Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #3

Hello and welcome back for another SSR :) This past week I managed to make quite a bit of progress on the batik quilt. Right now it's ready to have the binding sewn on so hopefully I'll have it finished very soon. I'm preparing for a very busy next couple of weeks with my kiddos and their upcoming activities, which translates to my being the "taxi mom", so I'm not going to stress out too much if it doesn't get finished! Below are some progress shots from this past week....


But first take a look at this...
The photo below was taken Monday morning in the parking lot where 
my daughter goes for swim practice. 


A couple of weeks ago, on July 7th thanks to time and date stamp, I saw the beautiful painting below show up in my Pinterest feed. I saved the image so I could share it with my daughter Sofia who loves to paint. The morning I captured the parking lot photo I kept thinking about how familiar it looked! I had to show Sofie as we are always oogling over the incredible cloud shows we see. As I was showing her the picture it dawned on me why it seemed familiar so I scrolled through the photos on my phone and pulled up the painting image and at that point we both agreed that it had a similar look to the painting--palette and subject matter anyway. 
The painting is by artist William Hawkins who has a travel/painting blog over at
And, if you're in the market, many of his gorgeous paintings 
are for sale in his eBay Store.


Anyway, I thought that was a pretty neat story to record here in my journal. Sometimes we see things and then later see something very similar or vice versa. I know from experience that I sometimes create something that is inspired by something I've seen before and on a subconscious level that inspiration will manifest itself and it isn't until afterwards when the project is complete and I step back that I'll realize where it came from! 

Okay, moving along shall we...
Once I finished sewing up pairs of strips last week I needed to do a value check. It's not always easy to distinguish the value ranges in color so a simple trick to aid in that is to take a black and white photo as you can see below. Most of the time I set my iPhone camera to mono and just look through it and make adjustments where necessary, you know so I don't take a thousand pictures and add to the digital clutter I've already got going that needs to be cleared but will probably never be cleared and now I'm just running this already too long of a sentence on and on and adding clutter to this post in the form of unnecessary words. 


Below is a slightly different view in color.


As you can see in the photo below I made a few changes, mainly the yellows got rearranged. There's a design reason here. In my head it's supposed to represent an abstraction of rippled reflections. Once I was pleased with the placement of the strips they got sewn together into four vertical columns.


I was pretty certain with my original arrangement but was curious to explore a different design option just in case I was missing something, so I turned the columns and arranged them a few different ways, took some pics and then asked my #1 Fanboy (my dear husband) for his feedback. 


Lucky for him he agreed with my original idea so they got sewn up lickety split! 
Next I auditioned a couple different fabrics for the sky and still water...


I wasn't completely settled with the design. I thought it was a little boring. Yes, it's supposed to represent calm but rippled water BUT I thought it needed a smidge more movement, so I decided to slice it up into a few more columns. I'll admit it wasn't an easy choice to make because it would mean it would take longer to finish and I was kinda looking forward to moving on and then there's the whole what if this really mucks it up and it looks terrible, self doubt, yada yada, and then the whole, "Creativity takes courage" quote by Henri Matisse that I an artsy friend of mine posted on Instagram earlier in the week, and then...deep cleansing breath...then I reminded myself that it's just fabric for crying out loud, risks are fun!! And so, that's what I did...


Getting there...


Looking better...


Trimmed up and added the sky and some still water...


Next, I thought a scrappy binding would be a nice frame and of course, waste not want not!


For the quilting I kept it simple with gentle curves to accent the ripples.


I sewed up some more HSTs for the graffiti fabric project and I can hardly wait to start playing with arranging them, but first they be needing some trimming and there's quite a lot of them! I'm hoping this new rotating cutting mat, that I scored on clearance at Walmarts, will help speed the process!


Have a creatively courageous week and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #2

I mentioned last week that I started a new project with batik fabric after needing to purchase some very cute sailboat fabric from JoAnns and that my mind was racing with ideas upon seeing the sailboat fabric. I knew immediately I wanted to make an abstract improv-ish design and thought about simple squares and rectangles all stitched up and arranged much like the Crab Trap Quilt I made or a braided design, which I haven't yet tried, but decided to go with curved strips instead. My daughter Sofia swims for a local swim league and while she's at practice I usually go for a run to kill time. About a mile from where she practices is a beautiful park and a nature trail that runs along the Pithlachascotee River, try to say that three times fast! Locals just call it the Cotee River for some reason. Anyway, it's such a pretty area with quaint little beachy houses and boats of all sorts. I was inspired to go with gentle curves for the quilt because of the calm water and the colors from the rippled reflections that I see while running and listening to the sweet falsetto sounds of Sam Smith blasting in my ears. Last Thursday was a peacefully beautiful morning and I took a moment to catch a couple pics of the "inspiration" so I could share here in the journal.



The progress shot...just pairs for now. 


