Possibilities!

Over the past two weekends, Open Studios was held throughout San Luis Obispo County. Over 200 artists had their studios open to the public, and many of the artists worked on projects and/or demonstrated their craft. I got to spend a day with some fun new friends, going through studios in Los Osos and Morro Bay. So much inspiration, fun, and of course, laughter! I came home just buzzing with ideas! This is something that is done each year, and I highly recommend it! How lucky I am to live in a community that is so rich in artistic inspiration!

On Saturday, Scott and I went north to visit my niece’s family. We got to see her son play football on Saturday, then celebrated his birthday that evening. Almost all of the kids and parents from his football team came to the party. I had the best time with the young women, most of whom are young enough to be my kids! We laughed, I danced a little, we teased, shared stories, and by the end of the evening, they were all calling me Aunty Lynn. It was awesome! 

Yesterday, we drove on up to Santa Clara to attend the Pacific International Quilt Show. I’ve been two or three other times, and the show gets better each time. I love this show, because it focuses more on art quilts, quilts with unusual embellishments, quilts made from unconventional materials, and always has a special exhibit of quilts from around the world. Scott had never been to this show before, so it was fun to see him see it for the first time! He was constantly saying, “Lynn, come here!” I loved it! We were both buzzing with ideas and inspiration for new designs and fiber adventures! 

Okay, I’m just a little bit excited about the central coast’s first Modern Quilting Friendship Group sew-in tonight! We have 20 confirmed, and who knows how many will pop in! The ladies at Picking Daisies have been so great about accomodating us! I can’t wait to see what this enthusiastic group comes up with! 

For the first time in a very long time, I feel creative, inspired, and joyful, right down to my very toes! It’s been a rough few years, and I’m so grateful for a renewed spirit and so many new possibilities! If I didn’t have a lot to do to get ready for tonight, I think I’d be covered in fabric, ink, dye, beads and baubles by the end of the day! There’s always tomorrow!

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Madrona Road Fabric Challenge

I’m in the midst of making blocks for a quilt I’m doing for the Madrona Road Challenge sponsored by The Modern Quilt Guild. Michael Miller provided fat 1/8th bundles to MQG members that wanted to participate. Participants can make anything they’d like to. The only restrictions are that we can’t add any patterned fabric outside of the Madrona Road fabric line. Any solid color can be added to the project. The Flickr group for the challenge has some awesome projects already posted! I’m working on a baby quilt. Of course, I bought some extra fabrics, so I may go a little bigger if I have time. The reveal for the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild will be at our February meeting on the 16th. It’ll be fun to see how other members used their bundles! Here are the blocks I’m making. The pattern is called Cartwheels and it’s by Freshly Pieced.

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Checking In

When I started this blog, I seriously intended to post on a regular basis and to carve out time to explore new, creative things. Great intentions, not enough time! Since I blog for the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild, it seems that I’m all blogged out at the end of the day! I do have a lot of things on my mind that I’d like to share and start writing about, so I’ll just have to put that on my calendar. If I make lists, I tend to get more done. Blogging for myself is going to go on that list! 

For today, I’m finishing up my entry for Quiltcon and hoping to have lunch with a friend. Then I’m taking the weekend off! I’ve had a terribly rough couple of weeks with my RA, so I need some down time to give my body a chance to rest. May you all have a wonderfully, blessed day!

It’s Never Too Late to Dream

I’m so excited! Modern Quilts Unlimited is a new magazine that is due to be in my mailbox any day. It is the premier issue, and I had the pleasure of writing an article about our Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild. I have dreamed of having an article or story published, since I was a little girl. I used to write a lot of short stories, and I’d fantasize about seeing them in a magazine. As I grew older, got busy, married, raised my boys, established a business or two, those childhood dreams disappeared into the past. From time to time I’d think about submitting something to a magazine, but the traffic jam in my brain always kept me from giving it a try. Then one day I got a call from Vicki Anderson, telling me that she wanted to feature our modern quilt guild in the premier issue of her new magazine. She told me a bit about what she wanted to know, and I told her I’d call her the next day with some details. You know, answer a few questions, and that would be it. I sat down and started to jot down a few notes, then kept writing. By the time I phoned her, I asked if she just wanted me to type up what I’d written and e-mail it to her, thinking she’d edit it as needed. She thought that was a good idea, and we began to chat about other things she was putting in the magazine and her vision for it. I got terribly excited about the whole thing! By the end of the conversation, she asked if I could write enough to fill an entire page. I said, “Sure!”, but my mind was thinking, “Oh crap!” You see, I can get terribly OCD about things, added to my artist ADHD, and it usually all ends up a train wreck in my brain. That’s where I get frozen, then just proceed to do something that I’m comfortable with instead of moving into unknown territory. Since I’d committed, and I really enjoy the subject matter, I spent most of the next day writing the article. I sent it to her, thinking it was a good article, but assuming that it would be edited, chopped up, whatever. I have no idea how magazines do these things, and I know it depends on space.

The digital issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited hit the online community yesterday. I got to see the article, and I was totally gobsmacked! It was kept as I’d written it, and my name is at the top of the page as the writer! Those of you who’ve experienced this probably think I’m an idiot, but it’s a big danged deal to me! It occurred to me that I’d just realized one of my long-put-away childhood dreams!  I’d kind of decided, after being kicked around by life a lot in the last few years, that it was a bit late to be dreaming. As Oprah would say, this is an “aha” moment for me. It’s a bit overwhelming, but in such an awesome way! Thank you, Vicki, for giving me the opportunity to push myself and remember that it’s never too late to dream!

I got to poke around at the rest of the magazine a bit, and I’m so impressed with the quality and content! I can’t wait to get my hard copy! Vicki Anderson and crew have done an outstanding job! If you don’t already have a subscription, you can subscribe at http://mqumag.com/subscriptions/  You can’t get the premier issue by subscribing now, but it will be available at Barnes and Noble and some quilt shops on November 1st.

Quilt for Collin

Collin is my youngest son. He is just about to start his last year of college, and I’ve been promising him a new quilt since the beginning of his freshman year. He has a quilt that I made him when he was about 12 years old and only about 5’3″ tall. It fit him perfectly, at the time. He’s now about 6′ 2″! This quilt was not actually meant for him when I made it, but after I’d completed the top, he claimed it. Good thing he did, or it would probably have never been finished!

I’d never made anything completely out of solids, and I was fairly new to the Modern Quilt Guild movement when I started this one. I was like a dog with a bone, I tell ya! I was terribly excited to get it sewn together at one of our guild sew ins! As per the instructions, the quilt was uneven at the bottom and needed to be trimmed. My husband has helped me to square up many backings over the past 8 years, so he knows what he’s doing when he’s supposed to hold the corners together. He also has the attention span of a gnat! Armed with a fresh blade in my rotary cutter, I sliced off the uneven parts on the quilt top. When he handed me the end of the top that he was holding, I saw that he hadn’t lined up the corners! After feeling like I was going to toss my cookies, cussing a blue streak, and breaking down in tears, the quilt went into the closet. And there is stayed. On one of his trips home, Collin was poking around in my “quilt tops to be quilted” closet. He asked if he could have this poor, unevenly trimmed, neglected quilt. I showed him how awfully crooked it was, but he didn’t care. What he cared about was the fact that it was long!  After many more months of nagging, I finally decided to see what could be done to salvage this project. Measure, mark, measure, mark and measure and mark again! I finally got the nerve to trim it again, and ended up losing about 6″! Not quite long enough now, I decided to add borders to it. Adding borders to quilts doesn’t seem to be the “thing to do” in modern quilting, but I tend to favor borders. For me, it’s like framing a picture. Besides, it added 10″ to this quilt! I finally got it quilted and the binding attached. My personal goal was to start the binding on the first night of the Olympics, and to finish it on the last night of the Olympics. Slow and steady, after all, wins the race! I put the last stitch in the binding, just as the closing ceremonies were ending last night. I’m pleased to say that when I hung the quilt on the fence this morning, I got a little chill! I’m so happy with it! I know where it looks crooked, but it’s not nearly as noticeable now that it’s quilted. It will be even less so, once it’s washed. I need to remember that! Had Collin not nagged the dickens outta me, it would probably still be in the closet, never to be finished. I would have robbed myself of the joy I felt this morning.

The quilt pattern is called City Scapes by Cherry House Quilts. The quilting pattern is called Geometric Path by Kirstin Hoftyzer, distributed through Digi-Tech. The thread is Superior Threads Omni, with Superior Threads So Fine in the bobbin. The batting is Hobbs 80/20.

Small Projects and Instant (Almost) Gratification

I’ve been busy with a lot of small projects lately, and I find the “instant gratification” aspect small projects, quite pleasing!

One of the things I wanted to do this year, was to participate in some online swaps. I knew that online swaps were a big part of the popularity of the Modern Quilt Guild. These online hosted swaps allow people from all over the world to participate! It’s like having a very large friendship group! So far, I’ve been in three swaps: Pillow Talk Swap, Pretty Little Pouch Swap, and the Denyse Schmidt Doll Quilt Swap. Here’s what I created for each swap:

The Pillow Talk Swap

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Pretty Little Pouch Swap

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Denyse Schmidt Doll Swap

I’ve enjoyed these small challenges and will do more of them as I have time. If you want to know more about how to get involved in an online swap, Megan wrote a great article about swapping on her blog, Fashioned by Meg.

Last weekend, I decided to play with a pattern I picked up at Strawberry Patches. It’s a very whimsical pattern by Tula Pink, and I thought I knew what fabrics I wanted to use with it. That was, until I went into Strawberry Patches and started looking at fabrics with a different perspective. I decided to use the new French influenced fabrics in the Penelope line. I was going to use a light-colored solid for the background, but decided to go a more dramatic route and used a charcoal colored Bella Solid that I found at Bolts to Binding. One crown down, 14 to go!

   

When Plan A Isn’t Working….

I don’t know about everyone else, but Plan A almost never works out for me. When beginning a project, I usually have a Plan A, B, C, D, and sometimes I get even further than that in the design process!

There was a time when, if Plan A didn’t work, the project went back into a bad, drawer, or shelf somewhere, never to be worked on again. Then I got involved with the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild and started researching what modern quilting was all about. The terms, refashion, repurpose, and reuse, are all very big in modern quilting. The more I learned about MQ, the more I started giving myself permission to screw up and NOT throw that project into the closet! I keep telling myself that mistakes are simply new design opportunities, right? Works for me!

Recently, I got interested into participating in a couple of online swaps. The first swap was called the Pretty Little Pouch Swap. I had never made a purse or pouch of any sort, and I hadn’t inserted a zipper into anything since high school! Needless to say, I was a little bit intimidated! So, on to Plan A for the PLP swap! I dug through my precious Kaffe Fassett fabrics and came up with Plan A. I was loving it until I posted a progress picture on the Flickr group for the swap. There were very few positive comments about it, because not everybody is a Kaffe fan. Okay, so where was my Plan B? Most likely, playing in the hall closet with all of the Plan A’s! After hours and hours of trying to come up with a Plan B, I got an idea. I could envision the general layout in my head, but had no idea how to execute it. Little by little, I let Plan B come to fruition. I loved the end result, and I learned that sometimes ideas need time to marinate. This was one of them.

Plan A Pretty Little Pouch Swap

Plan B Pretty Little Pouch Swap

I’ve decided to finish the first one and give it as a gift. The colors are brighter in person, and I know that the recipient of the pouch likes Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I also participated in an online pillow swap called the Pillow Talk Swap. I didn’t start with a Plan A. I bought the fabrics, then let several ideas marinate for a while. This was the end product, inspired by Victoria at Bumble Beans.

The next swap deadline is right around the corner. In this one, we are making and swapping doll quilts. They are to be made out of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and measure no bigger than 16″ x 16″.  Plan A was absolutely fabulous, in my head! Once it was on the design wall, it stink, stank, stunk!!!

  

After my friend, Pam, posted a picture of a paper-pieced braided star block she’d made, I had my Plan B!

This was such fun to make! I need to add a 2″ border and quilt it, then it’ll be off to my swap partner! If you want to make this block, you’ll find the paper piecing template and tutorial at http://www.add-crafter.com/2012/04/basketweave-braid-star-block/

I can’t leave you without a picture I took this morning, after this danged cat woke me up so that I could open the shutters and window in my sewing room. This is his favorite place to sit in the morning.