Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sashiko Placemat

As previously mentioned, I had the pleasure of taking a sashiko class from Maura Ambrose at QuiltCon. I chose the simplest of the three patterns she taught, so that I could practice stacking my stitches and using a thimble. (Until now, I have hand quilted one stich at a time, without a thimble.) I really enjoyed hand quilting on linen, which was new to me. The portable nature of this project was also a big plus. It was really refreshing to hand quilt without a hoop. I’m looking forward to doing more sashiko quilting in the future and am just waiting for inspiration to strike!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Polka Dot Aberdeen Tunic

I absolutely love this shirt! I had been feeling a little disappointed that I haven’t sewn more garments this year, so one lazy Sunday afternoon I decided to try my hand at the new Aberdeen Tunic from the March edition of Seamwork magazine. I’m glad I did, because it turned out to be an uncommonly quick and satisfying make.

For the fabric, I just used some that I had on hand: polka dot and black Robert Kaufman Laguna cotton jersey knit remnants left over from my Coco Top and Plantain Tee, respectively. It felt so good to put that extra fabric to use.

Based on my experience with the overly oversized Oslo Cardigan, also from Seamwork, I chose to sew up a size smaller than my measurements for my first Aberdeen. I like the fit in the shoulders and chest, but it’s a bit too snug around the stomach. I’ll still wear it, but going forward, I’ll grade out to the larger size on the bottom. Since the cuffs on the Oslo Cardigan were a bit too much for me, I decided to omit the Aberdeen’s cuffs this time. The end result is perfect for spring, so I’m pleased with that decision.

I’m not usually drawn to v-necks, but enjoyed learning the technique. However, for a “beginner” pattern, I didn’t think the instructions were detailed enough. It wasn’t clear exactly where you were supposed to line everything up, so this neckline turned out a little wonky. Luckily, the polka dots are very forgiving. Now that I’ve done it once, I’m confident that I can do it right going forward.

The pattern is advertised as a two-hour project. If you’re experienced and have a serger, I can see how you could finish it in that amount of time. I didn’t time myself, but would estimate that it took me around three and a half hours to finish. I was thrilled to sew it start to finish in one day. That never happens for me, so it was such a treat!

All in all, I’m super happy with this shirt. I tried a new pattern, used up remnants from other projects, learned a new technique, and ended up with a comfy shirt. In fact, I enjoyed making it so much, I already started another one!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Work in Progress: Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month Medallion

Come meet my current favorite Work in Progress. I had never seriously considered following along with a Block of the Month series until I heard that the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild’s 2015 BOM challenge was also going to be a medallion quilt. One border a month seemed more than manageable, so I was excited to dive in. Over the past few months, I have amassed quite the collection of Cotton + Steel fat quarters, so I plan to use up some of them in this project. I’m really enjoying this quilt so far. It is challenging me on several levels, but in nice small chunks. 

For January, the assignment was to choose a center block. Since I did not participate in the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild BOM last year, I liked the suggestion of using one of 2014’s BOM blocks as the center for this quilt. After reviewing all the options, I decided on a churn dash block. Even though it’s a simple block, I stalled while I contemplated my fabric choices. One day, I realized that the mustang from Melody Miller’s fabric was the perfect size for the center of the block. After I figured that out, I was on a roll!

For February, I simplified the assigned border. I just was not feeling the 1.5” squares for my version, even though I like it in other people’s quilts.

For March, the border consists of improv triangle blocks, which I have been struggling with. The tutorial is easy enough to follow, but I’m questioning whether my blocks are too wonky or not wonky enough. I also ran into an issue because I am using fat quarters for this project, and to make all the blocks the same, this border requires yardage. I decided to go the deliberately scrappy route and hope to have this border finished before the next one is announced in April. Depending on the pattern for that border, I might have to break down and buy some yardage. So far, I love this quilt and plan to keep it for myself.

If you’re interested in more examples of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month Medallion quilt, check out the #seamqgbom hashtag on Instagram, or the relevant posts on A Quilter’s Table and I’m Feeling Crafty.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Geese Over Fields

I love a good scrappy project. Using what you have on hand to create something is immensely satisfying. The top of this little mini quilt was made entirely from what was left over after I made Swoon Baby Quilt the First. When I trimmed some of the blocks, I was left with triangles that I then sewed together to make half square triangle blocks. Like with my Scrap Migration quilt, I turned those blocks into flying geese. The blue and green reminded me of the sky and growing things, so as I designed the top, I thought of geese flying over fields. The backing was a fabric I had in my stash, Crosshatch Sketch in Grass from Timeless Treasures.

