Thursday, December 14, 2017

City Sampler Finish!!

I'm so excited to finally be sharing my City Sampler quilt with you today! This quilt has been in the making since August 2016 when I participated in the #100days100blocks QAL organized by Angie at Gnome Angel.

This is also my 5th finish off the 2017 FAL list for Q4!!

Each of the 100 blocks was pieced with scraps in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, brown, purple and pink. I chose to sash the blocks with Kona Ash which makes the colours really pop.

I had a lot of fun fussy cutting some of the fabrics in the blocks...

For the quilting, I rented some time on a mid-arm machine at Atelier Fiber Arts. That was crazy fun! I used my trusty Aurifil in Dove (50 wt) for the quilting.

The backing is a wide back I ordered last year, when I first finished this quilt top.

I'm so thrilled with my City Sampler, there's just no way I'm parting with this one. It is staying right here with me and it just might become my new bed quilt once it's not so cold anymore! A cotton quilt just won't do when it's -25 degrees outside!!

Quilt Stats:
  • Pattern: City Sampler by Tula Pink
  • Size: 85" square 
  • Fabrics: All scraps and Kona Ash for the sashing 
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2600 in 50 wt 
  • Recipient: Me!!

I will be celebrating this finish with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and with Busy Hands Quilting for TGIFF!

Friday, December 8, 2017

And Baby Girl Makes Four

A colleague is having her second baby soon. I made a quilt for her first baby so of course I had to make one for her little baby girl.

I purchased the Giraffes in a Row pattern from Sew Fresh Quilts because, let's face it, it was perfect for this little baby. My colleague already decided this baby girl will be her last - her little family of four is done.

I chose Kona solids in eight different shades for the giraffes, Kona silver for the background and Kona black for the eyes.  The binding is scrappy, made with leftovers from the giraffes.

For the quilting, I used my walking foot and quilted wavy horizontal lines with the very versatile Aurifil #2600 (Dove) in 50 wt.

The backing is a really cute Riley Blake print.

I don't always label my quilts but this one needed one!

To make the label, I simply folder a square in half and stitched the label onto the back when I sewed the binding on. I then hand stitched the rest of the label to the quilt.

My colleague leaves on maternity leave this week so I plan on giving her this little baby quilt on Friday.

Quilt Stats:
  • Pattern: Giraffes in a Row by Sew Fresh Quilts 
  • Size: 39" square 
  • Fabrics: Kona cotton solids 
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2600 in 50 wt 
  • Recipient: Joumana's little girl 

Linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at Devoted Quilter for TGIFF.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Christmas Stocking for Baby James

Becoming a grand-mother (or Mamie) has brought me a kind of joy that's really hard to explain. There's something so special about holding your child's baby. And when you have grand-babies, you really get to experience the whole thing without all the stress of being a new mother, without all the sleepless nights and without wondering if you're doing things "wrong". You've been there, done that, got the T-Shirt!!

This is little Madison in her Halloween costume

This is baby James with his gorgeous smile which melts my heart
Having grand-babies also means I get to make baby quilts, playmats and many, many other crafty things. So when James' father and mother asked me to make a Christmas stocking for him, I didn't hesitate for a second. First, I love when my children ask for handmade items and second, it was for James! Of course I would make him a Christmas stocking!

I had a few Cheery Christmas charm squares leftover from my holiday placemats so pulled those out along with a Kona red and got to work.  I used a free pattern by Amy Friend from During Quiet Time and it came together super easily and quickly.

I quilted diagonal lines in the body of the stocking and some organic wavy lines in the cuff using my trusty Aurifil #2600 in 50 wt.

So they could hang it on their mantle, I used some red ribbon and sewed a loop to the top.

I'm happy to report that James' parents were thrilled with his stocking. As a maker, what more can I ask for?

Quilt Stats:

I will be linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at Faith and Fabric Design for TGIFF.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Placemats: Another Finish

I am killing my 2017 FAL Q4 list people! I’m happy to share my holiday placemats today because they are: 
  • My first holiday finish of the season (I know – I’m crazy late!) 
  • My 4th finish off the 2017 FAL Q4 list 
  • The result of some fun experimenting 
  • Super cute! ☺ 

I say these were the result of some fun experimenting because I used my Hex N More ruler for this project and didn’t really have a plan other than wanting to play with the ruler and use up some fun holiday charm packs I had from a couple of years ago. I know I was inspired by a quilt I saw, but I cannot for the life of me, remember where or when!

