Making Use Of Time

My Spoonflower Fabric

With extra time on our hands (our slow season in t-shirt printing!), my husband and I have been making good use of our time and have been being creative!
Fabric Printing
Hand pulled screen printed fabric

Gregg has been out in the print studio working away on hand-printed fabric! It all starts with coming up with some imagery. For this run, he printed the words: “the shortest distance between two points of view is love”,  an arrow between the words “you” and “me”, and a bunch of little hearts.

Messy Lightbox
Messy Lightbox
Ink Table
Ink table

Here is a screen with a bunch of little hearts on it… and some pink ink – I’ve talked about the process of screen printing here before with a little more detail here. Printing fabric is a difficult thing and takes a lot of time due to the limited area coverage of our screens.

Pink Hearts Screen
little pink hearts screen

He ended up with some really fun fabrics… what do you think? I’m ready to use them in some quilts already – but, Gregg said he’s been thinking of trying his hand at the sewing machine, and that he would like to try to make a quilt using his own printed fabrics!! Wouldn’t that be neat? I’m trying to be as encouraging as I can 🙂

Hand printed fabric
hand pulled screen printed fabric by Gregg Weiss
Hand printed fabric
hand pulled screen printed fabric

fabricPrinting4

fabricPrinting1
hand pulled screen printed fabric
While Gregg has been busy in the print studio, I’ve been busy myself – I’ve started two new quilts! One is going to be another hexagon quilt – this time bigger hexies that I can sew on the machine and try my Y-seam skills! The fun part of this project is I get to use my own fabrics!!
My Spoonflower Fabric
Fabric designs by me!!
Last year I designed a line of fabrics on Spoonflower and had a bunch of samples made. I used the samples to make my 3.75″ hexies, and that left about an inch scrap of each fabric… so I stitched them all up for a block for the back of the quilt, and LOVED how they all look together!!
I have set it all aside to start another project.
The newest project on my wall is a commissioned quilt for someone who recently lost a loved one. I had planned to do an improv quilt, but as I started putting fabrics together, a star emerged and I wanted to give it a good home.
Star on design board
magenta star
So I got onto Illustrator and created a new design and then spent a day going through my fabrics for more greens. Green is the requested colorway for this quilt- I like to have a color choice and a size in mind before moving forward with a design. Then I go through my fabric stash to see what I have… and change my design accordingly. For this one, I only needed to buy one more yard of the main green fabric to make the design work, and that also will be enough for the binding.
Quilt Map
quilt = math & planning
For the lighter green background, I decided to use my scraps and cut a bunch of 3.5″ squares – the dark green, white and grey I’m keeping as solids to hold the aesthetic of the design. As soon as I got my squares lined up on my design wall, I was ready to sew!
After sewing a few squares together, I realized I needed to study the layout a bit more so I could work the solid color strips to line up correctly to give it the plaid or woven look I’m going for. Learning curve! It’s kind of like a puzzle – and I’m really enjoying the process.
On Design Wall
Squares on design wall
One of the coolest things to happen last week was having one of the Green Cross Series Quilts in the Wisconsin Journal! It is currently hanging at a show in Madison, and was featured in the entertainment section of the paper. For me, it’s such a thrill! I grew up in Minnesota, and am very familiar with the intolerance of cannabis in those states… so to have a quilt with a big ole pot leaf stitched into it featured in the paper is just mind-blowing!

Green Cross #3 in Wisconsin State Journal
Green Cross #3 in Wisconsin State Journal
Green Cross Series #3 pictured in Wisconsin State Journal
… and look at the company my quilt is with – WOW! I wish I could have seen the show myself, the quilts I’ve seen in photos are amazing. Kudos to my friend Wendy Franczak for organizing the show Quilt Making: A Modern Practice currently on display at the Gallery At Traux, Madison College until February 19th. It is pretty wonderful to be a part of such a great show so far away, and I’m very appreciative.

Quilt Finish!

Earth Energy Quilt

I’m so happy to report another quilt finish! So much better than a political conversation – IMHO at least 😉

This one is called: Earth Energy.

Earth Energy Quilt
Earth Energy Quilt – Finished Front

This quilt came about because I won a pack of pre-cut off-white Kona HST’s at PMQG meeting a year or two ago… then, when I was at an All-Day-Sew, my friend Beth Wells was getting rid of some of her stash, and she happened to have the Kona Darks HST package – and gave it to me. I was pretty excited, but wasn’t sure how to put them all together at first.

Earth Energy close up
Earth Energy Quilt – close up

I ended up with a ‘rainbow’ type quilt, and it reminded me of radiating energy, hence the name. Once the top was finished, I wanted to quit it on my Juki, but didn’t have a good idea of HOW I wanted to quilt it. I started with the wavy lines and after I was done, I was ready to pull them all out and start over. Instead, I just added more quilting using straight lines. Well… semi-straight lines, I free-motioned them, so they are definitely not perfect, but I ended up LOVING how it turned out.

Earth Energy Back
Earth Energy Quilt – Back

I got some of the really neat Tula Pink quilt backing in blue for the back – I adore these backing fabrics with polka dots and birds – so awesome! I used wool batting for this quilt too – it feels so soft… and I still have to wash it! It will feel even better after that!

