WIP Wednesday – Peek Edition

I’m still working on Peek.

Minimalism does not mean easy, people. I have learned that lesson in a big way. It takes a lot of work to make simple look interesting.IMG_2224.JPG

This week I quilted a whole lot of negative space. I wanted textural contrast between the white and orange in addition to the color– orange will be structured, with the white more organic.

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I’m really crunching and trying to get this quilt done and photographed in time for the Quiltcon deadline on Sunday. I still have to bury a lot of threads and bind. But I’m also trying to be present for my family as we celebrated the youngest’s birthday yesterday and prepare for Thanksgiving. Plus, I don’t sew well when I’m stressed, so I’m trying to slow down and do it right. I’m getting better at compartmentalizing– when I’m sewing, I’m focused, and when it’s family time, it’s family time.

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I started the hashtag #quiltlifebalance — what kinds of things in your life do you sacrifice for quilting, and when do you drop it all for your family? As with any kind of balance in life, it’s wobbly sometimes, but being aware of it helps things swing back when they veer too far to one side.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving, no matter where you are. I’m so thankful for this outlet and this community. Thank you for your company and your support.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Peek Progress

Peek has been coming along a little slower than planned, but I finally got her basted last night. I’m not sure I’m going to make the Quiltcon submission deadline, but I’m going to do my best and try. Below are some photos of the progress. I promise for a full reveal soon– the top got so big that I couldn’t even hang it on Woody the Fence.

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IMG_1003In other quilting activity, I’ve been enjoying the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap excitement. It’s my first swap, and I’m excited to #makeaquiltmakeafriend.

Behind the scenes, I’ve been asking some big questions about my online identity and branding. It’s been really fun to think about what I want this space to do and be. How to present my quilts and myself. Scary, but fun. I’ve been especially interested in Abby Glassenberg’s While She Naps blog and podcast for thinking about the business end of crafty life.

I hope your fall has been far less hectic but no less exciting.

A peek at Peek

I’m working on a new quilt, or more accurately, a few new quilts, that make use of a block I’m calling Peek. I’m excited about it for so many reasons.

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The first reason, which I mentioned at the end of my last post, is that I’ll be teaching the block (and my tricks for super tight 1/4″ seam allowance sewing) at Mid-Atlantic Mod, a modern quilting retreat hosted by the Central Jersey and Philly MQGs and sponsored by Baltimore, DC and my own NJMQG. I am so excited to head out to the eastern quilting capital of Lancaster PA and sew with people from other MQGs.

IMG_0798 The second is that it’s such a versatile block. I’m looking forward to trying it with lots of other fabrics. This version is made with Kona Snow and Tangerine with just a touch of Cotton + Steel. (I got a little bored making the same block over and over, so I changed it up in a very satisfying way with a very subtle print.)

IMG_0726I’m looking forward to sharing progress on the rather minimalist design for the top and making this again with other fabrics and layouts.

 

 

Adventures in Teaching, in three parts

On Monday we had a great Quarter Circle class. We had a full group, but I only managed to get pictures of three of the beautiful blocks:

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With a little inspiration and some graph paper, anyone can be a quilt designer. That was my hypothesis when I developed the curriculum for my two-Saturday class Modern Quilting 101. We had our first day of classes on the 25th and it was a lot of fun to see my students get inspiration from the mid-century African American quilt exhibit From Heart to Hand at the Montclair Art Museum.

Luckily, with a little guidance, my hypothesis was proven right.

After spending an hour in the gallery, we headed down Bloomfield Avenue to the workroom at Rock Paper Scissors to make those designs a reality. Here is Chrys’s design:

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And her (nearly) finished mini quilt top:

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Thalia-Marie sewed her first ever seams!

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Selma was so inspired by a denim quilt in the exhibit that she ran home during the lunch break to grab some old jeans. Check out what she made! (Do you see the bear in the middle?)

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Daphna experimented with improvisation:

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Pat made foliage-inspired log cabins:

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And Jen made some pretty patchwork:

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Next week we quilt and bind.

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And I got some great news yesterday– I’ll be teaching at Mid Atlantic Mod, the MQG retreat hosted by the Central Jersey and Philadelphia MQGs and sponsored by DC, Baltimore, and my very own North Jersey MQG. It’s a new quilt design and a new class, designed to practice and perfect your quarter-inch seam allowance. Registration for the April retreat in Lancaster, PA, starts November 1.

Here is the first block. I’ll keep you updated on the quilt’s progress. I’m so excited.

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The Trill quilt

In the summer I was inspired to design a quilt using all curves, and I’m so proud and excited that it came to exist in the real world. IMG_7418

I’m calling it Trill, after the wobbly notes of a bird’s call. I thought it suited both the design and the fabric, Wildwood by Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9. I used the collection with Cirrus Solids in Ocean, my favorite navy blue of the moment. I think one of my favorite things about this quilt is the secondary squiggle between the prints.IMG_7410

The design is actually made of just one block with different rotation and fabric placement. I’m writing a pattern for it this month and I’ll definitely keep you updated throughout the process. I can’t wait to see how someone else would interpret it– between the circles and pointed shapes and the background there are a lot of possibilities for change and movement.

IMG_7400There were two prints in the collection– one a vibrant coral, the other bright teal– that didn’t quite fall into the categories of blue or white-based print. So I made the coral the focal point and put Ocean in the center, framing it with teal in the binding.

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Speaking of binding, I tried something new that I really love as an innovative way of labeling a quilt– embroidering the binding with the alphabet stitches on my Janome 6600. I learned it from my Instagram friend Shannon, aka @nerdcamp. (She makes the coolest clothes and quilts, by the way.)

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The final size is 57″ x 69,” perfect for a couch throw. I love the drape that the quilting gives it, and it crinkled nicely after a wash. I’ll get to snuggle it after a little trip to Quilt Market, where it’s going to hang out with Elizabeth Olwen herself along with the rest of the fabulous Cloud 9 team.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to visit.

Melanie