The colours are so happy and really don’t scream Christmas so I think I can get away with using these all year round. What do you think?

I used beautiful red fat quarters for the backings so each placemat is different and is double-sided really. I used Kona reds for the binding (can’t remember which shades exactly though).

Each placemat is quilted with wavy horizontal lines with Aurifil Dove (#2600) in 50 wt. I love this thread – it pretty much blends in with all colours and the thread is so nice and thin, all you see is the cool texture.

They are a little big though (about 16” x 19”) – they fill up the whole table!

Quilt Stats:
  • Pattern: None 
  • Size: Each placemat is about 16” x 19” 
  • Fabrics: Cherry Christmas by Aneela Hoey for Moda 
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2600 in 50 wt 
  • Recipient: Us! 

I will be linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at Busy Hands Quilts for TGIFF.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Modern Log Cabin Finish

During the 2017-2018 year, the Montreal MQG is hosting a really fun activity for its members - a skill builder challenge where we present a traditional block every month and encourage our members to modernize the block.  All of the blocks made by our quilters will be put together in charity quilts at the end of the year.

I was presenting the log cabin block at the November meeting this week. To get ready for my presentation, I decided I needed to finish my green log cabin quilt which had been on my FAL list for many, many quarters!

I used improv piecing for the blocks and framed a few of them with a grey solid border. I didn't cut into any of my stash for this quilt top - I used nothing but scraps.  I had such a great time remembering the quilts these scraps came from.  Such as these cute owls that I used in a baby quilt for a good friend of mine 3 years ago.

And this Harry Potter fabric from the quilt my son Max and I designed together.

I quilted this quilt with some free-motion flowers with Aurifil 50 wt in green (#2890) and used a few green fat quarters for the backing.

This will be a baby quilt for grand-baby number 3 - who is scheduled to make his arrival in early February. I've never been this early for a baby quilt before!

Quilt Stats:
  • Pattern: No pattern was used for this one
  • Size: 54" x 54" before washing
  • Fabrics: All scraps and fat quarters from my stash for the backing
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2890 in 50 wt.
  • Recipient: Grand-baby number 3 due in February

I will be linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at What a Hoot! for TGIFF.  This is also my 3rd finish off the 2017 Q4 FAL List!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 FAL Meet the Hosts: Karen of Capitola Quilter

Hi there!  I'm Karen and blog at CapitolaQuilter .  I've been participating since the beginning of Finish-A-Long and am honored to have joined in as one of the International Hosts this year.   It's hard to believe we are already wrapping up 2017.

Pre-QCon Selfie 2017

Have you enjoyed reading the FAL Meet the Host monthly guest blogger posts?  Well, now it's my turn to to be featured in the series!  Here goes a picture filled post starting with most importantly, my beautiful family.


Summer 2016
I am married to a wonderful guy and we have two grown boys.  We are incredibly proud of the men they have become and adore the women they have chosen to spend their lives with.  Enjoying time with our granddaughter and watching her reach milestones that we remember when our kids were young like it was yesterday and yet a lifetime ago is quite the mind game.

Look how cute and little they were!!!  My oversized glasses and shoulder pads date our family portrait and the "Big Hair-Skinny Tie" picture was the perfect share for my first ever swap called I heart the 80's a Flickr group.  I wish I still had that hand-dyed silk dress although in reality, we prefer jeans and a t-shirt.  This summer marks our 35th anniversary.

Flashback Family Photos
In 2002 we adopted two German Shorthair pointers. Always underfoot,  Dottie's trick was to step on my foot pedal (until I upgraded my sewing machine with a start/stop button) and innocently walk in the way of photos.  Chase perfected the skill of lying on a quilt if I glanced away - for a minute - while basting. 

Sadly, we recently lost them both to sudden illness after long full lives and have no animals at the moment.   Pets are considered family members to us and Hubby wants a puppy but I am not ready.

