Category Archives: Quilting Skills

County Fair and Quilt Show Prep

I just returned from spending a couple of days up in Downieville.  We had the flooring replaced in the kitchen. Even though the kitchen is very small, this was a two day job for the installer.  The house is very old and not at all square or level.  It was a bit of a trick for him to create a relatively level surface on which to lay the flooring.

Before and after, bye bye green and gold!

We did things in reverse order with this room. We haven’t painted or updated the cabinets yet and Ray plans to put up some bead board in the little eating area but the two tone gold and green floors were awful so we had the new vinyl installed and we will just have to tarp it when the other projects are done. It will be a while before we tackle them and we were tired of looking at that flooring. I am happy to check this off the list as we make progress on this little house of ours.

As you know, Julia is raising pigs to show and auction at the county fair.  She will be there each day and it will be time consuming for her.  Since she isn’t yet driving, I will also be there quite a bit.  I decided to volunteer some time at the quilt exhibit and also to…. Yikes! ….. enter a few quilts. I have never done this. It just creates this vulnerable feeling to have someone judge my work. But I am going to do this. Here are the three projects I chose to enter and why I chose them.

Positively Floating; September 2016

I finished this quilt last fall. I love the design of it and the quilting.  This was the second time I quilted on a long arm and looking at it makes me want to do that again.  It was a lot of fun and so different from quilting with my home machine.

It needs a sleeve and label to be ready for the show.

I will also enter my THREAD quilt.

I made this quilt when I was writing the tutorial for relief quilting. I love this little quilt.

The relief quilting was great and the improv border was so much fun to create. I think the little spools of thread add whimsy to the piece. Luckily I have a sleeve on this quilt but it needs to be labeled.

Finally I chose to enter the Sweet Tweets baby quilt.

This is a bright, colorful piece will hopefully catch the eye of visitors to the show. I am happy with the quilting I did on it. It still needs a sleeve and label.

 

Hopefully the visitors coming through the exhibit will like it as well!

For the next couple of days I will be in prep mode. I am vending at a quilt show for the Truckee Meadows Quilt Guild.  It will be held in Reno, Nevada this weekend. It is about two hours from home but luckily my in-laws have a second home in Reno and they are graciously letting me stay there in the evenings. It would be too much to drive back and forth each night. I need to cut more fat quarter bundles and get a few other things ready so I doubt I will get any sewing done this week. If you are in the area, please come to the show and find my booth. I would love to say hi.  🙂  I will keep you posted on the show via Instagram and Facebook. I hope you will follow along with this this weekend!

Today is my husband’s birthday so I need to be baking a cake and he requested enchiladas for  his birthday dinner.  I am going to get the cake in the oven now before it gets too hot.  Have a nice day and keep cool with this crazy heat!

 

 

Spring Break

Springtime is here and our yard is showing off it’s gorgeous colors. The photo is from last spring because I am still in my PJ’s and didn’t feel like going outside yet!  But this isn’t too far from the truth. The maples need to leaf out a bit more but lots of things are blooming.

I just want to tell you I was so excited to read all the great comments on the blog and Instagram about the proposed Sew Along for this summer. It is definitely on!! We will have so much fun working through this project together. I appreciate all of the enthusiasm and suggestions. Keep it coming. I decided rather than answer each comment, I would just put up this quick post.

Since there is a lot of interest, I will start the planning process. When I have a few pattern suggestions I will put up a post and we can do an informal vote and see which one is most popular with the group. Things I heard from various people – you want a simple pattern, want to go slow and learn as a group, want options for sleeves or sleeveless, and lots of you want help fitting patterns.  I will be the first to say, I am not an expert seamstress by any means. However there are a few tips I can give. We might start with a post on measurements and fitting before we even begin. That way when it comes time to cut your pattern out, you may feel a bit more confident.

For now, be thinking of what else you might want from this sew along. Thank you for joining in. I think I better go and see if there are some prizes to be won. What is a blog event without a prize or two? I will keep you all posted on the developments of this event. It might be helpful to follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram as I will post things there as well.

The coming week is spring break for my daughter.  She and I are leaving tomorrow for a trip to Vermont to meet Baby Girl, the newest (and possbilty cutest) member of the family. I will not be posting until after Easter. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday if it is one you choose to celebrate. I’ll be back in about ten days and look forward to catching up with everyone then.

Island Batik Project Finish

 

As an ambassador for Island Batik, I have a schedule of challenges issued each month to create with their gorgeous fabrics. The theme for the month of March was March Mini Madness and the quilt was to be constructed with paper pieced blocks.

