Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tree of Life

Well, I'm finally back again.  Yep, the same old stuff keeping me away from updating the blog, you know, life.  But, I've got a fun one to post today.

Some really good friends of mine got married in November and Ang and I wanted to do something special for them.  We decided to work on a quilt together, make something from one couple to another.  But, what the hell kind of quilt would the two of us come up with together?  I like modern, solids, bright, off-kilter things and Ang is much more traditional and folk arty in her tastes.  

Ang had a great idea revolving around a tree of life idea with two birds representing the couple.  Her various ideas and doodles led to our starting point below:

The drawing led to the appliqued tree on the right.  I still can't believe the tree is one piece.  It is hard enough for me to imagine cutting it out, let alone sewing it on.  There could be a good tutorial in here about enlarging the 5x6" drawing on the left to a 30x30" panel.  But, since I didn't really take notes at the time, let's just say it took a bit of trial and error with my printers enlarge/poster function.  Eventually it worked and we ended up with a full size template for Ang to use.

Okay, great, we've got the central part of this quilt figured out an in progress, what about the rest?  Well, that was my part, and for all the doodles and ideas I came up with none were any good. (Well, that's a bit judgmental, none felt right for this.)  Of course, Ang saves the day, or at least my butt.  When walking the dog one day she notices a neighbor's front door has a nice Frank Lloyd Wright inspired window panel.  She sends me over to check it out and see if I like the design too.  I find the house and yes, that panel is cool, so I draw a picture of it real quick and head on home.  Now we have our basic design elements.  That window panel we saw inspired the top and bottom panels on our quilt.

If I had been smart, and had some extra time, I'd have written down a lot of notes during this project.  There could have been half a dozen posts related to this quilt along the way.  Working the way I do, "just diving in" like I've written before, we ran into numerous headaches and "learning experiences."  

Overall, I think it worked out well.  

Ang's Tree of Life design
(Hand applique, leaves and flowers wool felt)

Oh, and another thing!  My daughter and I were in the wedding party for our friends' ceremony.  Our daughter Madelynne was so excited to be in the ceremony and have a dress like the bridesmaids, Ang wanted to make something special for her as well.  Ang knitted this really cute scarf/shawl to compliment her dress.  It looked great and Madelynne never took it off the whole day.

(Here's my obligatory super cute kid picture. Look out maybe next month I'll post some pics of our super perfect meals too,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday afternoon play time...

I'm between projects and waiting for Ang to finish her part of one so I can finish it so I had some time this afternoon to play around and experiment.

Nothing too exciting, just playing with scraps again and trying out some ideas.  These little experiments are helping me sort out some visual ideas and work on some basic techniques without being worried about messing up on a serious project.

I did manage to get a pouch done for her bag.  This one came out much better than the first attempt.

...still not thrilled with zippers though...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Toy, Old Project...

First, thanks to everyone who stopped by during Amy's Creative Side's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I've been amazed at how many people have come by my little blog over the last week.  With over 600 quilters involved, it was very cool to see other's work and flattering that people were interested in mine.

So, we got a new toy the other day.  Ever since I started infringing on, if not commandeering Ang's sewing room, she's wanted to get another sewing machine.  We've been looking around for an affordable second machine, but one that would be at least one step up from our old machine.  Considering our old one is a cheapy Brother that we bought at the PX years ago, it was not hard to find machines that were a step (or more) up, but keeping it on the affordable side was our challenge.  It turns out that Costco was running a special on another Brother model (XR7700), still one that would be probably be considered entry level, but with more options, computerized and a dozen attachments included.  Boy, this is starting to sound like a commercial, sorry.  But hey, if any Brother reps do see this, I'd love to talk about an endorsement deal:)

Anyway, Ang had started on this little bag a while back and since she's in the middle of two other projects with deadlines, she asked me to see if I could finish it for her.  Great chance to play with the new toy! 

Below is the simple pouch she had started made from old jeans and a Moda print.  My job was to finish it some how. 
Ang's beginning...
My finish...

