The ever talented Sharon Holland has once again designed a delightful new fabric line named Bountiful for Art Gallery Fabrics.
“Bountiful is my newest fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics that celebrates the beauty and natural resources of the vast countryside in America’s Midwest. “
I’m thrilled that Sharon sent me a bundle of her fabrics to play with. I started following her a while ago when I discovered she used some of my favorite colors and created the softest, most delicate fabric designs.
I really wanted to play with the push and pull of value and placement. It is so interesting to me how changing one or two things completely changes the look of the block.
I admit I went all geeky with Y-seams and spinning my intersections. This stuff is what I live for creatively.
I loved the stack of them together. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more. Next time I’ll make a zillion of these blocks.
I don’t know about you, but I typically design a quilt around the fabric. I am taken with odd shapes like hexagons and triangles in quilts. I also enjoy playing around with scale of blocks. I thought it would be fun to create two blocks that I usually see in English Paper Piecing designs and turn them into pieced designs. I changed my idea a few times. After I made a handful of the blocks I decided to order a few more of her fabrics from Bountiful to fill it out a little more with more dramatic contrast.
I struggled deciding on the accompanying fabric. I picked both an Art Gallery Linen and an Art Gallery denim to see which I liked better with these fabrics. They are completely different from the other, linen and denim.
The linen adds a physical depth and texture, and is super subtle. Some of the blocks melt away into the linen. In contrast, the denim is more bold and provides a nice contrast to the subdued fabrics. The denim is also buttery soft and so nice to sew with. I chose to use both and play on their properties.
I let some of the lighter blocks melt into the linen. I also put a bold more saturated block next to the denim and let it melt away. I really had fun with the fabric placement based on value, scale and orientation. This is the kind of thing that sets my soul on fire.
I’m still trying to figure out the final layout for this quilt. I need to hold it up to my husband for snuggle size. Unfortunately, he’s away at sleepaway camp with my younger son. The final layout isn’t decided upon. I suspect I’ll order some more denim to really set the edges off. We shall see.
So far this blog hop has been amazing! My friend Cindy of Live a Colorfullife used Bountiful to make her Delta Breeze quilt pattern. It looks amazing in this line. I love seeing the side by side of a more modern version of the same pattern. The other makers are just top notch too. Lynn Harris from Little Red Hen shared yesterday. She made some gorgeous outfits from the Art Gallery Knits in Sharon’s designs. I’ve yet to try their knits but it is on my ever growing wish list. Tomorrow is Mathew of Mister Domestic. I’m certain his project is going to be a delight too. Follow along and see for yourself. Sharon sure rounded up a bunch of talent for this hop!
It is always nice getting to meet other creative minds in real life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met Betz White a few times. She is fairly local to me. My quilt guild has had her for a trunk show for one of her books. I took a class from her at a local quilt retreat and I feel like there was another time. She is just sweet as can be. When I saw that she was putting out a new fabric line with Riley Blake, I was so excited for her.
I was fortunate enough to get to play with some of her new fabric. How cute is this selvage? I love details like that. I was drawn to the blues and greens in her line so I chose fabrics in those colors. The other colorways are adorable as well.
I’ve had her Smile and Wave Tote on my mile long to do list. I thought this was the perfect excuse to make it. What gets me are all the curved details. You just don’t see that design element often in totes. I made the large size because I’m always in need of large totes. Every time I go to anything quilt related, I kick myself in the pants because I need more ways to carry all my quilty accoutrement.
I had exactly the right amount of Pellon Flex Foam for this tote. I’m not 100% in love with foam of any brand. I think it changes the shape of the bags and totes it is used in. With a tote this large, I wanted something that would stand on it’s own. While I LOVE how easy foam is to use, and I love it for this project, I think it flattens the tote a little more than I like. I still think it was the right insides for this tote. It just makes the sides flare out a little more than I like.
There is a large pocket in the front. I omitted the pocket in the back. I only use one pocket on a tote. I like to have a definite front and back. I love the curve of the blue on top and bottom of this tote.
