Thursday, June 27, 2013

phoebe, gladys + the ahsoka gang

As some of you might know, I pattern-tested an Ahsoka Tano {LEGO} block for Kristy of Quiet Play earlier this week:

Then, I almost peed my pants laughing when I watched the clip that Sarah of Sew What Sherlock? mentioned after reading my post about the backstory of this particular project.  If you've seen the episode, the similarities are (embarrassingly) striking.  But in case you too somehow missed it in spite of all the reruns (as did I!), enjoy:

Honestly, this was so perfect that the previously unnamed "other Lady" block will now officially (and affectionately!) be addressed as "gladys."  {I'm beaming and blushing at the same time; why is this both hilarious and humiliating?!}.  The icing on top?  True to character, I'm way more of a Phoebe, and Mr. Clean is absolutely a Monica.  Eep!

So, having gotten an itch to move this project along (thanks, Sarah!), I decided to start mapping out a few layout ideas.  When I decided to turn this into something more than a one-off, I knew I wanted to use neutral scraps for the face, shoulders and background, then color the "hair stripes" with prints from my stash + scrap bin in a semi-ROYGBIV type way:

Working within those colorways alone would yield 12 blocks.  At 10" each, they'd make for a pretty modest quilt.  Probably somewhere around  ~40" x 50" with the addition of some color-coordinated scrappy star sashing (imagine those teeny tiny stars sprinkled along the white lines below):

And a baby blanket is just not exactly what I had in mind.  Which means I can try one of three things:

1.  Come up with a few more color combinations (conveniently, Jess of The Elven Garden recently announced a brilliant Colour Theory for Quilters Series, which is mid-way through and could come in quite useful for this).
2.  Scale up the pattern to, say, a 15" block (...though that could increase "The Lady"-esque scare factor!), or
3.  Pipe down and make doubles, triples, or quintuples (?!) using different fabrics in the same colorway.  My initial reaction is that anonymity (i.e., bigger) would be better here... à la "Where's Waldo?" (too few faces could come across overly militaristic, and that would not help my "Let's make this fun not scary" mission):

 No? Just me?  (Side bar:  the actual layout would be a little more robust; please excuse the skinny sketch).

What do you think?

Linking up with the pattern designer herself ;)

And, since you could've only made it this far down the page if you too have an affinity for this meticulous method, be sure to check out the paper-pieced quilts on display at Quilting Gallery starting Friday afternoon.  The kicker?  One commenter over there will win a set of my birthstone quilt block patterns, plus a handful of diamond-gray solids to give your bling stash a little boost.  And in honor of the event, I'm offering both patterns at 10% off through the Fourth holiday ;)

Go on, get yo'self some!  And be sure to visit the other paper-piecing adventures linked up at Quiet Play!

Paper Piecing Party

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the other lady

When I first spotted Kristy of Quiet Play's Ahsoka block, I couldn't help but think of this one piece of artwork from my room growing up.  I call her "The Lady," but my husband prefers "The Creepy Lady," "The Ugly Lady," get the point.  She's a pretty sizable mixed-media collage, pieced from a colorful array of tissue and (you guessed it!) fabric.  (Her floral face and half-moon mauve eyes are probably responsible for my husband's current sentiments toward her, but alas, I digress).

To me, Kristy's Ahsoka seemed like her own sort of Lady, just in a paper-pieced (as opposed to torn paper) form.  So when she mentioned she needed pattern testers, I jumped at the opportunity (hey, why not start something new? Certainly wouldn't be out of character...).  

So I made her.  Another Lady:

She's pieced entirely from scraps.  I was going for a mirrored gradient look, but exhaustion must've gotten the best of me.

Whoops!  Let's just call that mix-up my non-Amish mistake, shall we?

The good news is, in the process of rummaging through my one giant scrap bin (note to self:  color-sort that, stat!), a new quilt idea dawned on me:  scores of scrappy Ahsokas.  But not just with the predictable (albeit proper) green + blue 'do, instead coordinated "hair stripe" accents in every color of the rainbow (!)

