Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Running In Place

Welcome to another blustery Wednesday!

Most of what I've been working on this week doesn't lend itself very well to photographs. I've been doing a lot of designing, fabric selecting, yardage calculating, etc. A lot of time on the computer, in other words. My poor studio is feeling neglected. Hopefully I'll be back in there this afternoon!


But I do have two whole letters done on my embroidered "Freshly Pieced" sign, and I'm moving on to the third. Two letters down, 11 to go! I can do this! Right?

This week's WIP Wednesday is brought to you by Gotham Quilts. Gotham just unveiled a new bundle of color text prints and Succulents by Heather Givans is now in the shop! Check it out, and don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get 10% off on your next order.

What have you been working on? Don't be shy, let's see it!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BBQ Grill Block from "The Paper-Pieced Home"


Welcome to my stop on "The Paper-Pieced Home" blog tour!


The Paper-Pieced Home is a new book by the always-amazing Penny Layman of Sew Take a Hike. You guys might be aware by now that I'm kind of a fan of paper-piecing. : ) I've even been known to paper-piece half-square triangles and flying geese—that's how much I love paper-piecing. So this was clearly a book for me.


The blocks in this book are ridiculously cute. Like, insanely so. And Penny's book is so inspiring when it comes to ways to use these blocks. There are plenty of fun project ideas presented in the book, but I thought of about a dozen more of my own just flipping through the book for the first time. These blocks lend themselves so well to potholders, table runners, bags, placemats, pillows—you name it. Funny, I never realized my home was so lacking in paper-pieced d├ęcor until I got my copy of this book! : )


And while the patterns may look a little daunting at first, every time I do a "picture" pattern like this, I'm reminded of the fact that paper-piecing is paper-piecing—it truly doesn't matter how big or small the seams are. It will turn out perfect, no matter what. Just one of the many things I love about this technique! I made the BBQ Grill block, and as usual, the block was much easier to sew than it looked beforehand.

Cute, right? It was a nice springtime project that makes summer feel a little closer for me. And the whole block took less than an hour to make. I just need to pick up some Insul-Bright so I can turn it into a potholder for my master-griller husband.

Here are some other things I love about this book:
• a CD with all of the paper-piecing patterns (no photocopying!)
• great paper-piecing hints and instructions
• a whole section devoted to choosing colors and prints (a fantastic addition to the book, since I think that's one of the things Penny does so well)

The Paper-Pieced Home: Quilting a Household One Block at a Time
by Penny Layman
Interweave/F+W, $26.99

Want to see more? Visit the other stops on the "Paper-Pieced Home" blog tour! (Some have giveaways!)

3/16       McCall’s Quilting / Sewing Machine Block
3/17       Love of Quilting / Review
3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner / Watering Can Block
3/18       Quilty Pleasure (Quiltmaker blog) / Review
3/18       Imagine Gnats / Rotary Phone Block
3/20       Verykerryberry / Lion Block
3/21       Artisania / Cast-Iron Skillet Block
3/23       Where the Orchids Grow / Lamp Block
3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt / Layer Cake Block
3/24       House on Hill Road / Oven Mitt Block
3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced / BBQ Grill Block
3/26       Pink Penguin / Allie-Gator Block
3/26       A Happy Stitch / Giraffe Block
3/27       Bijou Lovely / Jar Block
3/27       Two Little Banshees / Saucepan Block
3/27       Charise Creates / Espresso Mug Block
3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles / Couch Block
3/31       Poppyprint / Clawfoot Tub Block
3/31       One Shabby Chick / Stack of Books Block
3/31       During Quiet Time / Sleeveless Dress Block
4/06       Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting / Author Podcast Interview


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday: For Starters

This past week was all mostly starting things and not finishing them. It's a WIPpy week, I guess.

I'm making some test blocks for a potential new pattern. I like the block a lot, but I'm having trouble making color and print decisions on this one.


Started a gigantic embroidery project—literally. It's going to be the sign for my booth at Quilt Market (hopefully, assuming I can finish it).

I am thrilled to be making something from this beautiful new book, The Paper-Pieced Home, from Penny of Sew Take a Hike, for the book's blog hop. The blocks in this book are cute, cute, cute! Looking forward to showing you mine.


