Holiday sewing and a Peek update

I took about a week¬†off from sewing after I finished Peek, just to catch up on life and figure out holiday sewing. I decided to make some Noodlehead 241 totes for a handful of special people, but I’m not used to sewing three-dimensional things, so I made a practice bag. It came out so well that it will be gifted with the others.

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I love how this pattern makes fabric sing, and I especially love that the pattern recommends extra topstitching, if you’re so inclined, to give the bag details that really make it feel special.

IMG_1450I added a few extra rows on the pockets and also on the strap.

I’ve made a few others, but they’ll have to stay secret for now.

I do have to share with you this happy accident when sewing the darts in the lining of one of the bags. I never could have done this if I tried. I made one of the Cotton + Steel tigers sit.

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I’ll probably be back here on the blog just one more time before 2015 hits, to do my annual roundup of the year’s quilts. I hope your holiday sewing is going smoothly and you have a peaceful and joyful holiday season.

OH! and Instagram followers will know about this, but I have neglected to mention it here. Peek got juried into the Quiltcon show! I am still in shock, to be frank, feeling so honored and excited for Austin in February. I know that there were so many (about 1300) beautiful quilts entered, so I am feeling especially lucky. Peek will also be a pattern in 2015!

Until then, take care.

Christmas quilt quilted, and an offer from Late Night Quilter

Remember the Christmas quilt top? It’s back from being quilted in Texas! The lovely Stephanie from Late Night Quilter has been building her long arming business and offered to quilt it for me. I jumped at the chance– I’m notoriously slow at making things for myself, and though I love the quilting process, this quilt was the perfect one to send away.

Look how gorgeous it looked, even before I unwrapped it. I was so excited to see the whole thing, but first I took a million pictures of my perfect package.

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Stephanie and I worked together to figure out how to quilt it. It was my first time using a long-arm quilter for one of my own designs, and I loved how she listened to my design input and overall vision for the quilt. I used two of my go-to design keywords, simple and elegant. Though she had some beautiful Christmas-themed designs, I wanted some all-over nested loops to prevent the quilt from being too busy.

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I’ve also been trying to keep the quilt Christmas-y but not overtly so, and this approach was consistent with that.

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We decided on white thread, and I love how it works with the prints. I especially enjoy how it looks in the gray four patches, where you can really see how the loops are spaced within the piecing. Stephanie was also excellent at advising how big and close together the loops should be for my little 3″ finished squares. (If you remember, this quilt was pieced along with my Block Party bee mates form the North Jersey MQG.)

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And here is the quilting from the back, (which, like the top, is snowflake-inspired). So pretty.

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I have a special offer for you! aStephanie is offering her long-arm quilting service to readers of my blog at 10% off, plus free Quilter’s Dream batting! Just mention melintheattic when you email her at latenightquilter at gmail.com. I’ll update this post again when the offer has ended.

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The timing for this is perfect. I can’t wait to get the quilt bound and washed and on the couch as we decorate the house for Christmas this weekend. I’ll be sure to show how it looks with the rest of our decorations.

Do you have a Christmas quilt?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I received free long-arm quilting on this quilt in exchange for mention on the blog, but all thoughts, words, and opinions are fully mine.

Peek

It’s done! Not only did I finish in time to submit to Quiltcon, I also beat a stomach bug that hit our house hours after I hit send.

But that’s no way to start a finished quilt post! This is:

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This quilt, for me, was an exploration of some basic tenets of modern quilting– contrast, solids, minimalism, use of negative space. It started as a very logical thing– I like this shape, I will make a modern quilt to submit– and became a very personal quilt very quickly.

I will admit that I foolishly thought that minimalism would be easy. Oh boy, was I wrong.

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Though my guiding principles were simple and elegant, as I made it this quilt started to feel kind of rebellious and punk rock. Like, I’m just going to take a block out, because I like the way it looks. I said it would be an all-solid quilt, but I’m throwing some white-on-white prints in. And, you think white is boring? Watch how I add texture to make you stare at the white (shoutout to Molli Sparkles, whose white-on-white has inspired me from day one).

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I thought carefully about every detail– the lack of quilting in the “panes” of the blocks are meant to imply glass, for example. And I went the extra mile for those details– on other quilts I might have chosen an easier path, but I chose to quilt in a way that required a lot of burying threads.

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I fought to keep simple interesting, and I found myself defending the quilt preemptively against invisible quilt police and haters. It was my way of dealing with any self-doubt that would pop up, and it made me really fall in love. In a way, it made me better. I definitely feel stronger.

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On this Thanksgiving weekend, I have to send a huge thank you to anyone who encouraged me during the making of this quilt. I faced a lot of self-doubt and a lot of time-related anxiety, and my Instagram friends were especially awesome in helping me deal with it.

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I am so excited to write the pattern and start showing the world how versatile and fun the Peek blocks can be. Up next is a version using prints, probably in a throw size. It’s a great way to practice and perfect 1/4″ seam allowances, and I’m so excited to be teaching it at Mid Atlantic Mod in April. (Registration opens to the public tonight, by the way! Join us!)

The stats on Peek:

Size: 78″ x 90″

Fabric: Kona Tangerine and Snow, Cotton + Steel white on white grid. Back is Plentiful Earth in Saffron by Leah Duncan. Binding is Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander

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IMG_1295Now comes the wait, and the acceptance that more than a thousand quilts have been submitted to the show. Even if I don’t get in (I also submitted Love Letters and Trill), I’m so glad I made it. And I’m so thankful I have you to share it with.

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.