Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Monster Mash

Welcome new friends, perhaps you are from Amy's Blogger Quilt Festival, and old, reliable friends, who have stuck with me during the lean posting times. I hope you enjoy this finish and one of my favorite quilts!

This quilt is named "The Monster Mash" because, well, that's what I hear in my head every single time I look at it. That's also what makes it one of my favorite quilts, even though it's a new finish.

If you are too young to know what I'm talking about, there is a song out there called "The Original Monster Mash" by Bobby (Boris) Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers.  Look it up and listen to it, then come back and take a look at my quilt, I won't seem so crazy.

Then again, maybe nothing will help me from seeming so crazy.

This one went together quickly because it was so fun. The Monsters are from the Amy Bradley Designs, "Happy Halloween" pattern. Instead of needle turn, I used the raw-edge applique method with Steam-a-Seam and blanket stitched around all the edge. With the exception of the sashing and borders, I used scraps or stash fabric.  I kept the quilting very similar to the pattern example because I think it appropriately allows the Monsters to take center stage. I kept my Instagram followers inundated with these blocks as I was finishing them up, I enjoyed it so much.  I'm surprised I didn't lose half of them.

Categories: Wall Hanging, since that is currently where it resides, and Applique.

A little closer look at the faces.

I also decided to submit this quilt to the Quilting Bloggers Weekly Quilt Contest.
Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

Head over there and take a look. If you like my Monster Mash, please vote for it.  If you like one of the others better, well, vote for that one, I'm confident the maker will appreciate it and I'll be glad to have brought your attention to such a fun contest. I keep my crazy, competitive streak come focused on sports participation and cheering only.  Voting is between Nov. 2, 8am-ish (EDT) and Nov. 5, 8am (EDT).


Monday, October 29, 2012

My Recap of Sewing Summit 2012

First thing's first. Check out my haul (swaps, class materials, swag materials, and a little shopping.)
 (Sorry, can't seem to rotate this one)

Last year, when I attended SS, I was a bit reserved and held back from what I think of as the “extra-curricular” activities. I did go to open sew and show a few people how I made cathedral windows but I  wasn’t overly social. I determined that would change this year so I signed up for two swaps and to make a block for someone who wanted to do a Quilt of Valor.  I signed up for a dinner event and openly communicated on the chat boards to pre-meet people.    Well, I did the swaps and made the block but I fell asleep before the dinner and missed that. Oops.  However, that’s okay because I made sure I chatted with people freely during lunches, classes, and open sew.  For me, I am not sure I could have done any more and I feel great about it.

Here are photos of some of us at the mixer on Thursday night.

I know it sounds weird, put that way, but I lost a colleague/friend the Monday before SS and he was such a light in this world, the kind of person you can meet in passing and walk away feeling loved. Given the circumstances of his passing, I had heartbreak on top of grief and by Weds. evening, the night before I left for SS, I started thinking I should stay home. I wasn’t sure I could go and not dwell on this over the weekend but I realized the distraction would be a good thing and gave myself permission to be distracted. Honestly, it worked just as it should. SS was fun, enjoyable and only when I was alone, did I think deeply of my friend. I returned and attended his Service on Monday and between SS, where I fondled fabric, had plenty of sewing therapy and had good friend therapy, as well as the Service itself, I felt more centered. I left the Service feeling healed and uplifted and that's all I can ask.

I digress a little but the reason is, I wanted to explain to you what I believe Sewing Summit is and what it I always thought it was intended to be. While there are classes and guest speakers, this is more about connecting with people you don’t normally get to connect with in real life.  Secondary to that, you have the opportunity to hone specific sewing skills or learn new ones.  I ended up in a couple classes where I learned to use a serger sewing machine (which I have now bought, thank you very much) and made a scarf as well as a pillow case.  I think the 1500 stitches per minute blinded me from the moment I pressed the pedal! LOL

Open sew room, some ladies swapping goodies, and me all cheerful bright and in the morning. 

I also learned how to make a tote bag.  Yes, you heard me, I. Made. A. Bag.  And, I didn’t swear once! The bag making truly took a village, however.  First, there was my teacher in class, Alexia Abegg from Green Bee Patterns, taking me step by step. Oh, and my classmates freely answered my questions, too! Then, I took the unfinished bag to open sew that night and asked anyone and everyone with bag experience questions until finally I exclaimed, “YES!” Popped up out of my seat and did a little happy twirl.  I. Made. A. Bag! It has a snap, interfacing, a bottom and handles all where they should be.  I’m so happy about this, I think I might make another one just to remind myself I can do it.

