Saturday, January 29, 2022

First 2022 Make Nine finish: The Bristol Top x 2

Once you get past the unfamiliarity of a new sewing pattern—modifications, assembly instructions, finishing details—a remake can be a breeze! Looking at my prompts for this year’s Make Nine Challenge, I’m glad I included a new “Make it Again” prompt, because now I’ve got not one, but three Bristol Tops to wear... the last two finished recently in record time. 

The Bristol Top (times 2) is my first Make Nine finish for 2022.

Bristol Top from The Sewing Workshop made with knits from Art Gallery Fabrics.

My wardrobe of Bristol Tops

I made my first Bristol Top [pattern by The Sewing Workshop] in 2020. It was one of the Wild Cards on my Make Nine list that year. The impetus of my Bristol re-make in 2022 was a beautiful floral Art Gallery knit that I spied at a local quilt shop and bought as a holiday gift to myself. (Yes, gift yourself fabric every chance you get!)

Cutting 2 tops at one time

The Bristol Top pattern has wonderful opportunities for color blocking. My collection of knits from Art Gallery Fabrics is admirable (wink, wink), so I had several options for color blocking this garment.

If you're going to use your lovely Art Gallery knits, you might as well cut out two Bristol tops.

With a solid red knit and a black/white knit print from my collection, I decided on two different color combinations: 

  • the solid red to accent my new floral, and 
  • a black print and solid red pairing. 

Having the fabric decisions made, I cut out pieces for two tops at the same time. Let me tell you... this is the way to go!! It was very efficient!

The Bristol Top: long sleeve and color blocked.
Floral knit print is West End Gathers K-54720 from the Bloomsbury collection.

The first Bristol (above) featured the new floral fabric on the bodice. The solid red was used in all the contrasting areas—yoke, cuffs and bands at the bottom.

A pattern hack for version 2

For the second Bristol (below), I tried a pattern hack to make a short sleeve version so I could have a soft cotton knit top for warmer weather. The following weekend, I finished the short sleeve version. This top has fondly become my NIU Huskies [Northern Illinois University] top since red, black and white are the team's colors.

The NIU Huskies top.
A short sleeve version of the Bristol Top.

The Bristol Top is an easy and fun pattern with lots of color blocking options. Or make it from a single fabric print, if you please. And now after this sewing endeavor, I have the pattern piece for the Go Huskies! short sleeve version. 

My first Make Nine finish for 2022 is a multi-success!

The "Make It Again" prompt is the first Make Nine finish for 2022.

You can be sure I'll be on the lookout for more Art Gallery knits in area quilt shops on my travels. And I hope you try a Make it Again project in the near future.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Go from snoozy to snazzy with a disappearing technique

Have you heard of the "disappearing" patchwork technique... disappearing 9-patch, disappearing hourglass, 4-patch, pinwheel, etc.? It's a patchwork process for taking a pieced quilt block, doing a sleight of hand "cut-and-shuffle magic" on it, and...

Presto Change-o... a new block is created.

Disappearing 9-patch.

While straightening up my studio space, I discovered 6 "framed square" blocks (what I'm calling them) in the charity block pile. They were one-off, unrelated, and frankly... kinda boring. I added 3 more to see if I could get a cuddle quilt for charity out of them. But they were still pretty much a big ol' snooze festZzzzzzzz...

Nine orphan blocks.

Taking a cue from the Quilting Bingo card

I remembered one square on my guild Quilting Bingo card was "Make blocks using a disappearing technique.

Bingo square: "Make blocks using a disappearing technique."

Having used the Disappearing 9-patch technique for the quilt shown below, I recalled how fun and easy this technique was. This Disappearing 9-patch layout looks a lot more complex than its 9-patch origin. Perhaps a "disappearing" technique could liven up the deadpan framed square blocks, too. 

Disappearing 9-patch quilt

A disappearing technique to the rescue

The framed squares were 10" in size—an easy size to work with. Using the "disappearing" technique, I could cut the blocks into quarters to get 5" units. Then, I could shuffle the units to make a more interesting quilt top... or even pair them with 5" charm squares.

Cutting the quilt blocks in to quarters.

As luck would have it, I found a long piece of a 108" wide back left over from another quilt. The strip of this purple tonal was about 5" wide... just the right width to cut my own 5" charm squares. And the purple would be the "continuity factor" these random framed squares needed. (Yes, you can use wide backing fabric on the front of a quilt.)

5" alternate blocks cut from a strip of 108" wide backing.

With the 5" pieced units and the purple 5" charm squares, this layout was born.

Disappearing framed blocks with alternate blocks.

Soooo much better! The eye dances around the quilt and those big blocks—now chopped and shuffled—aren't so boring anymore. A brilliant technique that wasn't difficult or time-consuming.

This Bingo square got crossed off and I have a quilt top for a future charity quilt.

Crossing off another Quilt Bingo square.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Trackers, planners, checklists and games

I make lists. Do you?
Actually, I need to make lists because the barrage of demands that vies for my attention at any one time can cause me to forget what I'm supposed to do. 

I also like trackers and calendars. And apparently, several of you like them too since I've been asked where I found some of mine. 

My assortment of stitching strackers, planners, checklists and games.

I use trackers to keep up with and document the progress on long-term and short-term quilting and sewing projects and daily practices. I find it interesting to reflect on past years' accomplishments and compare them with current plans... and I also enjoy "ticking off the boxes." 

Trackers and planners: paper or digital?

Many of my trackers are paper trackers that are printed from digital files. Online sew-alongs and Challenges often offer downloadable PDF trackers to keep participants organized. I print these out and then paste them into a sketchbook. 

With these, I get to physically "color in" or "cross off" the completed activities—usually with a variety of colored pencils.

Some of my trackers are digital

This is my new Create Daily success tracker for 2022.

Create Daily success tracker for 2022.

This tracker was for the 100 Days 100 Blocks project in 2021.

The 100 Days 100 Blocks tracker/checklist for making, photographing and posting photos.

Staying encouraged

Every checkmark or colored square gives me a sense of accomplishment. I'm always thrilled and  pleased by how much can be completed when working on something every day—even if only for a few minutes. Having a visual reminder of things I've finished and prompts for new things keeps me  motivated, mindful and on track. 

All boxes covered on my guild's Quilting Success Bingo card. BINGO!

And who doesn't like coloring in or crossing off the little boxes??? Then one day you shout... BINGO!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

A new "Create Daily" tracker for 2022

Formerly called my Stitching Success Tracker, this year I have a new "Create Daily" tracker

Create Daily 2022 success tracker.

This cool 2022 round calendar chart is the creation of Sarah Reebs from Keep Right Except to Pass (New for 2022 post) and on Instagram at smrt783. We crossed paths on IG having both used the Nerd Bucket calendar last year. 

Sarah created this new calendar for a project in 2022 and licensed it under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. I had to add the dates/numbers in the boxes so I could more easily keep up with the day of the month.

It's a very eye-catching calendar, don't you think? She did a fabulous job.

Creating a daily practice

I achieved 365 days of stitching success in 2021. So this year I'm incorporating other creative activities into a daily creative practice. Along with stitching activities—patchwork, free-motion quilting, sewing, knitting, slow stitching, etc.—I'm including art and mixed media techniques—drawing, stamp carving, painting, collage, etc. This is why I've changed the name from Stitching Success Tracker to the Create Daily success tracker. 

The color-coded legend indicates the different colors for activities and finishes. I'm hoping the inclusion of art processes in a daily practice will help me improve these skills. 

For all the activities I will be using my hands to create. I like that.

Monday, January 3, 2022

I'm taking the Make Nine Challenge in 2022

I scored 100% on Make Nine 2021 and am looking forward to a productive Make Nine 2022! This will be my fourth year participating in this "gentle" Challenge.

My Make Nine 2022 worksheet.

What's new for 2022? 

I’m keeping several of 2021’s prompts because they worked well, but will interpret them with new projects and possibly different techniques—especially the “Something New in '22” prompt (formerly the "New to Me" prompt). Make it Again is a new prompt and I'll likely make a new garment from a "tried and true" pattern that I love. 

I’m including two UFO Finishes in 2022 as I’ve amassed too-many-to-count projects in addition to those that were started during the 2020 lockdown. 

A Wild Card keeps the door open for the unexpected, and I hope to do more hand (slow) stitching with a goal to learn a few new stitches or techniques through an online workshop or class. 

Scraps and Crumbs is a great stash buster and also lends itself to kitty quilts and charity projects. Mending and Upcycling is prevalent these days and I'm all for elevating textiles to new creations or extending the lifetime of a something well-loved. The Fast and Fun prompt (another favorite) offers instant gratification and a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment. 

My Make Nine 2022 prompts

  • UFO finish x 2 
  • Wild Card 
  • Fast and Fun
  • Something New in '22—a new-to-me pattern, technique, supply or tool
  • Mend / Upcycle
  • Slow Stitching 
  • Scraps and Crumbs 
  • Make it Again 

Worksheets from my three previous years are at Make Nine 2021, Make Nine 2020 and Make Nine 2019.

Join the Make Nine Challenge

Make Nine Challenge

If you'd like to join me in Make Nine for 2022, here are some tips and pointers and a link to the Make Nine grid from Rochelle, the creator of this Challenge. You can join any time and it's meant to be a "gentle" Challenge... so set yourself up for success—which is why I've been using "prompts" the last two years rather than identifying specific projects. I learned this after reviewing my results from participation in 2019.

I’ll also be using a Stitching Success Tracker in 2022. I color-code activities and choose a contrast color for finishes—including Make Nine finishes. My tracker is an ideal motivator and it's interesting to see activities over the course of a year.

Wishing us all a creative and fulfilling new year!

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