Quilting My Heart Out

I’m having a lot of fun with puns for my Heart Chakra Quilt. All joking aside, this is going to be a fairly major project.

Here’s the finished look of the top:

Heart Chakra Quilt
Planning the quilting.

This is NOT a perfect quilt or a quilt for a perfectionist. I purposefully left mistakes in because this quilt is turning out to be a pretty good representation of me. The more I think of how my physical body interacts with the spiritual world (which is what the center star represents) the more I realize how bumpy and imperfect my path has been.

Since it’s not perfect, straight line quilting just won’t do. It would show the imperfections in a bad way. So I pulled out my free motion quilting foot for my Juki machine and decided to free hand the whole thing.

Heart Chakra Quilt
Printed quilting image on newsprint, will pull paper out after quilting.

The center hexies deserved a little more planning, so I created this ‘flower’, printed it on newsprint and used it as a quilting template. After doing these initial lines, I pulled the paper and added more in detail.

Heart Chakra Quilt
Free motion quilting results on the back

Here is the back after I quilted the center – again… not perfect, but I really like the organic nature of how it came out.

Now I’m working my way out from this center piece and working on being okay with all the imperfections – this fully correlates to my life.

Whipstitched Hexie Rows

This is another quick tutorial on how I sew my hexies together. After a layout, and sewing all the rows together as in my last post, I’m ready to start sewing the rows together!

All rows sewn together in layout. One row flipped to show work on backside.

I start from the left side – I have the first smaller rows stitched together already and now I’m adding the fourth row.

Planning where to start stitching.

I’m going to start at the bottom here – with the yellow green print and the sage green solid half-hexies. I grab the hexies where I’m going to start sewing…

Picking up where you plan to start.

… and flip them over. I use a bolster pillow to rest them on while I get the stitch started.

Resting on a bolster pillow (or stuffed animal in this case) hold the two hexie sides to be sewn together.

From here, start your stitch in the middle of the two hexie sides you’re going to sew together.

Start your stitch in the middle.

From here, use a whipstitch and skim the papers to grab the edges of the hexie without pulling the fabric from the top of the hexie piece, and work your way down to the bottom edge. Avoid the seam allowance.

Whipstitch down to the bottom edge.

When you get to the bottom, start working your way back up, going over the stitches you just did. This will reinforce all your edges.

After getting to bottom edge, work back up. Keep seam allowances out of the way when stitching these ends.
Keep whipstitching up the hexie row.

Knot at each corner and keep going.

Knot at corners and keep going.

When you get to the end of the row, go all the way to the edge and then work your way back in halfway on the first hexie before tying off your stitch. I don’t have this pictured, but it looks the same as how you start and reinforces the edges of the piece.

Up close.

For these stitches, I used Gutterman Polyester thread – it works well for whipstitching.

That is all for now… I’ll post when I get this little center piece done for the Heart Chakra Quilt. Then I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do from there… I have a plan, but it’s very vague.

Happy Hexies!

Back To It: Hand Sewing Hexies – Tutorial

I’m sewing some hexies together for the center of the Heart Chakra quilt project I’m currently working on. I’ve sewn a few whole quilts with hexies and I’m going to share with you how I sew my hexies together without any stitching showing on the front.

To start, these are the notions I use:

  • Needle: John James #12 Sharp
  • Small Scissor
  • Superior Kimono Silk Thread #100
  • Thimble
  • Thread Heaven (thread conditioner)

I’m starting with basted hexies. If you would like to see how I baste my hexies, please go here , or here for a full hexie tutorial. Be ready for lots of photos!

I start by laying out my hexies exactly how I’m going to sew them together. This layout is small, so it’s easy to layout just about anywhere. Sometimes I use a card table with batting stretched on top and taped down to layout hexies – the batting keeps them in place a little better.

My hexie layout.

I then sew my hexies together in rows. I start by knotting my thread with a quilters knot and pulling it up through my first hexie in the center. I personally think that sewing them with WRONG sides together gives the best results. I use a ladder stitch and sew to one end:

Start from center – sew out to one end.

Then I flip the hexies in my hand and stitch back into the center:

Flip hexies in hand and sew from end to center.

Keep going… ladder stitch all the way to the other end.

Keep stitching to the end.

Flip the hexies in your hand again, and sew back to the centerpoint.

Flip hexies in hand, and sew from end back to the centerpoint.

Yes… this doubles the stitching. It may be overkill, but I like to use my quilts and I wash them as any other thing I own, so they have to be durable.
Open the hexies and push the needle through to the back. The trick here is to avoid catching any fabric on the pass-through. If you do, you may see the stitch on top.

Pass the needle through to the backside.

Then knot on the back side, close to where the needle came out. After knotting, slide the needle up to the next side to be sewn.

