23 March 2014

Spring Sprung

Ann Arbor has had the snowiest winter on record.  It has been brutally cold as well.  And I have been sick in a serious flu-like/food-poisoning-ish way THREE times in the last three months, all while working a full time job and doing the quilting job on the side.  Not fun.

Well, it's officially spring now, so I've plunked down these beautiful tulip bulbs in my office:
Good morning, sunshine!☀️

And I've put on a happy face.

Camp Stitchalot this weekend really helped!  What a fun group we had!
Kristin Link (Sew Mama Sew) and Sara Lawson (Sew Sweetness) came and taught us all about bags.

Some serious bag making happened here yesterday. These are mine. Camp Stitchalot Bag & Tackle Bag. #campstitchalot

Wow are bags a serious amount of work!  Pictured above are my two: on the right is the Tackle Bag from Kristin (no tutorial or pattern as yet) and on left is the aptly named Camp Stitchalot bag (buy the pattern here).

The tackle bag is a gift for my dad.  He's a great cook and brings knives and spices on vacation, I thought he could corral them in a tackle bag!

The Camp Stitchalot Bag is for me!  And I've already used it to bring home my blocks that I made at camp.
Camp Stitchalot bag in action! Transporting blocks back to the studio. #campstitchalot #rossiediscoquilt

These blocks are for a  Disco Quilt.  I was inspired to make one after seeing my guild-mate Rebekah's version of this quilt.  Her's is a gift, so she can't post it online just yet.  I will be sure to link to her post/quilt once it is up!

Back to the #discoquilt #rossiediscoquilt Cut with an #accuquilt at #campstitchalot

Making block-based quilts is great at retreats because you stay in your seat for a while!  My usual style of spreading out all over a design wall and bopping from machine to iron to cutting table is just not suited for shared spaces!

Quilting is also a good activity (depending on how much space you have).  I finally quilted this throw that has been sitting around basted for months!
Boom. Quilted. At #campstitchalot #dyedquilt #itajime

These blocks are dyed and bleached!  I'll share this quilt again when it is bound and washed.  You can see previous posts about this quilt by clicking here: The Quilt for Kelly.

Back to Camp Stitchalot:

Think you might need a fun retreat in September or November?  There are still spaces at Camp Stichalots those months.

September's teachers are fabric designers, bag makers and quilters Bari J and Vanessa Christenson .  (September 19th - 20th).

November's teachers are modern quilters Carolyn Friedlander and Sherri Lynn Wood. (November 14-16).

The teachers are amazing, the bed & breakfast is relaxing, the campers are fun, the sewing room never closes and everyone hangs out all weekend.  Your ticket includes the classes, your room, and your food!  $525.00 to sleep in a twin bed in a shared room with 1-4 other campers  $475 for your half of a queen bed (share with a friend, private room).

Check it out here: http://www.pinkcastlefabrics.com/pages/camp-stitchalot

Full disclosure:  I think this is obvious, but I'll restate it for clarity: I work at Camp Stitchalot!  I'm a host with Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics.

16 March 2014

Ocean Waves Quilt Pattern (DIY TUTORIAL)

I've written up my instructions for making an Ocean Waves quilt! You can get it for free via Craftsy:  http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/quilting/home-decor/ocean-waves/89682

Pattern Cover - Rossie's Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves tutorial now available

I decided to post the pattern to Craftsy there because one of my goals in 2014 is to start selling patterns and so familiarizing myself with the interface and getting a little traffic going into my shop on Craftsy seemed like a good idea!  (The pattern is also in my etsy shop, but etsy won't let me sell it for free, which is why I'm directing you to Craftsy.)

Don't worry, just because I'm posting free patterns in online shops and hoping to sell patterns later this year, no tutorials will be disappearing from this blog.  It's just that since I've been writing patterns for magazines and those rights eventually revert to me (it's part of how I choose which magazines to work with), I have an ever-growing file of already-written original patterns that I think I should keep out there in the world.  And I'm not averse to being paid!

