letterpressed" a select few of 64 centers,

(Sidebar:  The letter-pressed element was lost in the challenge quilt.)

cut 1728 A, 576 B, and 576 (of my own) C template pieces from over 200 liberty prints,

I sorted the arc wedges by value to ensure plenty of glow (with the lowest value prints bordering the diamonds).

pieced 288 arcs,

pressed 288 arcs,
Tip:  Even if you're piecing the arcs, do yourself a favor and get the solid arc template, too.
You can use it to trace "cheat lines" onto an old ironing board cover for simple, accurate pressing.

and assembled nearly every last one of 144 "melons."  At which time an unfortunate light bulb went off in my head:  there was absolutely no way I could quilt and bind a king-sized top in one afternoon, let alone assemble said top.  Gasp.  How could I have let months of planning and preparation result in such so-close-yet-so-far failure?

After all, I had known about the competition since first stumbling upon Faith's post in July during a study break from my con law outline.  And then during a September trip to England, I hijacked any sightseeing plans my husband potentially had in mind and replaced them with (my) high-priority supply trip to Liberty and Shaukat (fortunately my husband, cousin and her boyfriend were all uber-impressed with Liberty).

The fix?  Use 24 of the 144 melons (three from each colorway) to piece a 3x3 ring design, maintaining the integrity and spirit of the original concept without the excessive (albeit symbolic) number 8.

But you already knew that (hence the entry post and opening photograph).  But what you likely didn't realize before reading this is that I have 120 (24x5) pieced melons leftover from this madness (15 each in 8 colorways:  hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, violet).

Which means I can:

(1) make a queen-size quilt (7x7 rings) without have to cut into any more fabric
(2) replenish the melon supply using some leftover arc wedges and move forward with the king quilt as previously planned
(3) make several more smallish quilts to (a) giveaway as gifts, or (b) sell to recoup some of my outlandish material costs.  ...No joke.  I'm aware that all sorts of talented and lucky bloggers get free fabric delivered to their doorstep these days, but I can assure you I am not one such individual (yet).  (Hey, a dreamer can dream, right?)

So.  What do you think I should do? 1? 2? 3? None of the above?  Your help, as always, is greatly appreciated :)

Linking up with Lee!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

liberty (of london) and justice for all

Without further ado, here is my entry for the NYC Mod Quilt Guild DWR Challenge {traditional category}.

Massive thanks to Amanda for helping me get these (much-improved) photos :)  AND for sharing her gray lipari F8s :o)

I actually used the EZ templates and I have to say they made this challenging design quite approachable (…and then I went and overcomplicated things by swapping the squares for 96-piece ~4" diamonds).

Simple ¼" quilting with Aurifil. (I'm waiting for AW's sewdown Nashville session before attempting anything more daring.)

The arcs are pieced entirely from Liberty of London {tana lawn} fabric (each hue represents one of the eight stripes in Gilbert Baker's original 1978 pride flag design).  And quite serendipitously, this awareness campaign was circling the streets of London during our fabric excursion to Liberty and Shaukat in September:

The background is a variety of Oakshott and text prints (but because I wanted to very much be in control of what that text was saying, I opted for fabric printed with the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln's ever-still-relevant Gettysburg address (I, too, believe Goodwin got it right.  Edited to note:  Turns out others, including the President, agree.)).

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. . . . 
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. . . ."

I want to add that if you disagree with or question the inspiration for this quilt, I would encourage you (as no doubt my former Law & Social Change professor would) to reflect on why it is that you feel and react the way you do.  And to those of you who see the hypocrisy of a diamond-studded quilt being paired with the notion of "liberty and justice for all," I can tell you I struggled for months over whether or not to include the stones.

But I will say that one thing that helped to allay my concerns about the conflict surrounding the diamonds was finding a fabric whose namesake prides himself on ethically sourced materials: Oakshott.

For me, knowing these shimmering gray shades were handwoven by cooperative weavers made the choice to keep the design concept an easy one.

Edited to add photos and this note:  I left out a very important detail when I posted this the other night.  Above all else I want to acknowledge my husband for his support and (enduring) patience when it comes to my creative endeavors.  (And all other impossibly zany facets of my being.)  One might say that the strength of my own marriage was the true seedling for this design.  After all, when you're blessed with the lifelong partnership of someone so remarkably genuine and thoughtful ( his own forgetful way), it's impossible not to insist on that same opportunity for any other loving couple.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

something hued.


Just add diamonds...

And subtract sleep.  


Linking up with Lee :)  

P.S.  Only days left till this WIP needs to work its way into a finish, so keep an eye out!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

something borrowed...

Rossie's Painted Pebbles tutorial + Avenir Black Bold =

When I think about weddings, one of the first things that comes to mind is the crisp simplicity of letter-pressed invitations, announcing the wondrous news to loved ones near and far.  ...And we didn't even have letter-pressed invites ;)

Nonetheless, I could think of no better way to tip my hat to that sentiment than to add a typographic element to this Double Wedding Ring quilt using a slightly modified version of the-one-and-only Rossie's reverse appliqué method:

…To be continued! ;)

(P.S.  Rossie has a tip jar in case you, too, find yourself inspired by her creativity.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

new to EQ? me too!

When I stumbled upon a marked-down copy of EQ7 earlier this spring, I couldn’t help my slightly-addicted-to-online-shopping self.  Up until that point, I’d done a bit of research and found an awesome paper piecing tutorial by Joanna of Shape Moth and quite a few helpful videos on YouTube so really the only thing missing was the program itself :D  (One click and virtual swipe of the credit card quickly solved that!)

I started toying around with it almost immediately, but still have so much to learn to be anywhere near as proficient as the likes of Joanna and Kristy of Quiet Play.  So imagine my surprise when Heidi over at EQ asked if I wouldn’t mind sharing my two cents on the software as part of their recent “New to EQ” feature?*  To the extent that lack of expertise is a qualifying factor, I certainly get high marks :)

So, what's there to love about EQ7?  Lots.

It’s made for quilters.
As much as I love my Creative Suite (shout out to any other long-ago aspiring copywriters out there), there’s something to be said for a program dedicated to one particular thing.  Especially when that one particular thing is quilting.  I think my heart skipped a beat the first time I whipped up a layout for my ‘shott{ing} stars design.  Not only is it super easy, but it also helps to quickly pair an image with a idea that turns out to be less than intriguing in real life (e.g., “Hm, what if I set the blocks on point?” “AH! That looks terrible.”  Crisis averted.)

Customizable pattern printing.
Printing patterns can be as easy or involved as you want it to be.  You can just click print, and voila, pattern printed.  Or, you can customize the line thickness, seam allowance, and even the font of the template labels.  As a former (#oldhabitsdiehard) Photoshop junkie, I *love* that I can easily generate seam allowance-free templates and block images using EQ, and then just as easily take those files and layer them into my go-to Photoshop pattern file.  (Having developed my pattern designs pre-EQ, that seamless transition is a major plus in my book.)

Last (for now), but certainly not least, a product is only as good as the people who stand behind it.  Lucky for EQ users, they’ve got great folks backing them up.

Now the only thing left for me to do is figure out what I need to do to get it running on my new mac so I can officially lay my poor old PC down to rest …preferably before it dies on its own.  (Side note:  I did recently read that EQ will be releasing a made-for-mac version in the near future (!) but I think I'll have to hold off until they come out with an apple-friendly Blockbase).

In the meantime, keep an eye out for more EQ posts in the works about framing blocks (à la forest and starry sky), and traditional designs inlaid with mini-blocks (à la diamond-studded DWR).  Because why not mix things up?  Stay tuned!

So, do you EQ?  Photoshop?  Paper and pencil? (All of the above?!)  Tell me, what's your design tool of choice?

*In the interest of full disclosure, the kind folks at EQ have offered a few books in exchange for my thoughts.  All the same, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% unswayed by said literature.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

something new.

After months of saving up to order fabric from England planning, the pieces are {figuratively} starting to come together...

studying + study-breaking + sketching + scheming = sparkly oakshotts ;)

So the DWR design insanity is (sort of) officially under way, but one question remains:  traditional or modern?

Lucky for me, there's nearly a month left to decide while all the (tiny) pieces literally come together ;)

And okay, obviously it's not so under way that the diamond shape is set in stone.  If by chance seeing this has changed your mind since that little old "round vs. square" poll, please (please!) chime in!  Or, if you stand by your round cut vote, speak up, too. ...If only so that I have some positive vibes to keep me going when I'm on the 40th of eighty-one 4⅛" diamonds.  ('Das right, CRAZY's in da {house} :D).

Linking up with Lee ;)  Happy Wednesday, friends!

P.S.  Thank you all for your overwhelmingly kind comments about my muted forest quilt, which mysteriously slipped through a linky loophole over at Amy's Creative Side and wound up in the Viewer's Choice vote.  (Pinch me!?)  I have massive respect for the 23 other artists whose work is hanging in that group, and I do hope you'll head on over to peruse the offerings and cast your vote for the pieces that catch your eye.

...Oh, and it's a slightly addicting showcase, so be prepared to stay awhile ;)

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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