Knot and move onto the next seam.

Knot here – one more time – this ensures that if a thread is cut anywhere, it will not unravel all your stitching. Pass the needle up through the center of the hexie, right on the edge.

Knot again. Then pass the needle up through the center along the edge of the hexie.

Start your next hexie – just as before: ladder stitch to one end… and follow all steps again.

Start again. Sew all the way to one side.

You can see that when you open your hexies after sewing this way, you don’t see any stitches on the outside of your work!

No stitches showing.

The running threads from one hexie to the next can be snipped when removing the hexie papers, or they can stay in place and you can pull the papers out around them.

Once I have all my rows sewn up, I sew them together using a whip stitch. I’ll do another tutorial on that as soon as I get there with this project.

Happy Hexies!

Craftsy Pattern Store Closure

As some of you already know, Craftsy.com has become Bluprint.com and they have changed their platform for selling patterns. I had a few patterns posted that are no longer available there.

I do have a small online retail store set up with all my quilt patterns here. If you need to re-download a file from a Craftsy purchase, please email me with the email used to purchase the pattern and I’ll send the most current file directly to your email.

Hexie Placemat Pattern
Jellyfish Hexie Pattern

Picking Up The Pace

I’m so excited right now… I finished all the smaller chunks of my Kaleidoscope Quilt, and I’ve started sewing them onto the center piece of the quilt. It’s going much fast than anticipated and it’s making it really fun!

Here are some of the outer chunk pieces laid out on my cutting table:

chunksOnTable

And here are my progress shots so far:

As you can see, I have added 4 outer chunks out of the remaining 15… so only 9 left. I’m pretty sure I’ll be bringing the finished top to the next PMQG meeting in August – if you belong to our guild and will be at the meeting, you can see all the stitching on the back before I get it quilted.

I have kits and pieces of these fabric shapes in our store, if you’re interested in trying straight stitching hand work. I really like it. Here’s a link to check out.

Still not sure what I’m going to do for quilting… I have a couple options, but still am unsure.

I’m very happy to see an end in sight for this project.  Pretty soon  I can really focus on my Vishuddha Quilt. I’ve realized I can only really work on one project at a time.

Kaleidoscope Quilt Progress Report

I’ve been pushing through life lately. I’m sure you can relate.

I’m working on my emotional issues and that has been draining. I just keep going back to sewing when I start to spin out mentally. – Do you know that feeling? When there is so much going on AND so much to do, you start to go from one idea to another – not giving anything the needed time and attention it deserves… not getting anything done…?
I call it spinning out.

But –  I have been working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt and it is coming along very nicely. I only have 3 chunks left in the whole quilt!  SQUEEE!
Then I need to sew these larger chunks onto my centerpiece, so I still have a bit to do, BUT I think I’ll be able to finish the top to show it at Show and Tell at PMQG in August!
If so, that will mean I hand stitched a 60″x80″ quilt in 10 months. NOT BAD!

The time saved is all because of the stitch lines on the back – not having to use paper pieces saves so much time! If you’re interested in trying them, we have some in stock in our store here. I call them NEPP pieces or Not English Paper Pieced pieces.  I’m already starting to plan a second quilt like this… in a totally different color story.

I think the only negative compared to EPP is that when you press the fabric, the back looks messy. With EPP, the seam allowances are all neatly basted into place. With a good pressing… it doesn’t really matter.

I’m really excited to finish this project… but it’s sort of like being halfway through the last book in a long series – I’m going to be a little lost until I find another hand-sewing project!

Keeping Busy

I find I become a little manic when I’m anxious. I tend to do a lot of cleaning and organizing – and I’ve had a lot to do recently in that regard, so it’s been a good year so far.

We put some new shelving in the closets of my sewing room/office and I got a new desk, so I emptied my whole room, cleaned and rearranged a bit, now it feels much better. I still need to go through my fabric stash and organize it, but once that is done, I’ll be ready to start working on some new quilt ideas that have been rumbling around my head.

Another thing keeping me busy is the launch of our new online store. This entails so many things! Photography, marketing, designing, data entry, shipping, etc. – but I’m getting a little better at it all, and found some really great apps that help a lot. I’m so thankful for all the fantastic and supportive feedback we’ve received – I know this was a good thing to do.

I’m still working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt. I’m currently on the 7th chunk of the third round.  Not sure if that makes sense… but I’m definitely making progress! I’m keeping track of my time and I’m currently over 210 hours of actual stitching time!  It seems like a lot, but I try to dedicate at least 2 hours a day to sew, so I can see progress.

Since I’m going through my fabric stash, I’ve also been contemplating the Chakra quilts I’d like to do to go with the other two Chakra Quilts I’ve made. I think the first I will tackle will be the Throat Chakra. If you don’t speak your truth, this chakra can become blocked and causes all sorts of issues. A good description of the Throat Chakra here.