Capitola Quilter

Frequently mistaken for "Capitol, a Quilter" or "capital A quilter" , my blog name is easily misunderstood if you don't happen to be familiar with the small town on the coast of California USA where I live, Capitola.   Spanning less than 2 square mile with a population of about 10K, it isn't a big city but is rich in history and a constant source of inspiration. 

BeeSewcial "Reflections" Capitola Photoshoot

Although our house is not one of the big beautiful oceanfront ones you see in the picturesque backdrops when I take my quilts on a photoshoot,  we're still pretty lucky to be able to walk to the beach and enjoy mild weather.

Santa Cruz quilt photoshoot by Anne Sullivan

Thanks for indulging me - now on to the QUILTS!

The Early Years - Quilts from Patterns

Among the first quilts I made was a gift for my mother-in-law that included a picture of her seven grandkids.   It is sweet with coordinating prints, fussy cornerstones, sashing and a border.  Image transfer was high-tech at the time but peeling their faces off to iron down was totally creepy. Thank goodness Spoonflower came along!

1998-1999 one of my first quilts
My Scrappy Maximalist style had a kickstart when my friends brought fabric to a surprise Quilt-themed birthday party in my honor.  The assortment received did NOT go together so I used black and white with uniform shapes to bring order and incorporated quote blocks.  It is one of my most sentimental quilts and the beginning of my desire to create original works.

My Birthday Quilt-themed party Quilt

Following patterns from books, I made these wedding quilts out of batiks, traditional and modern stash.  I had the chance to meet Anita Grossman Solomon at Quilt Festival Houston 2014 and see her Old Italian Block quilt in the exhibit.  I subtitled my blog SecondHandScraps because I eagerly accept leftovers from friends who know my reputation for scrappiness.

Old Italian Block 2012 and Split Nine-Patch 2011
In 2013 local quilt store SueDee's featured my quilts on display in a solo show.  Using the MoStash and Friends+Fabric =AMSB bee blocks that I received and adding my own enlarged blocks, the Giant xPlus was a hit and is what I keep on our bed.

Opening Reception
It didn't seem like an ambitious task when I set out to make each of my nieces, nephews and my own kids a 21st Birthday quilt.   I stayed on track until the final three and thankfully all twelve are finally delivered.  Among the tardy is this Full size quilt that rolled over from quarter to quarter on my FAL list frequently.  I included a jumbo delectable mountain for the backing and two matching shams.

a rare "Guy" quilt
Early on I only sewed for gifts and charity giving away all of my quilts.  I didn't have a single one in my house!  Since then I've kept  a few - as evident by this adorable photo: 

More than Quilts

Quilting came into my life as an adult but I grew up wearing handmade and learned to sew clothes in 4-H as a kid excelling in HomeEc in Jr. High and High School.   Somewhere along the way I misplaced the confidence and skills and have had little success making myself garments.  I've dabbled with clothes for my granddaughter since she's much easier to please and fit than I am.  

Hart's Fabric, a family owned independent brick and mortar fabric store since 1969 (a rarity these days) is still the same place I go to shop.  My improv seagull, poppy field and mountains design was chosen for their 2016 Row by Row Experience pattern.

Bags are quick and rewarding makes.  I enjoy browsing thrift stores for handwork and feel compelled to rescue the abandoned treasures like the patchwork cat needlework used in The Wasted Swap tote (lower right).

Original Designs and Influences

Most of what I make now are original or modified designs rather than from patterns.  Perspective was designed using Play Crafts tool Equal, made in a whirlwind 10 days and displayed at Hart's to show off the Loominous fabric line. An edgy improv butterfly seemed fitting use of the Sweet Rebellion fabric line for Ink & Arrow's blog hop.

Goats Askew  pushed a lot of technical boundaries.   I loved being one of the Score for Bias Strip Petals testers and part of Sherri Lynn Wood's gallery here even though it was not published in her book.  I've taken two workshops with her and got to show and tell in person at the last one.

I didn't make an All-Solids quilt until 2014 which seems crazy since that is the majority of what I work in now.  Capitola Crossing was directly inspired by an antique quilt, details blogged here.  It was displayed at Amish: the Modern Muse, a juried exhibit representing three Modern Guilds in the FiberSpace section of the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Textiles.

