Friday, September 30, 2011

my entry for Project Modern: Challenge 4

This quilt is my entry for Project Modern: Challenge 4: find your own voice. It was inspired by a large metal silo at a farm that is about ten miles from my house. I’m sure I’ve seen that silo hundreds of times before, but one day a couple of months ago I saw something new in it as we drove by.

Luckily my husband was at the wheel, so I grabbed my sketchbook and drew out a quick plan. There was just something about the linear repetition of the grooves of steel and the grid that each tier of metal makes that caught my eye. This quilt is my interpretation of it.

For this project I used three solid colors of woven cotton: cream, pale blue, and a warm gray.

I really liked how the colors worked together, and the combination reminded me of how the silo looks at dusk, when the entire structure seems to glow in the setting sun.

The large and small pieced rectangles are made up of bands of cream and blue, and the thin gray strips represent the grid work.

I used cream for the binding so that it would not interfere with the design of the quilt top.

While the design of front of the quilt is very regular and structured, the back was designed entirely improvisationally.

I used some leftover sections of the blocks from the front and added some scraps and bits of fabrics, and I pieced them all together with more cream fabric.

The quilt measures 64” x 67”. It is heavily quilted with horizontal straight lines to repeat the design of the front, as well as the grooves of metal on the silo.

I feel like this quilt is truly a reflection of my voice as a modern quilter. I’m often inspired by everyday places and things that most of us wouldn't even notice, and I’m always excited by the challenge to translate that inspiration into my work.

a little sneak peek

So, yesterday's photo shoot of my quilt that I'm entering into the Project Modern Challenge didn't go quite as well as I was hoping it would, nor did the entire day, actually, so I'm headed out the door to try it again. But, here are a couple of sneak peeks for you.

Fingers crossed today goes better! Nothing like working down to the wire since the deadline is today, right?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

my fall Modern Quilting class at Sewn Studio

Last night was the second class of my Fall Into to Modern Quilting course at Sewn Studio. I taught an earlier session there this spring, and I'm really excited to be teaching again. We're working on the same project as before, "Fenced In" by Elizabeth Hartman, from her book The Practical Guide to Patchwork. We spent the first class talking about modern quilting, learning about the pattern, and choosing fabrics. It's always so fun to see all the different prints that the students chose for their quilts!

Theresa picked a gorgeous combination of fabrics...a little Anna Maria Horner, a little Tina Givens, a little Violet Craft. Beautiful!

Noel is making a festive quilt using fabrics from Kate Spain's wonderful line, Flurry. I'm sure this quilt will soon play a prominent role in her annual holiday tradition!

Karen is working with a soft, floral palette with lots of pale pinks and greens, with a touch of brown. It's really pretty, and so soothing to the eye.

Ellen is working with a fun mix of bright, bold colors. They look like solids in the photo, but they are really tone-on-tone fabrics. With her black sashing, I think this will look like a modern spin on a traditional Amish quilt.

Michelle's mix is so fun and eclectic! I love it. It's a mix of bright colors and modern prints, based on one of her daughter's favorite fabrics.

And last, but not least, Lisa is working with another cheerful group of fabrics, with some florals and modern geometric designs. Gorgeous, right?

Our class is filled to the maximum capacity of six students, and there were four more on the waiting list. Wow! I'm really proud of the work my students are doing, and I can't wait to see how their projects progress over the next six weeks!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

an odd little garden visitor

The other day we were picking the last few tomatoes off of our vines and I saw this little fellow (or gal?) clinging to one of the branches. So, I reached towards him to get a better look.

Isn't he wild? I wasn't sure if alive or not at first, to tell you the truth, but then he began to wiggle a bit. I'm not much of a botanist nor an entomologist, but after doing a little research on Google, I learned that the caterpillar was covered with eggs, but not its own.

The eggs are actually those of the Braconid Wasp, and that this poor caterpillar has been parasitized. While not good for the caterpillar, it's good for our garden, since the Braconid Wasps will keep lots of other bad bugs at bay.

Kind of creepy, but a lot better than pesticides!

Monday, September 26, 2011

vintage quilt mondays : my baby quilt

I'm so excited to share this quilt with you, as the first in my series of Vintage Quilt Mondays posts. This quilt has so much meaning to me; it was made for me when I was a baby by my great-great aunt Ollie about 35 years ago.