I don’t have many blues left in the fabrics I have… I will really need to think about how I want to go about this. I think to start, I’ll just start sewing little bits of scraps together to make larger pieces to work with. I really just want to work on my machine – hand work is great, but machine sewing is so fast and satisfying!

What are you working on today?

Holiday Time

This time of year is difficult for me, but it’s almost over! I can still find enjoyment during this time because our clients take time off work so we get a little time off too – it’s good for mental stability, and I love the down time with my family!

I have a lot on my plate to accomplish before we open our online store. Today I’m playing with color for our NEPP Hand Sewing Kits. As we start out, we can only afford to purchase a limited amount of fabric to work with, and that makes the color layouts really challenging and fun! Here are a few I’m getting ready:

The 4 on the left are smaller and much less difficult and will finish at about 8″ around. The kits will come with tracing templates to finish all edges to be at 90 degree angles so they will be easy to work into other projects. The larger ones on the right are made of 275 pieces each and will be approx. 22″ around. Such a fun project – so pretty!

The best part is that I know they work! All the points are lining up, even as the piece gets bigger on my Kaleidoscope Quilt – I’m on the third round and just finished the first chunk of that round:

This piece is almost double the size of the secondary chunks – this one piece took me 16 hours and 10 minutes to sew together. Currently at 118 hours in sewing time on this quilt – yes, I’m timing myself. The stopwatch app works great for keeping track, and I haven’t forgotten to keep track yet either, so this is a very accurate number. I would guess I’m about 1/4 of the way finished. I can only wonder how much longer it would take if I was paper piecing the whole thing?!

Time to get back to it –
BTW.. Thanks for following my blog, I really appreciate all the support and feedback you all have given me this year. Happy Holidays!

Helloooo

Okay folks, I’m back!

I just looked at my drafts for this blog and I have 6 unpublished posts from last month that I will not be posting. Each one of them is about dental pain, and anxiety, and the frustration of not having decent healthcare… and we each have our own version of that stress – so no need to hear it from me! This is the reason for my lack of presence lately.

Luckily, I did have an infected tooth extracted last week and I’m feeling like a different person altogether. Now I can focus on some really exciting new things in my world!
What am I talking about…?
Well, as you may, or may not know… my husband and I have a screen printing business and we’ve been printing t-shirts locally over 20 years here in Portland. T-shirts are great, but I’ve been wanting to get into fabric printing for a while!

Since our studio is set up for T-shirt printing, we are not capable of printing full yardage sizes of fabric, so we’ve been trying what we are calling “fabric panels” using our largest possible print size of 12″ x 13″.  We are also using discharge and waterbased inks so that the fabric can be ironed directly and after washing.  The ink is set into the fabric, rather than ON the fabric. These inks leave a residue on the fabric that should be washed prior to use.  We’ve decided to serge the edges so we can wash and press each piece before selling. That way, they will be ready to use.  I think they would be great as a quilt center or sewn into a tote bag… but since the edges are serged, they can be hung on the wall or sewn to a jacket back, or used as a pillow front. Of course they can also be cut up and used as quilting pieces too.

Resist Fabric Panels:

Honeybee Fabric Panels:

Love Is Love Fabric Panels:

Persist Fabric Panels:

Another new thing we are creating are Hand-Sewing Kits. NEPP (Not English Paper Pieced) is what I’m calling them. I’ve been working on my own hand-sewing projects for years and I’ve usually used the EPP (English Paper Pieced) method. I had a big epiphany on my last project that I could print the stitch lines onto the back of fabric and use a running stitch to piece them together.  This saves a whole lot of time compared to EPP. When we first started thinking about this, we didn’t know how long the cutting would take (much longer than the printing!) but we think that the best thing about a kit is that you don’t have to do much extra other than sew. So… we will be doing all the cutting here so these kits will come ready to stitch together! If you’ve ever made an EPP project yourself, you would understand the value of this in time conservation! I also wanted to make something that wasn’t too daunting so that a first-time hand sewist can try a very small project before jumping into something larger.

Lucy NEPP Pattern Sample:

Myrtle NEPP Pattern Layout – each kit has it’s own colors.

Lucy NEPP Pattern Layout

Hand stitching using a running stitch and knotting at each corner.

Opal NEPP Layout

Putting individual kits together:

Our online store will be opening 2/12/18 with these items plus T-shirts and Hoodies, of course. We are starting to connect with other designers for quilt-related designs that we can feature on our site. This is fantastic because we love to work with other artists – it will also keeps things on our site fun and fresh!

