http://www.venusdehilo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/improv-2-thm.jpg

Actually, spring began back in February, here in gorgeous Olympia, WA, and is still going strong. There are blossoming trees and shrubs and flowers everywhere, and every day our walk around the neighborhood is a visual treat.

peach-rhodie

“Spring is Coming” is the name of the second small quilt I made for the guild challenge. You can read about the first one, and the challenge specs, here.

ssmqg-improv-quilt-2-wm

I enjoyed making the first one so much, I couldn’t resist another. This started by making seed shapes from leftovers of the challenge fabric, followed by some fooling around on the design wall with a bunch of pastel scraps. The color isn’t quite right in this pic, but you get the idea.

This was one of those times when I thought it was done, then looked at it again the next morning and thought, “nope, not there yet.” The Gwen Marston-inspired wonky border did the trick. This one came out at 26″x26″, too, not that I planned it that way.

ssmqg-improv-quilt-2-detail

As you can see, I’m a bit obsessed with echo quilting these days. Here I experimented with what I’m calling “ghost” quilting: echo-quilting around an implied shape that is not in the piecing. Happy with how that turned out.

So that’s a wrap for item #2 on my Q2 Finishalong list, which you can find here.

 

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Post image for This Starts Tomorrow!

DeMystifying the Artist is a month-long community project organized by Eli Trier, in which 31 artists discuss what it means to be an “artist.” The month of daily emailed inspiration starts May 1, and you can sign up here.

Eli explains: “I want to let people peek behind the curtain and see what other artists think and feel and struggle with around claiming themselves as ‘Artists’, so they can see that we’re all in this together. So I’ve teamed up with 30 other working artists to do just that!

Every day in May, one artist will share a short written, video, or audio piece answering the question “What does being An Artist mean to you?” – they’ll be talking about the challenges they’ve faced such as impostor syndrome, being misunderstood by their families, resistance, valuing their work etc. Or they might focus on the positive such as the feeling of freedom they have, or the day they introduced themselves as an artist for the first time. Or they might share their own interpretation of the word ‘artist’.”

I’m happy and proud to be part of this project, and look forward to discovering what all the participants have to say. I don’t know what day my contribution will appear, so sign up now and you won’t miss a day!

 

 

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Post image for Playing with Curves

Yikes, April is almost over and I haven’t posted any “finishes” yet. Let’s start the catchup with this small improv piece, made for a guild challenge.

The rules of the challenge were to:

  1. Use the challenge fabric. You can tell which one it is, because it’s so “not me”: that limited-color small-scale floral print on white. Not my kind of thing at all, and I was concerned that it would play at all well with my stash (hence lots of solids).
  2. Use any other fabrics you want, so long as the result can credibly be called “modern” (like there’s any great degree of coherent agreement on that, although using lots of solid fabrics helps)
  3. Use improvisational piecing (that part’s a piece o’ cake for me, love to improv)
  4. Achieve a minimum size of 20″ on all sides. This came out at 26″x26″.

Although the challenge fabric is not my cup of tea, I did like the organic shapes that make up the flowers, which you can see better in this detail shot:

ssmqg-improv-quilt-1-detail

So I decided to play with organic curves on a large scale, and cut a big leaf shape out of the challenge fabric. I had an idea in mind for how this would shape up, although it morphed a bit along the way, as expected. Although I was aiming for square, that didn’t happen until I sliced a strip off the right side and placed it along the bottom. That final detail made the whole thing perk up, and inspired the pieced binding. It roughly echoes the color placement, without aiming to match up exactly.

Quilted with a meander inside the big leaf, with echo quilting everywhere else. I’m calling this one “Curvatures”, and it’s half of item #2 on my Q2 Finishalong list, which you can find here.

 

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Finishalong Q2 Ambitions

by Stephanie on April 6, 2016

in 2016 Finish-a-Long,Hexies!,UFOs

Post image for Finishalong Q2 Ambitions

Appalled as I am that we’re into Q2 of the year already, I’m excited about signing on for another round of “Finishalong” focus.

