Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Central Florida MQG Riley Blake Challenge Reveal!

So I didn't make it back here this weekend, but that shouldn't be a huge shock! LOL After working over 60 hours last week, and Zach starting a new job, we got hit by the inevitable sinus infection going around. Most of the weekend was spent alternating DayQuil and NyQuil and generally lounging in our PJs. Not what we intended, but was worth it to feel much better this week! But that's not what you are here for... On to the good stuff!

At the January meeting of the Central Florida Modern Quilt Guild our group revealed the results of the Riley Blake Fabric Challenge. If you have not heard about it, you can read up on the MQG website HERE. The basics were that each member was given 6 fat eights of fabric from Riley Blake and we had to incorporate them into any quilted project. We were permitted to add additional Riley Blake prints, or any other solid fabric.

Let me just start by saying that this ended up being a HUGE challenge for me. What I thought would be a fun week-long project turned into a month of designing struggles, and then a rushed 2 day job. Not ideal, but very educational for me. One thing I did recognize in my quilting style is that if I don't have the right combination of fabric in front of me I tend to hit a bit of a design 'wall' (pun intended). Regardless, I did end up finishing on time, so that's a success in my book! Now, onto the show!
The Riley Blake prints we were each given to start with. 
 I wish you could all see this first quilt in person. Not only is the design absolutely striking, but the quilting on it is AMAZING! Each round of circles is quilted in a different pattern, and the all over 'snails trail' in the background is the perfect addition! This is my free motion quilting inspiration for the year. I plan to refer back to it often to remind myself of what is really possible if I would just practice! (okay, well I may be expecting a little much of myself, but it's good to have goals, right?)
Linda H. from the blog Flourishing Palms
This is my quilt, titled Accidents Happen. It's not my favorite, but there is a bit of a story behind it that I want to share. I started the project doing some wavy pieced blocks in the hopes of using the array of colors to my advantage. I sketched it all out and everything! After finishing a few blocks, and adding the word 'relax' to run along the bottom I stood back to take a look and hated it. No bueno. It didn't give the rainbow effect I was going for and instead just looked like a serious hot mess! What's a quilter to do but start over of course. At this point I was running very low on the fabrics that were supplied, time to finish, and patience with myself. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just start cutting what was left of the Riley Blake fabric into one inch strips. Sometimes that's all it takes to get the juices flowing. I realized that planning is not my strong suit and really improv is the way to go for me! I finished the blocks and then decided that the RELAX at the bottom needed to stay. Relax is my word of the year for 2014. I tend to get overly anxious and stressed (yes, about everything) and I'm hoping keeping the quilt on the back of my couch will be a good reminder to just relax and let things be! One can hope, right? I free motion quilted this with what I like to call paint splatter shapes. My thought was it looked like a water balloon was thrown at a window and shattered. In other words, Accidents Happen! All in all it was fun to quilt, and gave me a really great sense of accomplishment when I finished it on time. Here's to many more (and less frantic) finishes in 2014!

Somehow this one got turned around, but I WILL find a picture of the elephants on 
the other side. Beautiful use of the colors and fantastic straight line quilting. 

This one I believe was titled The Falls. Again, the picture does not do this justice. 
The falls of water were accented by beautiful blue 'water' stitching and bubble 
quilting where the bowl was overflowing at the bottom. So creative!!

I've already decided to steal this quilt to hang on my sewing room wall. 
I'm not sure how, or when, or where, but I NEED THIS! Ha!

This one I absolutely love! I really love the Gracie Girl (obsessed with this line) she 
added and the improv quilting that she did herself! Those circles are perfection!

This is a different spin on the ever popular chevron quilt that I am dying to try. It's hard to see in the picture but she quilted all the white space and left the chevrons un-quilted giving it a really amazing 3D look.

Yes another project I need to make, a new tote! This just screams 
Florida to me and I love that you can just make out the whirligig blocks in there. 
CFMQG is an orange and green group for sure! :) 

Okay, scroll down and really look at this one and then come back up here. Done? Okay then, you now know how totally fan-freaking-tastic this quilt is! See those hexagons, they are actually 6 slices a piece all sewn up together. See the tumbling blocks on the top... those are sliced hexies as well! And the quilting...  I could probably write an essay on this, but I think you get the idea that Beth is a seriously amazing quilter. 

This quilt is another one I wish you could see up close. She started with the D9 blocks and then planned ahead for being on the road for the holidays and hand quilted in all those squares (in the car). I think the form of hand quilting with thick colorful thread is often referred to as Big Stitch. If you haven't read much about it there is a good overview over on AMH's blog HERE

This one hands down wins the Instagram award! I had previously posted a number of these quilts in my Instagram feed and this currently has the most likes (I'm over here: http://instagram.com/carly__ann on the web in case you don't have an Instagram compatible smart phone). These birds were super cute, and although it doesn't show up perfectly in the photo there are also birds quilted into the background. This is another one I wish I had a picture of the back as there are three little birdies that 'didn't quite make it' back there that crack me up!

