Friday, August 26, 2016

Hexie Update: Mixing snowmen with blenders and solids

I am in awe of those EPP-ers [English paper piecers] who are tackling the 1-hexie-block-a-day in Katja Marek's and Paper Pieces' Glorious Hexagons quilt-along. They must have a stack of over 200 by now! For me, these 4 hexagons have joined the ranks of my GH collection for a total of 64.
#5 Caroline (modified) with Splash spring and Eclipse jet.
On a good note, I'm getting a lot of milage out of the snowmen print from Sharla Fultz's Winter Bliss collection... using the snowmen as the focal point and flushing out the blocks with Splash blenders and Eclipse solids.
#35 Sharon with Splash spring.
My winter and holiday themed hexagons are piling up. Perhaps an actual project is on the horizon—a runner or table topper? Pearl Grid (shown here) in light gray is a background option... cool, icy, sleek.
#6 Delores with Eclipse turkey red solid.
However, the kelly green Starlet is another possibility... warm, cozy, familiar.
#4 Lorraine with Eclipse jet.
Snowmen and snowflake hexagons.
The New Hexagon book is getting a lot of use... as all good books should. What's one of your most-referenced quilting books?
"The New Hexagon" by Katja Marek.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Studying, experimenting, learning...
using Kristin Omdahl's "Day of the Dragonfly" fabric collection

For the last month, I've been experimenting with a different kind of embellishment for quilts and quilted items. I'm studying a new technique (and learning a lot!), but I don't feel I have a solid foundation just yet to put it out into the world. For the next quilt study in the series, I've chosen fabrics from the recently released Day of the Dragonfly fabric collection by Kristin Omdahl for Blank Quilting and added a couple basics (Starlet and Pearl Grid) to the mix.
Selected fabrics from Day of the Dragonfly fabric collection by Kristin Omdahl
with Starlet and Pearl Grid blenders.
If you're a crocheter or knitter, you probably know Kristin Omdahl—through her books, patterns, yarns, TV shows or maybe taken a class with her. She's been a professional in the yarn world for quite a long time. If you're not a "yarny," here's the back story about how I met up with Kristin and how the seed was planted that lead to this fabric line.

The back story: Two years ago, I was returning from AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah, KY and popped in at the Stitches South knit and crochet convention in Nashville, TN. Flying through the vendor mall (the show was closing in about 3 hours), I stopped at a booth that had tote bags for knitters/crocheters to keep their projects in. The fabric that was used for the bags had delightful designs done in a carefree, painterly style. Being a fabric representative, I was curious to know whose fabric line it was. When I asked, the woman in the booth told me Kristin Omdahl had designed the fabrics and was printing them [digitally] in small quantities to make and also sell the bags.
        Long story short, I introduced myself to Kristin and when I told her who I was, what I did, and asked about her designs, her eyes welled up and she hugged me. A dream of hers could possibly come true... to design a line of fabric for a major fabric company. I forwarded Kristin's name, a short bio and a summary of our conversation to the lead stylist in the design department at Blank Quilting. A few months later, Kristin was contacted and the Day of the Dragonfly fabric collection was born. Here is Kristin's blog post about the concept for the line.

Day of the Dragonfly fabric collection by Kristin Omdahl for Blank Quilting.
In the Day of the Dragonfly collection, I was drawn to the red-violet and turquoise tertiary color palette with the bright yellow and chartreuse accents. Also, the lively, stylized flowers and swirls are happy and fun. Being married to a Grateful Dead aficionado (a deadhead), the sugar skulls and similar skeleton designs are common motifs around our house.

This next quilt study is on the design wall. It will incorporate Kristin's fabric line, English paper pieced hexagons [slow stitching] and free-motion machine quilting techniques [fast stitching] with a new embellishing technique (that is still percolating in my brain).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekend trip to Crane Creek Vineyards

View of the vineyards and surrounding mountains at Crane Creek Vineyards.
My husband and I had an opportunity to enjoy a weekend away with friends Sherri and Reggie last month. As one would expect in July in the south, the weather was hot and humid but the scenic vistas and roadway overlooks in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia were beautiful. We rented the Vine Keeper's Cottage at Crane Creek Vineyards the last weekend of July.
Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia.
We all tried to stay "unplugged" from technology devices for the weekend to take in the local sites, visit the Tallulah Gorge State Park, hike the park trails and peruse the area's antique shops and art galleries.
Timpson Creek Gallery and Millworks.
The Timpson Creek Gallery had lots of interesting rustic art and home decor items. This is one of Sherri's favorites... and I can see why. This is the stone patio at the entrance to the gallery.
Entrance at Timpson Creek Gallery
Larry has to take a photo of the fish and his feet.
 Whimsical metal garden art...
Garden art
a wooden spiral staircase...
Spiral staircase at Timpson Creek Millworks.
rustic chairs inviting visitors to sit for a bit...
Rustic chairs.
Along the way, we had to stop to see this roadside log cabin (formerly an office for a local business). Sherri thinks this would be a great quilter's studio. 
Roadside log cabin.

Hey Reggie, think we could hire a flatbed semi and have it relocated???

Roadside overlook.
Back at the cottage, Sherri and I spent about an hour or so before dinner on the wrap-around porch with our English paper piecing projects. It was relaxing to kick back, listen to nature sounds and do some slow stitching with a good friend. 
Vine Keeper's Cottage at Crane Creek.
Rows of grapevine border the road leading to and from the cottage.
The vineyard has a tasting room and we did get to partake in a wine tasting. Unfortunately the vintner and his wife were away this particular weekend so we missed out on a tour of the winery. So I can't give any particulars about the grapes, but here are some pictures.
Grapes at Crane Creek.
More grapes.
The Vine Keeper's Cottage is walking distance through the vineyard from the tasting room, but is surrounded by trees and offers plenty of privacy. The stars in the night sky were quite amazing.
View from the back of the cottage. Larry and Sherri on the upstairs porch.
Our Trip Recommendations: Aside from spending a weekend away with special friends (always a plus!), we can all highly recommend Enrico's Italian Restaurant in Young Harris, GA where we had a lovely dinner on Saturday. From the wine tasting, everyone's favorite was the Crane Creek Hellbender Red wine—a full-bodied and sophisticated, fruity red with a surprising peppery kick. We all brought home a bottle of Hellbender [one of us brought home two!].
Improvisational piecing, mono printing on fabric.
Reminiscent of this trip, this is a piece I'm working on that combines improv piecing and one of my recent fabric monoprints. It has a flavor of a north Georgia mountain landscape and the roadside wild flowers—a fabric postcard, of sorts.

Where will your next quilt inspiration come from?
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