creative block

(Yes.  Lower case title, just to reclaim some of my quirkiness.)

I recently posted about taking a break from the creative world, from the quilty world, from whatever and while I was gone, I had some to time to think about how I’d gotten to that non-creative place.

irons in a fire

I’d say, for me it was a factor of four: Time, Health, and Mental/Physical Fatigue, as well as a Too Much to Do.  My Dad used to say “Too many irons in the fire put out the flame.”  While a reference to the bars of iron that blacksmiths use, I did have too much going on.

creative block_99U

from here

I was intrigued with the idea of Creative Block, and one article “7 Types of Creative Block and What to Do About Them,” from my favorite place online (99U) discussed this issue, that apparently is a very-much-real thing.  In that piece, I liked the sub-topic of  Work habits that don’t work, as I have been struggling to (re)learn three new computer programs: EQ7 (I learn it, then forget it, and there’s so many hurdles with the design of this software…but then that’s another post), Affinity Photo (to replace Photoshop) and Affinity Designer (to replace Illustrator).  Three more irons in that proverbial fire.

99U’s advice to “[s]tep back and take a good look at how you’re working, and where the pain points are….If you don’t have enough energy, are you working at the right time of day? If you feel paralyzed by freedom, introduce more structure and order into your day. If you feel constrained by routine, find room for improvisation” felt like it was just for me.

I always love the Brain Pickings articles, and the review on a book from Danielle Krysa (Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists) seems to hit some of those stuck spots:

Creative Block_Alex Cornell

Jessica Bell noted that “When I can’t make progress, it is often because I am mentally scattered; this happens when I am overcommitted or have a schedule without any breathing room in it. I have to have a lot of space and quiet in my head to think my best thoughts. An artist I admire told me a few years ago that “you can’t make art in the cracks.” Carving out a block of time devoted to nothing else but the pursuit of new work has never steered me wrong.”

So,  Miss Gasoline Station stepped aside and made space for some creative time.  I’ll be posting a few projects in the next post, but since it’s summer and it’s time to play, it’s good to keep a balance between working and quilting and cooking and playing and family and friends…

Family Reunion_stone house

Eastmond Family Reunion, atop Brian Head Peak (11,000+ feet)

Thanks to all of you who wrote and left comments on my last post.  We headed out that day for a family reunion and I left the keyboard behind, but I read them all and appreciated your encouragement.  I’m slipping back into the creative life, one stitch at a time.

7 Magic MountainsThe block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. –Thomas Carlyle

Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules;
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

–R. L. Sharpe

Giveaway Banner

Because who knows what might spur your creativity, I’ve got some books to give away.  If what I’m giving away (this will go on, erratically, for several posts) tickles your fancy or appeals to you in some way, if you leave a comment, please let me know you’d like to enter the giveaway.  Some of the books are ones I’ve purchased and read, and no longer need; others were publisher giveaways at Quilt Market, and it’s time to pass them on.

Grifka Book1

The first one is Lines by Design by Debbie Grifka, a lovely book on how to make elegant modern quilts.  Good luck!  Giveaway will close in a few days and I’ll contact the winner by email and get it sent out.

 

Red, White, and Blue Star

Welcome to Day 4 of the Patriotic Palette Blog Hop, hosted by Paintbrush Studios and Painter’s Palette Solids!

Red, White, and Blue Star • Quilt #183
25″ square, made from Painter’s Palette Solids

A couple of weeks ago, the fine people who make Painter’s Palette Solids sent me some fabric and asked if I would make something. At the end of this post, there is a giveaway so you can win your own stack of red, white and blue fabrics.

I’m part of a series of posts showing items you can make with just three reds, three blues and some white.  Here is the complete list and the days that they are presenting:

6/23: Jayne of TwiggyandOpal (@twiggyandopal)
6/26: Elizabeth of OPQuilt (@occasionalpiecequilt)
6/30: Cindy Wiens of Live a Colorful Life (@liveacolorfullife)
7/3: Stephanie of Peas in a Pod (@stephiepeterson)

The project I chose was a quick and easy mini-quilt, which finishes at 25″ square, and is perfect for a table top when you want to give a little patriotic flare to the kitchen.  I’ve written up a free pattern, available in my Craftsy shop for download (see button to the right), but the instructions are here if you need any tips and help with construction.

RedWhiteBlueStar_9

RedWhiteBlueStar_2

I was sent fat quarters in three shades of red, three shades of blue and a fat quarter of white.  The white needs special cutting: cut the long borders first (see chart on pattern), then the squares for the half-square triangles.  You may have enough the other way, but do it this way to be safe.  I also was tight on the medium blue, as I used it for the binding, too.  You’ll need to provide your own backing (about 3/4 yard, or pieced scraps).

RedWhiteBlueStar_3

I basically constructed this as a nine-patch, a favorite thing of mine to do with minis. I started by sewing four bright red triangles on the edges of the blue square, then pressed them all away from the center.  I squared this unit to 7 1/2″.  (This quilt is forgiving if yours is slightly smaller.)  I squared all my nine units to the same 7 1/2″ as then I wouldn’t have to square up (or true up, depending on how you refer to it) the finished quilt top.RedWhiteBlueStar_2a

Next was the construction on this corner, sewing the medium and dark red triangles together to make a square, then sewing on the dark blue triangles to make a larger triangle.

RedWhiteBlueStar_2a1

Sew on the medium blue triangle to make it a square; true it up to 7-1/2″ inches.RedWhiteBlueStar_2b

Now make the rest of the blocks: sew the triangles together as shown, then seam those together to make a square.  I always press to the side, if you are wondering.  Only rarely do I press open, so avoid that.

Lay out all your squares (as shown above, left), then sew them together like a nine-patch (upper right).  Measure the square; the sides should measure 21-1/2″.  Trim your long white border rectangles to measure.  Sew the darkest red blocks on each of two of the white rectangle borders.

Sew two white borders: one on top of the quilt and one of the bottom.  Press.  Then sew on the borders with the squares attached; press.  Admire your quilt top.

Let’s get quilting!

Here’s a picture of the quilt in the sunshine, showing my quilting stitches.  I always have the hardest time coming up with what to quilt where; yours may vary.  The “bandstand swag” arcs on the outside were a happy accident.

RedWhiteBlueStar_6

This was all done on my Sweet Sixteen machine, but that functions like a domestic sewing machine. I did do ruler work (which is probably easier on my machine than a domestic) but it can be done on your regular sewing machine.  Just make sure you have a thick enough hopping foot and thick rulers designed for this task (not your cutting rulers!); put grippy stuff on the bottom of your rulers, as you’ll use them to help you move the fabric under your needle.

Happy Fourth of July!

If you haven’t heard me tell you about Painter’s Palette Solids, made by Paintbrush Studio, you must be a new reader.  It is my FAVORITE solid: it’s easy to work with, has a nice hand, deals well when I need to unpick and re-stitch (I had to do that with the quilting, but you can’t see it, right?).  It’s a fairly new fabric to the market, but many brick-and-mortar shops, as well as online shops, are starting to carry it.

Giveaway Banner

Patriotic Bundle June 2017

from here

As is my custom when sewing for Painter’s Palette, I give away my scraps when I finish a project, so that some fortunate quilter can give this fabric a try.  BUT!  Paintbrush Studios has generously offered up a stack of the fabrics I used in this quilt — seven fat quarters — so you can make your own (giveaway is for domestic/US only).

To enter, leave me a comment telling me if you like fireworks, and why (or your most memorable).  I’m not talking the little things that are lit up down on street level, but those glorious bursting displays of color and light.  It will get us all in the mood for Independence Day.

Giveaway picking a winnerI’ll activate the Husband Random Number Generator and pick a winner, to be contacted by email.

Giveaway closed.  
Winner has been notified and will be announced in next post.  Thank you all!

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Guccilious Scraps Head into the World

Paintbrush Studio Solids_lineup

As promised, the scraps from my Guccilious quilt need to go out into the world, for others to enjoy this fabric and this particular range of colors.  And although this bundle accumulated quite a few votes in the March Madness 2017 (thank you very much!), Christine’s bundle of blues and yellows won (I voted again today…and for hers!).

