9 Days and Counting…

9 days into the #100DaysProject creativity challenge and I haven’t missed one! I think it’s working, too, because I find myself with so many ideas that I want to design more than one Irish Chain quilt a day! But the point is to pace yourself and make it all the way through, so I’m reigning myself in.

If you remember from my Challenge Accepted! post, I’m participating in the #100DaysProject. Each day for 100 days, participants repeat a “simple creative task” and post their effort online.

I chose designing a modified Irish Chain quilt ~ changing colors, mixing blocks, varying settings, etc. ~ and I’m excited to see how the traditional pattern will shift, evolve and develop during the next 91 days!

Celebrating Family and Future

I once read an article about “divorce quilts”, textile art projects made to help process the difficult decision to end a marriage.  I can definitely see the therapeutic value, but I like what customer Beth M. had in mind much better… she asked me to make a quilt celebrating the start of her and her children’s new life.

mac30sfamily2

The overall design of her quilt is vintage 1930s, a postage stamp Irish Chain design on a white background (all the squares are reproduction 1930s fabrics.)  Appliqués appear in the areas formed by the chain, each turned under and hand embroidered with a blanket stitch – again, an old-fashioned, classic technique.

In a way, the design builds on history to create a new future.  That feeling is echoed in her choice of appliqué ideas.  There are blocks that represent heritage – a shamrock for Ireland, a thistle for Scotland – and blocks that represent now – a beloved family pet and shared activities like movie watching.  Every single element in this quilt is meaningful and all are designed to symbolize the foundation on which she and her children will create their new life.

When Beth and her children curl up in this quilt, it’s not just their bodies being warmed, it’s their hearts, too. This is why I make quilts.  I want to create beautiful, thoughtful, treasured keepsakes that touch people deeply.  Laugh, cry, reminisce and dream about your bright, new future ~ a good quilt should encourage all that and more.

 

Challenge Accepted!

I’ve decided to participate in a creativity challenge – the #100DaysProject.  Each day for 100 days, I will be designing and posting an Irish Chain quilt design.

All the designs will start with an Irish Chain block, repeated to make a queen-sized quilt. Using that as a framework, I’ll change colors, mix and match blocks, vary settings, etc. to create as many different versions as I can over 100 days.  There’s so much you can do with this traditional block and I can’t wait to see how the patterns shift, evolve and develop during the challenge.

I chose to do quilt designs because as much as I’d love to, I can’t finish an entire queen quilt in one day! 🙂  I may actually make my favorite (or favorites) after the challenge is completed, though ~ and if you see one you love, I’d be happy to make it for you, too!

This is my first design – Link #1 of #100 “Whimzical” Chains.  Remember, follow me here to see them all!

chain1

I’m also posting the designs on a special #100WhimzicalChains Pinterest board.

Halloween Is So “Afar” Away

I’ve been finishing up a few items for the holiday season 2017, including this custom half-round quilted table runner for Halloween.  My Halloween decorations, though, are all currently stored away – it is May, after all.  So for the photo staging I used my purple plaster Australopithecus afarensis skull that is on permanent display in the library.  (What?  Doesn’t everyone have one?)

halloweenhalfround

Tote-ally Awesome Quilting

DeVon D.’s email read,

“I am a runner.  I would really like some type of tote made from [all these race shirts and race bibs that are just sitting around.] Any thoughts? Feel like tackling this?”

13 years of custom quilting and I’d never made a quilted tote bag! But, hey, I love a challenge, so I said, “Sure!”

While waiting for her marathon shirts to arrive, I decided to do a trial bag.  That’s how I ended up with this ENORMOUS beach tote.  I mean, it’s big.  REALLY big.  Like “hide the pregnant actress’ belly because it’ll ruin her character’s storyline” big.

bigbeachbag

With a few adjustments, though, I felt ready to take on DeVon’s projects. She sent me enough shirts that I ended up quilting her both a beach tote and a book tote.

And, I threw in a quilted backpack, just for the fun of it.

backpack

These were definitely a fun little digression from regular quilting.  I liked having to figure out the math as I went along to get to a normal size on the bags and the instant gratification of finishing a small project is always nice.

And DeVon seems pretty happy with them, too.  She posted yesterday on the Whimzie Quiltz Facebook page,

“I knew you were the right person to hand that project over to. The totes are all great and I just adore the fun Jingle Bell Run back pack. Such creativity!”

Shrink Ray?!? No Way!

You say there’s an evil super villain with a shrink ray taking over the world? I’m not worried – I’ll just move into my new Altoid tin Whimzie Quiltz studio and keep right on quilting…

miniwqstudio

As you can see from the photos below, I tried to recreate my actual sewing studio as faithfully as possible.

Starting with the lid on the left, there’s the felt wall that I use to audition blocks and photograph quilts, a “sew fun” inspirational message and a teeny tiny copy of my book, A Quilter’s Christmas Carol (life-size versions still available in my Etsy store.)

On the right side, I used leftover pink wall paint for the background and hung a mini blind and three decorative “oversized” buttons, topping it off with miniaturized fabric banner just like the one hanging in my room.

In real life, I have a planter/vase shaped like a giant thimble where I keep scissors and pens – in the mini version, I included a Monopoly thimble (RIP). The tiny spools of thread came pre-wound with pink so they fit in nicely with no alterations and I used scraps of pink and orange fabrics from my stash for the bolts of fabric.

My real sewing machine is white – I painted the mini sewing machine white; my everyday scissors are orange – I painted two mini scissors orange.  The sewing cabinet in my room is finished in cherry wood grain laminate; it was easy to stain a small piece of balsa wood to represent that color finish in the tin.

One final tip if you want to create your own –  I cut the prongs off of 4 tiny brads (the kind you use for scrapbooking) and glued the heads on the right side of Altoid tin as feet. Without these, since the lid side is bigger, the tin leaned to the right when open for display.  Brad feet keep everything nice and level.

I found part of the fun of this project was making the Altoid tin match my actual sewing studio as closely as possible, but I could totally see creating the sewing room you’ve always wanted as a mini version, too.

If you do decide to make one, please share a photo with me as I’d love to “visit”… and that way we can all thumb our noses at shrink ray-wielding super villains!