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I shared in my intentions for the year that I am taking an online class with Elizabeth Barton. January was the first assignment of the year. We were tasked with learning to see, sketch and use value. Working from a photograph, I made a sketch of the Point Reyes Lighthouse that we visited over Christmas.

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The assignment challenged us to use only one color in light, medium, and dark values. I chose to use black, which meant I needed to dye some fabric!

img_2288It’s been ages since I had a dye session, maybe almost a year! It felt pleasurable, like seeing an old friend, pulling out my supplies and making magic in the kitchen. I dyed two colors, black and blue, in an eight value color way.

img_2300Black is such a fascinating color when reduced into values. It brings out the colors that make it black. Here, I discovered gray black tones of purple!

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I had my sketch and I had my fabric, and then I pulled it all together. The assignments are divided into three parts throughout the month, first we turn in our sketch and receive feedback, then we turn in the blocked quilt, and have a second chance for feedback and making changes, and then at the end of the month we turn in our finished quilt.

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The blocked stage isn’t stitched or secured down so that there is the opportunity to shift and make changes. The main lesson I learned in my design is that the literal truth seen in the photograph doesn’t necessarily make for a pleasing or interesting design. Small changes can be made to make the design a good one. I guess that’s why they call it artistic license!

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This piece is small, 11″ x 15″, and the quilting came together quickly. Swirls and squiggles and wavy lines. I was trying to evoke the craggy rocks, breaking waves, and fog-filled sky.

img_2380The lighthouse looks little, perched on its craggy rocks against the grandeur of the ocean and sky. That’s how I remember it in real life, and how I wanted it to be seen in the quilt.

img_2403Here’s another picture of the lighthouse from when we visited last December. There are more than 300 steps to walk down to reach the lighthouse.

img_4021When the lighthouse was in operation, a lone individual would live there for months on end. Now that would be a wild job. Just you, the rocks, and the surf.

What a joy it is to receive fabric in the mail that is a surprise! As the first days of February passed, I looked forward with anticipation to receiving my package of February’s Pressed Seam Club from a Verb for Keeping Warm.

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In her note, Kristine shared that she wanted to pick bright primary colors to brighten up the gray days of winter. There have been a lot of gray days this winter, thank goodness for the rain and snow, so a little pop of sunshine and color is much appreciated despite how much the water is needed.

img_2489There are such a range of textures to each piece of fabric. One is more of a heavy canvas, and another a lightweight almost transparent weave. None are fabrics I would necessarily pick up on my own, but now that I have them, I can’t wait to use them in a sewing project!

img_2491Fabrics included are:

  1. Moda Fabrics – Mary Jane Butters – Glamping
  2. Liberty Art Fabrics -Bloomsbury Collection
  3. Art Gallery Fabrics – Folklore Sunray – Tule
  4. Kokka Co LTD Fabrics – Trefle
  5. Cotton & Steel – Alexia Abegg – Print Shop
  6. Cloud 9 Collective – Anna Graham – Rain Walk – 100% Organic Cotton

Linking up with Sunday Stash.

“Sunday-Stash-with-Molli

Fiery Sunsets

We are in the middle of a very stormy January. The atmospheric river has been bringing lots of snow to our valley floor. We ski when it’s not snowing and cozy up inside when it’s snow raining. This has given me lots of time to sew! I’ve started a baby quilt, a shawl, and a small art piece of a lighthouse. Meanwhile, I can share with you my last finished piece, Fiery Sunset, which is currently for sale at our Mammoth Lakes Library show which is open until February 10.

img_2036As the last quilt in my series of colorscapes, this was my favorite for color and quilting. The quilting lines have such texture and movement. They were a joy to stitch.

img_2037The pattern looked cool on the back of the quilt too.

img_2040In December, we had a reception for our show. It was also a very snowy and cold night. Despite the very icy roads, most of our quilting group made it to Mammoth for the reception.

img_2053Here’s a quick peak at some of the other quilts in the show. I didn’t manage to take many pictures as I kept getting distracted, but it gives you a taste of the beautiful and colorful quilts in the show!

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Spring in the Sierras by Laura Diko. I really like Laura’s choice of fabrics, and how she used them to make the landscape. And I like her quilting on the flowers!

