Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 Sewing Technique Challenges

I have been working all year to be able to create a block like this.  The corners all meet nicely.  I didn't lose any points.  The block is the correct size. (This is a 12" square BOM for my traditional guild.) For my first year quilting, after a 30 year hiatus, I have been working at getting better at quilting basics. 

This is one of the first blocks I did last year.  The seams are crooked and the points are not great.  The colors are very strange in a "What was I thinking" sort of way.  It is a far cry from square, and it ist not the right size.  I am so glad I didn't let myself get discouraged.
In the past year, I have tried many, many things outside my comfort zone, and have learned to embrace many of them.  I especially like intuitive, improvisational quilting.  I learned to do curves so that my improv pieces would have more interest.  I learned to make fabric the Victoria way (15 Minutes Play).  I even worked on some applique. I got pretty good at fusible machine applique, but the little bit of stiffness in a lap quilt is off putting to me.
That brings me to 2012.  This year, I have a few big things, to me, that I want to get much better at.
1.  Y seams.  There are so many quilts I want to make that I don't start because they involve the dreaded Y-seam.  This year, I will conquer that fear.
2.  Hand Applique.  I love the look of applique, whether modern, traditional, or primitive.  I am just not good at it.  My points are non-existent.  My stitches are always too visible.  I don't like the idea of glue or starch and pressing, so I am going to have to learn good needle turn technique.  I also need to get the correct thread to help reduce visibility.  Then, I need to learn to make those pointy points.  I really want to make the Rhapsody quilt I have designed, but I need my applique technique to get better. 
3.  Hand Quilting with perle cotton and big stitches.  I have done a few small pieces using this technique, and I am not really happy with what happens on the back.  I can get the front to have fairly nice even stitches, but the back is not great.  I read on a blog the other day that Warm and Natural batting (my favorite) is not really good for getting these nice even stitches on the back. I need to learn something call the rocking motion with the needle. I will continue to work on my hand quilting this year.
4. Color.  I would like to work on getting out of my color rut.  I don't know how successful I will be with this because I really like to work with certain colors.  I plan on doing more charity quilts this year, so I am determined to experiment with color on these.
That seems like enough to tackle for this year.  I will continue to work on my traditional piecing and my intuitive/improv quilt techniques throughout the year.  The quilts on my list of 2012 "Want to Makes" has some of all of this.
What techniques do you want to work on this year?
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Traveling Stash Arrived!

This drawing is now closed.  Thank you to those who participated.

Today, the traveling stash arrived at my house.  Tom was as excited as I was.  We opened it together and oohed and aahed at the contents.  There are patterns, even a book, a couple of tools, and lots of fabrics.  I went through each piece, one by one, and picked out these lovelies to stay with me.

I am still debating about a four panel piece of fabric that provides foundation piecing blocks for 32  8" kaleidoscope blocks.  I have to decide if I would ever use it.  Maybe.  I guess the next person who gets the box will know.
How would you like to have the Traveling Stash come your way?  Here is what you need to know.
1. You must have an active blog.
2. You may take whatever you want from the stash but you must replenish the box
3. You agree to host a giveaway on your blog and send the Traveling Stash on to the winner.
4. U.S. friends only please due to the shipping costs.
If you want a chance at the box, please leave me a comment telling me your favorite quilting design book.
I will leave open until Tuesday evening.
Good luck, everybody.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Starting block for Improvisational Round Robin