I'm sure you're wondering why a non-fan would commit to paper-piecing a yet-to-be-finalized-but-significant-nonetheless number of a themed block.  First of all, I do love a good PP'd block (side bar:  Kristy's got lots of them!)  But to be fair, I guess I look at this block and I see my Lady rather than the lady it's meant to represent.  And because I'll always have a soft spot for that artsy fabric figure from my youth (who knows what kind of influence she's had on my right-brain endeavors?!), I'm in love with the idea of some sort of Lady-inspired creation that might equally win over my daughter.  (Especially since my husband won't let The Lady anywhere near her room because he's worried she'll get nightmares).

Or maybe they'll both be scared of this, too... Guess that's a risk I'm willing to take ;)

In the meantime, I'll leave you with an image of The {Original} Lady (propped up against our back door to give you some perspective) so you can decide for yourself.

P.S.  No offense taken if you think she would've given you the heebie-jeebies as a child.

P.P.S.  Or if she still does ;)  You can sort of see a resemblance though, right?!

Linking up with Lee!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

sam's quilt

Forgive me for being forward, but I'm a little obsessed with this finish.

Maybe it's because my inaugural foray into scrap-tastic sewing didn't turn out half bad.  Or perhaps it's because this is the first full-sized quilt since my first quilt ever (circa 2005, also a gift for my husband) that will live happily into crinkledom under the {no} hats roof (!)

Not even kidding; I had to check my portfolio tab just to be sure I wasn't being overly dramatic, but each and every one of those larger quilts was made especially for someone out of {house}.  (How did I let that happen?!)

"Sam's Quilt" (BB #3725) started out as an entry in a2(w)'s Pantone Emerald Challenge back in March (background posts here, here and here).  But after glancing at the top on and off for months, I couldn't get motivated to quilt it because, well, it felt like it was missing something.  So, following my scrappy idol's lead, I decided to piece a double border from the same shape that made up the majority of the quilt:  equilateral triangles leftover from the top, plus some white and cream ones cut especially for this task.

How I ever turned into a border-free snob is beyond me, but to date the only other quilt I've finished with a border was that first one eight years ago.  ...Folks, that just might be about to change ;)  The finished quilt measures ~83" x 93".  It's bound in a scrappy combination of blue, green, and cream prints, and backed in the most luscious organic bamboo woven fabric (bonus:  it's 96" wide!).

I tried to get some better shots of the full top strewn across the front lawn, but someone decided a little nose-diving,


and just plain crazy sneak attacking...

...would be more entertaining.

I'm with her when she's right ;)

Happy Sunday to all!

P.S.  Out of curiosity, what camp are you in border-wise?


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

amethysts + airplanes {...but mostly the latter}

Since nap time quilt number three skipped ahead of (what's now become) nap time quilt number four in the WIP line, I figured I might as well brush the dust off some of the more dormant items on my "to do" list.

So I cut into a few more purple solids and started piecing amethyst sections.  And then I rationalized thought to myself, if I'm working on the front, why not spend a little time on the back while I'm at it?

For quite some time, I've had an artsy floral stash print in mind:

But I wanted a little something extra, so I decided to fashion a few jet planes from these fiery oranges:

I'm realizing now that "fiery" is perhaps the *worst* adjective to describe absolutely anything associated with an aircraft, but they are!

I have to say, when I uncovered Amy of badskirt's impromptu airplane blocks what feels like ages ago, it was love at first sight.  C'mon, what's not to love about these whimsical little air carriers? Tall and skinny? Check.  Short and stout? Why yes!  A little something for everyone ;)

I also happen to be a sucker for symbolism, and let's just say this airborne motif couldn't be more fitting for its recipient ;)

The only thing left to decide?  Their orientation.  They could fly wing-to-wing (soaring towards an open sky, with the purple print trailing the tail end):

Or nose-to-tail, flying single file along the length of the floral fabric:

When I originally envisioned this backing, I pictured single-file planes.  But ever since laying them out side by side, I'm loving the idea of the floral "smoke" billowing behind this little fleet ;)  Hmph.  Thoughts?!

Linking up with Lee ;)

Monday, June 17, 2013

sunshine on a cloudy day {a plaid finish}

My husband suggested I call this one "Tennis Ball," but the Temptations' lyric just seemed much more fitting for this neon-bound gray plaid ;)

Our daughter recently started daycare, a milestone I'm using as an excuse opportunity to build up her "nap time blanket stash" (that's a thing, right?)  And building up it needs indeed; this brings the {teeny} tally to just three finished quilts, as her amethyst quilt (number four) has been caught in the queue since February (eep!).

