Tuesday, February 12, 2019
|Tula Pink's City Sampler blocks|
"What's so great about a Sew Along?" Well, here's my experience: Girl sees pattern. (I use the term "girl" very loosely here!) Girl thinks, "Wow! I really want to make that!" Girl buys pattern. Girl may even start project, but then finds that it is tedious, time consuming, or just plain difficult. Girl loses her mojo and doesn't finish said project.
Has this ever happened to you? I hate to admit it has happened to me many times. Case in point...Gypsy Wife. Fancy Forrest. Tula Pink's City Sampler. Hmmmm....are these sounding at all familiar?
Enter the Sew Along. Nothing motivates me like having friends working on the same project and being able to talk it over, share progress, and encourage one another to the finish line. I started thinking about that and wondering how I could manage to get a group together that would be interested in working on some of these projects that I wanted to finish myself. There are lots of quilting friends in my circle of friends, but we don't all have the same tastes. I could probably have gone out on the internet or instagram and searched for groups already doing these projects, and found larger groups. But, I wanted it to be more personal. I wanted to share with friends that I knew, or at least with friends of friends. My Facebook page: Sewing with Sandi was born out of that desire. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1896306293975332/ I started my Sew Alongs with projects that I wanted to finish myself. I had started Gypsy Wife three years ago. My Fancy Forest pattern had been languishing on a shelf since right after it had come out. Tula's Modern Sampler had been waiting even longer than that. With the new year, I have new projects coming, and am revisiting some old ones. I loved making Gypsy Wife so much, and some people didn't finish their first one, so I decided to make a second Gypsy starting in January. A simultaneous project is going right now and that is Welcome to the North Pole with several people working on that one.
So, to answer the question, "Why do a Sew Along?" It's for the motivation and the encouragement to keep going until you actually finish! If not for the Sew Along, I probably would not have finished Fancy Forrest. Not gonna lie...that quilt was a pain to make! I might have done what I often do when I get tired of making something and figured out a way to make it smaller just to be done with it. Because of the Sew Along, I stuck it out all the way to the end, and I am so glad I did! I love it! Sewing with others is the reason I finished my first Gypsy Wife and will be the reason I finish a second. It will be the reason that after wanting to make Welcome to the North Pole for years and years, I will have it hanging on my wall next Christmas! That is so exciting!
If you have never done a Sew Along, please consider joining one! You will not regret it. It's sew much fun!
|My Mr. and Mrs. Claus house for Welcome to the North Pole|
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
I've thought about this a lot over the years. I started quilting in the early 90's. My initial motivation was to make a connection with my mom. She was taking a quilting class and invited me to come with her. We hadn't done anything fun together in awhile. I had a young son, and needed to get away, so I signed up. Once I got a taste of the sisterhood...I was hooked! There is something so inexplicable about the sisterhood of quilters! It is like nothing I have ever experienced. I didn't have a sister growing up, but I can imagine that it might have been something like what I feel for my group of quilting friends. We laugh together. We share our moments of joy and our moments of sorrow together. What happens at retreat, stays at retreat! It's a sorority of sorts.
I would imagine that most of you began your quilting journey with a grandmother, a mom, or a friend. If not, I would bet that you quickly found a sisterhood among those that you sat next to in your very first quilting class, and you've never looked back.
Another reason that we quilt has to be the sheer joy of creating. I believe that we were created to enjoy beauty. Look at the world around us. There is an explosion of color and creativity all around us. The flowers, the trees, the skies, the seas...it's all there for us to marvel at its beauty. We admire it and desire to create beauty ourselves. There are many ways to do that. Whether it is through painting, drawing, cooking, gardening, writing, sewing, decorating, photography, or any number of other activities, we can add beauty to our lives. Many of us enjoy several of these creative pursuits.
For me, over the course of my life, I have done painting on fabric, macrame, leather work, crochet, scrapbooking, colored pencil drawing, photography, home decorating, sewing clothing, scrapbooking, gardening, counted crossed stitch, embroidery, and finally quilting. I say "finally" because, in quilting, I have found my passion. There is nothing I enjoy more than the creative process of choosing a pattern, finding fabrics in colors and patterns that are pleasing to my eye, cutting and sewing as precisely as I can, and then quilting on my longarm a beautiful project. (notice I did not mention binding!)
Finally, I think a reason that we quilt is an innate desire to leave something behind. To give to others something that is a part of us and will possibly last longer than we will is such a special thing. I make quilts for my loved ones hoping that one day, when I am no longer here, they will wrap themselves in that quilt and remember how much I loved and cared for them. My hope is that the pews at my funeral will be covered with quilts, and that everyone who wants one to remember me will take one home. That is a legacy that is something I can feel good about.
|My latest project: 100 Modern Block: Tula Pink's City Sampler|
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
|12" block raffle....I won the blocks!|
As I have immersed myself further and further into the quilting world, I have met so many great people and made some wonderful friends along the way. So often, when we are simply a member of a quilt guild, we end up just filling a spot at a meeting but never really getting to know anyone around us more than just by name. Two great ways to make friends and get to know people are through small groups and attending retreats.
