Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zen Garden Quilt

I am in the process of making quilts for each of the kids. Amy got her "Chocolate" quilt a few years ago. I have custody of Jim's "Tumbling Out of the Jungle" quilt. AJ, who said "no thankyou", got a simple flannel quilt made of 5 inch squares. I am hoping to do a Star Wars quilt for him in the future. Dan is patiently waiting for his lime green spiral quilt - he may even change his mind before I get started. And I am closing in on finishing Lynne's quilt - Zen Garden. ZG is the second quilt in my rotation. Check this out if you want more info on my rotation system.  

I saw a Garden Path wall hanging in Quilter's Haven in Olathe and fell in love with it. A little research led me to Kitty Pippen's book, Quilting with Japanese Fabrics

I asked Lynne what kind of quilt she wanted and recommended she look through my books. One of the quilts she liked was Kitty's Japanese Garden Path quilt. That was a no-brainer for me - I knew which quilt to make for Lynne!

And I knew which fabrics I had to use. Quilter's Haven has a wide variety of Daiwabo Japanese Taupes, so I started stocking up.  Lynne said she likes green and reds, so I decided to do the path in dusty greens, ranging from light to dark. The cherry blossoms in dusty pink. Kitty's quilt had 2 antique kimono panels, so I added in a pair of appliqued storks.

Zen Garden enabled me to do a lot of firsts - using Daiwabo Taupes, designing a quilt from a picture, using Sashiko stitching, and most exciting for me was using paper pieced hexagons. I've posted some about English Paper Piecing. I love it - and the 1/2 inch hexies in Zen Garden was the first time I got to make them. And an obsession was born!

Kitty very effectively used Sashiko stitches to suggest a brook running through her Japanese Garden.  What the heck is Sashiko? Sashiko is a traditional Japanese stitching - usually white on indigo.

 However, I will be doing it the easy way - using the Babylock Sashiko machine. 

I started searching for some motif to replace the kimono panels. I considered Japanese family crest motifs, stylized flowers, and kimono motifs. I finally found the stork applique and amazingly it looked just like the storks in a gorgeous painting we have and that hung in the living room in the home that Lynne grew up in. I hope she will recognize and appreciate the likeness. 

So, at this point, I am finishing up the remaining cherry blossoms, marking and stitching the Sashiko stitches, and thinking about an appropriate quilting design. 

Hopefully Lynne's Zen Garden quilt will be done by Christmas. I think it should given my rotation system. It should be done after a couple more rotations.

Curious about Daiwabo Taupe Fabrics and Sashiko? Try it, you'll like it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thanks Shari for Sharing Your Rotational System With Me!

This post addresses organization, AGAIN! It's just one of those things for me - I love hearing about new ways to stay organized and on task in the studio.

So I was dealing with the challenge of having tooooo many quilts to work on and not having the focus to work on anything. Every time I went down to my studio, all my WIP were calling my name . . . "Denise, choose me!, No, you want to work on me! Over here, I'm over here!" As a result of all the cacophony, I wasn't working on anything at all.

My friend Shari told me about her system of rotation through 8 quilts a month. Some of her quilts were BOM, others were quilts she had started and wanted to finish. She decided to work on each quilt for 3 days and then put it away and work on the next one.

This automatically resonated with me because I love working on multiple quilts at once. My trouble is that I had too many. So I started with 5 quilts to work on, then added 3 more, took out 1 and added 2 others. So now I have 9 projects that I am cycling though.

I have been working on each one for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. I work until I have a sense of completion or burnout. Its been working great so far. I have working on all 9 quilts and after I reach completion on #9 I'll start all over again.

I am loving this! I haven't been this productive in a long time.  Here is my list:
        Asian Garden Path
        Fiesta Mexico
        Feathered Star
        Technicolor Galaxy
        Tula Pink 100 Modern Blocks
        Enchanted Forest
        Home Tweet Home
        Sedona Star

As I finish projects, I will rotate new ones in. I have lots of projects waiting in the wings!

Here's to productivity!
I'm curious, what helps you keep your productivity up?

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Results of Thinking One is Organized When One Really Isn't

I have a system - I thought it was a pretty good system. I keep projects all together in a tub. I have a list! So how did it happen that I made 1 extra month 3 circle and 1 extra month 4 circle for my Sedona Star quilt?

This is really frustrating. I bought the fabric years ago and probably can't get any more. Now I'm not sure if I'll have enough. Argh!

I know I have counted each of these multiple times. There are only 3 of each of 3 circles - so 9 in total, How did I miss this? I must be getting older and more flustered. 

OK, so I just need to slow down, measure twice, count twice, no maybe 3 times, and pay close attention.

The circles were pretty easy, but the challenge is insetting the circles into squares. The first 3 went really smoothly, the second set of 3 were a bear - they just didn't fit well. The inside of the circle was wavy. I spent a lot of time trying to take up extra bulk, redid the seams, pressed until I thought I would burn a hole in the piece. So now I'm kind of procrastinating on the last set of 3.

This quilt has been a challenge in accuracy. Between making sure the paper piecing templates are printed out with the correct scaling (none), gluing them together accurately, sewing accurate seam allowances, and sewing circular inset seams. It is surely the most difficult quilt I've ever done. But I am really learning a lot!

After I finish insetting 3 more circles, I'll have the pleasure of 9 sets of Y seams. Oh Joy! Another challenge that hopefully I'll meet with accuracy and without waviness.

Here's to challenges!