Paint Chips Painter's Palette Solids

I think someone might like to see all the range of colors, so I’m also giving away two Paintbrush Studios Paint Chips, which includes every color you see below.  No, I’m not giving away the card, just the double-pack of two Paint Chips that have every color, as shown above.

Paintbrush Studios Colors_chart

Giveaway Banner

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.  THANKS TO ALL WHO LEFT A COMMENT.  RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW.  Leave me a comment below, telling me which one you’d like to win–the scraps or the double pack of Paint Chips–and after a few days, I’ll close off the giveaway and send out the fun!  Thanks for entering!

March Madness with Painter’s Palette Solids

Today is the day we announce the Mad for Solids 2017, our quilty version of March Madness (we can’t let the basketball players have all the fun, can we?)  There are 16 quilters who have chosen sixteen different combinations of fabrics, and we’ve been placed in a bracket of games:

I’m in Game 1–which is Monday. Yeah, I won’t really be challenging my opponent to a game of basketball in my driveway.  Instead we will post info about our bundle of colors and you’ll choose the winner in each match-up.  If you like hers better than mine, that’s fine–the point is to play and have some fun.

And what’s in it for you, other than a chance to see a lot of fabulous colors from the Paintbrush Studios line of solids?  Paintbrush Studios will draw two people at the end of the contest during the championship game to win a bundle of their favorite fabric. You’ll love wanting to get your hands on this fabulous fabric.  Click *HERE* to see the line-up of beautiful bundles of fabrics. (UPDATE–I fixed the link.)
March Madness_1colornames

And now, I’d like to introduce: Guccilicious!

Yes, I chose my colors for my bundle after looking at the clothes in the Gucci Designer Collection.  The Fall Paris Fashion Shows are always held in Spring, and since I’ve had some down time for reading, I looked at several collections.  The clothes are not what caught my eye in Gucci’s collection–it was the colors!

I went to my color chart, and started narrowing it down to the colors shown above. I tried to capture the essence of Gucci’s colors with my eight allowed choices.

So come back Monday to get a look at what I made with my colors, and to get the link where to vote for my bundle.  When this is all over with in a week or two, no matter if I win or not, I’ll have a drawing for someone to win a fat-eighth bundle of my colors (essentially–my scraps) so you can have some Guccilicious, too!  I’ve deactivated comments on this blog post, and will do the same on Monday’s post (so it won’t be confusing where to vote for my bundle), but I’ll let you know when I run the giveaway for my bundle.

See you Monday!

March Madness Coming

pbstudios_2

I have been working with Painter’s Palette Solids for nearly two years now in various capacities (quilt designer, mostly) and I love these fabrics not only for their wide range of colors, but also for the hand–or how it feels. They are made by Paintbrush Studios. pbstudios_1

I was contacted by them to help them with their launch of the fabrics, to make them a quilt for Quilt Market announcing these solids.  I designed a quilt, sent off my fabrics request and started working.  I fell in love with the saturation of color, the fine thread count–but not so much that it’s too lightweight, like a batiste (which wrinkles terribly)–but enough that it was easy-to-work with, to cut and to sew.

StarryCompassRose_frontStarryCompassRose_booth3

And since I was sewing for someone else and I was hyper-vigilant about matching the seams, etc., it also held up while I ripped out and resewed seams, without showing cloth fatigue or looking used.  I was amazed at this new line of solids and have been working with them for a while now, waiting as they rolled out their fabrics for sale across the United States.

QMarket3_FocusAnd now again, I get another chance to play with my beloved Painters Palette Solids!  They are running a March Madness contest, starting Friday, and at the end of the contest, they will draw two winners to win free fabric…and I hope one of them is you.

Focus_front

More details are coming on Friday (3/24), with voting in brackets (just like the real March Madness) beginning on Monday, March 27th.  I’ll have a bundle of colors that will go up against other quilters with their bundles of colors.  Vote for the one you like the best in the categories, and send your favorites to the top (I like mine, but it’s also great if you like someone else’s too).

March Madness 2017 button

So, play March Madness Mad for Solids and vote for your favorite bundles.  See you Friday.