Straight-line Quilting + Eggplant Printing

Straight-line quilting on the modern eggplant-printed quilt is complete! I whipped out the second half last Wednesday at sewing night while watching the Philadelphia auditions for American Idol. My current idol favorite is Jenn Blosil. She is hilarious and unique and such a hoot but so great to listen to as well. Have you been keeping up with the auditions? They make for good sewing tv, except that as soon as someone starts singing, I feel like I should stop adding the chug chug of my machine to the mix.

Brent was a doll and held up my quilt for me this weekend since I am out of masking tape. I guess it's time to swing by Target! (Alert: danger zone. Target also has a quilted men's sweatshirt I'm kind of dying to have but since Brent already owns it...I'm not sure if I'm allowed to buy it as well...) The next step is tying all of those threads to the back. Then it will be free-motion quilting time. I decided to try lines first this time to achieve a flatter quilt with less chances of puckers. So far so good.

I've been wanting to get back into posting progress photos, but if I post them on their own, then the finished post doesn't have any progress photos...dilemma. What do you think?

Follow the progress of this quilt with the links below:

Inspiration

Sandwiching

Finish

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday today over at Freshly Pieced. Hop over there to see some more unfinished beauties.

Ohio Star Progress

Finals, term papers, and visits from the boyfriend have made sewing a little scarce. Plus, a mini break was in order after turning in the thirty-page paper to grab coffee with friends and read a book for fun. However, projects are afoot! I'm piecing some Ohio Stars to print, like I did for the Lenten Twelves Two quilt.

I also started some circles like I used in Lenten Twelves: Sabbath. I know I said I would never do appliqué circles again, but something came over me last week, and I ironed 16 freezer paper circles to some neutrals. I don't know what I was thinking! All hope is not lost; there is still time to bail. I guess, we'll see what I decide. Don't they look so cute, though, in the sketches?

My first Ohio Star went together like a breeze, but these are proving a tad more difficult to match corners. I don't know what I did differently this time, but I thought perhaps pressing my seams open might help. Do you know any tricks for Ohio Stars?

My last final is tomorrow, and then summer begins! No homework, more time to focus on sewing! I'm excited for these to come together and print them. Actually, truth be told, I'm not super excited. I'm mostly unmotivated, which is why I'm sitting at sewing night blogging instead of sewing. Hopefully being done with finals will reignite my fire for quilting. It'll come back...right?

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday on FreshlyPieced for the first time in a long time. Go check out the other projects!

Farmer's Wife Quilt Revisited

It's been a while since I've worked on my Farmer's Wife Quilt. In fact, I have languished with 76 blocks to go for probably six months. Now, you know when you're running a marathon and you pause to drink that little cup of water they offer you and you're just not sure if you can start running again let alone finish the race? That's what it feels like. (Or at least, I imagine it to feel exactly like that, never having run a marathon or even a 5k myself. Don't you think that water cup moment would feel just like being a quarter of the way done with your farmer's wife quilt?)

I was feeling all but worn out when I received a little chalkboard in the mail, the Traveling Farmer's Wife Quilt chalkboard. Sent around by Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter, it's a little burst of encouragement to photograph with your blocks as you complete them, and it was just what I needed. I promptly sat down to pull fabrics for my next six blocks and then stitched up three at sewing night with the church ladies.

This week's blocks:

Buzzard's Roost

Hill and Valley &

Friendship Star

I'm still feeling a little worn out with the tedious process of this quilt. Where once I enjoyed the meticulous relaxing pace, I've begun to just feel frustrated and impatient. The angel on my right shoulder (also known as Mom) is encouraging me to make three more blocks, increase the sashing from one to two inches, and finish it as a throw quilt. The...angel...on my left shoulder (also known as significant other) thinks I should just set it aside for a bit and wait till I feel moved by the Spirit to enjoy the process again. I don't know anymore. What do you think?

-

I'm linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced with the longest work-in-progress of my quilting career. Head over to see other beautiful and exciting projects that are heading towards the Promised Land of Finished-dom or still wandering in the desert like mine.

