Wednesday, 15 November 2017

FAL 2017: Meet the HostPost #12

Hello Folks!  It's time for another episode of Meet The Host today and I promise you won't be disappointed with Karen's lovely post.  Read on for a fab 'get to know her'. 

Hi there!  I'm Karen and blog at CapitolaQuilter .  I've been participating since the beginning of Finish-A-Long and am honored to have joined in as one of the International Hosts this year.   It's hard to believe we are already wrapping up 2017.

Pre-QCon Selfie 2017

Have you enjoyed reading the FAL Meet the Host monthly guest blogger posts?  Well, now it's my turn to to be featured in the series!  Here goes a picture filled post starting with most importantly, my beautiful family.


Summer 2016
I am married to a wonderful guy and we have two grown boys.  We are incredibly proud of the men they have become and adore the women they have chosen to spend their lives with.  Enjoying time with our granddaughter and watching her reach milestones that we remember when our kids were young like it was yesterday and yet a lifetime ago is quite the mind game.

Look how cute and little they were!!!  My oversized glasses and shoulder pads date our family portrait and the "Big Hair-Skinny Tie" picture was the perfect share for my first ever swap called I heart the 80's a Flickr group.  I wish I still had that hand-dyed silk dress although in reality, we prefer jeans and a t-shirt.  This summer marks our 35th anniversary.

Flashback Family Photos
In 2002 we adopted two German Shorthair pointers. Always underfoot,  Dottie's trick was to step on my foot pedal (until I upgraded my sewing machine with a start/stop button) and innocently walk in the way of photos.  Chase perfected the skill of lying on a quilt if I glanced away - for a minute - while basting. 

Sadly, we recently lost them both to sudden illness after long full lives and have no animals at the moment.   Pets are considered family members to us and Hubby wants a puppy but I am not ready.

Capitola Quilter

Frequently mistaken for "Capitol, a Quilter" or "capital A quilter" , my blog name is easily misunderstood if you don't happen to be familiar with the small town on the coast of California USA where I live, Capitola.   Spanning less than 2 square mile with a population of about 10K, it isn't a big city but is rich in history and a constant source of inspiration. 

BeeSewcial "Reflections" Capitola Photoshoot

Although our house is not one of the big beautiful oceanfront ones you see in the picturesque backdrops when I take my quilts on a photoshoot,  we're still pretty lucky to be able to walk to the beach and enjoy mild weather.

Santa Cruz quilt photoshoot by Anne Sullivan

Thanks for indulging me - now on to the QUILTS!

The Early Years - Quilts from Patterns

Among the first quilts I made was a gift for my mother-in-law that included a picture of her seven grandkids.   It is sweet with coordinating prints, fussy cornerstones, sashing and a border.  Image transfer was high-tech at the time but peeling their faces off to iron down was totally creepy. Thank goodness Spoonflower came along!

1998-1999 one of my first quilts
My Scrappy Maximalist style had a kickstart when my friends brought fabric to a surprise Quilt-themed birthday party in my honor.  The assortment received did NOT go together so I used black and white with uniform shapes to bring order and incorporated quote blocks.  It is one of my most sentimental quilts and the beginning of my desire to create original works.

My Birthday Quilt-themed party Quilt

Following patterns from books, I made these wedding quilts out of batiks, traditional and modern stash.  I had the chance to meet Anita Grossman Solomon at Quilt Festival Houston 2014 and see her Old Italian Block quilt in the exhibit.  I subtitled my blog SecondHandScraps because I eagerly accept leftovers from friends who know my reputation for scrappiness.

Old Italian Block 2012 and Split Nine-Patch 2011
In 2013 local quilt store SueDee's featured my quilts on display in a solo show.  Using the MoStash and Friends+Fabric =AMSB bee blocks that I received and adding my own enlarged blocks, the Giant xPlus was a hit and is what I keep on our bed.

Opening Reception
It didn't seem like an ambitious task when I set out to make each of my nieces, nephews and my own kids a 21st Birthday quilt.   I stayed on track until the final three and thankfully all twelve are finally delivered.  Among the tardy is this Full size quilt that rolled over from quarter to quarter on my FAL list frequently.  I included a jumbo delectable mountain for the backing and two matching shams.

a rare "Guy" quilt
Early on I only sewed for gifts and charity giving away all of my quilts.  I didn't have a single one in my house!  Since then I've kept  a few - as evident by this adorable photo: 

More than Quilts

Quilting came into my life as an adult but I grew up wearing handmade and learned to sew clothes in 4-H as a kid excelling in HomeEc in Jr. High and High School.   Somewhere along the way I misplaced the confidence and skills and have had little success making myself garments.  I've dabbled with clothes for my granddaughter since she's much easier to please and fit than I am.  