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

As for the Ocean Waves, I know there are plenty of these patterns out there (it's a traditional pattern), but mine is different because it uses the Accuquilt fabric cutter (either the Go! or the Baby) and it avoids Y-seams. Also, um, the price is right....this pattern is $0.00!!!!

A word about Accuquilt:  I NEVER would have guessed that I would love this tool as much as I do!  I only ever tried one because my friend Brenda (owner of Pink Castle Fabrics) had one and encouraged me to give it a try. And it was not like a lightening bolt went off that first time.  I thought, "oh, that's rather nice," but I wasn't lusting after one. Then, I increasingly found myself wandering over to Pink Castle with some fabric...
"Alright if I use the Accuquilt?"
"Is the Accuquilt here?"
"I have a few more pieces if that's alright?"
"You're sure it's okay if I just borrow this?"
"You'd tell me if this was annoying, right?"

And luckily, my realization that I should really just acquire an Accuquilt of my own happened right before fall quilt market.  At market, I met some of the lovely people of Accuquilt, who both knew who I was (this always surprises me when it happens) and had noticed via Instagram that I seemed to have a Accuquilt (a telltale sign is the missing corners on half-square triangles--see below) and wanted to send me one of my very own when they found out I did not have one myself but was using my friend's (that's some quality quilty swag! I was so grateful!)  I've already gotten quite a bit of use out of my Accuquilt even though I work improvisationally on most of my quilts.  My guess is that my new-found love for triangles is largely to blame (the Accuquilt is absolutely aces for half-square triangles.)

Apparently all it take go me to get on board with these die cutters for fabric is using one just once. Hundreds of HSTs in less than ten minutes.

So, download my free pattern (Craftsy shows me a download count and I love watching those numbers tick up!)  and give an Accuquilt a try if you can (friends with fabric cutters are a fabulous thing! Ann Arbor locals are welcome to give mine a spin!)

This pattern uses only one die: AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutting Dies; Half Square; 3-inch Finished Triangle.  That die fits on either the Accuquilt Baby or the Accuquilt Go.


*Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a small monetary kickback if you purchase an item after using my link.   As mentioned above, Accuquilt compensates me with product for my loving promotion.  All opinions are my own and are genuine. 

23 February 2014

my challenge quilt

The Modern Quilt Guild has been running one of their fabric/quilt challenges wherein members are provided some small amount of fabric and then make a quilt using that fabric. They photograph and share the quilt with the online community and their local guild (if they have one).  You can see some of the entries on their blog, and if you are a member, you can also cruise around in the communities pages and see more.

I was initially unsure if I would join in on this challenge as I tend to work best when I can follow my whimsy and not worry about rules and deadlines.  I was eventually wooed into taking part because
(1) we only had to use a small amount of the provided fabrics
(2) we were allowed to combine those fabrics with any solids we liked
(3) we were additionally allowed to mix in any printed fabric that was from Riley Blake (the fabric manufacturer who was sponsoring the challenge)
(4) Riley Blake put out a line of fabric called "Zombie Apocalypse" that filled me with enormous glee and desire to stitch.

Seriously, Zombie Apocalypse, it looks so adorable and the colors are cute and wonderful, but when you zoom in, it's lessons on zombies, destruction drawings, and the polka dots are heads...decapitated heads! 

I knew I wanted to keep the Zombie Apocalypse fabric line together and it mixed fairly well with a couple of prints from the challenge and I also had an idea of what quilt pattern I wanted to use, so it all fell into place and I dove into the challenge.

The pattern I wanted to use is "Ocean Waves,"  this is a traditional pattern.  I had seem a couple of antique quilts using this pattern that were really lovely, so I wanted to give it a try.  I thought it would work well with the colors in Zombie Apocalypse and that the larger square blocks would be a great place to show off some of the larger scale prints from the fabric line.

When I first came up with this plan, I was on an airplane, with just a snapshot of an antique quilt sitting on my phone.  I looked at the quilt and tried to doodle out the pattern...which was the half-square triangles go, etc...