Recently I also went a little crazy with the green fabrics I have laying around… it didn’t help that I had a couple requests too… so I also finished 4 smaller cannabis quilts. I’m calling them my “Green Cross Series Quilts”.

Green Cross Series #1
Green Cross Series #1
Green Cross Series #2
Green Cross Series #2
Green Cross Quilt #3
Green Cross Series #3
Green Cross Series #4
Green Cross Series #4

They all are very similar, but all are very different. They are approximately 42″ square. Each one has a Cannabis leaf stitched into the green cross. Series #2 is currently hanging at a show in Madison Wisconsin right now! It’s at the Gallery @ Truax along with over 40 other Modern quilts in a collection called: Quilt Making – A Modern Practice. Another is a commission for a friend, and yet another is spoken for by someone who has a cannabis shop here in Oregon. The last one is probably going to stay right with me 😉

Green Cross #3 Detail
Cannabis Free Motion Quilting

I finished the last two of these since the beginning of the year, along with the Earth Energy quilt, that makes 3 new quilt finishes for me this year – YAY! I’m so happy to share something productive!

 

Getting Close To Another Finish!

Earth Energy binding

While it’s been a while since posting, I have been getting a lot of sewing done! I’m very close to my 3rd quilt finish of the year. As soon as this binding is on, and we get some sunshine, I will be taking (and sharing) photos!

straightLineFMQ

Earth Energy binding

I also wanted to share that I have 3 quilts hanging publicly right now… and I’m so thrilled!
First, I had entered two quilts to QuiltCon that were rejected. I had expected as much as my photos were not that great… I was not disappointed either as I understand how these things work. Luckily, Modern Domestic decided to show the quilt rejects from our area, so my quilts get to show publicly anyway… and in a local quilt shop! I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. So if you’re in NE on Alberta and 14th – go check out MD and see my quilts along with some other stunners from our PMQG!
Second, I have one of my small Green Cross Series quilts hanging on display at: Quilt Making: A Modern Practice in Wisconsin at Madison College in the Gallery @ Truax.
I’m very happy to have this quilt in this show… times are certainly changing, and it will be interesting to see how this quilt is received by the public in the Midwest.  There is a reception on January 28th where you can meet some of the quilters.  The show runs until Feb. 19th, if you’re close to Madison – you should go check it out!
I finished the last two quilts in my Green Cross Series, making four smaller Cannabis quilts altogether. Two are spoken for, one is in the show in Madison, and the last one will probably be a gift for one of my friends. I feel good about getting so much done already this year… I hope to share (good) photos soon!

Behind Schedule…

Cannabis Leaf Quilting

You know how sometimes, when you set goals for yourself, and then something happens that pushes back your timeline… ? Yeah… that’s happening to me right now.

I’d figure I’d share since I’m sure this is something we all struggle with.

I’m excited to be working on a few quilts to enter into QuiltCon – it will be the first time I’ve submitted to that show and I’m working hard to finish three quilts to enter. Although, at this point, it might just be two…

Part of my excuse are my teeth. I won’t go into detail (because it’s all so lame and I’m sick of this story) but I have to have some removed so I can live (relatively) pain free again. Dental pain gets you in the head and makes it so you have a hard time thinking straight or expressing yourself, and so I’ve been making all sorts of bad decisions – even in quilting… and it’s dragging out the time necessary to finish my quilts. Uggghh.

In fact, I’ve been working on a series of smaller Green Cross quilts (about 40″x40″) because a few people have requested them… and the first small quilt I made, I made so many bad decisions, I ended up having to pull most of the quilting out and start over… however, I AM enjoying the process of sewing similar improvisational quilts. Look how different these two look:

Green Cross Series #1
Green Cross Series #1
Green Cross Series #2
Green Cross Series #3

… and yes, they both have a leaf quilted into them… just not so obvious.

Cannabis Leaf Quilting
Free Motion Quilting on Juki 2010 – Cannabis Leaf

I plan on two more small Green Cross quilts to add to this series, and I plan to make them all a bit different. Should be interesting 🙂 But I won’t be able to get to those till January probably…

I had another finish last week: a pair of pajama pants for my husband.

pj Pants

I think they came out pretty good – they are a little big on him, but with an elastic waistband, it really doesn’t matter. I used a pair of pants he wears already to try to pattern from. I made a few mistakes, but in the end it all worked out. He loves them. He picked out the fabric when he came to pick me up at Fabric Depot one day… I think he’s found a new affinity towards kitties lately 😉

So now I’m back to work. I have work work to do today – it IS Monday after all. But I’m hoping to get to some quilting this evening, and depending on what I can get done today will determine how many quilts I enter to QuiltCon. Wish me speedy sewing skills 🙂

A Screen Printed Quilt FINISH!

Orbital Spotting Front

 

Orbital Spotting Front
Finished Front

YAY! I have finished the screen printed quilt! I’m considering calling it “Orbital Spotting” but I’m open to suggestions. *wink wink*

Super happy with this one! I made the blocks based on “Anita’s Arrowheads” technique by Anita Grossman. You cut all your pieces for one block with just a few rotary cuts. It’s a really fun technique – try it out sometime, it makes for nice clean looking blocks with pretty accurate points.

The top sat while I worked on the back. The back actually took way longer to make than the front, but I did use up all my scraps from the front! I even used an older creamy/brown calico-ish type of print to punch up the more modern fabrics. I kind of like the back better than the front… but that’s just me.

