Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Purplelicious - A Work In Progress

I promised you more purple and today you are going to get it! Remember the purple improv blocks from a few weeks ago?

I found some more purple scraps from Hard Core and added those into the soup. Some of the purples from Hard Core are warmer and I think that helps. Maybe? I think I have the blocks about where I'd like them and in a layout that I'm liking.

Now, I'm thinking about the border and considering these options:

1) Kona Purple:

2) Kona Eggplant:

3) Kona Tulip:

4) Kona Berry:

5) Kona Dark Violet:

6) Heritage Solids Magenta:

7) Mix of medium value purples:

Decisions, decisions! Which purple do you prefer?

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks Monika and Lee for hosting such great linkies!
Right Click to Save ImageWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What are you working on this week?

Monday, 27 January 2014

Modern Block Monday/Stash Play - Sherbet Stars

I'm a part of an online Canadians Quilt {Bee} this year. I worked with most of these fabulous women in the Carmine Group of the Simply Solids Bee last year so I'm thrilled that we're going to keep going.

We're expanding into prints this year. Gulp! Having focused so much on solids the past few years, I find prints a little intimidating; I have a hard time seeing the 'true colour' of a print. Solids are way easier. But it's time to get out of my comfort zone, right?

Jaclyn asked for a star(s) block this month in this beautiful Frosted Heights palette from Design Seeds:

frosted brights

I had no idea what I wanted to do until I saw Dominique's fabulous wonky star block (tutorial). Wonky's good! I thought I'd try two stars in mine though.

I used the large blue floral from the Flea Market Fancy line for the centre of both stars because it had all the colours from the palette. It was a fun block to make and it reminded me of the Stash Plays I used to do.

Canadians Quilt Bee

I hope Jaclyn likes it!

Friday, 24 January 2014

TGIFF! - Purple Radiant Orchid Madness

Happy Friday, all! I'm in a bit of a purple phase at the moment. Kind of à propos given Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year, eh?

Earlier this week, I showed you my little Mini Me block. Through the magic of the Internet, it's been transformed into this little pincushion.

Although it seemed mini compared to the 12.5" Diamond Ripples block on which it's based, doesn't it look big compared to this other selvage pincushion I finished this week?


But that's not really purple madness, M-R, you say. Okay, so how about these placemats made with the purple and lime green scraps from Carsick? Yay for using up more scraps!

I did some free motion matchstick quilting on these and I love the texture. Kind of looks woven, doesn't it?

My kids immediately claimed them, but I'm holding firm that one of them must be mine. Negotiations ensued and concessions made. Expect to see some more placemats in the near future. :)
The back - Big scrap pieces
Still not enough purple for you? Next week, my friends, next week there will be more…

I'm linking up to TGIFF!, which is over with Jess @ Quilty Habit this week. Her fun and fabulous quilt features Brrr!, the Laurie Wisbrun line I used in the quilt in my header.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Kick at the Can

I'm a big fan of Angela Walters and her amazing quilting. While I have no plans of getting a long arm quilting machine anytime soon, I've been wanting to try one for some time now. Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to take a long arm quilting class with Jan Kittle at her store The Pickle Dish in Carleton Place. So. Much. Fun!

I had so many questions going in -- How do you load a quilt on a long arm machine? How do you do borders? How easily do the free motion skills I've built using my domestic machine translate to the long arm? How do pantographs work? How do you…? And I wonder where my eldest gets his inquisitiveness! ;) All my questions were answered and more in the class.

Long arm machines seem so big and intimidating, but they aren't! This is the one we were using. Anyone else have that HQ Avanté commercial from Pat Sloan's radio show permanently etched in their brain?!

This is the view from the side of the machine. The design on the paper is a pantograph and you use a laser to follow along the design. So cool!

Trying a pantograph I am. So serious!

Yay! I got a few good points!

Now trying free motion from the front of the machine.

Yes, I am having fun!

That's Jan -- great teacher!

I was thrilled to learn that all of the free motion quilting skills I've been developing on my domestic machine translate well to the long arm machine. There is some learning to do to adjust for the weight of the machine instead of the drag of the quilt, but that's should come easier with a bit of practice. 

Of course, my worst fear came true; now I really want a long arm machine. Oops. If there are any fairy godparents out there who have a spare machine…lol! In the meantime, I am happy to rent time on Jan's machine at The Pickle Dish. Woo hoo! First I need to make a big quilt top…

Jan offers the long arm machine workshop regularly so check out The Pickle Dish site or contact the store for more details.  

Monday, 20 January 2014

Modern Block Monday - Mini Me

Remember this Diamond Ripples block?

And this Follow The Leader one?

Well, I used the triangle cut offs to make this wee block:

Looks more a little more wee beside the 12.5" Diamond Ripple:

The seams don't all meet, but I'm okay with that. I think these are the smallest pieces I've worked with so far. Unfinished, it's 5.5". I think it's going to be a pincushion. I've been needing one near my iron.

That's one little set of scraps used up! :)

Other blocks in this series:

Happy Monday, all!

Friday, 17 January 2014

An Exercise in Value and Worth

As I mentioned before, I found Josh @ Molli Sparkles discussion of commissioned work last month very interesting and I pursued his link to Sam Hunter's We Are $ew Worth It posts. As I was in the process of starting a commission for a friend at the time, I thought I'd track everything to see what I might charge if I was prepared to do commissions as a business.

Now, this is not what I charged my friend nor what I expected to receive for this project, this is just an exercise.

Hands Hands Fingers Thumbs is the quilt we're discussing here. It is 55" by 70", a generous throw-sized quilt. It uses mostly solids, which cost less than prints. Because this is a fully custom design (drawings were made and discussed with the client) and a double sided quilt, I did put in a design fee. The minimum wage in Ontario, where I live, is $10.25. And because this is a business exercise, I put in a profit margin. 

I have to say that this was a rather eye opening experience and made me appreciate more the cost of the time I put into my projects.

Over the years, many friends and family members have commented that I could sell my quilts as I'm sure your friends and family have said the same to you. For most non-quilters though, the price they'd really be willing to pay for a quilt though is about the cost of the materials alone, correct? I think if I actually showed the spreadsheet above to those who want me to make them a quilt, there would be guffaws. As if I could charge/get $970 for a quilt?! But wait...

Now, I completely agree with Sam's bigger picture arguments for valuing our work for more than minimum wage. Even someone who has worked at Walmart or McDonalds for 15 years (which is how long I've been quilting) will earn more than minimum wage. So keeping in mind all of Sam's bigger picture arguments, let's put in what I think my quilting time is actually worth to me:

Well, there's some sticker shock, eh? $970 seems like a deal now, eh? LOL! I highly encourage you to check out Sam's bigger picture arguments before you tell me I'm right off my rocker for being audacious enough to think my quilting time is worth $25/hour. :)

I'm very curious what others think about this issue. Do you sell quilts? If so, how do you determine the price of the quilt? Does any of this change how you approach selling your quilts?

Thank you to Sam and to Josh for talking about this issue. It's been such an education for me and I'm now able to have a more educated discussion with others about the value and worth of a handmade product.

HDS Sew Worth It LOGO

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Wrapping It Up and Moving Forward

Snow Crab Nebula
Ever feel like you are about two weeks behind? That's how I'm feeling on the quilting front, mostly because I haven't done a 2013 wrap up or done my goals for 2014 and our computer's WiFi connection is giving me such problems that doing pretty much anything online through the WiFi is crazy making. I'm connected via Ethernet at the moment -- bliss!

I know neither a wrap up or a goal-setting post is really necessary, but they help give me direction. At the beginning of last year, I set out some BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). If you'll indulge me a little, let's review 2013 and then set some goals for 2014. :)

2013 Wrap Up - The Year I Became a Hard Core Quilter

When I was forecasting my quilting year last year, I certainly did not foresee that I'd learn how to quilt with a broken wrist. It stopped me from quilting for about 10 days, until I took Elaine Quehl's class. I still remember that goofy excitement when I realized I could do the technique she was teaching us with my cast. LOL!

1) New and old projects:
Falling for Stripes
  • Since I'm still hosting TGIFF! once a month, I'd like to have a quilt finished per month. Wrap-Up Update: Achieved and then someI'd also like to enter three quilts into our guild show this May. Wrap-Up Update: Done! I entered six and actually won three ribbons -- still woo hoo-ing that one! Some of my finishes this year will hopefully be:
    • My existing WIPs - There are now 18 on my list, 12 of which were on there this time last year. Those 12 will be either finished, repurposed or given away for someone else to finish. May join Project U.F.O. Wrap-Up Update: Umm, yeah, about that…maybe in 2014?
    • A quilt for the guest room Wrap-Up Update: Nope
    • A big boy bed quilt for my youngest Wrap-Up Update: Nada
    • A few more things off my updated bucket list Wrap-Up Update: Yes! Su{Brrr}nova, Happy Canada Day, Eh! and Hexed
2) Design:
  • Design a quilt pattern for a magazine or Moda Bake Shop. Gulp! Wrap-Up Update: I did design a pattern for Falling for Stripes, but it's not finished. I just need to finish the diagrams. 
  • Scrap Bin Mission - I'd like to explore ways of using the insane stash of scraps I've collected over the years. Wrap-Up Update: I did use some scraps up for various projects, but I'd like to do more in 2014. 
  • Modern Block Monday - I miss doing these modern blocks so 2013 will see a comeback -- maybe on Mondays, maybe not. Wrap-Up Update: Yes, I've kept this up, but only sporadically. 
  • Keep on keeping on with Electric Quilt (EQ). Wrap-Up Update: Yes, a few more quilt designs were made with it. Still not all that comfortable with it.
3) Colour:
  • Play with different colour schemes using EQ and the Stash Play gameWrap-Up Update: Wow, that one really fell of the wagon, eh? Hmmm...
  • Bee blocks - I'm part of one bee and just joined another so I'll get to play with other people's fabric and colour choices. Always a great way to try new colour schemes and blocks. Wrap-Up Update: Loved doing bee blocks this year, especially the Simply Solids Bee. 
4) Technique:
  • Practice more layered free motion quilting designs, combining motifs to create images or scenes. Wrap-Up Update: Definitely more comfortable with this now. :)
  • Learn and experiment more with new-to-me techniques, including:
    • Drawing/sketching - I'd love to try some zendoodling. How fun would that be to quilt? Wrap-Up Update: This one also fell off. 2014!
Lunch bag

