Saturday, February 28, 2015

QuiltCon recap, Part 1: My days

I'm back! I think I've finally recovered from my QuiltCon high, so it's time for a few recap posts, don't you think? If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a few snippets of all the fun, but I was more interested in enjoying the experience than posting pics, so there's lots more to show.  Today, I'll give a little rundown of how I spent my time. I'll show off some of my favorite quilts from the quilt show in a future post, and I'll probably do a third post on the goodies I found/received.
I started my trip off with a bang, taking Elizabeth Hartman's Patchwork City workshop on the first day. As any casual follower of this blog knows, I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth's work, so it was so exciting to finally get to meet and learn from her. I tried to play it cool as much as possible. :)
As I expected, she's a great teacher, and I learned a lot of new techniques for freezer-paper templates and fussy cutting. It was also so helpful to get her input on fabric color selection and placement. I am loving where this quilt is going. We made three blocks from the book (I didn't quite finish my third one), and I can't wait to get back to work on this project. I'm planning to make the biggest quilt in the book, which uses all 75 blocks, so I better get started.
I finished the day off at the Moda Party, which was a great chance to chat with some new people. I also got to meet Faith from Fresh Lemons Quilts (who was also on my flight to Austin from Chicago) and Lee from Freshly Pieced, two of my favorite quilter/bloggers! On my second day, I started off with a special exhibit tour with Bill Volckening. He was fascinating to listen to and gave some great insights into the Gee's Bend quilts and 1970s quilts from his collection on display. I also went to two lectures by Heather Jones, on large-scale piecing and color theory, but I spent most of my day perusing the quilt show and vendors. I may have bought just a few things...
My third day was another workshop, this time with Lee Heinrich. The workshop was on advanced piecing techniques (paper piecing, partial seams) and focused on four blocks from her book Vintage Quilt Revival (another favorite around here).
Lee was super nice, and the workshop was really helpful, pushing me to try some totally new (to me) techniques and helping me to improve on some I've only done a bit.
I finished three of the four blocks, so I need to wrap up the last one and then decide what to do with them. I'm not sure if I'll finish the sampler from the book or maybe just turn these four into a table runner.
After the workshop, I went to the keynote lecture with the Gee's Bend quilters, which was fun and really interesting (though I wished we'd gotten to see more of their quilts!), followed by a super fun dinner meet-up with some of the other ladies from the STLMQG. What a great way to end the trip! I was up at 3:15 the next morning to fly home (Boo. But bonus -- Anna Maria Horner was on my flight to Nashville!), but I'm so glad I got to experience all the fun of QuiltCon this year.
P.S. You can check out some of the recap posts from the Modern Quilt Guild here and here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

QuiltCon prep

I'm leaving for QuiltCon in two days, and I'm so excited! This weekend, I decided I "had" to make a few more things to take with me, starting with a second perfect zip bag, this time for me (pattern here by Elizabeth Hartman). I love this bag.
The design was inspired by these awesome hexie pincushions from Modern Handcraft (you can see lots more in her IG feed). Last week, I purchased some beautiful wool-blend felt from the same Etsy shop she uses, Benzie Design, and I started cutting into it the day it arrived. The hexies on the front measure 1" across.
Originally, I wasn't  planning to do anything to the back exterior, but it seemed sad, so I made one super hexie (it measures 4" across) to brighten it up. This time around, I made the small "C" style bag with no inside pocket. It'll be just the right size to fit all of my sewing notions for the workshops. The background is Essex yarn-dyed in black. The fabric on the zipper stops is from Mochi, and the lining is a great teal heart and arrow fabric from Cloud9.
I also decided to make myself a few business cards, in case they came in handy. They list all of my social media info. I thought about making some fancy ones, but it just didn't seem worth it, so I designed them at home and had a few printed at a print shop. When I brought them home, Matt asked if I wanted to borrow his fancy metal business card holder. I smiled and said, "No, thank you. I'll make one." :) Because I need more excuses to sew, right?
I used this tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard. It worked just right to fit my 20 cards, though if I was making it again, I'd probably add 1/4" or so to all of the measurements, as it was a bit snug, and I actually had to unpick my original topstitching because it didn't leave enough room.
Along with my lanyard, I think I'm all set. Now I just have to finish gathering up my supplies for my workshops. Speaking of which, here's my schedule for QuiltCon:

Thursday: Patchwork City workshop with Elizabeth Hartman and Moda Party
Friday: two lectures with Heather Jones, plus quilt show and vendor shopping
Saturday: Piecing workshop with Lee Heinrich

