Mar 28, 2016

A Whale of a time!

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! Being able to enjoy the hope provided through the resurrection of Christ is one of the many blessing I'm thankful for!

March is practically gone, and I have not made much progress on the 2015 BOM. Would it sound strange if I said that I sort of needed a break? I don't like leaving things unfinished, but it seemed that I was no longer enjoying the quilting process, and it was all getting too stressful, or like that homework that we never did on time because it was so horrible, and we ended up putting it off for as loooooooooong as possible...  

So, just a teeny tiny break... I caved in! I just had to start working on a wall hanging that I had been thinking of making for a while...



After staring at the bookcase and the available fabric, I went for the gorgeous blue collection I got some time ago on sale. When I saw it, I knew I wanted it; I had no idea what I was going to make with it, but I just had to get it... Yes, I have my weak moments, but after seeing the results, who wouldn't like to consider having one of these every once in a while? 

The fabric waited patiently in the little bin for over three years, and when Elizabeth Hartman came up with her Preppy pattern, dots started to connect... You can find the link to this pattern on her page. Unlike her, I sometimes get these weird ideas in my head, but I cannot make them happen. It seems that she has this fantastic ability to see something and transform it into something beautiful. I love her eye for color, use of pattern and "shredding" something visually and transforming it into a quilt block.


I also had another roll of fabrics, from Jinny Beyer, who teaches the 2015 Craftsy BOM. I never knew that I already had some of her fabric in my stash, but it all went beautifully with the other fabric!  

Ah! The joys of happy quilty coincidences!


Even an old friend came to play with the happy whales! I did not follow of all the instructions in Elizabeth's pattern - you know me, I seem to be unable to follow instructions to the T. Instead, I used paper-pieced strips using adding machine tape. You can see my tutorial on this versatile technique here.


Tada!! Happy whales in purple waters... 

Ah! The joys of the joyful creative process!


Stay blessed,

Yiya

Mar 7, 2016

2015 BOM: Having fun with applique

... or the joy of the quilting that takes time.

There is something about me that seems to touch everything I do - I like exploring, I seldom follow instructions and I have taught myself many things, quilting included.  I say this not to boast, but just to emphasize how frustrated I can become with myself when things don't go as planned, because I skipped a step or because I didn't follow instructions more closely.

The 2015 Craftsy BOM has driven me crazy! It has made me stop and go back to read again and again and to make sure I understand what is supposed to be done before I do anything - at all. (Please have in mind that this is the same person who put a stationary bike together without looking at the diagram... I wonder about why I never hit the floor while biking away and watching TV...)

Lately, I feel like we're immersed in a world of instantaneous everything, and the world of quilting has not escaped that. Sure, it's really nice to have the latest gadget or the ready to make kit that will allow us to make a quilt in one day.  This has its place. But part of this BOM's beauty is that it has made me slow down, take my time, look at the details and craft carefully.

All of a sudden, I think I'm starting to get a sort of revelation that implies understanding the art of quilting.

Serious art takes time. Quilting takes time.

Appliqued flowers - oh my! Did they take time! But I wouldn't call them art just yet. But maybe one day I will... Who knows!

I'm glad that I decided to take pictures of the progress of this appliqued blocks. 

Without further ado, here are the little pieces of fabric making it to the fabric basket that will hold them for many years to come...
























 








Something that I really enjoyed was the process... I believe I have said that already, but I may say it again. I think that sometimes we get in the rush of things and forget to stop to smell the flowers. After all the effort and starting from scratch, there is a lingering feeling of satisfaction. Yes, frustration peeked its head every now and then, but even that provides an opportunity to go ahead and learn even more.

It seems like a dream when I look at the five blocks with the appliqued flowers and even some French knots - the first time I can ever make those look decent... So, all in all, the 2015 BOM goes on and its challenges have pushed me beyond my comfort zone and helped me grow as a quilter and as a person.  

Now, let's go and take time enjoying the crafting process!

Stay blessed,

Yiya

Mar 6, 2016

2015 BOM: A little paper-pieced celebration

March already!

And not in 2015... I must confess I'm taking a big break from the 2015 BOM; it has been a fantastic learning experience, but I needed to get back to other style of quilting that would allow me to enjoy more the process, rather than just following instructions.

Please, don't get me wrong... As a self-taught quilter, I appreciate every learning opportunity, but I just don't want to end up hating this beautiful quilt.

If you seen my Instagram or Facebook posts lately, you know that I've been working on two modern quilts and on an improvisational piece. I will soon be blogging about those creations. I must also confess that, without this 2015 Craftsy BOM, I would not have been able to follow other instructions. It almost as if I can feel how I've grown up in quilting... I know, it sounds silly, but there are technical aspects that I now understand and enjoy. Without this challenging process, I would never have got there...

And to celebrate, I would like to share what feels like a HUGE celebration... Four beautiful paper-pieced flowers that are patiently waiting for a bit of TLC.



Have a blessed week,

Yiya

Feb 27, 2016

When things fail... Go Quilt!

Finding words to start this post is proving a tad difficult. In short, today was not the best day. Unexpected and inaccurate things will hopefully become interesting obstacles that will be in the past soon.

So... When things fail... Go Quilt! Go make something! Go do something useful! Go and enjoy the blessings God has given you! Go and hug your husband! Go enjoy your family! Go and put yourself back together for you, for them and for your purpose!

You know how it goes... If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

And in the midst of trying to find my way back to some kind of normalcy, I kept starting at the pile of scraps on my dining crafting table.

Somehow, my old friends, Scrappy Improv Blocks, Extra Half-Square Triangles and Strip-pieced Blocks all made their appearance and, after about an hour or so of finding ways to fit each piece to each other, along with prayers that sometimes seemed to get stuck inside, a beautiful Improv piece had taken the uncertainty away and reminded me that, whatever happens, God is good.


It is my wish that you can enjoy the blessings that surround you and that your life be full of joy and hope.

Stay blessed,

Yiya.

Feb 21, 2016

Doodles: Paisley bubbles

Another week has gone by so fast! I've kept up working a bit a time on my current quilting projects and doodles are piling up as well.  

It all started as an alternative to FMQ practicing, and it has evolved to free forms, that combine feathers, lines, flowers, stipples and traditional quilting designs to random strokes inspired by things I see every day. 

Here is a family of paisleys that dance together and celebrate creative times!






Stay blessed,

Yiya

Feb 15, 2016

2015 BOM: Foxglove

Finally! The last block for the 2015 BOM and a bit of a reminder for me to get this done!  

Paper piecing has its sort of magic, with perfect matching seams and perfect points. The most intricate designs can be worked on little by little, and all of it accompanied by a sort of naughty feeling that characterizes the ripping of paper to reveal it all!

From organizing templates and scraps...



(and trying to get a peek before even trying to put it all togehter...)



... Foxglove took shape little by little.



I love how the color progression makes this block super bright! It just makes me feel like making hundreds of these in many color families!



Well, as I said before, let's keep going and enjoying every new day.

Stay blessed and keep the crafty bone happy!

Yiya.

Feb 6, 2016

2015 BOM: Harlequin

Hello everybody,

After my post last week, I was kind of taken by surprise to see how much things have gotten in the way of posting.  I know, I know, life goes by... And I'm thankful for it!

So, instead of moping around and thinking of those days gone by, let's go and restart the 2015 BOM Adventure.

Let me tell you what a trip it has been! I think the color scheme is what caught me, but it's been a challenge to keep up with.  No worries here... Actually, lots and lots of lessons - we can always get better, right?  (I sure hope so!)

So, here you have it: Harlequin!





It always amazes me how exact any paper-pieced design is. This particular block had the challenge of completing "units" before sewing them together in a block.  I love the effect that the different colors give.  

I also liked how depth is achieved and leaves seem to be on top of the stem and on top of other leaves.

After months of waiting to make its appearance, Harlequin is now patiently waiting for this gal to make her way back to the 2015 BOM... One day, it will very likely be the topic of conversation!

I just hope that day comes soon!!

Have a fantastic weekend and God bless,

Yiya.