Sunday, January 27, 2019

I'm taking the "Make Nine" Challenge 2019

With the lingering exhilaration and motivation from participating in the 100 Days 100 Blocks Challenge in 2018, I'm excited about joining Rochelle and other makers for the Make Nine Challenge this year. Anyone else want to come along for a fun and creative making journey? (Beware—I'll be sending out personal invites to a few of my creative BFFs).
My Make Nine Challenge 2019 List

After reading details about the Challenge on the Make Nine Challenge website, one of the appealing things is embodied in the tagline on the Instagram image: "A gentle, self-guided slow fashion initiative for fabric and yarn lovers."

Make Nine Challenge 2019 #makenine
The keywords for me were "gentle, self-guided." This makes it a better fit for my unpredictable schedule these days.

The inspiring Instagram posts (#makenine) showing how participants were documenting their 9 makes also got me intrigued.

Gathering ideas and supplies
When I made up my mind to take the plunge, I thought it would be fun to go and buy a new sketchbook to document the adventure. (Much like shopping for school supplies at the beginning of a new school year.) With a personal goal to use materials I already have for upcoming projects, I re-thought a trip to the art supply store and found an 8" x 10" sketchbook I already had. Check.

My Make Nine 2019 project list
Be sure to download the free planning worksheet from the Lucky Lucille blog. It will help you organize your thoughts and give you a visual reference of your project choices. A gazillion potential projects immediately popped into my head, but I pared down my Make Nine to a "most-desired" list... and left a little flexibility in the list as well.

Three patterns for Make Nine projects. Picasso Top, Raggy Jacket, Collins Top.
  1. Picasso Top, pattern from The Sewing Workshop
  2. Collins Top, pattern from In the Folds
  3. Jacket using Diamond Textiles yarn-dyed wovens. My go-to pattern is Raggy Jacket because I already have it fitted to me.
  4. A yarn project—hat, socks or an easy vest
  5. Pillowcases—I didn't make new ones for us last year
  6. Tote or project bag with a zipper
  7. Project incorporating vintage textiles, recycled or re-purposed elements
  8. Project with visible hand stitching, embroidery, kantha, sashiko
  9. Wild Card—I'm on the lookout for something to make with rayon fabrics

Fabric Pulls
Here are fabrics for a few projects on my Make Nine list. I'm going to try mixing knits and wovens for a Picasso Top.
Fabrics for the Picasso Top. Knits from Art Gallery.
Cotton wovens from M&S Textiles Australia.

Fabrics for pillowcases (Art Gallery Fabrics).
Vintage quilt blocks with a coordinating Art Gallery print from the Soulful collection and a gray yarn-dyed woven from Diamond Textiles.
Vintage quilt blocks coordinated with new fabrics.

Personal Challenge Objectives
I decided to write down goals and objectives for my Make Nine. For projects not yet nailed down, this will guide choices for fabrics and materials.
Personal goals and objectives for Make Nine 2019.  #makenine
I've pasted these objectives and goals in my sketchbook.
  • use existing resources/stash
  • incorporate a new technique from a workshop, book, etc.
  • finish or incorporate abandoned UFOs or WIPs
  • document in sketchbook and digital (blog, social media)
  • upcycle, recycle, repurpose or incorporate something vintage or rescued
  • have a mix of challenging and easy projects
  • incorporate visible handwork
  • sustainable
  • infuse care and creativity into the making, be flexible, enjoy the process, wear proudly
With a plan in mind, I hope to make good progress in 2019 through this Challenge. I'm confident I'll be inspired and motivated by fellow participants. 

It's not too late to join! Make a list and share your progress and successes.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Tennessee Intersections: new block design for charity quilts

Last year, there was preliminary discussion in my guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, about supporting our community service organization with a number of bed size quilts. Through my efforts organizing the fabric stash, I pulled a handful of bright, fun prints for experimentation on a block design that could be used for the charity quilts. 
Using scraps and strips to design a new block.

Block Design Parameters
The attributes I kept in mind while creating the block:
  • easy to piece (a beginner skill level) 
  • quick assembly 
  • minimum number of pieces
  • ideal for fabric scraps (various colors, various prints)
  • no fussy points or seams to match
  • a "gender friendly" design

Designing the block
The design process began with miscellaneous 2.5" pre-cut strips in various lengths. These were from the scrap stash. The "plus sign" or "cross" seemed to fit the requirements. The first version looked like this...
Version 1: Pluses or crosses.
Changing the placement of one strip resulted in Version 2. I'm calling the block "Tennessee Intersections" since there are so many roads in this area the have crazy jogs in them.
Version 2 of the block design.

Auditioning layouts
After making several blocks, it was time to see what they looked like in a setting. This layout uses a block rotation.
Block rotation layout.
Consistent block orientation with a half drop between columns.
Half drop layout option. Blocks set solid.
I settled on this layout—easy and forgiving with no seams to match. Borders were added to get an appropriate bed size.
3/4 drop layout with an alternate block.
I'll be taking the quilt top for Show and Tell at the guild meeting this week.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Spicing up the Farmer's Wife sampler with more AGF prints

Picking up the Farmer's Wife block project... and making progress. These 9 have hit the finish line.
Farmer's Wife blocks (from top left): #75 Rosebud, #55 Linoleum, #39 Friendship
Middle Row: #71 Kitty in the Corner, #48 Homeward Bound, #35 Flower Basket
Bottom Row: #56 Maple Leaf, #40 Friendship Block, #61 Northern Lights

A benefit of tidying up my studio space is that more Art Gallery prints (were uncovered) have been introduced to the fabric smorgasbord for these blocks. Close-ups of my latest favorites are:
Farmer's Wife Block #39: Friendship 

Farmer's Wife Block #40: Friendship Block

Farmer's Wife Block #55: Linoleum

Farmer's Wife Block #71: Kitty in the Corner 

This sampler quilt project started with a fat quarter collection of Art Gallery's Color Masters, but the addition of the Elements blenders and prints from other AGF collections has made this sampler more robust. Each block is a gem on its own and I believe the expanded range of values and prints will add complexity to the composition and delight to the eye.

Plus, it's just more interesting and fun for the maker!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Annual purge and 2019 project inventory

Happy 2019 to all the quilters, sewers and makers!
As we head into the new year, there are new, different and (hopefully) exciting things coming to our world, sewing rooms and studios. To make way—and make room—for the new stuff, I do an annual purge of old things, recycle and repurpose what still has value, and organize my space. Through my attempt at organizing, I uncovered a few WIPs [works-in-progress], that I hope to make progress on and finish in 2019. (If I post them on my blog, it will make me accountable, right?)
Twenty blocks from The Farmer's Wife, made with Art Gallery Fabrics.
The Farmer's Wife blocks: progress is slow on this project because I have to calculate the cutting for all the blocks. I am machine piecing the blocks and the book only supplies an illustration of the block (not at 100%) and a CD with numbered templates. 20 blocks complete.

Scrap blocks.
Scrappy blocks: This is what I love to do with leftovers and discontinued samples. With scraps, there is only enough fabric for a single block, but the variety of colors and prints makes an interesting, one-of-a-kind quilt. 22 blocks complete.
Scrappy blocks on the design wall.
One potential layout. Trying to keep the background fabric as consistent in color and value as possible.

Floating Wacky Stars.
Floating Stars block: Another re-purpose for swatches and scraps. This one has a scrappy background and the star points are a random size and float. Further assembly will be easy with no points to fuss about. 4 blocks complete.
Improv piecing block borders.
I'm doing improv piecing that will either be alternate blocks or possibly wide borders. It seems I have a LOT of red scraps!

Hand embroidery with cotton embossed and yarn-dyed wovens from Diamond Textiles.
Hand embroidery: This hand embroidered appliqué piece using Cotton Embossed and yarn-dyed wovens from Diamond Textiles is a creeping along. My defense is that this is a "slow stitching" project and primarily worked when I'm on the road.

Stonehenge strips and Canvas blenders by Northcott Fabrics.
Stonehenge and Canvas blender quilt top: This is an exercise working with blenders from Northcott Fabrics. Currently, it's a quilt top only and traveling with me as a sample of using Northcott fabrics.

These are the WIPs that resurfaced during my latest tidy-up sprint. I know others will show their faces again in 2019 (my 100 Blocks City Sampler, a patchwork jacket, quilting my Wonky Star from a Mary Kerr workshop, and a hope for a Picasso top, for example).

However, I was happy to say goodbye to these boxes that went to the recycling center this weekend!
Off to the recycling center!

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