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Eucalyptus by Catherine Cannon. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be this one by Cathy. I love the movement Cathy created in the quilt, with the shapes and colors and quilting. Stunning.

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Large Swirl by Margaret Phelps. More fantastic use of color and shapes and quilting.

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Serengeti Sunset by Penny Kehus. Closing on another sunset. I like the black silhouette of the animals on the bright colored fabric. The show is open for a couple more weeks if you’d like to see the quilts in person, and all sales support the library!

Each Christmas, I enjoy putting up a tree and pulling out the ornament box, finding the right place for each ornament on the tree. Many ornaments are gifts from friends, and one ornament I made last year, an acorn with leaf. When I thought about what gift I would like to make for friends and family this year, I thought I would continue with the ornament theme. I like to imagine that each person I give an ornament to will also feel that pleasure as they decorate their tree, being reminded by the handmade ornaments of the people that love and care for them.

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As the early part of December past, I pondered and mulled over and thought about what type of ornament I could make. I had some vague sense I wanted to do something with my hand dyed fabric scraps and paper piecing quilt technique. Inspiration struck one evening as I was browsing instagram, and saw a photo of an ornament that was needlepoint, with a mason jar lid as the hoop/border. Perfect! I could paper piece a small quilted piece and then enclose with a mason jar lid.

img_2069Once I had my idea, I browsed pinterest, to see if anyone else had done this and if they had any suggestions. I learned from one tutorial how to use a hammer and nail to make a hole in the side of the lid for the hanging loop to go through, and learned from another tutorial to turn the inside lid upside down to make the design push outwards instead of pushing inwards.

img_2057Each evening I sewed and pieced and churned out ornament after ornament. I traced the lid on paper to make my paper piecing templates. In the beginning, I was more impromptu, randomly pulling fabrics and making a design. Then I started to curate my fabrics a bit, and pulled fabrics of similar hues.

img_2073One design led to another which led to another. Some designs were more complex, and I would draw on the paper to follow the pattern. Others were simple and came together quickly. From start to finish, each took me about 15 minutes.

img_2007My favorite comment was from our Great-Aunt Sue, who upon unwrapping her ornament, exclaimed that it will “make the mason jar look so nice!” Well, I guess that would be a good use for them as well. Really dress up your preserves!

I am excited to be participating in A Very for Keeping Warm‘s Pressed Seam Club. I have long loved the Verb for their yarn and natural dye materials, but haven’t really taken advantage of or browsed their fabric selection. I’ve had my eye on their Pressed Seam Club since I first heard of it several months ago, and subscribed this January for the first time.

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I always love opening packages and seeing what’s inside, especially since the six fat quarters they send each month will be a surprise! Their note shares that they wanted to include fabrics that “bring to mind daydreaming and doodles” for the New Year.

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I think what I will enjoy most about this subscription is expanding my stash to include fabrics I wouldn’t ordinarily pick out myself,  but once I have in my toolkit, will enjoy using.

img_2281 So in addition to doodling and daydreaming, here’s to stretching comfort zones and being more creative with new fabric! Happy New Year all, I’m looking forward to what we all quilt in 2017.

Linking up with Sunday Stash.

“Sunday-Stash-with-Molli

Planning for 2017

 

Looking forward to 2017 makes the world feel full of possibility. This is often the point at which I over commit myself, dream big, and imagine that my time is limitless. They say shoot for the moon and you will land among the stars, so it is off to the moon I go!

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My number one top priority will be … making quilts! Of course. The new part is I’ve been invited to participate in a show locally with a few other artists this summer. This means it is time to start sewing! The show is led by Ann Piersall; if you haven’t heard of her yet, take a moment to check out her work. Absolutely stunning. She has been invited by our local brewery to have a show, and she thought it would be more fun to have several artists participating! The theme will be to share our unique East Side landscape, from the sage covered valleys to the high mountain peaks.

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I’ve also signed up for Elizabeth Barton’s Master Class. The class is hosted on a private blog, and Elizabeth posts one assignment each month. We submit our designs and quilts, and she provides guidance and critique. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone in the class designs and sews, and to see how my own designs develop. This class will be a challenge for me to keep up with, but I’m hoping to set aside small bits of time to devote to it. Like I discovered with my poppy quilts, a lot can be accomplished when you even just set aside ten minutes a day!

