Sunday, January 10, 2010

A partner in crime...

There's been quite a bit of talk around the blogosphere in the last week or so about a rash of new Modern Quilt guilds popping up all over the country. Kansas City? Has two of my quilt idols in there--Jacquie G. of Tallgrass Prarie Studios and THE Tula Pink. Now, if only I lived within driving distance of Kansas City, my life would be complete.

However, I live in CT. And that really is not close at all. There is talk of another one starting up in New England, but we're talking more up Boston way, and that's still between two and three hours of driving each way. *sad face* I was just hoping for something a bit more...convenient. Though there has been a bit of muttering about an NYC group, and that's just an hour or so by train, so it stands a better chance.

Now, it's not that I haven't looked at guilds before--there are a few in my area. One is kind of like the quilting mafia. Lots of rules, and if you cross them, you'll be swimming with the fishes. Seriously. Plus, they meet on a weekday morning, and for us working stiffs, that just doesn't cut it. The other one is smaller, which is ok too, but they meet the one night of the week that I work late, so they're out, too.

So I'm a loner, which is ok, too. And it's why I love the bees on flickr and the blog community of quilters and crafters, because it's still sharing and discussion, just without so many schedules and restrictions.

Today, I dropped off the Something Blue coin quilt--the couple is coming back from their honeymoon late tonight. And in talking to my dear friend, the bride's mom, she mentioned that she really wanted to learn to quilt. She wants me to teach her! Haha! Well, first things first, we need to teach her to use a sewing machine... :D So we've set a tentative plan for once a month to spend an evening together sewing. I can't wait!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Starts and finishes

Two posts from me in one day? What's the world coming to?! Can you tell I'm on vacation??

We finally got a sunny day here in CT, so I took a few pictures of the finished coin quilt...

(We'll pretend my office isn't really that messy, ok? As PW would say, don't be like me.)

I love this quilt for so many reasons. I rather wish I was keeping it, so I see something like this in my future... It's backed with some gorgeous turquoise and white fabric from Jennifer Paganelli (I had exactly 2 yards of it, so there's also a strip of royal blue and white Kaffe Fassett dots, also seen in the coins on the front.), and bound with Amy Butler dots in Slate. I made sure that this wasn't a very "girly" quilt, as the recipients are a Marine and his new wife--their favorite colors are blue and green, she's a very modern kind of girl, and they're moving down to NC in the next month or so, so I wanted all of that to be reflected in the quilt. The bride's mother is a dear friend, and I've known the family for about 5 years now--how time flies...

I really love how the quilting turned out. I did randomly spaced straight lines along the off-white sashing strips, and then an argyle-type diamond along the coin strips. Have I mentioned that I love the Amy Butler dots? I'm delighted beyond belief that they're being re-released later this winter.

Gratuitous binding shot. Oh yeah...

I'm also getting to start on something new in the new year... I may have mentioned I have several friends who are all expecting between now and July, so I'm getting a jump on some baby quilts.

I love the brown and blue combos with the off-white sashing. These are both destined for a little boy quilt. I have stacks of fabric hanging around at the moment, waiting to become quilts. Do you do that? Go through and put together stacks, just to see what they look like together?

All of my Heather Ross fishes and seahorses hanging out together with a couple of solids, and some dots I can see using for the binding. Would make a cute little quilt, no? Oh, the possibilities...

2009 reflections, 2010 resolutions...

I've been thinking a bit about how much I've changed over the last year, in terms of quilting. I've stumbled upon the modern quilting movement, the quilt/craft blog community, some incredibly creative and inspiring quilters who make me want to push the envelope and try new things. I've learned to embrace brighter colors than I ever would have dared to work with before. I've learned that while I look terrible in yellow and orange, I love working with them! I've tried wonky and improv piecing--and fallen in love with the freedom they've brought to my approach to the creative process. I've discovered the generosity of my fellow craftspeople. I've accepted that the best-laid plans sometimes go awry, and that's ok--finishing a half-dozen blocks of a proposed 30 doesn't mean I've failed to finish a project, just that I've wound up with a kickass baby quilt instead. :) I'm teaching myself to quilt on my domestic sewing machine, and becoming more comfortable with every project.

I figure that since I've grown so much, I should set some goals so that I can continue to challenge myself in this new year.

1) Try and finish at least half of the projects I start, within the same calendar year. Note: I said try.

2) Learn to machine quilt in something other than straight lines. I love it, it's relatively straightforward (see wut i did thar?), but I should try out some stippling or other free-motion quilting. It's a goal to push outside of my comfort zone.

3) Try not to overextend myself so much, and set realistic goals and priorities. I'm member to two bees, and I participate in mini swaps (they take place each month, but I opt in when I think I have time). My goal is to make these my priorities, and work other projects in around them. Deadlines are good, too many deadlines and it stops being fun. This is supposed to be fun, right?

4) Work on keeping my space organized. Keep sewing table neat(er), stash reasonably tidy and organized. I work better when I can find things, so that's the goal there.

5) Document better. Bad light, poor skill, whatever. I tend not to take pictures of the process, and am slow to post the results of my endeavors. I really want to get better about this.

6) Finally, have fun. Experiment, try new things, and always learn.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Belated New Year!

Nope, I haven't disappeared entirely. The week between Christmas and New Year's was hectic, at home, at work, in general. I worked this past Saturday, and as the clock struck 5, I officially began my January vacation! The madman and I habitually take the first week of January off together, to destress and recharge after the holidays. Spent yesterday being a lazy schmuck, but have accomplished a few things today. Tomorrow, I believe we're running errands, then going out to lunch and the movies.

I do have pictures, honest. Er, I would if we hadn't been snowed in for the better part of two weeks. See the picture at the top of the blog? Yeah, that's been every day lately. Snowiest holiday season in my recent memory, I must say.

In any case, there are pictures of minis, and blocks, and a finished quilt not too far off. Now let's see if a sunny day won't throw me a bone in the near future!