Category Archives: UFOs

2014 will be a great year for QUILTArtbymegan

Here’s a bit of a preview of what’s coming this year. First of all, I’ll be doing a bunch of portrait quilts. You know, those are the ones inspired by a photograph and then rendered into fabric. Coming up are twins, a dog, a snowy landscape, and more. Here’s a tracing of one I’m working on now which has holding hands and wedding rings showing. It’s in pencil so it doesn’t photograph beautifully just yet.

hands tracing

Also, one of my sample quilts this year has to feature my niece Mary. ‘Cause I love her and she’s flipping adorable. So here’s a photo from Halloween that I’ll be using as inspiration.

Panda Mary

Alright, on to the second category of quilts you can expect from me in 2014. I’ll be making more things with crumbs! Here are two quilts-in-progress that use crumb blocks in their design. (One is a super-close up because the whole quilt hasn’t yet been revealed to the receiver.) Crumbs heart crumbs with black

I’m also working on making my crumbs customize-able. I think they’re in the top two cool things I do with my quilting and hadn’t figured out a way to make them in a cost-effective way. Worth my time to make the stuff and worth your money to buy them. Enter the letter pillows! Soon these will be available to order in my etsy store. You can buy them individually or as a group to spell out names, holidays, important dates (numbers will be available, too), and more. I’m also working on a way to stretch these across canvas for an on-the-wall look rather than the pillows’ on-the-shelf thing.

letter pillow sample

Another thing I’ll be playing around with (and hopefully making beautiful wear-ables out of) is old wool, cashmere, and silk items. I’m experimenting with up-cycling in the style of the artist Katwise.

What else? Tons, I’m sure! I’m learning new things all of the time. I think as an artist it’s important to explore new things and learn from other artists. Plus just play around and see what happens. That’s what I did with this doll quilt piece that was entered into the Project Quilting Challenge this week. It’s made of strings, which are skinny long strips. I’m not in love with the final quilt but it was fun to experiment and stretch myself. There are bunch of quilts finished in this challenge that are gorgeous! See and vote for your favorites here. 

pinked dolls

I took the “Twisted Sisters” class from Ami Simms on Saturday. It was so much fun! I initially wasn’t thrilled with the quilt design but learned how I can make it my own and am sure I’ll love the thing once it’s all put together. I also learned a bunch of tiny tips and tricks that make all the difference when you’re sewing. For example, if your selvage strips have been cut off the way you find the straight of grain (which is parallel to the selvage) is to stretch a tiny section of the fabric with your fingers. The direction that has the least stretch is the straight of grain. Twisted sister

I predict this’ll be a great year for me personally and QUILTArtbymegan as well. Stay tuned! You won’t want to miss any of it.

Retreats and Vacations

My mini group is on a weekend retreat right now. I get to go play with them all day tomorrow. So fun! I couldn’t swing the hotel room and all weekend costs, but am extremely excited to spend a day sewing and chatting with some of my favoritest peoples ever. Soul food, for sure. Plus chocolate.

gone quilting

Also, I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up that I’m going on vacation for two weeks starting at the end of next week. My plan is to continue with my two-ish blog posts a week but it may be more or less than that, depending on the number of photographs taken and the time to actually write.

Hubby’s not coming with me this time but I’m excited to spend some quality time with family I haven’t seen in a long time… including one I haven’t met yet, baby Mary! Expect an update on her quilt with full photographs of it and her sweet cheeked drooly-ness either during my stay or once I get back. I’m also super psyched to spend some time with my baby brother who’s growing into a man and my little sister who’s now a mommy. And my Dad. Sorry dude that you’re last on the list of shout-outs but we’ve had some really great phone conversations recently that make me feel like you’re not halfway across the country.

planes vacation

So, big plans for me. I’m sewing like crazy to finish up some projects before I go.

quilt all the things

Custom orders for Christmas are still available. It’s getting a little late in the season for Chanukkah, but you could always give a card saying what you’ve ordered and save the actual gift for when it arrives. Plus there are birthday and anniversary celebrations to be had.

I’ll have a few more posts up next week before I land in fly-over country.

Four Faces: A Custom Portrait Quilt

When I started this blog way back in August of 2012 I gave you a sneak peak of a quilt-to-be. It was in the planning stages then and has long ago been completed. Somehow I neglected to show you guys the big finish! So here it is. I started with this photograph: 4 subjects photo

Then, taking several artistic licenses, I rendered it into fabric. I like to call it inspired by the photograph instead of actually copying the photograph exactly. Shading is important here as is texture. Plus the gravel backdrop was too boring and I’d rather not have that boot in the quilt. Two of the women in this photo are sisters, the ones wearing green and grey. You’ll notice they have the same eye color. I tried to use some of the same fabrics for these two faces to give you the sense that they’re closer related. The other two people are cousins of the sisters. Recognize anybody? Yup, that’s me on the lower left. I call this masterpiece, “Four Faces.”

FourFaces Completed

 

I’m working on a custom order now for a quilt of this sort. Instead of a portrait I’m working from a landscape photograph with an airplane in it. I can really do this with any photograph, people. The holiday gift-giving season’s coming up quickly but there’s still time to order one of these for someone you love. Check out my etsy shop for more cool stuffs.

Turtles, Turkeys, Wolves and Bears Oh My!

I love collaborative projects. They’re always such an adventure. This one is for the lodge at my childhood summer sleep-away camp, Crystal Lake Camps. I have such awesome memories of this place and the people I met there. So when the idea was pitched on the alumni Facebook page to make clan animal themed quilts for four rooms I was eager to help.

There many ways campers are grouped together at CLC. One is by age, which determines your cabin assignment. Another is girls’ camp and boys’ camp. Also your skill level in classes like swimming and horseback riding. Clans are something different and special. Boys, girls, and counselors of all ages are split into four groups: turtles, turkeys, wolves and bears. These clan groups compete in events like blueberry picking and tug-of-war, make their own cheers, and sit together at council fire. It’s another opportunity for bonding and though I haven’t been to camp since 2001 I’m still a proud turtle.

So here’s what we’ve done so far for these four clans… starting with the turtles ’cause, well… I’m a turtle. I’m collecting blocks that have a light blue background and one or more turtles on them. The blocks’ measurements must be divisible by 3, so they’re not the same size but I can puzzle them all together. So with seam allowances, you can have 3.5″ x 3.5″ all the way up to 15.5″ by 15.5″ and anything in-between. Here are some of the blocks that have been made.

more turtles coming in

 

I’m the maker behind this one. Can you tell? Its shell is crumb-pieced then reverse appliqued under the blue fabric and the rest is hand-embroidered. 12x15 turtle

Okay. Onto the turkeys quilts. This lodge room gets two because it has a set of twin beds.  I’m also coordinating this project. I sent off some quilt blocks to the alumni reunion weekend along with fabric markers. I haven’t gotten them back yet but am so excited to see what everybody wrote/drew on them for the turkeys quilt! I’m kind of hoping I get a hand print turkey or two back. Do you remember making those in elementary school for Thanksgiving? Anyway, alumni weekend was populated with several generations of alumni and their children so I’m sure the quilts will be awesome. Here’s what some of the blocks looked like before decorations.

turkeys

The next two quilt tops are for the wolves and bears. Their very talented maker Betsy Huffman gave me permission to share them with you guys. Another volunteer will quilt and finish them. So all four quilts are technically still UFOs (unfinished objects)…. with a lot of love put into them. See?

bear quilt

Yes, that bear quilt has a cat on it. My cats are also quilt-inspectors. I love how Betsy included the traditional “bear paw” block as one of her borders.

wolf quiltI love the howling wolf in the corner of this quilt. Did you notice that Betsy also made matching pillowcases? She said she made them with the leftovers from making these quilts. What a good idea.

I Have Helpers, Don’t You?

Doesn’t it feel good to finish something? This time, I had a lot of help. Here are my helpers, in chronological order.

  • My own desire to make a quilt for my first biological niece. (I married into a family with babies, so technically this isn’t the first time I’ll be Aunt Megan.)
  • My Aunt suggesting that we paint the letters of my sister’s baby’s name during her shower weekend… which didn’t work out because the parents were keeping that a secret until she was born.
  • The flash of creativity that gave me the idea to make a signature quilt. We would write our guesses for the baby girl’s name on fabric and I’d make it into a quilt.
  • All of the family members who came together to celebrate my sister in January of this year… and also happened to sign blocks for the baby’s quilt.
  • A deadline. Yup, I’ve had this quilt in the works since January… and by “in the works” I mostly mean sitting in a drawer being ignored. I get to spend this Thanksgiving with my family and deliver the finished quilt in person. That is, if I finish it in time.
  • My online quilting group. We call ourselves Snowflakes. I posted photographs of the quilt and said that I was basting it… which gave me accountability and made me actually do it.
  • A dear friend who invited me over to sew with her on Saturday. I borrowed her marking pen and quilted the whole thing in one sitting. Straight-line quilting is much less boring to do when you’re across from a chatty friend.
  • My Hulu shows. I enjoy hand-stitching the binding on quilts late at night with the TV on. Unfortunately, late night TV isn’t something I enjoy watching but there’s always “Bones” and “Once Upon a Time” in my queue.

So here I am putting the last few stitches on the binding. I’ll add a label tomorrow and toss it in the wash to minimize the amount of cat hair I’m giving away. And TA-DA! Done.

Binding Mary

On A Good Day

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Here’s my newest completed piece, “On A Good Day.” It measures 48×12 inches and was sewn entirely by hand. It’s pieced, appliqued, embroidered, couched and quilted. Texture, value and repetition were important to me when in the design stages.

Image

This quilt began as a challenge in a quilting group. Each artist is making a piece of this size using the same red fabric. The quilts can then both be displayed as a group and stand individually. I think I’m the first one completely finished, but I’ll let you know if these ever go to a show or exhibit.

Image

I leave you with a photo of my fuzzy helper, Milo. He likes to lay on my pillow and hug my arm while I’m doing handwork. Very cute.

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What a Namesake!

squishyface

My niece was born just a few days ago on April 2nd. Her parents chose the name Mary Constance, a name rich with meaning… which still gets me all flustered when I speak it aloud. Her first name comes from both of her grandmothers: Mary and Maria. Pictured first is her Dad’s mom, Maria. She’s Mexican, living in Boston temporarily… which means she’s around to help out. She gives very nice, soft, gentle hugs.

esteyandmariashower

Here’s her Mom’s mom, my mother, Mary. She passed away years ago. I like to think that baby Mary got some love from her before she arrived. I know that my mom would just be overjoyed to have a grandchild.
momMary’s middle name is also a family name. Her great-grandmother’s late sister was named Constance. I know her only in stories as Connie, my Aunt Lisa’s mother and grandma’s sister. What a wonderful tribute to her memory.

I started a quilt for baby Mary when I came to her baby shower in January. Since Mom and Dad were keeping her name a secret, I had family members write down their guesses for her name. Some of the guesses are pretty funny, like “Top Secret” and “Hey You!” Now that her name has been announced it’s time to work that quilt. It will have Sam Hunter’s paper-pieced letters in the center with her actual name and the hand-written guesses surrounding it.

You can get Sam’s alphabet here: http://www.huntersdesignstudio.com

It’s a Good Day to Meet Baby Mary

My emotions are still swirling all around inside me, so I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about this  event in upcoming posts… but it’s time to announce that my sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday, April 2nd. Welcome, little Mary.

newbornmary

It wasn’t a long waiting game. Dad called me around 4am to say that he’s in the airport on the way to the birth. (He snagged a plane in St. Louis in time to get to Boston for all the action.)  Even so, I jumped every time the phone rang, all day long, hoping for another update. So I spent the day calming myself with some handwork. It’s not a great photograph but here’s what I’ve been working on.


DSCN0963

This piece is called, “On a Good Day”. And today was a good day.

UFOs A-plenty

How many UFOs do you have? No, not the space ships, I mean unfinished objects. Mine are mostly sewing projects and I’m sure I have at least 30, though I haven’t done an exact count recently. This week I’ve been hopping from thing to thing, not quite satisfied to sit down with just one.

Please forgive my lack of photos this time. I took them… and moved the camera away from its cord… and promptly forgot where that cord is? I know, it’s where I left it. Wherever that is. So just use your imagination for this one and I’ll get back to photos on the next post.

Here are some of the UFOs I’ve been working on this week:

  •  A one block log cabin quilt with Asian prints.
  • Decorating my work apron. We’re required to wear one, but can trick it out however we want to. I’m adding pockets, making it shorter, and decorating it with some of my crumb quilting goodness. Yes, I’ll show you guys a picture soon.
  • Binding some place mats for the senior center.
  • Hand quilting “Estey’s Quilt”… It’s almost ready to show you guys! I spent several hours working on this at a car show. Thankfully, my husband recommended bringing along some handwork. I’m so glad he did because it would have been beyond boring for me without it!
  • Planning out a birthday present for my baby brother. He’s turning 14. I know, not really a baby anymore but he’s still my baby.
  • Making a red/blue/purple/black string quilt
  • Playing around with improvisational piecing
  • Pulling fabrics and otherwise planning a portrait quilt based on a wedding photograph
  • And, of course, working on the 4 subjects piece I wrote about in my last blog post.

Whew! I don’t know why I’ve been project-hopping like this but I’ll just go with it for now, especially since I don’t have any big deadlines coming up quickly. I’ll just enjoy dabbling in everything.