what does modern quilter mean to you?

snake charmer hand quilting-3

I’m a little late on this, but this discussion has been going on over at the Modern Quilt Guild blog. Today someone posted a great recap of the discussion, complete with VERY cool pictures. I wanted to add my two cents to the din because, of course, I have an opinion. As usual.

I just got one of Nancy Crow’s books from the library (talk about ahead of her time!), and she was talking about how (in the early 1990’s) it seemed like everyone was using fusible web to put quilts together, and she thought that machine piecing might soon go the way of hand piecing and be a thing of the past. I’m so glad she was wrong and that today’s quilters have so many methods to choose from.

When I think about what it means to be a modern quilter, I think about my own way of picking and choosing methods. I like to see what’s available (taking classes, listening to lectures, reading a billion blogs), and then cherry pick what suits me best. As a member of a traditional guild and now the LA Modern Quilt Guild, I’m surrounded by quilt makers of all skill and experience levels. People who love tiny details and people who hate tiny details – only loving big (fast) results. Some people love the tiny details and still have big, fast results!

I think it would be wrong to say that modern quilters aren’t precise or meticulous, because I know that to be false. Although many modern quilts do end up with a free or even haphazard look. It took skill and planning to get them that way. An eye for color, a certain whimsy…whatever it is.

To me, modern quilters are this: the ones doing the sewing. That’s all of us. The ones who find the time in their busy lives to create beautiful, useful keepsakes. Fabric hugs for family and friends.

I do think that the connotation ‘modern’ represents a certain aesthetic: bold colors in prints and solids, large geometric shapes – sometimes off-set, good use of negative space. This is just what I think of. And in my mind’s eye – I see quilts made by Elizabeth Hartman and Ashley at Film in the Fridge and a whole slew of other quilters setting the internet on it’s ear with all their gorgeous pictures.

I also think modern can refer to the seemingly thousands of quilters coming together online, naturally grouping because of similar tastes and styles and using every bit of the current social networking technology available to share ideas and accomplishments. I love watching what’s happening and being a part of it!

Its a great time to be quilting. No time like the present!

LAMQG Saturday Sew

I had a ball sewing with the LA Modern Quilt Guild yesterday at the Saturday Sew. I got all 45 blocks done for my crazy nine patch (thanks to Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson! for the awesome tutorial.)

crazy 9 patch-1

Although, somehow, I managed to mix up the stacks and ended up with two of the same fabrics in a bunch of blocks. I’m still not sure how I managed that.

I had planned to forgo the lattice layout and do white sashing instead…to make the quilt bigger and to calm down the craziness of my blocks. But it turns out that they lose most of their charm with the white sashing, so I’m going with the lattice. I also think my mistakes are VERY hard to find in the lattice layout…not that my sister would complain about them anyway. And this is for her. I may still have to add a border to make it a good nap size quilt. We’ll see. What do you think?

With sashing:
crazy 9 patch-2

Lattice:
crazy 9 patch-5

I also got a couple of string blocks done for Urban Craft Center’s collaborative Haiti quilts. Thanks again to Latifah for picking up the fabric and instructions so I could participate!

Haiti blocks-2

revisiting hexagons

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After seeing this super cute picture on flickr and reading her comment about her whip stitches showing, it reminded me that I wanted to revisit the topic of english paper piecing verses simply sewing your hexagons together.

I’ve had hexagon templates available for download on here for a while now. I recently added a couple more sizes. I also added some triangles, but then realized that someone had requested diamonds, not triangles, so I’ll be redoing those :) But the triangles might be fun too – who knows?

ANYWHOO…here’s what I wanted to talk about. After I went through all the trouble (actually, not much trouble at all) of making those templates, printing them, cutting them all out, sewing a bunch into fabric squares using Sunshine Creation’s awesome tutorial, I found that although it was very neat (as in precise, not neat-o), it was too double-the-work for my taste. And when I went to sew together my perfectly neat little hexes with their papers inside, I could not hide the joining stitches, no matter how small my stitch, no matter what thread.

Finally, I ended up just tracing the hexes onto the wrong side of my fabric. I pin them together and and sew along my pencil lines using a running stitch. Super fast and easy. I think I’ll do a tutorial of my own. Maybe tomorrow…with pictures!

The back is a lot messier, but if you use a little Best Press or something, they’ll press right down.

Hexagons are so fun and come out so cute, but the papers inside is so much EXTRA work (to me.) Once it’s all said and done, I don’t think you can tell the difference. The picture at the top has one english paper-pieced flower – you can tell because it’s edges are turned under (bottom right corner). Here it is below and I think you can really see the stitches, which is annoying. The last picture shows the differences in the backs before pressing. But again, I used a little Best Press, and had no trouble getting those seams to lay flat.

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Katie Jump Rope spotting

That’s right, I’ve been at it again. I can’t help myself. And I’m not alone. There I was, watching The Accidental Husband, and the preview for The Maiden Heist comes on, and I see this image flash by. One internet search later, and wah-lah…for your viewing pleasure:

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Way to go, Ha Nguyen, Costume Designer! Great use of fabric :)

Munki TREASURE

Oh man. It’s been an exciting day. We were headed to the library, but instead, I thought, “hmmm, I wonder if Marshalls has any Munki Munki pjs anymore” because I had read a couple people found them there…

(FYI – my most favorite illustrator/fabric designer, Heather Ross, does the artwork for Munki Munki. The pjs are lovely, but retail for about $100 a set – something I’d never pay. Especially since I don’t want to wear them, I want the fabric they’re made of for sewing.)

Anyway, we hit the Marshalls in the next town, and I hit pay dirt. Five sets of pjs at $10 each! BARGAIN! Sadly, none of them fit me, but that’s okay, because I’m just going to chop them into perfect little pieces for lovely little quilts.

