April 2011

Vickie’s Block

In the new bee I have joined, Bee Unique…Bee Knotty, Vickie provided a variety of fabric and asked that we make her a block using the bird fabric as the focus. The bird was to be off center in half the block, and the other half of the block was to be traditionally pieced. This is my block for her.

It was fun figuring out what to make based on her request and the amount of fabric provided. I had exactly 1/8″ of the aqua floral fabric left over when I finished the corner blocks. That was really close! I hope she likes it.

Make Mine Modern Swap Package

Swap packages are being delivered by the postman this week and there are smiles all over the world!  I participated in the first swap last fall, but sat out round two during the Holidays because I knew it would be too stressful. The gifts exchanged in this swap are wonderfully creative so this isn’t a project to be taken lightly.

This week I received my gift from my secret partner, Amy (AllieKatmom in Flickr world). It included this darling sewing machine cover made out of natural linen, hexi’s and hand embroidered detail.

Amy also made me an adorable (and sturdy) case for my I-Pad…which also sports embroidered details…

I am sure I heard my I-Pad giggling when I slipped her into her lovely new case! Amy also had a friend of hers make me some custom polymer Santa straight pins which are just too cute for words…

And if that was not enough, she sent along some of my very favorite fabric and some extra hexi’s!

Wow! Amy is a swap rock star for sure! If you would like to participate in this wonderful swap, signups are open for the summer swap. You will be assigned a secret partner and will have three months to look at their wish list and favorite fabrics (lots of questions are asked and answers posted on Flickr so you get a good idea about their tastes) and then you sew up a handmade gift, give them a gift for their sewing room, and send 1 1/2 yards of their favorite fabric. In return, your secret partner will be stalking you on Flickr and will send you something that will really make you smile.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Flickr and search for Make Mine Modern Swap and take a look at the other amazing packages that have been received this week, and sign up to participate in the next round. Prepare to be amazed.

April Accord

This is my block for this month’s Electric Quilt challenge. The block is an original design by Andrea Bishop at EQ.

I am using Alice Kennedy’s “Newspaper” as my focus fabric and I am really liking the retro look of these blocks. I have been trying to upload a collage of my first four blocks together, and even though they uploaded to Flickr perfectly, I can’t get them to upload here so I guess I will leave that for another day!

Block Twelve

I was invited to design a block for the current Layer Cake Quiltalong at Moose Quilts and it’s my turn this week to present Block 12, our last block. This is the block I designed:

And this is the block I made, using Moda’s “It’s a Hoot,” the line I used for the entire project.?

Yes, it is wildly colorful, but that is the nature of this line of fabric and it has challenged me over and over again.

For those of you who may be sewing along on this project, I have to admit I came within threads of not having enough fabric left to complete this block!

Late last summer when I designed the block, I knew I would be using a fabric line with some large scale prints. I thought it would be nice to design a block that would allow some fussing cutting, so this block was born. That was then. Fast forward eight months and eleven blocks later…

I fussy cut the birds and started looking around for the yellow check for the setting strips and found I didn’t have enough because I had used it in another block. To make a long and stressful story short, I had to sew pieces of fabric together in several places to have pieces large enough to make the block. Amazingly, you have to look very closely at it to see the extra seams. It was improvised, but I was able to finish (a lesson learned).

It has been so much fun watching the Flickr stream and seeing what other quilters are doing with this block. So many beautiful color choices. I have enjoyed participating in this project and would like to thank Konda for inviting me to submit a block design.

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For Your Toolbox – Color!

I am always on the lookout for inspiration or free tools on the web that will make quilting fun. Today I would like to introduce you to Kuler (pronounced “cooler”). This is a tool developed by Adobe primarily for use in their Creative Suite software but it is a powerful free color tool that you can use in planning your color palette in quilting.  If color choice is scary for you, this free tool can be your best friend.

Have you seen a photo in a magazine, or perhaps a photo you have taken, that has fabulous colors and you think, wow, that would make a great quilt but you don’t know how to pull out the right complementary colors?  Zap! Zow! Kuler is your tool.

Interested?  Here’s how it works.  Go to http://kuler.adobe.com/ and register.  It’s free, you just need an email address and a password of your choice.

The first screen you will see is today’s “Most Popular” color schemes. These are color schemes that have been recently uploaded by users and can be a great source of color ideas on their own.
Once you have set up your free account you will see “Mykuler”in the left side bar.  Click there and you will be taken to your own private color lab.  On the left side bar I have selected “Create” “From an Image” and uploaded a photo of a flower from my computer.
You will notice there are colors banded across the bottom of the screen.  The software scans the image and picks the colors it likes in the photo and gives you a color group.  Don’t like it? Want something more subtle?  See the little white circles on the photo?  Put your mouse on them and drag them to the colors you like the best.  I will pick some subtle colors on the photo and let’s see what happens.

I have used my mouse to move the circles to more muted colors in the photo.  Look at the color band at the bottom of the screen.  I have created a muted palette.  There is also the option to click on “Select a Mood” buttons and the software will create “Colorful,” “Bright,” “Muted,” “Deep,” and “Dark” color schemes based on your photo, or let’s you custom create your own color group. 

Click on over and check it out.  You are bound to find something you love.  Put it in your toolbox!The best thing about using photos from nature is the colors will always harmonize!  Once you have a palette you absolutely love, you can save it to Mykuler and it will be stored there for you, or you can print it out and take it to your LQS and find fabrics in those color ranges and have a perfectly color balanced quilt!  No more color fear! 

Joan