30 November 2012

Quilt 489

I submitted this quilt to Quilt Con this morning!  It was Quilt 489.
The Full Stops Quilt

Of course, I think of this quilt not as "489" but as "The Full Stops Quilt" since it is based on a paper collage by Anna Betts called "Full Stops."  You can see the collage here along with process shots of me dying the fabric circles.

For anyone who is new here, I sell the plexiglas resists used to make shapes while dying in my etsy shop.  The process is a variation on immersion dyeing (read my tutorial here) and the shapes ship with complete instructions for clamping and dyeing.  I'm mostly-out of circles at the moment, but they will be back soon, and I'm getting hexagons, too!

I started thinking about this quilt in 2010 and did some of the dying then, but I did most of the dyeing this summer and then the piecing at a retreat with the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.  A few months later, a week before the Quilt Con deadline, I decided to see if I could finish this quilt up and submit it!  This was, of course, the day before leaving for my Thanksgiving trip (5 days out of town).   I had a little bit of piecing left to do, so I put some hustle in my bustle, finished the piecing, and then packed up the quilt top, some batting, and a back with me to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.  I pin-basted the quilt at my parents house.

By the way, check out my mom's dog, Olive.
Crazy cute, right?

Once back from my trip, I snuck out to the studio whenever I wasn't needed at work and by Wednesday night had this baby quilted and bound!  The quilt then went through the washer and was ready for photos on Friday morning (this morning!)

I was so excited to wake up and see a bright-but-overcast day.  That's my favorite light for photographs.
This orange wall is attached to Spur Studios (where I work on my quilts).  I have always liked the color.
getting the shot

The Full Stops Quilt

The quilt is held up with masking tape.  I was a little worried that the quilt would fall off, so I threw my easily-washed not-easily-stained fleece blanket on slightly-wet-and-cigarette-butt-littered ground. That slipper?  That's my camera case at the moment. :-)  My old case doesn't fit around the longer lens I keep on the camera now and the slipper is clean and padded.  I don't know if anyone oversaw this photo shoot, but if they did, I can only assume they were greatly amused.

Especially as I moved around to get close-ups from a variety of angles.
Dyed and Painted circles

This little piece remains my favorite.
My favorite bit.

I hope this quilt gets to go to Quilt Con!  I think the show is going to be great and I'm really looking forward to taking classes--I'm signed up for classes with Sherri Lynn Wood (Friday), Lotta Jansdotter (Saturday afternoon), and Denyse Schmidt (Sunday). There were many more classes I was interested in, but only so much time in the day and money in the wallet, so decisions had to be made.  If only I had a time-turner and a million dollars.

26 November 2012

Home Alone

As a kid, I always thought my mom was so funny when my dad left town.  She would take on huge projects like rebuilding the deck or painting the ceiling in the living room (it's a cathedral ceiling, this is not an easy task).

Well, I did something similar the other weekend.  I've lived with my boyfriend for a few months now and this was the first weekend where he was out of town and I was at the house.  What did I do?  Take on a bunch of projects and make a huge mess and then bust my butt trying to get everything done and cleaned up before he came home.  Yep, I'm turning into my mom.

Now, some of these projects were pretty boring and un-blogworthy...painting storage shelves, organizing my books.  But, one of them was not only fabric-y but also hilarious.

It started simply enough.  I had a half-yard set of the blue colorway of Bari J's Splendor 1920.  I had in my head a plan for using it that involved cutting the half-yards into fat quarters and then bleaching half of the fat quarters.

Bleaching fabric is a remarkably straightforward process. Technical term: discharging.  You mix water and Clorox, add the fabric.  You make a bath of Bleach Stop.  You watch your fabric change and when it is changed to your liking, you take it out of the bleach and put it in the Bleach Stop.  After 20 minutes of Bleach Stop soaking, you dump out your buckets, throw the fabric in the washer and you're done.  No fuss, no muss.

Sounds easy.  But sometimes the fabric doesn't change the way you expect.  In this case, the fabric didn't change at all.   Now, I have my guesses about this.  They are as follows (1) I grabbed a bottle of Clorox from the laundry room.  I didn't buy this Clorox.  I don't know who did or when, but knowing my boyfriend, it may have been a very long time ago.  Does bleach go bad?  (2) Blue doesn't bleach easily. In a mixed-color print, it's not usual to see the reds drop out completely while the blue only lightens a little.  I was expecting the fabric to need a long bath to get a slight change.  Instead, I did a long bath and got no change.  Maybe these are just really awesomely bleach-proof blues?

In any case, I had fabric that I wanted to alter and it hadn't altered, so I decided that I'd do the only logical thing:  dye it instead.

Also logical: if you're going to be dyeing, you should make some batik to dye, too.
Super logical:  set up the batik in the basement so you can catch up on The Voice while you stamp the wax on the fabric.
Next logical step:  without pausing to clean up your batik kit (the wax does have to cool after all),  set up dye baths in the bathroom. (You can find my tutorial on immersion dyeing here.)