:ast week  I shared the beginnings of the mini I was working on with Island Batik fabric. Using a paper pieced star pattern (free download from Craftsy) I made four blocks. Each one became a bit easier than the last which was nice. I feel like I made progress and have a better feel for paper piecing now. (These blocks were very simple which was helpful). I like the various themes designated by the coordinator at Island Batik as it forces me out of my comfort zone a bit. Isn’t it nice to have the oppportunity to learn something  new?

The overall look of this little quilt is bright and cheerful. I love the purples and blues against the black batik. Bright green strips were used for the sashing.

After the top was assembled I quilted it by first adding some straight lines to the greeen sashing, using a bright green Mettler thread. Following that I free motion quilted small loops over the black background as well as an X through each star. With a dark batik, the quilting is not the star of the show. It is very hard to see.

I decided it needed a bit more detail to finish it off. First I decided to add buttons. I think it was about two weeks ago that I read a post written by Janine, over at Quilts from the Little House, where she used buttons to embellish a project of hers. I have a jar of buttons and thought it would be fun to take that bit of inspiration and apply it to this mini. Don’t they look cute? Makes it sort of whimsical.

After the buttons, I still wanted more detail. I decided to add a flange to the outer edge before I attached the binding. Doesn’t this make a nice polished finish? I am very happy with this. Hopefully I will put a hanging sleeve on it soon and it will join the other minis on the wall in my sewing room. Just in time for spring!

Linking to all the usuals – find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

 Gift and a T-Shirt

It has been a busy week and I am happy to see Friday roll around. I really enjoyed working with Maureen and writing the posts about her work. It was a lovely bonus to see the sale on her Garden Dreamer fabric created a good number of sales which kept me busy cutting and shipping (it will be on sale through Sunday, March 19th if you are interested.) By the way, I truly appreciate all of the readers who are supporting my shop – thank you!

Thanks also to Mari of Academic Quilter. Mari and I became friends a couple of years ago (which is hard to believe actually) via our new blogs. We have struck up a great friendship and even got to have lunch and do a little fabric shopping together last summer when I was in Maine. That was so much fun. Yesterday I found a package in the mail. Usually getting the mail is so boring unless I have recently ordered fabric. Nothing much comes in the mail anymore with the exception of a few catalogues and the occasional advertisement addressed to ‘Occupant’. Sigh.

Not yesterday however! Look at this adorable lovie she made for my sweet grand baby! She even used the colors of the nursery (gray, lavender and pink). The backing is a soft gray and white flannel. Being the generous quilter Mari is, she even enclosed the leftover fabric for me to use. Thank you Mari. <3
These tiny blankets are so cool – the tags around the perimeter are made with ribbons and twill tape, and other trims which provide sensory stimulation when baby fidgets with them.


I have also seen mom’s hook toys to the loops and lay baby near it to grab the toys. It can be used in the car seat with toys attached or not. It was so kind of Mari to think of me and this little girl. I will hand deliver this when I go to Vermont – which is in only THREE weeks!! I can’t wait!

Moving on now (because I talk and think about this little girl too often and don’t want to become annoying!) I did get a fair amount of sewing done last week. I made this cute t-shirt with Butterick pattern, number B5954. Remember I posted about not having enough fabric? I decided to make the sleeveless version which took every bit of the fabric.


This version takes about 1/2 hour to sew because it is just the front and back pieces, sewn together at the shoulder and side seams. I finished the seams with a bright blue bias tape because I like that little surprise of color. I am only 5′ 4″ so I did have to alter the length and when I make it again, I would make it even a bit shorter. It is so comfortable and I am pleased with the result! Looking at these photos, I realize I should have pressed it before my modeling stint. Sorry about that!!

Cute Top But in Need of an Iron!

 

For the month of March, my challenge from Island Batik is to make something that is paper pieced. You already know how frustrated I become with paper piecing. I called my friend, Sophia, and invited her for a sew day. I knew I would need her help to get started! Sophia has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has that logical sort of brain that I so envy. She spent the afternoon with me and it was so helpful.  Plus I got to spend the afternoon sewing with her which we don’t often do. It was a very nice to spend the time together.

Choosing Colors for the Sashing

 

Before she arrived, I picked a few easy paper piecing patterns and printed the sheets. She and I looked and decided this star pattern would be a good one to learn on. (I took a class last fall to learn to paper piece but you know what happens if you don’t practice….  I couldn’t remember how to get started on the blocks!) This pattern is a free download on Craftsy.com. It is slated as a beginner pattern, which is mostly true.  The problem is there are no real instructions – reminding the quilter to cut strips a certain width or to trim each section, adding in that crucial 1/4″.  But never fear, I had Sophia coaching me! While my precision isn’t as close as I would like, overall I think it looks nice.

Perfectly Imperfect Points!

I finished the top and have begun quilting it a bit. I love the colors and it will be nice to hang this mini in my sewing room. I need a new one on the wall.

The Top is Finished!

OK – that is my week in a nutshell. Gifts, Etsy orders, and a fair amount of creative time in the sewing room. This girl doesn’t need more than that!  Happy Weekend everyone!
Linking to my favorites. I am including the end of quarter FAL link up at She Can Quilt because I had listed garment sewing on my goals for this quarter! Please check out the tab at the top of the page titled Link Ups.

Coming Soon to Needle & Foot

I am so excited to share this with you! I will be publishing a new series on the blog.  It is called Meet the Designer. Over the next few months I will be sharing an interview between me and a fabric designer. Let me tell you how this came about. As you know, I have been spending a great deal of time researching fabrics and manufacturers as I build my shop. Working through this process of picking manufacturers and certain lines of fabric, I have had several opportunities to talk to the designers of the fabrics I selected. I so enjoyed this and I thought it would be fun to share the stories I have heard with all of you.

Each interview will be posted during the third week of the month. You can look forward to reading about my conversation with Sarah Golden, designer of Maker Maker for Andover Fabric next week. I truly enjoyed meeting Sarah (even though it was over the phone) and I know you will enjoy getting to know her as well! Other designers that you will soon read about just might include Maureen Cracknell and Kim Diehl.  That’s all I am saying for now.

I really hope these posts are a fun feature.  I am thrilled to share them with you.

2016 — What a Great Year

I have to tell you — I had a whole lot of fun blogging this year. I met quite a few new friends – some bloggers, some readers, and all so very kind. Let’s take a quick look at what went on here over the past year.

I feel like it was a year of growth. Not just with my quilting and sewing skills but also with regards to my blog. For the first time, I held several events here. It was a fun learning experience, between approaching companies to sponsor the events with giveaways, to creating the theme of the event and then publicizing it; it was all new for me. I think it was both successful and rewarding. I have more up my sleeve for 2017 so stay tuned. Both of the book shares were great fun. The next one is coming soon. I will post the new book during the first week of January. If you want to join in, watch for that as it is first come, first served.

While working on expanding the blog, I was also trying to improve my quilting skills. To this end, I worked on my free motion skills quite a bit. I am loving creating pictures, or motifs, with my quilting. Also, I learned to relief quilt and did several projects using this technique. Finally, I took a long-arm class (I believe that was the only class I took all year!) and it was so much fun! Since the class, I have quilted two more quilts and have one ready to go. I am sure I will continue to practice both my FMQ and long-arm skills throughout 2017.

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2016 was to write more tutorials.  They are one way to give back to this community. I have certainly used my share of the amazing tutorials that are floating around this community and it is only fair to create some for others to use. In addition to those that are shown in the pictures; French Press Cozy, Reusable Sandwich Bags, and THREAD Relief Quilting tutorials, I also posted a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.  These are only a few of the tutorials I posted on the blog. If you would  like to see more, click on the Tutorials link at the top of this page. I have very much enjoyed sharing these with you and plan to create more in the coming year.

While I do love to quilt, I have also been enjoying making things like bags, zip pouches, and even two dresses! Sometimes these projects are just what I need to give as a gift or to satisfy my need of a quick finish. They don’t take nearly the time that a quilt does! I will say that if I make any bags in 2017, I will explore a new pattern. I have used my Noodlehead 241 Tote pattern three times already. Time to move on!

However, this Washi dress pattern may be used another time or two. It is so comfortable!! I have seen people make it as a tunic and it looks really cute. Possibilities, so many possibilities!

I hope that 2016 was a good year for you as well. The new year is just weeks away. I have some really exciting plans to tell you about but let’s save that for another post. For now, I am grateful for all that I learned this year and for all of the friendships that have occurred via this blog. I look forward to another fun year with each of you.

Linking with Meadow Mist Designs Best of 2016 event!

Third Time is a Charm

You know I had to do it, right? This morning I made a third Open Wide pouch. I wanted to test out the ideas I laid out in yesterday’s post. Guess what? The worked out quite well (if I do say so myself).  For this pouch, I made the medium size again, with the pouch finishing at 6.5 x 6 inches.

