Trade offs ...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So as much as I want to be out playing in my garden on this fabulous late winter, seems-like-spring day ...
Or laying out plans for to make some throws for the pooches from this cute fabric I found on sale at JoAnns ...

I have a job interview !!! tomorrow and need to spend my day reading this ... to brush up on my thinking skills.

... sounds exciting doesn't it ;-). 

But ... I will reward myself later today by getting John to blow up one of my Christmas presents ...
and heading across the street to the school yard to teach him how to play basketball.  My husband was raised in the UK and leans towards sports like rugby, soccor and squash, picking up his first basketball when he purchased this one back in December!  Looking forward to playing a game with him on MY court!

I hope you're finding a good way to spend your day ;-)

All the best

A neutral quilt ...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

As I mentioned here, I am made this lap quilt for my cousin's twenty-something daughter who just bought her first home.  As she doesn't have any furniture yet, she wanted to go neutral.  I got her to add one color ... green.  She has some beautiful cedars and other conifers outside her large living room windows, so I tried to stick with greens that I would find in nature. 

There are 18 unique 11.75" blocks which are improvisationally pieced.  My theme was to start with a small square, which then ends up offset somewhere within the larger square.  Each block has one print and multiple solids.
There are 7 blocks that are comprised of the sashing fabric.  The sashing is Quilters Solid from JoAnns in 'Natural', it's not as soft as the sateen, but I find it really easy to sew with. 

The back is simple ... same color as the sashing with a simple splash of one neutral fabric with a solid. 
And the binding is a simple, small pattern I found in my LQS ... with a couple pieces of solids.

The quilt was 70" square pre-wash and 65" square after a warm bath and hot dry ...

I was a little worried about how a 'neutral' quilt would work ... but I like how it came out, it's calm and I
think it will grow with her and her furniture choices going forward!

Have you made a 'neutral' quilt?

All the best

Mt. Washington plays hide & seek on President's day

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just a quick post with this morning's view out the living room window at the cabin ...

View at 7AM
Now you can just start to see Mt. Washington

Finally, you can see the canal (of course, the tops of the mountains then disappear ;-)

And so goes daily dance ... just one of the reasons that we love it out there ...

Happy Valentine's Day !!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Barely snuck that in!  My second night of insomnia ;-(.  And I thought that hot tubs were supposed to make you sleepy ... not wake you up!

 It will be one-year ago next month that we finished the cabin ... it's been a fabulous place to relax and rejuvinate ... though with the rainy pacific northwest winters, we don't get out here as often during the "dark months".  When we do, those dreary days make it easier to stay inside and quilt ... which I did all day yesterday! 

Here's what my sewing room at the cabin looks like ... fortunately, we have a bar in the kitchen we can eat dinner at ;-).  Come to think of it ... it actually doesn't look that different from my sewing room at home ... some day ... I will have a dedicated space.

My cousin's daughter has just bought her first home.  So I am making her a quilt for a house warming present.  We delivered a hand-me-down wool carpet to her last weekend and she gave me the colors she wants ... neutrals (hmmm).  Not quite sure how to piece that, I asked her if she were to add a color, what would it be ... "green.  The color green that you see in nature, not too yellow, not too blue.  Green."

So I spent some time at my LQS last week and picked out a few Green pieces that I hope are up to the task.   Yesterday ... as the rain fell heavily on the metal roof ... I made some neutral blocks (well ... I hope that brown is considered neutral).

My measuring skills weren't up to snuff though and I eroneously made several of the blocks 11" instead of 12".  You can see the extra piecing on all 3 blocks in the middle.  There will be a 2" cream color sashing (the extra fabric on the right block) as well as some negative space, so I believe that it will end up looking fine ... but frustrating none-the-less.

I am now up to 13 blocks.  The quilt will be 6 blocks x 4 blocks ... but I am going to leave 6 blocks 'empty' (one in each row), so I only need 5 more to finish.  It should end up a generous 58" x 86" before shrinkage.

What does Modern Quilting Mean to Me ?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I have joined the newly formed Seattle Modern Quilting Guild ... our first meeting is next Saturday and I'm really looking forward to meeting other modern quilters.  As inspirational as theFlickr Fresh Modern Quilt group has been for me ... I am also looking forward to moving from virtual contact to personal contact!

This week, they are asking members to post on their blogs what Modern Quilting means to them ... here's my attempt.

Modern Quilting is a new twist on an old art form.  When we built our cabin last year, we used a modern design (shed roof, tons of windows) with older, more traditional finishes (fir, cedar, open wood beam ceilings).  This cabin ... a new twist ... was actually my inspiration to learn to quilt.  I wanted the tradition of quilts with a modern feel.  When I found Amy Ala Modes version of Plain Spoken - The Real McCoy -while doing a Google search in May 2009 ... I knew I had found a modern quilt.  I had seen the Plain Spoken quilt in the Modern Quilt Workshop book, but Amy's version was what really brought it to life for me.  While I hadn't yet bought my first piece of material ... I was already hooked on modern quilting.

It's role:
Modern quilting to me is a lap-sized quilt that is decorative, but highly functional.  It doesn't sit on a quilt rack or get folded carefully in tissue and stored.  It is used ... a lot.  It will struggle to get to heirloom status, as it will wear from use and the role it plays in bringing joy to life ... a curl up with a good book, a cuddle in front of the TV, a cacoon for a sick child or a throw for a nap.  It lives in your life.

It's beauty:
Is entirely in the eye of the beholder.  It doesn't rely on typical geometric design, instead it lets the artist come out and create.  It gets its beauty ... not from patterns ... but from the inspiration the quilter adds along the way.  It is about contrast, complexity, simplicity and creativity.  It doesn't rely on the fabric designer, it's beauty comes through design and placement and the fabric merely enhances that creativity.

It brings surprise:
For me ... the best modern quilts I have seen are the ones where I say "wow ... I wish I had thought of that".  It's a subtle nuance that really brings the beauty of the design like the white framing here, and simple design here, the amazing color movement here or the simplicity here.  My favorite versions incorporate negative space ... they switch up what's expected, say a block layout, with the unexpected, a blank space like mine shown here and here.

It's a community:
It's a fabulous community ... it supports ... and for a newby like me ... it made me feel really good about the progress I was making.

That's my perspective on what Modern Quilting Means to Me ... what does it mean to you?

Improv corner block quilt

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I finally finished it!  This quilt has probably taken me longer than any other I've made!  I started the blocks over New Year's weekend and got about 9 finished before setting the quilt aside to think through what to do with them.  This is my first attempt at improv blocks ... I got better and more creative over time. 

I love the mix of the blues and greens.  Initially, John didn't like the blocks ... now that he sees the finished quilt ... he wants one for us (I have about 75% of the blocks I need for another quilt already made ... wonder how long it will take for me to get to the remainder?).

Each block is comprised of 1 print and then multiple solids (including white)

The binding is Kona Sweet Pea (one of my favorite colors). 

I'm happy with how the colors all work together and how the white ties it all together! 

This one is for my friend Jeannine ... she started a new job in January ... after a 10-month hiatus.  This is to celebrate a tough, interesting and growth year!

A peek at a productive day

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I finished the top from the improv ... made the blocks for the back ... had coffee with a friend AND went to the Seattle Flower and Garden show today ... all in all ... a great day ...  hope you guys are having an equally good weekend!  There are almost enough blocks left to make a 2nd quilt!  So I think I may get a little more creative next week and try out a few more designs.

Improv blocks

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I started on these blocks New Year's weekend and they have been sitting around for awhile.  I am still not sure what I want to do with them (suggestions welcome ;-).

My local quilt shop, the Quilting Loft, had a year-end sale on fat quarters (can you tell yet that I LOVE sales ... and my local quilt shop???) and I picked out a big selection in the blue/green range. 
Not my usual go-to colors ... but I certainly seem to have enough solids to coordinate with them (all solids are from the stash).    The block on the bottom left in the photo above was actually the inspiration for my Cabin Quilt.

I'm thinking that I can use them ALL on one quilt like this cool one I saw tonight ... or ... maybe use them across a couple of quilts with a lot of white space, kind of like this fabulous new one I saw last night. 

The goal in all the blocks was to create a "floating square" inside a square. 
I also have a couple of rejects ... guess if you're going to get creative, there will be a few failures as well.  The colors on these (yellows and browns) just didn't work for me.

On the wallet front ... no luck ... on the bright side, however, the DMV and the Seattle PD were both fabulous and so easy to work with ... too bad they have had enough of these to streamline the process. 

Hope you're all having a great week!

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