It turned out okay, especially for not having done this before.  It is a cute, simple functional messenger bag/purse kinda thing that'll do well for holding her wallet and stuff, as well as her knitting.  Now what's going to happen is a couple weeks from now, she'll say "This is cute and all and I really like it, but I can't..... and I need......can you make me one that has X and Y too this time?"  So, I'm sure I'll be posting about another bag at some point:) Meanwhile, she's asked for me to make a couple small zippered pouch for inside.  I tried my first zipper the other night and man, that sucked.  I get it now, but you should see how lame that little pouch looks, well no, you shouldn't, I'm not going to post it.  It went together okay and works, but, oh man, it's all lopsided and looks like something out of a Dali painting!

The new toy...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2011

So, Amy's Creative Side is hosting a Blogger's Quilt Festival. 
Since I noticed this event this morning and this afternoon I finish the quilt below, it seemed like a perfect thing to take part in.

Amy asks participants to:
 "Share one quilt, and it’s story.  Why you made it, why it is special to you, what you learned about quilting/yourself while making it."

Wow, I'm gonna actually have to think about this stuff...
Why'd I make it...I enjoy solids, wonky/improv shapes and bright colors. This one started with me just playing around with greens and that odd print in the center.  I was really digging what was developing, so I just kept going.  You can see the print in the 'center' of the blocks provided my colors and something to unify the blocks.  Why is it special...Heck, I'm still new at this, everything I finish is special to me! But seriously, because of the things I mentioned above, the colors and wonky factor.  I like just diving in and experimenting, especially when it turns out well :)  What did I learn...Ha, I learned fleece is not a bad option for a batting!  I used black fleece for the batting on this because I was afraid of the regular cotton batting poking through. Other than being a bit stretchy, it worked great.  I also did the binding in a different way for me.  I don't know what it is called when you do this, but I made the backing a bit larger and wrapped over the top to create the binding. I know purists will be up in arms about that, but oh well. The quilt's not going to be in a big competition and the whole point is to try new things and learn from them.  So, "Quilt Police" you'll just have to deal with me:)

Thanks for visiting my blog, I'm still trying to get the hang of these things, quilting and blogging.
I don't post that often because to be honest, when I have the time, usually I'd rather be working on a quilt than trying to figure out what to say about them.  If you have the time, please check out some of my other posts, my last post was part of the Men Quilt Too! online show and has a little bit more about me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Men Quilt Too!

 Welcome. My name is Jay Martin and I'm a relatively new quilter.  When I saw discussions about the Men Quilt Too! online show hosted by Thearica Burroughs at Pigtales and Quilts, I was excited to take part.  Now, after seeing the talent and workmanship of the men who've already submitted for the show, I am a bit intimidated, but what the heck, they all started somewhere too right?  Plus, it might be beneficial to show the various levels of experience and technique of men quilters and the fact there seems to be a lot more of us than people think!

Who am I and how did I end up quilting?

Well, I'm a musician by training and profession and currently live in the D.C. area.  As for the quilting just kinda happened.  Really, it came down to a couple of factors; 1. I need a creative outlet that wasn't related to my 'day job.' 2. My wife is involved in a variety of fabric arts, so she's got a ton of books & magazines and a pretty good fabric stash! So, finally one day after always looking through her books and stuff (just at the pictures, I didn't bother to read anything) I decided I needed to give quilting a try.  She showed me how to use the sewing machine and sent me on my way.  The result of that first attempt is the quilt above.
That was just over a year ago.  (I still haven't read any of the books, I prefer to just dive in and figure it out.)

At some point, I'd really should take a class or get to a workshop and really learn some things, but I'm enjoying the freedom that comes with ignorance:) I do have the benefit of another quilter in the house though, so Angela helps me out when I get stuck and has been a great tutor.  We have also worked together on some quilts and are looking forward to combining our styles and strengths as we both grow as quilters.

Not being active in any quilting groups and the only other quilter I really know is my wife, I look to blogs and Flickr for inspiration and motivation.  There are a couple quilters in particular who's work constantly motivates me Marianne Haak , and Victoria Gertenbach.

What I've been up to:

Gavin's Quilt.

Luke's Quilt. 

Improv 1

Improv 2


Yep, it's a clock.
Okay, not really a quilt, but it is pieced! 

 A couple of WIPS:
This is the top panel of a quilt Angela and I are working on. When completed it will have a large tree of life applique in the center with this panel and its mirror above and below.
Um, not sure where this is going yet....I like it that way.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baby Quilt for Project Linus DC!