I can’t wait to fill this with fabric and take it to my next quilt guild meeting. Check out Betz White’s website for more awesome projects with this adorable new line.
When we moved to Maryland in 2010, my favorite colors became yellow and orange. I fell in love with the colors of spring here. Coming from the desert of Arizona, the happy spring colors became a fast favorite. Once again, we had seasons and something beautiful to look forward to in each season.
In the last maybe three years, peach has really grown on me too. It is a softer version of orange and yellow, you know! Since I use fabric as my main creating medium, I am somewhat limited by what I can create, based on what is availible. For years, you have been able to get lovely pinks and reds. Finding pretty orange, yellow and peach fabrics has been extremely hard. When I saw the newest Tapestry Fabric line from Sharon Holland I knew I needed to get my hands on it. It is the perfect orangy peach. I think some might call it tangerine, but that seems harsh for this lovliness.
Tapestry starts with these lovely soft floral designs in delicate colors. There is a bit of boldness with the Tanger and Earth Mudcloth designs on the bottom row. For more contrast, there are geometric designs like the two middle prints. That is my perfect mix of fabric prints. And of course, the colors are my favorite. I’ve waited a long time for a nice soft grouping of peaches and tangerine colors.
Since my quilt guild friends and I have been playing with the Diabolical Jane design, I decided to make another in a mid mini size. This one I made completely for me. I have a space on my wall where it will reside. I used the same process to sew the segments together. The measurements of my rectangles are 2 1/2 X 6 1/2. The squares are 2 1/2 X 2 1/2. I like the idea of floating the center part of the design on some light peach solid fabric. I think it makes the center design stand out.
Thanks to Sharon Holland for finally making a lovely line with everything I adore about fabric. I’ve already made another purchase to keep these lovelies in my stash.
You can search IG for #diabolicaljane to see the adventures so far.
The DCMQG often goes on field trips to different museums and art exhibits in the area. A while ago, they went to the Women’s museum and saw some antique quilts. There was one quilt in particular that many of our members were taken with.
Jessie had worked on her own version. With the recent blizzard, there was a lot of sewing time for many of us. She pulled her beauty out and it sparked Melinda to start her own.
Jane has one of her own in progress too. This links to her IG I’m not sure if she has a blog.
I had a sick little boy and wasn’t able to get any sewing time in. However, I did a mock up to play with color placement. Jane and Jessie are keeping to the original color placement. I’m ok with screwing it up.
There was a bit of back and forth between Jessie, Melinda and I as they were searching for the perfect fabrics and placement for their own version. The name Diabolical Jane came up because it is a simple idea, but the selection of fabrics and placement of said fabrics is a bit of a battle.
Anyway, here is a coloring page I mocked up while sick boy was in my lap. I am sure there are going to be many different variations of this and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Jessie is going to have a tutorial up on her blog at some point.
I tried to come up with something similar to the original value layout here.
And then just some random playing because I like to do this kind of thing.
If you join in on making Diabolical Jane, please make sure you share on IG with #diabolicaljane.
When Pellon asked me if I wanted to play with a new Flex Foam that is **FUSIBLE** I may have wept a little. I mean really, does it get any better than Fusible Flex Foam? I said absolutely yes!
The deets: “Pellon® Flex-Foam™ is a lightweight stabilizer consisting of a layer of foam sandwiched between two layers of soft fabric. It is excellent for use in crafts, accessories, and home décor projects for an elegant finished look. It can be used in place of or in addition to other stabilizers. Flex-Foam is a breeze to sew through and adds shape and body to projects such as computer cases, eyeglass cases, purses, tote bags, cup holders, diaper bags, and more! It is compatible with a wide variety of fabrics. It is available as a sew-in, a 1-sided fusible or a 2-sided fusible. Available 20” on the board and 60” on the roll*. ”
Flex-Foam is a great way to add soft and sturdy support to anything you want to keep it’s shape. And now you can fuse it right to your fabric.