Orbital Spotting Back
Finished Back

I worked with my husband on this quilt as a collaboration. He is a screen printer, and he did the decision making as to what to print and where. He used discharge ink which releases the dye of the fabric rather than laying a layer of ink over the fabric. This means that after it’s washed, the printed area is just as soft as the rest of the fabric – and you can iron over it!

Here are some screen printing process pics:

Film positive for printing
“big ring” film. The black of the film is opaque and can block light.
Mixing Discharge Inks
Mixing discharge ink – 3 part chemical process that needs specific measurements
Screen printing screens
Screens are made by using light-sensitive emulsion, opaqued film, and a light source
screen printing onto quilt top
‘pulling ink’ over the stencil or hole in the screen and onto the quilt top

Printing over seams can get messy, and there are a few spots in the printing that are not perfect, but all in all, it came out beautifully! It sat for another long bit while I was saving up for my new Juki 2010Q. Now it’s the first quilt I’ve quilted on my new machine!

It worked so well! I used a walking foot for some parts, then switched to free-motion-quilting for all the fills. I ‘eyeballed’ all the lines – I don’t like taking time to mark up the quilt, and I don’t really care about perfection. As long as it is sewn well and will hold up in the wash, I’m good.

After it was all quilted I had a big decision to make as to what to used for binding… but I found this darker grey Peppered Cotton that I think works so well. It ties all the other colors together – so fun! Now that it’s finished, I can bring it to show and tell at PMQG tonight! Hope to see you there!

A New HST Project!

Okay… I’m blaming this project completely on my guild-mate Beth Wells! I got to sit next to her at our last PMQG All-Day-Sew, which was sweet enough on it’s own… but then she let me go through her bag of ‘give-aways’. She was de-stashing and I was able to take home some cute fabrics AND a package of white pre-cut Half Square Triangles.

HST Colorplay

Once I got home, I dug through my stash and found another package of the same size HST’s in dark solids – then I became inspired and had to design something to show off the dark colorway. Then I started chain-piecing at 1am last night…

Late Night Chain-Peicing
ready for pressing

I got up sort of excited to see how this was going to layout… and now I have this on my wall:

I think it’s pretty… a different take on a rainbow quilt. I’m excited to sew it all together and get it on a longarm. I think this quilt will lend itself nicely to some funky quilting, but for now I just need to keep on sewing!

Thanks Beth, I’m having fun with this one! 🙂

More Hexies!

Since I finished the Jellyfish Hexie Quilt, I’ve been making hexies out of random scraps of fabric that have been given to me by a few PMQG members (Thanks Sam, MaryAnn, and Cris!) So I have piles of crazy-colored hexies to play with.

I came up with a layout for a medallion for a larger quilt, and I’m stitching it together!

Hexie Medallion in Process

This is the first project that I’m using Kimono Silk 100# thread (thanks to Rachel!) to stitch them together with, and I am loving the results! From the front you cannot see any stitches, and even on the back, the thread is so fine, it looks really clean:

Showing the work

These are 1/2″ hexies. The size I used on the Jellyfish and the Dragon. It’s my favorite size because they are so easy to handle while sewing. No need to baste through the paper with smaller pieces like this either.

I also have a quilt finish to share… it is for the Game of Quilts Challenge, so I’m not posting pictures yet, but I’m very happy with my project, and can’t wait to share! For now, I’ll continue working on these hexies – I love having a go-to project like this.

Endless Summer

With the heat wave we have been experiencing here in Portland, it makes it seem like forever since we’ve seen rain… today there are clouds in the sky, and I am thankful! A little rain would be pretty sweet about now too.
Boy, it seems like an endless summer.

With summer comes our busiest time in our screen printing business. I’ve been doing a lot of design work and not much sewing – but we all need the work to pay the bills -and buy the fabric, so I’m definitely not complaining! I just don’t have as much sewing to share.

Doesn’t really help that I’ve been working on a small quilt for a Game of Thrones themed quilt challenge... and I can’t really post that just yet. I’m going a little nuts sitting on this one. I think it’s turning out fantastic, and I’m dying to post it! Hopefully I can share in the next month or so.

I did get a much better photo of my Green Cross Quilt:

Green Cross Quilt by Gail Weiss – to commemorate the legalization of cannabis in Oregon.

I’m entering it for the PMQG showcase at the Northwest Quilting Expo – I hope it makes the cut! I’m really loving how this quilt turned out… specifically in the small white crosses. My longarm friends will understand:  the channel lock on the longarm was not working in that direction, so those straight lines in the white crosses are all free-hand!! I also hand-quilted everything in the green cross section except the leaf itself.

Now I’m off to do a little more sewing today before the work starts again tomorrow.
How are you spending your Sunday?

Green Cross Quilt Finish!

Woo Hoo! Just finished stitching on the binding to the Green Cross Quilt I’ve been working on – so now I’ll be able to bring it to the PMQG meeting tonight!

Green Cross Quilt Front
Green Cross Quilt Back

Okay… so I am totally in love with this quilt… and it’s more than the fact there is a cannabis leaf quilted into it – there is just something about it. Maybe it’s the wool batting I used. It’s so light and fluffy and feels so good. I think it’s a great size too at 58″ x 78″, long enough to cover my toes!