Goals for 2014:

We're definitely keeping it simple this year because I will be returning to the paid work world. Hopefully soon. I'll still be keeping up the blog though, but I doubt I'll be as productive as the last few years. C'est la vie!  

1. Finish Falling for Stripes pattern! Maybe design another one?
2. Triage my WIPS and UFOs. Seriously, some of them just need to be put out of their misery. 
3. Quilt for the guest room. Yes!
4. Quilt for oldest son's bed.
5. Quilt for youngest son. Cobbler's child, that one. He received a hoodie for Christmas and asked who it belonged to before him! LOL!
6. More scrappiness and more working with prints. Still love my solids, but I'd like to get better at mixing and using prints.
7. Drawing/Sketching/Zendoodling. 
8. Organize my sewing studio. :)

There, that feels better. How about you? What are you hoping to do in 2014?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Modern Blocks Monday - Improv

I hope you had a fabulous weekend! My modern free motion quilting sampler workshop got postponed Saturday due to freezing rain. :( While I was a little disappointed at first, it was a good call. I took my son to hockey a little later that morning and was thankful that I was just bringing him to the arena nearby. Why wasn't hockey cancelled too, you ask? Hockey never gets cancelled, 'cause we're Canadian, and it would be un-Canadian of us to cancel hockey. ;) Yeah, I don't buy it either. The good news is that we were able to find another date next month that would work for the workshop. Yay!

Inspired by the work of Maria Elkins, Jean Wells, and Marianne @ The Quilting Edge, I've been wanting to do more improv and work with more complex colour palettes, so I pulled out a pile of solid scraps in the blue, purple, grey and lime greens. I started with the grey, white and black scrap pieces leftover from my laptop tutorial with Sew Sisters Quilt Shop and began building improv blocks.

It quickly became apparent that it was not one piece but three. Hmm, so much for a complex colour palette. LOL!

I'm back and forth on these; one moment I like them and the next, not so much. I'm told that's often the case with improv so I'm just going to keep going. It's fun!

I'm thinking that the palette I had originally selected would have worked if I hadn't started with the grey, white and black sets. I think the white is the problem here -- the white gives the pop that the lime green was supposed to. Pesky value issue! Oh well, something to try next time.

Other blocks from this series:
Hope you get some time to play and be creative today!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

TGIFF! - A Stitch in Time

Welcome TGIFFers! I'm going to milk my first finish of 2014 -- A Stitch in Time -- a little longer because, well, prepping these quilt block sandwiches has been taking up all of my extra time this week.

These blocks are for a free motion quilting workshop I'm teaching with the Ottawa Valley Quilt Guild on Saturday. Can't wait!

I won't repeat what I said about A Stitch in Time on Wednesday. I was going for a crop circle look with the quilting, which I forgot to mention earlier this week.

And that's pretty much all I've got!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Wake Up to Kona - A Stitch in Time

A Stitch in Time on our backyard ice rink - such an ice hog!
Those who follow me regularly know that I'm a devoted solid lover. Love, love, love my solids. And ever since I found Kona, I haven't used much else. A Kona colour card even topped my Christmas wish list this year. I should own stock. Hmm...

When I saw this Wake Up to Kona blog hop with the Sew We Quilt gang, I was all over it! Thanks to Carol and Madame Samm for organizing another great blog hop.

For my Kona blog hop piece, I used Kona White for the background and Charcoal, Steel, Iron and Ash, as well as a myriad of scraps for the colour bars. My camera was on its last legs so the colours are a little off -- sorry!

The quilting is the style I learned from the amazing Heather Lair and uses Aurifil white #2021 with purple #1240 for accents. I just love the added layer of design and texture that this style gives a wallhanging.

The colour bars made me think of the weights in the beautiful antique grandfather clock my grandmother passed along to me. That combined with the quilting made "A Stitch in Time" as a name feel appropriate. :)

Final size: 20" by 30".

If you are in the Ottawa area, you can see this piece in person, along with Happy Canada Day, Eh! and Heathia, at Brush Strokes in Carleton Place this month. They are in the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild's first show!

Here are a few of my recent finishes that have featured Kona solids:

Happy Canada Day, Eh!
One Side of All Things Equal
One Side of Hands Hands Fingers Toes
Hmm, that's a lot of red and grey lately. May have to break out a bit in 2014, eh?

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out my Wake Up to Kona blog hop mates today for lots of Kona inspiration:

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