So long, farewell…

I’m off to a retreat with an awesome group of UBER talented ladies from the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild!  You think packing for a regular vacation is hard?  Trying choosing what to bring for a quilting retreat, and having this wonderful little rainbow to pick from:

Yeah, I know.  Way too hard to decide.  So I’m basically bringing everything (in true female fashion).  There’s a lot I’d like to accomplish this weekend, so I’m hoping to be held accountable through posting about it.  The last two guild meetings, I chatted the entire time and didn’t sew a thing!  If you know me that won’t surprise you.  Here are the things I’d like to get done during the retreat:

  • Kelly’s dresden block (for the guild bee)
  • Vicky’s star block (for my Modern Minx bee)
  • Melissa’s 9-patch block (for my friend and guild president who’s about to have a little guy)
  • Piecing all blocks for Caiden’s 1st birthday quilt (good friend Amiee’s adorable son)
  • Shhhhwoon blocks (I won’t try to explain what this means)

If I complete at least two thirds of this list, I’ll consider this weekend a success.  Either way it will be a blast.  Wish me luck!

When Quilting is Plain FUN

This, my friends, is the Octagonal Orb quilt block.

I’m in an online quilting bee (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, you can find out what a bee is here), and February is my month, so I chose this block for my quilt.  Seven people in the Quilts for Cancer bee have made their Octagonal Orb blocks for me so far, and they are looking really great together.  This one happens to be mine.

I decided as I was assembling this block that it is my favorite of any I’ve made.  This is saying something, because I love making pretty much any modern quilt block.  After completing a more improvisational piece like my Marbles quilt, this Octagonal Orb block reminded me that I’m more drawn to the therapeutic (for me, anyway) process of sewing in assembly-line fashion.  If you’re Type-A too, you’ll understand where I’m coming from on this.  There’s just something so satisfying about following instructions, step by step, to get to your finished product.  If you follow the instructions: success!  If you think you’ll skip over this, or over that: well, you get what you paid for.  I love small detailsI think they truly mean the difference between something good and something greatso this process is fine by me.

I really look forward to making more Octagonal Orbs and trying different color combinations within the “rings.” This block requires a little more TLC than most, so any quilt made up of these would certainly be extra special.  If you want to make one of your own, head over to Elizabeth Hartman’s blog** to check out the tutorial.

**Be warned: this woman is seriously talented.  Visiting her blog means you will undoubtedly spend several hours scrolling through her posts (unless you are nothing like me, because that’s exactly what I did the day I found her blog for the first time).  She is a serious inspiration to me.

Circles! Or balloons. Bubbles? No… MARBLES!

I am happy to report my first finished quilt of 2012. I don’t really have a cool name for it, I just sort of call it The Marbles Quilt. (Keep scrolling–I’ll explain.)

Most of these fabrics are from Amy Butler’s oh-so glamorous Lark collection, with a couple other basics thrown in there. The background fabric is Kona Ash.

The idea for this quilt arose from my desire to do something with circles. With the help of my circle cutter (holy COW this thing is awesome—it’s like a compass you used in grade school to draw circles, except it has a blade instead of a pencil), I sat and watched the Golden Globes while happily cutting dozens of fabric circles.

I painstakingly arranged, gathered, then rearranged my circles probably seven times before I settled on this.

The final circle layout reminds me of someone holding a bunch of small marbles in their hand over ocean water. When they start letting the marbles stream out of their hand and into the water, the marbles fall slowly until they hit the sand and eventually spread out and settle there. I realize these photos are exactly that, just upside-down, so use your imagination!

After attaching the circles one-by-one to my background fabric using spray adhesive, I FINALLY got to my sewing machine and used a zigzag stitch to sew around each circle (there were 54, I think).

The top was actually easy to maneuver through my sewing machine arm since it was only one layer (no batting or backing). I had so much fun sewing around these circles!

Here it is all sandwiched and pinned and ready to rock.

I free-motion quilted in a wavy/swirly pattern to sort of enhance that feeling of being in water.

The backing fabric is also from the Lark collection, and the binding is Essex Cotton/Linen blend in Carrot. I wasn’t crazy about the binding at first, but after a few extra looks and some helpful reassurance from a dear friend, I decided I’m in love. Funny how that works.

Overall, I’m really happy with the finished product and indeed feel beachy and cheerful when I look at it, which is exactly how you should feel when you think of, um, marbles and water.

Oh, hi.

What does one normally write for a first blog entry? A statement of purpose? An overview of what to expect? A deep and personal life story that ultimately leads to the reason for starting the blog?

I’ll start with a simple hello.

I can’t give you a proper overview of what to expect from the blog because I myself don’t know what it will become. I can tell you that, in general, this will be a crafty blog, and that the craft I will most often be posting about is modern patchwork quilting. Said crafty blog might also sometimes play host to entries about gardening, interior design, and the numerous beautiful and/or lovable things I encounter in the world.

I hope you’ll like it here and come back for a second visit.