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As the note shared in the July package of scrumptious fabrics, summer in California is hot and dry.

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To escape the heat, we head to the mountains and lakes to cool off. This past weekend we tried stand up paddle boarding with friends!

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It was such a pleasure to be on the water, hearing the sounds of the paddle dipping in the water and the birds calling.

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Maybe that is what is so magical about color and fabric, we can evoke the beauty of the natural world, reminding us of our favorite moments.

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Moments like this, eating and sharing the largest piece of cherry pie you’ve ever seen, in a lovely garden as the sun sets overlooking a beautiful lake with good friends.

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I think I just might have to use these fabrics to make a cherry pie quilt 🙂

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This quilt was started in March, where the assignment for the month focused on lines.

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I chose to select a photo as my inspiration of a view up South Fork of Big Pine Creek, a hike up the watershed in the mountains above our home.

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I managed to (almost) meet my first two deadlines, the sketch on the 10th and the (almost) blocked out quilt on the 20th.

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The delay was partly life, as March got very busy. But also it was the size of the quilt. I went big! Elizabeth encouraged me to go larger, and so I did. (I don’t have the measurements, I forgot to take the final size before hanging it in the show! But I would guess around two feet high by four feet longish). This is definitely the largest art quilt I’ve made so far.

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The quilt sat on my design wall, waiting, for almost another month and a half, until, motivation struck again. As I’ve shared before, deadlines are wonderful motivators, and I had a deadline looming, but not a lot of free time. So I again fit in quilting whenever I could, in little 20 minute chunks, every day.

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The second motivator for me was Instagram. Working in such small amounts of time, it was hard for me to feel like I was making progress. But each evening, I took a photo of whatever I had accomplished, and posted it to my Sierra Oak Threads account. Slowly, piece by piece, the quilt came together.

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This quilt was unique (for me) in my construction method. Usually, I use a raw edge applique technique with my art quilts. Again, encouraged by my teacher Elizabeth, I pieced this quilt. For any of you who aren’t familiar with quilting, piecing straight lines is simple, piecing curves gets … interesting. I had no idea how to do it, if I could, or what it would look like. But I dove in head first. And it wasn’t too bad. I used a lot of pins. And a lot of steam pressing. And sometimes, I just let the crinkles and wrinkles be.

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The second unique construction piece about this quilt was the lines. On top of the challenge to piece the entire quilt, I also had the challenge of piecing in skinny lines between mountains. Again, lots of pinning. And lots of acceptance of crinkles and wrinkles.

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Additional encouragement from Elizabeth was that all the lines in the quilt didn’t need to be the same color. So I had a dye day to make varying shades of black and gray fabric to use for the lines. I started with the darker color fabric in the foreground, working toward the lighter colored fabric for the background mountains.

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One of my favorite moments in making this quilt was appliqueing the skyline. Okay, it is the only bit in the quilt that wasn’t pieced. The skyline had so many sharp angles, and was quite thick with layers of fabric, so I decided to not piece and applique instead. I really wanted this line to be clean and crisp. I like the texture that the fabric thickness made against the sky.

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There is a texture to a completely pieced quilt that is so right, it is hard to put in words. No raw edges. One smooth surface. It was such a thrill to run my hand over the top, and feel the bumps and ridges and lines.

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And then suddenly it was pieced. I hung the top on the design wall, and took a minute to just enjoy. And then promptly continued on, the deadline for the art show looming! Quilting and binding came together quickly, and I finished just in time to take the quilt on a hike.

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It was a beautiful spring day with amazing wildflowers blooming. And it was so much fun to see the view that inspired the quilt after spending so many hours thinking about the view. I intimately knew the view, every mountain curve and point.

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The next morning, I hung the quilt in the Mountain Perspectives art show at the Mountain Rambler Brewery. It will be there until October if you would like to see it in person!

I took so many pictures as part of the process, I thought it would be fun for you to see the quilt come together from sketch to finish. I used the pictures to get a sense of color selection, even switching out colors at the very last minute! And am so glad I did. There was one piece that had really been bothering me, and making the switch at the very end felt good. I wonder if you can spot the change?

It is a surreal feeling, to put so much effort and time into a project, and then be done. When I see the finished quilt, it is familiar, but strange too. In some ways, I know every millimeter of the quilt, inside and out. But in other ways, the finished quilt is a stranger that I am still getting to know, finished and on the wall. Sometimes when we go to the brewery, it’s like seeing an old friend after months apart.

I am excited to make another large sized quilt. There are unique challenges and opportunities to working bigger that I would enjoy exploring more. I would also like to try piecing another quilt. It does take longer than applique, but the result is different, and for some quilts, that might be the effect needed to achieve the vision. (I kept track of my time piecing, while in short 20-40 minutes bursts, took 16 hours to piece!! That doesn’t count the design or quilting process on either end, which probably added 4-6 hours).

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Time to go for a hike and be inspired anew!

 

 

 

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Playing with fabric in between trips to the beach sounds like a lovely prospect!

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I came home from an early June trip to the beach to this lovely month’s selection of the Pressed Seam Club.

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The muted colors with the occasional burst of bright exactly mirror the scene we enjoyed along the Pacific Coast.

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June also brought warmer weather, once home again we barely survived a heat wave in late June. The memory of cool fog along the beach became a dream I had only imagined …

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I suppose playing with the beach fabrics could bring back the cool beach memories while suffering in triple digit heat waves!

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Maybe I should make these fabrics into a beach scene.

