Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: A Quilt Retrospective, Part 2

Now to continue on with Part 2 of my quilt retrospective for this past year.

#15 Sew Berry Sweet mini

I made this mini for the IG #thestrawberryswap. This is a good example of how sometimes making it up as you go along just doesn't work. I used a mixture of techniques on this quilt and I really did not like the end result. I ended up making a redo quilt and sending both to my partner.

#16 Treasure Map baby quilt

This was a simple baby quilt for some childhood friends. Austin and Staci wanted a pirate theme for their little boy and we all fell in love with the Riley Blake Treasure Map line. I bordered the panel with simple rail fence blocks. The panel is outline quilted and the border is stippled.

#17 Strawberry Swap Redo mini

I found this free pattern, Banner Days Mini Quilt by Stitch Supply Co. and thought it was perfect for my redo. I left out the bottom and right sided borders by accident, but it still works. I quilted horizontal lines of alternating hearts and strawberries. I was finally happy with my swap offerings and my partner loved it too!

#18 Hardcore Quilting 

This is, by far, my favorite thing I've ever made. Somewhere along the way this year I discovered the Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild. We were issued a challenge to take a traditional quilt pattern and make it modern. I chose a 1930's Art Deco pattern called Cleopatra's Fan. As luck would have it, Robert Kaufman had just released a free pattern to go with a quilt showing in their booth at market. I downloaded it, traced out the pattern on template plastic, and got started. I was INSANELY nervous about this quilt because the pattern was labeled "Advanced Expert" and I was an Advanced Beginner, at best. I plugged away and finally got my base fans completed. The knucks design is one I initially saw on IG months prior to thinking about this quilt, then again in a Google search. I could not find a source for the original artist. The fists are raw edge applique, white on black on base. The thick line of the letters are also black raw edge applique. All of the hand detail and the stems of the letters are free motion embroidery/quilting. I kept this project secret until the reveal at FWMQG. I'm super proud to say that there was an audible gasp in the room when I presented my quilt. I feel like this truly exemplifies who I am as a quilt artist.

#19 Cherry Mini

 This is another swap creation made for the #verycherryswap on IG. I improv pieced low volume fabrics for the background. Then did my fabric architecture thing to build the cherries. The cherries are raw edge applique. I like the way they pop over the more traditional crosshatch quilting design. I based this design off of a beautiful watercolor I once saw online somewhere....Etsy maybe?

#20 Blume Family Quilt

One of my previous quilts ended up being a prop in my friend's family photo session. The photographer liked it so much that she wanted me to create something for her family. We worked out a trade where I created a quilt for her and she will doing family portraits for us in the new year. I can't say that this is my design. I saw a picture of a barn quilt painting that featured this particular star. I did do all of the quilt math myself though. This is quilted with a boxy corner stipple (I totally just made up that name) and features the Blume kiddos names in two of the star points.

#21 Solar System Fundraiser Quilt

This is another one of those times where I just couldn't resist a cute panel. I used P&B textiles space fabric to create this fun quilt. We donated the quilt to Ro's class to include in the basket they would raffle off at the Fall Carnival as a fundraiser for the PTA. I don't know who ended up with the basket in the end, but I hope the quilt gets lots of love and use.

#22 Mark Lambert's 10th Doctor

I have been fortunate enough to win some cool IG giveaways this year. As a thank you I hosted one of my own. I asked people to tell me about their favorite nerdom and chose a winner to receive a custom mini quilt based on their picks. I chose two winners and this is my first creation (I'm still working on the second). @thesplendidstarling told me she loved Doctor Who and that the 10th Doctor was her absolute favorite. I had seen a series of graphic art designs of the modern Doctors by UK based artist Mark Lambert and fallen in love with their simplicity. I recreated his image and added some of my characteristic wonky piecing. I'm really happy with the result. The improv piecing both provides a base for and competes with the fluid lines of the Doctor's silhouette. There is chaos behind the calm facade and I think that represents who the Doctor is pretty well.