Savor Each Stitch: Arches

modern citron arches blocks from Carolyn Friedlander's Savor Each Stitch | Lovely and Enough

With Christmas celebrations over, I snuggled into the couch with a steaming mug of tea and a present that I had been looking forward to for months: Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander. Carolyn is so inspiring. Originally an architect, Carolyn made the decision several years ago to switch to quilting and fabric design, and it seems she hasn't glanced back. From pattern writing to fabric design, she excels. Authorship was no different. Each page of Savor Each Stitch is full of bright and beautiful photos with thoughtful prose and design lessons alongside.

My goal this spring is to exercise each of the design elements she explores as I sketch projects and patterns. Pictured here is her project Arches, which considers Line. An adventure in needle turn appliqué, I reveled in the methodical and relaxing pace of the hand sewing. This year of 2015 is already brimming with new ideas and thrilling prospects, and I can't think of a better book to kick it off.

What exciting books are you exploring this new year?

modern citron arches blocks from Carolyn Friedlander's Savor Each Stitch | Lovely and Enough
modern citron arches blocks from Carolyn Friedlander's Savor Each Stitch | Lovely and Enough
modern citron arches blocks from Carolyn Friedlander's Savor Each Stitch | Lovely and Enough

Community and a Coral Quilt

I know it's only November, but I think I know my New Year's Resolution for 2015:

go to Modern Quilt Guild meetings

This past week I was invited to sew with some ladies from church. Now, I've never sewn with people before, so I didn't know what to expect. Usually it's just me and the characters of my favorite TV show with Mom and boyfriend on call for design advice. But with phone dead and a warm house on the north side of Raleigh beckoning me, I decided to try it, community sewing.

Guys, it was amazing. I had so much fun chatting as we worked, seeing their projects, and stitching side by side. We had Hallmark Christmas movies on the telly and chips and guac on the counter. In wool socks, leggings, and a comfy sweater, I felt so welcomed and at home. I knocked out cutting, design decisions, and piecing in one night, and I'm really looking forward to going back!

This leads me to my New Year's resolution. I've been meaning to go to a MQG meeting for so long. My hometown MQG even meets at my favorite local quilt shop, Pink Castle. I guess it just took an extra little push from God and my church family. Well, hooray, push received! I even looked up the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild and got excited to meet some of the ladies, such as Daisy at Ants to Sugar and Nicole at Mama Love Quilts. Eek! So excited!! TMQG here I come!

modern mint and coral aztec quilt top | by Lovely and Enough

modern mint and coral aztec quilt top | by Lovely and Enough

modern mint and coral aztec quilt top taped to wall | by Lovely and Enough

folded modern mint and coral aztec quilt top | by Lovely and Enough

edges of pieced modern mint and coral aztec quilt top | by Lovely and Enough

Welcome to the Lovely and Enough Etsy Shop

It began with a fresh apple cinnamon donut and a latte downtown Chicago. Working at a big wooden table with light flooding across my notes and the cute terrarium beside me, I started to build what I'd been laying the foundation for all summer long. And then, all of the sudden, it was there, published, online. It was almost anti-climactic.


That's when I realized the shop didn't begin on a Saturday morning in November. It was sunny fall afternoons working on farmer's wife quilt blocks. My 20th birthday road-tripping to all the best fabric stores with my Mom. Chilly winter mornings with the front door thrown wide for better-lit blog photos. Hot long days painting hydrangea patterns at the Fuji Studio in Florence. Sunny football Saturdays test printing in Adams Hall. Late night after late night quilting like a maniac and listening to my sister’s “Jams” playlist to prepare for my senior show. Bright summer days reading business books and sipping inspirational Arnold Palmers. Then finally a Saturday at the Coffee Studio in northern Chicago. And now, a cozy moment in my research office before class.

This isn’t a one-and-done project, a checkmark on a list. It’s my biggest work-in-progress of the past two years, an endeavor I didn’t even realize was beginning when it did. As Etsy reminded me in their handbook for beginners, a business is all about trial and error, just like life. I am thrilled to embrace this next giant step in a series of so many. I still don’t know exactly what I’ve gotten myself into or where it will take me, but messy adventures are the best kind, and you can’t map them out (like I often attempt). You just have to live them.

Welcome to the newest unfolding organic undertaking of my creative exploits:









Check out some other more tangible works-in-progress at WIP Wednesday hosted by Freshly Pieced.

