Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Crisp Slices and Fresh Starts

Rolling the rotary cutter across new hand-printed fabric gives me such a rush. Seeing the crisp slices through white pistachios and citron fences is akin to smelling the first breath of spring. New projects, new combinations, new quilts. It's all so fun!

Brainstorming for the new collection, I sketched during my afternoon grad seminar. Lone stars. Ohio stars. Swoon blocks. Corn and beans. Then once home, I pulled stack after stack of fabric and left them piled on every flat surface in my room to simmer. Thursday morning I woke up and saw the stack at the foot of my bed and thought: Fresh Starts. It was the last quilt I pieced for my senior show, a large cut glass block, printed in one corner and stitched in straight and diagonal lines. After this, I promise I will branch out to new patterns, but what pattern is better to start my PhD program with than "Fresh Starts"? And what better place to photograph the flimsy finish than my new library?

Check out other breaths of spring air at WIP Wednesday on FreshlyPieced.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Skipping Around the World

Tag is such a fun game. Any stretch of space can become game territory, and the only thing required are legs and lungs. A normal afternoon becomes an adventure of pursuit and capture. My mind is taking me back to those sweaty thrilling childhood afternoons as I type this.

So, when Christina of Wips and Tuts asked if she could tag me in the Around the World Blog Hop, my answer was a resounding, "Yes!" Cristina is a lovely "wholesome midwestern girl," as she likes to describe herself. Down to earth and brimming with sweet encouragement, she is a friend anyone would love to have. Her perseverance in quilting and willingness to try new things are evident across the many welcoming pages of her blog, and coupled with big process pictures, it's definitely a spot you'll want to check out.

Christina of Wips and Tuts

Running barefoot across the blogosphere in this game of tag, I hope you will pause on my patch of lawn before jetting off to the next stops.

What am I working on?
I am in the process of opening up shop! It is exciting and scary and sometimes feels like I'm jumping off a cliff. More often than not, though, the cliff is above an azure sea somewhere in the sunny Caribbean, and I'm just running straight toward the edge anticipating the fun. My newest collection of hand-printed fabrics and hand-printed quilts will be available there, and I can't wait to see where they will travel!

Why do I create?
It makes my heart happy. Pure and simple. The soft slip of fabric through my fingers, the crisp edge of a pressed seam, the bubbling smile of a quilt recipient. If I didn't need to pay rent, I would do it all day long.

How does my creative process work?
I love to sit with pencil and sketchbook, peruse my favorite blogs, and dream up the next quilt. This is my ritual: brew tea, light a candle, clear my work space, pull out something inspiring, turn phone to "do not disturb, and relax.

As the game of tag goes, it's my turn to chase down and love on some women I really admire.

First, Erica at CB Handmade. She is awe-inspiring. Elegant, understated, and modern, her classic designs are heirlooms for future generations. Her monthly posts never fail to blow me away, and I've spent many a Saturday afternoon seeking inspiration in the annals of her blog.

Erica of CB Handmade

Second, my mom, Jennifer, at Fibermusing. She is an inspiration to me: computer engineer PhD by day and amazing quilter and fabric printer by night. Her most recent series of quilts, drawn from a collection of sermons on wisdom, are beautiful with breath-taking attention to detail from tiny scribbles of bright stitching to water-color penciled gradations. I wish I could devote an entire post to her because this only scratches the surface of her fount of creativity and originality.

Jennifer of Fibermusing

So, there you go: "Tag! You're it!" Thanks for stopping by. Now it's your turn to tumble down the hill after these ladies in this fun winding game and explore their gorgeous arbors and meadows of the blogosphere. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Bench with Potential

It all started with an estate sale. (This is pretty much the best way to start any story, if you ask me.) It was my first weekend in Raleigh, and I was feeling rather furniture-less. No bed, no desk, no chairs, just one comfy sofa and two old wooden ironing boards. Now, to be fair, that is a pretty great starting point, but in the spirit of nesting I was interested in finding a couple more pieces. And lo and behold, my mom found the bench.

Tucked in a little girl's room and covered in pink and white stripes, I may not have given it a second glance, but that's where my mom is awesome; she saw potential. She pulled me over to it and painted visions of reupholstery and furniture wax, and then I, too, was hooked.