#23 The #epicbabyquilt

I don't have a single picture of this quilt (finished) that doesn't have EB in it. One of my best childhood friends asked me to create something for her new daughter. Morgan is a phenomenal tattoo artist (and owner of Classic Tattoo in San Marcos, TX) and has a very definite style. She requested southwestern reds, blues and yellows for her little girl's quilt. The design is another barn quilt that I adapted to my needs.  I'm seriously considering writing up the pattern this next year and posting here on the blog because it was just a dynamic and easy quilt to make.

#24 Vashta Nerada mini

In 2014 I organized my own Instagram swap for the first time. #makeadalekmakeafriend started out as a joke referenceing the Schnitzel and Boo swap in a conversation I had with fellow Whovians on IG. Eventually we decided that a Doctor Who themed craft swap was a brilliant idea and made our little joke a reality. My partner was Jessee from over at Art School Dropout (I'm totally using her photo up there). She is super nerdy, super crafty, and has a killer, awe-inspiring collection of geek stuffs. I knew I was going to have to bring my A game with her package. My inspiration was the Silence in the Library episode where the 10th Doctor first meets River Song and saves her from the Vashta Nerada. I used glow in the dark thread and free motion quilted "Who turned out the lights?" over and over on the base of the quilt. The astronauts helmet is all free motion embroidery that has been raw edge appliqued to the quilt.
I used 4 different colors of grey to free motion the floating skull, then highlighted it with one line of the glow in the dark thread. I think the end result is satisfyingly creepy. Don't forget to count the shadows. 

#25 Liberty Jane mini

I'm really sad that I don't have a better picture of this quilt. I made this for a Jane Austen themed swap. I finally cut into my store of Liberty of London that I won from Duckadilly Fabrics. I made Liberty and linen nine patches, designed the central embroidered monogram, pieced it all together, then hand quilted it with variegated perle cotton. I'm very proud of this piece and my husband has suggested that I recreate the embroidered monogram on a piece for our home :)

#26 Woodland Friends/Psychedelic Mushrooms

This is essentially a redo of my Boy Squared quilt made for a coworker's niece. She likes to call it the Psychedelic Mushroom quilt because I doodle quilted mushrooms and hearts into the quilt. 

#27 Handmade Modern

I'm really proud of this quilt. Here I experimented with hand painting my own fabric with watercolors. I improv pieced the painted fabric together with Essex linen in black. The quilting is color full match stick that complements the separate design elements. I enjoyed the experiment of using lots of different techniques and I couldn't be happier with the end result. 

On a side note, I don't know that I would recommend using watercolor for all your quilt painting. It works here because I wanted soft colors and I don't anticipate the mini ever being washed. I plan on trying out some other ideas for fabric painting and I'll blog my results at that time.

#28 Texture Quilt

In January I found a tutorial for a quilt sampler that explored texture in fabric by TeresaDownUnder. I resolved to make that my year-long project. As the weeks progressed I realized that, though I loved the quilt design, I did not love the color scheme and abandoned the project. I picked it up again last week and decided to turn it into a wall hanging. I took my favorite blocks of all that I had completed and made this mini quilt. The border fabrics are densely quilted with tiny stippling so that the central texture design draws the eye. I think I would still like to make this quilt in it's entirety; maybe in blues and greens instead of the grey/red/aqua combo.

So, that's it. My quilt-year in review is complete. I've made a mountain of mistakes, grown my skills, defined my aesthetic, made lasting crafty friendships, and created tons of quilty goodness. I can only hope that 2015 treats me half as well. 

2014: A Quilt Retrospective, Part 1

I love this time of the year. It's a time of endings and new beginnings; a time to reflect on all that you've accomplished and the things you hope to start. It's a time to complete old lists and set new goals.

This particular new year marks the completion of my first calendar year as a quilter. Over the past few days I've been looking back over my social media pages and reflecting on what I managed to create in 2014. I thought I had done a really great job of keeping a mental running tally of my work (I thought I had made 18 quilts) but in reality I was WAY off. I made 28 quilts in 2014; 14 mini quilts and 14 usable quilts. I managed to get at least one picture of each quilt. I'll be sharing those and a little blurb about each quilt over the next two blog posts. I hope you'll enjoy looking back with me.

