Art Inspiration, Photography

Glass Fringe

Hello everyone.  I’ve had a busy beginning to this Thanksgiving week.  I am a few days behind on the Photo 101 challenges.  I’m going to catch up now.

For Tuesday’s assignment, we were to photograph glass.  Our house is filled with glass.  To be specific, we both collect glassware, and our home has 47 windows.

I just finished sewing 80 more strip sets for my scrappy quilts, and turned off the main studio lights, thinking I’d head to bed.

However, I noticed the awesome fringe on this lamp, just outside my studio in the hallway.  It’s late in the evening, so not much light in the upstairs hallway, except for one of the bulbs in this lamp.  I love the effect that a lone light can play on the mood in the area.

I had to play with my camera.  My favorite things about this photo…

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1-the mood the light gives.

2-playing with the juxtaposition of in-focus strands against the out-of-focus ones in the background.

3-the way the layers just lure you into the center of the lamp.

I hope you enjoy this photo too.  Have a great night on this Thanksgiving Eve!

Create something special!

Fellow Quilter,

Brian

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Art Inspiration

This my dear reader — Is BLISS!

Hello everyone.

Today I’m blogging about “Bliss”.  As you know, my primary creative outlet is quiltmaking.  I love sharing my inspiration, and progress with you.  By posting these entries, I hope that you find ideas that move you to be more creative.

Although, I post a lot about quilts and quilting, I also dabble in many other arts.  Of course photography is a great hobby, and I think I’m getting better and better.  The daily photo blog group this month is pushing me to new ideas.  I also play around with scrapbooking supplies once in a while, and have a neat stash of paper, stamps, punches and embellishments tucked away in my studio drawers.

But… quilting is my passion.  I love looking at new books and magazines, and I have had many terrific shopping excursions.  Oh boy, have I shopped.  My fabric drawers have been so full, that they could no longer contain my fabric stash.

I decided earlier this fall to create some wonderful scrap quilts to utilize some of my stash.  I’m making four bed-size quilts to be gifted to some wonderful people in my life.  I don’t want to name names, since it will be a surprise.

I cut up about 80 yards of fabric into 2.5″ strips, of all colors and patterns.  This will yield 400 blocks, or enough for 4 king-size quilt tops.  Now, all of my fabric stash in nicely contained in my drawers.  I can walk around the studio, and I’ve got space on my cutting table to spread out and work.

I’ve sewn and sewn… and I now have 80 blocks completed.  That’s 20% of the total.  The process to me is full of bliss.  I listen to music or watch shows on my DVR.  Well, actually, I’m “listening” to shows.  My TV is behind me, so I don’t really see the screen.

So, I bet you’re wondering what these quilts will look like.  Of course they are scrappy, so no two are alike, but here is a link to the free pattern from Bonnie K. Hunter.  There you will also find a treasure trove of quilting inspiration.  Go have a look for yourself.

The music I tend to listen to is all different types.  We have a wonderful concert series in Wray, at a place called the Listening Room at 4th & Main.  Just last night was a superb concert by Rita Hosking.  Here is a sample of her music. 

A quick snapshot of my first 80 blocks.  There are 320 more to come.  It's a wonderful project to just get your hands on the fabric.

A quick snapshot of my first 80 blocks. There are 320 more to come. It’s a wonderful project to just get your hands on the fabric.

My photo today is a quick shot of the 80 blocks completed so far.  I figure it will take me at least 40 more blissful hours to complete the rest…  Oh happy me!

Have a great day,

Fellow Quilter,

Brian

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Art Inspiration, Machine Quilting

