WIP Wednesday: Slow to the Finish

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Have you ever had one of those projects that seems to take 12 times longer than it should have? One of those projects that just seems to defy all efforts to complete it? A WIP that stays WIPpy forever?

Cartwheels quilt in progress
My latest Cartwheels quilt is all of that and more. I originally thought I would have this quilt done more than two weeks ago. Then I thought of course it would be done by the end of last week. And yet, here it sits, still on happily sprawled out on my sewing table, taunting me with its unfinished state.

Sparkler quilt - off to Houston
But things just keep getting in the way of my finishing that quilt. For example, I had a bit of an issue with my Sparkler quilt—I was somehow unaware until a few days ago that Sparkler had been accepted into this year’s Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at Quilt Festival in Houston. Therefore, I did not in fact ship Sparkler to Houston like I was supposed to more than a month ago, and I was very confused when I got an email on Friday from the nice ladies at Quilts, Inc., asking where the heck it was. LOL. So, I don’t know if there’s any such thing as a quilt hanging sleeve emergency, but if there is, I had one this weekend, with all the hand-stitching that is likely to accompany such a thing.

Of course, I’m not complaining—I’m so excited that Sparkler will be hanging in Houston! (If you’re planning to attend, stop by and check it out, if for no other reason than that the amazingly talented Jenny Pedigo quilted it like a boss.) But it meant that Cartwheels had to sit and wait while I stitched. And wait. And wait some more.

Cartwheels quilt in progress
Mark my words: This quilt will be done today. To. Day. I got my eye on you, Cartwheels.

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!



WIP Wednesday: My Usual ADHD

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This week in my world …


Picnic quilt squaresSo I cut out this whole stack of squares for my picnic quilt.

And that was as far as I got on that one, because I was suddenly overtaken by the urge to do some paper-piecing. : )


I’m hoping to finish this one in time to enter it in the AQS Modern Quilt Challenge. After Quilt Con, I wasn’t sure I wanted to enter another quilt show any time soon. One of my quilts placed, after all, so it’s pretty tempting to stop while I’m ahead. : ) But AQS puts on the Grand Rapids show, which is in my hometown, so I guess that’s worth a shot. The deadline is August 2, so I need to put the pedal to the metal on this one.

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links.



Modern Quilt Guild Pop-Up Show in Kenosha

Modern quilts were the stars at a pop-up show in Kenosha, Wisconsin recently. I wish you guys all could have been there, because it really was a fun and exciting event, but just in case you weren’t, I thought I would share some of my impressions. 

The Kenosha Art Association has monthly pop-up gallery shows, and June’s show, “Square Up for the Arts,” featured quilts made by members of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild. Margaret Heller from Ready for Bed Quilts and one of our guild’s wonderful members, Bethany Wise, worked tirelessly with the Art Association and other Kenosha community members to make it happen.

What I think was really special about this show was that it was a community event. So it wasn’t just for quilters. How awesome is that? As Bethany said in a Facebook post afterwards, getting quilters to come to a quilt show is easy. Showing quilts to the general public is much more challenging. But Bethany and everyone else who put together this amazing show did just that. In fact, I would wager that the majority of the people who came to the show were not quilters at all—and yet they seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing. That’s a huge win in my book. : ) I love showing people a side of quilting that they almost certainly didn’t know existed before.

Anyway, the Art Association lined up a really cool vacant storefront in downtown Kenosha in which to hang our quilts (supplemented by other artwork, such as these flowers made entirely from found items). A steady stream of people went through the entire evening.

Bethany did quite the job hanging all those quilts way up in the rafters of that extremely high ceiling! It was a dramatic effect—not to mention interesting how looking up at the quilts seemed to change the visual impact of some of them. The height gave me a whole new perspective on my Warm and Cool quilt (on the right).

Here’s a sampling of some of the quilts from the show:

By Erin Pann

A Summer Sampler Series quilt by Rebecca Bark

By Bethany Wise

Did I mention there was live music too? : ) This dude was rocking out under quilts by Beth Haferkorn (left) and me.