Our main business is printing commercially for other groups and businesses, this is a brand new venture since it’s retail oriented. I’m very excited to start this new adventure…and I’m ready to be successful at it! You will notice a new tab in the menu for our online store ChickenScratch – next February, it will be open and ready to use!

Animation Play

I really like to sew… but I do have some other skills that I try to sharpen at times. I’m self-taught on the computer and learned Illustrator well enough to become a graphic designer for our screen printing business…  I also learned how to make a website for our business too!

So now I’m dabbling in some stop-motion animation, and I paired it up with my hand-stitching, and I made a fun little video:

 

This is the first “chunk” section that I’m making on the Kaleidoscope Quilt. This one is No.4 of 10, so I’ll be sewing these for the next month before I get to start on the next big chunk on the quilt. Here are 3 of the chunks with the center ring:

By themselves, they are very strange looking, but as they get added to the center piece, the pattern is starting to stand out – so exciting!

Kaleidoscope Quilt Progress

center Ring Back

Now that I have a hand-sewing project, I feel so much more at ease. Having something in my hands at night is great – keeps me from spinning out into negativity. Having the sew lines printed on the fabric makes this project pretty quick and easy! The hardest part is sewing in the diamond shapes in the right direction. (notice the gold diamonds below… they are sewn in the wrong direction here and I didn’t catch it till adding the next row)

gold RingStitching on the lines is pretty easy – I just pin the end points to make sure they line up.hand stitchingFinally got all the diamonds sewn in the correct direction. banana RingThen I finished the center rosette – which is the same rosette used in the La Passacaglia quilt by Willyne Hammerstein.  This is the back before pressing:center Ring BackThis reminds me of those crepe paper things we did in elementary school, where you had little paper squares that you smooshed around a pencil end, dipped in glue and placed on a poster board… almost didn’t want to iron it.center Ring PressedBut I did, and I love it!! The back is a bit messy, but because of the sew lines, my shapes and points are pretty sweet! I’m doing the rest in bits or chunks to make the piecing easier. The next ring will consist of 10 matching chunks. I picked a size that would take 3-7 days to piece, so I can get through them at a timely pace. So this is my ‘chunk’ pattern:There are 4 different yellows, and 4 different light greys – so I had to make the pattern bigger to see what was what. I also have this to follow as I add pieces on – so they are stitched in the right place.hand stitchingMy first chunk also had a neat looking back before I pressed it:chunk oneNow I only have 9 left of these guys to make, then I’ll sew them onto the center and start another round of chunks!center Plus Chunk oneActually, now I only have 8 more to stitch – just finished another chunk last night. Looking back over my notes, I have approximately 35 hours in sewing time already. Sounds like a lot of time, but it’s going much faster than EPP using a running stitch!

I would have to say this is a successful try at printing the stitch and sew lines on the back of these Kona solids! We are going to be printing more pieces and plan on opening an online store in February if all goes according to plan!

Kaleidoscope Quilt – In Progress

treasure

Pretty thrilled to report that I’ve started stitching my Kaleidoscope quilt last night! I put a lot of time and figuring into the design and layout and am happy with the look of it. The center is based off of the La Passacaglia Pattern by Willyne Hammerstein

I design on Adobe Illustrator. For this quilt I really wanted to save time – so my husband screen printed the sew and cut lines on the backs of all the solid fabric colors I needed. I used 3/4 yard of 21 different colors – which made a lot of little pieces! So many that it took two weeks to get them all cut – I can only cut for an hour or so before my joints start talking to me.

treasure

Once they were all printed, I could count how many of each piece I had in each color – and I had to adjust my layout often to accommodate my limited color palate. I like challenges like that! My whole idea for this quilt was: kaleidoscope… and the colors I chose are what I remember looking through one as a kid. I really like it where it’s at (I could re-work in a million different ways) so this is it!

Now I’m really curious as to how long it will take me to put this together! I spent 1.5 hours last night using a running stitch and this is how far I got:

KaleidoscopeStart

There are approximately 3500 pieces in this which is fewer than my Wood Dragon Hexie Quilt – and that took me a year and a half to make. My hope is to finish this Kaleidoscope quilt within 6 months, but honestly, I really don’t know how long it will take. I do plan on keeping track of my time, so I’ll have a better estimation for future projects.

For now I’m just trying not to obsess too much and get other work done too, but I am really happy to have another hand project to be working on!

 

 

Manic…

I’m doing a lot of pacing and cleaning lately… and today after hearing about the terrorist attack in Las Vegas, I feel like I’m spinning. You know that feeling when you just can’t relax…? That’s where I’m at right now.

So… I’m working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt today. Not really sewing yet, just working on the design in Illustrator. I need to have a plan before sewing all these little guys together.