The first change I made was to finish the end of the zipper prior to stitching it to the fabric. So much easier! Sewing this little 2×3 inch rectangle of fabric was much simpler without having the little pouch dragging around while I manipulated the zipper under the presser foot of the machine. Score!

The second change was to leave the lining open, or unstitched, while I boxed the corners of the outer fabric.  Again, much easier.

I had everything pinned together as normal and started on one side, by the zipper. I continued up the edge, across the width of the bag and down the other side until I was back at the lining fabric.  Then I was able to box the corners and could peek inside to see that the seams were lined up properly.

Once I had the two outer corners boxed, I finished sewing the lining together. I left the usual opening at the bottom of the lining and then boxed those two corners. Bingo. It worked just fine.

I forget what this fabric is even from, but isn’t it sweet. I love these little houses. I wish I had another piece, but I don’t…. such is life. 🙂 I think it is adorable with the sweet bicycles on the outer fabric.

Here is the finished tab once the bag was assembled.

While it isn’t perfect, it is much better than the first two attempts. Yep, practice certainly makes better. I think three pouches is enough. I need to move on to something else now.

But I want to share two more things before I finish up.  First is this silly picture of Julia. I love this picture. I think is is reminiscent of a grumpy Mrs. Claus the way she is peering at me above her glasses and the Santa hat is pulled down so low.  I think I took this when we were decorating the house for the holidays a couple of years ago. It makes me smile every time.

The next thing is the little wool Christmas ornament I made. I bought the kit when I was in Maine over the summer. It is really adorable. Nothing terribly difficult about it but I enjoyed making it. I like the little beads that were included with the kit. They are just the perfect amount of bling. 🙂

Ok, that’s enough for now! I have a pile of gifts to be wrapped so I had better get busy with them. Oh wait… I have one more thing.  Yesterday the power went out and it was a pain.  I had cookies in the oven baking, raw cookies on the counter waiting for their turn.  Julia ended up studying for her Chemistry final by candlelight and the flashlight on her phone.  It was only 4:30 in the afternoon but it was so gloomy out that the house was dark (and we have huge windows in this part of the house!)  Luckily it was only out for a couple of hours.

Julia finished her finals today (I am going to brag and tell you she got a 94% on that Chemistry final.) It is officially Christmas break. I am not sure if I will post much over the holidays but please know that I wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season, whichever way you and your family celebrates.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts.

Holiday Scrappy Project

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day for our family. I hope it was the same for yours.  There is much to be grateful for, not the least of which is our on-line quilting community.  Now there will be the transition into the Christmas holiday season. I am hoping I can convince Ray to put up our outdoor lights this weekend. I think, of all the holiday decorations, the outdoor lights are my favorite. I like to get them up as early as possible so we can enjoy them for as long as possible.

I have a new toy to share with you! The back story is that my father-in-law shares my love of thrift stores. We both enjoy the hunt as one never really knows what might be found on any given day. In October, my father-in-law called me and said he was at a thrift store and was looking at a sewing machine. He said he didn’t really know what it did but it looked interesting and was in great shape. I asked a few questions and figured out it was a vintage Baby Lock EA-605 serger. I think the model was made in the late 1970’s. It is a heavy little guy, being made of metal rather than plastic. When he said the machine was priced at $25, I asked him to grab it for me. He brought it over a few weeks ago when we were celebrating my birthday. (This was a mighty fine quilty birthday!)

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Actually, the serger won’t be used for quilting. In case you aren’t familiar, sergers are used to create a finished seam. There is a blade and four lines of thread. There are threads entering from above and below, though there is no bobbin. As the seam is created, the blade trims the excess fabric close to the finished edge. It is oh-so-cool! Having never used one, I signed up for a basic serger class at a little fabric shop in town. That helped me figure out some of the basics but there is still much to be learned. This particular machine is designed for woven fabrics, not knit fabrics. However my serger class instructor thinks I might be able to get a decent result with knits, so I will have to give it a try.

Because the machine needed a few adjustments I took it to our local sewing repair genius. Deby was able to clean and adjust everything and it runs so smoothly now.

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I wanted to practice on something simple so I made some Christmas themed drawstring bags. I have made a few each year for the past two years and have quite a collection now. I love not having as much paper to throw out come Christmas morning. I had a stack of vintage Christmas fabrics to use as well as loads of ribbon for the drawstrings.

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I think the tiny ones are just adorable.