Cannabis Leaf Quilting

I hand quilted the straight lines in the green cross, leaving a little space between that and the machine quilting to make the leaf pop out a little.

YAY! I’m pretty excited to show this one, and very interested in the response by my guild mates to the motif I’ve chosen. Conversation needs to start somewhere, and what better way than with a comforting quilt…?

I Love This!

Cannabis Quilting

I love everything about this.
Beginning July 1, 2015, it will be legal to use cannabis recreationally in Oregon.
I currently have a medical card, but it’s still very exciting – even historical!

I began making a quilt at the fall PMQG retreat last October with every intention of quilting a big ole cannabis leaf on it. I’m calling it the Green Cross Quilt… and I’m loving it so far!

It’s not finished yet, but I was able to use a long arm machine at Just Quilting earlier today to do this quilting. There is a bit more to do, and then the binding – but I should finish it just in time to commemorate the big occasion. The results of this quilting adventure is making me so happy! I keep petting the quilt…

Green Cross Quilt on the longarm

Cannabis helps me sleep, and helps with my nausea… and changes my perspective a bit when I start to become negative. Yes, it can make me sleepy sometimes, but that’s about the worst side effect I’ve had. It also helped me kick a few addictions that were truly bad for me.

Beyond medicinal and recreational use, hemp is a fast-growing natural resource for paper, clothing and fuel. In fact, Americans used to be able to pay their taxes in hemp! more…

Obviously I am pro-plant. How about you?

small cross – free motion quilting

 

Just Making…

Lately people have been asking what I’ve been working on hexie-wise… and I don’t have a specific project in mind. I’m currently just making to make, with hopes that the right design will just show itself to me!

I am very, very fortunate to be a part of the PMQG where I have amazing friends, and some give me their fabric scraps. Sam Hunter, who is an amazing quilter and teacher, has been feeding me little bags of awesome fabric scraps for months now, and I’m starting to get through them!

Super cute hexies – Thanks to friends!

Look how adorbable!! Do you see the elephants? – Those are my favorites so far. Going through these little bags is like opening little treasure chests of awesomeness! Thanks Sam, and everyone else who has contributed to my little addiction 🙂 I can’t wait to start laying them out to see what quilt will be next!

On the machine front, this is what is on my design wall right now:
Design wall 5.19.15
Not sure what the plan is here yet… but I’m liking the colors. There are a few other quilt ideas I think I’d rather be working on, so this might get put away for a little bit, unless an idea strikes and I see where this one wants to go. Right now it’s WAY too symetrical and expected – this will take some work. At least when I get frustrated, I always have hexies to make! That always makes me feel productive, and feeling productive is a very good thing these days!

Making Hexies

piles of hexies, still making more.

This is my current sewing project.
What IS the project? I do not know… yet, so I’m just in the making mode.

hexie-making kit

I have been going through scraps and getting them cut down to size (1.5″ squares) so I have something to work on all the time. The solids are from a ‘honeybun’ roll of Kona Brights – I’m keeping them separately from my other scrap fabrics.

bin of random hexies from scrap fabrics

bag of solid hexies

There are piles of scrap fabric on my cutting table I still need to cut to size, so I have plenty to work on for a while (thanks Sam!) 

So, at this point of making… it’s time to think about design. I am playing around with the idea of smaller projects like placemats and snackmats… projects that can be done quickly and that I can share with others.
What are you working on this month?  

Jellyfish Finish!

I brought the Jellyfish to my guild meeting last night for the first unveiling of it being totally finished… so now I can share here!

Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – Finished. Hand pieced, quilted, knotted, and bound.

What a thrill to have it completed. I was just talking to a friend about how I never used to be able to finish or follow through on anything… so this is really a step up for me personally.  It’s the follow-though I’m most proud of… but it sure is pretty to look at too!

Here are some close-ups:

I tied a bunch of French Knots into this quilt – they look like bubbles and from a distance look like part of the fabric. They add so much depth and texture, I just love them.  I had planned to quilt all the “water” with French Knots, but I changed my mind and used them sparingly and quilted it all with a fine silk thread.
Here is the right side with even more French Knots
This is the lower left side – I love those little bits of red in the “water”. You can also see the French Knots I used to ‘quilt’ the border white and cerise hexies.
I call this part “algae” because it ended up looking like something else floating in the water… maybe some food for the Jellyfish…?
This is the head – I used even more French Knots and lightly quilted it.
Here is the back… you can see a little more of the quilting here.  Since I used a 100# silk thread, it’s barely visible, which gives the water a wonderful ripple-effect.
I used wool batting so it all fluffed up really sweet – shows the quilting so nicely. I’m totally hooked. I plan to use wool batting whenever I can, it’s dreamy to work with.
I have about 750 hexies made for my next project. I’m unsure as to what exactly I plan to make, but I just can’t stop making them – I’m hooked.

A Bit Of Sunshine

It is gorgeous out today here in Portland – sunny and warm for February. It’s not the norm, but I’ll take it!

Since joining the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, I have made some friends who are amazingly talented. They are inspirational and they have taught me so many things over the last 5 years. So I was thrilled to hear that our own Rachel Kerley won 2nd place for her “The Dishes Can Wait” Quilt at Quiltcon this week in applique! Congratulations! She has been a good friend and quilting mentor – shit… she was the one who showed me how to make hexies. Enough said!