We proudly carried it out of the house for just $30, and the true planning began. Evenings were filled with schemes to print and wash screens in my little apartment. Afternoons were spent dashing between Lowes and Home Depot, frantically requesting backup from Brent on furniture wax purchases. Until it all came to fruition Labor Day weekend.

I printed up some light grey hydrangeas, waxed the bench to smooth goodness to the tune of Thanks for Sharing (if you haven't seen this movie yet, it's a worthwhile watch, albeit a serious and adult one), and stapled till the cows came home.

Now, the lovely bench graces our entryway and reminds me of Northern climes where I might actually need a bench on which to don boots. I truly wish I had the guts to march into the Hunt Library and carry my bench to the fifth floor for photographs, but alas, my apartment shall have to do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quilts and Clandestine Missions

It was so quiet, large, empty. With a bulging bag over my arm, I padded to the elevators in my Carolina blue dress and pressed the brushed steel button for the fifth floor. Silent doors slid open to reveal the gorgeous Skyline Reading Room of the Hunt Library. Big white walls to my right and floor-to-ceiling windows on my left, I slipped off my shoes and pulled out masking tape and quilt. My clandestine mission: to use this dream photo studio for my almost-finished quilt.

The moment I walked into my new apartment, I was taken aback by how large it is, a huge cavern from dining room wall all the way to living room edge. If the couch feels a tad small, the frames on the walls look like postage stamps. No matter, I can quilt. (Imagine me with hands on my hips, chin held high, wonder woman.) Because this quilt isn't for the shop or a show, I was allowed to delve into my non-handprinted fabrics. (Now imagine me as a kid in a candy shop.) It was a fun way to jump back into quilting after so long working on fabric designs, and tonight is the night to bind it!

What do you like to do as you bind a quilt?

So excited to have a quilt to link up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. Head on over to check out what a talented group of sewers are whipping up!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Settling In Thankfully

What an exciting two weeks settling in to home in Raleigh. From flea markets to cookouts with the neighborhood kids, it's been an adventure all the way. First order of business was, of course, to design a new quilt for the apartment! I am almost done with it, and I'm looking forward to photographing it this weekend at the gorgeous Hunt Library on NC State's campus. For today, I just have three slightly grainy photos to share with you and a list of things for which I am so thankful.

1. welcoming churches and inviting smiles
2. space in my new room for a lovely studio
3. the boisterous open friendliness of neighborhood children
4. a French-seamed trash can liner for my new wire trashcan (you can see it's base being cut out below)
5. a wonderful roommate; I couldn't have asked for better
6. a beautiful plus quilt on the floor of the College of Textiles

What are you thankful for as summer comes to a close and we transition into autumn rhythms?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Wow, it's been three weeks since I've been here! So much has happened. I printed official yardage to list in my soon-to-be etsy store. I packed up my life in Michigan and moved cross-country to North Carolina. And I started grad school! Tomorrow is the first day of classes, and I couldn't be more pumped to study Fiber and Polymer Sciences and dyes. Check out this video about my PhD project. It excites me every time. Gah, so geeked!

Printing Pistachio yardage, I tried my hand at new registration methods, previously described to me as "complicated string systems." Well, I think I have string theory figured out, and it means a lot less drying the edge of every panel before printing the next one. I promise not to be gone for three weeks this time, but I have to run. Free grad student dinner and board game night are calling. Can you hear me smiling?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Test Print Day 6.2 // Pistachios

Sometimes I have to bargain with myself to keep going on test print days.

Chai tea latte in my mint mug. Test print. Chips and queso break. Test print. Gossip Girl. Two test prints. Test print. Surprise "inspirational Arnold Palmer" from my lovely sister. Three test prints.

But these days are so exciting too! A simple screen can become my next favorite fabric and potentially a whole set of quilts. Just check my coral hydrangeas and my senior show! The hydrangeas, however, have held my attention long enough. Today was a Pistachio day.

Inspired by Blueberry Park, I prepped with a whole stack of solid panels and then went to town. Karen (the mind and hands of Blueberry Park and an inspiration to me as she manages her own hand-printed fabric business) prints mostly white on solids, and they all look gorgeous and modern and classic, so I thought I would give it a try. My favorite is white pistachios on light grey. My sister votes for white on mint. What's your favorite of the bunch?