All in all I think our little group had an excellent showing for this challenge. We all have very different styles and it was amazing to see how each of us used the same fabric so differently! 

 So I've officially posted once a week for three week's now. Think I can keep it up? LOL

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crazy Life = Blog Slacking!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a horrible blogger! It's not that I intend to be, it just happens. So I figure the least I can do is share what I have been up to (sewing and otherwise) while I have not been here.

Let's start with the sewing and craft goods, but I think that's what most, if not all, people want to see. Apologies if you are on my Instragram (@carly__ann) as that's where many of these are coming from.

Christmas Quilt Planning took over most of the month of October! I ended up planning four (and yet have only finished three) separate Christmas quilts.

I wish I had a better picture of this one, but somehow in the craziness of Christmas it got missed. This is the quilt I made for Zach's step-mother (I guess I can call her the step mother-in-law, right?). We were able to spend the holidays with them in Louisville, so I was happy to have a homemade gift to give. She sent me a text just the other day saying her 'Carly Quilt' is keeping her warm in all this crazy weather up there!

I also finally finished a quilt for my sister! I know it's bizarre to think she did not have one yet, but she was a tough one to design for. She's super stylish and up on all the latest (Check out LaLa Couture, her boutique in Ft. Lauderdale), plus she lives in South Florida- not exactly quilt land. I finally put my much loved ombre fabric to work and came up with this. She loves it, and says it works perfectly in her house. Yay!

...and this picture of her, just because she's so darn cute! 

The other two Christmas Quilts are still under wraps. We are celebrating with my parents at the end of the month and with Zach's mom and step-dad sometime soon, so I want to wait to post anything else. 

After Thanksgiving, and before Christmas I was able to squeeze in one non-holiday present- this baby quilt for Meg! At times she will email me cute quilts she sees, and recently had sent me a cross quilt that she loved. I took that and ran with it! She loved the quilt, and I may have made her cry (not on purpose). We are very excited to meet Aria Grace, who will be here within weeks!

I can't believe I'm posting this on my blog, but that my friends is the end result of two months of non-stop sewing in my studio room. OUT OF CONTROL! I finally bit the bullet and dove in there to get things organized (took an entire weekend). The funny thing is that cleaning led to this.....

...a beautifully organized stash! But that my friends led to this.....

A massive destash sale! I joined many (I venture to say over 100) other quilters on instagram in what was referred to as The Great Fabric Destash (#thegreatfabricdestash). It was a blast! Basically how it worked was everyone posted pictures of their fabric for sale on Instagram and tagged it with that hashtag. This meant that not only your followers saw what you were selling, but so did everyone else using that hashtag. It was CRAZY! I believe the last count I saw was nearly 6,500 separate posts. Yes, 6,500 posts of fabric for sale! I'm telling you, if you are not on Instagram RUN, don't walk, and get your booty on there! 

The only flaw in this plan is I was shopping as I was selling. Oops! My one rule was that I could not buy more than I sold, and I stuck to it! I ended up on the positive side of things in my Paypal account, and I have some wonderful fabric headed my way, so I'm a happy camper!
All my buyer paid me rediculously fast. This means that even though the sale was on a Wednesday night I was able to get all my packages out by Thursday afternoon. Awesome! Thanks again to everyone who helped me destash!

In other sewing and craft news....

Mardell (my machine) is giving me fits! See all that blue tape up there? I rigged the tension to finish my Riley Blake challenge (more on that later), but it is NOT GOOD. I'm planning on taking her to the doctor's this weekend and hopefully it's an easy fix under warranty. 

While Mardell is away...
I might just get to work on this baby! My mom came across it at a garage sale for $20, so when she texted me the picture I said absolutely YES! My dad was kind enough to be the guinea pig and plug it in and says she runs great. I have had zero time to work on it, but I think I see some light at the end of the tunnel. 

Next on the list...
crafting for another bridal shower. I'm becoming the bridal/baby shower and wedding crafty person to go to around here. I've lost count of how many different events I have done at this point, but they are adding up for sure. This weekend I will be working on centerpieces, and a crazy idea for a few different decorations like this, this, or this. I might even try a garland similar to this, either using this or this tutorial. Wish me luck!

In the interest of having something to post next week (HA!) I'm going to leave the non-sewing updates until then. I will however be back this weekend with a recap of the Central Florida Modern Quilt Guild's Riley Blake Challenge projects. I will give you a little teaser with this picture:

Just wait until you see them up close... AMAZING! 
How are you coming along on your challenge project?