Speaking of which, I’m almost done with the Jellyfish!! It’s all quilted, I’m just adding a few more French Knots, then I’m hand stitching the binding on. OMG so close!

The right side of the Jellyfish head is still being worked on, otherwise the rest is finished, and this is what the quilting is looking like:

Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – Progress shot – hand quilting and French Knots

I quilted the water with 100# silk thread, so it’s almost invisible. I’m using DMC pearl cotton for the French Knots and stitches in the head. I wasn’t quite sure how this was all going to turn out, but…

I LOVE IT. I can’t wait to show it at the next PMQG meeting in March.

Time Slip

Wow! I just realized it’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything – Happy Belated New Year!! Lots of things happening, but not much time to write about it all, let’s see if I can recap a little bit.

One great thing I’ve been able to do this month was go to Just Quilting for a longarm class with Nancy Stovall. What fun, I loved it completely. Now that I have a class under my belt, I can rent time on the machine whenever I have a quilt top/back finished!!

Sam Hunter put together a pretty quilt top for charity, and when I said I wanted to practice on the longarm some more, she promptly handed me a bag with that top, a back, batting and pre-made binding in it and said I could use it for practice! FANTASTIC – Thank you!

So I went back to Nancy’s studio last week and worked on an actual quilt. I got the whole thing quilted in my 2 hours on the machine. I had so much fun!

One thing that is a little daunting is picking a pattern to use. This particular quilt was one that my husband was really attracted to, and while I was thinking of doing an all-over floral pattern, I thought that might be too ‘girly’, so I changed my mind and took an idea from Christina Camelli’s new book: Step By Step: Free Motion Quilting.

Mind you, I’m a total beginner, so there is a lot I want to work on in the skills department, but I’m still really happy with how this turned out:

I came home after doing this quilting with a million new ideas in my head for quilt designs and patterns that would lend well to longarm quilting… hopefully I can get rolling on those soon.

Another HUGE thing that happened this month was that my little brother has contacted me! My mom & dad had just found out they were pregnant for the 5th time right before I was kicked out/left home. So, after all these years, I had never talked to him.

Fast forward to two weeks ago and I get a message on Facebook that just says: “Hey Sister”. That was it… I responded right away, and we have been in contact everyday since!! He has also left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the family is no longer speaking to him either… so we really connected. He is 27 now and is in a whirlwind of emotions. He lives in CA, and he has plans to come visit within the next few months – SO EXCITING!

It seems like it could almost be like reconnecting with a child you gave up for adoption… I don’t know… but it’s strange (to say the least) to get to know a stranger (basically) who shares the same parents. It’s kind of neat to find similarities between us, and I’m elated that I now have a bit of my family back.

Last week was my birthday… and we got to go to the coast out by Cannon Beach for the weekend. It was a long-needed break, I don’t think Gregg and I have taken 3 days off together in at least 5 years! The best thing was that it was above 60 degrees and super sunny! At night the sky was so clear you could almost touch the stars… and they came all the way down to meet he waves on the horizon. Just beautiful!

 …and we also got our 3 new trees! They are incense cedars to replace the big firs we recently had to take down. They are so cute and green – and they help fill the yard and that makes me happy.

I’m still working on the quilting of the Jellyfish – right now I have about a quarter of the “water” left to quilt… and then I’ll be ready to add a few more French knots before putting the binding on. I’m planning to hand sew the binding too so I can say the whole quilt is hand stitched!

There are a few more projects currently on my plate right now, I’ll tell you about them in the next post.
What will you be working on next month?

PMQG

I love my guild… The Portland Modern Quilt Guild – what an amazing group of people. Our holiday party was a blast, and now I can finally share what I made for our gift swap!

Pillow Front
Pillow Back

The swap was fun, we each brought in a sandwich baggie full of fabric to our Nov. meeting where we randomly received a bag of fabric from someone else.  We used the fabrics in the baggie to make something for them from their own stash and brought it to our Dec. meeting.  I received fabrics from Katie Blakesley of SwimBikeQuilt.com and I had never met her before… I was a bit nervous to make something for someone so prolific, but she liked the pillow I made for her, and that made my day!

I received a great little needle-book from Pamela Barber – it’s a ‘book’ made of fabric with felt ‘pages’ so I have a neat little place to keep my needles and scissors for hand sewing. It’s so sweet, and the quilting on it is fantastic!

The board members this year really did an amazing job at wrangling the 230+ members of our guild to keep things happily rolling along! Thanks to Mary Ann, Kelly, Suzanne, Lisa, and Cath – they all really excelled at making it a fun year with lots of things to do, and I, for one, am appreciative of all the work that they put into it.

One event PMQG hosts is a monthly charity sew organized by Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts. Each time a group meets, there is a simple block pattern to make using a bunch of scrap fabrics donated by individual members of the guild. This time we made a scrappy 7.5″ block with 2″ white borders. There were about 10 of us there and we made enough of these blocks for another quilt top for Project Linus.

charity blocks 
PMQG members at charity sew day at Modern Domestic – Quilts on display by: Elizabeth Hartman

Scrap Station… so fun to dig!

This is such a fun way to get involved and meet people from our guild, I really enjoyed this – there is nothing like working with a group of people all focused on the same project. We got a lot done, and for a good cause too!

Jellyfish Hexie Top Finished!