Hart's Fabric, a family owned independent brick and mortar fabric store since 1969 (a rarity these days) is still the same place I go to shop.  My improv seagull, poppy field and mountains design was chosen for their 2016 Row by Row Experience pattern.

Bags are quick and rewarding makes.  I enjoy browsing thrift stores for handwork and feel compelled to rescue the abandoned treasures like the patchwork cat needlework used in The Wasted Swap tote (lower right).

Original Designs and Influences

Most of what I make now are original or modified designs rather than from patterns.  Perspective was designed using Play Crafts tool Equal, made in a whirlwind 10 days and displayed at Hart's to show off the Loominous fabric line. An edgy improv butterfly seemed fitting use of the Sweet Rebellion fabric line for Ink & Arrow's blog hop.

Goats Askew  pushed a lot of technical boundaries.   I loved being one of the Score for Bias Strip Petals testers and part of Sherri Lynn Wood's gallery here even though it was not published in her book.  I've taken two workshops with her and got to show and tell in person at the last one.

I didn't make an All-Solids quilt until 2014 which seems crazy since that is the majority of what I work in now.  Capitola Crossing was directly inspired by an antique quilt, details blogged here.  It was displayed at Amish: the Modern Muse, a juried exhibit representing three Modern Guilds in the FiberSpace section of the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Textiles.

Perspective, Dare to Fly, Goats Askew and Capitola Crossing

My style has expanded to include Improvisation with Meaning in the Make since joining BeeSewcial.  The Graphic and Minimalistic focus also comes from Quilt Design A Day, QDAD a Facebook group that I am admin for.   Both encourage exploration and push me beyond boundaries more than I'd ever imagined.

The transformation of a design mock up to a finished quilt is a process I highly recommend trying.  Here are four samples: Two challenges for our local show,  "Resonate" for the AGF Heartland Tour Blog Hop, and Castle in The Sand a collaborative quilt with valued mentor Pam Rocco.   As you can see I've deviated from he original design but have captured the essence which is more my goal.

Examples of #QDAD2Reality

Contributing blocks for QuiltCon First Place group bee winners: 2016 Debbie Jeske's Mod Mood and 2017 Stephanie Ruyle's Direction Optional  was such an honor.  Fortunately I had the opportunity to be there to see the quilts up close in person and help celebrate.  Thanks to the QDAD Showcase and Quilt of the Month Special Exhibit,  my own quilts hung in Savannah at QuiltCon East.

Left: Me & my Quilts, Right: BeeSewcial at QuiltCon
QDADers being silly
This year I'm going to enter my absoulutely stunning Reflections BeeSewcial quilt and hope, hope, hope it is accepted.   Now that I've puzzled this one together I should have no trouble with the next two, right?

Reflections BeeSewcial Quilt
Here are just a few of my favorite BeeSewcial blocks that I've made and a mosaic from 2015:

I was diligent about documenting blocks back in the Flickr days and am sentimentally fond of them despite how different in style they are.

2012 Flickr Group Bee Blocks

Quilting with friends is really special to me.  Fortunately this happens on a regular basis with a small local group and annually with our guild.  I've also managed to crash a couple of sister guild retreats too!  My wish is to have a larger Multi-Chapter or Regional sewing meet up, a casual no frills opportunity to hang out with nearby peeps that I "know" from social media someday.

Local Friends, Sew and Stroll
SBAMQG Annual Fall Retreat 2012-2017

I'm also lucky to meet up with my sis who lives far away at quilty events like QuiltCon, Quilt Festival and Empty Spools.  For the 90's themed party at Glamp Stitchalot we had fun dressing up and although my closet may still have authentic garments from the era,  I repurposed a plaid blazer into a skirt.

Sewing Sisters

We'll be together at another QuiltCon in February - say "hi" if you see us. She'll be the one perfecting her skills in back to back workshops and I'll be the one striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger, embarrassing myself with fangirl selfies and sporting a blue volunteer t-shirt.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Being part of our MQG guild chapter South Bay Area MQG from the beginning, serving as VP and chairing committees has made a huge impact.  Learning from one another and being part of something bigger holds a special place in my heart.

QuiltCon Charity blocks 2013
I never would have guessed the first tutorial as a brand new blogger, Polaroids Chain Pieced would generate the highest traffic to date and show up on tons of Pinterest boards.  A special shout out to my blog followers!

This summer I had the pleasure of teaching my first workshop, a technique and design rather than project based class.   Students did great playing with parts and possibilities and their enthusiasm made for a fun time.  I hope to have more opportunities in the future and am developing a spin off class that I'm excited about.

  Last but not least, My Workspace

Once upon a time, I had an organized sewing space in a small L-shaped room of our house as a legit place to create.  Yardage stored on comic boards in bookshelves and FQ-ish bundles kept in an antique cabinet with scrap tubs lining the perimeter of the ceiling on a shelf.  Some weekends I would rarely step away and loose all track of time.  It was all inclusive but a little lonely and cramped.  

To be more centrally located I temporarily put up a portable design wall, sewing and cutting table in the living room only I have never moved back.  My old room is now a glorified closet,  piled high with projects in buckets and bags waiting to be put back where they belong - or better yet, finished.

Sewing in the Living Room
When I get in the productive zone, I just push aside what's in my way or brush it to the floor and keep going.  I may be sewing fewer scrappy quilts these days but I am certainly not making less scraps!

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me and the creative frenzy that has been my journey so far.  I wish you all the best of luck with your FAL goals and hope you continue to carve out a quilty path that brings you joy.  

Happy Stitching, Karen aka CapitolaQuilter

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Cuddly Toy Sleeping Bag

I've been sewing for CT's Christmas stocking lately and among the makes is a sleeping bag that I made with help from the Hexie Doll Quilt pattern in Sedef Imer's book, Quilt Petite.

Although it's called a quilt in the pattern, I think of it more like a sleeping bag.  I made two quilted pieces to the measurements of the pattern and bound them together.  The pattern doesn't use a quilted piece for the backing but I thought it might survive CT's not-so-gentle approach to play if hers has a quilty backing.

Sedef's pattern uses a gorgeous hexie EPP quilt topping but I needed a quicker solution, in spite of how much I would love to have made the hexies.  So, I used the adorable cheater print above which was sent to CT when she was born - it was the wrapping paper on her present from Yvonne (Nellie's Niceties).  I kept it, hoping to find a way of using it for her, and this seems like the ideal opportunity.  You can see that I don't have any pompom trim in my stash (as used in the original pattern) and so I used ric rac instead.  I have to breathe deeply when using ric rac because I'm not very good at getting it to stay put while sewing.  Managed it this time, phew!

Blue polka dot binding (also used as the backing) worked beautifully with the cheater prints delicate hues and patterns.

As you can see, Monkey looks very comfy in the cosy sleeping bag!  The other cuddlies will be queueing to have a snuggle too once it is delivered for Christmas!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Stitched Sewing Organisers

Sometimes, even when I know I won't have time for it, I fancy jumping on a bandwagon, don't you?

You may have seen the Sew Along for Aneela Hoey's Stitched Sewing Organisers book hosted on IG by @tuppencehapennyquilts.  Well, with the book sitting on my shelf I was itching to join in for the first week and tackle the Handy Fold-Up Pouches.

It felt good to be following the crowd as I picked some fabric and set to stitching.

The unusual, but genius, construction of these little pouches gave me a flashback to making pouches at one of Just Jude's classes years ago.  I think it was these cute tissue pockets that used the same clever method.

I made two of the larger ones and two of the tiny ones.  These first two are made with a sweet fat quarter I picked up in Kirkby Lonsdale this summer and a giant polka dot from my stash.

These two were gifted to a friend and made from really pretty fabrics, Chatsworth, I think.  My pics don't do justice to the beautiful buttery yellow colour of the tiny one.  It's too orangey here.

 Four pretty little pouches for knick knacks!

I always knew that I wouldn't join in with all of the Sew Along weeks and after a rule clarification at the end of the first week saying that all of the makes entered into the Sew Along itself must be exactly as per the materials and instructions in Aneela's lovely book, I'm not sure any more of my makes will qualify.  That's ok, it's just that I want to use whatever interfacings I have around (and will take the risk that it might not turn out as well as if I'd used Aneela's recommended brand and type) and maybe even quilt something here and there where the original instructions don't.

So, here's my version of the Fold-Up Sewing Folio.  Instead of the fusible wadding in the pattern, which I don't have, I have quilted wadding to the red cover fabric to help stabilise it. For me, this deviation worked well.  It's quite an involved pattern, and I must confess there were times I wished that there were photos of the steps included, but actually with careful reading and steady progress it all came together very nicely.