One of the activities that I have found to be most enjoyable has been arranging and participating in various types of swaps with quilting friends, and with those who have become friends. I thought it would be fun to share some of those swaps and ideas with you all.
The first time I ever went to a quilt retreat, I was pretty nervous. I didn't know the ladies I was traveling with all that well. In fact, I booked my own room because I was so nervous about staying with women I didn't know all that well. I shouldn't have worried! That retreat was so much fun! Every chance I get, if I can scrape together the funds, I try to go to retreats! I love them!
|Teal and Lavender exchange|
My first year at this particular retreat, we did a 10" square exchange. Each person that wanted to play brought 40 10" squares in their designated color. Then, we each got one square of everyone else's squares. The goal was to make something with the squares and bring it to retreat the next year for Show and Tell. Over the years, we have exchanged: yellow and black, teal and lavender, lime and navy, and bright polka dots. Each time, I have tried to make a quilt for the next year, and I love them all!
Another fun thing that I have done with my quilting friends is a yearly block exchange. I pulled 12 of my friends together, and we meet once a year. The first year, we exchanged 2" finished half square triangles out of a palette of Edyta Sitar, Kim Diehl, Kansas Troubles, or Civil War fabrics. I used Edyta Sitar's book Friendship Triangles as the inspiration. Everyone made whatever they wanted from their triangles.
Over the next few years we have done red and white blocks in three sizes 6", 9" and 12". Each person made one each of the three sizes for everyone else. We also did an exchange using the Farmgirl Vintage book. We put all the names of the blocks in a hat, drew 4 each, and made enough for everyone! Believe me, 12 each of those 6" blocks took awhile to make! It was all worth it when we got together and exchanged and magically had 48 different blocks. This year we are using blue/tan 12" blocks. It seems like 12 months is a long time to get your blocks made, but you wouldn't believe how many of us wait until the last minute!
Another great idea that has come out of retreat is raffle blocks (this is where you bring a block or two in the designated colors and you get your name in the drawing to win them. I won the blocks the year that we used 1930's reproductions!) We have also played strip poker with fabric strips. I DIDN'T win the orange and gray, but I loved them so much that I collected my own and made a quilt for my bed:) We have also done some block exchanges within the retreat group. One year, we did 4 1/2" finished pink and brown reproduction churn dash blocks. The next year was tiny Ohio Stars. The last time was house blocks in either 6" x 6" or 6" x 12". It was up to us to figure out how to set all these wonderful blocks.
All these blocks and activities have been so much fun. The best part has been getting to know so many other quilters who share my passion for fabric and the beautiful things we can make with it!
|Edyta Sitar's triangles exchange|
|Orange and Gray Strip Poker|
|Lime and Navy 10" square exchange|
|Red and White block exchange|
|Farmgirl Vintage block exchange|
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
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It's that time of year. Nothing says "wedding quilt" like a Double Wedding Ring. I have had the privilege over the years to work on some very beautiful quilts. When summer wedding season rolls around, I almost always end up with at least one Double Wedding Ring, and more often these days a close variation (but so much faster and easier to make) the Metro Rings by Sew Kind of Wonderful. These quilts are always so pretty and such fun to work on.
So, what makes a successful wedding ring quilt?
The key is CONTRAST! Color is irrelevant. The only thing that really matters is that there is plenty of contrast between the background and every single fabric in the rings of the quilt. If that all important contrast is not there, the rings "flash" in and out, and the overall desired effect is less striking that it should be.
The pictures I am sharing today are from a simple, traditional, scrappy ring quilt. This quilt was perfectly pieced, and a joy to work on. I can only imagine that among all the scraps in this quilt were some pieces that had sentimental value to the grandma who made it and to the lucky granddaughter who was to receive it at her wedding this past June.
The Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern Metro Rings is a much simpler way to achieve the look of a double wedding ring. This golden version that I quilted for a customer for her son's wedding is a gorgeous interpretation of that pattern. Using the Quick Curves Ruler, a jelly roll, and this pattern, a lap size quilt can easily be put together in a week or two. I teach classes on this technique, and while it is not necessarily a beginner pattern, with guidance it can be done by a confident beginner. There are youtube videos to walk you through the process, too.
Again, as we look at this Metro Rings quilt, notice the contrast. The maker had some concerns that some of her fabrics were too light. She even considered taking it apart and putting in something different in those spots! Yikes! I assured her that where the contrast was just a little bit light, I could use quilting to make sure that the eye did not get lost This quilt turned out so lovely! I know that the young couple that received it for their wedding gift will cherish it.