My Window Box


The Birth of a QAL

Window Box is the quilt that started the ball rolling for our current Mystery QAL. Tracy at It’s A T-Sweets Day read my initial post and fell in love with the QAL idea. Together we designed and implemented a new QAL. The rest is history.

A Little Background

My quilt began its journey darn near twenty-one months ago. That’s probably not too unusual for most quilts. Works of Art take time and I think this quilt certainly falls under that definition.

Back in June of 2016 I went on a shopping adventure with a group of ladies. Purchased by each of us was a piece of this fabric.

Challenge Fabric
Challenge Fabric

Jointly we decided to challenge ourselves to create a project using the fabric. The goal was to finish our piece, then gather again in six months for show and tell. Sadly the meeting never took place. In fact, I don’t even know if my traveling companions made something with their fabric.

My Commitment

I was determined to follow-through on my commitment. I searched my quilting books looking for a suitable pattern until I found the Window Box in a publication called Color Shuffle: New Quilts from Karla Alexander.

Getting Started

With my pattern selected it was time to pull fabrics. From my stash I found an abundance of possible candidates. After narrowing down my options I got to work slicing and shuffling, then stitching them together.

The process from piles of fabric to finished quilt top took six months.

I finished the top while on a sewing retreat during the summer of 2017. The completed top waited patiently to be quilted until mid December.

The Finished Quilt

I had so much fun when I finally had the opportunity to quilt it. Using a brightly colored, variegated thread I stitched a straight-line geometric pattern.

I’m so thrilled to reveal my quilt. Please enjoy the following photos.

Window-Box-Quilt
Window Box Quilt
Window-Box-Closeup-1
Window Box Closeup # 1
Window-Box-Closeup-2
Window Box Closeup # 2
Window-Box-Closeup-3
Window Box Closeup # 3
Window-Box-Closeup-4
Window Box Closeup # 4
Window-Box-Quilt-Backing
Window Box Quilt Backing & Label

As you can tell by the volume of photos I am head-over-heals in love with my quilt. I’m so glad I decided to use the fabric color combinations that I chose. I’m also very, very thrilled with the quilting. I just can’t say enough about how pleased I am with the finished product.

The Inspiration

How cool that this Window Box quilt has been the inspiration for another QAL. Even more exciting is the fact that I am not the only one participating and actually making something this time. 🙂

On to the next reveal!

Thank You!

Thank You so much for sharing your time with me! I always look forward to our visits. Talk with you soon!

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Quilt Retreat Day Nine


I’ve been on a private sewing retreat for the past eight days. Over those eight days I have shared the events that made my time meaningful.  As much as I would like to stay longer, by day nine I have to admit that I have expended every ounce of energy. My tank is absolutely empty. So empty it is challenging to go through the motions of packing and cleaning the cabin. When all was finished, I turned the key in the cabin’s lock one last time, then grabbed Sadie and climbed inside the truck. Together the two of us are heading south for our long trip home.

This has been an absolutely amazing adventure. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity. Much has been accomplished but, for the majority of my projects, the adventure has just begun. Stay connected to watch the progress I make as I bring each of these items, as well as many, many more to completion. Shown below are photos of some of the projects I worked on.

Thank you for supporting my work through your likes and comments. Your continued interest is what makes this blog worthwhile. Links to all of my quilting retreat installments are listed below. Use them to catch-up on the ones you may have missed.

Cindy Anderson

Quilt Retreat Day Eight


Welcome!

My nine day private quilt retreat is almost over and it has been a busy one. Every available minute has been spent sewing or entertaining my furry companion, Sadie. If you are joining us for the first time or you have missed a day or two you will find links to the other days at the bottom of this post. Let’s see how productive day eight was.

Day Eight

Yawn!

Sadie and I were a bit slow at getting out of bed this morning. Of course that’s no surprise when you don’t retire until midnight. This was day eight of nine. With this adventure rapidly drawing to a close there was little time to waste so getting down to business was imperative.

My Goal

My number one priority was to finish the Teacup quilt and I’m proud to say I met that goal. After conquering that milestone I moved on to an improv piece. This one originated by accident. While pulling scraps for another project this grouping came together.

Option Two

I’d been keeping an eye on them all week daydreaming about their future.

I had a wonderful time adding to, subtracting from, slicing away, stitching and reattaching pieces to this small art quilt. The end result was miles away from the original grouping. My intentions are to fuse this art piece to a background of black fabric, then add further interest through quilting. This is my new improv art piece. I have name it Art Quilt # 22: Crossroads.

Art Quilt # 22: Crossroads
Art Quilt # 22: Crossroads

It may not seem like I accomplished much today since the only item I worked on was this one quilt. I must remind you though that creating art quilts without a pattern is way more labor intensive and thought provoking. There’s no mapped out plan to follow. Instead it’s loads of trial and error. In many cases way more error.

