Worth the Risk | QuiltCon 2015

I took a chance last month; put myself out there and entered two quilts into QuiltCon 2015. With so much support and encouragement from family and friends, it was time to risk big and open myself up to the critique of others. I wasn’t expecting to hear back until after Christmas time, but a flurry of emails were sent out last week with the big news. When I opened my email, my jaw literally dropped and I couldn’t stop smiling! Both Balancing Act and When Oceans Rise were juried into the show! In the past, I might have let an opportunity like this pass me by, too afraid of the possibility of not being accepted. Not anymore. Each time I take the risk to put myself out there only drives me to do it more. There may be rejection, but I still think it’s worth the risk. It’s the only way I am going to grow as a creative person. What about you?
Finished | Balancing Act
When Oceans Rise

So if you are going to be at QuiltCon in February, look for these pretties in the show…and then maybe come say Hi to me too! I like meeting new and old friends! ;)

Finished | Brickless

I started this shawl as a little knitalong with some friends shortly after hanging out at The Stash Bash earlier this year. I’m ashamed to say that it has taken me way longer to finish than I anticipated, not being the avid knitter that some of the other girls are.
Because some knitty Christmas presents need to be started, I pushed through this week to get this project off the needles. I’m so glad it’s done…because it’s just so pretty and squishy. Lucky for me the weather in Texas is just right to wear it now! Yahoo!
All that texture from the three different patterns just makes me so happy!
Pattern: Brickless
Yarn: Gnome Acres Sparkle Gnome Fingering in Bertie Botts

Strip Stash

Recently at a local retreat, I watched a friend whip up an amazing improv strip quilt using just her scraps. I was in awe and wanted to steal it so badly. Instead, I felt compelled to raid my own scrap stash when I got home and see exactly what it was made of. I’ve always struggled with scrap management…never knowing what to keep or what to throw away. In my early sewing days I would save every.last.bit because I felt like it could be used for something, only to end up completely overwhelmed that I would throw bags of it away!

This time, however, I noticed that most of the scraps I had saved fell into four categories: strips, squares, and larger pieces (less than a fat quarter), and those weird misshapen pieces that you save because you know it’s enough fabric for something you just don’t know what yet and you can’t bring yourself to trim it down. Well, after a morning of sorting everything, I took the plunge and trimmed down those misshapen pieces into either strips or squares and separated all the larger pieces out. Can I just tell you I have never been so ready to jump into my scrap stash and actually use it! Look at all these stacks of fabulous strips! I had no idea I had so many stashed away in ziplock bags!
So many strips!! Excited!

There’s several projects already on my wish list to make as soon as the holidays start to settle down! What would you do with all these strips?

Finished | Balancing Act

Finished | Balancing Act
Do you ever have trouble coming up with the words to describe a quilt finish? What I mean is…have you found yourself so caught up in a project itself, the challenge of taking an idea and making it visual, that you forget about documenting the process? Putting nose to the grindstone and working straight through until it’s done, leaving you breathless and without words when the end result is more than you could have hoped for? That’s a little bit how it was with this quilt.

It started out as a Quilt Design a Day exercise, with a pre-selected palette based on this Design Seed. Having just purchased a set of quarter circle templates from Jen Carlton Bailly, I was anxious to use them in a design. It seemed like fate that this day’s palette was that little bowl of buttons — perfect for my experiment!
HuesBowled 7-6-14

After sketching out the design, I knew immediately that I wanted to make it!! The colors were a bit muted for my liking, so armed with my Moda Bella Color Card, I promptly got to work mixing and matching to brighten it up a bit. When this lovely stack arrived on my doorstep, I literally dropped everything and began cutting out all the pieces!
When fabric comes in the mail, apparently the best thing to do is drop everything and cut out a new quilt. Another #qdad in the works!

And that’s when it gets hazy. ha ha! I went to a sewing retreat that weekend and spent the majority of the time working on the top, but have no pictures other than when I finished piecing it.
In Progess | Balancing Act

I remember it being fun, yet challenging. Most was a breeze to piece, however, several overlapping sections required a bit more thought to recreate the original sketch. That’s one of my favorite parts of the process…all that figuring. I knew I could do it,  but deciphering the “how” was what made this project so incredibly fulfilling.
Finished | Balancing Act | Texture

It’s quilted with dense straight lines in a minty color that blends so well with all the fabrics. I really wanted the design to pop and felt this type of neutral quilting would add texture without taking away from the intended visual impact. Another design feature that puts this quilt over the top for me is the matched binding!! While time intensive, the end result is worth every single laborious moment.
Finished | Balancing Act | Detail

All in all, this was such a joy to work on. It reminded me of all that I have on my plate as a wife, mom, friend, quilter…all those responsibilities that are stacked on top of one another. It’s a true Balancing Act to keep it all running without “dropping any balls” so to speak. Sometimes you have to make room for new things and the old must be carefully removed to keep some sense of equilibrium. I’ve had to do that over the course of making this quilt so it seemed to be the most appropriate name I could give. :)

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)”
-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Finished | Balancing Act

Quilt Details:
Finished Size - 58″ x 70″
Techniques – Machine pieced, matchstick quilted with straight lines 1/8″ – 1/4″ apart using a long arm quilting machine, binding stitched down by hand
FabricsModa Bella Solids in Horizon Blue, Blue Chill, Blue Raspberry, Thistle, Lavender, White Bleached, Backing in Lizzy House Jewels in White/Blue

WIP Wednesday | Experimentation

Before I show you what I am working on this week, I want to mention that for some reason your comments aren’t making it to my inbox. Blerg! I didn’t realize there had been new comments on the last few posts so I haven’t been able to respond by email, so sorry!! I’m trying to figure out what changed so in the meantime, I am replying back to anyone that commented on each post. :) Hopefully, I’ll get it fixed soon. *crosses fingers*

Now…onto something more exciting! This past weekend, I spent some time with friends for an extended sewing weekend it a cute little log cabin near Houston. It was such a blast! So much fun hanging out, eating good food, sewing up all kinds of pretties. My bestie came with, but she doesn’t sew…she draws and paints and does all kinds of cool stuff with markers. There was one sketch in particular that caught my eye…and someone laid down the Double Dog Dare to see if I could turn it into a quilt.
Melissa's sketch
Never one to turn down a challenge, I immediately started making a list of all the ways possible to transform her sketch into fabric form without using applique. That was my only rule for myself since I felt like that was cheating. ha ha! Yes, I am weird like that.

The biggest hindrance we could see was that light highlighting in the center of each wedge. Recreating that was going to be the key to success. My solution? Create my own “fabric” by sewing all kinds of scraps together in a gradient to create a similar look with the lightest shades in the center then use that for the arcs. Since I happened to have some fabulous corals on hand, I promptly got to work. Here’s where it’s at right now.
Just a little experimenting before our retreat weekend ends...

It will take time to get all the sections made, but I’ll update as I work on it. I’m excited to see this transform into something cool. It could be an utter fail too…but it will be fun watching it happen at least. ;)