SIMPLY SOPHISTICATED DESIGN WITH A TASTE OF THE UNEXPECTED.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

DMMQG fabric game!

Marny here...the Des Moines Modern Quilt Group meeting on Thursday, August 20th was so much fun. The first bit of time was spent meeting the new and sharing with the current members. 

Wish I had taken pictures, lots of productivity going on! And even though I didn't have a quilt to share, I got to share an advance copy of Quilts du Jour. Such fun!!! 

Our upcoming January lectures and workshops for the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild were also announced. We are excited to teach and share.

Then Emma (with her son acting as DJ) had a musical fabric game for us to play to set the stage for our group challenge. We had each arrived at the meeting with one yard of any fabric we felt other members would enjoy and rotary cutters, mats and rulers.  

First we cut our fabric into two half yard pieces, set one aside and took the other with us to a circle of chairs. The music started, thanks to our cheerful DJ, and we passed the folded half yards around the circle until the music stopped. Whatever we had in our hands at that time was taken to the cutting station and turned into two fat quarters by cutting it at the fold. We set one aside and returned to our chairs and started the music and passing and stopping. The fat quarter we wound up with was then cut. I can't remember the direction of each cut, but the game lends itself to impromptu choices! Stop before the pieces get too small. We eventually returned to the half yard set aside initially, and cut that one as well. We stopped once we had six fabrics pieces in a variety of sizes.
The 'spoils' from the fabric game...six very different fabrics!
My original fabric, from Kate Spain's Paradiso collection for Moda.
The group challenge is to use any number of the fabrics we wound up with, with any other fabrics and make something to share at a future meeting. Talk about an open ended challenge! 
August is my birthday month so I was able to choose a fat quarter from our group's collection basket. Look what I scored...a Zen Chic. Brigette Heitland is a favorite designer. Just maybe the pops of color on darks inspires a solution for the challenge! 

Till Tuesday...


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Elliot's Quilt


jill here...Perhaps you heard me scream as I was ripping but I was bound and determined to complete this quilt from start to finish (sounds like a toddler who shouts "me do it")!  It's for my newest grandson, Elliot. So the mega quilter was dusted off and cleaned up to quilt two baby quilts.  The first version went extremely well which is always a sign that there would be trouble ahead.  And then the bobbin tension went haywire!  It took several attempted runs, lots of trouble shooting (and ripping) to get it corrected.  Finally the bobbin screw was tightened for a satisfactory finish.


Sweet baby Pie in shades of grey and oranges.

This was the starting focus fabric.
 Bugs, birds, squirrels, snakes and butterflies!


The back with another story to tell using the scraps.
The label was ready to be signed and sewn to the back.

Loops alternating with rectangular shapes holds this baby together.

Home at last to keep Baby Elliot warm this Minnesota winter.
The baby's brother said "Wow"!  

'till next Tuesday....

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Quilt Process


Marny here...designing a quilt is (sometimes) as frustrating as it is rewarding! Lots of process, little progress. It isn't always easy to take the 'c' from process and change it to 'gr' in progress! Although 'grrr' is definitely part of the process!

There are photos below of several baby steps in a the design process.
Here are the parameters I am working with:
  • Three color print fabrics (Different values)
  • Two neutrals, a gray with white dots and a white with gray stitches. I am also willing to use a solid white. (Three values)
  • limited quantities of these fabrics, and some are already cut so not as much design flexibility as usual
  • half square triangles
Dark column next to medium column. Hmm.

Darker 'arrow' and lighter 'arrow' with sets of prints

Same arrows with prints placed randomly
Using the 'arrows' to create a box, with interior and exterior spaces


Dark interior
Prints and neutrals making flying geese


Arrows down
Arrows to the left


to the right
pointing up

Every step points in a new direction (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) and the process goes on and on. 


It is time to step back, and ask how to make it fresh and/or unexpected? How should I use the tools of color and value and scale to help the design? I think I am getting closer...progress ahead.

Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Quilts du Jour coming soon!

Marny here...Wahoo, yippee, and hooray our advance copies of Quilts du Jour have arrived. It is an amazing feeling to have our book in hand at long last!!! 

C & T Publishing, specifically their Stash imprint, was absolutely wonderful to work with from start to finish! Go to the Quilts du Jour page at C & T to get a taste of what is offered. They plan to have the book available September 14th. 

