Quilt Design A Day – Days 14-21

NM Patterns - Quilt Design A Day - Days 14-21

Time flies. The design in the middle of the top row was a true struggle, as I felt completely uninspired that day. There was nothing wrong with the QDAD spark, but I just didn’t get any ideas I wanted to keep working on.

Also, during this batch of designs, I timed myself and was around 12-15 minutes on several of them. It seems like I’m in danger of waltzing swiftly into the realm of perfectionism and so I truly want to limit myself to no more than 20 minutes on most days, with 30 minutes being a rare occurrence.

Not every member of the group seems to focus on time spent on these designs, and that is completely fine, but on my own behalf they need to be quick drafts from which I pick only a select few for further working on. While I’d love to doodle lots and lots every day, there are so many other things I need to keep moving forward currently that they fortunately – and unfortunately – trump these QDAD projects.

Happy Saturday!

Quilt Design A Day – Days 8-13

NM Patterns - Quilt Design A Day - Days 9-14

Wrapping up the second week of Quilt Design A Day. It really has challenged me already and even more than before do I see quilt patterns everywhere. In particular when walking downtown, I feel it rather acutely and as a matter of fact was wishing I could turn it off for a while. Then it is good to let the eyes rest a tad more amidst nature, where the colour scheme isn’t very unpredictable nor dramatically varying.

While the visual input has been surprisingly overwhelming, I’ve also found unexpected peace in creating original digital content. As I’ve written before, I’ve struggled a bit with finding a balance between thinking of creating and the actual doing, because it’s impossible for me to create like a conveyor belt. Apparently this doesn’t apply to digital doodling, though, but it feels like a relief to let out all the ideas I didn’t even know existed. (Does an idea exist before you have breathed life into it?)

And since all the doodles (I hesitate to call them “designs”, since I have no formal education in this) only take up space in the shape of bytes, there is less responsibility of them. Does this make any sense? Because if I make Stuff, I have to deal with it somehow, make decisions, maintain if I don’t give the Stuff away, be overwhelmed by the space it takes up and the dust it collects. Ugh :) This new-found QDAD interest certainly appeals to the side that craves simplicity, clean lines, space to breathe.

The process of barfing out a huge number of ideas has also showed me that I definitely don’t want to make all my designs, but that most are fine left at the sketch stage. There is one designs, however, that I’m slowly turning into a wall-hanging quilt, and it is Skeins, the one in the top right corner. It’s making me really excited already to see how it will turn out!

Have you jumped on-board the Quilt Design A Day wagon yet?

Simplicity – A summer quilt-along

NM Patterns - Simplicity blog button 2015-05-18

Finally! I’ve been working on a quilt sampler design for some time now to have my first quilt-along this summer and am ready to announce it to the world.

I’m calling this quilt Simplicity and, like the name suggests, it will consist of visually modern, quite calm and simple blocks. Construction-wise they aren’t all going to be super quick to make, but the plan has a rhythm to prevent two slightly more time-consuming blocks to appear right after one another.

Oops, yes, because I will launch one new block a week, each Monday starting on 1 June! There will be twelve blocks altogether, with the final, thirteenth week of the summer months being a week of wrapping up and sewing the quilt top.

The size of the final quilt can vary, as I will write the pattern such that you can choose wider or thinner sashing and borders. There will also be an option to pick only four blocks of your preference for a wall-hanging quilt, or a slightly larger baby quilt.

The design is scrap friendly in the sense that you can mix and match whatever your heart desires, be the fabrics patterned or solids. If you wish to stick to the colour scheme I have chosen, you can prepare to walk through the whole rainbow, but everything is up to you of course.

The picture above, by the way, doubles as a blog button, so if you want to throw it up on your own blog, feel free to do so. Please use the URL for the Simplicity page, when doing so.

Please join me in making Simplicity, it will be a fun chance to connect with new – or old for that matter! – sewists and quilters, and if you never made a quilt before, this is the perfect chance to learn some basics. Feel free to ask questions, if you happen to have some, too. Two weeks until the first block is launched under NM Patterns! (Why NM? Because I’m Nina Martin :) )

MQGIM Mug-rug swap – The whole rainbow please

NWF MQGIM Mug rug swap fabrics 2015-05-07

I love the rainbow and cannot lie. In bad lighting at night, one can still see the wheel of colours, and it keeps going ’round and ’round…

Maybe you can guess already what the pattern will be? Geese of course! Lovely rainbow geese! For the background I think I’ll use a screen-textured black fabric, which reads quite grey. Actually it might be the same pattern as the lime-green one, but the geese will be small enough that it doesn’t matter really.

Anyway, staying true to the process pledge (see button in side column) on this fine Thursday. Have a nice day!

Scandibee April blocks

NWF Scandibee April blocks 2015-05-06

Scandibee Queen Bee of April, Sigrun, asked for two polaroid blocks, using the tutorial posted by Capitola Quilter, with minor modifications to the size of the white “photograph” frame.

The block design is fun and supposedly quite easy to figure out mathematically, but for some reason everything happened at once and I haven’t felt as ridiculously bad at sewing as when making these two blocks. The list of mishaps is too long for me to bother listing it, but suffice to say, I’m not too fond of fabric that stretches. Because that is one thing I cannot make myself take the blame for.

Also, I had originally planned on using a greyish pink fabric as background for the pink polaroids, but it coloured my white pressing board (handdyed by someone), so I decided against it at once and went for the dark green instead. Then I let Sigrun decide between three options – light green, the same dark green, or a clear blue – for the other block, and she picked the light green you see above.

Finally, I do believe I need to invest in another iron. Maybe I’ve mentioned it here before, but it is beginning to annoy me a great deal how stuff never looks just right after I’ve pressed stuff… I keep drooling over the neat finish in Camille Roskelley’s Craftsy classes, but another thing in her case is that she only uses fabric from the same manufacturer, which translates to there being no variations in how they behave when handled during the different stages of the process.

All in all, what I found challenging when making these blocks, has nothing to do with the design, and everything to do with me. I think there are so many areas that I need to improve in still, and sometimes a reminder completely in my face can feel quite frustrating. Despite hickups, however, the two nature-themed blocks are now on their way to Norway, where Sigrun can create a stunning polaroid quilt thanks to some wonderful contributions sent from all over Europe. Be sure to check our Flickr pool from time to time (button in side column)!

ALYOF May 2015 – Journal cover

NWF ALYOF May - Journal cover 2015-05-06

Sew BitterSweet Designs - A Lovely Year of Finishes 2015For the May ALYOF project, I’m hereby picking the journal cover, which has popped one too many times into the monthly challenge posts. Now that I’m actually designing quilts on a daily basis, I do want to record them more holistically in a single place, but the journal looks slightly too depressing, seeing as its covers are all black, and so the time has come to push a bit to get the cheerful heart surrounded by black motherboard finished.

As you can tell from the photograph above, it is very much in pieces still, but suturing a heart into working condition is never a bad thing. I can’t recall whether I ever mentioned the size of the journal, but it is huge, closer to 40 cm in height and over 30 cm in width. And it is just waiting for me to start keeping a quilting diary. Yup.

Quilt Design A Day and why I joined

NM Patterns - Quilt Design A Day - Days 1-8

On Facebook, there is an open group called Quilt Design A Day, and I joined in April. I’m dreaming of creating my own patterns and also that others would want to use them, but leaving stuff at the dream stage doesn’t make any sense really, at least if it is something important to oneself. And I seem to have this need to make quilt designs, it is quite insisting actually.

Ever since my first QDAD design over a week ago, I’ve spent many spare moments drafting ideas and finalising designs, and they just keep coming in a never-ending stream. In fact, my hand and wrist region is beginning to feel of it to an extent that I’ve started researching the best stylus for my needs, to avoid causing damage.

So how does QDAD work? A member picks a week to post so-called sparks, which are a photograph with colour palette developed from it, and each day the others post designs made based on that spark. In theory, one is supposed to use 15-30 minutes a day on any given design, but my time spent on them has been longer due to quite steep a learning curve on the iDraw app. Also, my design process is slower due to not having a stylus, but this is a minor grievance.