It has been a while since I posted (as usual) but, I sent off my contribution to the 100 Quilts for Kids quilt along yesterday so I had to post something!  It's a simple little quilt, but very comfy.  These cute flannels had been sitting around for a while, one a left over from a project and the other from an abandoned one.  When I saw the info about the 100 Quilts for Kids drive on the DC Modern Quilt Guild's page, I knew what to do with them.

I will be getting better about keeping up with this blog.  Between family visits, work and a broken car, quilting time has been minimum.   Ang and I have a WIP that's starting to take shape and I'd like to share a bit about that soon.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pojagi Curtain

"I don't know whether I like it, but it is what I meant. "
Well, that may be a bit dramatic of a sentiment, but it is close to how I feel.  This project actually came out right in line with what I had envisioned, but now that it is done, well, maybe my vision was flawed.  I don't know, I have keep mulling this one over for a while.  It is not that I'm unhappy about how it turned out, but rather assessing the choices I made in designing it.  For the size of the piece, I think some of the smaller pieces are too small and the smaller color blocks in particular might be more effective if they were larger.  One consideration I had was that I wanted this to let as much light through as possible, so that led to smaller colored blocks.  The purple one really doesn't look as dark in real life as it photographed.  Still, it is a bit out of character with the other.  But, overall, it is what I imagined and I am pleased I was able to create what I imagined and it was fun.  Ain't that the point?  Now, to work on my design skills.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just playin'

So, clearly I'm on this solids kick.
I like to go down to the basement and play.  Pick some colors, start sewing, cutting, see where it takes me.  Right now, since I'm trying to figure this whole quilting thing out and find my way or style of doing it, this is a lot of fun for me.  Just messing around without a lot of expectations or some set pattern to work from. I learn better by just doing stuff, so, I'm trying to just do stuff.

There's not really much to say about this quilt. It was play time.  Playing with colors, shapes, quilting, etc.  The over all shape was dictated by the piecing.  It just kinda happened to fall into this general shape, so I trimmed a bit to hopefully improve the balance. I think my favorite part is the 3 lines of colored thread in the quilting.

Pojagi Curtain Sorta Thingy...

I saw these Pojagi style pieces in BooDilly's (Victoria Gertenbach) Flickr stream and they are fantastic.  You should check them out. (When you're done here of course. In fact, look at ALL of her stuff. She does amazing work, one of my favorites.)  So, anyway, they seemed like a great way to try something new and come out with a curtain for my office window.  I had been stumped as to what to do for that window for months.
Since I'm trying to get the hang of this blogging thing and post about works in progress, things I'm trying, heck, post somewhat regularly...
Here are the beginning stages.

 And, yes, still playing with solids.
You'll see the seams are a bit different. She had a tutorial on a couple of seam options posted on her blog. I'm trying the first option and there's certainly a learning curve, well for me at least.  But, I do like the look of it.  I think part of the trouble I'm having has to do with our machine.  It's a cheapy, low line model that just may not be able to be as precise as I want it to be.  Oh well, the machine works great over all, especially for my skill level and needs.

We'll see how this turns out. I held it up against the window pane earlier today and it is shaping up pretty well. I think it'll be neat.
Regardless, check out BooDilly's blog!

Oh, and leave me a comment or something.....please...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More instant gratification.

As I mentioned a while back, free time had been at a premium.  So, along with the couple of mini quilts I posted, I experimented with a case for my new glasses.
Basically, all I did was make a mini quilt and roll it up.  Too easy.  I'm not going to dare to call this a tutorial for something so simple (especially since I just kinda wing everything), but here are the basic steps:
1. Determine size for your glasses. 
(All I did for this was roll them up in a piece of fabric and measured out what seemed to be right. For mine, it ended up being 6 1/2" h. x 6 1/4' w.)
2. Piece a mini quilt top.
(You see below, I went kinda modern with some solids.) 
3. Before you quilt it, make sure to trim the batting about a 1/4" shy of 3 of the edges. Leave the top edge normal, you'll just bind this one, but trimming the batting back from the others will keep it from bunching up too much when you stitch it together.  ( I thought I was real smart for thinking of this before hand, but Ang told me that's pretty much standard practice for what I was doing...oh well)
4. Bind the top edge.
5. Fold the little quilt right sides together and stitch the bottom, then the side together.
6. Turn it ride side out, and there ya go.
Ang liked mine and asked me to make one for her. Of course, none of that modern stuff for her! "I want mine cute though!" 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Okay, people...