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May was a full month! When things slow down, it is always surprising to look back and see how much happened. Where did May go? One of the fun and new things that I squeezed into the month was the opportunity to lead a workshop for my local quilt guild!

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Our guild offers free workshops for members once a month. Mostly, guild members volunteer to teach a workshop based on a skill or project they want to share. Several months ago, a guild member had been asking me how to dye fabric, and our conversation made me wonder if other quilters would be interested in learning too.

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After approaching our workshop chair, and talking with the guild, it sounded like indeed they would! I was signed up to teach the May Saturday workshop. I decided to do a twelve-step color wheel, one of the chapters in the Dyeing to Quilt book, where I learned most of what I know about dyeing fabric.

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From yellow, red, and blue dyes, twelve colors are made by mixing in varying amounts. I started the workshop with a brief explanation and demonstration. I wasn’t sure how long it would all take, but the timing worked out perfect. My teaching part was about an hour, and the dyeing part for participants was a second hour.

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And just to keep things interesting, I threw in a new technique which I had never tried before! When I dye on my own, I do it next to the kitchen sink, where I can constantly rinse my gloves and tools in the running water. For the workshop, we were working outside on tables, and had buckets of water to rinse in. I wanted to minimize the mess and need to rinse. I think that’s the great part about teaching a workshop. Not only was I sharing what I know, I learned something new too!

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In another of my dye books, the Fabric Dyer’s Dictionary, she shares a technique of pouring the dye into a ziploc bag with the fabric, and closing up the bag with dye and fabric. The main difference with this technique is that it is less messy, but the fabric needs to be agitated every ten minutes or so, depending on how mottled and variegated you want the patterning to be. You can see in the above two photos, after mixing the dyes, it was easy to pour the dye into the bag, and massage around. I was super pleased this technique worked since I tried it on the fly in the workshop! And am excited that I now have a new technique in my toolkit.

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It was a beautiful sunny morning to be outside in the garden. After my demonstration, all the guild members jumped right in to mixing and measuring their dyes. There was lots of laughter and chatting while mixing, and the morning passed most pleasantly.

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Everyone went home with their wet fabric in bags and instructions on how to rinse and wash after curing. Here’s my rainbow, I was pleased with how it turned out!

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It was my first time doing something like that; sharing about what I know, and talking about what I love to do was so much fun! So often, my craft is done solo at home. To play and share with others felt like a gift. It was also really informative to prepare for the class. Mixing and dyeing have become habit for me, so it was neat to step back and read my books again to think about the why and how to be able to describe the process and answer questions.

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And of course, I got a few fabrics out of the morning activities as well!

One last exciting update, my husband has been working on a dye counter in our garage for me, next to our washer/dryer/sink set up. We were gifted a counter top from a neighbor who remodeled their kitchen. Aaron just finished installing and building the counter and shelves and I can’t wait to move in and arrange all my supplies and start dyeing in the space! I will be sure to post pictures and share how it is to have a designated dye space soon!

And thank you to Marilyn, who shared with me the photos she took of me during the demonstration part of the workshop. Thanks Marilyn!

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As Kristine shared in her note for May’s selection of fabrics for the Pressed Seam Club, California experienced an extremely wet winter after four years of drought. Rainy days are just now turning to hot sunny days, and the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the green has been lovely this month!

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The fabrics included are an array of greens and blues, in varying textures and thicknesses.

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Of interest to me was the double gauze from Japan, the green grass print. I’ve seen double gauze fabric for sale online, and this was the first time I’d felt it in person. It is lightweight, but I think possible to incorporate in quilts and other sewing projects.

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I have a lot more I want to say but it might have to wait for another blog post where the whole story can be told. I used a couple of my pressed seam fabrics in my most recent in-progress quilt! It is neat to start to dig into my stash and find the perfect pattern for a project from this selection of new fabrics I’m receiving from the club.

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I think the months got all mixed up for everyone. April’s package arrived for the Pressed Seam Club, and the introduction card started with “Happy March Everyone!” And now it is May, and I’m sharing April’s fabrics with you!

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Kristine shared in her note that the collection started with the Jubilee print with lots of multi-colored polka dots, and went from there.

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There is a very geometric feel to this collection, with circles, lines, and solids. Some fabric is from Japan and some from India. Wow!

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Toward the end of March, a friend and I experimented with dyeing shibori. I tried a running stitch pattern, and chose this brilliant maroon color to dye with. When I returned home and opened my Pressed Seam shipment, I thought my dyed piece complemented the other fabrics quite well!

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So many intriguing, interesting, and neat fabrics! Such colors and designs. I can’t wait to make something with them! Maybe adding in my dyed shibori swatch to the mix …

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P.S. This mini photo shoot included scone, strawberries, and a cuppa tea. Heaven!

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The fabric delivery for March from A Verb for Keeping Warm’s Pressed Seam Club is the most scrumptious of them all.

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Loving this selection probably has to do with my fondness for blue and purple.

img_2692Kristine shared that she chose the March palette around one of Caroyln Friedlander’s new prints – Sage (seen in foreground of photo). It is a beautiful pattern, and my mind hums with ideas on what type of project to use it in!

img_2695 These six fabrics would look lovely together in a quilt. But really, who knows where they will end up!

  1. Robert Kaufman – Carolyn Friedlander – Friedlander Sage
  2. Free Spirit Fabrics – Anna Maria Horner – Mixed Signals
  3. Kokka Co. LTD Fabrics – Ellen Baker – Framework
  4. Robert Kaufman – Classic Threads – Grape
  5. Nano Iro – Freeway
  6. Free Spirit Fabrics – Heather Bailey – Momentum Vibe

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