Monday, March 18, 2013

It couldn't have gone far!

Something happened these past few weeks, I lost my creative mojo. I cannot put my finger on exactly what happened, or when it happened, but it did. There’s a conversation in an episode of my favorite show ever, The West Wing, where two speech writers are talking about losing their talent. One of them says to the other something along the lines of: It must be in the building, it couldn’t have gone far. That’s what I felt: that my talent, my inspiration, my love for making had flown the coop.

I wandered back into my sewing room a few times to survey the scene, and it wasn’t pretty. Well that’s just it, it was pretty. It was clean and organized and all ‘put together’. It was not at all what I am used to with WIPs strewn across every possible surface and scraps from my last 2 or 3 or sometimes even 4 last projects littering the ground. There was nothing. No life. So that’s where it stayed.

So I’ve spent a lot of time working my day job at night, sleeping, reading great books, sleeping some more and generally feeling pretty glum. Until finally I just said enough is enough. The next CFLMQG meeting is right around the corner and I need to get a few projects done for that, so as much as I hate forcing myself to be creative, I did.

I started working on a nametag….


I tried again…


One more time because third times a charm….


I threw that aside and tried working on the BAM-BOM that we are participating in….


Nothing was coming together. Nothing was working. I actually cried. I was officially pathetic. I was forcing the fabric to go together and look like it “should”, which is not what I do or have ever done. I do what I want. I sew what I want. I don’t follow directions well, and I hate to measure and be precise. As these thoughts drifted back into my mind that’s what I decided to do (or not do).

So I grabbed a pile of solids and randomly cut some squares and strips and went to town. There wasn’t a plan, there wasn’t a size, and there was nothing in mind. I just needed to sit behind my machine, blast some Dinosaur Jr. and drift away. So that’s what I did.

Then it happened. Slowly (very slowly) by surely my creative mojo came back. I sliced and stitched and sliced and stitched late into the night Friday, and these wonky little haphazard blocks that emerged made me smile.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

As I laid them out on my ‘Design Floor’ I realized I had stitched myself up quite a puzzle. No worries. I grabbed the pile and threw them next to my machine and just started piecing them into larger blocks. Once I had it down to about 6 sections I went back to the floor, sorted out the mess and got the final layout. A few quick passes through my machine and I ended up with 30 inches perfectly square. Exactly.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I have only started to quilt it, but that’s ok. This is my creative mojo wrapped up into one project and I will cherish this more than any other beautifully precise masterpiece I have ever made.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blog News

This is not a quilt post, but rather a blog update. I wanted to add a few pages that would be a good reference for all you quilters out there. Up at the top you will notice two new tabs.

 The first is my Online Fabric Shopping List. This is a HUGE list of online fabric shopping resources. It's a little dangerous for us fabric addicts, but also a great spot to check out some new shops. I have found that sometimes the best deals are found at the smallest little online spots. If you know of a store that is missing, closed, or you just want to share your experience with ordering from one of these online vendors (good or bad) please leave me a comment or email me (email link in the sidebar).

 The second page I have added is a list of all the Modern Quilt Guilds worldwide. This information is also available on the Main MQG site. For me I use this list to gather inspiration. Sometimes I hit a little quilter's block, and nothing motivates me quite like seeing some beautiful quilts. Most of the guilds post updates after each of their monthly meetings, so just think of all those Show and Tell pictures! So that's the blog update for now. I'm sure there will be more changes as time goes on, but wanted to get those two out there.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Central Florida MQG - March 4, 2013

Last night I attended my first guild meeting!!

The Central Florida Modern Quilters Guild is a new group that just formed in Wildwood, Florida. I was so excited to stumble onto their blog because they meet in the evenings, so I can finally attend something! It’s just over an hour away, but now that I have been and met these wonderful people, I know it is well worth the drive!

I’m going to do a little recap (probably out of order and more pictures than anything), and up front I want to apologize for the picture quality. I forgot my actual camera, so my iPhone pictures will have to do this time. Will be sure and remember next month.

The program for the night was about Technology. How to use Flickr, how to comment on pictures and blogs, and even how to set up your own blog. Linda did an excellent job explaining everything and expressing that sometimes you just have to be willing to experiment. I related well to this. If not for the internet and poking around all these sites I would not know how to quilt at all!


The CFMQG is participating in the Bay Area Modern’sBlock of the Month, aka BAM-BOM. I wrote about making the first filmstrip block a few posts back. We all showed our blocks, but I didn’t get any pictures (ops). We talked about next month’s block,and here is Linda showing off her BAM BOM for March. Love this one!

Show and Tell

Lynda showing off her Selvedges Quilt. This quilt was AMAZING in person. I can only dream of collecting that many selvedges to create my own. I think this would be my ultimate couch quilt.

Adorable baby quilt. Loved the colors of this and the leaf quilting on the borders.

A nature inspired art quilt. She made this in ONE day in a class. I forgot to write down who she said taught the class, but I need to find out for sure! Wish I had a better picture of this one.

This is the very first quilt she ever made! EVER! Love these colors and the tropical fish border.