Post in Progress

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm indecisive, so when Brent suggested the most perfect place to take my next set of blog photos, I was faced with a new dilemma: too much of a good thing. I loaded up the pictures and saw the import number rise to a whopping 239! And now I have to sort them down to around 20!! This could take me a day or two, what with being a student and having to go to class and all, so this work-in-progress Wednesday isn't about a quilt but about a post. The finished quilt post is in progress. I'm slowly cutting ties to one photo at a time to be deleted forever from my hard drive (dramatic but that is how it feels sometimes, anyone agree?). Sorting through good photos for spectacular ones is a tricky beast, and in the meantime you can enjoy these OneHourPhotos that Brent took of me during the shoot. Happy Wednesday.




Linked to my Work-in-Progress Wednesday support group at Freshly Pieced.

Chuck Bass and the Matchstick Quilting

Can I just say how beautiful today is? It's a crisp 66 with clear skies and autumn sun. The air practically smells like spiced apple cider, and my toes can snuggle into slippers while I sit and quilt. So lovely. I settled myself by my Bernina for some matchstick quilting and propped an old friend next to me on the iPad: GossipGirl. Together Blair, Chuck, Nate, and I cruised the wonderful afternoon away, and oh my word, I have two things to say.

partially quilted hovering birds wall quilt overprinted with hydrangeas


seam ripper and the beginnings of grey matchstick quilting

One, somewhere along the way I became a fan of Chuck Bass. I can actually pin point it back to a fateful week in January working on my senior show. What has become of me? He's just so romantic under it all...

And two, matchstick quilting takes a heck of a long time, but oh, does it look so pretty when it's done! The quilt has a newfound texture. I might not love snuggling under it, but it sure looks spiffy up on the wall. Printed way back in May and quilted some in July, this quilt has been a long time coming. Ah well, experimenting runs on its own schedule, I guess. Good to remember as I embark upon a PhD!

folded and matchstick quilted quilt with mug and ice cream dish

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. Check out the other projects!

Life happened, and it was good.

While Brent was visiting he asked me about my Etsy shop...my ever-exciting and just-out-of-reach Etsy endeavor... Well, let's see. I had planned for it to open by the beginning of August. I intended to have my full line of fabric printed before I left my big printing board behind. I wanted to have ten quilts to list in two color schemes. Guess, what? Life happens.

And life is a good thing to have happen, even when it disrupts your plans. Gorgeous city. Wonderful roommate. Lively farmer's market. Exciting cooking adventures. Breezy sailing on Lake Wheeler. Breathtaking ballet. Scrumptious local restaurants. These are the snapshots that build a life that is lovely and a life that I can be more than content with, a life that is enough.

two printed modern quilts taped to the wall

The shop will open near the end of October, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Five quilts for the first opening of the shop will be absolutely peachy. With quilts three and four underway, I am plugging along full steam. The grand beginning is in sight! If you could choose one quilt from my senior show for me to reimagine in the new fabric collection and colors, which would it be?

printed and quilted wall quilt with screen printing on yellow wall

two modern quilts in hand-printed fabric with screen-printing over top

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced for some fresh inspiration and lively camaraderie.
Head on over if that sounds good to you too.

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.

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!

Summer Experimenting

Summer experimenting used to mean trying out new mudpie recipes, but this summer it's printing on pieced tops and matchstick quilting. One of my last weeks in the art building at school, I printed several layers on top of each other on a simple quilt top. Although it's a bit muddy, it is also a wonderful canvas for exploring new quilting ideas. Some free-motion quilting carved out the blooms, tracing certain layers, and now matchstick quilting invades from the borders. It's a soothing afternoon task, but it takes so long! I've only finished about an eighth of the quilt, and I can't even imagine how long it will take me to do the rest...

Any great book suggestions to listen to on CD as I go?






Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at the lovely Freshly Pieced.

Chai and Binding

Our screened-in porch is one of my happy places, calm and breezy with the voices of the woods. This morning I get to finish hand-stitching a binding out here with a mug of chai latte. Have you ever bought chai concentrate? It's practically the cost of one chai latte and makes almost ten cups! Bliss in a carton.


Yesterday I finished my Lone Star to the tune of Gossip Girl. I may or may not have finished six episodes of season two as well. Watching the series for the second time lends new hilarious insights. Serena asks to meet with GossipGirl in the season finale and he (or she...) actually shows up but you don't realize it...ha! I digress.


Sunday I had a slow and steady afternoon of quilting a baby quilt on which my mum and I collaborated. I'm excited to show y'all once the binding is attached. All in all a great week so far. I do seem to be accidentally sewing several quilts in the same color scheme, but oh well. The heart picks fabrics as it may.




Learning and Lulls

Gosh, sometimes things just don't go quite as you planned, y'know? I've been struggling a bit with selecting the perfect palette for my summer collection and on the fabric designing front as well. This lull in bubbly creative energy has lead me to do other previously undesirable tasks, such as filing for Michigan business status and whipping up some knitting I'd been putting off for months. Despite this dip, I finished two tops today and quilted one. I already know what I will change if I make similar quilts, but hey, progress is progress, right? And mistakes mean you're learning.

I think I need to tell myself that again. Mistakes mean you're learning.





Linked up to my WIP Wednesday support group over at Freshly Pieced.

Barefoot Thank you

Sometimes I find it important to think back on the week and realize how truly lovely it was.

In the warm winds and blossoming sun of summer, I received my very own squeegee in the mail. The postman simply rang the bell and left the package by the door, but upon hearing it, I flew threw the house, threw open the door, saw it, and ran partway down the driveway to shout a barefoot "thank you" after him. What a wonderful Tuesday treat.

Wednesday I was blessed with a final surge of motivation to finish my business plan after many weeks reading books, mapping ideas, and dreaming. I am excited to announce that the quilt and fabric shop should open near the beginning of August. So exciting!

Thursday, prompted by my list of to-dos, I pieced and printed several quilt tops. (It's amazing how much more I accomplish when I write myself lists.) This one is a peppy poppy version of my previous cut-glass quilt, Little Pieces. Although it's missing some mid-tones, my favorite local fabric shop Pink Castle was more than willing to help me flesh out that area of my new palette. Such a friendly place.

And lastly, sewing machine hunting! I had the crazy experience of stumbling upon a Bernina 830 at a local resale shop last Christmas. I brought it home for $15 in it's pretty red case full of accessories. Unfortunately, it had been dropped on its head at some point and wasn't fit for fixing or function, said the sewing machine repair man. Since then, I've been keeping a keen eye out for another one, and I may have found it last night. Cross your fingers this little Bernina dream comes true!

What was lovely for you this past week?





Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Labor of Love

Farmer's Wife Quilt today! When Camille Roskelley made hers a couple years ago, I fell in love with it, and I'm totally and completely hooked. I've been working on the quilt little by little for almost two years, and sometimes I like to just pull out all of the squares, spread them around me, and dream about the finished quilt.

Camille gave the advice of tackling six squares at a time for efficiency, so that's what I did today. I settled in and listened to the end of a sappy novel by Nora Roberts and stitched through the rainy day. Avery and Owen fell in love with each other, and I fell in love again with this quilt process. Slow methodical progress. Do you know what I mean? Is anyone else out there working on a Farmer's Wife Quilt? It really is a labor of love.

Today's Blocks:
Birds in Air
Butterfly at the Crossroads
Contrary Wife
Flock
Hovering Hawks
Swallow


7. Birds in the Air

21. Contrary Wife

34. Flock

14. Butterfly at the Crossroads

52. Hovering Hawks

93. Swallow


And I am so thankful that I get to share this little work-in-progress (WIP) with the talented sewers over at Freshly Pieced because it's WIP Wednesday!

Morning

Mornings are just the best, aren't they? Fresh sun. Fresh eyes. Fresh day. Endless possibilities ahead of you and new energy to tackle them all. Yesterday morning was like that. I sat down to decide what I wanted to do with the morning, and I came to the wonderful conclusion: Farmer's Wife Quilt. It has lain dormant for many months, but the day has arrived for me to work on it a little more. I promptly taped almost all of my completed blocks to the wall and set about picking new ones. I've been feeling quite inspired by Chelsea's farmer's wife blocks over at Patch the Giraffe, so in honor of her I cut fabric for two squares she just made and finished a block that had been half-way pieced for some time now. So exciting, and I'm looking forward to more time for it tomorrow morning!