Tomorrow is my final day at my little cabin in the woods. The day will be filled with packing, cleaning and, if I’m lucky, a little bit of sewing.

Thank You!

I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have had sharing them! This has been quite the adventure. Thank you for making it all worth while! If you missed reading any of the other posts you will find links to them here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, and Day Seven. If you are not currently a follower, why not join in! To become a follower simply enter your email address in the space provided. Thanks for the opportunity!

Cindy Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilt Retreat Day Seven


Welcome! We are about to start day seven in this nine day adventure. Over the last six posts I’ve been sharing the journey my dog Sadie and I have been taking. We are here, at my little cabin in the woods (LCITW), for a break from everyday life. The goal is to immerse ourselves in the north woods while sewing up a storm. If you have just joined us, you may catch up by following the links at the bottom of this post. Time now to get day seven rolling.

Day Seven

What an awesome change! It didn’t rain last night! This meant Sadie slept peacefully and so did I. Yippee! The clouds have thankfully moved on and the sky is once again a beautiful blue. Nothing like a ray of sunshine to brighten your day!

Before starting my sewing I took time to look at the pile of projects I’ve made during my stay here at my LCITW. I was so impressed–so happy! How wonderful to see completed items rather than stacks of unused fabrics.

A Little Detour

You know how I said yesterday that I was going to start my day sewing on an improv project–well you probably won’t be surprised when I confess that I took a slight detour. Before sitting down to begin I thought I would browse through my tub of projects to see which ones were left. Inside were three items. The first was a kit I bought several years ago from a fabric store that is no longer in business. The pattern is called Lulu’s Garden.

LuLus Garden Quilt Pattern.jpg

The second gem is a pattern from Missouri Star’s Fall Vol, Issue 5, Block magazine. The quilt is called Teacup. I would like to share a photo from the book but I don’t want to infringe on any copyright laws. You will either have to wait until I have mine assembled or follow the link above if you would like to see how it looks.

Teacup Quilt Pattern.jpg

The third little critter is also a kit. Do you detect a theme here? I saw this quilt already assembled and hanging in yet another fabric store. The real reason why I bought the kit is because of the bird fabric. I searched all over the store for the bolt but couldn’t find it. Come to find out it was only available via the kit. I’m really very fond of the other fabrics as well but not so much the quilt pattern they were intended for. Whether or not I will stray and use the fabrics in another way I haven’t decided.

Bird Fabric Quilt.jpg

Which One?

So those were my three options. Want to know which one I chose? The project that led me to establish a new game plan was the Teacup Quilt.

I won’t bore you with all the details but I will share a photo when the quilt top is finished. If you should decide to make this quilt I want to make you aware of a mistake in the pattern. The pattern calls for one package of pre-cut 10″ squares. It should read two. I didn’t realize this until I had my blocks assembled and was in the process of arranging them. If the fabrics I chose were still available I would have purchased more to make the additional blocks. Unfortunately the fabrics are no longer available.

Before Sadie and I turned off the lights I managed to even get the first border added and the fabric strips for the second one cut. By then it was darn near midnight–well past a reasonable bedtime. But who cares!

Catching Up

I mentioned earlier that I would share links to the previous posts. You may find them here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, and Day Six.

Thank You

I am so thankful you have chosen to pay a visit. To those that follow my blog on a regular basis I would like to say “THANK YOU!”  A blog without followers would be a waste of time! If you have enjoyed reading my post and are not currently a follower, why not become one. Just enter your email address in the space provided.

I look forward to your return visit!

Cindy Anderson

 

Quilt Retreat Day Six


Another Day

Gosh the time goes so fast! I can’t believe I’m ready to start my sixth day at my LCITW (little cabin in the woods). We had storms forecast for our area again last night. They predicted two waves. One was to occur somewhere between 10:00-11:00 pm and the second was due to roll-in around 2:30-3:00 am. Storms make Sadie, my five year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, very nervous. She has anti-anxiety meds that I can give her to help calm her down. I knew the medication would really help her out but wouldn’t last long enough for both rounds. To help minimize her stress I chose to stay up and work on projects until the first set of storms had rolled on by. Sadie kept a close eye on me as I moved from my sewing machine to ironing board to cutting table and back again.

Progress Is Slow

Making improv blocks definitely is a much slower process than blocks made using a pattern. Especially if I’m struggling with my approval of the block. I’ve been working on re-purposing a set of blocks I received through a block swap and the process has been incredibly slow. Sometimes I think their reincarnation may not be worth all this effort. About the time I’m ready to throw-in-the-towel I look at the block from a new perspective and voila, I’m back in business.

A Final Chance

The block I tried to salvage tonight had elements that were appealing. If it were not for those factors I probably would not have taken another stab at saving it. As my evening progressed I made cuts here and there while also adding strips of new fabric. All of the expended energy was suppose to bring about a pleasant outcome. Things don’t always go as planned though.

As my frustration increased I decided to call it a night. Just before turning off the lights I made one last effort to pull together fabrics that just might save my block from the recycle bin. This is a photo of the block with the new potential addition. Hopefully it will breathe new life into it.

A Touch of Red.jpg

Stranger things have happened!

Possibilities

While pulling fabrics to audition with the block I stumbled upon a couple of combinations that just might lead to new artwork. Here’s photos of the two possibilities.

Option One.jpg

 

Option Two.jpg

Time to move on from this recap and start making new memories.

Rescue?

I’m not usually a quitter but the block I ended my day with yesterday proved to be a challenge. There were many small segments that really appealed to me and so many others that made me want to gag. I really didn’t want to admit defeat but this block was testing my patience. I set the block on my cutting mat, reached for my rotary cutter and began hacking away.

One of the many ideas I learned during the class with Rayna Gillman (I talked about her class in yesterday’s post) is her philosophy on ugly blocks. She impressed upon us that there is almost no block that can’t be rescued. If you can’t seem to make peace with it, grab your rotary cutter, and slice your block into segments. Using those segments as your new building blocks, begin the process all over again by adding new fabrics, new colors. It’s a clean slate.

Clean Slate

I definitely had a clean slate. Do you remember the fabric strip I had pulled to audition as a possible addition to this block? Using the red strip I added it in multiple areas. But, even after making those additions I wasn’t satisfied. I had big hopes for the red because I really liked the design and texture. Oh well, on to the next!

Chosen for my second color was a lime green. Lime green falls into my favorites category, when it comes to classifying colors. The green was chosen because it was already represented in one of the other fabrics. Rayna told us to make certain the colors we used were represented in multiple areas of the art piece. This practice helps to keep your eye moving about the quilt.

Now What?

After adding the green I was really disappointed. The green seemed to draw all of my attention. It was screaming, “look at me, look at me!” (Insert BIG sigh!) Okay! Now What? Well, I figured I needed to add something that would drastically tone-down the screaming green. What could be more opposite from the green than black?

I rummaged through the tub of fabrics I had brought looking for a piece of black. At the very bottom was a generous sized piece. I laid the black on my cutting board then set my stubborn block on top. The transformation was amazing. The black really made my block seem quieter–more pleasing to the eye.

I cut several strips of the black and inserted them in strategic places then stood back to survey my new item. For some reason I also decided to investigate how the piece looked on the backside. The colors were definitely more subdued and the texture created by the multiple layers of fabric had an organic or earthy feeling (insert aha! moment). Hmmmmm…what if?

What If?

What if I designated the back as my new right side, or top? I enlisted the assistance of my camera and phone to take photos. I flipped back and forth between the two sets of photos trying to decide which one was more appealing. The earthy, much more interesting side is the one I chose. Finally I had an art piece that I could fall in love with!

I added additional black strips around my block forming a frame. Some of the strips still have the fringed edges that were there when I purchased the fabric. I decided to leave them because I thought it added more texture, more character.

Tada!

So there you have it! My new art piece. I can’t wait to quilt it. Below are a few photos of my new piece. I’m calling it Art Quilt # 21: Backwards.

Backwards with Lime Green Added.jpg

After adding lime green

Backwards with Added Black Fabric.jpg

After adding black strips

A View of Backwards From the Back

A view from the back

Backwards Ready for Quilting
Art Quilt # 21: Backwards

Backwards with added outer border

What’s Next?

Do I continue rehabbing the leftover ugly block swap squares? Do I work on the three kits I purchased to make pillow cases for my granddaughters? Or, do I start a brand new improv project?

Pillow Cases

To give my artistic side a break I chose the pillow cases. The pillow case kits were purchased from a local quilt shop. I got the pattern years earlier from another shop. It’s been a while since I made one and I know the directions are poorly written. Let’s see if I can read-between-the-lines.

The first pillow case proved to be a challenge. Reading between-the-lines didn’t work too well. I ended up having to take most of the stitching out because the pillow case didn’t go together correctly. After reassembling the three pieces, this time in a different order, and stitching it once again, I was able to successfully finish. Before proceeding with the other two cases I made notes on the pattern, filling in where the author left off. The other two cases went together perfectly. Here’s a photo of all three.

Pillow Cases.jpg

I’m Done!

It’s been a very productive day and I am very, very pleased with all I was able to accomplish. Tomorrow’s another day. Time to turn out the lights. Before I do I would like to thank you for sticking with me to the very end. I know this was a terribly long post but I had so much to share. I hope you enjoyed following along on my journey.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series and read the other segments you will find them here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five.

You are the reason my blog is successful. Without your interest and participation my efforts would all be wasted. If you would like to stay in touch and receive future posts signup to receive updates via email. I know you will not be disappointed.

Go and create your own art piece!

Cindy Anderson