She is making this for her son’s friend’s wedding. For me this was the most inspiring. I bought a FQ bundle (a splurge for me, but I am obsessed) of this fabric and have been staring at it forever. After seeing how beautiful this was, I think I’m finally ready to cut into it. Maybe ;)

There’s a man in the group! Hooray for male quilters! His wife taught him to quilt a few years ago. That's so sweet! So, last meeting they did a tutorial on the Scrappy Trip-Along blocks. He went home and made the first one. Actually I think he said he made 12 of them. Decided he didn’t like it, so he made this second one. He is making 92 of these for what I can only assume with be a king sized quilt. Wow!

This off-set squares quilt was beautiful in person. Again, the pictures do not do it justice! She was seeking advice on how to quilt it, and I look forward to seeing what suggestions she takes.

This was an adorable wall hanging that she created with a Scrappy Trip-Along background. She told a beautiful story about how she quilts with her mother and how her mom has the magic to fix quilting problems. Mother’s magic!

This is a donation quilt for the new Nemour’s Children’s Hospital that is opening here. I love this background color! I Didn’t get the chance, but need to ask her next time what line/color this is.

Mug Rug Swap
We also had a wonderful Mug Rug Swap. Since making my first Mug Rug I've been a little obsessed. I love the instant gratification! I didn't get a ton of pictures of these, but the three below show a pretty great representation. In person, these were of course even more beautiful and colorful.


All I can say is this: I am inspired, and happy, and feel more welcome by this group than I have in a long time. It is simply fact that many people don't like change. This is no exception for quilters. They are not always open to new ideas, new people, new ways of thinking. Here at the CFLMQG I found just the opposite. I look forward to many more meetings with this wonderful group and learning everything I can!

Side note: If you would like to join us feel free to contact me. Also, I drive from Orlando over to Wildwood.If you are looking to car pool I would be more than happy to help you out!

- Carly Ann

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up - Mug Rug Madness

Mug Rugs have been all the craze lately. I say lately, but its probably more like 3 years. Im behind the times. ;) Until now I have not joined in the fun. Not sure why, but I think I have been intimidated by trying to work with something so tiny. Now that I have started, I'm really not sure why I waited! It's great practice for some of my lacking piecing skills, and it's wonderful instant gratification. Who doesn't love that!

One of my downfalls has always been working with half square triangles. I don't know why, I can just never seem to get the points exactly right, so I decided to start there. This big pile of itty bitty triangles are leftover from the Spring Stripe quilt I mad easing Amy Butlers Midwest Modern fabric line and from some other digest modern strips that I used for binding on another project.

Here's where I probably need to admit that I don't toss any scraps! Not even the smallest piece. Now, I'm glad I don't. I started by chain piecing pairs of these little bits not really knowing what would come of this.

I pressed each one and started trimming. I was able to get 2 inch finished squares from the first few, but only 1 3/4 from some of the others. I figure a mug rug and matching coaster might be nice.  That's what we call a happy accident!

Once I had them all trimmed I started playing with the layout. I wasn't too particular with the different fabrics and it seemed to work out well. I added some white Sashing to each small square and ended up with these adorable little blocks.

I added a few more bits and pieces from my scraps it was all ready to quilt. I went with some basic straight line stitching and then bound it with a few more Amy Butler 1.5 inch strips from my scrap bin. I actually hand stitched this one and reminded myself how out of practice I am with a simple needle and thread.In the end though, I love the way it turned out.

In fact I loved it so much I didn't want to give it away. So I whipped up another one for the CFMQG meeting I went to and ended up contributing this one to the swap ;)

I worked on a few other ongoing projects this weekend, but they are gifts, so I can't show you. It would ruin the surprise! I should be done with them soon, so more to follow. What did you accomplish this weekend?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Finish it Friday – Bay Area Modern BOM #1

It's not a finished quilt, but any finish in my book is a good one!

In an attempt to get my creative juices flowing on a more regular basis I’ve decided to jump on board with a new Block of the Month (BOM) project. I ended up choosing the Bay Area Modern Block of the Month. You can take a look at all the blocks HERE.

The first block up is the film strip block, which can be found HERE. I’m generally not a big fan of fussy cutting fabric as I like to really be able to see the fabric more as a whole. However, I am trying to branch out, so I jumped right in.

My first mission was to find some fabric in my stash with a small enough scale to cut down to 2 3/4" x 2 3/4". I thought that would be the easy part, but apparently I’m not a fan of small scale! I finally found this Alexander Henry fabric (I want to say it's called Starling from the Fashionista collection, but i will double check if anyone is interested) hidden in the back. I remember buying it forever ago not knowing what I would use it for, so it worked out perfectly.

After I cut out my ten little birdies I followed the super easy tutorial step by step until I had my strips. Sadly a few of my baby birdies lost their tails and/or heads. Oops! I think enough of them made it through unscathed to be a decent representation.

I really did try and move towards a different background color, but went back to my favorite Kona Solid, Coal. I went back and forth on the layout for a bit, but in the end I followed the leader (might be the first time ever).

Ta Da, My very first Modern BOM! I must say, I wasn’t sold on this, but now that I see it all together I really like it. I’m looking forward to the rest of the blocks, and the challenges that I’m sure will come my way.

Carly Ann

p.s. Not so shocking, I’m behind! If you are interested in joining in on the fun, the BAM-BOM #2 is already posted HERE! It’s the feather block from Anna Maria Horner’s amazing Feather quilt (tutorial and templates HERE. LOVE!