Awesome August

Hello Everyone,
Today, I’m taking a break from customer quilting and quilting one of my MANY UFO’s.  It is a pattern called “Butterfly Kisses” by Nancy Davis Murty.  Her blog is located at http://nancymurty.typepad.com/ and this is the third of her quilts that I have pieced.  I’ve also done “Harvest Home” and “Harvest Spice”.  It is quilting out beautifully with a pattern called “Butterfly Fantasy”.  Pretty cool, eh?
As you may know, I finished the 256th block for my taupe quilt, “Blue Ridge Beauty” on August 8th.  What a great birthday gift…  On that day I turned 47 years old, and although I didn’t plan this out… my birthday was the 47th consecutive day I have worked on my quilting projects in a row.  I am amazed at the amount of work that I’ve been able to accomplish during this time.
After working so hard on those 256 blocks, I’m ready to give that project a break for a few days.  So, I decided to work on my “Scrappy Trip Around the World”.   This project is one that I’m making from my scrap bins, but cutting 2.5 inch strips from scraps, and some small pieces from my stash to round out the color selections.
ImageHere is a photo of one of my scrap bins.  I actually have about 5 of these.  One is for selvedges, another is for leftover binding strips, one is for small strips to use for locker hooking, and two others hold random pieces that are left over from various projects.  I try not to return odd size pieces to my main stash, which consists of 26 elfa drawers like the one in this picture.
My main stash is sorted by colors, and neatly folded, unlike the scrap bin.
In the class I recently took, I was reminded that the scraps are also worth $10/yard, so it got me set on a course to use some of them for something nice.  This scrappy quilt is super easy to make, and is a riot of color… which of course, I love.
ImageSo, probably the part I don’t want to do is to pull out the fabrics and iron them flat.
{Notice my cool iron…  It’s the Oliso Pro iron.  It has legs and stands up on it’s own.  I’ve always ended up dropping my iron off my table at some point until I discovered this brand.  What I like about the Pro model is it’s 30 minute shut-off time.  It stays hot while I piece and press, piece and press…  Awesome.  If you’d like one too, let me know.  I sell them at Fellow Quilter.}

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Next I stack up my pressed scraps.  I usually can cut 8 layers with my giganto 60mm rotary cutter… but you might want to try 4 to 6 layers.  I use this Charming Strip Buster ruler for this task.  It’s 5 inches wide, and marked only for 2.5 inch strips, and 5 inch squares.  (You know the ones… just like the popular charm packs put out by many fabric manufacturers these days.)  But today, I’m making strips, so that’s what I’ll show.

 

ImageSo this is how the strips look after you cut them.  They are random lengths.  But for this project, I only need 15 inches, but I’ll cut them 16″ to have a bit of wiggle room in my strip sets.  There is no need to waste much time sewing strip sets longer than I need.

 

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Now, I’ve got a huge pile of strips, ready to be sewn into sets of six.  No color planning is allowed.  If that is hard for you to do… you would need to put the strips in a brown bag, and pull them out as you sew.  The beauty of this block is the random aspect.Image

Sew them together into pairs, and press.  Sew two pairs together and press.  Sew a pair to that set, and you’ll have your six strip units.  Remember, they need to measure at least 15 inches!  They will look like this…  You’ll get one 12″ finished block from each strip set.  Make as many as you need.  Be careful, this is addictive!

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Well, that is where I’m at…  sewing strip sets, and quilting my own quilt.  WOO HOO!  Thanks for following my blog, and I hope my progress is inspiring you to try something new, or just work on one of your own UFO’s…  Leave a comment here, and tell me and my readers what you’ve been up to…

Have a great day!

Fellow Quilter,

Brian Clements

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Art Inspiration, Machine Quilting

A Week of Progress

Hello Everyone,

Some of the 512 half-square triangle units

I’ve been keeping up with my new commitment to sewing/quilting every day.  I have been diligently working on my blocks for the Blue Ridge Beauty that I started at a class in mid-June.  I’ve decided to make the central portion of the quilt about one-third larger to accommodate the king-size beds we have in our home.  Soooo…. I need to make 256 of these pieced blocks.  That meant I needed to make 512 half-square triangle units, and 512 4-patch units.  I did the half-square triangles first, and I’ve had them ready for a couple of weeks.

In the process of pressing the 512 4-patch blocks

I started making the four-patches by sewing two strips together.  I cut all of this quilt out of some fat quarter collections that have been gracing my stash for several years.  They are awesome… part of the Daiwabo taupe collections that are so popular right now.  Since they began as fat quarters, the strips were only 20ish inches long.  This allowed me to create a very scrappy combination of 4-patches.  Then I cut the sewn strips into sections equal to the original strip width.  Once this was done, I paired up random units, to create the four-patches.  It seems like I’ve been making them for quite a while.  Alas, they are finished.

Now, I take two half-square units and two four-patches to make a block.  Then another, and another….   Right now, I’ve got 103 blocks done, of the 256…  Oh boy!  I must say, I love the way this is turning out.  I did have one scare along the way… I think I was going to run out of fabric….   Hard to believe, looking at my stash.  I almost called the store where I purchased this fabric, hoping they might still have some more.  Then I told myself to go look again in the stash.  I found two fat-quarters that blend in perfectly with the collection.  See, it does pay to buy fabric ahead!

Annie B Oxygen S&W in machine

I’m also working on my customer quilts this week.  It’s really fun to be challenged to work on a variety of projects.  I’ve quilted two stack-and-whack quilts for my good friend, Annie B.  The first one, made of a poppy print was set off nicely with a brilliant green stripe fabric that she used for her sashings.  I forgot to photograph it, so you’ll have to go to her blog on www.highplainsquilting.com and perhaps she’ll upload something.