We'll describe the ways to use the four flexible menus of modern blocks, yummy quilts and innovative settings in upcoming weeks on both this blog and on the C & T blog. 


Sharing Quilts du Jour with you will be so satisfying. We are busy organizing workshops, trunk shows, lectures, and book signings at quilt shops, guilds, and retreats. If you or someone you know is interested just leave a comment or email us! Our contact information is one of the tabs.

For now, see how our "baby" arrived.
Cards to each of us were enclosed with our two advance copies.
Our editors sent us sweet personal messages!
So much more to come!
Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Studio Craziness

jill here...Well there's no time to sew when you should be cleaning. ... and no time to clean when you should be sewing.  I was stuck on a design dilemma so decided to take I care of my surrounding mess.  After I posted about Lynn Harris' book on Every Last Scrap I felt guilty, wasteful and totally disorganized.  I pulled out all my scraps and old projects and started the process of ironing and sorting according to color.

I forced myself to look at every last piece and make a decision.
If it was too too small it made the trash.

These are the preliminary stacks of colors.

These are bagged leftovers from projects!

I even found some things that had been missing and a whole sheet of stamps
(now that's $ in the bank)!

Larger portions were stacked in some semblance of order.

Batting was labeled according to size  (pinned on a post it note).

Bins filled according to working priority. 

Many unfinished (leftover) blocks were discovered waiting for a  plan.
I'm going to make them functional in the near future (check with me on that)!

Donations ready to go!
Inspiration strikes at unusual times.  Sometimes you have to move on it.
'Til next Tuesday...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Crib sheets are easy!

Marny here...toddlers, babies and joy, just go together don't they? And they provide new sewing opportunities!

Jill and I explored and toured the ongoing renovation at Sarah's Fabrics in Lawrence, Kansas on the way home from Houston Quilt Market a couple of years ago. Sarah's always has an amazing array of fabrics, patterns and books. It is a must see if you are anywhere close! The staff is warm, knowledgeable and very helpful! The Lawrence downtown is worth exploring as well! The staff at Sarah's pointed us in the direction of a fun deli place!

Of course I purchased fabric (not just lunch). I'd been curious about double gauze, and they had an assortment.
What little guy (or girl for that matter) wouldn't want to share 'night night' time with buses, cement trucks, wreckers, fire engines, police cars, traffic signs, etc. etc.?
This is really high quality double gauze, and washed beautifully.
Could the selvage be any cuter?
I held onto it for a couple of years, not knowing what to do with my two yards. I first thought of a double gauze infant blanket and lovies with satin blanket binding. But the young family already had enough of those on hand. 

So then I remembered I had purchased and downloaded great instructions, Happy Baby! fitted crib sheet pattern from Leah Day awhile back. Leah has a very helpful and complete video on her website that accompanies the pattern. 

In no time at all I completed a crib sheet, adapting the instructions a bit to the very loosely woven double gauze, and popped it on the mattress in the nursery. Leah's directions are perfect for a safe, snug and smooth fit!
Happy baby! and happy grandma!
 Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sketchbook


Marketing postcards of Sketchbook 


jill here...okay so I can't get the random number generator widget to come up as it promised and I'm tired of fighting with machines!  I ran the little numbers icon with 16 comments and # 16 was the winner!   You'll just have to take my word for it. Tamie is the winner of the Every Last Piece Book by Lynn Harris.  Thanks so much for all your comments.  Many of you lead a sordid (get that, not sorted) life of scraps like me.  I'll try to do better!

So on to our next market discovery.  We were so excited to see Sketchbook in a section of
 Art Gallery Fabrics.  In some of the quilts, we recognized several of the fabrics that we have used.  

We love the multidirectional "backgrounds".  They're just a little spicy.
These are two fabrics from the Gossamer collection. 
  •  Sharon Holland is the designer who we had the pleasure of meeting.  Not only is she a great artist but she's an Iowa State graduate, really nice and lived in Iowa!  The featured fabric below seems to step out of the usual color schemes with a nice balance of contemporary flair based in traditional "sketches": florals, dots, little textures.

Sharon Holland's designs in fabric and quilts/pillows.
Sketchbook quilts.
Variety, values and textures make this collection easy to work with!
Looking forward to seeing this collection in the retail market. 'Till next Tuesday...