And...I really couldn't help myself but I started another project! 
This one with half square triangles and the graffiti fabric I bought from Mood Fabrics in NYC.


Goals reached from last week--worked on batik quilt.
I pulled fabric for the stitched canvas project but didn't work on it.
Decided to sew labels on later because, hand sewing takes a certain kind of mojo
 I was unable to muster last week, that's my story and I'm okay with it!
Started a new project--gotta love spontaneity! 
Goals for this week--work on batik quilt. 
Curves are tediously slow so that's all I'm going to pressure myself with!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #1

I've been thinking in order to keep myself a bit more accountable, and organized, in reaching my project goals maybe a weekly post would be more helpful than writing things down in a notebook. Looking back I've realized that the notebook really doesn't work for me. I like the idea of using a notebook, and I really tried this year, but only got as far as March in writing down my project goals. Using this online framework, I think, lends itself to my visual learning style and makes it easier for me to look back at the details of some of my projects. It's an online creative journal after all so why not use it that way?! For the weekly post I'll include finishes, progress made and the upcoming goals for the week. Okay, here we go!

Since the previous post I finished the little "Paradiso" quilt and listed it in my Etsy shop.
Still no progress on improv pieces or the stitched canvas piece.
Started a new project!
Ordered quilt labels from The Dutch Label Shop and they arrived yesterday--this is very exciting!
Worked on a Spoonflower project idea that's been churning for a while now in my head. More on that later after it arrives and I work out some details.


Paradiso Patchwork Match Made In Heaven Quilt





The new project shown here is in the very beginning stage--choosing fabric pairs. The fabric is from my quilty friend Julie who knows how much I love batiks! I wasn't sure when I'd ever use these strips but when I was in JoAnn's last week to look for embroidery hoops for my daughter, I had to take a quick stroll through the novelty section. Total no-no but...when I spotted the sailboat fabric my mind raced with ideas and so, I brought some home. Besides, with all the girly things I seem to focus on more often than not, I think a boy type project needs to happen. Yes, I'm using a validation technique to justify my purchase. ;-)


My new quilt labels! Aren't they pretty? 


Goals for this week:
Sew labels onto finished quilts.
Finish stitched canvas project.
Work on sailboat project.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Q2 Project Report and Life Event

Can you believe we're just over halfway through 2017? The year seems to be flying by at record pace! Kids have a way of keeping things busy that's for sure. I'm pleased with my progress on reaching several mid-year project goals. Both baby quilts that were started at the beginning of the year have been completed and the purple quilt, which was blogged about in the previous post. I never got around to blogging about the owl quilt. No, when I finished it I just listed it in my Etsy shop because I just didn't have time to chat about it here. 

Still working on the first improv project using Solvy blocks and started another improv piece (I know, I was bored with the first one and needed a break), then started a quick little patchwork quilt using a charm pack from the "Paradiso" fabric collection designed by Kate Spain  for Moda from my stash, which is almost finished as of this writing. 

The painted canvas project is still waiting to be finished. Speaking of canvas, I experimented with mounting the little Amish inspired quilt to a gallery wrapped canvas and I very much like the result. Not sure at this point whether I'll list it in my Etsy shop, as I'm really enjoying looking at it hanging on the wall in my sewing space for now.

Okay, so let's talk about the little owl quilt now shall we? When I bought the fabric I initially intended to make a whole cloth quilt out of it because of the scale of the print. However, when I finally got around to making it I realized that I should've bought a smidge more fabric to account for the orientation of the print. No big whoop really, I stitched on a couple of top and bottom borders to get it to the appropriate size and it was good to go. I used a scallop stitch for the quilting, which accented the owls feathers then threw in a few zigzags to accent the chevron metallic fabric. I really didn't have the "right" fabric for the binding in my stash but I found a great clearance fabric at JoAnn's for $3 a yard, and ya I bought what was left on the bolt because, well $3 a yard?! 

To finish the binding I used a slightly different method of machine finishing that I now LOVE, thanks to a discussion I had with my sweet quilty friend Julie. With this method there isn't any "blind" sewing and hoping you get it right, no this finish is intentional and uses the stitching on the other side as a design element! Score! I'll attempt to explain how I did it in the photos below...

First, attach your binding. Hold up, no, first you need to decide which side of your quilt you want to attach your binding to. Why? Because, when you are finished you'll have a line of visible stitching and you need to decide if you want that "design element" to be on the front or back. Savvy? Okay, here we go. After your binding is on you'll want to press it away from the quilt then fold it over and press it really good, you could even use a bit of starch. Also press your corner miters in the direction you want them as if you were hand finishing. On my quilt I chose to attach the binding to the front and fold over to the back so my design line would show on the front.


Now fold over your binding and put under your foot for stitching. I used my stitch in the ditch foot and then moved my needle to right just slightly so I could stitch as close to the edge as possible. This is the magic step people!! You can see exactly where your stitches are going to be and your line on the other side is intentional! Why is this exciting? Because, with this method there aren't any missed stitches that run off the binding because you can't see them! Also, I chose not to start in a corner but just a couple inches away so I wouldn't have a bulky start. When you do get to a corner just sew a stitch or two past and then pivot your needle and keep on going!


Below, you can see the stitches on the binding on the back of quilt are consistent and close to the edge and the design line on the front looks nice and clean.


Of course, it got all the final photo treatment due to a finish
 and modeled by one of my favorite quilt models! 
Up in a tree where an owl would be.
Owl Always Love You Baby!




Progress shot of the "Paradiso" patchwork quilt. 
Binding just needs to be finished.


The Amish inspired mini quilt mounted on canvas. I found several examples on how to do this via Pinterest and used a tutorial I found on the Serendipity Patchwork blog as a starting off point. I looked for a 12x12 black canvas so I could be lazy and skip the painting and waiting part but was unable to find one. Not that I don't want or like to paint, I want to paint more often, but I was really excited about getting this done! So, I painted the canvas black, the whole thing! I don't know, I just couldn't paint the edges and leave an unfinished space behind the quilt--that would drive me nuts knowing it was unfinished underneath and what if I ever want to remove the quilt? Well,  to ease my unfinished project anxiety I did it so it would be ready for another project if ever that was the decision! Oh, but what about the holes along the edges from the needle you ask? Well, those could be covered by ribbon or some other something...Okay, moving on, I had already added a binding before ever thinking of doing this so I stitched in the ditch along the binding seam with black thread.  Worked swimmingly! To finish I tied off at a spot behind the binding between the quilt and the canvas top. 






Here's a peek at the new improv that I started using a Solvy block...


And here's the status of the one that I needed a break from. It's been like this for several weeks now. I walk up to it every now and again with my ruler to decide where I should slice next and then I back away and pretend it's not really there...and you know what? I'm totally okay with that. 


I mentioned something earlier in the post about how kids can keep things busy, right? Here's the life event part of the post...On May 13th, on the feast day and 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, our daughter Phoenix was received back into the Poor Clare community in Barhamsville, Virginia. I mentioned back in January that she was continuing her discernment and was working as a CNA at a local nursing facility. Just a few weeks after writing that post she told us that she believed her discernment was leading her back to monastic life. Having returned she is once again with her twin sister Cheyenne, who returned last year on August 15th. While the monastic life is hard they have both expressed their joy of once again being a part of the community. We miss them both but are happy for them that they are following the path they believe is right for them. In the photo below, Phoenix is being welcomed by Cheyenne, wearing the same dress Cheyenne wore for her re-entry, and then to the right is a photo of her after donning the postulant garments.


And here they are just before we left to head back home,
from the left, Postulant Cheyenne, Mother Abbess and Postulant Phoenix.


As always, thank you for stopping by!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Purple Convergence With Orange

A purplely, purplelicious finish and a whole lotta pictures with the fancy camera, because that's all part of the artsy fartsy fun for me! I started this quilt back in December of 2015 after having purchased a Kona Cotton roll up of "Fields Of Iris" in March of the same year. I was inspired by two different quilts, the Fiesta Wall Quilt and the Mosaic Flood. When I started the quilt the center piece wound up being twice as large, much larger than I wanted, so I cut it in half and made a baby sized quilt that was donated to the Bay County, Florida chapter of Project Linus in February 2016--pictures of that quilt are at the bottom of the post. I have to say this quilt, so far, is my personal favorite and is reflective of the style of quilt making I'm most drawn to. My sweet quilty friend Julie did an amazing job with the quilting on her longarm machine incorporating "graffiti" style quilting in the center with wavy and straight lines in the borders. As much as I love, love this quilt I have made it available for purchase, with a requirement that it go to a home where it'll be thoroughly loved, in my Etsy shop, DolceQuilts. 


We've had so much rain here lately that I had to wait a couple 
of days before I could do a proper photo shoot. 
This morning was glorious so I grabbed one of my favorite 
quilt models and off we went to a beautiful nearby park.


Always an adventure...












In case you missed the purple toes...


One of my favorite Ikea fabrics was used to piece a back together...



Model looking away pose...






See the sandy purple toes...



Turns out, she loves it as much as I do!


The toes were totally not planned, by the way...


I almost machine finished the binding, because it took me two months to get the mojo to get to it after it was stitched on, but I'm happy that I took the extra day to finish it by hand. Don't get me wrong, I like machine finished binding and use the method a lot, even on larger quilts sometimes, but I prefer the look of a hand finished binding and really thought this quilt needed the seamless, clean look.




On our way home I couldn't help myself to an "under the bridge" adventure, had Red Hot Chili Peppers playing earlier and well, it was there. Look at the concrete design!






And the baby quilt, modeled by another favorite quilt model...




The Project Linus Ladies, Marianne and Nancy.


Thanks for stopping by and making it all the way down here! :)