Her second quilt used the “oxygen” fabric line.  It really has such great movement to the blocks, and Anne Bright recently released a terrific edge to edge design called Alexis that seems to have been made for this one particular quilt.  Thanks Anne Bright!!!  If you look closely, you’ll see that Annie B. ingeniously pieced her backing, using her leftovers from the project, and making the quilt a i beauty.

Next, I quilted a quilt top for Mark, who lives near to the Aurora theater where 12 people lost their lives last Friday.  Needless to say, I called him right away.  After a few hours, I hadn’t heard back from him, so I texted him.   Fortunately, he texted right back to say he was okay.  Thank goodness for that.’

What is interesting about Mark’s quilt, is that the quilt top is made entirely of seersucker fabrics in white, blue, grey and black stripes.  I pride myself i

n choosing designs to complement the quilt, and this quilt kept saying “nautical” to me.  I found a really cool sailboat with a star on the sail in a pattern by Ellen Munnich.  I called Mark, and he thought that sounded good…. plus he said I always choose well.  Thanks for the compliment!!!

Joan Schmidt’s One Block Wonder

Look How Well

Well, that’s what I’m up to.  What are you working on?  Leave a comment and let me and my readers know….

Happy Quilting,

Fellow Quilter,

Brian Clements

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Art Inspiration, Machine Quilting

Perseverance

Hello Everyone…

Recently I’ve been thinking about perseverance.  It all started when I turned in a listing of my works in process to my guild friend, Penny Heldermann.  We have a little contest every year, and the purpose is to keep up working on the projects that we have going.  I hate to admit this, but, my list was over 50 items long.  It sounds pretty daunting when I think about it.  This list includes all the projects that are in varying states in and around my studio.  Several of them are quilt tops, completely pieced, and ready for quilting.  If only I had a longarm… oh wait… I do.  I should work one of my own into the mix once in a while.

Some of the other projects are awaiting borders, and some are just barely started.  I love to start new projects…  I think it’s about the most exciting part.  You get to choose fabrics, maybe even some shopping is in order.  Then you take the first cut.  It’s really fun.  The momentum carries you for a while, and then something else crops up.  Maybe it’s something else in life that is very important, or maybe it’s a matter of losing interest in the project, but for whatever reason, the project becomes dormant.

There are many quilts that I’ve started, and been so into the project that I couldn’t stay away, and the project went from zero to hero in a quick time.  I love those projects!  My award winning embroidery quilt was one of those projects.  From the time I discovered the pattern and bought the fabric and threads in Ohio, I couldn’t wait to get home to my machine and get started.  I worked on that quilt every day for many months.  It was soooooo worth it!

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3rd Place in the Machine Embroidery category at MQS2010!

Since Quilts of the Plains last month, I’ve made a change in my style.  I have worked on my projects every day.  I’m spending my time working some of my UFO’s into a more finished state, and it’s making me very happy.  The urge to find something new is pretty strong, so I find my mind wanders once in a while to…. “maybe I should try that…” or “it would be fun to go to the quilt shop”… but I’m holding that urge at bay.

I’ve had some great successes.  I have been working on a gorgeous new quilt that will be for our bedroom.  It has 768 flying geese blocks that are 1″ x 2”.  My new attitude allowed me to persevere, and the quilt top center is now complete, including the alternating squares and triangles.  I need to measure for and cut the border strips, and that is high on the list of my sewing goals.

Also, I have been piecing half-square triangles for another quilt.  It needed 512 of them.  Oh boy!  Check.  Done.  Now I’m working on the 512 4-patch blocks that go with.  Maybe I’ve got 100 or so done… but it’s getting there.  I’ve had to be out of town 10 days since Quilts of the Plains, and I made a point to make a to-go box of my project.  I’ve drawn the diagonal lines on the squares to get ready to sew the triangles.  I squared up the triangles another day at a hotel.  I cut and pressed fabrics one time.  The maid probably wonders whats up with the trash can sometimes.

The point is, I’m making time and setting myself a goal.  Work on something every day.  It might be 15 or 30 minutes, or like today, many hours….  But I’m shooting for EVERY DAY.

I did take a nice break this afternoon to go to the lake with a couple of my friends who embody this type of discipline.  First, my friend Paula, who doesn’t have a stash…. I KNOW!  IMAGINE THAT….  It’s because she finishes what she starts, and then moves on.  Her husband Dave was the reason for the lake outing today.  He built a remote control replica model of a PT boat.  We had yet to see it float, so today seemed like a good time to go.  I couldn’t believe how much detail, and workmanship was in this boat.  I asked Dave if he had any idea how many hours it took.  His response “I worked on it every day for about 6 hours a day, and it took two months”.   How’s that for PERSEVERANCE?

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This boat can really move through the water. It was so fun to watch it go. Thanks again Dave Wingfield!

I hope my blog is inspiring you to work on your projects, too!

Sincerely,

Fellow Quilter,

Brian Clements

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Machine Quilting

Jessica Vaughn Class

Hi everyone!  I’ve been a bit absent on the blog this past week.  I’ve been really busy, though… so I thought I’d give a bit of an update.  Last Saturday, June 16th, the Carousel Quilt Guild hosted an all-day class from Jessica Vaughn of Aurora, Colorado.  You can find Jessica on facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/jaymarie0826?ref=ts

The class was using the Bonnie Hunter techniques to work on two projects at the same time.  Bonnie has a load of quilting information on her website… free patterns, tips, etc., so got to http://quiltville.com to check it out.

The main project is a free pattern on Bonnie’s website called Scrappy Trip Around the World http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrappy-trips-around-world.html and here is a photo of many of the blocks from many of the students.  ImageNotice how well the blocks blend together, and although we each have different fabrics in our stash… the blocks are very harmonious.  It is pretty easy to do, and a great way to create something useful out of your odds and ends, or scrap basket.  You should give her technique a try.

ImageAt the same time, we were sewing using the Leaders and Enders technique to work on blocks for a second quilt… this one from the book called “Leaders and Enders” from Bonnie Hunter.  The Blue Ridge Beauty quilt is shown in the book in lovely blues and tans, however, I’ve had this collection of Daiwabo fabrics for several years now, and this seems like a perfect choice for this pattern.  I only got a few blocks done in between strips for the scrappy quilt, but here is a peek at them.

Aside from that, I’ve got the Quilts of the Plains this coming Saturday, June 23rd.  ImageI decided a week ago to pull out a quilt top that I pieced AT LEAST 16 years ago, called Burgoyne Surrounded.  With Independence Day right around the corner, the patriotic nature of this quilt made it jump to the front of the line.  I have another quilt in the show… but, if only I could quilt this up, and get it bound, I could have another, right?  Here it is on the machine, and you can see the design… however, come to the show to see the whole thing.

The quilts are coming in… and there are some beauties!!!!  I hope you’ll join us in Wray on Saturday.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorites, buy some raffle tickets, and bid on the great items at the silent auction.  This event helps raise funds for the Chamber of Commerce for all the events it offers throughout the year.  visit www.wraychamber.net/quiltsoftheplains.php if you want more details.

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Machine Quilting

Sweetwater Label Crew

Today, I thought I’d do some piecing… so I pulled out the May packet from my friends at Sweetwater.  They do this cool mailing each month called the “Label Crew” and I recently signed up to try it out.  You can read about the label crew, or sign up at http://www.sweetwaterstreet.com/labelcrew.html or just check out their blog at www.sweetwater.typepad.com for some really neat inspiration.

ImageI’ve known Karla for many years, since she first came to Quilts of the Plains back in the late 1990’s.  At that time she had a fabric line called “Farmyard Creations”, and it was pretty cool…. however, I am in love with the colors and prints that this talented trio keeps coming up with.  I get to quilt quite a few of their samples, so when you see one of their patterns in your local quilt shop… it’s a good chance that you’re seeing some of my handiwork.

Anyway, back to the point of this post.  The label crew packet had a pattern for a cool tablerunner made out of large triangles.  You could use a layer-cake of fabric if you want, because you cut them from 9″ squares.  I cut my squares, and then cut the triangles from them.  I had all these other triangles left over… so I decided to sew them together into a long border like strip.  I think it will be a great little runner to decorate with.  It would also make a really cute valance in my quilt studio, too!

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I almost forgot to mention that each month’s label crew mailing comes with the pattern and a coordinating iron on label.  I just don’t know if I’ll use it on the original tablerunner, or use it on my new creation from the left-overs….  I guess you’ll have to wait and see.

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I thought I’d share this idea… maybe you’re in the “Label Crew” too, or just doing some cutting, and having some shapes left over.  Maybe this will inspire you to see what you can come up with.  If you have a good story about using left-overs in a quilt project… Why don’t you leave me a comment…

Have a fun day, and be creative,

Fellow Quilter,

Brian Clements

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