In addition to the items above, I also learned how to sew lounge pants.  The fact I’d been thinking about sewing some clothing a lot lately and succeeded at these lounge pants so easily are part of the serger purchase. I have to talk about the lounge pants for a moment.  The night before the class, I went to the open sewing room to cut out the pattern early at the suggestion of the class teacher, Jana Nielson from Izzy & Ivy Designs. She said she’d be there and would walk me through it all. She promised it would be easy and I couldn’t resist giving her a hard time. “You say that,” I said. “We’ll see,” slipped from my lips. But Jana would not be phased.  She quipped back, “Yes, you will. Trust me. I’m telling you.”  Sure, sure. I went into class the next day and it was a disorganized type of class. Everyone was in a different stage of putting their pants together so Jana walked around instructing us on next steps, almost on an individual by individual basis.  Still, it worked.  Before class ended, I had a pair of lounge pants complete and being the honest and gracious person I am, promptly got Jana’s attention to give her props with what everyone likes to hear.  I said, “You were right.”   It was as easy as she said and I am pretty sure my entire family is going to get lounge pants for Christmas.  Jana, you are awesome and fun and I hope I have a lot of occasion to chat with you in future.  

This is the awesome Ms. Jana

Now, let me also add, the other classes, Creative Journeys, and Lectures (which primarily turned into group discussions) were equally enjoyable and educational.  Check out these ladies’ and what they do, it’s pretty impressive.

Emily Herrick from Crazy Old Lady Quilts - Emily authored, "Geared for Guys" offered great tips and ideas to help us determine just how to make a quilt for a man that is different from the traditional fall back options.

Heather Scrimsher from Fiberosity - Heather showed us how to make an "e" or an "i" case with the serger

Rachel Howard from Family Ever After - Rachel is the creator of "Sew-Vivor" and had some great advice on helping us take our own passions to the level we wanted them to go to.

Amber Carrillo from One Shabby Chick - Amber discussed her experiences with selling at various craft shows and pop-up shows. While she chatted and I became inspired, I have to say, one of the most notable things I remember is that Amber never has issue with getting a picture of her creations in the sun. Hawaii just doesn't allow for it. Good for you, Amber. 

Lastly, Joel Dewberry of Joel Dewberry was our Keynote speaker. So great.

To all the teachers who held the impromptu classes in the evenings or during breakfast, THANK YOU. Your generosity has been wonderful. I am sure it was hard to balance teaching demands and enjoying classes yourselves. 

To the organizers, most of all, Erin, thank you for such a great conference again.

It was so enjoyable and I’m so thankful I was out of my comfort zone and giving me a safe and fun place to learn new skills and to meet the people I’ve been communicating with online.  I hope you all can enjoy the rest of the blurry photos I've managed to grab. :D

My travelling partners on the way home.  Don't we all look like we are glad to be done with the 2 flights back to DC?


Friday, October 12, 2012

A fun pinwheel sampler

It took me a while to get around to posting this completion. I've been of the mind to take my quilts on photo shoots, recently. However, the reality is, I end up taking them out and then driving around in the car with them for days, weeks and in this case, months on end.

Since I was giving this to my sisters and they were in town this past weekend, however, I realized it was time to let the idea of finding a perfect spot around town go.  Instead, I called hubs over, told him to hold it up on the back deck and snapped some photos.

This pattern is Pinwheel Sampler by Rachel Griffith of PS I Quilt and the print fabrics (which I LOVED working with) was Vintage Groove from ADORN It. I started with this.

Made a few of these,

auditioned some backgrounds,

and pieced the top.

I ran out of my blue background (this is why I hate working from stash, people, I'm too foolish to measure first) and had to grab another. Problem was, it matched in one light but not another. Good little twist, I managed to put the three darker strips in the center so it looks like I did it on purpose. Right?

How about that pink block? Beauty, isn't she? No, I know she's not. I tested an idea to cut the pinwheel a smaller size and add border strips but again, with the lack of measuring first... Let's just say that Ms. Griffith did not design that block that way.  The red and yellow block above it is how it was designed. Note to self, when using a pattern, stick to what the drafter wrote unless measuring.

As for the quilting, I played and echoed some pinwheels but not all. I decided to put a simple loop d' loop in the sashing and I love it.

By the way, my niece says, "hi!"