>> Monday, October 31, 2011

It's taken me until the last day of the month to make, take pictures, upload, and post my blocks for my month in do.Good Stitches. At least they don't have to be mailed anywhere!

I made a tiny bit of progress in depleting using my scrap box. Although this block required a lot of HSTs, it came together quite quickly once I had cut all the pieces.

I'm realizing that my black desk provides a nice backdrop for pictures when there is sufficient natural light, aka a sunny day.

Here's a little glimpse at all the blocks I have thus far. Six more are heading my way and I need to decide how to arrange them. Although they're side by side in this image, I doubt that I will piece them like this. I think these blocks need more negative space to really stand out. I'm thinking of pairs or short rows (maybe 3 blocks each) surrounded by a lot of white. I may need to get more white as I've got about a half-yard right now....


Sail Away (BQF Fall 2011)

>> Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival has arrived again, and it's pushed me to finally show this quilt. In the past, I've used the BQF to highlight a quilt I'd previously blogged, but this time you get something new. Made last spring and delivered about a month ago, Sail Away finally gets its chance in the limelight. This is the third quilt to make its way into the Stoil-Shimoni family, and they all have one thing in common: navy blue. When you've known someone for over 18 years, you know favorite colors, and Rebecca has always gravitated toward navy blue.

When I saw this pattern from Esch House Quilts, I knew it was the perfect option for Rebecca's pending child. It reminded me -- a bit indirectly, perhaps -- of sailing flags, and Rebecca loves water and sailing. Whether her kids will as well remains to be seen, but she's currently researching the history of the whaling industry so I suspect there will be some maritime opportunities for them.

As I planned the quilt, I realized that Navy was the perfect neutral solid for the half-yard of Amy Butler's Tumble Roses Pink (from her Love collection) that was sitting in my stash, and I pulled the other prints based on what coordinated with the Roses. This design offered a nice opportunity to use little bits of lots of prints, which was another highlight.

In the midst of piecing the quilt, I ran out of the Navy solid (major misremembering of how much I had + major miscalculation of how much I needed). The delay didn't really matter, however, as I knew Rebecca and her family would be moving from from Israel to Baltimore this summer, and I waited to hand over the quilt in person. The back used every last scrap of navy I had -- even after ordering more -- and a whole lot of other prints from the front.

Those Tumble Roses reappeared as part of the binding. I love how the pattern of flowers disappears and the green, blue, and pink rhythmically alternate. The quilt was a hit -- as quilt and as a rocket ship. Rebecca tells me this is her favorite of all the quilts I've made for her family, and I think I have to agree.

Head over to Amy's Creative Side to check out all sorts of other delightful quilts.


do. Good Stitches: October

>> Friday, October 21, 2011

It's been one of those weeks. Or, really those past couple of days that have stretched to feel like a week. Rainy, filled with work, challenging personally and professionally, exhausting. Time in which my bed seems like the best destination but once in it, my mind is racing so much that sleep fails me. Yep, truly delightful. Did I mention the 3 inches of rain over the past two days? Sogginess does not inspire me to go for a run even though I know exercise is good for me. And the furniture in my living room and dining room is in the center of each room, covered with tarps (all for good reasons, but it makes both the couch and my sewing machine unavailable to me). And my computer randomly shut itself off last night for no apparent reason (thank goodness for back-up copies and recovered versions of documents). After turning my computer back on, I checked my email and found a sweet piece of spam asking "do you model?" And I laughed and that felt good.

Oct 2011 block1
From Shannon

I buried myself under several blankets, finally got some sleep, and woke up this morning determined to turn things around. This means getting work done today and this weekend, but also doing some things for me -- some sewing, some hiking. And on the sewing front, it's time to make my blocks for do. Good Stitches.

Empower block
From Shelley

As I might have mentioned, I'm leading the new Empower Circle. I am one delinquent leader, for I posted my blocks in late September but have not yet made them. To be fair, I was away for 10 days without a sewing machine and then life got overwhelming. But in the spirit of empowerment and admiration for the fab blocks other group members have already made and sent me, it's time to make some Love in a Mist blocks.

October Block 1
From Heather

I cut out the pieces for my blocks (first picture) and asked my group to make blocks using a palette of warm fall colors -- deep purple, burnt orange, cranberry, gold, etc. I asked for a white background but also suggested that some blocks could flip the white and the color to create some reverse blocks.

Empower do. Good Stitches October
From Kelli

I also suggested that while I liked the scrappy blocks, a couple two-fabric ones (solids or prints) would add to the variation. I think there is something simple and stunning about this one:

do. good stitches oct block solid
From Heather

And with that, off to work and then later in the day or weekend, to sew. Have a wonderful weekend!


Items Complete and Not-So-Complete

>> Monday, October 17, 2011

A week ago Sunday I pulled out the "Sukkah kit" out of the garage, stared at the pieces, and started building. About an hour later, I had the basic structure and walls put together, admittedly a tad awry (that's what happens when you fly solo on building things and then get a little lazy: the doorway was a little crooked, but that affected neither structural integrity nor useability. Aesthetics, yes, but I was too lazy to do any more than mumble about that). What is this "sukkah" thing? Well, some of my friends have taken to calling it my "fort," which works, although I'm not sure it would do me much good in the face of marauding enemies. At its most basic, a sukkah is a temporary dwelling that commemorates the transient shelter used by the Israelites in the desert. But Sukkot, the 7-day festival for which we build the Sukkah, is also a harvest festival, and a joyous one at that. So there are decorations and parties and general merriment.