2016 FAL

Herewith, my Q2 Target list:

1) More of the minis. I got one done for Q1, which you can read about here. Last Q I rashly listed the whole minis pile as a target. This time you’ll notice my offical #1 target is “more of” rather than “the rest of” the minis. We’ll see how many “more” turns out to be.

2) Two small improv quilts for a guild challenge. I’m now a proud member of the South Sound Modern Quilt Guild, and arrived just in time to participate in this challenge. I made one small top (26″x26″) and had some challenge fabric left over that turned into a second top. As of April 1,  one top was quilted but not yet trimmed or bound, and the other was only half-quilted, so they qualify for the Q2FAL and will deliver a quick success, being due at our April meeting. I don’t have pics yet, and look forward to showing them off to you.

3) Scrappy Tote Bag Swap. Another guild thing, making a tote bag from scraps provided by a secret partner. I’ve got the fabric and ideas are shaping up, just need some fusible fleece or interfacing and I’m ready to get started. This is due at our May meeting, so an easy FAL win.

4) “April Showers,” which was item #2 on the Q1 list. I took this along to a Guild sew-in day back in February, and made a start on the quilting, but there’s still a lot more to do. And I came up with a title. Which includes the word “April” so maybe I’ll tackle finishing this one as soon as those April challenge quilts are done.

5) Random hexies mashup (photo up top). A while back I started sewing random 1″ hexies together as a portable project, for no better reason than I have a lot of small scraps and a big bag of 1″ hexie papers. Last week I added the last hexie to bring this up to what will be 12″x12″ with the sides squared up. Plan is to add some borders and turn it into a pillow cover. Quick! While it’s still fresh and will feel like a fast finish!

6) The Kaffe Diamonds quilt also got some FMQ love last Q, so it’s closer to done than it was, and nowhere near as close to done as I wish it were. Here’s hoping it hops onto the “done” pile before Q3 rolls around.

Given my heady Q1 progress of a whopping one finish per month (two of them minis!), I should probably stop there, but there’s another unfinish lingering from the Q1 list, so let’s include that one here, too:

7) “Twilight Garden,” lap quilt. Sandwiched and basted and still patiently waiting for some quilty love. It would be nice to get this one done before Q3, too, although I’ll confess my confidence I’ll get to a seventh finish this quarter is low.

*** edited to add ***

Linking up today to make it official, and realized there’s a problem with this plan:

blankdw

There is nothing on my design wall other than a few stray threads. How will I focus on finishing, with this blank playground calling out to be put to use???

 

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Improv Mini Finish

by Stephanie on April 2, 2016

in 2016 Finish-a-Long,Mini Quilts

improvisational mini art quilt
2016 FAL

Squeaked in a final finish for the Q1 “Finishalong” by getting this little improv mini quilt mounted on foam core and ready to hang on the afternoon of March 31st. This represents progress on item #1 on my Q1 Target List, which includes a stack of other similar minis as yet still unfinished.

It finishes at 14″x15″. I dithered for a while on how fat to layer the foam core: this is two layers of 3/16″, and with the quilt attached and wrapped around to the back, it’s about 3/4″ thick.

The center is mostly machine quilted “in the ditch,” and there are hand-stitched swoopy lines in yellow and blue perle cotton in the border.

pergola-1-detail-b-wm

I’m calling this one “Pergola 1”. There are a few others that date from the same “a while back” era, inspired by the lines and shadows cast by a pergola and the way the slats break up whatever’s in the background. This is not #1 in sequence by construction date, but it’s the first to cross the Finish line, so it’s #1 now.

There’s a strip of 3/8″ green grosgrain ribbon on the back, for hanging. The front edges wrapped to the back are stapled and glued down, then the backing fabric (with edges pressed under) glued on top to cover the raw edges and the ends of the ribbon.

pergola-1-back-sm

It’s thanks to the Finishalong that this one is done… it was not the top priority this week, but the FAL deadline prompted the last-minute spurt to get it done.

While I only managed one finish a month for Q1, I did make forward progress on some other things from the pile, and will be listing them for Q2. I’m also in the home stretch (ready to bind and label!) on two more improv quilts for a guild challenge. They don’t count for the Q1 Finishalong, but I had a blast creating them and they’ll set me up nicely for some quick progress on Q2. I’ll show those off soon, too…