It’s going to be 60″ x 80″ when finished, and I think I’ll just be cutting into the edges to make straight lines for binding. The biggest shape in this is a pentagon that measures 1.25″ per side. Still don’t know just how many pieces it will be, but I really like how it’s starting to come together!

I still have a way to go before I’ll start doing the sewing. I’m even thinking of sewing on the machine using Y-seams since I have all my pieces marked! I’m going to go obsess over this today, and maybe for the next few days… I find the design takes the longest. Once complete, the sewing will go pretty quickly I think. I’m going to be timing this one too – very curious about time.

Love to all out there in this crazy world affected by the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the fires, the terrorism, and the outlandish antics of our president who continues to make things worse. I feel you.

Obsessing Again

Thanks to my friend Miranda, I was inspired to try sewing a La Passacaglia rosette a few months back, and stitched it using the EPP (English Paper Piecing) method. It took some real time to get it done. I really liked how it came out and wanted to make another, but felt there had to be a better, faster way.

I had the *oh-so-original* idea of tracing the stitch lines from a template on the back of fabric and using a running stitch and no paper pieces – this worked really well. The only two negatives were:

  1. The running stitch doesn’t seem as strong as a whipstitch.
  2. Tracing the shape and cutting took almost as much time as EPP method.

After some research, I found out that many people use the running stitch, and if you’re really good, sewing the 1/4″ Y-seams comes naturally. For the rest of us, we need to draw in those stitch lines to know where to sew and where to stop for the corner of the Y-seam – and that is some seriously tedious work. So then, I had the idea of screen printing those shapes with cut and stitch lines on the back of solid fabrics to see if I could cut some time.

While we have a screen printing business, there is still some time and cost involved to create a print. After I design something on the computer, I send the final to a camera-house that outputs a piece of film-positive (opposite of a negative) that we can use to ‘shoot’ a screen. Once we have a piece of film-positive, we lay that onto a screen that has been coated with photo-sensitive emulsion and shine a light on it to ‘burn the screen’. The light hardens all the exposed emulsion, leaving the part under the opaque black of the film to stay soft, and after washing it out with water, there is a hole or ‘open’ part of the screen where we can push ink through and onto the fabric. read more

Since screen printing is quite a process, I wanted to make use of the time spent.
Then Fabric Depot ran a sale on Kona solids for $5/yard and I knew it was time to try this crazy plan.

I purchased 3/4 of a yard of fabric in 21 different colors – one of the biggest fabric purchases I’ve ever made… so it’s a little scary not knowing how this will all work out!

My husband printed 4 different layouts for me, using as much of the fabric as possible in printing, while leaving good cut lines. I appreciate him taking the 2 days in set up and printing time to print for me…  he likes my idea and has always been completely supportive! The part I wasn’t planning on was the cutting. I’ve been cutting fabric pieces for 2 weeks on and off. I can only cut for an hour or two at a time without hurting my wrists. I honestly did not think that the cutting would take so long…  but I’m close to having all the pieces from all 21 fabric colors cut and ready to sew!

I have a few patterns, and my idea was of a kaleidoscope – so the colors are bright and contrasting. I started with the La Passacaglia layout, but wanted to try my own layout. I think I have enough pieces to do a full sized quilt and still have some left over! I even have an idea of possibly selling these pieces in kits for smaller projects so people can try hand-stitching for a small project. I’ve been playing with a decagon layout that would make an awesome pillow cover – here are 3 versions:

There are so many possibilities!! My goal this next week is to try to do enough layouts to use up all the pieces we printed… or all in one quilt – not sure just yet how I’m going to use these, but it will come! It looks like treasure on this table right now… part of me wants to throw them all up into the air and roll around in them – but the organizer in me wouldn’t allow me to make a mess of this. 😉

Have you ever hand stitched using a running stitch? Do you have any tips to share?
So excited to have finished all the cutting for all the pieces we printed.  I think that’s why it hasn’t been done before – the cutting has to be done by hand to work with the printing… and that is extremely labor intensive.

This whole project is a learning process, but I also think it’s going to make a kick-ass quilt! I’ve been having a hard time keeping this to myself… I wanted to be done with the cutting before sharing. Or maybe I should say I’ve been totally obsessing on the cutting and so haven’t spent much time doing anything else!

I’m so excited to start sewing on this… but I need to finish some layout plans first. Time to practice a little patience and focus on the designs.
THEN I can jump in 100% and sew to my little hearts content. 😉

Giveaway Winner!

I’ve never done a giveaway before, I was able to use a plug-in that did the automatic drawing (I always wondered how those worked!) and a friend from my guild won! You win a Jellyfish pattern, Denise!

That was fun… I really appreciate the people who follow me! You keep me inspired to keep this blog rolling.

 

Hexie Patterns – Ready!