At one point I thought I'd make a reusable fabric chain, sort of like Malka did. But time got the best of me, and paper chains it was. My friend Katie and I made the chains yesterday, just in time for our afternoon Sukkah party. We used pretty paper, though. And hung red lanterns and decorated tables with gourds and put out lots of food. The weather even cooperated, as the gloomy morning turned into a lovely, sunny fall afternoon.

The not-made fabric chains had company in the not-finished project department. I also thought about--and even started--a mini-quilt or table runner or something. But that was not to be as I pieced the top but got no further. But that's ok because I have another plan in mind for this flimsy and I think I might even like the new idea better than the old one.


Party Like It's 2012

>> Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sometimes when I quilt, I watch TV (via the internet). Sometimes when I quilt, I listen to music. And sometimes when I listen to music, I listen to the same album or group over and over again. And that's how I made this quilt. It may as well be the Library Voices quilt because I listened to them over and over and over again as I made this quilt. And I highly recommend you check them out: they're fun, literary, and catchy. And Canadian. After you hear them, you will be singing lyrics from their songs to yourself or out loud. I mean, I really try to avoid forcing anyone to endure my terrible voice, but when no one's around or I'm on a run or in the shower, well, sometimes I do sing aloud. And you will sing aloud when you listen to Library Voices. I first heard them live in New York earlier this summer, and lyrics stuck with me and I have no ear (really, no ear) for music. Just a warning before you listen to them on repeat and start singing.

And this is a quilting blog, so back to the usual topic. I made this quilt using Angela's Apple Crate Quilt tutorial. Her "recipe" is fat-quarter friendly, but it's also super-easy to use whole cuts of fabric. You just need fewer strips: 3 42" strips of 2 fabrics will yield a Block A and a Block B. Or should, except when you erroneously cut one of the required strips twice instead of once. But you would never do that, I'm sure.

I wanted to play with using a print as a "solid" -- or at least as the constant, the background. I had this flower print in my stash and selected stash solids that coordinated with it. A simple block design + chain piecing made this come together pretty quickly. I finished the quilt top in one afternoon/evening. The 4x4 block layout yielded a quilt that measured about 46" x 54". Angela's tutorial provides instructions for a larger quilt, but the straightforward blocks make it easy to size up or size down depending on your needs.

The back is a combination of navy and blue fleece, also from my stash. I'm donating this to Alternatives for Girls, as part of 100 Quilts for Kids, and I wanted to make it warm for a Detroit winter. The quilting was pretty simple: I quilted around some of the rectangles in each block randomly. Just moved from block to block and picked which rectangles as I went along. For the binding I used a combination of the leftover flower print and some of the solids.

In case you forgot: go check out Library Voices. They're currently playing in Canada, for the Canadian readers among you.


The Transformative Property

>> Monday, October 10, 2011

Chapter 1: In which a quilt becomes a rocketship. 
Chapter 2: In which our hero travels in space.
Chapter 3: In which a voice from earth requests the return of one 3.5 year-old hero.
Chapter 4: In which much spinning occurs.
Chapter 5: In which our hero returns from space.
Chapter 6: In which a rocketship becomes a quilt.
The End.


Put A Bird On It

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sometimes it's really tough to pick which pictures to post of quilts. In this case, I kind of wanted to show the back first since, frankly, it's my favorite back ever and possibly my favorite quilt ever. I've had the opportunity to look at, pet, and lust after this quilt for a while now, as I finished it last winter and I've been waiting for just the right recipient. This is a quilt that I really wish I made bigger. It's a large baby quilt that I should have made as a lap quilt for me. But I didn't realize it until I finished it and fell in love with it and, moreover, I didn't have enough fabric to make it any bigger.

The front combines batiks my friend Katie gave me, some Aracdia scraps, and two favorite solids (the cranberry and the orange). It was the addition of the solids that really made me love the quilt. The orange, cranberry, and teal together really make me happy. I don't use batiks that often, but these were beautiful, luscious, saturated batiks. And they didn't have weird wax-relief images (I know that's the point of batiks, but I prefer the ones that are just dyed fabric). I made as many square-in-square blocks I could with the little amount of Arcadia I had and then cut 6" squares out of the other fabrics for the bulk of the blocks. I played with the arrangement until it felt right to me and then sewed it together.

A few weeks ago, my friends Sarah and Daniel came over for dinner. My roommate and I were in the midst of deciding what color to paint our living room and trim (because while I love cranberry as a color, it is a poor poor choice for trim. Consider that my PSA of the day: don't paint your trim cranberry. Future occupants will question your sanity). Anyhow, Sarah expressed her preference for painting everything white, whereas I'd paint everything a deep version of whatever color I most like if I had my way. She joked about making sure the baby would be surrounded by white. At which point I realized I had the perfect quilt to offer as the punch of color.

And the back -- my favorite part -- is really white (off-white, really) with little punches of color. I've been collecting shot cottons in the colors of this quilt, and I think I'm going to make a lap-size version of the above as a quilt for me. But I digress. The back is improv + negative space, all pieced with leftovers from the front and an off-white solid from my stash.

I quilted it with diagonal lines, in a cross-hatch pattern, but sometimes doubling and tripling the lines (randomly). I'm finding that as much as I love modern quilts (and I do), I also love modern quilts with variations of more traditional quilting. There is something about the random single/double/triple cross-hatch that appeals to me. And not surprisingly, I bound the quilt in the orange solid, another feature that contributes to my love of this quilt (and yet I have no idea what orange this is or who made it. I had about 1/2 yard in my stash, and I know it's not Moda, but that's all I know). Although I was away and couldn't attend the Sarah's shower on Sunday, my agent delivered it for me. I figure I need to start corrupting this child with splashes of color as early as possible.


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