Saturday, June 8, 2013

Round Robin & Other Sewing Projects

It's been a very busy couple of weeks, with lots of special family gatherings & need to finish projects.

First up: the quilt for I made for my niece Abby's wedding to her new husband J.R.  So searching just now, I find I took NO pictures of it after I finished it????!!!  WHAT!!!  I took a million of the next one.  Not sure how this happened.  I think I had it ready too early.  Showed it at guild in early May, all finished, sitting, ready to go.  But not photographed??  I have one photo of the top on my design wall, but not one after quilting.  Thankfully I did show it to my brother & his wife when they were visiting, and got this nice picture from him.  Plus, you get to see my adorable newphew!

 The pattern is from Tula Pink's book & is called "Stacks".  It was a lot of fun to make.  It's sewn in blocks that consist of 5 different pieces & you combine them in different, random ways.

Then, the pressure was on to get this group quilt quilted, bound & label made & attached..  My group, The Chickens, each made 2 improv log cabin blocks & a tree, all different.  I designed the arrangement & put it together.  Our friend & member, Jackie, celebrates a big birthday in the fall, and since most of The Chickens would be in one place at the same time, we gave it to her early.  Alas, I could not be there, busy with several family events, but I was told she was very touched & loved the quilt.  She called me from Torch Lake to thank me for my work on it.  The block at the bottom right hand side was made by Diane Ladue to represent Torch Lake.  It has graduating shades of blue to represent a very deep and long lake.  I thought it fitting that the trees be 'around' the lake.  Don't you just love how quilts look photographed outside?  Nothing quite like natural lighting & green grass, trees & shrubs!

Below are blocks I continue to work on from a workshop with Anita Grossman Solomon, "Arrowhead".  She has a great technique for this where you sew two pieces of fabric together & then cut it in a particular way to get the block pieces, which are then assembled & trimmed to size.  It's very fun!

Finally, a lesson in 'don't wait til the last minute'.  My Modern Quilting Group, Detroit Area Modern (DAM) Quilt Guild, has an on-going Round Robin Exchange.  These projects are stored in pizza boxes donated by our wonderful local quilt shop owner Nanci Merecki of Guildcrafters , who is also a member of this chapter.  She's been a big support, allowing us to meet at her shop for free & also we will now have some sewing days there as a guild, also for FREE!

Participants in the Round Robin came with a starting piece (I wrote about this event in an earlier post & showed my 'start') and they are being exchanged each month.  You do whatever type of 'add' to it that you would like, be it a border, blocks or round.  I got this one on the 2nd exchange & was quite frankly flummoxed.   Well, at first I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do.  It didn't work the way I hoped it would.  Twice.  I was well on my way to a 3rd attempt of the SAME IDEA, when my husband's words rang in my ears.  "Well at least you know what DOESN'T work & can stop banging your head on that wall" and gave me a 'work' story about how they go through that process all the time. Sometimes things people say to me have to 'set' awhile in my head.  Then comes the famous 'a-ha moment'.   At last.  Duh!

So the other funny thing here is the pizza boxes for storage.  I heard about this idea many, many years ago & have done it, but not for awhile.  They are a great size for storing a project, and if you have blocks, the boxes are large enough to not have to fold the blocks.  You can write on top or the side the project name & they are great to store.

BUT.  They are PIZZA boxes.  We were also having a potluck that night, so we hurried in from the parking lotfor our potluck, each clutching a dish to pass & our project pizza box.  But we ALL mentioned a longing for pizza that the boxes made us feel---what, NO PIZZA?????

So once his words sunk in, I did some more idea brainstorming & came up with this addition, the tree & bird I appliqued to the left side.  Voila!!!  Now I was a happy camper!!

 Since my main purpose in blogging is talking about the creative process, it's a good time to discuss that process as it went here.

First, I hit the books.  Got out some of those beautiful books I just HAD to have & flipped through them.  Looked at layouts, block ideas etc.  A small kernel of an idea.  THEN.  On to Pinterest.  Did you know you can search there for a topic?  I searched 'garden quilts' first & came up with lots of photos.  The important thing to note, is I don't COPY anything.  I use it for INSPIRATION. Hmm....birdhouses....hmmm....birds..... Look at layouts, blocks, border ideas.  Then start drawing.  I ended up happy with what I drew out & figured out how I was going to actually make it.  Nothing fancy, no Baltimore Applique here.  I wanted fresh, fun, modern, clean.  I thought the paper piecing was beautiful, but precise & detail oriented & that the next step needed to create some empty space, be a larger, simpler design.  I think it worked well.

But don't do it at the last minute.  Too much pressure!!