I put a quilt into the Quilting Gallery "Weekly Themed Contests."
This week is "miniatures" and so I sent in my mini "Improv 1" 
(such an artsy name for it, more like lazy).

Anyway, click the "Quilting Gallery" button on the right, go take a peak at the weekly contest and vote for me!  Well, vote for what ever one you like the best, really, it's cool. 
(The last time I put one in, I didn't vote for mine either!)

Voting is Friday through Sunday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sneak Peek!

Okay, here's a sneak peek at something we're working on.  Well, at this point only Ang is working on it, but I will be soon as well.  
I just had to put this up, I'm very proud of her work.  Look at this, it is nowhere near done, but already very cool. 

That tree is one piece. I can't believe she was able to cut it out, let alone applique it on like that.
This section is about 30"x30", so we gotta big one brewing here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Been a long time...

The last month or so has been pretty crazy, not a lot of time for quilting or blogging.  But, things have slowed a bit and I've had a chance to have a little fun in the basement.

Since it had been a while and time was at a premium, I decided to make a couple mini quilts.  I've had some solids laying around that I was wanting to play with, here was my chance.  The pic on the right is an improvisation I did.  Just picked some colors, started cutting and piecing.  Lot of fun!

I really enjoy a lot of the Amish quilts, there's something so appealing about the simplicity of design and their use of colors.  So, in search of some instant gratification, I decided on another mini, this time "Amish-ish."

Working on these mini quilts has been great, I just kinda dive in and see where they go.  I guess that's one of the beauties about not really 'knowing' what you're doing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dog for Luke

A while back I showed a picture of a baby quilt I'd made for some friends. (here's that post, it's the yellow one at the bottom)  Well, I wanted to make sure to do something for their little boy who is about to become a big brother.  He's got a lot of work ahead of him and deserves a little something special in anticipation of the headaches of a little brother!

This is my take on Denyse Schmidt's  Scottie Dog pattern.  Not a bad little project, though I do have to admit, the gusset gave me a hell of time. Ang had to bail me out a couple of times. (Nothing new there though I guess.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Some Gifts

We've made a modest entry in the Quilting Gallery weekly contest again with the quilt on the right.  This is a design called "Simply Charming" by Lori Smith and actually serves as the cover for her book Fat-Quarter Quilting.  (Her version, not ours!)

This and the quilt below, also from Fat-Quarter Quilting, were the first projects Angela and I worked on together.  Since I had picked up her hobby, and was invading her stash anyway, we wanted to try some projects together.  These wall hangings were done as Christmas gifts to each of our sets of parents.  Angela did the applique work and the quilting, I did the piecing and binding.  It turned out to be a great idea, we got to work together, make some special gifts for family and have some fun.

Since these two, we've completed two more together and have another we've just begun.  So, you can imagine our sewing room is a bit crazy with each of our multiple projects in progress, the new one we're working on together, ugh.  Just watch your step and careful where you set that coffee.

Monday, March 21, 2011

So, now what?

Up to this point, our posts, the few that there are, have been about completed works.  I guess we're sort trying to catch the blog up to where we're at now and figure this whole blog thing out too. While we do have some other completed projects we'd like to share, we both have a couple of projects under way so a post about what we're working on now might be in order.

Found this old Singer in a thrift shop a couple of days ago.  It works great and was really cheap!  I even got the cabinet (needs minor repair), the original buttonholer kit and a box full of feet with it. What a kick.
The wiring is old and a bit worn, so it needs to be replaced.  But, other than that, good cleaning and lubricating, it should be good to go.  I've been doing a little homework on fixing these old machines up, but if anyone has any experience with them let us know.

That quilt on the design wall in the background is something Angela is working on.  She did a great job with the applique on the left side and there is another applique panel she's wrapping up that goes on the right.  I don't have the info right here on the designer or source, but we will get back to it.