For the quilting, I used white Perle thread to hand quilt the inside of the flying geese. The sky is machine quilted in grey Aurifil thread, and the fields in green. I really enjoy the contrast in textures that comes from combining hand quilting and machine quilting in the same piece.

This quilted finished at 21” square, and small size lent itself to trying a new-to-me technique, so I used my mom’s matched binding tutorial for the first time. I really like how it looks, so will definitely use it again in the future.

For more scrappy goodness, check out the monthly Scraptastic Tuesday link-up at She Can Quilt the second Tuesday of each month.
Scraptastic Tuesday

Monday, March 9, 2015

Best of QuiltCon 2015

QuiltCon was awesome and overwhelming and I am so very thankful I was able to go. After spending some time reflecting on the experience, it’s the best parts that stand out the most for me:

Best Hand Quilting Class

Before QuiltCon, I had never heard of Maura Ambrose. I signed up for her Sashiko class because I’ve dabbled in the technique and wanted to learn more. Maura makes beautiful hand quilted and naturally died quilts and walked us through her hand quilting process. In her own sweet, laidback way, she taught us straight line, circle and Baptist fan quilting patterns. We received the materials needed to quilt a linen placemat, so we could practice what we learned. While I definitely learned a few new tricks to add to my hand quilting arsenal, what I enjoyed most about the class was being able to sew and socialize all day long. I really enjoyed the slow pace and being able to connect with like-minded people.

Best Paper Piecing Class

When we signed up for QuiltCon workshops months ago, my mom and I managed to get in the same Carolyn Friedlander class, Emphasis. It was only later that we realized that the class wasn’t so much about using emphasis in quilt design, as it was making the Emphasis paper piecing project from her book, Savor Each Stitch. If I had known that before we registered, I would have never taken this class, and I would have missed out! Based on previous experience, I had decided that paper piecing was not for me. However, the way Carolyn explained it just clicked for me and I was able to finish a third of a table runner in class. Paper piecing’s still not my favorite technique, but after this class, I will no longer avoid it. I’m actually looking forward to finishing the table runner I started in class, and bought another one of Carolyn’s paper piecing patterns while at QuiltCon. I was really impressed by her teaching style. She’s quiet, but she made an effort to make sure that everyone could see her demonstration and spent individual time with everyone. Before this class, I admired Carolyn and her work, but after this class, I’m a Carolyn Friedlander fangirl!

Best Structured Class

I took Lee’s Off the Grid class because she was super nice when I met her at Sewing Summit a couple years ago, and I enjoy participating in her weekly WIP Wednesday link-up. While I have previously used alternate grid layouts in my work, this class gave me a more formal framework and vocabulary to use, so that I can be more intentional about it going forward. I absolutely loved how Lee structured the class. She would present slides about a few concepts with lots of example pictures, then break us up into teams to practice the concepts on design walls scattered throughout the classroom. After visiting each group and giving input, she would present more slides then let us practice them again. It was a really engaging way of teaching a quilting class, especially as she provided everyone with a printout of her presentation. Since we had to bring finished blocks to the class in order to practice the different alternate grid layouts, I was able to finish a quilt top before the day was over.

Best Food

Before the trip, I knew that the food in Austin was supposed to be good, and I was not disappointed. Pretty much every place I ate had super tasty food, and I ate everything from sushi to Brussel sprouts to barbeque. You could go to Austin just for the food! Here were my favorites:

Best breakfast: The classic crepe at Le Café Crepe
Best lunch: Gus’s Fried Chicken and everything at Moonshine
Best dinner: Pork Belly tacos at Micheladas
Best coffee: Café Medici

Best Part of QuiltCon: The People!

While QuiltCon is ostensibly about modern quilting, the best part about it was the people. In addition to spending quality time with my mom and our awesome roommate Marci, I had so much fun meeting new people in classes and on the exhibition floor, fangirling over people like Lizzy House, Denise Schmidt and everyone in the Cotton + Steel booth, putting real life faces to digital names, and getting to know my guild mates better. I loved wandering around the convention center and running into familiar faces, whether I had known them for years or for hours. Next time, I would definitely allow more time to enjoy all the wonderful people that are part of the modern quilting community.

If you’d like to see more of my time at QuiltCon, check out the hashtag #debandrachdoquiltcon on Instagram.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fresh Sewing Day: February 2015

February was a spectacular month, full of firsts: first time sewing with double gauze, first time making a piece of luggage, first time attending QuiltCon, and first time visiting Austin, Texas. In addition to all the new things I did, I also made a bunch of gift bags. After QuiltCon, I want to sew all the things, so I expect March to be a productive month, although it will surely fall short of the awesomeness that was February. I’m okay with that.

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts.