Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood

Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’ve managed to find a bit of free time over the last week (why is Summer always busier than I anticipate?), and I used it to finally crack into Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook. It seems like forever ago that I was relaxing at the pool flipping through this book after QuiltCon…only 4 months though.

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is on my all-time-favorite-most-beautifully-photographed-books list. There is just so much content (174 pages!) and fuel for creativity in here. I’ll be honest, I’m a picture person and I usually don’t read everything in a quilting book. But I sat down with this one and it’s been so interesting. I actually keep it on my coffee table!

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I knew the first project I wanted to try to tackle in this book was one of the curve quilts. I went through a bit of color-paralysis but decided on some monochromatic segments. Mostly solids with a few coordinating, low volume prints mixed in.

Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

It was a somewhat messy, but totally freeing process. VERY fun. It did not take too many hours to finish these segments.

Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I need to make more. Should I add more colors? Stick with this palette? Now is when I begin to over think it. I’m a bit nervous about how it’s all going to go together, but the instructions have over 10 pictures so I think it should go well. I’ll share more as I create!

+++ Update! +++

There are a couple supplemental resources for those of you working with this awesome book. First, the Test Quilt Galleries ~ 165 quilts made by testers during the book writing process. Amazing!

Second, the Improv Handbook Facebook page. This is a space where Sherri Lynn Wood and other quilters actively share their process.

I hope you are inspired!

QuiltCon 2013

This past weekend was QuiltCon, a first-of-it’s-kind, Modern Quilting show put on by The Modern Quilt Guild in Austin, Texas. It was I sit down and think about all the work and planning that went into creating a show like this from scratch. Organizing vendors, sponsors, quilts, teachers, speakers, registration, ticket sales, parties, set up, break down. Just imagining the logistics makes my head spin! The organizers did such a professional job – I just want to start off with a little shout out to them and offer them a huge THANK YOU for giving us all a wonderful weekend.

I left from Chicago on Thursday morning. This was my third time in Texas but my first time in Austin. I was really appreciating the 60 and 70 degree temperatures! It’s amazing how quickly you can adapt back to warm weather in the middle of winter.

I feel very fortunate to have friends in the modern quilting community that I’ve met in person, from my last two years attending The Sewing Summit. This was like a huge reunion for many of us, including my roommates Lee and Katie who I adore. And even better, I was able to meet a lot of “online” friends that I have been in bees and swaps with and many, many readers of my space here!

After arriving Thursday afternoon, I spent some time over at the show checking out all the quilts. I’m not sure I can adequately express how exciting it is to be at a show where all the quilts represent a style that speaks to me. I took a LOT of pictures.

I know I’m going to leave names out, but I’m going to do my best – please forgive me! I’m hoping there will be a listing of all the quilts and the artists on a site soon and I will update if so. (There is a winner list here.) There were quilts by Lee Heinrich, Katie Blakesley, Krista Fleckenstein, Kati Spencer, Rossie, Carolyn Friedlander, Elizabeth Hartman, Thomas Knauer, Shea Henderson, Jacquie Gering, Katie Pedersen, Katie Scairrino, Monica Solario-Snow, Victoria Findlay Wolfe (Best in Show!), Angela Walters, Catherine Redford, Rachel Hauser, Angela Pingel, Liz Harvatine, Cinzia Allocca, Brigitte Heitland, Alison, Jodi, Karen Anderson Abraham, Elizabeth Dackson and little ol’ me.

The QuiltCon Challenge Quilt, made by several members of Modern Quilt Guilds across the country.

There was also a huge display of quilts by Denyse Schmidt.

Friday I was lucky enough to take the class Composing a Quilt by Anna Maria Horner. Just hearing her speak about her techniques and inspiration was a dream come true for me. She was funny, sweet, inspiring…everything that she appears to be on her blog. It was really a huge honor to be in her class.

Friday night was the Baby Lock 80’s Party. Pretty sure these pictures say it all.

Saturday I took two classes. Free Motion Quilting on a Long Arm Machine with Angela Walters, and Textile Printing with Lotta Jansdotter. Angela was wonderful – great sense of humor and she just has a way of explaining her techniques that makes them seem possible for even us newbies. It was fun to try the machines…um, I was definitely a first timer!