#1 Green Jay 

This marked my first step in what I like to call fabric architecture. My oldest daughter loves to bird watch. We spend hours looking through birding books and walking the parks to see what we can see. We still haven't seen a green jay in the wild, but we'll always have this one on our walls.

#2 Girl Star and #3 Boy Squared

These two quilts were made for my brother and sister-in-law's gender reveal party.

We found out that Norah Jane would join us mid-summer! Mom and Dad both love the quilt and our little girl looks so beautiful snuggled up in it. The boy quilt was then personalized and given to a co-worker for her new son.

#4 Sailboat Quilt 
 This quilt is the first that I designed myself. I don't think I could have made it any more difficult for myself. That quilt block IS NOT paper pieced. It took forever and the finished quilt top was seriously wonky, but it turned out super cute and the sweet little one it belongs to loves it as is.

Just in case you're wondering, that pattern got tossed and will not be revisited. :)

#5 Hunter's Star

This quilt started in an effort to try to love my job again. In January my ER moved into a new building. We more than doubled our capacity and to walk from one end to the other is to walk the length of a football field. We had to create and recreate new process in order to function in our giant new space. On top of that we had a critical increase in census and a major turnover in staff. I was very unhappy at work and contemplated quitting almost daily. After being in our new building for almost 3 months, we started making preparations for ED Doctor's Day. I decided I would make a quilt that would be given away to one of our ED physicians as a Thank You for all the work they do. I hated almost everything about this quilt. I hated the fabric (it was given to me), I hated the pattern (in reality it was too advanced for me at the time), I hated how time consuming it was. It was a perfect match to my unhappiness at work. Then, one day it was finally finished. Dr. Chase received the quilt in the drawing and was very appreciative. He shared some memories of his mother and grandmother quilting with me and I could see that my efforts had touched him. And just like that, my feelings about the quilt changed. My feelings about work took a little more time and effort, but I'm not near as unhappy as I was in March.

#6 Flower Baby Quilt

This was a quick baby quilt for a coworker. I used a panel and some of the line coordinates and used free motion quilting to make the designs really pop. I loved these bright colors. This quilt was started and finished in under two days.

#7 Little Apples Baby Quilt

I had several charm packs of Aneela Hoey's Little Apples and made this large baby quilt for a coworker. This is the quilt where I fell in love with simple doodle quilting. 

#8 Honor the Texas Flag

I made this mini quilt for a fellow member of the #hive7eleven of the #moderninstabee2014 group on Instagram. She is a native Texan living in Florida who loves quilting. When the idea for this mini came to me, I knew immediately that I would send it to her. I'm proud to say that she loves it!

#9 Abby and Boyfriend's Wedding Quilt

When Ro was little we found the world's best babysitter. Miss Abby was a TCU student who worked in the church nursery and dated an awesome man that Ro called Boyfriend. Miss Abby became our as needed nanny after EB was born. Now Miss Abby is all grown up with a real life job and doesn't babysit anymore. However, she and Boyfriend remain close to the girls (they arrange play dates with them, so cute). Abby asked the girls to be the flower girls in her wedding and they were both thrilled (she even made their dresses!!). In a nod to her fun modern style and TCU purple, I made her this quilt as a wedding gift:

#10 Edit mini

This was also made for a bee mate who happens to be an editor. I used the scraps from Abby and Boyfriend's wedding quilt and improv pieced this together. This was my first attempt at echo quilting.

#11 EB's Quilt

 This quilt was a "make it up as you go along" design for my youngest daughter's bed. I love the juxtaposition of bright, modern fabrics with a traditional design. I also did some more free motion doodle quilting. I loved watching EB discover all the flowers and butterflies in the quilting and point them out to Daddy.

#12 Barthomeow's Baby Quilt

This quilt was made for a college fraternity friend for his first son. I used a free Fat Quarter Shop pattern and quilted varying sizes of simple waves across it.