I’ve been working hard over the last month or so to create patterns for all of my hexie quilts and projects, and I finally finished them all! I have them up at Craftsy.com where they might be seen a bit more than here. I’m really happy with the work I put in, I think they’ll be good.

It was interesting going back in time and looking at my notes to how to do certain things, and how those things evolved over time. I really do love working with the hexie shape!

Do you EPP? Which one would be your favorite? Leave a message below telling which pattern you’d choose and why.  I’ll do a random drawing for a winner who will get the pattern of their choice in a digital .pdf format! Drawing will be on September 5, 2017.

Heat Lag

It’s been warm here in the Pacific Northwest over the last few weeks. Some days made it into the 100’s even… luckily we don’t get any real humidity here, so it can be tolerable – but just barely.

I think the heat affects my motivation in a big way. It makes me swell up and get tired, so I just want to sleep all the time. Plus, this is our busy time of year for work, so I haven’t done much sewing lately – except for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month project. It’s been really fun so far! I just finished #7 of 9. Only 2 blocks left, so I get to practice my patience while I wait for the next two patterns to be released.

I posted on IG and FB yesterday and got a lot of great feedback on my color choices. I’m thrilled because I’m trying to use up my stash, and didn’t allow myself to buy anything new for this quilt. Since it finishes at 76″ x 76″ – there is a lot of fabric to pull. I had a vague idea of how much I needed for the background squares, and I knew I wanted a night sky… so I pulled all my dark blues – which wasn’t much. I had to amend with greys and light blues, and the mixing of these seemingly un-matching colors really makes it sparkle!

Another thing I’m working on right now is making patterns for all my hexie quilts. The Dragon and Squid were done in the past, but I’m re-vamping them to match the newer patterns for the Jellyfish, Hummingbird, and that little placemat. I’m almost done, and when I am, I think I’m going to try to do a give-away. I’ve never done one of those before, but I think it would be fun, and I’d love to share my work that way!

Sisters and Sleep

I was super lucky to be able to go to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last week! What an amazing show – I’m so thrilled I was able to go see it!!

This trip was a self-test. I have some health issues that prevent me from going too far away from home, but I wanted to see:

  1. If I could drive the whole 3.5 hours there and back through the mountains.
  2. If my exhaustion levels would hold up through a day of seeing many people.
  3. If my digestion could tolerate the time changes and food options.
  4. If I would swell up in the heat.
  5. If I could hold my anxiety in check.

I have to say that I did much better than I expected – even through massive traffic on the way down making my trip closer to 5 hours in the car, I made it there with only a bit of anxiety on the road (steep mountain curves with strobing sunlight through the trees). I would have ridden the bus down if I didn’t have such bad motion sickness.

The best part of the trip was getting to know a few of my guild friends a little better – they were great fun! We sewed together and ate together and laughed a lot. It was really sweet. Everyone had a project and it was nice to discuss the thoughts behind the quilt making. Sometimes our guild meetings are so big, we don’t get to hear about the whole story behind the quilt, so I really enjoyed getting to know these ladies a bit better through their creative process. Totally fun!!

However, I forgot all my nighttime pills/suppliments so I did not sleep well, and we had plans to meet more friends around 7:30am, so I was up early – and if you know me, this is much earlier than I’m used to. Since I wasn’t sleeping well anyway, I decided to enjoy the morning – and it was beautiful! It was even a bit chilly, so it was an easy, gorgeous drive into Sisters. Once I was there, I was happy we left early – the temperature was warm in the sun, but not bad at all!

The show was great, I saw a lot of inspirational quilts! Our PMQG section was beautiful too – many of the Row by Row quilts made last year were on display. I was able to see many people there and meet a few new friends too! I really enjoy meeting people in real life that I’ve only ever met online. It’s part of the reason I really wanted to go – I usually feel a little left out when my body does not have the allowance that others’ have. So I had a lot of fun talking to people and meeting new friends… and seeing some amazing quilts to boot!

Around noon my body started to give way a bit – I started getting tired. Exhausted tired, the kind where you could just fall asleep in the middle of the road if the sun wasn’t glaring down on it right now- kind of tired. Then I started some swelling from ankles and elbows down, and my feet started to have nerve pain, and I knew it was time to go.

It was only 12:30-1pm when I left… and there were a few more people I wanted to see and talk to while I was there – but I was fading fast, and I knew I had a long drive ahead of me, so I decided to leave. I was a little tired while driving, but I got to a rest stop about an hour out of Sisters and stopped and ate some food, drank some water, and stretched… then laid down on the grass in the shade under a tree and closed my eyes for a bit. That little pit stop allowed me to get home without stopping again, so I was home by 5. I said hello to my husband, ate a little and fell asleep.