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One snag is that these five sets are the kind with the knit shirt, not the button up pj shirt. So I don’t know what to do with these shirts that are too small for me, and I don’t know if anyone will want them without the matching pants. But maybe I can do something with them also – the colors are great, and the knit is super comfy.

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We never go to Marshalls, so I didn’t realize that they have a toy section. So when I was done treasure hunting for pjs, my cute kid – who absolutely doesn’t need anymore toys, maybe EVER – got to dig through the piles of half opened toy packages to see what he could find. He ended up with a super cool Sand Man (from Spiderman) that has really bendy legs and arms. SCORE. Score for me, because it was only $5.

So after nap time, my husband says, “you know, I could use some cologne.” Really? Well, wouldn’t you know, they have cologne at Marshalls! So we head out to another town. No Munki Munki pjs to be found, but we did score some Ralph Lauren Blue for $20 and Mr. Fantastic and The Thing (Fantastic Four action figures – all with really bendy arms and legs!) for $7. Now I’m starting to really enjoy this, so we head to one more Marshalls.

PAY DIRT! I find two more sets of Munki Munki pjs – these with the button up top. Bicycles and Farmers Market! Super awesome.

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I also went crazy recently and got a bunch of Hope Valley and Nicey Jane – that treasure should be arriving in the mail in a couple days, and I can’t wait. The oranges and purples in Hope Valley are going to go perfect with my new coffee munki munki print. I see a fun coffee quilt in MY future. I think my poor sister may never get a quilt.

One last project that didn’t involve shopping. Actually, I did have to go to Home Depot, so scratch that. Anyway, I got a metal dowel and some cafe curtain hangers, and put up this handy ribbon holder. These spools used to be in the bottom drawer of a craft organizer that is really hard to get to. I also have a ribbon jar, for when I get yard cuts, but I think this is going to be a good solution for my spools. And it’s always fun to get out my drill :)

ribbon holder

some quilty goodness

I finished some sewing just in the st. nick of time. A tree skirt, thanks to Jacquie’s tutorial over at sewmamasew.com, an improved pillow from the scraps of the tree skirt, and a quick little blanket for the couch. The microplush blanket was only $5 at Walmart, then I sewed on some ribbon to make it more festive. I also whipped up 12 festive napkins and a couple trivets, but I forgot to take pictures of them. Now, they’re in the wash covered in mashed potatoes and gravy. Anyway, it was a whirlwind, but I’m happy with my efforts. Here are some photos.

And after you’re done reading my blog, head over to aquiltisnice.blogspot.com, for some eye candy.

tree skirt-1

christmas sewing-3

plushie blanket-2

Hope Valley

I’m sure you mod quilters  and crafters are all over this already, but it’s been a while since I’ve just wandered the internet in search of crafty goodness. Did you know Denyse Schmidt had a new line of fabric coming out? Put me on the waiting list, Free Spirit! This will be worth a trip to the Purl warehouse. Here’s what Denyse has to say about it. I think I’ll need to see it in person…the style is kind of 40s reproduction with a really unique palette. I’m loving the Piney Woods color family – here’s one swatch:

499 – Gems on the web

This is post 499! Eek! Kind of exciting :)

Anyway, some gems on the web: I’m dying to make this quilt. I think I’ve said this before…because someone else had a lovely cross quilt in red and white. But I just love Betty’s in pink and off white. Awesome.

I’ve been asked to make a purse for someone…I do enjoy making purses, but I make little fabric purses. Not nice, stylish leather purses that cool girls in NYC carry or care about. I’m not a cool city girl. I’m a plain homebody girl who likes to sew. ANYWAY, I’m going out on a ledge here and I’ve decided to make this purse, but without the bow. I’ll be using black linen for the main body, and I got a fun floral silk for the binding. We’ll see how it goes.

The best gem on the web these days is my main man Barack. So, if you haven’t read it, it might be wise to familiarize yourself with the health care plan he’s laid out…get it from the horse’s mouth, not the horse’s asses all over the tv.

My final gem for the day is this video…my college band from 1996. I’m in there somewhere, dancing my spandexed-ass off. If you have a spare 8 minutes, you’ll see a glimpse of one of the happiest times in my life. Yay Marching Knights! The Pride of Central Florida!

Quilt Show and Baby Shower

Fun time at the Long Beach International Quilt Show today. So much treasure seen, just a little purchased. There were some truly awesome quilts on display, but sadly, I forgot my camera. Well, I didn’t forget so much as I forgot to charge the battery beforehand. Anyway, I did take one blurry picture of my most favorite quilt of the day, Red Owls by Karin Pierce.

Red owls by karin peirce

And here’s an even blurrier picture of the whole quilt.

Red owls by karin peirce

I’m not sure where my love of owls comes from. It may stem from my lifelong need for glasses. Or my total acceptance of my own nerdiness. HOO knows :)

I also finished a sweet little baby quilt for some good friends of ours. They had the most kick-ass baby shower this weekend. There must have been 100 people there – and that was only the wife’s family. They’re having another shower with the husband’s family in a few weeks. I can’t imagine that they need ANYTHING else for that baby. I’m so happy for them that they got so much loot.

So here was my contribution. A little quilty, based on these by Ashley over at Filminthefridge.com.

Daniel's quilt-01

Here’s the back:

Daniel's quilt-03a

I also made a couple “everything” cloths – cloth diapers with cute dino fabric down the middle…

Daniel's quilt-04

And wrapped it all up in cute drawstring bag.

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I was pretty happy with how it all came out. But I always feel wierd giving my cornball homemade gifts. Doesn’t make the making part any less fun, though.