This... this is one of my messes.
It started from this doodle:

I got this idea for a small, wonky house quilt driving down the street.  So, when I finally parked, I torn a scrap off of something in the glove compartment and made this doodle.  I don't know, we'll see what happens.  The goal is these odd little houses, bright colors (hence the note: Burano It., not to look like Burano, but to remind me bright) and just, I don't know...odd. We'll see where it goes, the fun part is trying to figure it all out.

Just finished:

I wanted to make a baby quilt for some friends, but knew time was going to be at a premium, so I chose this City View pattern from Connecting Threads.  It is a simple design, but I'd always liked it, so here was a chance to use it.  I know this is going to seem like a commercial for Connecting Threads, but so what, I found their "Kit Builder" tool very helpful and kinda fun to use too.  I know it isn't anything revolutionary, but I'm still new at this and I got a kick out it.  So if you haven't played with it, give it a try.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Check this out!

So I see my buddy Drew, of along the doodlescape, this morning and his says "You gotta check out my blog!" Well, I'll be damned if he didn't do a painting based on one of Angela's quilts, "Summer Rain in Bali."

Ok, she just posted on this piece yesterday and by 11pm, Drew had done his. Wow.

You gotta see this!

I think this is just way too neat.  I am very proud of them both.

Like this blog, Drew's is new too. So, look around at his posts and check back in with him. I've been watching him draw and create for a while now, you're going to find some great work on his blog!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Summer Rain in Bali

So, this would be my (Angela) first post. 

I made this quilt sometime during late 2009 - 2010 for a close friend's new house.  Melissa and I have known each other since we were both 14 and living in Sydney, Australia.  I was there for a few years with my family and she had emigrated with hers from Malaysia.  

The inspiration for this came from a stack of Bali batik fabric I got (on sale!) at Hancock's of Paducah.  The image I had when I saw those fabrics laid out on the table was one of gently falling summer rain through a window.  The blue and white are punctuated with flashes of light pink--perhaps the flowers outside.  What you cannot see too clearly from the photo is the stitching, which was done with light blue rayon thread along the vertical seams, to imitate rivulets of water sliding down the window.  The back and border are light denim.  I didn't have a middle layer--this is just supposed to be a summer throw--so technically, I guess it's not a quilt, but I added a sleeve at the top for her to hang, to get the feeling of the image I tried to convey.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Gavin's Squares

I seemed to be drawn to slightly out of whack geometric shapes.  

      As I'm trying to find my own "quilting voice," a lot of the quilts that inspire me, seem to be slightly out of whack geometric shapes.  I really enjoy the work of Denyse Schmidt and you can certainly see the influence of her "What a Bunch of Squares" quilt.

      This was actually made as a gift for some friends who were having a baby. I hesitate to call it a 'baby quilt' because of the style and size (basically a throw).  They were using grays and oranges in the little guy's new room and they have more modern, not flowery-print or basket-block, sensibilities, so I went modern-wonky.  I made it nice and large so that it could be used for him to play on the floor, in the yard, bundled up on the couch with mom, whatever.  

The way the back turned out on this really made me happy.  The simple design here helped the random quilting stand out. 


Thursday, February 3, 2011

A crook.

"Time. Time. What is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. You know what I say? I say time is a crook." 
O'Hara (Peter Lorre) from "Beat the Devil" 1953

In one of the quilting magazines Ang gets, there was a project idea for quilted clocks by Linda Graham.  Of course, I can't remember which magazine it was and can't find it now, but I was smart enough to have bookmarked her blog when I worked this project.  And of course, in my typical fashion, I kinda skimmed the project instructions and then went on my merry way just winging it.

In short, in you design a mini quilt, stretch it over a painting canvas (here a 10"x10"), put the clock works through the middle and there you go. I stitched on some fun beads instead of numbers.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mondrian Mini

So, this weekend I finally got around to doing a project I'd been wanting to for a while now.
Nothing terribly amazing, but it was fun.

Last year, in 1st grade, my daughter's art class discussed different artists and their styles.  One of the artists they talked about and tried to emulate was Piet Mondrian.  She created the work you see here on top.  Seeing as I love anything my daughter does, I enjoy Mondrian's work, and have this new quilting thing going on, I figured what the heck, let's quilt it.

You can see, I tried to copy her work as closely as possible.  Measuring everything out and adding seam allowances, while not that hard, was a great exercise.  Below you can see a bit of my over thinking things...