The Creativity Project

Have you heard of The Creativity Project by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios?  Kim is doing a year long series of weekly conversations with quilters.  There are so many wonderful quilters in this series and we are only half way through the year.  Last month I was honored to be asked to be included and thrilled to be in such great company!  My interview published today and I hope you'll check it out.

Simply Moderne Magazine

Rhythm of the Rails in Simply Moderne #13.jpg

I've recently had two quilts featured in Simply Moderne Magazine.  Waiting for Sanity was printed in Simply Moderne issue #12 in a gallery of quilts from the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at International Quilt Festival, Houston.  Rhythm of the Rails was featured in Simply Moderne #13 (the current issue) in a gallery of quilts from QuiltCon.  The funny thing is that I only came to know about both of these instances because my quilting friend Martha works at Barnes & Noble and keeps up on all the quilt magazines.  What a treat!  

Welcome Blankets

 Welcome Blankets

Welcome Blankets

If you are feeling frustrated by the inaction on the part of the government in reuniting families and treating immigrants and asylum seekers with respect and compassion, here is a project you might be interested in.  The Welcome Blanket Project is collecting blankets (knit, crochet, woven, quilted, etc) to display and then distribute to refugee resettlement organizations.

The goals of Welcome Blanket are as follows (from their website):
1.     Welcome new immigrants to the United States with a practical gift and words of welcome and connection.
2.     Provide ways for those who want to support immigrants to create and give a practical and thoughtful gift.
3.     Create community around positive, hands-on ideas of inclusion.
4.     Promote discussions about immigration policy and its effects on real-live people.

I have made several quilts to send along and maybe you will too.  They are asking for 40" x 40" blankets.  They even have some suggested patterns if you'd rather do that.  They have a knit pattern, a crochet pattern and a super quick quilt pattern which I used to make things go faster.  Plus it is very graphic and has lots of design options.

Click for Blanket Patterns

One of the nice things about this project is that they ask for a personal note from the maker about their own immigrant story.  I think that's a wonderful way to make a connection with these new immigrants and to really welcome them.  You can find lots of wonderful blankets and notes in their gallery and also on their Instagram account: @welcomeblanket.

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The orange quilt above and the red quilt below were made with the Magic 8 Method.  However, because quilting fabric doesn't usually come much wider than 40 usable inches, you might want to just try this quick method.  When you use the Magic 8 Method with squares about 20" you'll end up with a finished quilt less than 40" square.  The other quick method is not as quick as Magic 8, but it allows you to make a scrappier version like the one below.  By the way, there are some interesting tips in that second link, but I don't have the Quilt in a Day Square up Ruler so I just squared mine up the old fashioned way (also, it isn't big enough for these big blocks). 

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Perhaps you are not moved to make a welcome blanket, but you might find the quick methods can be useful for other community/charity/donation quilts.  I am working on another one to donate to my quilt guild's community quilts program. When I go to quilt shops these days I usually don't really need more fabric and I'm trying to not grow my stash too much anyway, so I'll often take a look at the clearance fabric.   If I find something interesting I'll get a couple of yards which works well to make a baby quilt and someone can always use a baby quilt.  

Half square triangles are so much fun to play with too.  If you haven't explore this design element, here are a few places for inspiration:

Tea & Brie

Making More with Less


Other tips for these quick quilts:  I did a quick serpentine stitch for quilting.  On the Bernina that's stitch #4, with a stitch length of 3.0 and a width of 5.5.  I machine stitch the binding to the back, iron it over the front and machine stitch to the front.  It looks pretty good and is very sturdy, but the best thing about it is that it only takes about 1/2 hour compared to several hours of a hand stitched binding.

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Of course, you can also do your own pattern.  When I first heard about the project I went searching through my closet to see if I had anything that fit the size.  Every Last Piece was the only one and it was actually in my Etsy shop, but I decided to send it along with the others.  

 Every Last Piece

Every Last Piece

And here' s a bonus quilt that I made with the scraps leftover from the second one.  

70s Child

 70s Child, 39" x 51"

70s Child, 39" x 51"

70s Child is a recent finish that I only started a couple of months ago.  I wanted to do a quilt based on improv curves.  These blocks were cut free hand with a rotary cutter and machine pieced.  I have done curves before, but never so many in one quilt.  It turns out I really hate doing them.  It's one reason the blocks sat for a bit before I got back to them.  I first made the small (approx 5") blocks, then made the four larger triple curve blocks in the upper right.  I set them aside to finish some other things, but every time I thought about getting them out I was turned off because I hated the process so much.  In the end I realized the design had potential and I should really just suck it up and finish it.  I made some more larger curved blocks (about 6"), then the rectangular blocks, and lastly the three largest ones at the bottom.  

I just found out that 70s Child was accepted into the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at IQF Houston this year, so that will be it's first outing as I need to mail it off soon.  I don't know why they need them so soon when the show's not until November, but there you go.

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It took me a little while to arrange them and start to put it together.  When the top was finished I machine quilted with dense straight lines (1/4" apart) which is my go to for abstract modern quilts.  It's not terribly original, but it's my thing.  I'm done trying to come up with some fabulous free motion design.  I really don't enjoy that and in the end I feel it can be limiting.  In this case, the quilting adds lovely texture, but no (or minimal) character.  I am not really interested in having someone else quilt it for an exorbitant price unless I am dealing with something too large for me.

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I finished it with a binding pieced from scraps and I really like the result.  By the way, the color palette started with the mustard yellow.  I added the reds, pinks and gray and then needed something else and turquoise just seemed to pop.  It started to remind me of the 70s while I was working on it.  Partly it was due to the mustard yellow/harvest gold color and partly due to the shapes.  Plus, I'm a 70s Child myself as I turned 6 in 1970.  So, don't expect any more improv curves from me, except perhaps in small doses.  

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