Thursday, June 28, 2012

… a finished retro flowers quilt

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whew! i can't' believe this one is actually done. that's right, i have finally managed to finish the retro flowers quilt for the do. good stitches love circle's february quilt.

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the sad truth is that i actually finished this a couple of weeks ago, but i've been waiting around for some good light to take some decent photographs. plus, i got distracted by trying to finish my arkansas traveler quilt in time for a deadline and then i had that whole fabulous weekend retreat to go on and… well, time just got away from me.

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so yeah, isn't it absolutely lovely? i adore this quilt, i really do. i can't thank the fine ladies of the love circle enough for bearing with me when i requested that they take on this challenging block. no one got angry (at least, not that i know of) and every single one of them sent beautiful, perfect blocks. i just asked for blocks in bright warm colors and look at how amazingly the mix of colors turned out.

i also want to thank christina again for so generously donating her pattern to the group. thank you, christina! your pattern was so easy to follow and well written that even i, who had never sewn a curve before, was able to do so easily and with great results. for the record, i didn't even use the curve master presser foot or templates that she recommended for best results, and i think my blocks turned out pretty darn nice.

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i quilted this one on my friend sandie's longarm machine. it was a thrilling experience… we finished this one, including time spent loading it onto the frame, in about three hours. three hours, people! i just love how the swirls echo the curves of the flowers without being exactly the same. i will admit, though, that quilting it felt a bit like cheating. i'm so used to spending days--weeks, even-- slowly working a quilt through my tiny machine, that this easy breezy quilting seems somehow… well, wrong. don't worry, i got over that pretty quickly, since i know this look is something i would never have been able to do on my own. plus, i did operate the longarm for much of the time (with sandie's patient, gentle guidance).

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i took two of the blocks that had perfect shades of pink and orange going on, and used them on the back with some kona solids (bright pink and tangerine) and a kate spain terrain print with the same colors.

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the binding is kei honeycomb in grey. it felt like the quilt needed a soft, cool color to serve as an anchor and reign things in a bit. i especially like how it looks with the fabric on the back.

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and here it is after washing. i appreciated the quilting even more when i saw just how perfectly it crinkled up after pulling it from the dryer. so cuddly, so soft.

(and am i the only one who takes photos both before and after washing? i do this partly because i can't decide if the quilt looks better before or after washing, but also because i worry that it will get ruined in the wash, and if that does happen i'll at least have some photos as proof that it existed.)

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so there you have it. if you couldn't tell already, i'm pleased as punch that this is finally done but also that it turned out great. and i would be sad to see it go if i wasn't sure it was going to a great cause and will soon find its way into the arms of very deserving child.

… sewing with (new) friends

i almost feel obnoxious for posting about this. because, seriously, i feel so incredibly fortunate to have been able to spend a weekend in atlanta sewing with a bunch of online friends, who quickly became real life friends. like, seriously lucky. next to my own wedding and honeymoon, this is pretty much the most amazing vacation i've had in recent memory. thanks to amanda, holly, jacey, jessica, maureen, nicke, and rachel for making this an unforgettable trip. we joked that everyone would get tired of reading about our retreat on all our blogs pretty quickly, and while i'm sure that will happen (sorry), i just can't help but contribute my own thoughts on our amazing weekend.

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on saturday morning we visited whipstitch in atlanta. truth be told, this is the only time we left the house all weekend. but boy was it worth it!

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the space here was amazing! all light and airy and perfectly decorated, but still the focus was on all the fabulous fabric, curated with a keen eye by the owner, the fabulous miss deborah.

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and, let me tell you, deborah is a real spitfire of a lady. she can cut fabric, tell a fantastic story, record your purchases and remember your name even though you only met moments ago, all at the same time and without missing a beat.

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here rachel models a darling shark-shaped purse that was on display in the shop. super cute!

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and the rest of the weekend was spent at this table, sewing my little heart out. i know it looks like a bit of a mess, but i can't think of a happier place than being at this table with nicke, jessica and jacey sewing and chatting and admiring each other's projects.

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i can't decide if my favorite project of the weekend was amanda's miniature patchwork (inspired by a project in quilting modern) or jessica's finished x & + quilt top. both were killing me with their use of color.

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i was also digging maureen's lovely improv blocks in the most summery of palettes. yum. (and if you like these fabrics, too, which she paired with the perfect lillybelle floral, you can buy her blogger bundle over at pink castle fabrics!)

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what about me? well, i managed to finish noodlehead's 241 tote. i love this bag. i used some robert kaufman yarn-dyed linen, candy trees from miscellany, and ellen luckett baker's geometric stars.

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i also got to work on blocks for jacey for the june do. good stitches love circle quilt. these were so fun to make: the only parameters were that we make improv blocks in bright citrus colors. plus, it was fun to just hand them across the table to jacey when i was finished and not worry about sending them off in the mail.

working on a new block.

and i got started on this block, inspired by a photo i pinned a while back and just couldn't get out of my head. this is destined to be a pillow for a very nice person, but i may expand on it and make it into a larger quilt in the future. i'm not quite done with this yet, is what i'm saying.

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one of the highlights of the weekend was meeting andhaving dinner with some of my favorite fabric designers, rashida coleman-hale, ellen luckett baker and melody miller. i know, right?! they were all sweet as can be and didn't seem at all fazed by us adoring fangirls. here we all are, hanging out, chatting, no big deal.

but really, the best part was getting to know such lovely, lovely ladies who i now consider friends. i think jessica really captured the essence of all these amazing women in her post. reading it reminded me what i liked and enjoyed so much about everyone there. and amanda wrote very eloquently about how you, too, can create your own amazing sewing retreat if you're feeling envious of our little getaway or inspired to reach out to others and do the same. i can't urge you enough to make this happen. i am, by nature, a pretty introverted and, often, socially awkward person. i always assume everyone else is cooler than me and is already friends with everyone else. but when this opportunity came up i threw aside my reservations and decided that taking a chance and meeting a bunch of strangers might actually be worth it.

and i'm happy to report that, in the end, it was.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

… a productive sew-in

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last saturday i spent a productive afternoon at a seattle modern quilt guild sew-in. there were only a handful of us there (where was everyone?) but it was still lovely and there were some fantastic projects being worked on.

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amber was working on some granny square blocks. aren't they pretty?

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i love these colors!

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yeechi was basting a quilt.

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a quilt back was being contemplated and assembled.

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joan was working on binding, too, so i pulled up a chair next to her with my own handwork.

Finishing up the binding!

i got about half of the binding done at the sew-in and finished up the rest during a movie and an episode of mad men over the rest of the weekend. (speaking of mad men… gah!!!) anywho, the quilt is now finished and i'm waiting around for some actual sunlight to take a photo. but seeing as how this is seattle, that could be weeks from now. for serious.