By Margaret Heller of Ready for Bed Quilts

By Barbara Mars

By Rebecca Bark (left) and Marisa McKee

My Sparkler quilt

By Beth Haferkorn

All those amazing paintings you see hanging with our quilts were done by local artist Eric Sosa.

Now who could have put those out? : ) (The books were door prizes.)

All in all, this was such a wonderful event. Thank you to Bethany and everyone in Kenosha for putting on a great show (and for coming out to see it)! I hope we’ll be able to have more events like this around the area in the future!

P.S. Tomorrow I’m headed to a very different kind of quilt show—International Quilt Festival in Chicago! I’ll be there with Faith, so if you’re there, keep an eye out for us!

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A Prize For Me and a Prize For You!

Good morning! I’m totally on a post-QuiltCon high today. So many great things happened to me in the past week, I can hardly count them all, but let’s start with this:

First place at QuiltCon! : )

My Lifesavers quilt took first place in the Modern Traditionalism, Small Quilts category. To think that this little quilt would rank up there with the other amazing work on display at the show is honestly a dream come true for me. Not only that, but my prize was … wait for it … $500. All this from my first quilt show. Wow. It’s overwhelming! To see more QuiltCon winners, Leanne has a post up, and Christa has posts here, here, and here.

I’ll have a full report on QuiltCon in the next few days, but in the meantime, let’s celebrate with a giveaway. How about another copy of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe? Just comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of the book from Martingale, which includes my Candy Necklace quilt pattern.


Candy Necklace in the book!
I’ll announce the winner on Thursday. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
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Modern Mirage Quilt

Modern Mirage

Well, I made it! I completed my new quilt in time to enter it into the Quilt Con show, and with a few hours to spare, no less.

Quilt Con quilt
It was not without its challenges. This quilt fought me tooth and nail into existence. First of all, piecing it was a BEAST. I knew extreme accuracy was going to be crucial, so I paper-pieced some of the small units, but when it came time to do the traditional piecing, it was still tough to get all those seams and points lined up. I didn’t count the number of times I had to tear out stitches and re-do, but I can assure you it was a lot. The top took forever!

Modern Mirage
Then, I started quilting it by outlining the vertical wavy pattern the design makes between the stars. But straight-line quilting isn’t my strong suit, and this type of quilting was kind of straight-line plus. Straight enough to require a walking foot, but with some turns that were so slight, it was hard to decide whether to turn as sharply as possible or to make it more curvy and flowing. And it ended up looking like a mish-mash of both. : ) So after four rows, I decided to change strategies and do loose wavy lines instead. That meant all the previous quilting stitches had to come out. You should have seen my family room yesterday. It was seriously covered in all these tiny little pieces of thread! Ugh!

Then, just because I apparently needed an extra challenge, when I finished my wavy line quilting yesterday morning, I turned over the quilt and found this—a huge crease on the back! Really??? The feeling when you work your butt off and then discover something like that is The. Worst.

This was my first real spray-basting fail. For some reason the 505 I use just didn’t seem all that sticky this time around. After basting, I noticed I didn’t have to clean up nearly as much overspray residue as I usually do—I guess that should have been a warning sign. Then the whole back of the quilt seemed to come loose during quilting. It’s totally weird, I’ve never had that happen with 505. Maybe I didn’t shake the can enough? It was a new can, so I hope the entire thing isn’t defective. Or worse yet, that there’s been some sort of formula change. Anybody have a similar problem with 505 lately?

(Updated to add: I just heard from my friend Katie at Swim Bike Quilt that she often has basting problems with Art Gallery fabric—and that is exactly what I used on the back of this quilt. Ironically, I think it’s the fact that Art Gallery is so high-quality and has such a nice sheen to it that accounts for this problem—spray-basting doesn’t work on voiles either, probably for the same reason. But at any rate, if you’re using a lot of Art Gallery fabric in a quilt, be aware that you may want to pin-baste.)