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I also want to continue to be involved in our Out of the Box group, meeting up to share techniques, and hopefully having another show at the Mammoth Lakes library again next fall. There are also rumblings from the group that we might have another collaborative project together. We will have to see what that turns out to be!

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And then, if there is any more time left, I want to dye more fabric. I want to play with dyeing gradations and sewing transparent designs. I want to learn how to sew curves and incorporate the technique more in my work (nothing to do with dyeing, just something I want to learn). I want to paint more fabric, more sunsets and skyscapes. Part of the dyeing goal is to also get a permanent place set up for me to dye in our garage/laundry room. There is a wall next to the washing machine and sink that we’d like to install counter tops and cupboards (if anyone locally is remodeling their kitchen, let me know! We are on the hunt for around six feet of counter top). Then I could have all my dye equipment ready to use, and a dedicated space to dye in.

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And let’s not forget to mention my personal health and wellbeing, hanging out with my family and friends, getting outside and being active, and cooking good food. I’d also like to sew up a couple of baby quilts for babies that have arrived and will be arriving. My blog could use some attention, organizing some background pieces and cleaning up a few things I’ve been thinking about.

Here’s to a productive, creative, and fun 2017! Let’s go see what happens.

2017 Planning Party
P.S. And I’m linking up with my first link party! Thanks to Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl for hosting the #2017planningparty.

Reflection on 2016

I love this time of year, despite the shorter days, or maybe because of them, I feel as if there is space to slow down, reflect, ponder, and remember. I anticipate the days leading up to the end of the month with enjoyment, looking back on all that happened and looking forward to what is ahead.

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You can enjoy my past reflections here and here and here and here and here and here

If last year was the year of big finishes, than this year was the year of dabbling in this and that … I let my interests take me wherever the wind blew. This way and that way.

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My hand stitchery for the year was embroidery through the Dropcloth Sampler. I enjoyed trying different threads and learning new stitches. I wasn’t able to keep up with the monthly subscription, so I still have a lot of fun stitchery ahead in 2017!

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Once upon a time, I had the plan that I would make a baby quilt for every baby in my life. I managed to make one this spring for Hunter Edward, and have since fallen behind. So many babies being born, it’s wonderful!

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The first class I took was at Road To California, with Gloria Loughman called Confident Colour. Highlights from the class were for the first time understanding a color wheel and how to use it, learning to paint skies, and discovering steam-a-seam.

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From that class, I finished four small wall hangings. The simplicity of the design gave me freedom to explore different free motion quilting designs, and I experimented with different borders and facings.

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The second class I took was through the Academy of Quilting, with Elizabeth Barton title Inspired to Design. I didn’t particularly like the Academy’s online format, but I really enjoyed Elizabeth’s teaching style and critique. The class focused on making numerous sketches of a design, and learning how to manipulate and critique to a final good design. Life got in the way towards the end of the course, so I became less involved, but I am looking forward to taking another of Elizabeth’s classes in 2017, so more on that in my next post!

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The third class I took was with Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color called Patchwork from Scrap. I liked her online format for the class which was hosted on a private blog, and I enjoyed her lectures and projects. She rocked my world with her comments and theory on fabric management and storage. I’ll never treat a piece of fabric the same way again!

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I also joined the #30daysofquiltdesign hosted by Stitched in Color. Over a couple of months, we were challenged with drawing 30 quilt designs.

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It was neat to see how my drawings and designs developed over the course of the challenge. It was also my first time participating in an instagram challenge, and I found it very enjoyable to interact with other quilters on instagram, liking and commenting and encouraging each other.

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And last, but not least, our Out of the Box quilt group continues to inspire me. We met several times to play with fabric, learning new techniques with painting and batik. We also completed one group quilt and were invited by the library to have another show this year.

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Our group quilt project was a quilt with puzzle pieces, whose quilt blocks could move for an infinity of designs. We limited ourselves to a fixed set of fabrics and abstract shapes. It was neat to see all the different designs each person made from these limitations! We also received a Best of Show at our county fair.

 

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From a Saturday session of painting on fabric with our Out of the Box group, I finished a series of small poppy quilts. These and the colorscape quilts I entered in our Mammoth Lakes Library show.

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This year the wind blew me towards learning new skills, drawing designs, and playing with color. Where will the wind blow me in 2017?