And these blocks are still taunting me from the design wall. Sigh.

What have you been working on? Don't be shy, let's see it!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Naturally Wisconsin Maple Leaf Quilt


My maple leaf quilt is finished!

If you haven't seen my previous posts about this quilt, it's the result of a collaboration with Milwaukee fabric designer Allison Bielke and AIGA Wisconsin (a graphic designers' association). The AIGA and Allison organized a fabric design challenge—members were asked to design a print centered around the theme of Wisconsin's natural beauty. We chose about half of the submitted designs and had those printed on fabric by Modern Yardage, a print-on-demand fabric company. That's when my part of the challenge began: Designing a quilt using the selected prints!


My objective was to create a quilt that: a) showcased the fabulous prints in the best way possible, b) worked with the "Naturally Wisconsin" theme of the contest, and c) was an example of modern quilt design, which I thought would most appeal to AIGA members (and of course is what I wanted to do anyway!)

I quickly discovered that it wasn't going to be easy meeting all of those objectives! For one thing, I don't use a lot of large-scale focus prints in my quilting—and I'm not sure I've ever made a quilt almost entirely from focus prints (and 15 different ones at that). There's a reason, after all, that quilt fabric lines usually include just one or two focus prints, complemented by lots of blenders and geometrics. And you guys—so many directional prints in this quilt. Arghghghg. : ) I had to plan very carefully as I was cutting and sewing and I admit I screwed up the direction several times!

I ended up using a classic maple leaf block, with strategically-placed negative space blocks to give it a more modern twist and to give the design some movement. The background solid in this quilt is Kona Smoke, a taupe that nicely complements the color palette Allison selected for the contest (all submissions were subject to a limited palette). I finished off the quilt with some diagonal wavy line quilting to heighten the "leaves falling" atmosphere of the quilt. (Is this wavy line quilting getting to be too much for you guys? I feel like I might have returned to that well a few too many times lately, but I really do love it, and it's just so easy using stitch #4 on my Bernina 750!)


The back is mostly coordinating Cotton + Steel prints, but of course I had to piece in a maple leaf block in reverse (background solid for the leaf, prints as background).

This was a fun challenge to meet, and these Wisconsin-inspired prints were a joy to sew with, directional or not! I'm just in awe of how much creativity and design talent is out there—I wish every one of these peeps could have a fabric contract. Here are just some of the amazing prints I got to use in the quilt:

"Robins" by Emily Balsley


"Nature in Wisconsin Wood" by Cristina Rivero


"Blueberry Patch" by Sarah McMahon

"Cranberry Bog" by Sarah McMahon


"Big Buck" by Holly Kowalski



"Hodag" by Raymond Mawst (Not familiar with the Hodag? Here you go!)


"Bees and Zinnias" by Mary Roley

Unfortunately, none of these prints are available for sale at the moment, but that could potentially be in the works and I'll update you all if it happens.


We are looking for places to display this quilt in Wisconsin over the next year, so if you Wisconsin folks have any suggestions, we're all ears. It will be exhibited at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design this fall, and I'm going to try submitting it to the Wisconsin State Fair and the Wisconsin Quilt Expo as well. I've never entered a quilt in either of those venues, and I'm not sure the skill level of this one is up to their usual standards, but I'm hoping the Wisconsin focus and the specialness of the fabric design collaboration will be enough to get it in.

I want to thank Allison Bielke and the Wisconsin AIGA for including me on this fun project! I love fabric, I love design, and I love Wisconsin, so it was pretty fabulous to work on something that included all of those things. : )

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In addition to my paid sponsors, I sometimes accept free fabric, notions, or tools in exchange for posting about it on this blog or my other social media platforms. But I pledge that this practice will never change one of my product reviews or lead me to use fabric or other items that are not "my style."

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Copyright and Permissions FAQ

Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

Can I share one of your photos on my blog or website? Probably! But please contact me for permission first. Use of my photos for commercial purposes is prohibited.

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Can I sell individual items made from your tutorials or patterns? Yes! As long as you don't open a factory and start churning out hundreds of them. : ) And please do not reproduce or sell the patterns or tutorials themselves. Thank you!