Tuesday, September 29, 2015

little state love | a quilt for Jess & Chad

Back to blogging again... I just can't seem to stay consistent here! Honestly, I just prefer to spend my time at my sewing machine rather than at the computer, but I do like to keep track of all my quilts here so I'll continue on regardless of how sporadic my posts are. So, the quilt! I made this one for friends of ours, Jess and Chad, who just got married earlier this month. Jess used to be one of the lead photographers for Blueflash but this season was her last because she's living back in Michigan, her home state, now. If it weren't for Chad anchoring here there I would venture to say that Jess would still be living in Little Rhody, in Newport, her home away from home, so I made them a Rhode Island quilt. I have to say that it didn't come out exactly as I planned, but I still really like it. I like it so much that I think I'll make another one, and I hardly ever do that. I drew out a map of RI on grid paper to get the shape right and then I determined how many squares or "pixels" I would need for the land and water. (And just in case this is confusing any non-locals, no, Rhode Island is not actually an island!) I decided to use shades of gray for the land and shades of blue for the water, and after two separate trips to Joann and two orders from Fat Quarter Shop I still didn't really have the exact colors I wanted, but I pressed onward anyway. I was running out of time and didn't want to keep spending money on solids I didn't want and probably wouldn't use later. Next time I'll make sure the land and water have more value contrast so they don't blend together so much. I tried to make them more distinct with the quilting, but you can't really see it in the photos. The water has waves quilted in each strip, and the shape of Rhode Island is quilted with what turned out to be concentric rectangles, kind of... I outlined the shape and then continued to echo it until I reached the approximate center. There are over thirty islands that are part of Rhode Island, and I added the most important ones - Aquidneck Island, where Jess lived when she was a Rhode Island resident, Conanicut Island, where one of her favorite spots (Beavertail) is, and Block Island, where she and Chad got engaged. They got the concentric rectangle/square quilting treatment, too.  
Since I wasn't absolutely thrilled with how the front came out and I wasn't even sure it was recognizable as Rhode Island (in fact, I don't think it is. I think it only looks like Rhode Island if you know what Rhode Island looks like and if I point out that it is supposed to look like Rhode Island. Alas.), I wanted to make sure that Jess liked the back for sure. That way if she thought the front was hideous and didn't make any sense then they could just turn it over and forget it exists and use the back exclusively. So I picked out four or five prints that I liked that would coordinate with the front in some way and sent them to Jess, telling her I was working on a project and wanted to know her favorite of the bunch. As I sent the email I wondered if she suspected what I was making... she had asked once, half joking, I think, if I would make her and Chad a quilt and I said no, explaining how I don't make large quilts because my attention span is too short and I enjoy smaller projects better. Then, tragically, Jess's sister passed away just before she was to return to Rhode Island to shoot weddings for the 2015 season. It was then that I decided I had to make her one. Anyway, out of the handful of options I sent to Jess, she picked this print by Katarina Roccella from her Skopelos line, and I think it's the perfect complement to the front. I love the bright floral against the blue and white stripes. I think that they're very Newport - the stripes give it a nautical feel and the flowers add some drama and glam, much like the City by the Sea.

I have to share a little mishap I had when quilting, just because I don't want to forget - I was almost finished quilting and only had some interior sections to complete so I decided I was going to attach the binding and then finish quilting. I was tired of quilting and needed a break, and I thought binding would make me feel closer to the finish line, so I used my clover clips to attach the binding to the edges. Then I realized I would have to change my thread (I was using Sulky to quilt and wanted to switch back to my usual Gutterman for the binding), so I decided to just go ahead and finish the quilting. About an hour went by and I was almost done, just had maybe twelve to eighteen inches left of quilting when I realized that it felt kind of bulky around the needle. I lifted up the quilt to check underneath it and was horrified to realize that I had quilted the loose binding tails to the back in several places! Ughhhhh! I was so mad at myself. I could not believe that I had to pick out so much quilting when I was so close to finishing. I spent the next thirty minutes sitting on the floor with the quilt and my stitch ripper, undoing most of what I had spent the past hour doing! All the while sighing and shaking my head. Thankfully, it was smooth sailing (ha! Unintentional Newport pun!) from then on, and I finished quilting and binding without any more issues. I won't be prematurely attaching binding with clover clips to my quilts anymore, I can tell you that.