Perspective, Dare to Fly, Goats Askew and Capitola Crossing

My style has expanded to include Improvisation with Meaning in the Make since joining BeeSewcial.  The Graphic and Minimalistic focus also comes from Quilt Design A Day, QDAD a Facebook group that I am admin for.   Both encourage exploration and push me beyond boundaries more than I'd ever imagined.

The transformation of a design mock up to a finished quilt is a process I highly recommend trying.  Here are four samples: Two challenges for our local show,  "Resonate" for the AGF Heartland Tour Blog Hop, and Castle in The Sand a collaborative quilt with valued mentor Pam Rocco.   As you can see I've deviated from he original design but have captured the essence which is more my goal.

Examples of #QDAD2Reality

Contributing blocks for QuiltCon First Place group bee winners: 2016 Debbie Jeske's Mod Mood and 2017 Stephanie Ruyle's Direction Optional  was such an honor.  Fortunately I had the opportunity to be there to see the quilts up close in person and help celebrate.  Thanks to the QDAD Showcase and Quilt of the Month Special Exhibit,  my own quilts hung in Savannah at QuiltCon East.

Left: Me & my Quilts, Right: BeeSewcial at QuiltCon
QDADers being silly
This year I'm going to enter my absoulutely stunning Reflections BeeSewcial quilt and hope, hope, hope it is accepted.   Now that I've puzzled this one together I should have no trouble with the next two, right?

Reflections BeeSewcial Quilt
Here are just a few of my favorite BeeSewcial blocks that I've made and a mosaic from 2015:

I was diligent about documenting blocks back in the Flickr days and am sentimentally fond of them despite how different in style they are.

2012 Flickr Group Bee Blocks

Quilting with friends is really special to me.  Fortunately this happens on a regular basis with a small local group and annually with our guild.  I've also managed to crash a couple of sister guild retreats too!  My wish is to have a larger Multi-Chapter or Regional sewing meet up, a casual no frills opportunity to hang out with nearby peeps that I "know" from social media someday.

Local Friends, Sew and Stroll
SBAMQG Annual Fall Retreat 2012-2017

I'm also lucky to meet up with my sis who lives far away at quilty events like QuiltCon, Quilt Festival and Empty Spools.  For the 90's themed party at Glamp Stitchalot we had fun dressing up and although my closet may still have authentic garments from the era,  I repurposed a plaid blazer into a skirt.

Sewing Sisters

We'll be together at another QuiltCon in February - say "hi" if you see us. She'll be the one perfecting her skills in back to back workshops and I'll be the one striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger, embarrassing myself with fangirl selfies and sporting a blue volunteer t-shirt.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Being part of our MQG guild chapter South Bay Area MQG from the beginning, serving as VP and chairing committees has made a huge impact.  Learning from one another and being part of something bigger holds a special place in my heart.

QuiltCon Charity blocks 2013
I never would have guessed the first tutorial as a brand new blogger, Polaroids Chain Pieced would generate the highest traffic to date and show up on tons of Pinterest boards.  A special shout out to my blog followers!

This summer I had the pleasure of teaching my first workshop, a technique and design rather than project based class.   Students did great playing with parts and possibilities and their enthusiasm made for a fun time.  I hope to have more opportunities in the future and am developing a spin off class that I'm excited about.

  Last but not least, My Workspace

Once upon a time, I had an organized sewing space in a small L-shaped room of our house as a legit place to create.  Yardage stored on comic boards in bookshelves and FQ-ish bundles kept in an antique cabinet with scrap tubs lining the perimeter of the ceiling on a shelf.  Some weekends I would rarely step away and loose all track of time.  It was all inclusive but a little lonely and cramped.  

To be more centrally located I temporarily put up a portable design wall, sewing and cutting table in the living room only I have never moved back.  My old room is now a glorified closet,  piled high with projects in buckets and bags waiting to be put back where they belong - or better yet, finished.

Sewing in the Living Room
When I get in the productive zone, I just push aside what's in my way or brush it to the floor and keep going.  I may be sewing fewer scrappy quilts these days but I am certainly not making less scraps!

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me and the creative frenzy that has been my journey so far.  I wish you all the best of luck with your FAL goals and hope you continue to carve out a quilty path that brings you joy.  

Happy Stitching, Karen aka CapitolaQuilter