I finished the top!!!! Happy dance!

I waited to post pics until I had showed this to my guild last night – I was really excited to show it in person – the PMQG is the best group ever! I’m very happy with how it turned out, the colors are vibrant and the background works. My favorite parts are the “bubbles” in the background… and how it looks almost glow-in-the-dark in some areas… and so many friends donated scraps for this quilt. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of the extremely sweet people in my life.

This was started January 14, 2014 – today is September 19th… so nine months of work so far. There are 2373 1/2″ hexies in this piece, and I used (re-used) papers from Paperpieces.com Now it’s time to think about quilting. So much to ponder…

In Print!

I’m totally buzzing! Not only did the Blazers go into the next round of playoffs on an amazing buzzer beater (basketball), but I’m also in print in 2 magazines this month!

First is the new issue of The Quilt Life – on page 54.
My friend Bill and I were talking one day and after relating some of my life story, he said I had to meet his friend Victoria because our stories were so similar. I was like: “sure – why not?” and in a few days I received a very sweet email from her asking if I would be willing to do an interview for a magazine she was writing for. I said yes, and then we had a wonderful phone conversation in which we totally connected. Our families come from the same small town in Minnesota, we both had some crazy life struggles and worked hard to get our shit together… and we both found quilting!

After our conversation, I was super excited and a bit nervous about how she was going to write what we talked about, but there was no need… she took what I said and made it all sound wonderful. If you get a copy and read it, let me know what you think!

I knew it was coming out in the June issue, so when I saw the current The Quilt Life at Fabric Depot the other day, I had to buy it immediately… actually two. The woman at the counter asked why I was getting two and I told her about the article – and she went right to it, right there (while people waited in line) and started reading! She made me feel all giddy inside and my walk home was a great one.

The second is the new issue of GenerationQ – on page 14.
I entered a quick block building contest a month or so ago – and they picked my entry as one of the winners! This is pretty exciting to me – I haven’t entered many contests, so it feels great.

Life is good – from basketball to quilting and everything in between!

Pre-Press For Printing

I started a project quilt a few months back, one that I planned to screen print onto – I have the quilt made, the design done… and now I need to do the pre-press to get it ready for printing. I thought you might enjoy this process, so I’m sharing!

As with quilting, screen printing is very “set-up” oriented. You have to plan, measure, and cut before you can start stitching on a quilt. For screen printing, we need to make and set up a screen before we think about pulling ink. Pre-press is what this part of printing is called, and it’s what I do everyday for our t-shirt business.

Printing on a pre-made quilt top will be a first for me and my husband, who is collaborating with me for the actual printing. This is because our screen size is usually maxed out at a 10″x 12″ size, this quilt is about 54″x 65″… and with seams! So, the BIG question is: how are we going to print a large image? We decided to break it up into smaller bits and print in small sections with an 3/8″overlap. Fingers will be crossed tightly through this part to see if this will work.

So… To start I made a grid in Illustrator the size of my quilt blocks – the actual quilt blocks do vary about 1/4″ here and there, so it’s a general guideline:

Then I took a photo of my quilt and dropped it into the file and stretched it to fit my grid – which is closer to accurate:

 From here I laid out my design and put it where I want to see it. The plan is to use a white discharge ink which will release the dye of the fabric, rather than putting a layer of ink over the top of the fabric.

Eventually I will need to make film positives from this artwork, so everything I want to print needs to be black. It also makes it easier to do the prepress.

Now I have my design over my grid where I want it to be, so I no longer need the photo of the quilt top:

Now I need to divide the black artwork up into smaller printable sections, instead of 13 different photos, I made a little video:

Here’s a close-up of one of the sections:

The solid black parts will print, everything else is there to help Gregg set it up “in registration” with all the other sections.  These sections will become screens. The small lines are marks for where the seams of the quilt should end up, and I also have marked which block they should be in.

From here, I would normally send each one of these sections out to get a piece of film positive made at a pre-press company. One of these sections would be $35 as a piece of film, since I do not want to spend that on one-time prints, I’m going to make copies on transparency stock at Kinkos. Once we have the films made, we can start the next part of the process: shooting screens.

This quilt is all about process – which takes time, however… I will post as soon as we start on the screens!

Guild Goodies!

So… I belong to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and we have meetings and group sew days every month. Our guild is a fantastic group of creative and motivated people, and I just found out we are at 175 members! That’s BIG.

Anyway, I’m helping our guild organize a group show for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (if you’re a member and reading this – Enter your quilts here) … and honestly I got a little frustrated with how unorganized I can be. So before the meeting, I took the time to layout a timeline for the event and list all pertinent information in one place. It felt good to get that done… and I feel I was karmically rewarded for that effort – because I won an awesome door prize at the meeting!

Check out all these goodies: Awesome fabrics, especially the new line from Violet Craft called Brambleberry Ridge… some super fun pins from Sam Hunter, a Modern Quilts Day Planner, a marking pencil – and to top it off, a free 3-month subscription to Creative Bug where I can take a log cabin class from Susan Beal.

I was SO excited! I keep petting my new fabrics. My daughter is in love with the deer and the bird prints, and has already called “dibs” on whatever quilt I make with that fabric.

I was able to make a bunch of hexies at the meeting too – starting my second round of Cerise hexies around the border. Trying to decide if I should change it up a little to a darker shade for the next round… what do you think?

