Sunday, September 20, 2015

Elizabeth Hartman Workshops

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of taking two six-hour workshops from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson. She was a great teacher and the weekend was a ton of fun.

The first class was based on her fox and hedgehog patterns. Here is the finished pillow top I made:

Fancy Fox was very easy to make and easy to chain piece. Also he can be made with jelly rolls! I have a jelly roll that's been lying around for years now so it may turn into a fancy fox quilt soon...

Hazel  hedgehog was a bit harder. I know she's cute, but look at all the pieces it took to make her!
I don't see myself making a full hazel hedgehog quilt anytime soon.

Here's Elizabeth teaching:

She also did a trunk show, which I only got horrible photos of. The coolest part was she actually passed around the quilts for us to feel and see up close!

This was my favorite quilt, from patchwork city. Every piece was chosen with thought and care. It has so many fun "Easter Eggs" when you see the blocks up close!

My second workshop was on this very quilt, Patchwork City. The class really focused on this ides of fussy cutting and choosing your fabrics very carefully and thoughtfully. We also learned to intentionally add a little discord. It was fun!

We each started with a "focal fabric" and built our design out from there. Here is my stack of fabrics. My focal fabric is actually kind of hidden in this pic. We also all brought scraps to share which was really fun. Since you can use really teeny tiny pieces for this quilt, you could find one cool element on some tiny strip of fabric and incorporate it into your blocks.

Here are my first two blocks. I really agonized and stressed over the first one but by the second one I had relaxed a bit. The first block is on the right. It's funny, my intentional discord was supposed to be that bright teal second from the bottom. Blends in pretty well, huh? On the second block, on the left, I tossed in that magenta piece, which definitely adds some pop!

Here are all three of my finished blocks. Can you tell which is the focal fabric?

This was originally supposed to be a pillow, but I had so much fun with it that I think I'm going to keep going and eventually make a quilt. In part because when I did my fabric pull, I had a TON of fabrics in this colorway. Might as well use them up!

One of the best parts of the class was getting inspiration from everyone else. Check it out:

The focal fabric here was the teepees. I love the burnt orange colors she pulled in!

These ones came out so clean and coordinated! Lovely!

If I recall, the focal fabric here was actually the peacock. But boy do those eyes pop out at you!

This one has such fun and cheerful colors and fabrics.

I love the fussy cutting for the window in the top block here:

I really thought these did a great job of pulling out the colors from the focal fabric. This would have been tough for me but she nailed it!

That's all for now! Today I am working hard on prepping for my class. I am practicing my speech and making step-throughs. My quilty friends agreed to be guinea pigs for me in two weeks, so we will see what they think of the dry run. I know I can rely on them for good feedback.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Works in Progress: September Edition

Yeesh, my last update was over two months ago! What's been going on since then?

Well, at the end of July I went to Madagascar.
Not a lot of sewing occurred in July because I was so busy packing and repacking and overthinking my packing for Mada!

I spent a lot time prepping hand sewing pieces to bring on the trip. Here's my little kit:

Just a nice zipper pouch, keeps everything neat and tidy.


Is it organized? No. Does it pack flat? Yes. This thing zips up nice and tiny, just how I like it.  What I am working on? Easter eggs!

Here's a batch I just finished this past weekend, while on a road trip:

I've tried EPP, and it's not for me. But this wool embroidery is a blast, and it's a frivolous little project that I am just doing for the joy of it.

Here's the only egg I've finished so far:

Well anyways, after all that prep work I didn't do any embroidery in Madagascar. My scissors, while safe by American standards, were confiscated by security at Tana airport. Oh well. 

I did bring some cool souvenirs home. These are hand embroidered tablecloths. They were clearly designed just for tourists, but I really liked them!

Once I returned from Mada, I got the very exciting news that I will be TEACHING my first quilting class EVER!! It will be on applique techniques, and will be taught at our guild retreat. I am SUPER excited but also SUPER nervous. So much of August has been me reading up on applique methods, checking out every applique book the library has, writing up a lesson plan, and then re-writing it, and so on.

Here's the class sample:

Ok, I admit I machine appliqued the whole thing because I was in a rush, but in the class we are going to learn both machine and hand applique techniques.

I was originally going to provide 20 cactus patterns and let everybody pick their own, but after a lot of internal debate I decided it would be a lot less confusing for everyone if we were all working on the same design. So, by executive decision, we are all making the one on the right with the pink flower on top.

The hardest thing has been figuring out what to include. I only have three hours, which is very, very little time to cover the million applique techniques that I wanted to go through. I was originally going to show everyone how to make their own patterns and have them do it with me, but I've decided to just tell them how I made the pattern and show them the steps, but not have them try to do them themselves. And I was going to cover three applique techniuqes but I worry we will even have time for that. We might have to stick to only two techniques. I'm just going to wing it!

Here are a bunch of sample blocks. A lot are from a past applique class I took, but I made some new ones too. I wrote on the back either the hand applique method or the brand of fusible web. I still need to go sew down the edges of the fusible web ones; I'm going to do a different edge finishing technique on each.

Oh AND I want to write up handouts with all of these tips and tricks because I know it will be too much to absorb and remember on the spot. And I want a handout comparing fusible webs but it's proving hard because I only use one brand and am not too familiar with others (although I found a surprising number of samples of different brands tucked into my drawers).

Well anyways, that's been a lot of excitement. But let's check in on all of those other sewing projects.

This lump is a quilt. It's been waiting for me to finish the binding for months now. It sits patiently by the tv.

But it's competing with this:

My first 2000 piece puzzle! And man, do I love puzzles. So whenever I sit in front of the tv, it's like "hmm, I could sew on a binding, OR...I could PUZZLE!" So the puzzle always wins.

Upstairs, we've got lots more mostly finished quilts.
This is my Bonnie Hunter mystery, Grand Illusion. Top is all done, I have purchased the backing and batting, just need to sit down and quilt it.

But wait! there's another quilt on the machine right now! Remember this Christmas quilt?

I finished a looong time ago (ok, like Feb or March), but I waited patiently for Joann's to get their Christmas fabric in stock before I finished it. And was it worth the wait! Check out this backing:

Nice soft fleece, adorable Christmas mugs, and the blue is the exact same shade of blue that's on the front! It really is perfect.

I was supposed to hand embroider on some steam, but I couched it. It was tough, came out a little lumpy. But still, a cool effect.

And here's Miss Pepper getting in the way right when I was about to start basting.

Ok but what other projects are currently in progress?

Remember Mr. Swan? He's hidden behind a stack of stuff. Not a good sign. It might be awhile before he's finished.

Oooh what's this pile? On the left we have a giant stack of lambas, fabric worn by ladies in Madagascar. I bought a ton because they were about a buck each, but I haven't sorted them and don't really know what to do with them. And on the right, sweatshirt fabric for a Craftsy class I'm taking on sewing with knits. Yes, I'm using Craftsy! I think it's funny because I resisted for a looooong time but I suddenly became obsessed and bought four classes in the past week. I'll definitely share reviews as I finish each of them!

Ugh here's another to-do rack. That top stack is for a bee block from May (eek), in the middle is a tote bag that I've cut the pieces for, and on the bottom are some size XL jerseys that I inherited and need to take in to a size M. Oh and change the name...

 And here's the fun stack! This weekend I am taking TWO(!) workshops from Elizabeth Hartman! I already have all of my fabrics picked out and ready to go. Woohoo!

Ok I think the puzzle is calling my name...