I have TWO finishes to share for TGIFF today! That makes me a happy girl. Oooh, and this week it’s being hosted at Quilt Matters. There’s some pretty rad stuff on that blog. I especially like that several posts actually have me excited about doing quilt math. Weird, right?
Both are pieces I started in February at SewDown in Portland. (SewDown: Nashville starts today. I am jealous!)
It was quite a memorable weekend. Both for the great instructors and for the crazy weather. I know that for many of you, what we experienced wouldn’t qualify as “crazy,” or even “moderately inconvenient,” but here in the Pacific Northwest we are prepared to deal with lots of rain. Once water changes to its more solid forms, we don’t know what to do. We lack the necessary equipment. As a result, even public transportation shuts down. FedEx, et al refuse to deliver things like fabric and sewing machines because they are not matters of life and death. (Are you kidding me? Of course they are!) Some serious improvisation happened in order to pull the event off, and I give kudos to those who worked their magic.
Since I live so close, I had only purchased the local package, planning to drive home each night with my machine. At essentially the last minute, I was able to secure a room at the hotel, and my dear hubby braved the roads to drop me off and then pick me up again two days later. (Good thing, as I would have done some serious pouting if I’d had to miss out.)
No risk of that, folks!
Enough about the weather. On to the good stuff! My first class was with Heather Jones. She taught her you + me pattern. I didn’t have time to select and pre-cut my own fabric (because work!), so I ordered a kit from Drygoods Design. Also, I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited about making this quilt, as I felt it was simple enough that a class was kind of unnecessary. Then I saw all the cool things people were doing with it to make it their own, and I was bummed that I hadn’t been able to do the same. On the upside, I am completely in love with the blue fabric that came as part of the kit and will be getting more!
I managed to complete one block during class.
Some of the cool variations made by my classmates.
Once I got home this and the other projects took a back seat to a BFF quilt (I’ll show that off in a later post), so I just finished it up this week. I’ve called it “Greek To Me,” because the design reminds me of the Greek national flag.
From the bannister.
From the front porch.
In the back yard.
Because the front is so bold and graphic with its parallel lines and 90 degree angles, I wanted contrast on the back and in the quilting with loops, swirls, and filigree to “girly it up” a bit.
The sun cooperated nicely for this shot of the quilting.
Two fabrics from the Zen Chic line made it onto the backing.
I bound it in Pearl Bracelets.
I love it when good things happen unexpectedly, and this quilt is one of those. I am so pleased with the way it turned out–makes me feel a little bad that I wasn’t looking forward to the class.
Finish number two this week was class number two for me at SewDown: “Improv Round Robin” with Sherri Lynn Wood. This one had me nervous! I’d never tried improvisational piecing before, and I’m the kind of person who agonizes over most decisions. So the idea of making decisions about other quilters’ projects was kind of terrifying. But this class turned out to be another of those unexpectedly good things. I learned not only that I can make decisions quickly, I can actually be happy with those decisions. Sherri Lynn’s instructions helped a lot. She compared the process to a conversation, and asked us to look at each piece and think, “yes, AND.” Time constraints were a major factor–no monologues allowed!–and if you were mid-seam when the timer went off, too bad! I got loads better with each round at determining what I could successfully contribute toward the theme of each piece. Some of them turned out so cool! Mine is nowhere near my favorite of the pieces created that day, but I was determined to finish it as a reminder of the experience.
The starting point for my piece. After this, four other people contributed to the “conversation” before I saw it again.
At the end of class it looked like this.
I really wanted to stick with the spirit of the “conversation” metaphor by not changing the others’ work. But I couldn’t quite make myself do it. The Lotta fabric across the bottom with the gold flower buds had been torn instead of cut (to save time?), and the damaged portion was not concealed in the seam allowance. I removed it and replaced it with a slightly larger chunk, then added more bits around the edges until I had something I felt was balanced and that I would be able to square up. I backed it in muslin and quilted it with simple wavy lines. When it was time to make the binding I felt it needed just a touch more red, so I took a cue from the fabulous Molli Sparkles and added a bit of “glitter.”
My first ever improv project!
As soon as I purchase a dowel of the right length, it will hang in front of my machine. I’m hoping it will remind me to keep trying new things.