Not ever having looked at a pattern for this quilt, I didn't know that it is usually constructed so that the big squares are actually four triangles.  The following picture of Dawna's quilt makes that more obvious:
"Scrappy Ocean Waves" 1800's Reproduction Quilt

I really didn't want to cut the fabric for the large squares because I wanted to preserve the scenes and figures in the zombie fabrics. Finding an Ocean Waves pattern that didn't force me to cut up my large squares took a while and I ended up making my own plan, with a little help from my friends, one which I will post about next week (well, hoprefully next week, I'm teaching full time this semester, so blogging has been tricky to find time for!)

Here's the quilt:
The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

I love this thing.
it makes me so happy.
Also.... I don't think this is a modern quilt.

Part of the reason I made this quilt as my "modern challenge" was that I wanted to take the opportunity to explore this area of quilting--traditional patterns in modern fabrics--to see how I felt about it when the quilt in hand was my own quilt.

You see, at last year's QuiltCon there was a section of quilts called "Modern Traditionalism" and when I walked through that section of quilts I was a bit overtaken by confusion.  Because the quilts don't fit my definition of "modern quilts."  And while I could go on a bit about that, I think that what it boils down to for me is this: fabric choice is not enough.

I mean Zombie Apocalypse is really un-traditional fabric and I don't think it makes my quilt modern.  So many so-called modern fabrics are brightened-up, recolored, and re-sized traditional prints--how can they be enough?

Why would we call traditional patterns in different colors modern? I think a lot of it comes down to liking the quilts and liking the people who are making these quilts.  Because take, for example, the quilts in Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks.  Those quilts are so baller. And they totally appeal to me and probably to you and to lots of folks who love modern quilts just a bit more than traditional quilts.  Also, the women that wrote Vintage Quilt Revival are all lovely people, who are bloggong and instagramming and generally being a part of the stuff that modern quilters are a part of.  But does that make their quilts or quilts in their style modern?  To me, the answer is no.  And I don't mean that as an insult, because to me "modern" is not a codeword for "good", modern defines a specific aesthetic.

I have been accused of creating confusion around the question of "what is a modern quilt" because I named my flickr group "Fresh Modern Quilts."  Did I then create the idea that fresh = modern?  Updated = modern? Here's my response: the title of the flickr group is "Fresh Modern Quilts" because it seemed to me, back in Feb 2008, that "Modern Quilts" didn't cover the range of quilts that I was looking to have collected in the photo pool.  I specifically added the word "fresh" in order to cover those quilts that are like my zombie quilt--a tradional quilt with some fresh elements.  Also, and I hope this is understood, I am just one person who likes and thinks about quilts and shares her thoughts, I am not The Decider, I'm just a quilter and someone who processes most of her experience through words.

I took up my own modern challenge in making this quilt--thinking about it as a "modern traditional" quilt and rejecting that category more and more as i worked. i think it is fresh, I love it a lot, but that's the end for me.

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

Details of the quilt:
measures 72" x 96"
Fabrics are: entire Zombie Apocalypse line from Emily Taylor Design with Riley Blake, two challenge fabrics from Riley Blake / MQG.  Moda Bella Off-White, Moda Bella Zen Gray, Cotton Couture Gray, Kona Black, Kona Tangerine, Cotton Couture Tangerine, Kona Grass, Cotton Couture Kryptonite, Kona Capri, Moda Bella Robin Egg.
Binding: Riley Blake dots
Backing: Widescreen and fabrics from the front + a little Kona Curry
Quilted by Kathy Koch of Thread Bear Quilting LLC in a Zombie Panograph from Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio.

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

With thanks to Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics for ordering Zombie Apocalpyse bundles when I requested them (Pink Castle is sold out, but the fabic is still avaialbel in a few shops on etsy);   Debbie of Esch House Quilts for helping me puzzle out some piecing; Jenna of How to Be Jenna and Emily of EmmmyLizzzy for helping me realize my dream of a zombie quilting design when I had almost given up; Kathy of Thread Bear for amazing and quick quilting; and Accuquilt for the lovely cutter and dies that made this much precision pieceing possible (any imperfect seams come from my own laziness and lack of perfectionism, not faulty cutting).

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

The Zombie Quilt by Rossie

As always, thanks for reading and looking and sharing your thoughts!