Since the sun has been out here and there this spring, we’re trying to do some planting around the house too – we recently planted this forsythia bush in the SW corner of our yard.  Hoping to fill the whole front with bushes and trees – we live on a busy street. Can’t wait to see it all yellow next spring!!

My last bit to share is our new kitty:

His name is “Cat” for now… he’s an outdoor dude. When we moved here 8 months ago, there was a house fire down the street, and this cat was displaced when that family moved. My husband noticed him hanging out on the neighbors porch, asked them about the cat and they said it belongs to the family of the house fire. Gregg felt so bad for the homeless kitty, he covered a pillow in plastic (to sit on in the wet grass) and went over and sat with the kitty for an hour or so everyday for a few months. Eventually he started coming to our place, and now when I open the curtain to the patio door, this is what I see in the morning:

We thought of bringing him inside, but he gets really freaked out when we shut a door – and Gregg is fairly allergic to cats (yes, he has to wash body/clothing after every kitty hang out session). So we bought him some food, give him some water and just love him whenever he wants some attention. It’s so great to have a little furry creature around again… although I’m still dying to get a new doggie when we can.

New Fabric

New fabric is always fun to get! I’m pretty lucky that a big fabric store is now walking distance from my house… yesterday I got some very pretty solid fabric for the border of the Jellyfish Hexie quilt. It’s called Cerise and I pretty much love it.

I’m also adding a row of white hexies so that this quilt will sort of match the Squid Quilt I made a few years back and they can hang together.  I think I will do a few rows of the Cerise hexies instead of adding strips of fabric for the border, which means I’ll have to make some half-hexies for the edges so it will have a straight edge on the sides.

Finished Squid Hexie Quilt

I haven’t been too happy with all the blue hexies I made, so I’m making more… this is making this part of the layout take more time than I was hoping, but I’ve learned to wait until I’m happy before moving forward on a project, otherwise it may never get finished.

My daughter has been using my sewing machine for her latest cosplay costume… and I’m jonesin’ to get it back. I have two quilt backs to make and I like to do those as improv pieces, I have fabric and a general plan – I just need my machine back. Luckily this is a good push for me to finish the layout and get to the piecing part of the Jellyfish.

What are you working on this week?

This Is Happening

Starting layout for jellyfish hexie quilt

Sometimes you just need to “do” rather than talk… or blog.  This is what is happening with my jellyfish hexie quilt right now. I have more pictures and info about how I got to this point and what I’m doing, but I am compelled to work on this quilt rather than type, so for now all you get is a photo.  Enjoy!

One Month In

I’m exactly one month into the Jellyfish Hexie quilt project – and I’m happy to report I have over half of the hexies made already! I need just over 2000 pieces, just counted today and I’m at 1,042!

This is the point where I try to cement my other colorways. Here is what I have for the tentacles so far:

yellow, light grey, red-orange, aqua, light orange, pink, green, and light purple at this point… but I still may change my mind. I only need 40-50 pieces for each tentacle, so I can make up a few other colorways and have some to choose from.

Thanks Juline, Cherri, and Cath… I think I now have all the blue fabrics I need for this project!

Getting these little packets of scraps was so exciting – very much like a birthday that never ends.

This week, I also started cutting into my next project. I’m calling it:  *SPQ*

It’s a quilt of which I am unsure of how it will come out… a test of sorts. I started by picking my fabrics and cutting 10.5″ rough squares.

They will be paired up, to make 22 sets. They will be starched and ironed, then will be cut down to 10″ squares – then I can start sewing. Since this is a work in progress, or maybe more of a thought in process, I’m just going to share what I’m doing as I go along.

Superbowl Sewing!

I love scheduled “tv time” like the Superbowl. To me it means time to sew! I was able to get all the blue/purple hexies to the left done during the game and two Dexter episodes, about 125 total. That’s a good day in my hexie world!

I’m more of a soccer and basketball fan, so I didn’t really care about watching the game, but I’m happy Seattle took the win! I’m hoping the Blazers can follow suit this year, that would be awesome, and would mean more sewing time for me!

Digging through boxes from moving, I found my box of used hexies from the dragon quilt, so now I have plenty of papers – a quick press with an iron and they are ready to re-use.

I probably have around 350 hexies made so far – that’s about 35 per day. At this pace I should have all the pieces made in a little over 2 months. I guess we’ll see how that goes 😉

A Hexie Way

A friend of mine just asked me a bunch of questions about how I make paper-pieced hexies, thanks for the inspiration to write about it, Karen D.

There are many steps and procedures to making an English Paper-Pieced (EPP) project. Since I’m a hexie addict, I thought I’d share a little about my process.

**I should mention: I’m a self taught graphic designer and beginning quilter with a passion for hexies and color. While I’m creating, I don’t worry about how I’m “supposed to” do things, or the “quilt police”. I just do things the way that works best for me until I’m shown something better. You may already know way more than I do… and that’s okay.**

DESIGN:
Most people think of the Grandmothers Flower Garden design when they think of hexagons. It’s a great place to start – they make beautiful quilts, and you don’t have to think too much about the design until you are sewing the actual “flowers” together.

Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt – maker unknown (found by my neighbor) – Quilt top quilted by Nancy Stovall

Personally, I love the idea of quilts with more of an iconic design and bright colors, almost like a show poster. When I was shown how to make hexies for the first time at a PMQG meeting in 2010, I finally realized a way to create the type of quilts I wanted to make.