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I turned this one inside out to show you the finished seam from the serger. I didn’t use the serger for the casing that the ribbons threads through. I switched over to the regular machine for that. Check out the clean finish on that seam. So great! I will practice a bit more and then try something simple like pajama pants.

If by chance you also have a serger, I would love to hear about any resources, blogs or uTube videos you might have found helpful for learning to use a serger.  Leave details in the comments.

 

craftsy-black-friday

Finally – Craftsy has gone all out for Black Friday this year. Beginning on Thursday, 11/24/16 classes are $17.99 each. Fabric and notions are all on sale as well. I am quite curious about the Boundless line of solids. I took a look and the prices are amazing. Solids, in a rainbow of thirty different colors, are available in pre-cuts such as layer cakes and jelly rolls, as well as yardage.

This is an affiliate link, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking over from my blog, I will receive a stipend.

I am linking up with a few favorites this week, including the Elm Street Quilts ‘Bag It’ event. Find out all about them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

A Weekly Update

This week I have continued to work on the challenges set forth in Amanda Jean Nyberg’s lesson for the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club.  She suggested a few ideas for creating fabric pulls; not so much to create an actual project, rather just to go through the exercise of gathering fabrics for a certain element. This has been a lot of fun, not as easy as one would think, and a total mess making experience in the sewing room!

For one pull, I selected two pieces of fabric and pulled a selection that would work with them. This is the fabric I selected as the basis.

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Both of these fat quarters are Dear Stella prints. I bought them a long while back and they sit, along with so many others, waiting to be used. For the initial pull, I just quickly selected pieces of yardage or larger scraps  in grays, blues and greens that might work with them.

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Next, I pulled some pinks and reds that complemented the fabric and added different scale and density to the mix.

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I also took a quick minute to put a grayscale filter on the pictures to check for value differences.

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Finally I just put them all together and took out those that were misfits. The Allison Glass text print was a red that leaned to orange. I wanted reds that leaned to pink.  The green floral print looked weird and the Henry Glass light blue print (with the keys on it) was the wrong shade. Ultimately, I kept these in the group.

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This would be a fun pull for a project, right?

Another idea from Amanda was to take a pretty photograph and develop a pull around it. I chose this picture from our peach tree last summer because there are a limited number of colors in it.

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I thought it would be a good challenge to work out a grouping with greens and orange to peachy tones. Here is the first pull.

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Working quickly, so as not to overthink it, I removed both the brightest green and the green/yellow check – both shades were wrong. That left this set of five greens.

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Next I pulled the from the orange, yellow and peach grouping, leaving these.

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All three of the brown fabrics were kept, making this the final pull.

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This is a good pull of cohesive color, different values and large to small scale fabrics. It was very easy to sort through, leaving me convinced that it just takes practice. I doubt myself when I am putting colors together but these little exercises have really been helpful. I think the second pull is more interesting than the first. What could be added to the first one to make it more exciting??

Playtime is over and I forced myself to put all of these pieces back where they belong and get back to the sewing machine. It was fun though and an easy task to do while I endured a wicked cold that Julia so lovingly shared with her mama.

the-gratitude-sale

A few more quick things… I want to share what I think is a really cool event that is coming up next week. Mari, of Academic Quilter is holding a Gratitude Sale. She has decided to do a huge destash (after recently moving, she unpacked her quilting stash and realized there are lots of pieces of fabric that she doesn’t want or need, as well as quilting books and notions). Rather than do a destash sale on IG, she wants to hold a “sale” where the buyer selects the items they are interested in, contributes to a charity and once Mari sees the receipt, she will ship off the fabric. I think this is hugely generous on Mari’s part. She has a list of three very deserving charities for you to choose from. She asks that the buyer pay for the shipping which won’t be terribly expensive with the use of the flat rate envelopes that the post office offers. If you think about it, purchasing fabric in this fashion has now made it a tax deductible event. It’s absolutely a win-win. Mari’s sewing room will be less chaotic, your stash will grow, charities will be supported, and you have another tax deduction come April 15th. I can’t find a problem in any of it! Check out Mari’s sale, running for the duration of next week! See you there. 🙂

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If you want an idea for any book lover on your Christmas list, I just read the sweetest book.