Anyway, we took these photos in Newport when we were there for a shoot just before Matt left for the wedding. Ezra, Finn, and I like to tag along sometimes, if we can find a playground nearby and especially if we can score dinner or lunch somewhere close. This time we went with Matt to shoot a couple properties (he does commercial work, too, not just weddings) in Portsmouth, ate the best burgers and dogs in Rhode Island at Mission (if you're on the island, go! It's a must), and then took a few quick shots at Perrotti Park on America's Cup Ave.

Matt flew to Michigan to shoot the wedding over Labor Day weekend and since I couldn't attend I sent the quilt along in his backpack which, other than his gear case, was his only piece of luggage. I insisted he bring it so he could hand deliver it and we weren't sure it would fit but he made it work. I'm pretty sure he wore the same thing all weekend! A few days after the wedding Jess sent me a picture of her and Chad snuggled up under their new quilt! It's always nice to see my quilts in use, and I'm glad it made it safely from Rhode Island to their new home in Michigan. Cheers, Jess and Chad! We miss you here in Little Rhody.

Monday, September 28, 2015

+bound+ staple dress and a giveaway! | 30 Days of Sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics

Hello and welcome to any new readers that have come over from Art Gallery Fabrics! As you probably know by now, September is National Sewing Month and when Art Gallery asked me to create something to help them celebrate I said sure! I decided to step outside of my comfort zone in the spirit of learning new ways to sew. I've made a couple garments in the past but they've always been out of quilting cotton and once out of a home dec weight fabric, so I selected a knit fabric and a pattern that I've been wanting to make for myself for a while, the Staple Dress by April Rhodes. The fabric is coincidentally by April Rhodes, too - the print is called painting morale and it's from her new collection for Art Gallery called +bound+. I've loved everything April has designed since her first collection, Arizona, and this collection is just as beautiful. I love the muted colors and organic, nature inspired designs.

After reading through the pattern I decided to enlist someone to hold my hand throughout the garment making process. With my limited experience with sewing clothing I didn't want to ruin this beautiful fabric! So I got in touch with my friend and sewing teacher Lorraine, and she agreed to help me one night a few weeks ago. I was familiar with Art Gallery quilting cottons already and I love them - they feel soft and luxurious compared to lots of other quilting cottons, and I fell in love with this knit, too. I cut and sewed up the whole thing in one night, albeit a very late night, with Lorraine's help along the way ;) The dress is so comfortable and easy to wear, and I think it's a great transition piece as we head into fall here in New England. I've worn it with sandals, these flats, and I plan to wear it with tall brown boots, too!


The winner is instagram usedr @tinkerellen!

I love learning new methods of sewing, techniques, and how to use different materials and tools and this project helped educate me in many ways. I sewed with knit fabric to make a garment for the first time, and I used elastic thread to create the shirring at the waist which was really fun! For a chance to win some Art Gallery knit fabric of your own, tell me your what you'd like to learn about sewing! Let me know in the comments section (here or on my instagram post about this giveaway) to enter to win 3 yards of Katarina Roccella's Morse Dot Blue in knit from her Imprints collection so you can make your own Staple Dress, courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics.  Make sure you check out the Art Gallery Fabrics app (available for android and IOS) for ideas on what to make, too! Giveaway ends Thursday, October 1st at midnight; a winner will be selected randomly and announced here and on instagram on Friday morning. Anonymous comments will be disregarded so please make sure you include your email so I can contact you. The winner must respond within three days or an alternate will be chosen. Open to US residents.

This blog post is sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics; all opinions are my own. Thanks also to Lorraine for sharing her time and knowledge of sewing, and to my husband Matt for taking these pictures!
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