So I ripped out 5 more rows of quilting and re-did it all, and finally finished the quilt with no further incidents at around 3 p.m. Whew. So here it is—I’m calling it Modern Mirage. I entered it in the “Modern Traditionalism” category, which is the category I was most excited to see included in the show.

Modern Mirage
The design originally started with a variation on a traditional star block. I set that on point and liked the vaguely “Storm at Sea” feel it gave to the quilt. To modernize it, I gave the design some negative space on each side, but off-center (because I love me some off-center designs!). Then, when I was playing around with the colors, I came up with this palette, which gives it sort of a transparency effect, and I loved it! And I thought the wavy line quilting added sort of a “heat-haze” feeling, so that’s where the “Mirage” name came from.

For those who have asked about a pattern—um, we’ll see. : ) I have to admit, I’m a little sick of this design at the moment! It would be quite the complicated pattern to write up, with all the strategic color placement and what-not. And I don’t know how many people want to buy a pattern with such nit-picky piecing! But give me a few months, and then maybe I’ll want to revisit it.

As far as Quilt Con, since we were allowed up to three entries, I decided to throw two older quilts into the mix as well.

Shattered Spectrum
I’m now calling this one “Shattered Spectrum,” since “HST Mini” didn’t quite have that show ring to it. I entered it in the Modern In Miniature Challenge sponsored by Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine. I gave this little quilt to the lovely Susanne earlier this year as a thank-you for driving all the way from Madison to take my headshots and pictures of my family. But she was nice enough to give me permission to enter it and said she would ship it back to me if it gets accepted into the show. Thanks again, Susanne! Here’s the full blog post about this quilt.

Third Quilt Con entry
And I’m also entering my Lifesavers mini, since that one did so well for me in the EZ Dresden Challenge. I entered Lifesavers in the “Minimalist Design” category. Honestly, I’m not sure if it really qualifies as minimalist, but since I’d already entered something in the mini challenge, it seemed like the best fit for this one. Here’s the full blog post with more information on Lifesavers.

I was quilter #435 to enter the show, and my quilts were #587, #595, and lucky number #600! Wow! That’s a lot of competition for this show. I’m just hoping that at least one of mine gets accepted, and I cannot wait to see the entire show in Austin in February. Good luck to everybody who entered!

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On Display

So, did anybody get to International Quilt Festival in Houston this past week? I am so proud that I had a quilt hanging at the Festival!

Photo courtesy of Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies

My Supernova quilt was part of the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase 2012. I’m honored that something I made was chosen to help represent “modern” to the rest of the quilting world.

Photo courtesy of Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies
I love that the Modern Quilt Guild included my blurb about my design process, which is taken from the application I filled out to enter the quilt in the show. I guess if I had known it would end up on a sign at International Quilt Festival for all to see, I might have edited it a little more carefully (“but yet”?). : )

I wish wish wish I could have seen my quilt there in person, but thank you to Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies for taking such great pictures and allowing me to post them here. It was almost as good as being there.

Photo courtesy of Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics

I was lucky enough to have a couple of quilts displayed at Fall Quilt Market as well. Here’s the quilt I contributed to the new Martingale book, Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. Apparently it was displayed at Martingale’s Schoolhouse session for the book—I didn’t even know they were planning to have my quilt there! It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen it myself!

Photo courtesy of Kati of From the Blue Chair

And here’s my little Lifesavers mini, which was my entry in the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild‘s EZ Dresden challenge.

Photo courtesy of Kati of From the Blue Chair

It took third place in the challenge and therefore got to be displayed in the Simplicity booth at Market. Don’t all those winning quilts look great?

It was fun to have some quilts at Market—it’s the next best thing to being there in person!


Super(nova) News

I got the exciting news on Tuesday that my Supernova quilt was accepted into the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase 2012!! I am so honored (and still a bit in shock) that my quilt was one of only 33 quilts selected from across the country, and it will be hanging at International Quilt Festival in Houston.

After premiering in Houston in the fall, the exhibit will be traveling around to other quilt festivals for about a year. I really hope I’ll get the chance to see it somewhere!