Provided to me for review by Blogging for Books, I read through this book in an enjoyable afternoon. Light and interesting, this book takes approximately 50 sayings from various cultures and explains them to the reader. Ella Sanders, the author of the book, does an excellent job of tying the phrases to a similar phrasing used in the English language. It was entertaining to get this small glimpse into other culture’s idioms and colloquialisms and gave me a bit of insight into what that culture values as important. She chose a collection of phrases and proverbs that are sometimes humorous and always very descriptive. Where possible,Sanders gives a bit of history around how the saying came to be. I think this is an excellent book to gift to a lover of language and vernacular. The illustrations are adorable and the brevity of each page (there is a different colloquialism on each page) makes it a fun book for the coffee table.

Another book I just finished is The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins.  I picked up a copy at the thrift store and it grabbed me from the very beginning. Have you read this? It was a thriller that is along the lines of Gone Girl. Crazy good and on the dark side, this was a gripping read. Just a suggestion if you are in need of a suspenseful, somewhat twisted, read. It has been made into a movie which was just released. I haven’t seen it yet though.

Linking to Lorna at Let’s Bee Social today as well as a few others. Find the URL’s at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

It’s All About Color

That’s the truth, right? If the colors don’t work, the quilt doesn’t work. This has happened to me more than I like to think about. Color doesn’t just happen. So, this month’s Might Lucky Quilting Club challenge resonated with me. Taught by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts (which I know you already knew!) the lesson is all about color, scale and value. At the risk of repeating myself, I have great admiration for Amanda’s sense of color, her use of every.single.scrap of fabric  and her down to earth style of communicating. Her blog is one of the first that sucked me into this awesome on-line community.

I joined the Might Lucky club in January and I will be honest with you. I am not thrilled with it. I was hoping the monthly lessons would speak to me – some did, but most? Not so much, until this month. This month Amanda explains selecting colors, working with value and scale, and making the quilt more interesting. It made sense to me. I am only beginning to play with her ideas.

I have a huge collection of charm squares. Some I have purchased, some were cut from my scraps, and some have been won in giveaways. One collection that I have been holding on to is the Michael Miller Gem Tones pack. I received this one for free from Alyssa at Pile O’ Fabric. Last year, over Thanksgiving weekend, Alyssa had a huge Black Friday sale. I ordered a number of basics from her. Somehow her inventory was off and there were a number of items I ordered that she couldn’t ship to me. (She was also hugely pregnant at the time and having a tough pregnancy – just to further explain.) She kindly refunded my money on the items that were not available and then threw in this charm pack – which was above and beyond, right? I liked the colors in it, mostly deep jewel tones with the addition of some orange and brown. It was quite bold. But there were thirty charms total and I had only one pack.

Reading Amanda’s lesson, I decided to start pulling from my other charm squares and build out the collection.

img_7992Above is the original set of charms. I apologize – this photo is blurred and I didn’t see that until it was too late. Whoops. It is a nice set – good colors, but all seem similar in value (light vs medium vs dark) I pulled all sorts of other charms to see what else I could add in.

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Some of these worked and some (most) did not. But when I added the two lighter dotted fabrics (center and upper right) I saw that it would help to add a lighter set of charms to brighten the darker Gem Tones kit. I took out most of the squares I had tried, leaving some of the solids and just a few prints. Then I cut a pile of charms from a Kona cream color that I had leftover from my Harmony quilt top.

 

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This worked well. It makes each of the charms stand on their own and the colors seem to become more vibrant when not adjacent to each other. I love the simplicity of patchwork but thought it made things a bit more interesting to put the blocks on point.

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I circled some of the blocks that were added from my charms (that were not part of the original set. I think I succeeded in adding some lighter values and a few prints that changed the scale a bit. I love the look that resulted from playing with these charms. The quilt will be a gift for my niece who is expecting her third child in January. I want to get it finished up as I will see her over the Thanksgiving holiday.

This was a good exercise for me. Amanda’s lesson includes a few more ideas for curating fabric pulls. I would like to make some time to do those exercises (not necessarily even to create a quilt with – more for practice). It is a great way to learn and goodness knows, there is plenty of fabric in my sewing room to pull from. 🙂

To the same end, I have been reading this book that I picked up for a dollar at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago. It is really an interesting explanation of right and left brain processing and how to encourage your artistic abilities.img_8026

Written in 2005, by Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker, this book has a series of lessons to help the reader understand color, perspective and value. The language they use is relatable (which so often isn’t the case for me). I think the right/left brain information is so interesting. They talk about the left brain being so controlling and the difficulty in turning off the negative self-talk that we constantly play in our minds as we quickly dismiss our abilities.  This is something we should all work on, right?

Color– it’s all about color for now. There is so much to learn and, thankfully, so many fun ways to put the learning into practice.

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