Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lavender Lemonade

I talked about my quilting style in this post, and if there was a quilt that ever defined my process and style, it is this one!

I started with the idea of wanting to create 4 columns. I wanted it simple, clean, straight-forward, but with a few fun details. So I decided each column would have some element that made it different and became a sort of focal point.

I threw my 3 favorite blocks in the mix-- the plus block, the wonky star, and one big ol' lone goose. And then I felt I needed to dial down the 4th fun block, so I did simple strips.

I kept adding different fabrics as I went. I wasn't sure if I wanted to add a white border, and then decided rather than do it, I could do a simple white binding for the same effect of framing, to not detract from all the color and pattern.

Also, I'd like it noted that I am out on the peripheral of the Purple Objectors club. It's not my favorite color, but I don't have the amount of dislike that many of my friends have for purple.

Lavender, however-- that's a whole different ballgame. I like lavender. (gasp.) And I love how this turned out. Am I allowed to say that without sounding boastful? I only mean that I don't always know if I am going to like something, especially when I am playing with color in a way that is not typical for me. As I was stitching, I had a lot of "eeehhhhhhhhh.....not so sure about this one...." moments, only to be very pleasantly surprised in the end.

I really like lavender when paired with another color. In this case, that rich golden yellow. In fact it might be favorite pairing. I am thinking Amy Butler agrees, because she is the genius behind that beautiful big floral print at the top of the 3rd row. Also, can we just take a minute to appreciate the beauty in the names of Amy Butler's fabric lines? I mean- Eternal Sunshine (YES!! I would like some eternal sunshine, please! Sign me up for some of that!!), Dreamweaver (what a lovely title!), and Bright Heart (I will take a bright heart, also, please!).

I added this one to my shop, and now I am needing to make a quilt just like this, but with different colors I would not normally use.

Linking up here:

My Quilt Infatuation

quilting style

I  am obsessed with quilting books, and quilting magazines, and quilting blogs. I love reading about quilters and where they get inspiration from, how they differentiate their work, and I really enjoy hearing about their tips and tricks and favorite tools of the trade.

When reading these articles and books, quilters are often asked to define their style. That question has led to much self reflection for me. How would I define my own style, which category do I fit into? It's an interesting question, and one that is both worthy of an answer and also impossible to define- at least personally.

Some of the conflicting thoughts in my head:

  • I have an etsy shop. So it is sort of important to loosely categorize myself, if only for the sake of a well-worded "shop description". 
  • how can I use a word or two to sum up how and what I create? what is general enough that it encompasses an evolving style, but specific enough that people know how you approach creativity?
  • even if I settle on something, I inevitably create something that directly contradicts what I just described my style as
  • can you be 5 opposing ideas all at once? I mean, I know you can because I am, but is that a style??
See. Impossible.

What I settled on: my style is modernish (emphasis on the ISH), as I need white/negative space and balance, what I create tends to have a simple and easy feel, with a nod to traditional and vintage design,  whimsical in layout and fabrics, but without being overly fussy or complicated.

Ha!! So where does that leave me? No idea.

My style mirrors my process. Constantly evolving. I start with a relatively small idea, usually color palette or pattern. I gather fabrics and get to sewing. 95% of the time, I add more fabrics as I go. I embellish upon my original idea, making a pattern larger, tailoring it back some, adding a new element, or throwing in a different color. What I end up with usually looks sort of like the idea I started with. I know "improv" seems so cliche and trendy, but honestly, the way I create is improv from beginning until the I stitch that last seam on the binding.

This quilt below illustrates what I mean. It began with an idea I had while laying in bed. I knew I wouldn't sleep until I got it to paper. I got up and drew it out, and then started grabbing fabrics- at midnight, mind you. I started with only lavenders. And then added in pinks as I built it. I love log cabins (a very traditional design) but used it only for construction, and not a complete design. I needed negative space- the white border. Simplicity-- a pretty clean and straight forward design. A little whimsy thrown into the binding, when I used a few random strips of fabric, and in how I quilted it with organic lines, varying the spacing.

So now if anyone asks me how I would describe my style, I can pull this post up and remind myself what I decided! haha!! 

Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, March 20, 2017

Big ol' Liberty Star

Let me just take a moment to digest the fact that a few weeks ago, I said (out loud) I want to get back to blogging, because it lets me get my thoughts out, documents things I don't want to forget, and just feels good to share and throw my hat into the quilting/raising children/navigating life ring. And I am actually doing it. I mean, I say I want to do a A LOT of things.... haha! So high fives to me for actually doing what I say I want to do. (for now, at least....cough cough).

On to my big ol' Liberty of London star.

The origin of this was wanting to create a very minimalist design to really showcase this beautiful Liberty of London lawn print.

My husband bought me that, without any guidance, on a trip to Seville, Spain last fall. When we visited Spain last summer, we had intended on visiting this amazing fabric shop he had told me about (he goes to Spain often, and loves exploring Spain in between work stuff) that was 3 levels and packed with beautiful fabric. Well, my kidney's had a different plan for me and I ended up spending my birthday in a hospital in Spain, so I missed out on the shop. But every time he has gone since, he ventures out and brings me back different Liberty prints. He is more than I deserve, that's for sure.

Okay, back to the star. I wanted a great big wonky star set in white. Once the star was done, I decided I wanted to go a little further and either 1- frame it in linen, and then echo that frame in a soft shade of pink, or 2- do a few more wonky stars in a smaller size off to the bottom of the big Liberty star.

I shared as much on Instagram, and my quilty peeps weighed in and the verdict was more wonky stars. 

So that is what I did. Starting with 2 linen stars, in a smaller size.

Yall. Liberty and linen = a match made in fabric heaven. I don't believe in arranged marriages, but I believe in this one. 

For the smaller stars, I debated either doing the 2 smaller stars on the top left corner of the big star- this option would have been MUCH easier for me. Or. Removing that white rectangle by the 2 linen stars and putting the 3 smaller stars across sort of staggered on an angle, with the middle of the 3 stars being where the white rectangle was.

I didn't want to do the second option. That would either require Y seams - NO. NO. NO.- or a lot of seam ripping and a lot of math to calculate sizes to get it how I wanted it to look.

This is where I had the epiphany that I have on just about any quilt I am working on that isn't basic patchwork. The epiphany that reminds me -- It would have been much simpler and less stressful and easier on my brain had I just developed a plan and worked out design BEFORE I started. Shannon and the Hard Way, working hand in hand since 1977. Seriously. 

So, since I am DEATHLY ALLERGIC to Y seams, (I have a note from my doctor),  I seam ripped and did the math and then stitched it all, and realized my math was wrong so I seam ripped again and then stitched again. UGH.

But-- I got it! It ended up resembling the idea in my head. The third idea, in case you're keeping track.

Whew. My brain needs a trip to the spa now. That said, there is something very Tom Hanks in Castaway "I HAVE MADE FIRE!!!!!!" about having an idea and figuring it out all on your own. There may have been some chest beating and emphatic gesturing at my quilt top and some "Looookkk what I have created! I HAVE MADE FIRE!!". (p.s. I do this any time I figure anything out, so it's probably lost its luster on my family and I am sure they are soooo over it. oh well.)

I added borders, and voila! A completed top. Just need to figure out how I want to back it, and I am all set. I decided this one needs a linen binding!

If anyone is curious about star measurements or a general idea of construction, let me know and I can try and remember what I did. haha! A quick run down:

Liberty Star -- center block cut to 6.5 inches square; (4) white squares cut to 6.5 inches square and (4) white squares cut to 6.75 inches square, and (4) Liberty squares cut to 6.5 inches square. All of the star points squared up to 6.5 inches square. 

Linen Stars- center block cut to 3.5 inches square; (4) white squares cut to 3.5 inches square and (4) white squares cut to 3.75 inches square, and (4) linen squares cut to 3.5 inches square. All of the star points squared up to 3.5 inches square. 

Blue Star- center block cut to 2.5 inches square; (4) white squares cut to 2.5 inches square and (4) white squares cut to 2.75 inches square, and (4) blue squares cut to 3.5 inches square. All of the star points squared up to 2.5 inches square. 

Pink Stars- center block cut to 2.25 inches square; (4) white squares cut to 2.25 inches square and (4) white squares cut to 2.5 inches square, and (4) pink squares cut to 2.25 inches square. All of the star points squared up to 2.25 inches square. 

I was going to share how I make wonky stars, but a quick google search, and I found a wonderful tutorial already written on that HERE


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