Here’s another version of the Perfect Zip Bag, the pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman. This is based on Style B, but I had to make size modifications so that it would fit my 2013 agenda. I based the colour palette on the agenda, which must be my colours for the year, since my new wallet is somehow matching.
Once I had determined the size for the pieces, I made a few improv patchwork pieces that fit the dimensions. I made a few mistakes with my calculations initially and had to add on a bit here and there, but since it’s all patchwork, you’d never know that. I’ve been missing my Sunday Patchwork routine for a while now, so I’m trying to find a way to get back into the habit.
This year I’m also trying to balance electronic organization with good old fashioned pen & paper. I have a bunch of good apps that I use to make lists (Things & TeuxDeux) and I just added MailTags to my Mail program to help tame my inbox. At the end of the year, it’s nice to have an agenda filled with notes and lists and little bits of memories. I’m making an effort to write things down, especially personal stuff and it feels nice to have that back in my life.
I love improv patchwork so much. Right now, I’m loving sharing it with my new Improv Patchwork class. Working through these techniques with a group is incredibly inspirational. I’m learning so much and having so much fun seeing what everyone creates. I made two blocks during class this week that I’m really excited by. Both of them are outside my usual colour palette, which makes them even more awesome to me.
I’m especially smitten with the pink and cream block. I can’t stop staring at it. I’m pretty sure this is the start of something bigger.
I was thinking about herringbone the other day and wanted to see what it would look like in patchwork. I’m going to try some more, but I’m liking this idea a lot! This version is very random, but perhaps more organized and with high contrast fabrics, next time? This block is still a work in progress. We’ll see where it goes next.
I very rarely plan much when I sew improv patchwork. I know that some people will draw sketches beforehand. But I really like to just see what happens. Sometimes when I set out to create something specific, something totally different will happen. Like the last block, for instance. That was not even close to what I was trying to do, but sometimes you just have to listen to what the fabric tells you to do. There are so many happy surprises with improv.
p.s. Look for my improv patchwork class coming in January. (!!!!!)
Here’s my improv patchwork from Sewing Summit. Half the scraps for this came from Amanda and the other half came from Lizzy, who let me & Katherine dip into her collection for some bits we wanted for our stash. I really like sewing with other people’s fabrics. It’s fun to sew with fabric that I might not normally use.
I’ve been a bit afraid of free motion quilting. Okay, ALOT afraid. So far all the machine quilting that I’ve done has been straight lines, using a walking foot. I mean, after all the time that I’ve spent putting together a quilt, the last thing I want to do is ruin it with some bad quilting. This is why I knew I had to sign up for the Free Motion Quilting class at the Sewing Summit.
Our teacher, Alison, showed us lots of examples of different styles of quilting and quilts that she had done. She gave us some tips and gave demos on her technique. Then we just had to go for it. We had quilt sandwiches to practice on. This is definitely the best way to learn. Practice on little fake mini quilt sandwiches! There was a lot of wonky stitching on my practice mini, but I really liked the look of the overlapping square pattern, so I kept practicing that pattern over and over. Finally, I just decided to just go for it. SCARY! If you look really closely, this quilting is hardly perfect. But it was really exciting to finally let go and stop worrying about how perfect my little squares are. From a distance, it looks pretty good. Of course, now I want to do all kinds of free motion. I’m going to stick to mini quilts for now, but I can’t wait til I am ready to tackle a larger quilt. Bring it on FREE MOTION!
The beauty of a mini quilt is that you work through a colour palette or style on a very small scale and feel like you’ve checked it off your list. It would be impossible for me to work out every colour combination I’m in love with as a full sized quilt. Plus, I’ve recently decided that my life needs a wall filled with mini quilts.
This melon and grey combination has made several appearances on my Pinterest colour board. (1, 2, 3, 4!) Grey plus anything is always a favourite for me.
I’m testing out some new ways of doing improv patchwork. For this piece, I made up a rule that I must use equal amounts of all the fabric I chose. I cut a strip of fabric that was 6″ x 2″ of each fabric and started sewing. I wanted to keep it really simple, so I didn’t chop up my sewing too much as I went along. I like how it just ended up being equal squares and rectangles. So simple.
I’m feeling like I need to be more experimental with my quilting designs. I have not yet braved the world of free motion. (soon!) So, I’m still exploring the world of straight lines. I decided to take out my Hera Marker for this and see how it worked for marking my quilting lines. It was perfect!! It allowed me to quickly mark my design with a ruler as I went along without leaving any chalk or ink lines behind. I was surprised at how well the indentations marked the lines for me. This is definitely a new favourite notion to use.
I finished this mini quilt in four days from start to finishing the binding. Wall full of mini quilts should be a breeze, right?
Sampler Quilt 2 class finished two weeks ago. It was a glorious ten weeks putting together this beauty of a quilt top. I don’t think I’m the only one from the class suffering from a bit of withdrawal. Thursday nights just don’t feel the same.
Johanna designed this next Quilt Sampler version to be bigger and more challenging. I do feel like I underwent some quilt boot camp and learned so many valuable lessons that will make me a better quilter. Firstly, I never fully understood the value of finger pressing and careful ironing. The wonkiness in quilt blocks is often created afterwards when you are moving your iron back and forth over your fabric stretching the heck out of it. Secondly, the miracle of spray starch. Starching some of my wonky blocks made them MUCH less wonky. I imagine pre-starching fabrics before you sew with them would also be helpful. (FYI: you will see starch on our shop shelves in the next few weeks!)
Sampler quilts are tricky, since there are so may different elements going on. I found myself trying to choose very plain fabrics and somehow, I hardly put any mustard coloured fabrics into this quilt. I really wanted to, but it just didn’t seem right. My fellow students, on the other hand, chose brilliant, bold colours and fabrics that I am totally in awe of. Spend some time checking them out here. Also, check out Katherine’s quilt top that I didn’t get a chance to photograph myself. They are all wildly different!
I spent one long night working on the back of my quilt. I decided to use my improv techniques to make something on a larger scale that would fit across the back. I used scrap pieces from four different fabrics to create that pieced bar. I’ve started to pay more attention to my improv process since I know so many of you are interested in how I do it. Perhaps with a bit of nudging there will be an improv class on our schedule.
The quilt is now basted and ready for quilting. I am going to do my best to get going on this sooner than later. I’m thinking some simple machine quilting echoing the designs will do the trick.