I hope to see some of you around!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Zippy arrows

I was so excited to wrap up another small-ish project this weekend, my first perfect zip bag (pattern here by Elizabeth Hartman).
Elizabeth's pattern is extremely well written, and I can't believe I've never seen anyone else apply zipper tape using the method she suggests. Heck, I can't believe I never thought of it. But it's brilliant and works like a charm. I made the large style C bag, and this baby is no slouch, measuring in at 5" x 9" finished, which is pretty big for a zipper pouch. There's lots of room in there.
For the back, I continued the linen and arrow motif from the front. I also chose to add a zipper pull and an inside pocket.
In the pattern, the front of the bag calls for a patchwork section, though Elizabeth doesn't specify which design to use (she does include several examples of different styles). After seeing them all over Instagram lately, I decided to make a small raspberry kiss block using this tutorial from Wooden Spoon Quilts. She provides instructions for finished blocks measuring 4.25" and 8.5" square, but I needed a piece of patchwork measuring 6.5" square (unfinished), so I used the calculator she recommends to figure out my own cutting measurements. I ended up making a 6.875" (unfinished) square because 6.5" produced some strange cutting sizes, so I just trimmed the linen sashing a bit to accommodate the slightly larger patchwork. In case you're looking to do the same, here's what to cut for a 6.875" (unfinished) square:

For the center block, cut ~
4 - 2" background fabric squares
2 - 2" cross fabric squares
1 - 5" x 2" cross fabric rectangle

For the corner triangles, cut ~
2 - 4" squares, then cut along the diagonal to make 4 triangles

Then, assemble the block as outlined in the tutorial and proceed with your bag.
I used a variety of fabrics from my stash. The arrows are from Wild and Free, the blue grid and mustard lining are from Doe, the red is an old Lizzy House print, and I can't remember the names of the linen and aqua fabrics.
I love how they all play so nicely together. I gotta say, I'll be pretty sad to give this one away (it's destined to be a thank you gift for the friend who's housing me for QuiltCon!), but I bet another one of these lies in my not-too-distant future, this time for me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Check it off

It's been a busy week of sewing with lots of projects to juggle, so it was nice to mark a few things off my list this week and make some progress on a few more. First up, I finished my pincushion for this month's STLMQG swap, and I love how it turned out. You can see lots more pics and get all the info in this post.
I also finished two more small items from my WIP list. The first was another pillowcase for B's room. I made him one months ago and forgot to blog about it, but he was in need of a backup so we'd have one to use while the other was in the wash. I used up scraps from his nursery fabric and closed it with some snaps.
The second item was my lanyard for QuiltCon!! I missed out on the lanyard swap that took place over on Instagram, but I wasn't going to let that keep me from having a cute one of my own. I followed this tutorial from Procrasticraft, and it went together in no time. Happy colors!
I also started cutting more fabric for the Sorbet baby quilt that's next on my list (the pattern is from Vintage Quilt Revival). The colored squares have joined the low-volume ones from last week, so now it's time to start piecing a whole bunch of HSTs.
Last night, I started working on a zipper pouch that needs to be finished before QuiltCon, as it's coming to Austin with me as a gift. I'm making the large bag "C" from Elizabeth Hartman's perfect zip bags pattern, and so far, it's going quite smoothly. I used a raspberry kiss block for the patchwork on the front, and it's all ready for assembly, hopefully tonight.
Finally, I also finished cutting all of my fabric for the workshop I'm taking with Lee Heinrich at QuiltCon. I couldn't decide on a final plan for the blocks we're making in the class, so I decided to just use some solids left over from my Texas Forever quilt. I think they might become a new table runner when everything's done. I still need to pick out my fabrics for my Elizabeth Hartman workshop, so hopefully I'll get to that this week. So what's on your list?

The neverending (and usually growing) to do list:
Pincushion for STLMQG swap
QuiltCon zipper pouch
QuiltCon lanyard
Sorbet baby quilt
Hazel the Hedgehog baby quilt (I'm planning to follow along with Gnome Angel's quilt along starting in February.)
Pillow for B's bed
Superhero cape for B
Sorbetto shirt (in time for QuiltCon??)
Mini quilt for the Cotton + Steel mini quilt swap (Yay! I got my partner today!)
Aviatrix Medallion quilt
Swoon quilt
Patchwork City sampler quilt
Quilt for guest bed (maybe the Spiced Chai quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival??)
Sunset Tiles quilt (from Scraps Inc.)
T-shirt quilt
Sewing circle tote
Re-cover the downstairs chair
Ironing board cover
Washi dress/tunic
I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced