Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Deconstructed Lonestar - Blogger's Quilt Festival

If you're visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hello... and thanks for stopping by!


This is my Deconstructed Lonestar quilt. I'm not going to say much about it here, because you can read all about the process and inspiration behind it in this previous post. I will say that I'm very proud of this quilt and immensly flattered that it won a second place award at this year's QuiltCon show in the Modern Traditionalism category. I completed the quilt in November of 2014, just in time to enter it in the QuiltCon show.


Here's a detail view of the spiral quilting. You might also notice that many of the gray background fabrics have been overdyed. Do you recognize any of them as originally black-on-white prints?! Dyeing quilting fabrics was a first for me, and something I really enjoyed experimenting with.

Be sure to check out all the quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.  I'm entering this one in the Small Quilts category.




Bright Lights - Bloggers Quilt Festival

If you're visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hello... and thanks for stopping by!


I'm entering my Bright Lights quilt in the festival, and realized I hadn't yet shared it here on the blog. This is the second quilt I've made. Ever. That's right. I made a quilted table runner in 2012-13 (It took a while!), and then this one, so it was very much a learning process for me.  Which, really, every quilt is!

© leiyagami

The design was inspired and made for a 'Modern in the City' challenge organized for the International Quilt Festival show in Chicago last year.  It's loosely based on this photo I found through a Google image search: a blurry image of a city street at night. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything more to credit the artist/photographer, other than the copyright info above.) I blocked out some general shapes/sections based on the one-point perspective of the photo, then improvised the piecing using different width strips.


I pieced the top while at a retreat with the the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild in March 2014, just a few days before the deadline. Then I quilted it to emphasize the perspective lines. The fabrics were all from my stash. I didn't really know what I was doing, which made it a fun challenge. I just put it together without thinking about it too much; it felt a little like painting! This was also the first time I needed to bury threads, since my only other quilt was a narrow table runner that I quilted so all the stitching ended at the binding edges. And I attached the binding by machine because I worried I wouldn't finish it in time otherwise. Since then, I've come to love binding by hand, and wouldn't dream of doing it otherwise!


It was fun to see it in the IQF show, along with other quilts created by members of both the Chicago and Naperville Modern Quilt Guilds.  I hope you enjoy seeing it (and all the other quilts!) in the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.  I'm entering it in the Original Designs category.



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Giveaway Day!

Today (and the rest of this week) is SewMamaSew's Giveaway Day.  Lucky you.  And me. ;)  You have a chance to win fabulous sewing-related prizes, and learn about blogs or Instagram feeds you might be missing out on... and I get to meet some of you!

I'm giving away the current issue of Modern Patchwork magazine, plus a kit (fabric and batting) to make the Arrow Sketchbook Cover featured inside.  All you'll need to provide is a bit of sewing time and a sketchbook!


Here's what you could win:

  • The Spring 2015 issue of Modern Patchwork
  • One (almost) half yard of Comma News Print fabric by Zen Chic in Slate Gray  (This is not the same fabric shown in the finished sketchbook, but will look just as fabulous -- if not more!)
  • Three different solid fabrics for piecing the arrows (Kona colors: Pomegranite, Cactus, and Peacock)
  • One fat quarter of Kona Turquoise for the lining
  • One fat quarter of cotton flannel batting


This issue of Modern Patchwork includes my full instructions for making the Arrow Sketchbook Cover and I hope you'll enjoy making your own!  **The actual sketchbook cover pictured here will not be included in the package.**


Plus, look at all the other fabulous projects you could make from the magazine!!

To enter, please leave a comment letting me know what your favorite thing to sew is.  Do you like quilting, or sewing garments, bags, soft toys... or something else??  I'd love to know!

You have from now until Sunday, May 10, at 5:00 pm PST to enter.  After that, I'll randomly choose one winner.  

Please be sure I have a way to contact you if you're a winner!  If your email is not connected to your blogger profile, please include it in your comment.

I'm not requiring any extra hoops to enter, but I'd be absolutely flattered if you choose to follow me through Bloglovin' or on Instagram.  Thanks, and good luck!!



Friday, February 27, 2015

A Quilt for QuiltCon

I created Deconstructed Lonestar specifically for QuiltCon 2015, the international conference and show by and for The Modern Quilt Guild.


I was inspired by a traditional lone star quilt my mom made for me when I was in my twenties, long before I was interested in quilting myself.  I was looking at it recently and thinking about how striking the pattern is and how it might look with a more modern spin.  I was also inspired by this and this and this and this, all modern versions of the lone star pattern.  I then started to think about the idea of the star breaking off and exploding into space.  The concept of combining a traditional pattern with current fabrics and improvisational piecing resonated with me.  I drew up a basic star pattern, offset it towards a lower corner, and starting sketching over it with colored pencil.


I decided early on to use a cool palette of blues and greens for the star, and that I wanted those colors to pop against a darker background.  I was looking for more depth and interest in the negative space than I thought I could achieve with a solid gray.  I also wanted the construction of the piecing to be obvious, as I feel like that is a big part of what makes the lone star pattern so beautiful.  Since I knew it would be impossible to find assorted dark gray prints that worked together, it became clear that I should overdye the background fabrics myself, something I hadn't done before.  Because (ha!) why would I make the process easy??!  In the end, after collecting a variety of black-on-white prints, and learning as much as I could from everyone I know who had ever dyed fabric, I set to work.  It took two tries -- you can see the first (too light) version on the left and the final version on the right.


You can see my partially completed sketch for the design in the upper left corner of the photo above.  That's as far as I got with planning out the design.  I laid out the "shards" of the broken star as I went, until it looked right.


