Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Eye of the Storm Quilt


I just realized last night that I never shared the details of this quilt with y'all! And it's front and center every time I have shared photos of my new office. So, here is the story of the Eye of the Storm quilt.

I don't have many photos of the early stages of this quilt because my old phone suffered a catastrophic failure earlier this year. It died a horrible death, and we could not retrieve any photos from the phone (moral of the story, back 'em up if you can).


All the fabrics for the quilt top are from recycled t-shirts in the 12 colors of the red/yellow/blue color system plus white. I used my die cutter to make hexagons from the colors and the corresponding triangles from white. I began piecing this together at our Chicago Modern Quilt Guild retreat - that's my late (beloved, and sorely missed) BERNINA 1080 in the photo above. First steps were piecing the triangles on each side of the hexies.


Once I finished attaching the triangles I was ready for layout! Layout happened at yet another CMQG retreat (I think I worked on this through an entire year's worth of retreats).

I had absolutely NO plans, ideas, or preconceived notions of how this project was going to come together. I didn't even know what size it would end up! My only plan was to use as many of the pieces as I could to create a quilt. The layout was kind of spontaneous. Instead of mixing all the colors together or laying them out randomly, I chose to put red in the center (of course, because it is my favorite color!) and loosely follow color-order out from there.


I started to piece the rows together at that retreat, and finished the rows at home.


Yet another CMQG retreat and the rows are finally coming together.


And I finished the top! Once it was sewn together, it became pretty clear that the quilt looked a lot like Doppler radar of a large storm. One friend even though this was exactly how Predator sees the world. 


I decided to go with the Doppler radar theme, it fit really well. I chose to quilt outward from one of the red hexies to represent the eye of the storm. I quilted a simple snowflake looking shape in the center of the eye. 


After finishing with a facing, the quilt measures 50" wide by 56" long. 


I have to admit, I didn't care too much for this quilt after I finished it. I entered it into the QuiltCon show at the end of 2016, and was a bit disappointed that it was not accepted. I think it had a lot to do with having worked for so long on this quilt! At any rate, I put it away right after the holidays and didn't look at it for many months.

Recently this quilt has moved into my newly remodeled sewing studio and lives right over my desk. It's really grown on me, and I have enjoyed it as a daily companion - I do really love this quilt!

Isn't it funny how something you work so hard on making can seem like a big disappointment at first, but then end up being something you absolutely love?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sewing Some Holiday Hearts


Are these not the cutest? Yes, these are exactly like the woven heart baskets you made from construction paper as a kid.


Except these are made from colorful cotton fabrics!


I couldn't stop at just one, it was fun to see how different color combinations looked.

If you'd like to sew up a heart pocket, I shared my method along with a link to the original tutorial (just look for the link towards the very top of the post) at BERNINA's WeAllSew blog - click over if you'd like to learn how to make your own Holiday Heart. Enjoy!




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Apron Book is back!

I have been in love with vintage aprons since I first picked one up at a thrift store while in college (which yes, was like a million years ago). My collection now includes about 100 aprons from the 1930's through the 1960's. The one below is one of my favorites, I love the colors and pattern.


I've even made an apron or two, like this one using recycled vintage patchwork (and this guy was featured in Quilty magazine).


I also love to collect books about vintage aprons.


One of my top favorites is The Apron Book by EllynAnne Geisel published in 2006, a book that includes history with personal stories and instructions to make some of the most iconic styles of aprons to wear or to gift. It's the kind of book that you can pick up and read cover-to-cover, or read a bit here and there with a cup o' tea (and a cat).


I'm super excited that the book has just been reprinted! If you don't own The Apron Book and are interested in aprons, mid-century lifestyles, or vintage sewing, you are going to love this book.

In celebration of the new printing of the book, a series of podcasts is now available at The Apron Book Podcast page - each one focusing on how aprons continue to speak with stories of their own through the ages. Head on over and give each of the episodes a listen - especially good podcasting for sewing, or while waiting for your copy of the book to arrive.

Oh, and THIS! You could win your very own copy of The Apron Book along with an apron hand-crafted by the apron maven EllynAnne Geisel herself, plus a basket of sewing goodies from BERNINA by visiting the Tie One On Day post at the WeAllSew blog, and scroll down to the bottom of the post to read how to enter. The contest is open through November 22, so there's plenty of time to enter, good luck!

Friday, November 10, 2017

New Sewing Studio Tour!


I'm all moved in to my new space!

To celebrate, I'm sharing some of my favorite sewing room organization tips with a full tour of my space at BERNINA's WeAllSew blog today. Click here to read the article: Studio Tour with BERNINA Ambassador Erika Mulvenna! Yay!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Progress in the New Sewing Studio

Holy renovations friends! When I made my last post about our new house, I thought our remodel of the upstairs would be finished in July, and I imagined I'd be all moved into my new sewing studio by September. Well, you know, we had to wait for the flooring guys, then we had to wait for the painters, then we had to wait to have some new appliances installed...and...wait for furniture delivery...and...weeks turned into months. So here it is in October, and I'm still working on unpacking and getting settled in!


But I'm dying to share how things are shaping up, so I'm sneaking you in for a little peek. Come on in, let me show you around!


Best part of the new studio is finally finding room for some of my favorite stuff I've been carrying around for a long, long time. Like the blue Rickert-Ziebold poster from receiving the award on graduating with my Fiber Arts BFA oh, like 20 years ago. Yeah, I've had this poster rolled up in a tube for twenty years! Framed and now living on the North wall.


I hung a bit of clothesline over the ironing board on the West wall as a way to temporarily display blocks. These pretty leaves are vintage blocks I picked up second-hand several years ago. I forgot I even had them, but found these while sorting fabric scraps! Someday I will sew you all into a quilt my lovelies.


The WALL OF IRONS! I think I collected my first funky old iron in the early 1990's, about the same time I picked up my first vintage sewing machine. It looks like this built-in shelf was custom made to display these irons, right? When I first set them up I was ONE iron short of making this a perfect dozen. Luckily, I found the last iron at the local antique mall to complete the wall of irons!


Tom helped me to build my design wall, and it's hung opposite my sewing machine on the South wall. I can look at whatever I'm working on while I'm stitching. I think this will also be a good spot to photograph finished quilts with some better lighting in the room, too.

Those are some favorite show posters from my time in Springfield when the Sangamon Valley Roots Revival festival was in full swing - lots of good music! I totally forgot I had these posters, they've been rolled up since I move to Chicago like 12 years ago, good to see them framed. I love the bright colors.


This vintage wire dress form has snaps front and back, and you actually put it on and form it to your body! This lady holds all my old name tags and show badges from past events. One of my all-time favorites is the badge when I judged the Elvis tribute artist competition at the 9th Annual Midwest Tribute to the King. I was also a panel judge for a Central Illinois local municipal water supply conference where I "judged" glasses of water from different towns (not nearly as exciting as the Elvis gig). Oh, and I was a St. Patrick's Day Parade float judge in the capitol city, where I don't remember much because we had to be at the judges platform early and the beer was free. Good times.


And last but not least, my new home office lives on the East wall. I really worked hard on making these pieces fit in this space and still have room to work. I could have used more bookshelf space, but hey, I am a book nerd and will never have enough space for books!


Thanks for stopping by! I'm going to invite you back again when things are finalized. What you don't see in this visit is the pile of crap that I still need to find spaces for, I shoveled it into the closet. I would much rather have open spaces in this studio that clutter, bins, boxes, and Rubbermaid containers everywhere - so I am being very selective with trying to just keep what I need, or what has real value to me. Not as easy as it sounds, and I've parted with several things already.

Until next time - happy stitching!