Friday, September 19, 2014

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

Finalllllly done with this quilt! I spent forever and a day quilting this bad boy, but I think it's well worth it. This will be quite the photo dump of a post :)

dyed quilt 069 copy

As you saw in the sneak peek, I quilted feathers vertically throughout the red fabrics. I matchstick quilted between the feathers.

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

I think the feathers add a lot to this design! As my friend pointed out, it provides a nice contrast to the angular piecing.

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

I know now why Angela Walters is addicted to feathers. They are sooo enjoyable to quilt.

This isn't the best photo, but it shows you the overall quilting:

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

I learned how to quilt feathers from her Craftsy course.

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

I bound it in a Parson Gray fabric that mirrors both the masculinity of the quilt and the elegant nature of the quilting.

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

I had tons of fun quilting the white...

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

...but I got better photos of that in my previous posts (Graffiti Quilting: Motifs here, Quilting Away here), so I won't bore you with more.

One of the things I love about this quilt is that it looks great "in action":

Dyed: A Finished Quilt

Whew. Now I just need to decide what to do with it.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pin It Monday: Pineapple Style

Welcome to Pin It Monday!

Today, I'm shining the spotlight on a very special quilt by a friend of mine, Darcie. She pattern tested my Fire & Ice pattern, and also sewed one of the quilts in my upcoming book. She also bound a number of the quilts in the book for me (I think maybe 4 of them?).

Anyway, last week, she linked up a pin of her Sunset Pineapple Quilt. I wish I made this quilt.

Not as in, I want to make one now, but as in, I wish I was the one who had come up with this idea and made this quilt. It's brilliant.

Sunset Pineapple_cool front angle

Ombre + paper piecing = be still my heart. Darcie doesn't blog very frequently, but if you want to follow her, then you'll be the first to know the next time she unveils some more amazingness.

Sunset Pineapple_papers ripped off     Sunset Pineapple_glass test quilting

That is all. Link up your lovelies :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On (Im)perfection & Quilting

Let's talk quilting and perfectionism.

By personality, I'm quite the perfectionist. A few years ago, this was a much bigger part of my sewing life. Seams off by 1/16" of an inch? Rip out and resew!

And then I had a baby. And another. And another. Three little boys in 2.5 years. Time to rip out and resew for a 1/16th" mistake? Um yeah, no.

{Not perfect. Not even close.}

Some of you know that I've been working toward a more minimalist lifestyle (sewing room purge here, minimalism & quilting pursuits here). As I started this journey, I read The Joy of Less, by Francine Jay (Amazon affiliate link, disclaimer at bottom of blog). She wrote a section on perfectionism that really resonated with me:

"In 99 percent of the stuff we do, perfection is superfluous. It's not necessary, not expected, and likely won't be noticed or appreciated. So here we are, devoting extra time and effort to making everything just so - and nobody cares. It's actually a wonderful realization; because when we stop striving for perfection, we get our stuff done faster, and with greater ease." (chapter 29)

This really hit me. In quilting, like many of my other pursuits, I was striving for 100% accuracy 100% of the time. And you know what? It was completely unnecessary.

"I'm certainly not suggesting that you shouldn't have pride in your work, or put forth your best effort. In fact, doing a poor or sloppy job will likely increase the amount of work you do in the end - when you have to start over, make corrections, or apologize for your imcompetence. Rather, I'm saying there's a point of diminishing returns. Once you've reached 'good enough' - where the work you've done is respectable - there's often little point in pushing further toward perfection." (chapter 29)

I will say, I never would have been about to settle for a "respectable" level of work before. But having kids has pushed me to grow in a lot of areas, this being one of them. Yes, I'm always trying to become a better sewer and improve my accuracy and 1/4" seam. But I'm also learning to let go of my fixation on precision. I'm changing my definition of "good enough". I'm figuring out how to accept what I can do, rather than obsess over mistakes I just can't fix.

I would love my work to be perfect. But perfect isn't real, and it isn't realistic. 

So I guess, in a way, I'm proud of these mismatched seams. 
What about you? What role does perfection - or imperfection - play in your work?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coming Soon from Stash Books - Paper Pieced Modern: 13 Stunning Quilts, Step-by-Step Visual Guide

In January of 2012, I designed my first paper-pieced quilt. Little did I know what road I was embarking on.

Fire & Ice

I spent 5 months on that quilt. I wasn't perfect at paper-piecing, but I was learning. And I loved the control I had over the design and precision of the quilt. I could easily achieve shapes and points that would have been a pain to create otherwise.