That was Saturday, it is now Tuesday, and I’m just starting to feel like I can keep my eyes open, and have a desire to eat. While I did well on the trip, it really knocked me out physically. I’m still fairly exhausted, but I’m able to write, so here I am…

There were so many people in Sisters who seemed older, or with health problems… or both. I always wonder how much planning goes into their trips, how do they do it? Is it weird to be so jealous of an able body? I don’t feel I’m that feeble, yet these events are really hard to recover from, so maybe I am…? It certainly colors my future a certain way – and is a little saddening.

So… onto some more positive thinking! I’ve been working on some hand work – La Passacaglia to be exact. I’m only doing a few rosettes for a charity quilt. This pattern is really intense using a pentagon for a base shape rather than a hexagon. There are a lot of small pieces –  I did one that was English Paper-Pieced, and one where I traced the shapes on the back of the fabric and stitched them together with a running stitch and Y-seams. The one without EPP went together really fast, so I’m trying another that way using a different size. I have some ideas that are still incubating for this kind of piecing… I hope they lead me to something cool! I’ll be sharing more soon!

 

 

Meditating on Direction

I’m very ready to start a new quilt.
However, I’m a little lost in the direction I’d like to go. Does this ever happen to you? I have so many ideas, but I’m always unsure which to run with first. Since quilts take a chunk of time, I want to be sure before I start.

Right now my top 5 ideas are:

  1. Throat Chakra Quilt – (blue with yellow and purple) to go with my chakra-series quilts
  2. Scrappy Rainbow Unicorn Quilt – an idea given by a friend, and I’d love to use up some of my scraps
  3. PMQG Block of the Month – I’d like to catch up on this project with my guild
  4. Word Quilt – for PMQG group show next year… still haven’t figured out which word(s) I want to use
  5. La Passacaglia quilt test – instead of EPP, I’d like to try printing seam lines on the back of fabric and just sew together without papers. This is something that if it works, it could be an amazingly fast way to sew one of these together!

 

I may need to make the Throat Chakra quilt first – I’m still working on some healing and this Chakra seems rule gut-brain connection and the Vagus Nerve. I think completing this quilt will be a therapeutic boost to help me muster the energy to work on these other ideas.

The other big thing on my mind is working on trying to create a good well-written quilt pattern. I don’t use patterns myself, but I make one for every quilt I’ve sewn. I just would have to write it so it’s understandable to others… which is a lot harder than it sounds!

I’m open to suggestions for my next piece… I plan to start one new hand-pieced project and one machine-pieced project. I like the hand work for traveling, or even in front of the tv, however, the pace of creating and finishing a quilt on a machine is extremely satisfying – so I like to have two projects going at a time now (instead of just one).

 

Jellyfish Prints

 

Hey… just wanted to put out a heads up that I added my Jellyfish Hexie Quilt as a print at Society 6.
Today they are having a limited sale of free shipping plus 20% all items if you use this link: SOCIETY 6 SALE

I just finished a quilt too! I’m washing it tonight and giving to its recipient soon, there will be pictures for sure very soon.

Hexie Layouts

Last night I did a trunk show at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting along with three other amazing quilters! I brought a mix of things to show how I work with color, and two of the quilts I brought were Hexie Quilts. The question I was asked most was: how do I layout my hexie quilts.
So I thought I’d repost a video from a couple years ago when I was working on the Jellyfish layout. This shows only 4 days of about 30 that I spent on the layout. It was the most time consuming part of the whole process!

Hexie Jellyfish Quilt – 100% hand stitched

I use a ‘design board’ made from rigid foam insulation with batting wrapped around it and taped to the back. It’s very lightweight and can be moved – however, I tend to leave my layout as is
until I have completed all the sewing. Yes… that means that thing hung out on my dining room
table for about 4 months.
It was such a great night, I received so much wonderfully supportive feedback from so many people, made me feel all super special!  I love my quilty friends!!

I’ve also been working on a brand new quilt! I’m super excited about it – I’m about halfway done with the top – hope to have the whole thing finished in a month for an upcoming birthday. It’s going to be tough time-wise for me, quilts take a long time for me to finish!
The block I chose to use on this one is called Trip Around The World – a few years back there was a tubular technique I found here at Quiltville.com by Bonnie Hunter that makes the sewing go a little faster – I’m using that technique and it’s really fun!
fabric pull
This is a partial fabric pull – this is my main colorway, or the colors I plan to match to.
After cutting strips of fabric, this is a pretty pile of scraps I had – I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt!
I have all the strips sewn together, now it’s time to cut, press, and then back to the machine for a bit. This is my project for the weekend, along with doing some plant love in the yard (I hope it stops raining for a bit). What are you up to this weekend?

Another Kind of Busy

applique

I’m always a little overwhelmed with the quilting projects in my mind that are in que. This year with all the political turmoil, I feel even more scattered. Right now I have about 10 quilt ideas and it makes it difficult trying to figure out what to do next. Not knowing makes me ‘spin’ or not be able to focus on one thing at a time. Luckily, Cannabis can calm my mind when I need it to – and I’m so thankful for that.

I’m feeling very pulled toward making a political quilt. Or more. Unfortunately the ideas come quickly, but they go just as fast. I’m not sure that quilting is the best ‘voice’ for making change in the here and now, but it’s fantastic as a historical documentation.

Beyond sewing, I’ve also been very busy with our printing business. This time of year is slow for us, so it’s a good time to re-organize and prepare for the upcoming year. Usually this is the only time off we get, so we try to enjoy the down-time, however it’s always a bit rough when finances are tight.

This year I completely redesigned our website during this lull period. I’m pretty proud of myself because I didn’t need to sign up for Lynda.com for help this time. I feel like I did it pretty quickly (3 weeks) plus, I just got confirmation that all the forms work, and if you’ve ever worked with code, you might know the level of satisfaction that gives! If you’d like to see my handy-work, check out Phantom Chicken Screen Printing.

After looking more closely to this blog, I think I’ll be redesigning this site soon too.  applique

I’m still working on my Hummingbird No.2 Quilt – it’s now all appiquéd to a backing fabric, basted and ready for quilting. I just bought some Superior Kimono Silk Thread and special needles for my machine. If I can get this thread to quilt on the machine, I might machine quilt the whole thing – or I’ll hand quilt the bird and machine the background. Decisions, decisions!

I’m also planning a commissioned quilt design that should be really fun. I want to plan it well enough so that the actual time to create goes very quickly. I can’t share until finished, but then I’ll post all about it.

In the meantime, I’m cleaning my sewing room and getting ready to bust out some pillows and other smaller projects I’ve been thinking about so I can make room for some bigger projects.

Slacker

Hummingbird Hexie No2

Been feeling a bit like a slacker lately when it comes to working on this blog, but I am getting closer to being able to focus on it. Right now I’m working on a big website overhaul for our business site – I like to keep it updated, and the new version of Dreamweaver I’m working on is pretty sweet… at least so far. We’ll see how well it goes when I test links and usability.

In the meantime, I started some Cannabis Pillows – I have two tops made and the backs are cut, zippers in house, all I have to do is sew them up!

cannabis Pillow Tops

I think they’ll be pretty sweet when I get them finished up. The other project is my Hummingbird #2 Quilt – I’m appliquéing the bird down now, I’m about halfway done. For this one, I’m going to add some flowers so the bird can be in the garden!

Hummingbird Hexie No2

I’m still working on the placement of the flowers. I’m going to sew the whole bird down first then I’ll work on the flowers. They are so cute!

What are you working on this month?

Hummingbird Step

I just finished piecing together my second hexie hummingbird for a new quilt… and while it’s not the greatest photo, I just had to share!

It’s on my design wall right now – time to pick a background fabric to appliqué it onto. I was thinking something on the darker side, since a lot of the fabrics are pretty light – but seeing it on the light background here is making me rethink a little. I guess it will depend on what I have available!

This has to go on hold for the moment as I ready the paperwork for the annual major accounting for our business. It was a difficult year for us. There are many t-shirt printing companies online that use direct-to-garment printing or have automated equipment that can crank out t-shirts faster than we do on our manual press… and fewer people are considering quality as an important factor in their purchases. So it’s time to re-think the plan and see what we can do to increase the right type of sales. I have a feeling my time will be spent with these thoughts more than with fabric over the next week, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Nothing grows unless you nurture it.

Entering A New Year

hand For Size

Going to start this year off with some positive intentions towards better health and relationships. I have a tendency to spiral into a depression this time of year, so this year I’m actively working towards staying sane. 😉 It might be hard with the political arena we’re currently entering, but I’m going to do my best.

My quilting plan includes working on more Chakra-based quilts, which is like therapy for me. The Throat Chakra is what I’m thinking about working on next – it’s all about being able to voice opinions and speak out – I think it will be a great project! There are 7 main Chakras, and I’ve worked with two of them so far in quilting. My goal is to work on the other five and create a full quilt series.

I also want to finish my Hexie Hummingbird No.2, and a friend of mine is thinking about starting a group to start a La Passacaglia Quilt – have you seen those? Wow! They are amazing… and it would be fun to have a new hand-work project!  I just have to think about if I want to do that, or if I want to design my own pattern for something different to work on. I guess we’ll see.

For now, I’ll keep stitching on this Hummingbird project. Here’s a photo with my hand for size. The hexies are 1/2″ – just so cute!

hand For Size