This is me as a baby with my Aunt Ollie. She was born in Kentucky in 1893, so she was about 83 in this photo and when she made the quilt. Truly amazing.

The quilt is made up of twelve simple nine-patch squares with a bit of white sashing and pink cornerstones. I believe it was completely hand pieced and it's tied with cream and white yarn.

Don't you just love these little pink monkeys?

If you look closely at the blocks, you can see a bit of the stitching in the seams.

Unfortunately, this quilt isn't in the best shape, but that's partially because it got a lot of use when I was little. But that's what quilts are for right? I think so, especially quilts that are made for babies. The binding is worn in areas and there are also some stains throughout the quilt.

But even more sad is the fact that the quilt has some mildew damage. I'm not sure exactly when or how this happened, but I've tried washing it and unfortunately it's there to stay.

But, I'm grateful that I still have the quilt, and even more grateful that I had someone like my aunt Ollie in my life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

today's work in progress

I'm scrambling to get this quilt finished because it will be my entry for Project Modern: Challenge 4, find your own voice. The deadline is a week from today, so wish me luck to get it done on time, please!

I'm really happy with the Pellon's Nature's Touch batting so far. It's quilting up beautifully and it was easy to work with--the added scrim helped to keep the batting from getting stretched as it was tugged and pulled during the basting process.

This challenge has been especially tough for me. I've entered all three earlier ones, and was chosen as one of the winner's of two of them (which I'm still amazed at), but for some reason this has been the hardest one for me. After thinking about it for a long time, and even starting a couple of other plans that didn't work, I decided to design a quilt based on a sketch I made in my notebook a few months ago. One day while we were driving, I saw a silo at a farm about 10 miles away from our house. I have probably seen that silo hundreds of times before, but that day the design of it just struck me differently. I had my sketchbook and started drawing--thank goodness Jeff was driving.

Isn't it gorgeous? I don't know why that day I saw it in a new light, but I did. There's just something about the repetition of those lines in the metal that I love and it's the inspiration for this quilt.

Here's a full shot of the work in progress, with one of my little helpers. Please excuse our messy kitchen...we're in the middle of repainting it, once again.

And here's the back, which is much more improvisational and randomly pieced than the front. I used a bunch of scraps from the blocks on the front and then added a lot of the cream fabric, with a bit of the grey strips as well.

And now, back to work. This quilting is taking a long, long time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pellon Nature's Touch

Have you tried this yet? I haven't, but I'm about to! I picked up this package of Pellon's Nature's Touch Cotton Batting at Jo-Ann's a couple of weeks ago and thought I'd give it a try.

I know Pellon makes a lot of great sewing and quilting supplies, so I'm anxious to see how their batting works. Plus I really love that it's an American-made product.

I'm using it for my Project Modern Challenge 4 project, which I'm scrambling to get finished, so I'll share my experience with it as soon as I'm done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The 2011 Country Living Fair

On Friday a dear friend of mine and I drove up to Columbus for the 2011 Country Living Fair. It was so fun to catch up with Amy and see all of the great things on display. We were both shocked at how big the fair was, and even though we were there all day, I'm not sure we saw everything! One of our highlights was the chance to visit with another dear friend, Jennifer Paganelli, who was at the fair with Earth Angel Toys.

Jennifer was there signing her book, Girl's World. She had some really fun things made out of her gorgeous fabrics, including lots of great pillows and aprons.

The Fair took place at the Ohio Village, a recreation of a 19th century Ohio town, complete with period buildings. It was a great setting for the event.

And there was a little something for everyone at the fair. Handmade furniture, clothing, dolls, accessories, jewelry, paintings, and everything in between. And there were tons of vintage and antique items, too. Vintage quilts, linens, signs, sleds, you name it. If I had the room, I would have picked up one of the gorgeous large carved wooden dough bowls I saw in a heartbeat.

But I just don't have the room for something so big, so I ended up with a vintage green glass mixing bowl, a couple of vintage aprons, some lye soap stain sticks (ingenious!), and a gorgeous handmade pillow that Jennifer gave me. It's beautiful!

And I picked up these vintage book plates for the kids' room that we're redoing. More on that later!

If you get the chance to go the Country Living Fair, you definitely should! There's one coming up in the Atlanta area next month. I wish I could go to that one too!

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