The plaid square measures 42" (pattern available here).

The back is both fancy and not fancy.  Fancy because it's Anna Maria Horner's field study linen in ghost wing.  <3.

Not fancy becausein an uncharacteristic (yet perhaps what will become a recurring) moveI used a single piece of fabric for the back.

Loving the little bit of light radiating from the binding (Michael Miller's neon yellow, a purchase that was no doubt inspired by Cath of wombat quilt's electrified PP'd star).  I highly recommend it for anyone looking for that extra glow-in-the-dark-ish je ne said quoi.  Sidebar:  it bleeds.  Lots.  So be sure to wash!

Now off to finish that loveliness hanging out in the background...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

city blocks: 1-10

The other week I started a little "feed sack city," my take on Tula Pink's city sampler series.

So far I've completed blocks 1-10, 11, and 21 (i.e. I'm caught up with Sara's sew-along but behind on Julie's quilt along).  Argh!  Lots of -1s and -2s in my near future... Add 'em to the tab ;)

Layout-wise, I like the designs in Tula's book, don't get me wrong.  And if I had opted for a more modern palette I would totally go with her rainbow grid (it's the beautifully bright burst of color on the cover).  It's just that none of them jump off the page for this old-timey country vibe I've got on my hands.  Instead, I keep going back to some sort of diagonal sashing à la Jen Kingwell's steam punk... But that's still stuck in the brainstorming phase until I figure out (1) how wide the sashing should be; and (2) how many blocks total? {Call me crazy, but I was thinking of making multiples? Haven't exactly worked through the math (or calendared a timeline, for that matter), so I very well may just stop at 100 and call it a day!}

What do you think I should do?  Skinny sashes with an abundance of city blocks?  A more ample set of alleys among the original 100 squares?  ...Or jump ship and stick with one of Tula's proposed layouts?  Decisions, decisions!  Help wanted ;)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, June 8, 2013

blog hopping

What to say that hasn't already been said?  I'm sure most—if not all—of you have heard that Beth of plum and june is kicking off the 2013 New Blogger Blog Hop this week.  What does that mean for you?  It means lots (and lots!) of chances to get to know a relatively new crowd of pretty flippin' talented individuals.  And me ;)  

Plum and June

So what're you waiting for?  Week one is already under way... go on and check 'em out!

Friday, June 7th
Nancy @ Owen's Olivia
Amy @ 13 Spools
Casey @ The Studiolo 
Nanette @ Yeah, I Made That

Friday, June 14th
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Laura @ Little And Lots
Valerie @ Between Quilts

Friday, June 21st
Leigh Anne @ Ella's Cottage
Stacey @ The Tilted Quilt
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Erica @ Happy Fabric
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym

Friday, June 28th
Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

Friday, July 5th
Friday, July 12th
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {no} hats in the house  <-- yours truly ;)

Friday, July 19th
Kelsy and Amanda @ Everyday Fray
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta's Little Room
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya

Friday, July 26th
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elise @ Lovelea Designs

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

borders, borders everywhere.

Nope, still haven't delved into those oakshotts quite yet.  Instead I've decided to polish off two tops with some border details...

One warm palette:

The other cool:

Since each contains elements of equilateral triangles and skinny strips, I figured I'd try to tackle both at once.  Lots of chain piecing and ironing, but definitely no mixing up fabrics here!  And I have to say it makes for an extra colorful workroom ;)

In the interim, I have these friendly reminders lurking in the darkness hanging patiently nearby...

But what you can't see are all the other WIPs in my world (I may or may not have had to rearrange the racks just to snap that picture).  I started making a list; once I hit a dozen I decided I needed to adopt a new sewing philosophy.  From now on, I'm giving myself one month to quilt once I have a completed top.  (In my head I was thinking one month from start to finish for the whole project, but as soon as I saw it on paper I knew that would be overly ambitious... and dare I say contradictory to the tempo of quilting itself!?)

In any event, that means the clock's ticking on the tartan top I finished last week.  As for these two, it's a good thing they've reverted to incomplete tops; otherwise that timer would be bouncing off the shelf by now ;)

What about you?  Do you take it one quilt at a time or have you worked out a good system for balancing (and finishing) what you've started?  I'd love to hear how you make it work!

A Lovely Year of Finishes   WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced