Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday Stash #99 - Goodies

Most of the quilting demographic might not know R&B princess, Ciara, but she's had a few major hits along the way. This was a pretty major jam for her (and me!) a few years back. I woke up with this song in my head, and it seemed kind of fabric appropriate, so I thought I'd lay it down here. 

I bet you want the goodies
Bet you thought about it
Got you all hot and bothered
Mad cause I talk around it
Looking for the goodies
Keep on looking' cuz they stay in the jar
Oh-oh Oh-oh Oh-oh Oh-oh

I doubt Ciara is talking about her fabric stash, but maybe she is keeping her scraps in a jar? 

Annnywho, I had mine own goodies arrive in the mail this week! This is yardage of Art Gallery's Minimalista which I'm using for my Mood Ring quilt back (Giveaway still open!) You may have seen on Instagram (molli_sparkles) that I tried out glue basting for the first time in an effort to join a 70" seam across the back. I was not even about to have these geometric lines going all mis-matched on me! Let me tell you, it worked like Naomi Campbell on a catwalk! 

I also received yardage of Tula Pink's Saltwater which I'm using for my Echo quilt back. Now, I have a rather large bone to pick about this fabric. First, for being in the stripe family, it's hella cool. However, the vertical repeat is at about 30" across the width of fabric. So? This means you can't join two runs of yardage together side by side to create an invisible seam, unless you wanted to forfeit 15" of fabric from each run. Not impressed! I've done it anyway, and while it is not perfect, it's just gonna have to do!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Original Design - D!

It's time for the Fall 2014 Edition of the Blogger's Quilt Festival! Since you won't find my pretty face at Quilt Market this weekend, I thought I'd better share in the virtual quilt festival love-fest. The quilt I most want to (re)-introduce to the Glitterati is my king-sized D! I am entering it into the Original Design Quilts Category, because while it is familiar, there was some original math design madness to make it happen.

I look at it now and think, "Gawd, that's just way too big!" And trust you me, that is not something you hear me say too often! I originally designed this quilt for my BGFF (best gay friend forever), because he is a mad Disney fan. It's made with 2,108, 1.5" finished squares (then I died) from Lizzy House's Constellations range, and coordinating solids. It's pretty close to my original design sketch, and even though it is ginormous, there's just that much more of it to love!

My BGFF still loves it, and often hosts slumber parties for him and his 37 other friends. They all fit under it, no lie! You can see more pictures in the original post, and read all about how a good double entendre kept me sane throughout all this teeny-tiny piecing. 

A big thank you to Amy from Amy's Creative Side for keeping the Blogger's Quilt Festival party pumping! Make sure you vote for your faves in each category, and in the Viewer's Choice ballot!

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Mood Ring Reveal & A Giveaway

Three things you need to know about this post:
1. I finished my Mood Ring quilt top.
2. I curated a fabric bundle for Australian shop, Simpson & Scarlett.
3. There's six metres of fabric to giveaway for an Aussie reader!

Nearly six months ago, I entered Australia's First Modern Quilt Show, and well, I surprisingly won the Best In Show prize. As I was snuggling this celebrity quilt last night, I contemplated those initial moments of shock, later mixed with pride. It's still one of my crowning quilting achievements, and has really opened so many doors since then. One of those doors happened to be right there at the quilt show! As I was perusing the fabric stalls, Kim Simpson of Simpson & Scarlett asked if I would be interested in curating a Molli Sparkles blogger bundle from the Riley Blake Designs Solids collection. It's true, flattery will get you everywhere with me! I quickly said yes, and Kim kindly sent me home with a charm square collection of the full range.

I picked colours across the rainbow, ensuring lots of tonal and value variation. The Riley Blake Designs Solids have a smoother texture than Kona, but there's a slight undercurrent of grey across the range. This adds an element of grown-up sophistication, even when playing with a rainbow palette. After I had decided on twelve colours (pink didn't quite make the cut), Kim sent me a half-yard bundle to start exploring.

And explore I did! This was my first time using all solids, so I made a few sketches and just went for it. In the beginning, I was having all sorts of emotional quilting dramas, until Taylor Swift helped shake off my funk. Like the ubiquitous mood ring of the 70s, this quilt colourfully shows my range of moods through its creation. Serendipitously, when I started sewing it all together, it started reminding me of a multi-coloured gemstone, and you know I'd definitely rock that, no matter what the mood!

The modern quilting movement is all about solids (so they tell me), so I wanted to keep the whole project really geometric and angular to accentuate the array of colours. As much as I love a rainbow, I sometimes feel like they are relegated to the kid's room, rather than the adult playground. For me though, this tonal rainbow feels urban and fresh, while still maintaining some of its playful charm. Because of all of this, there's a strong emotional resonance for me of all the things I felt while making it. It really is my Mood Ring.

Now, here's the part that's even better than me finishing this quilt top! Kim from Simpson & Scarlett has generously offered to giveaway a 1/2 metre bundle of these 12 fabrics (that's six metres, y'all!) to one of my Aussie readers. She's also giving everyone a discount on fat quarter and half metre bundles if you want to buy straight away (plus, there's free shipping in Australia!) 

To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment on this blog post letting me know where you're from in Australia! 
(I'll pick a random winner next week).

To purchase a discounted 1/2 metre bundle for $75: enter code SPARKLE_M at checkout.

To purchase a discounted fat quarter bundle for $35: enter code SPARKLE_F at checkout.

(From top to bottom: Navy, Rouge, Pear, Lilac, Aqua, Lagoon, Bluebird, Vintage White, Coastal Blue, Daffodil, Cayenne, Purple)

I've got the backing sorted as well, which I'll show you during this week's Sunday Stash as it is a new acquisition. As for the quilting? I was starting to think about orange peels, but I'm sure my mood will be swayed a dozen times about that one too!

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

T-Shirt Quilt Progress

I've been back at work on the t-shirt quilt this week. I haven't had as much time to sew as I would have liked due to other commitments (many of which you'll hear about eventually!) However, I did get some #quilttalking in, by putting my brother's name in fabric lights. The background is all white tone-on-tones, so it looks much more visually interesting than it appears in the photo. I guess I should start laying this sucker out or I'll soon find I need to make a few quilts to accommodate all these blocks! 

I couldn't find a literal tornado quilt block (after my exhaustive two minutes of Google-ing), so I just decided to make one up myself. Y'all know how I like to stomp to the beat of my own stilettos! I made this version by digging into my scrappy string box, and improv-ing the whole thing. This block measures 9.5" unfinished, and I am pretty definitely almost sure it would look hot on repeat! 

Confetti cannons in the air for all of you who left ideas on quilt blocks to use in this quilt. You bet your high-waisted britches I'll be using a few of them! 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday Stash #98 - Glad To Be Back

It's so good to be home! I spent the better part of this past week in Hong Kong--my first time there. I've been to a lot of places around the world, and Hong Kong has not made my list of faves. My eyes are sore from the pollution, I watched frogs being served up at dinner (while they were still twitching, mind you!) and the full brunt of consumerist society sitting on top of a city and population that must be truly blinded by it. All of it, except maybe the hotel breakfast, made me truly uncomfortable. My own bed has never felt so good! 

I even went looking for fabric one night. I found literally dozens of shop fronts showcasing their wares, although most fell more into the clothing / home dec / bedding categories. I just couldn't get on board, and walked away with nothing. However, when I got home, a lovely package from Intrepid Thread was waiting for me. This is about nine yards of Art Gallery Pure Elements Linen White which means I can finally start on my commissioned AMH feathers quilt! The Linen White is a close match to Kona Snow, but takes the level of luxe to new heights! Fire up the sewing machine, because it's time to get busy!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunday Stash #97 - What I Paid For Designer Fabric

Like most of the entire blog community, this week I read the fantastic article, "What You Should Pay For Designer Fabric" from the Right Sides Together blog. Whether you (dis)agree with the arguments, it's a smorgasbord of food for thought! Personally, I probably fall somewhere in the middle. For sure I want to find fabric at the cheapest rate, but I also want the fabric shops / small business owners that I love to succeed. It's an incredibly fine, fine line.

So when I got the email blast that my LQS, The Remnant Warehouse, had a 25% off sale this weekend, I figured that was a sign from the fabric deities. I picked up a metre of hunter green homespun, and this Comma roll, both for Cody's t-shirt quilt. (Surprisingly, I didn't have any of that Comma in my stash!) I left the price tag on, so you can bear witness to the prices we pay in Australia. 

1.5 metres = 1.64 yards
$36.00 AUD (tax inclusive) = $31.28 USD

1.64 yards, purchased at $31.28 USD = $19.07 USD / yard at regular price.

After the 25% discount, that roll of Comma cost $14.30 USD / yard.

I'm not faulting my LQS for this. They have a business, and they deserve to turn a profit; after all, they're not a charity! On the flip side, you can see there's quite a discrepancy between the regular price in the US, versus here in Australia, even when fabric is on sale. Honestly, I don't know the solution. However, all I can do for now is to continue to purchase from both my LQS and overseas to support both the small business owner, and my wallet.

I'm flying to Hong Kong today, so there will be mostly radio silence on the blog for the rest of the week. You'll undoubtedly find me over on Instagram (IG: molli_sparkles), where I'll be posting images of my first trip there. I'm not sure I'll have much time to fabric shop, but if I do, you can be sure I'll find the good stuff!

Friday, 10 October 2014

T-Shirt Quilt: Challenge Accepted

A few weeks ago during Sunday Stash #95 I showed you a bundle of t-shirts my brother, Cody, had sent me to make him a queen-sized t-shirt quilt. He'd only sent fifteen, with three of them being the same shirt! Now, he's a big guy, being a college football player and all, so there is plenty of t-shirt fabric to work with. However, there was no way I was ever going to just cut these shirts into squares, sew them together and be done with it. Bor-ing. Come on, let's spice it up! 

I cruised over to Instagram for some #tshirtquilt inspiration, and found none. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Looks like I'm gonna have to rescue this genre from the same-same bucket. Just so we're clear, I'm not looking down my pretty nose at any on-grid t-shirt quilts. Grandma Sparkles made me mine exactly like that, and it is my go-to couch quilt. (I'll be sure to get you some pictures of it before this process is complete.) Instead, I want to make a t-shirt quilt that inspires you to try something a little bit different!

The t-shirts are toned, secondary colours of orange, purple and green, with lots of neutrals of black, white, and grey. I've pulled coordinating fabrics that tend to have a more masculine vibe. This resulted in a lot of Comma, Botanics and Architextures, random fat quarters here and there, and (gasp!) batiks. I have been busily making random filler blocks to combine with the differently shaped and sized logos from the t-shirts. I want there to be a lot to discover in this quilt, with only the colours tying it together.

It has been so creatively exciting! I wake up each morning thinking, "Hmm... well, what block do you want to make today?!" Oh, and there have been many! This has been a great opportunity to explore blocks I haven't made before. For instance, I don't want to make 752 Economy Blocks for an entire quilt, but I whipped up a couple just to throw in here randomly. I've still got lots of fabrics in my pull to work with, so there's a whole variety of blocks still waiting to be made. There's going to be nothing boring about this t-shirt quilt, fo'sho!

So I have two questions for you, Glitterati:

1. What other blocks should I throw in here? (Don't say Churn Dash, because I am not a fan). The only definite thing left on my list to make is four Road to Oklahoma blocks. 

2. My brother likes typical Oklahoma, guy things. You know, hunting and fishing, stuff like that. I'm wondering if any of you have any scraps, or charm squares containing these types of things I could put in the quilt, preferably in this colour way? Nothing too tacky, but some fussy cutting could be a lot of fun in this quilt! I am, of course, happy to pay or trade for such things.

This is going to be one mutha of a jigsaw puzzle. Challenge accepted.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Quilt Talk by Sam Hunter - Giveaway

If you know Sam Hunter at all, you know she is a feisty lady! The first time I encountered Sam was when she slammed the blogsphere with her We Are $ew Worth It campaign. I was still in my first year of quilting and blogging, and it really resonated with me because, like her, I valued myself as an artist. I had been around long enough to see many quilters shyly devaluing their work, or selling quilts for pennies. This was all to my dismay, and along comes this fireball Sam, who completely calls it out to the world. It was the first time I had been truly moved with conviction by a quilting blog post. I felt it was a call to action, and I had to lend my support to this most valuable of campaigns. That's when I started on my own No Value Does Not Equal Free project, and my relationship with Sam Hunter was solidified. She is a pillar of our community, so when she asked me to participate in her book tour, I gladly said YES!

Sam has written the most wonderfully wordy book called Quilt Talk! It focuses on paper pieced projects using her provided patterns for letters, numbers, punctuation... there's even an umlaut in there! I'm no paper piecing expert, but Sam's instructions on paper piecing were incredibly clear, concise and super-easy to follow. All of the projects are written so that you can scale the patterned letters to any size you want. So now you can make that naughty-word mug rug, or shout king-sized expletives in a quilt! My secret word-quilt project? I am dying to make a quilt featuring the spoken-word section of Madonna's Vogue:

Ladies with an attitude
Fellows that were in the mood
Don't just stand there, let's get to it
Strike a pose, there's nothing to it

As part of this blog hop, Sam is giving everyone the paper pieced pattern for colour words and how to use them to make the buckets on the cover of her book. Our relationship through my No Value Does Not Equal Free quilt led to her assigning me the colour white. I set about to make a bucket for my stash of fabric, and then was all like, "Girl, you don't need a bucket, you need a trailer!" So I, decided to put my bucket aspirations aside, and created this rainbow white panel instead. I'm not exactly sure of it's final destination, but it was totally fun (and easy) to make! Make sure you check out all of the other blog stops because you can download all the words of the rainbow!

So here's the other good news: You can win a physical copy of this book, and then play scrabble with all your future quilt projects! Because Sam values her Aussie and Kiwi fans, this giveaway is just for us! If you live elsewhere, make sure you hit all the other stops on the blog tour to win a copy. To enter, simply leave a comment with some words you'd like to put into your own project, and I'll draw a random winner this time next week. Thanks again to Sam, and C&T Publishing!

***EDIT: Giveaway is now closed.***
WINNER: #4 Laurelle!

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