All I could think of was how I could totally eliminate a drop in liner for simple bags and totes. For several nights I couldn’t get the idea of a simple tote made with the 2-sided fusible and bound seams out of my head. Of course, there are a multitude of other uses for the Fusible Flex Foam, but this is the one that instantly piqued my interest. Any small zip bags, basic tote or pouch could fairly easily be made with the Fusible Flex Foam foam and hiding the seams in some binding.
I like the look of quilting on the Flex Foam. I played around a little with some basic tracing of the fabric elements with my hopping foot.
The product sews like a dream. When I was sewing straight stitches, I used my walking foot and used Clover Wonder Clips to hold it all in place instead of pins. Again, with my walking foot it sews beautifully. I like the texture created by sewing on the foam. Since it is fused to the fabric, you certainly don’t need to quilt it, I just liked the look of a patchwork tote. I used a simple shape with curved bottom. The Flex Foam gives great structure to the tote without being hard. You can squish the tote up and it will bounce back into shape.
I love the way my tote turned out. It is simple and yet yummy.
The best part is the lining is perfectly snug against all the sides without any sagging or pulling. And while we are at it, no saggy bottom either! I hate a saggy bottom.
Be sure to check out the other awesome stops on the blog tour! Thanks Pellon for letting me play with more of your awesome products.
I love taking classes from other quilters. I don’t care if it is my “style” they are teaching. I can always learn something new. I honestly think that I get so much more out of the experience of making, when I can make with other makers. In the flesh I feel so connected to something more than just playing with fabric. I also think just watching how other makers make, I always pick up something new.
So fabric designer, artist, quilter, dress maker, person extraordinaire Lizzy House came to our DC area to teach her workshop only Meadow Quilt. It was pretty popular in our area, actually. It quickly grew into 5 or 6 days of workshops as well as a DCMQG sponsored lecture one evening. My friend Pam of Del Ray Fabrics hosted two of the workshops at Fibre Space. Natalie of Finch had two days as well as some of the ladies from our guild had another workshop in Virginia. I can’t remember the name of the location.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the lecture. I really wanted to hear Lizzy’s lecture. I wanted to know more about her story and how she got where she is. I heard it was great though. Not that I’m surprised at all.
Our location was just as adorable as could be. The shop inside was very clean and organized, but still comfy. If only I was a knitter. I would likely visit more often.
I was half an hour late. It was crazy! I had given myself an extra half an hour to get there on time. But DC area traffic being what it is, it took me an hour longer than I expected. (Read two and a half hours for something that should have been one and a half.) As I was driving in, I was contemplating just turning around. For raising a family, we live in a nice rural area. But for getting together with other makers, it just seems so far. A comparison of driving in the LA area and the DC area is likely a good one. It was a nightmare. I’m glad I decided to press on.
By the time I got there, I was embarrassed for being late, and a bit flustered by the drive. Luckily for me, my friend Melinda Quirky Granola Girl had saved me a space. I missed introductions from everyone and particularly Lizzy.
Lizzy was sweet and very knowledgeable! She knows this quilt inside and out. She sat down and actually stitched up the block on a close sewing machine. She was so down to earth and fun.
She makes her clothes too! I don’t know about you, but that is absolutely bonus points in my book. I’m impressed with people that know more than just quilting.
She paused for lots of pictures of each step. Waiting for each person to fully understand each step.
Here she was squaring up my block.
She also previewed her new line. I am so in love with the peachy/orange colors.
When we were done with our sample blocks, she even signed our blocks if we asked her to.
I am so glad I was able to make it to her workshop. She doesn’t sell the pattern, you have to take the workshop to learn how to make it. She finishes up the Meadow Quilt Classes this year I believe.
If you still have openings for this workshop near you, I highly recommend it.
Have you heard? We are celebrating the 85th anniversary of Jaftex with a blog hop. I’m stop #3. Jaftex is the parent company of Henry Glass, Studioe Fabrics and Blank Quilting.
My friend Linda Lum DeBono asked me if I wanted to play along and of course I said YES!
They gathered 30 of us to play along. During the month of September you get to see lots of great inspiration and have the opportunity to win some lovely prizes. Stop by and check out the other lovlies this month.
This summer, I went to Utah to visit my grandmother who is turning 90 in October, as well as my baby sister who just had a baby.
I haven’t kept most of the things I’ve made. Once I’m done making anything, I’m ready for my next adventure. I’ve actually given many of the items I’ve made to my grandma. She is probably the person I love most on this Earth. She is who Disney would create if they were creating the perfect grandma. Of course, when I send her something I’ve made, it is my way of expressing love.
My grandma has created every kind of thing you could imagine. She is an incredible painter. She taught me how to sew and make quilts. When I was very young, I also took tole painting with her and my older sister. Grandma is quite the distinguished artist in her own right. I don’t think there is anything she hasn’t made and made well.
While I was visiting her, I looked to find some of the things I’ve made for her, just to visit them. One of the oldest things I’ve made was a cigar box purse with my now 13 year old son’s picture on it. I had taken the picture and then changed it in Photoshop to look like a drawing. It stares at you when you walk into her house! I also specifically wanted to see a yellow Hopscotch quilt I made her as well as a Hexi Window table runner.
I was surprised and delighted with the craftsmanship on the pieces I’d made. Some of them were superb. Some of them, not so much. Let’s talk about the yellow quilt I made. It was pieced extremely well. My points were pretty much spot on. But the quilting. Oh! The quilting! I hadn’t remembered the quilting being so crappy. I checked out a few other pieces I made and in them, was able to see my growth. I’m not even kidding. It was like a report card in a way. I could see the piecing was always pretty good. The quilting started out pretty bad and ended up being pretty good. I could see my own personal evolution and growth in the quilting. My husband wasn’t too pleased to hear me judging and critiquing my own work. But I was delighted to see right in my hands, my growth.
It came right at a time when I was working on another project. I made a table runner for an upcoming blog hop. I had something on my midarm machine already. I had to quilt it up on my domestic sewing machine. I realized how it is easier to quilt on my midarm machine than on my domestic. Oh my! It was nothing like my midarm. I had been spoiled by having my midarm and comparing the quilting from my domestic to my midarm was not pretty at all.
And then I remembered that I was doing the best I could. Every time I make something, it is the best I can at that moment. I can’t compare myself to myself from years ago. I was doing the best I could at the time. Each time I make anything, I get a little better. It takes hours of making to grow.
I realize also, that when I look at other people’s work, they are doing the best they can. Sometimes I get a little crush on the way they can make something look so effortless. I know that quilting is something that takes hours and hours to become better. The more free motion quilting I do, the more I understand how talented other longarmers are. It is hard. It takes practice. Lots of practice. I know that I’ve gotten better over time. And I also can appreciate other people’s work more now. I can’t compare myself to myself. I also can’t compare myself to someone else.
I love to look at Tia Curtis’ gorgeous quilting. I’ve followed her for years online. She has quilted for years on longarms. She has years more experience than I do. And I’m not saying this in a way that I feel like I’m not good. I’m able to appreciate her work and how many hours she has spent perfecting her craft. I am perfecting mine in my own way and in my own time. And I’m thankful for the crappy quilting on my yellow quilt. I remember at the time being proud of it. I’m still proud of it. I was doing the best I could at the time.
My quilt guild, the DC Modern Quilt Guild hosted a workshop and lecture with Denyse Schmidt a few weekends ago. There were only something like 20 spots open for the workshop. If you live under a rock and don’t know, Denyse is the queen of all things Improv. She is also a big reason Modern Quilting came to be. I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t want to be labeled with that though, but it is arguably the truth.
I am a girl that likes to make things with symmetry and repetition. I’m not really one to dive into wonky. I’ve decided I like order because #1 it is about the only place in my life I can guarantee order…when I make something. #2 When I worked, I worked with numbers and accounting. Everything followed a rule and the rules were followed. I think the number cruncher in me likes repetition and order. #3 When I make something, I want my time spent to be time worth spending.
I wanted to take the workshop to open up. I’m always open to learning something or trying something new. Denyse would give you some instructions and then you would go back to your space and make whatever she told you to make. Then you would put your finished piece on your wall next to you. As the day progressed, you started seeing little bits of magic happening on people’s walls.
After we were done for the day, she took the time to look at each person’s design wall and we all had a chat about what they made. Each person would talk a little about what they did and why. She would give suggestions and we all got to peek into each person’s mind a little and learn about their creative process. I really liked this part. I think you can always learn something from everyone. I like that Denyse looks at each creation with an artist’s eye. I’m going to say something and then I’m going to duck. I think sometimes Improv is an excuse for people to mash things together when they don’t really know what they are doing. Whew! I’ve wanted to say that for a long time. I love that Denyse had us start with an actual block, with an actual pattern. Then we each sat down and tried to deconstruct it or change it and see what the outcome was. Sometimes what was made worked. Sometimes it did not. But always it was about the process.
When I set to changing up my block, I decided to go all in. I started with gentle curves. It really shrunk the size of the block to the point where I need to add a strip of fabric to make it work now. Ok.
Then I had the idea to make a triangle in the triangle. Denyse said it reminded her of cat ears. After the cat ears, I did an entire triangle in the triangle. I guess it is like a log cabin in the way you start from the center and sew each piece on in a round.
The end result I really liked! I think my last blocks were the most different from everyone elses. BUT I really dig them. And that makes me happy. They are the far right rows mostly.
Something I really enjoyed about her teaching was when she told us to really enjoy the time you spend making. Be present in the process. Sometimes I think I’m just trying to get something accomplished that I may not get as much joy out of the process as I could. I really took that in and I believe I was really present while I was making these. I really enjoyed trying new things.
She had a drawing to win a bundle of her not yet released line New Bedford tied with the most adorable vintage button from her personal collection. Guess who won? ME! I know there were other friends of mine there that were bigger fans of Denyse. But I promise you these lovely fabrics are not lost on me. I do love her fabrics. I find that I buy the same ones over and over. Then a new line comes out and I have the same handful of patterns that I buy over and over again. I have quite the collection of her fabric in my stash. Just never an entire collection of hers. I have great plans for this bundle! My expression is one of embarrassment and awkwardness for asking her to pose with me for a picture. While I do admire her and think she is awesome, I felt a bit like a crazed fangirl. A happy fangirl though.
There was a lecture after the workshop. It was cool to learn more about where she came from and what her path has been like so far. After learning about her more, I have a different plan in store for this bundle than I had before. I can’t wait to get a few more “have to do” projects off my plate before I can dive into these fabrics. I am going to be absolutely present in the making, I can promise you that.
I admit it. I am so excited about all the cool swaps happening on IG (Instagram) right now. I want to join Every. Single. One.
My friend Emily at Mommysnaptime.blogspot.com has even made a hash tag to keep you posted about all the cool swaps happening on IG #sewingandswapping. I check it all the time.
Seriously! I want in on the Harry Potter Swap, Downton Abbey Swap, Nerds Craft it Better (perfect for me), Valentine’s Day Pincushion Swap…oh why list them. I want to be in all of them. I want to have a stitched image of Nathan Fillion on a pillowcase so I can lay my head on top of him every night. I want any and everything Downton Abbey.
There are people like Kari from http://www.karriofberries.com/ who have written entire series on how to have a successful swap and even how not to be black listed from swaps.
SWAP, swap, SWAP!
I love watching what everyone is making for their swaps. I love their inspiration boards and often hunt down the original source to check out what other things the people make. I get great new ideas for things I want to make in the future with all the eye candy involved. I get excited to see who is making what and wondering if it is for me.
I instantly start singing the song from Echosmith “Cool Kids”. I want to be a cool kid! I want people to think I am awesome and want to be partnered with me. I want people to be excited with something I’ve made and hope it is being made for them. I want to meet new people in the process.
I’m the happiest when my swap partner spells out exactly what they want. When they are so detailed, I know what color underwear they wear. Ok, maybe that is a little much. The more detailed they are, the happier I am.
It is just so exciting!