I use Adobe Illustrator to design my quilts. It’s a great program, but sometimes I wish I used a program that figured out your fabric requirements for you. One of those programs is the Threadbias Design Tool, I’ve heard great things about this one, but haven’t used it myself.

In Illustrator I work with color to differentiate between colorways… but I may not use the same colors in fabric as the design illustrates. I create the design in actual size on the computer so I know how big it will be. The image size is reduced to fit on a sheet of paper and I print it out, and that becomes my pattern. I name each colorway, and count how many hexies are in it.

PREP
As you can see, I labeled my colors: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H plus the background color, and a border color (which is not represented on my pattern).  I counted how many hexies for each color way and wrote them down on a piece of paper, cut them up and put in individual baggies ready to collect hexies in that colorway

Once I have my counts, I get my hexies out. Before I do ANY sewing, I take the time to punch a hole in each hexie. This step is very important! It will save you so much time when you are done with your quilt top and need to take these papers out. I use paper pieces from Paperpieces.com. It is worth the money to have exact sized pre-made hexagaons! I only wish they came with a pre -punched hole.

I’ve never used plastic templates or cut them myself from old cardstock. I know some have had great experience with this… but not me. Seems to take way too much time.

The last thing I do to get ready is to prep a layout board. You can use a design board (rigid foam insulation covered with batting that rolls over to the back and is taped to the backside – here is a tutorial) to lie on a table and hold your hexies for layout before sewing them together. The board should be bigger than your finished quilt size.  When I laid out the Dragon quilt, I used a 4’x6′ board which was just barely enough space to work within.

This board will need to find a good flat home for as long as you are sewing this quilt together. I was lucky enough to have the space in the corner of my sewing room, but while I was sewing it together, I was very limited in what I could do in my workspace. The Jellyfish I’m currently working on will be about 2’x4′, much smaller, but still tough to find space for it. It’s an issue I’m still pondering.

NOTIONS
Once you have your board ready, design done, and hexie pieces prepped, it’s time to put a sewing kit together! You’ll want something that can hold 50 finished paper pieces (you have to work hard to make that many in a day), a small scissors, a whole package of needles, a thimble, a spool of thread, and space for 50 fabric squares.

MAKING EACH HEXIE
For the 1/2″ hexies, I prefer 1.5″ squares of fabric instead of an actual hexie shape with a 1/4″ seam allowance. It’s much faster to cut the fabric pieces that way, and I like how they bulk up (after being quilted) with the extra layer of fabric on the backside of the hexie.

Here is a ‘not so great’ video I quickly made just to show how I sew each one together. I don’t sew through the paper template, just the fabric. The main trick is to make sure the fabric is tight around the paper template each time you make a stitch.  Because these are 1/2″ hexies, I only need to sew the corners. The same works for 3/4″ hexies too, but once I get to 1″ or larger, I have to sew through the paper.

LAYOUT
Once I have all my hexies made for a quilt, I lay them all out on the layout board I discussed earlier. This part is super fun, but I can become obsessive with finding just the right spot for each hexie. By laying them out before sewing, you have full control of how the design will look before stitching them all together.

SEWING ROWS
When the hexie pattern is complete on the layout board, I pick a diagonal row to start stitching together. Here in the squid quilt, you can see the row I was working on because it’s missing.

To stitch the hexies up into rows, I start with two hexies WRONG sides together. Using a ladder stitch, I start from the center, work to one side, then the other, then back to the center to tie a knot and secure it before moving onto the next hexie in the row.

How did I keep my pieces straight to know exactly how to sew them together?
I made a “tool”: I used a 2″ wide x 18″ strip of batting to carefully set my row of hexies on in the order they were to be stitched, then I covered that with a 1.5″ wide x 18″ piece of fabric. Then, starting from the furthest hexie, roll it up. As you open your “roll” for work, it should start with the next hexie in the design.
                                   
I stick the roll in a little plastic container with the batting on the bottom and carefully pull the batting as you need hexies, they will pop out like a little Pez dispenser, and you can roll the “used” batting under the other side as you go.  I may need to make a little video for this at some point too!

Sewing these strips takes some time, as they are finished I put them back on the layout board and keep going. In this photo, you can see the middle strips are sewn. You WILL need a thimble for this work, and even still I ended up with a nice callous on a couple fingers.

STITCHING ROWS TOGETHER
The last bit is to sew these rows of hexies together. I personally found that it worked best (for me) to lay the piece flat and whip stitch together making knots at every corner point. Here is a picture of the seams on the back of the dragon quilt before I took out the basting and papers.

When all the rows are stitched up, you can take out all the papers. First I go over the whole quilt snipping the basting on each hexie, I leave the thread in place. Then I use a toothpick and “grab” the hexie by the punched hole with the toothpick and just pop them out.

When you’re done you end up with a big pile of hexie papers. On this quilt I also picked out all the basting thread.

After a little press with the iron, most of these pieces are reusable! Once you get to this point, you need a big pat on the back… maybe even a celebration! It’s the best feeling in the world to finish a project like this… maybe that’s why I’ve started another one 🙂

So that’s about it for the way I make my hexies… how about you? Do you have any fantastic hexie tips to share?