In December, I was chatting with Stephanie at Venus de Hilo about round robins.  We were both inspired by Victoria at Bumble Beans, Inc. She and a friend did an improvisational round robin exchange that got us to thinking.  What if we did something similar, only with more people.  Stephanie got it all worked out, and there are five of us in this first group.  This piece is my center for the first step.
I have been playing with scraps, in my usual color choices, with nothing in particular in mind.  Then, at my guild meeting on Tuesday, I was presented with 17 of the spool blocks in a variety of colors.  This one, made by Sharon M., really struck my fancy.  In the middle of the night, I realized it would work really well with the scraps I was playing with.  This morning, I pulled out the scrap units, and played until I came up with this.  I am really excited to see what other people add to it over the next five months.  This is my first round robin.
Speaking of color choices, Victoria is doing a series about color and quilters and the way they select color.  Check this post out to read her interview with Stephanie at Loft Creations.  Read a couple of earlier posts to say what Victoria has to say about her color choices.  Then head over the Loft Creations for Stephanie's interview of Victoria.
I will be back in the studio for the next four days.  I have the first clue for the mystery quilt made into a PDF.  If anyone could tell me how to create a link in my blog for this, I would be most grateful.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New House and a New challenge

This one has a mid-century modern feel.  Each of these houses is a different kind of puzzle for me.  I get an idea, sketch it, then try and cut and sew it together.  I love puzzles, so that is fun for me.  This one gave me a little trouble in the driveway/walkway area, but I was able to make it work.  Three down, and nine to go.  I don't know what the next one will be, but it will be fun.

I have decided to join the 2012 Finish-a-long over at Quilter in the Gap.  For the first quarter, I have chosen these three projects to finish.

I need to quilt and bind Hokule'a.  This is a priority, and will be the first one I tackle.  I have stressed about how to quilt this one, but I think I am going to go with the thing I do best which is overall stippling. 

I would really like to get this wall hanging finished.  I want to hand quilt it, so it may take me a bit longer.  I do plan on getting it done by March 1.

Bayou Sunset is another small wall hanging I would like finish by hand quilting it.  Actually, I need to get this finished by the second Tuesday in February for my guild UFO challenge.
These are the three I am entering in Rhonda's challenge.  Hop on over there to see what other people are doing.  You might want to enter as well.  There are great prizes.
Have a wonderful few days while I spend the next three with Bella.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The 2012 List

I have no new photos today, so I am going to put up some of my old favorites as I record my lists for 2012 for posterity.  If you are not interested in finding out what I want to do this year, you can just look at the photos. 
What I need to finish
1.  15 Minute BOM quilt - quilt and bind
2.  Prairie Flower quilt - finish piecing, quilt, and bind
3.  Bayou Sunset wall hanging - quilt and bind
4.  Hawaiian Shirt quilt - finish piecing, quilt, and bind
5.  Echo quilt - quilt and bind
6.  Christmas Virgin - finish piecing, quilt, and bind
7.  Autumn quilt for BASICs - quilt and bind
8.  Matisse mini - quilt and bind
9.  Postage Stamp quilt for BASICs - finish piecing, quilt, and bind
10 Pinwheels in the Garden - finish piecing, quilt, and bind

New Projects I want to do
1. A quilt for Ian
2. A quilt for Hugh and Cyrielle
3.  A quilt for Lisa and David
4.  Rhapsody quilt
5.  Blue plaid quilt for BASICs
6.  Lone Star
7.  Star Sampler for BASICs
8.  Mexican Star quilt
9.  Bloggers BOM quilt
10.  Paisley quilt
11.  Flying Geese Quilt
12.  Dresden Plate quilt
13.  Blessings from the Hollow from Kim Brackett's book
14.  Wonky House quilt
15.  Mini House quilt
16.  Northwest Native design quilt

I am quite sure this list will be added to and modified over the year.  More of the quilts will be donated to charities, but I am not sure which ones yet.  I am also sure I will come up with other ideas I just have to do.

Ongoing Monthly projects
1.  AAQI quilts each month
2.  Modern 8 Create Challenges
3.  Rebel's Challenges
4.  Quilter's as Readers quilts
5.  Intuitive Round Robin

It all seems like a very ambitious group of lists, but I like having it all written in one place.  It looks like it is going to be a very quilty year.
Enjoy the first day of 2012, and joyful quilting, everyone.