Another reason for my joining, apart from the creativity flood, is that I want to challenge myself to create unexpected shapes and patterns whilst using colour palettes that I would normally never go for, possibly steer clear of altogether. I don’t think the creative process should feel comfortable at all times.

Once I get more comfortable using the app, I’ll be mindful of restricting the time to 15 minutes, because there is a certain level of freedom in accepting that a quarter of an hour can take you only so far, after which you need to let go of the design and set it free.

Come join us! And if not, I post daily on Facebook and Instagram my designs. Otherwise you can stick around for these wrap-up blog posts as well :)

May 2015 Projects – Challenge

NWF Spring in Helsinki 2015-05-04

Hard to believe that a quarter of the year is already gone. Time does indeed fly, even though spring is still arriving here in Helsinki. I took the photo yesterday evening, so you can see how we have a long way to go before everything is green here.

I would like to finish the following projects:

  • ALYOF: Pick project and submit – Deadline 7.5.
  • Scandibee April blocks, blog about them – Deadline 31.5.
  • Scandibee May blocks – Deadline 31.5.
  • Quilt Design A Day: Introduce first designs made – Deadline 31.5.
  • MQG indie members’ mug-rug swap – Deadline 31.5.
  • Journal cover – Deadline 31.5.
  • Pin cushion – Deadline 31.5.

These projects I’d like to make progress on in the following way:

  • MQG Riley Blake fabric challenge: Yoga mat bag – Finalise pattern.
  • Case for embroidery scissors – Find another patterns, first one chosen turned out to be too small for my scissors.
  • Basket for embroidery stuff – Decide whether I truly want to use the pattern, or perhaps another one would be better for my needs?
  • Bag for cutting mat – Make one FPP block.
  • Secret project – Keep working on it.

Hopefully your final month before summer arrives (aaah, sounds crazy) will go smoothly!

April 2015 Projects – How did I do?

Flickr Psycho Delia 640

This month, I wanted to finish the following projects:

  • Scandibee April blocks – Deadline 30.4. > Done.
  • Case for embroidery scissors – Deadline 30.4. > Postponed.
  • Basket for embroidery stuff – Deadline 30.4. > Postponed.
  • Journal cover – Just do it, deadline 30.4. > Postponed.
  • Pin cushion – Deadline 30.4. > Filling purchased, cushion stuffed. Need to sew shut.

These projects I wanted to make progress on in the following way:

  • MQG Riley Blake fabric challenge: Yoga mat bag – Decide on improv style. > Done, nothing overly fancy (with lots of seam allowances eating fabric), since the fabric cuts aren’t huge and I don’t intend to supply with more fabric at own expense.
  • Bag for cutting mat – Make one FPP block. > Postponed.
  • Secret project – Keep working on it. > Most certainly done! This one makes my heart sing.
  • MQG indie members’ mug-rug swap – Pick fabrics. > Done.

When buying the filling for pin cushions I also got a nice, long zipper, which will be used in a zabuton. I recalled a flowery silk fabric in light green that my sister brought from China for me some years ago, and it fits the mood I wish to convey perfectly. Feels good to get projects moving forward even in tiny increments like this one.

What I have done instead of all the postponed projects, with numerous of my leisure moments, however, is to take the plunge and start designing quilts for real. I joined the Quilt Design A Day group on Facebook a while ago and am on design day 10 as per today. It is so much fun and has caused me to be more focussed in how I view my craft, too, so if you have a burgeoning designer in you, join the group already!

And behind the scenes, I’ve been coordinating the Spring mug-rug swap for individual members of the Modern Quilt Guild. We are talking about around ten participants, which is only a fraction of the total number, but as a group it is challenging to stay in touch with people, since we aren’t organised into a formal guild. In other words, everything is on volunteer basis and up to the activity of individuals, and so far this swap is one of few “official” projects to take place amongst this group of quilters. So at the end of the day, I’m extremely pleased that as many as two handfuls of ladies have signed up.