Lotta was also very sweet and a great teacher. I loved hearing about her background, how she got started printing in a little storage unit. Definitely proof that talent and hard work can make you a success. I also got to sit with my former online friends, now real life friends, Violet and Krista in that class, which was the icing on the cake for me.

I didn’t do a ton of shopping, but I did pick up some Liberty of London quilting cottons, a couple patterns from Anna Maria Horner’s class (one is the Art Student Tote that I suddenly MUST make after seeing Holly’s), and Liberty Love, Alexia Abegg’s new book. I’ll be doing a whole separate post on that one, it is so awesome.

Saturday night after dinner, Kim, Lee and I went exploring and stumbled on a facial hair party/competition and the infamous 6th Street which I can only compare to the atmosphere of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I’m going to let Kim share about what occurred THAT evening!

Sunday I wandered down to the South Congress area before heading to the airport. Lots of cool shops and great food. The weather was in the 70’s and sunny. My feet hurt by the end but it was a perfect afternoon.

Some final thoughts…

Exciting Moment – Finding out people from Martha Stewart Living were there taking pictures. I hope there is a magazine feature in the future!

Biggest Regret – I didn’t get to take one of Penny’s paper piecing classes. Really kicking myself after seeing the adorable projects coming out of them. Plus Penny is the sweetest person you will meet.

Thoughts on Austin – Fun city, great weather in the winter, lots of facial hair, lots of food trucks, somehow convinces everyone to get a tattoo? (not me!)

The next QuiltCon will be in two years. I’m not sure what city, but I hope to be part of it again in 2015. xox to everyone I met!

This Way, That Way

This Way That Way Front

I finished my Glimma quilt just a couple of hours ago and I am pretty proud of myself for braving the frigid cold outside to get pictures! It helped that my car has heated seats. And I think it’s actually 20 degrees which feels like a heatwave after the sub-zeros from the last two days!

I’ve decided to call this quilt “This Way, That Way”. I love the effect of the flying geese going in all the different directions.

This Way That Way Detail

As I mentioned here and here, Windham Fabrics sent me a little pack of charms from Lotta Jansdotter’s upcoming line Glimma, due out in April. I decided to mix it with two shades of Essex Linen – yarn dyed in black and flax. Paper piecing the flying geese made working with the linen quite easy. When it came to removing the paper and sewing everything together however, I really relied on starch. It stiffened up the fabric enough to make it easy to work with, not stretching all over the place.

This Way That Way Quilting

I quilted this with diagonal lines, randomly spaced. They are each between 1/4″ and 1/2″ apart. I bound it with the Yarn Dyed Black Essex Linen. The back is a Moda Crossweave in a coral color (not sure the exact name). It measures 30″ x 40″.

This Way That Way Back

Have I mentioned that I’m actually going to get to meet Lotta at QuiltCon? I signed up for her Textile Printing class and I can’t wait! Is anyone else taking it? And speaking of QuiltCon, I am honored to have two quilts selected to be displayed, my Off Centered Improv and my Belle Wave quilts. I’ll be spending the next week getting them ready, sewing hanging sleeves, labels, and packing them up to ship. Fun, fun!

Timber & Leaf for the House

Timber & Leaf String Pillow

New pillows for the couch have been on my to-do list since the beginning of Winter. I love my Autumn pillows, but I was ready to put them away until next year. When I saw Sarah Watt‘s Timber & Leaf collection for Blend Fabrics, I knew the natural designs and soft colors were perfect for my house. I mixed in Free Spirit Designer Solids in Pearl and Dogwood.

Timber & Leaf by Sarah Watts

These two are my favorites!

Timber & Leaf by Sarah Watts

I was inspired by Amy’s Indie Vibrations quilt. I really liked how her string blocks were paper pieced so they would line up, but still be different widths of fabric strips. I made two paper piecing templates, each are 6-1/2″ x 9-1/2″ unfinished. I used 3 of each template to form the 18″ square pillow.

Timber & Leaf String Pillow

You can buy the pattern for Amy’s Indie Vibrations quilt in her pattern shop.

Timber & Leaf by Sarah Watts

I quilted the pillow with straight lines, about 1/2″ apart. The back is a simple envelope enclosure.

Timber & Leaf String Pillow

You can find Timber & Leaf at Moona Fabrics. Now to make another one for the other side of the couch!