Monday, June 27, 2011

Dream Swing Quilt

I have been working on this mini quilt for Jovita. This charming pattern was OODLES of fun to do! I made the scrappy background with fabrics I have collected over the years, including cuttings from an old baby blue sweater of my daughters. ( Nothing is safe around my house!) I hand stitched the piece to muslin and mounted that onto a nice red background. I love to free motion quilt, and thought a little prose would be a nice touch. I wrote what came to mind...My dreams meet me under the tree and gently swing me back and forth..

I had a swing in my front yard growing up in Chagrin Falls ,Ohio and actually the little girl in the pattern does look a little chagrined (?) Anywho, I digress..

After free motion quilting the prose I was faced with my old nemeses' ..BINDING and HANGING SLEEVES. These two things involve way too much trouble for this lazy quilter. BUT alas, I am making this for the woman who taught me the basics of quilting, the QUEEN of technique and the lot!!

So, I must bind and I must sleeve...and I am honored to do so!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Meet Mary

Set Her Free
Mary and I are doing a swap ... and I wanted to tell you that I've been blogging about the design process of her quilt on my blog and thought you might want to stop by and check it out ... I've been carrying these little saltwater pearls around in my pocket waiting for the opportunity to add them to her little quilt ...

... but then I realized I haven't properly introduced Mary, who played a very crucial role as I began my venture as a shop owner.

She and I met when I was teaching foundation paper piecing class before my studio/shop got off the ground in Mukilteo and when I did open she kind of followed me there.

Thank goodness too .. her kind, caring, calming ways have come in handy more times than I can count.

Like introducing me to black coffee topped with softly whipped cinnamon whipping cream .. oh my goodness.  If you haven't, you need to try this!  Sip slowly, letting the cream melt in and mix with your coffee as you go ... it's sure to calm your nerves and give you the energy to carry on!  Of course this experience is at it's best when shared *with* Mary ...

Lindsey's quiltOne thing I've always loved about Mary is that she is always game for trying new and challenging things ... the class where we met?  Introduction to Foundation Paper Piecing .. no houses for her .. she wanted to work on this unicorn.  And did ... and finished it and bound it!  ... see the two quilts under her's, they are both mine (the binding *has* been put on the one on the left, the one on the right? - umm, it is still waiting for a border ...).

Mary has really moved on and is a wonderful mixed media artist showing at a variety of galleries in the Pacific Northwest. Visit Funky Fibers to read more about Mary and her artwork, gallery showings and workshops.

As for me, I am especially in love with her series of bathing beauties!

Mary's Bathing Beauties

P&P watercolorShe is also responsible for this ... a most cherished memory of my shop. The original photograph was taken by her mother-in-law, the watercolor is by her father-in-law.  

There is a lot more to tell you about Mary, but I'm hoping she'll do some of that herself and show us more of her projects.  And tell funny stories about her two beautiful daughters!

Thanks for joining us Under the Willow Tree Mary, with tons of Love from Jovita and the rest of the gang!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guest Post: Valentina in Cyprus

How very fun to start off our Guest Posts with a call from Cyprus by Valentina.
Spring has been zooming by for me too, but somehow it all came together on the 1st of June. I finally took the plunge and started my Dear Jane.  I had spend the entire month of May agonizing about my colour choices and finally settled on these:

It has become a soft contemporary palette made lively by some Salmon pinks, Cherry reds, Mustards and even some greys.  I have also decided to make my templates from Mylar and stitch the blocks by hand- making my work so much more portable which is essential, as I work around my 5 year olds. 
I am also playing with the idea of having different backgrounds for each row of blocks while keeping some of the Trip around the World aspect of the original.  My plan is that rows A and M will be basically the same, B as L etc. This helps me to keep some order in my mind and will allow me to start sashing my blocks as I finish each row. 
Of course plans change all the time and I am so looking forward to see how working together will influence my work.   And these are the first fruits:
Valentina's mosaic
I don't know about all of you, but I am definitely drooling ... and thinking about some fabrics I have that would play nicely with Valentina's color scheme.  Off to pull them now and see if she'll send me her mailing address as a big thank you for being my first guest blogger ever!
Be sure to stop by Valentina's Corner and check out some of her other projects!

I am finding that she and I have a lot in common and feel like I've found a true kindred spirit.

And by the way ... if you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you be a part of our quilt along!  Linky up your blog here and / or email me your Contemporary Jane story along with some photos of your pile of fabric and some of your blocks, if you've already started.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Granny Weaver


Dear Jane® book reference: Block J-6, page 92

Jovita's Method:  machine pieced

My comments:  This block was easy peasy ... I followed Twiddletails perfect instructions for strip-piecing it!  Just click on over here and you'll be all set.

Yes, too easy, but I wanted to ease us all in, I hope no one minds.  There are more difficult blocks and we will be getting to those ... but why make life hard on the first day.

Instead I thought I'd talk about the fabric ...

This fabulous fabric gives lots of options for Contemporary Jane blocks .. I figure I'll be able to get at least five blocks out of it without anyone knowing it was the same piece.  hehe, the red arrow is meant to point at the tip of the leaf that I used for this block.

Fussy cutting for Jane
Jane M-2
In fact, here's the 2nd block I've cut from it already although it is a reject ... maybe ... not sure ... more about that later. LMAO .. just noticed this block is called "Duff's Bluff" that just tickles my funny bone.  (Dear Jane® book reference: Block M-2, page 113)  But you can probably spot the two leaves I used (one is just above the red arrow) .. cool, huh?

Check out the selvage too .. this is a Phillip Jacobs fabric .. they play along great with Kaffe's fabrics and I'm not being a snob .. if I like it it goes!

So there you have it!  Block one of ... um ... 169 blocks.  But I promise it's going to be a fun ride full of tons of information.  Your input is also highly regarded, if you have questions, comments or ideas, please don't hesitate to drop me an email!

Thanks for quilting along, Jovita

Other links to this block: Dear Jane® and A Quilter's Journey

Contemporary Jane Kick-off

Hi ladies and gents!  I am truly sorry it has taken me so long to get this going ... I could make excuses, but let's just get this ball rolling instead!  I am so excited about this quilt and quilting along with all of you!

Quite a few ladies have signed up for our Contemporary Jane quilt along ... if you're name's not on the list be sure and let me know ... or linky up your blog here.

And boy oh boy have some of you ladies who are joining us been busy!  

Be sure check out our Flickr group, these ladies have been uploading pics faster than I can blink ... you'll want to check these out!  Quiltdiva is working in BATIKS, "Pink" has posted some fabulous PINK and green blocks while Bea is also working along with KAFFE fabrics, 

With everything going on I haven't done much past my first seven blocks, but two are partially hand-pieced in my take-along bag and if I have anything to say, they will be finished this week - bringing my tally up to 9 blocks.

CJ mosaic

So, you're asking how is this going to work?  Well, once a week Deb, Maria or I will post here, Under the Willow Tree, a new block that we've made.  We'll tell you how we made it and what worked or didn't work.  You are welcome to work ahead, behind or right along with us ... we're not setting limits or deadlines, we're just going to have fun!

... our aim is to make "our" Jane ... we're not using reproductions but sticking to fabrics that reflect us now and with the freedom to add, change or leave out blocks that don't fancy us. To get an idea of what we mean, check out our "Contemporary Jane" board on Pinterest. For more useful Jane links, please see this post.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, hold onto your hats ... heeeeeeer we gooooooo!!