Next logical step:  without pausing to clean up the batik kit, and only minimally cleaning up the dye baths, start boiling off wax in the kitchen.  Also, while you're in there, make some banana bread.

See how that happened?  3 rooms full of craftastic mess.  Made me laugh. And then clean like the wind. I'm usually the tidy one.

In the end, the house was cleaner when Jon came home than when he left and I was pretty pleased with my fabric. This picture shows the Splendor 1920 originals on the right and the overdyed prints on the left.  Most were overdyed in shades of blue, but a one was in a bronze-colored dye.
Spendor 1920 dyed

 Here they are with some fabrics pulled from the stash and some of the batik fabrics I made.

Splendor 1920 and friends
I've already made some of the fabrics into half-square triangles. 

This isn't the way I'm going to use those HSTs, but I always get a kick out of  looking at manipulated fabric next to the original.
Now, who wants some banana bread?

19 November 2012


One of the fabric lines I was so super-excited to get my hands on at Quilt Market was "Glimma" by Lotta Jansdotter.

Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter

I've already begun playing with it.  First, laid out all of the charm squares.  I decided not to use brightest colors yet.  They went into the stash.
sorting out the charm pack

From the stash, I pulled out some solids to match my chosen charm squares.
adding in solids

Then I added in some stashed prints.
adding in prints

I decided to make a log cabin quilt because while I've made log cabin blocks for others, I've never made one for myself (or a whole quilt of them!)  I cut a bunch of strips of the fabrics.
cutting fabric into strips
The design wall was so useful as I built a bunch of cabins simultaneously.
making log cabins
This type of fabric play is a large part of the reason that I keep a somewhat large stash.   I love the choices it provides at the start of a project and also the flexibility to change course as I go without having to stop and run to the shop.   In this case, I started with a lot of medium value fabrics, but I ended up really loving the lightest fabrics and the darkest ones.  So, I went with that, and made some dark blocks and some light.   Here's the quilt as I left it...21 blocks done, 14 to go. 
21 log cabins
The plan is to add mostly light cabins...two more rows to the top.

01 November 2012

New Favorites

1.  Going to market.  Quilt Market was quieter and less hectic than I thought it would be.  I was really worried that the environment would automatically trigger a crazy migraine (big places with noises bouncing around are a problem for me), but my head stayed pretty normal, so I was happy.
Quilt Market 2012
I was able to get through my to do list: that list had a couple of categories: manufacturing needs for my etsy shop and networking needs related to the blog and getting more of my quilts into magazines. While it was fun to see the fabric designers' booths in person and sometimes even get to chat with the designers, I tried not to fangirl.

2.  I made an exception to my "no fangirling" rule for Carolyn Friedlander.  You may have seen (and gotten wanty over) previews of her fabric line Architextures (due out soon).
Architextures Sample
But her quilts and her quilting are so awesome it makes me swear and pull out my hair.
 Carolyn Friedlander's quilting
I want her to teach me all of the things!
I may have told her as much and done a little dance for her.  :-)

3. Meeting quilters in person. It's nice to put faces (real, 3-dimensional faces!) to blogs and flickr-streams.  It's also amazing how honest and open people are in person.  I've always felt myself a bit at odds with the SUPER NICEY NICE culture of online quilters, probably because my RealJob is one where giving someone criticism = doing them a favor.  And I have a personal and professional disposition towards making distinctions.  Anyway, I find that I'm much better able to have the type of conversations I want in person--honest, respectful, but tricky conversations.  I found myself talking with a lot of people about how weird it was to see so many things trying to brand themselves as "modern" or for "modern quilters" and (a) completely missing the boat, (b) commercializing the "modern quilt" space to the point of ickiness, and (c) making useless, divisive distinctions. 

4.  Eating this dish:
Butternut Squash Salad
I can't even describe how good it is!  Get the recipe here: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas (I used barley in place of farro and toasted pumpkin seeds instead of pepitas).

5.  Seeing quilts in person.  This of course includes seeing my very own Kelp Quilt hanging in the Modern Quilt Guild showcase. It was the only bee quilt that was hanging, so I was really glad it was there, because bees and collaboration are really important and should be celebrated and displayed.
The Kelp Quilt

If you are new to this quilt, check out this post for a tutorial explaining how to make your own:
Kelp Quilt Tutorial
And check out these posts to watch the Kelp Quilt grow over time:
the proposal
getting blocks back from bee members
pieced but not quilted
Kelp Quilt Credits
(All bee members are listed, sorry that the names aren't easily read in this photo).

I really enjoyed seeing all the quilts hanging in the showcase and in the festival more generally.  It was so cool to get up close and see the stitching and amazing craftsmanship.  I also liked cruising by the show at different times to see how busy the show was and which quilts were getting attention.  To see more of the quilts, check out my friend Lynn's blog post here: The Little Red Hen
and/or the Modern Quilt Guild's post here: The Modern Quilt Guild.