I used some Bonnie & Camille scraps for the contrasts inside against the Essex linen to make all the pockets, trims and pincushion.  Since the lining wasn't actually attached to the cover fabric anywhere except all around the edges, I found it a little bit baggy.  So I quilted over the fold lines which the pattern does include to delineate the three sections of the pouch.  Quilting them through the lining and cover section has really helped, especially now that there are a few little tools and accessories in the centre section pockets.

My outer fabric is another Bonnie & Camille print (surprise, surprise). It makes me happy!  All in all this was a fun Friday evening (or two) make.

Not sure how many more of the projects I'll manage, especially given my current WIPs list.  Though I would really like to try the triple pouch, so never say never!!


Friday, 3 November 2017

Spring Tulip Window Quilt

I have finally had a chance to use my Quilty Fun book to do more than just look through and swoon over. Yes, I actually made something from it!

It's not a very big something, admittedly, but it's made using this super cute Spring Tulip Pattern in Lori Holt's book.  Would you like to see what I made?

Ta da!

It's a mini spring tulip window quilt!  Are you wondering why this is a window quilt?  Let me explain.

Photo courtesy of Ikea website

Coming soon(ish) to our house for little Miss CT's enjoyment is the Ikea children's kitchen and well, it's a great little kitchen but it needs a bit of prettifying and some 'personality'.  So, I made a few fun kitchen accessories to brighten things up!

I stitched up a simple tea towel with pretty lace trim which is much too extravagant to ever touch a wet dish, but oh it's so pretty and was a perfect excuse to use some long stashed Lori Holt fabric.

Then, I had fun figuring out how to make some mini oven gloves and am quite proud of the results.  I'm really hoping Missy likes these because she is rather fond of my old, dingy pair. 

Of course, every little chef should have a reversible Lori Holt apron too, don't you agree?  My figuring out for the apron was a bit iffy, but I have since rectified the positioning of those ties so that they are right at the top of the apron sides. More haste, less speed the night I was stitching this, I think.

But, I digress. I have left you hanging about the window quilt, haven't I?

Well, along with the tea towel, oven gloves and apron, I wanted to hang something from that little rail you can see above the kitchen's sink and hob.  I considered simple little curtains, but making a mini quilt to hang there when there's already a rod in place, and when I have Lori Holt's book to inspire me, just seemed like a better solution to me.

So, yes, I have been a crazy lady in the Ikea store (and at one of our playgroups who have this kitchen) using a tape measure to record dimensions of rod widths, drop height and the space between the handles on the cupboards - you know, so that the oven gloves can hang there ;-) Gone too far, do you think?  (No need to answer, I already know.)

I used Lori's Spring Tulips to create a little quilt that is approx 25" x 10" and the plan is that it will hang over the rail in place of the intended utensils on their hooks.  (Funnily enough, I have decided against giving little Miss Tornado her own set of metal utensils and pots and pans with which to create even more 'symphonies' on my tiled kitchen floor every day - plastic all the way for us at this noisy phase of her life.  Do you like my optimism calling it a "phase"?)

I want the quilt to be a little backdrop for her kitchen, like looking out the window to see a little happy row of tulips!!  So, that's why it's a window quilt.  With me?

After the patchwork piecing, I kept the quilting to simple echo lines around the tulips and a little bit of stitch in the ditch around the borders.

I thought I'd show you the velcro tabs I made for hanging this mini quilt.  Once the little kitchen is built, the rod will be fixed in place and therefore not possible to pop out and slide through a normal hanging sleeve.  My solution was to make three fabric tabs and stitch velcro a quarter inch from the top and bottom of the inside of the tab piece.  Then, I hand stitched the tabs in place, catching a little bit of wadding in as I went (but not the front of the quilt) for added stability.

Can you see the line my hera marker made on that middle tab in the photo above?  That line is 1" closer to the bottom of the tab than the top of the tab.  It is the line at which I folded the tab and stitched it in place.  It allows an extra inch on the top part of the tab for the space taken up by the rod.

Do you see what I mean?  If you've made a hanging sleeve before you probably understand what it is I'm trying to explain.  I'm really happy with how these tabs worked out.  

Here's the quilt again, just because I like to look at it!  Happy Lori Holt and Riley Blake fabric in all its cuteness.  Now I just have to hope that I measured everything correctly and it all fits when the kitchen is assembled!

I wish I could see it all together now, but I'll try to take an update pic to share with you when the time comes.  For now, Mama Elf's job is done.

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