Here it is on the floor on my living room, almost complete!  I pieced the star in somewhat random strips that I then cut at a 45-degree angle, similar to this tutorial.  The broken points of the star are pieced in the same manner, but with more carefully placed strips of the gray fabric added, so those parts became negative space and faded into the background.


The quilting was influenced by a "Recipe for Spiraling" in the book Pamphlet Architecture 27:  Tooling, shown above.  I'm not adept at free motion quilting and was looking for a dynamic quilting design that I could quilt myself with a walking foot.  The authors of the book write that "Spiraling produces a shape unlike any other because it is seldom experienced as geometry, but rather as energy."  Seemed perfect to me.  You can see that I sketched the beginning of the spiral on the quilt top.  Thankfully, once it got big enough, I was able to use the edge of the walking foot to continue the shape until it was complete.
.

I love how the gray fabrics have a similar tone (or is it shade?), yet are still distinct.  I really pushed myself with this quilt and learned so much in the making of it.  It also reinforced for me how much I enjoy the process of design.  I finished binding and photographing the quilt the day submissions were due for the QuiltCon show, and was thrilled to find out a few weeks later that it was accepted into the show!


Then, on the first morning of QuiltCon, my quilt was awarded second place in the Modern Traditionalism category.  I'm still a little in shock!  Really, it was incredible just to see my quilt in the show.  You can see all of the amazing winning quilts in this post on The Modern Quilt Guild blog.  So many other fabulous quilts were on display, too.  If you're on Instagram, check out #quiltsofquiltcon or #quiltcon2015 to see many of them.  [The quilt on the left, above, is Fly Away by Heather Jones.]

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Floating Triangles Bag

I'm a bit late with this announcement, but you can find my pattern for this Floating Triangles bag in the Winter 2015 issue of Modern Patchwork.  (You should still be able to find the issue on newsstands.  But if not, you can purchase a copy from the Interweave store.)


I really enjoyed designing this bright and colorful cross-body bag.  The angled front pocket is essentially a tiny quilt -- and a fun study in half square triangles.  The bag measures about 10-inches wide by 13-inches tall, and the strap is adjustable up to 53-inches long.


Modern Patchwork is one of my favorite quilty/sewing magazines, and, as usual, there are some great quilts and smaller projects in this particular issue.  I'm thrilled to be sharing the pages with some of my maker/designer idols, including Rashida Coleman-Hale (Her Modern Hexies quilt is gorgeous!) and Malka Dubrawsky (Don't you think her Mod Ovals Quilt makes a beautiful cover photo?).


{top right photo courtesy of Interweave}

Speaking of cover photos (and publications), I'm super excited that my Above the Curve table runner made it on the cover of the Spring issue of Stitch!!  What an honor... and a surprise!  I haven't received my physical copy yet.  When I do, I'll be sure to post more about that design, and the inspiration behind it.


{photo courtesy of Interweave}

And, if you sew your own version of the Floating Triangles bag, or any of my patterns, I would LOVE to see it!  Tag me on Instagram (@formwork), post a comment here, or email me to let me know.  Thanks so much!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Aragon bag

Back in the beginning of February, I took a workshop with Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness and made this lovely bag.  The workshop was an all-day event, organized by the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, a group which I am so happy to have joined about a year ago.  Many of us braved (yet another!) snowstorm that day, to gather and sew and eat and sew and chat and sew... as Sara expertly and patiently walked us through the making of her Aragon bag.


The Aragon bag was designed as a diaper bag, but it would also make a great carry-on tote.  I'll be using mine as a "retreat" bag to carry fabric and sewing supplies.  The thing has nine pockets (!) in all, which are perfect for stashing rotary cutters, rulers, thread, elastic, zippers, and more.  And the interior is easily large enough to hold several yards of fabric, as well as some in-progress projects!  If you're interested, you can find out more about the Aragon bag in Sara's pattern shop.


I enjoy making bags, but I'm not sure I would have attempted one this complex without the workshop.  Despite having done a lot of prep work beforehand and sewing all day (okay, so maybe I should have been talking less...remember the part about chatting?!), I still hadn't completely finished the bag at the end of the workshop.  Another hour or so of focused work at home, though, and it was done!

I used fabrics from Jeni Baker's Nordika collection for the outer bag and side pockets, with a teal polka-dot print from Joann's for the interior, top, and shoulder straps.


I cut out the pattern pieces using the cute little pattern weights my mother-in-law made for me for Christmas.   No more cans from the cupboard as pattern weights for me!  I stuck to the pattern for the most part, with just a few (three, in fact) modifications.
1) I changed the shape of the front flap pocket to be more rectangular, but still with rounded bottom corners (see top photo).  The pocket in the pattern is more of a semi-circle.  I liked how the shape of my revised pocket was more connected to the overall shape of the bag, but, more importantly, I just wanted to be able to fit more stuff in it!
2) I made the shoulder straps a few inches longer, because I'm tall and wanted the bag to hit my hips, not my waist, when I carry it.
3) I used a different interfacing than the pattern called for -- Pellon Peltex 71 (an ultra-firm fusible stabilizer) instead of the recommended Soft and Stable foam interfacing.


If you ever have a chance to take a class from Sara, I would highly recommend it.  She was a great teacher, was very well prepared to walk us through each step, and was patient and personable.  Plus, you'll likely end up with an amazing new bag as a result!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Kitchen Stitches winner!!

The winner of my giveaway of the new Kitchen Stitches book is.... (drumroll, please...) Debbie!!!, who said, "Looks like a very useful book! Thanks."  I think you'll find that it truly is, Debbie!

You can read more about the book, and my contribution to it, here.





And if you didn't win, but would still like a copy of the book, you can always purchase a copy at your local bookstore, in the Martingale shop or through Amazon.

Happy stitching!