The reality for me is I become a little obsessed. I worry that what I’m making isn’t the perfect thing. I put it aside for a little while while I stew over it not being perfect or a perfect fit. In the end I fall in love with the item and even hate to give it away. Then when I receive my swap, I feel bad when they send too many awesome things. I feel like I’ve ripped off the partner I swapped to. I wonder if I’ve thanked my partner appropriately. Did you see how awesome my last received swap was? It is gorgeous! And yet, somehow I feel guilty about something, or I’m sad it is over, or something.
Oh, the rollercoaster! For me it is a rollercoaster. And at the end, it is like a drug and the drug has worn off. I have my gorgeous item. It is time to sign up for another round of swaps to keep that excitement going. Hoping along the way that other people will be excited about what I’m making. Worrying about whether or not my partner is going to love what I’ve made for them based on a usually vague “Oh make anything, I’ll love it no matter what.”
Wow! Apparently I have a lot of opinions about swaps. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that it is ok not to join every single swap. Don’t get me wrong. Swaps are fun. They are a great way to get to know people. I still follow the first person I swapped with on IG. I’m glad we are friends now. I’m not saying swaps are a bad thing.
I love that swaps take me out of my comfort zone. I play with colors I wouldn’t have before. I play with designs I’ve not been drawn to. I push myself to make something as awesome as I can make it. That is exciting.
I wonder if I should be really thinking about exactly what I want, and making it for myself. Maybe that sounds selfish. Sometimes at the end of a swap, I’m left with another thing, lovely though it may be. I have lots of stuff. I wonder if I should make specific things for me that I need. I need some sort of organizer at my sewing table. I need more organization at my cutting board/pressing station. I really need better totes for going to sewing days with my quilt guild. I need a new purse of some sort. I need more organization for my hand sewing. There are things I need that I could easily make myself. I NEED some clothes. I have a few patterns from Kitschycoo that I’ve never taken the time to make. And then there are things that I want that I know I could make. I could make my own Nathan Fillion pillow. I could make it exactly the way I want it, with the softest fabric so I could rub my face on his face every night. I’m talking specifically about Nathan Fillion from Firefly. I gotta get some of that.
Why are my wants and needs put at the bottom of the pile? I don’t have an infinite amount of time where I can just sew for other people all day long. How do my wants and needs get pushed aside for wanting to impress someone else?
When I make something for a swap, I often spend more money on the supplies than I do when I make something for myself. Why not make something for myself with the most beautiful fabric ever?
Maybe I should make up my own widget for an anti swap? I should come up with a cute and catchy name for no swapping. Let’s call it the Happiness Swap. Or how about The reason I sew in the First Place Swap? Sew for Yourself Because you are Awesome! Sew for yourself because you have needs. Sew for yourself because you know exactly what it is that makes your heart pit a pat. I challenge you all to a self swap. Dig down into your own Pinterest boards and find something that makes your heart pit a pat. Find the most beautiful fabric ever, no matter the price. Source the best supplies, even if it is a $20 polka dot zipper from Japan. If it is what is going to elevate your piece to the highest level, why are you not worthy of it? Push yourself to make something out of your norm, that you’ve always wanted to try, but never took the time? Make something purely for your own pleasure, for your needs and even wants. Why is this considered selfish sewing? Why are we not good enough reasons to make something? I think it should be called “Happiness Sewing”. There is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself. It isn’t a luxury to take care of your self. Don’t we all sew because to at least some degree, we enjoy it? Why can’t we mix in sewing for ourselves with all the swaps for other people?
So there is my opinion. There is my challenge. Anti swap with yourself. Make sure you take time for Happiness Sewing or Self Care Sewing too.
I saw a saying on Pinterest that said “Do what you love.” I decided to make up my own that said “Sew what you love.”
I think this is still exciting! And no roller coaster! The process is still the same. Create an inspiration board. Share fabric pulls if you are not exactly sure of the pull completely, or just to share what you will be working with. Share the process of your make, from initial design to completion. In the end, you won’t have to be sad when you send something lovely away. YOU GET TO KEEP IT! In the end, you remember what it is it that you love about sewing. In the end you have still challenged yourself. In the end you have maybe still shared inspiration or eye candy with your friends. In the end, you are important too!