57. Morning




You can see more of my Farmer's Wife blocks here. And since I have 85 blocks to go, I get to share it with my lovely friends at WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Binding and Soaking in the Sun

The crazy pressure and pace of last week has lightened to a calm, relaxing drift. Spending the week in Georgia with my girlfriends, I’ve been soaking in the gorgeous sun and seventy degree weather. Taking time to slow down and step back from non-stop productivity has been a much needed break. I cannot believe it’s only Monday night, and I can sit in quiet contentment knowing how rested and invigorated I will feel when school rolls around next Monday.

This week for the show, all I have to do is bind up the quilts, pick the color of my business cards, and finalize my artist statement. The car has been perfect for binding, chatting and stitching away, and I’ve become a must faster binder over the past couple days. Each quilt feels like such an accomplishment, and the show is becoming something real and tangible. My mom printed these lovely little labels for me to stitch onto the backs of my quilts this year. She accidentally printed thirty, so I have a lot of projects to start and finish before December, but luckily, with twelve under my belt, I'm a good way along, and the whole summer is spread ahead of me.






Needless to say, my FinishIt2014 list is going to be rapidly growing in the next couple weeks following my show, and my works-in-progress will be multiplying. Fortunately, I have such a wonderful support group for just such a condition over at Freshly Pieced with Work in Progress Wednesdays. How many more finished do you anticipate (or dream about) this year?

A Coral and Navy Whirlwind

These past two weeks have been an overwhelming whirlwind of dance rehearsals, deadlines, late nights, and a strong desire to curl up under a quilt and forget about my senior show. With only two weeks left before Spring Break and putting up my show, it's crunch time. I've been a mad fiend, sketching quilting patterns during class and binding quilts through chapel, sewing until the wee hours of the morning and then getting up the next day to begin it again.


Two quilts are completely finished. Unfortunately I don't have pictures for you because I submitted them for the juried exhibition that is currently hung in Adam's Hall, and they were both accepted. Yay! I've been quilting three others, alternating them as I finish a section of stitching and lose direction for the next color of thread. Ribbons is completely quilted, thank you to my mother who ordered me a new walking foot when mine kicked the bucket last week. There was a big crash, and little pieces actually crumbled out of the foot and onto my quilt the night before my quilts were due for the exhibition. Talk about bad timing.




Good timing, on the other hand, was being able to play around in my future gallery space the next day to see which quilts will likely go on the wall and where. It was a fun afternoon, eating chocolate cake for my half birthday and watching everyone else's submissions for the exhibition roll in. Now I only have a couple decisions left to make about hanging the show.


Together with lots of long-distance support from Ann Arbor, pep talks from the studio associate, endless cups of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, and a good old quilting favorite The Wedding Date (which I may have watched four times last week), I survived the past eight days. Only twelve more to go before I'm off to Georgia and then back to hang the show!

Dark Star

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Since beginning this practice at the end of my sophomore year of college, I've found it to be so necessary and rejuvenating. For six days, I work, and on the seventh I rest [or in my case, sew]. One interesting side effect, however, of working on my quilt-based senior show is that, although I still sew on Sundays, it's not the same kind of rest.


In light of that, I took the whole weekend off of sewing and drove up to northern Wisconsin with some of my friends to chill at HoneyRock Camp. With just a small amount of elbow grease washing dishes after meals, we had full run of the camp. Now, after an hour and a half of tubing, over six miles of cross-country skiing, and a late night snow shoe across the lake, I feel ready to tackle the week. Exhausted, limber, and invigorated, I can look back at last week's sewing and look forward at the coming week's 'without fear of the days to come' (Proverbs 31:25).



This past Thursday I cut, pieced, and pressed an entire Dark Star block. It was patterned after Maura Ambrose's Dark Star quilt. I have long been inspired by her and even forayed into natural fabric dyes for several months while exploring where my senior show might go. This hand-dyed quilt that I pieced last winter was also inspired by her. I didn't intend for the dark star colors to be quite so similar, but I guess that's what happens when I'm working in coral and navy and the original was black and red. By the suggestion of my senior show advisor, I added a little pop of mint. It's tough to see here, but one of the white arrows is actually a lovely seafoam. It adds some fun to the traditional and somber quilt, and I'm excited to see the mint pop up elsewhere in the show.


Linking up to Work-In-Progress Wednesday again over at FreshlyPieced. Head over for some other inspiring projects in the works.