Fire & Ice

More paper-piecing in my future? Yes please!

paper pieced pinwheel

A month later, I designed my Winter Trees block pattern (which, as you know, is now downloadable for free on Craftsy). It's crazy to think that I designed this block - that I'm using in a quilt now - two whole years ago!

Winter Trees

These two patterns marked a change in direction for me. I was delving into modern quilting, throwing myself into paper-piecing, and loved sketching up ideas in Illustrator. So I designed 15 quilts, pitched an idea, and got a book deal:

Pinch me, because this doesn't seem real.
This is a realization of so many dreams, so much work, and my head-first dive into modern quilting. We narrowed it down to 13 quilts and I got to sewing.

The quilt on the cover of the book is called Icy Waters. I was inspired by the thought of chunks of ice breaking off an iceberg in choppy waters. 

I have a lot of quilts that I make and think to myself, this is really cool, or, I really like how it looks. But this quilt? This one, I look at and say, this is ME. 

I can't describe where this quilt comes from really; it's from my heart. While this quilt expresses a concept, I mostly feel that it expresses me, and who I am, as a quilter. It seems, quintessentially, me.

This quilt is actually made from a single block pattern. It is simply rotated and reflected to look different. Fabric placement is key, and using the white fabric to cover more than one section of some of the blocks further creates the illusion that this is a very complex quilt.

And it is complex - and yet deceptively simple. Just one block.

I had two sources of inspiration, two muses, for this quilt - Tula Pink's Stardust quilt and Charlotte's Fracture quilt. These women possess true design genius and those quilts captivated and inspired me in a wonderful way. Without their work, I would not have been able to design Icy Waters. I cannot credit them enough.

I sent this quilt off to be quilted by the one and only Angela Walters. There are not enough words to describe how beautiful her quilting is. I'm totally in awe of her talent. The quilting elevated this piece to another level.

I'm so excited to share this project with you. This is my quilt, this is me, and it feels like I'm showing you a piece of my soul right now!

I can't wait for the book to come out and look forward to showing you all of the projects in it. I poured my heart into them and hope you love them, too. Before I wrap up, here's a sneak peek of another quilt in the book:

Paper Pieced Modern will be coming to stores in March of 2015. For now, you can pre-order a signed copy here or a regular copy here (Amazon affiliate link: see disclaimer at bottom of site).

This post is part of the Craft Buds Craft Book Month blog hop. For other posts, and information about prizes, see the announcement post.

Craft Book Month

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pin It Monday

Just a few quick notes today, as I'm busy working on my post for the Craft Book Month blog hop. Big finish to show you guys tomorrow! All of these projects are making me go a little crazy, and especially since I wanted to commit to a more minimalist approach to my number of quilting projects - well, this printable from last week's linkup is a must!

Quilt Progress Tracker

I've got two lists running - one for my active wips, and one for those which are gathering dust. Writing them down means I can't deny their existence. Ahem.

Quilt Progress Tracker

And, because I seriously binge on Elise's blog, here's another awesome pin from her:

Sun Burst Quilt by Elise Lea of Lovelea Designs

I binge, binge, binge away. In the best sense.
I know, I know, y'all are like, hold back, Amy, and STOP talking about every single thing she pins. But but but but....I just can't help it! Bingggge.....

Ok, self-control. Whew.

Ombre. Ombre, I love you. This quilt has some stellar gradation in it. Kind of like Elise's quilt above.
....{death stare from audience}....
Alright, I'm done. Stellar gradation here:

QS Quilt top made with my Kate Spain Australia Charm Swap goodies This baby is just for me! :D

It's a subtler, softer look, and ohhhh so lovely. Definitely great for scraps.

And lastly, all great things tiny piecing meet all great things flying geese circles...

Steph Blair Sews: Winter Geese

...meets ombre. Did I mention I like ombre?

Ok, y'all can kill me now :) I'll be more serious for my next Pin it Monday post.

Do you have any quilts to share this week? I'd love to pin them to some fun boards to get some more eyes on your work!

13 Spools

- You'll need a Pinterest account to participate.

- Please follow me on Pinterest. You'll be able to see all of my quilty pins and repins this way.

- Link up to 4 pins of your quilty work: finishes, wips, detail shots, supplies - anything quilt-related goes :)

- Pins can be from any date, not just this past week, as long as they have not been previously linked up.

- Be sure to link to the url of a Pinterest pin, not a blog post!!!

- I ask that you repin at least 4 other pins - linky parties are best when we all mingle!

- By linking, you give me permission to feature your linked images on my blog and social media. For this reason, I ask that you only share pins of your own photos.

- If you want to pin my linkup button, or share on your blog/social media about this new linky party, I'll be forever grateful :)