#13 Sabrina's Advice mini
This mini quilt was made for my very first swap, Round 2 of the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap. I'm sad to say I never heard from my partner but I had a great outpouring of support for my work on Instagram. I love the movie Sabrina and she says "Paris is always a good idea". I took that idea and created this mini.

The base is all low-volume squares with random line quilting. I used raw-edge applique for the fleur-de-lis, Eiffel Tower, and bunting, then free motion quilted the words and bunting cord.

#14 Scrap Mini Mini

This tiny mini started as an exercise to see what I could create with the scraps on the table in one evening. It's improv pieced and the very first thing I ever matchstick quilted.

That's it for Part 1 of my Quilt Retrospective. I'm enjoying looking back at my work from this year and remember why and how they were made. I hope to get Part 2 completed tonight and posted no later than tomorrow. I hope to see you soon!

Rae :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The latest Blog Hop post EVER.

I'm finally getting around to completing my Around the World Blog Hop post. If you haven't been keeping up, and let's face it...this blog is very new so I'm about the only person keeping up :) Holly over at Holly Gets Quilty asked me to participate, then my gallbladder decided to revolt and my life ground to a halt for about a week. I'm feeling MUCH better now and ready to move on. Here we go!!

1.What am I working on?

"What am I not working on/" might be a better question. I have an endless number of WIPs, it seems.

See? This is just a small assortment of my WIPs laid out on the work table. Here's a quick run down ranked by how long I've been working (or not working) on the project:

1. Beatles Yellow Submarine art quilt
2. In From the Cold Christmas quilt
3. Texture sampler quilt
4. Rowan's charmed granny square quilt
5. Forest friends baby quilt
6. Black and White Triple Star quilt by ModernInstaBee Hive 16 members
7. Stefanie's wedding quilt (holy crap, that wedding is TOMORROW!!)
8. Space baby quilt
9. Split strip wall quilt
10. 100 quilted 9-patch ornaments
11. #igminiswap quilt
12. #makeadalekmakeafriend quilt
13.  Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival quilt block
14. #fortheloveofjaneswap quilt

I've been busting through the to-do list over the past few days, so hopefully my WIP pile starts shrinking soon.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That's a really hard question. Does my work differ from others in its genre? Maybe. I'm so new to the quilting/art quilting world that I don't have a good working knowledge of what's out there.  I've been sewing for a little over a year. In that time I've made some freaking awesome things (some of my favorites pictured below). I've also made some really terrible things (those pictures don't see the light of day!!)

I only know what I love. I really love improv quilting. I love the look and feel of raw-edge applique. I like mixing design elements like improv piecing (#slashandsew), raw-edge applique, free motion embroidery/quilting together in one piece. I like really modern subject matter for my quilts. I LOVE creating nerdy themed items.  I like the look of bold text, either on fabric or as a stand-alone design element. I like bright, saturated colors against a low-volume or muted background. I love texture, either in the weave of the fabric or as a result of layering fabric to create a picture (something I like to call fabric architecture).  

I like for it to feel hand made and to celebrate imperfections. You'll probably never see my work win any quilt show awards. My work is all about the process and loving the finished product....NOT having perfectly matched points. My personal quilting motto is Embrace the Wonky!

 I want my work to tell a story, to evoke specific emotions, or bring to mind cherished memories. 

3. Why do I create what I do?

The short answer is Love. I create things that I love.

See that happy face? That's how I want to feel when I create things.

I've made exactly two quilts that I hated. They looked beautiful and the recipients loved them but I hated them. They just didn't speak to me on any level. I hated every step of the process and I resented every minute I put into those projects. After those experiences, I decided that I would have complete creative reign over all of my work, even if I'm working on a commission. I simply refuse to work on anything I don't love. This is my hobby. I have a real life career as a nurse that I'm freaking good at. Quilting and creating are the things I do for fun. I don't want to slave away at something that's not fun during my hobby time. 

4. How does my creative process work?

That really depends on the project. Sometimes I just throw some fabric on the cutting mat and start cutting and sewing with no real direction. Other times I spend LOTS of time thinking about where I want to end up. I carry around a mixed media paper notebook that I can draw or paint in so that I can record ideas as inspiration strikes.

Inspiration comes from everywhere.  I love drawing ideas from graphic designs, traditional and modern fine art, sculpture, etc. I enjoy spending time in nature and I find color inspiration there. My favorite movies, music and video games also provide a jumping off point for quilt ideas. I very rarely look to other quilts for inspiration. I think that if we use other quilts as our design basis it all starts to look the same. 

I love to doodle. Though my drawing ability is marginal, I find that some of my favorite projects originated in a drawing. I will doodle on scrap pieces of paper, then transfer it to my notebook, paint it, and eventually translate it into fabric.

Speaking of fabric, that's a really fun part of the process. I like to run my hands over the fabric and feel its texture. I pull together color stories and sit them in the window for a few days to see if I love the way they look in different kinds of light. I like to play with scale and value and contrast. 

Unless I am working with a specific pattern, I don't really measure when I cut. I do however make sure I use good piecing technique. Modern quilting doesn't mean it's not quality quilting. Also, it should be noted that Wonky and Poor Technique are NOT the same things. Those 1/4 inch seams are important y'all.

My quilting tends to be simple and graphic. I don't do lots of swirls and feathers. I like simple, doodle-like quilting, asymmetry, and easy back ground repeats that make the central design pop.  

And that's it for the Blog Hop questions. Thank you for letting me share a little about the what, why, and how of my creations. It was fun attempting to put my process into words and I just may have gained a deeper understanding of my own art in the process.

As I fell out of rotation due to illness, I don't know that I can still nominate bloggers to continue to blog hop. I will, however, link you guys up to some people whose work I genuinely admire.

Kristi over at Schnitzel & Boo is a legend. I love her creations and her ideas about what makes for great crafting. Her #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap was the first swap I ever participated in and I believe it made me a better quilter.

Nick is the mastermind behind Quilts From the Attic. He makes amazing things and is super transparent with his process. He celebrates his victories and is honest about his struggles. I love watching him document his process on IG (@quiltsfromtheattic). If you're not following him already you should fix that problem immediately. 

Paul over at Evildemondevildog Quilts is my one of my new favorite IG personalities. He is warm and generous and crazy talented. He takes modern traditional to a new level and has some seriously enviable EQ skills.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Gallbladder Tried to Ruin My Life

I was supposed to participate in this awesome Around the World Blog Hop last week at the invitation of Holly over at Holly Gets Quilty. Unfortunately, I ended up in the emergency room in the wee hours of Monday morning, was admitted to the hospital, and ended up having my gallbladder removed that afternoon. Needless to say, blogging didn't happen last week.

Feeling miserable at home the morning after surgery

I was not a happy camper. Not only did I miss out on a super fun blogging opportunity, but I also missed out on seeing the great Sir Paul McCartney in concert (again). AND, I was even given strict "NO SEWING" rules. It. Was. Not. Fun.

My surgeon said that my gallbladder looked like it hadn't worked in months and he was surprised that I wasn't sick all the time. I guess it's a blessing that I never really felt bad before Sunday evening. I spent most of the first two post-op days sleeping. Since then I've been mostly pain free but more tired than usual. In the past two days I've been feeling much better and have gotten my sewjo back. 

I've decided to go ahead and complete the Blog Hop post in the next few days. I've asked some of my IG sewing idols to consider being next in my small circle of the Blog Hop. Hopefully I'll have a new post and some good news in a few days. 

See ya soon!

Monday, October 6, 2014

So, What is Rae's Making It?

I've been thinking about actually putting effort into this blog for a while now. Since getting #makeadalekmakeafriend off the ground I've wanted to keep a better record of the things in my life that are dear to my heart, make me crazy, give me hope, or inspire me. The problem comes when I try to decide how to brand it. Am I a craft blogger? A mommy blogger? A nurse blogger? Do I have to confine myself to one topic, one facet of my life, one thing I find interesting?

The answer is a resounding "No!!". I plan on writing about the things that are important to me in the moment. I plan on being real and honest. I don't live a perfect suburban life with clean dishes, made beds or children who are always well behaved. Hell, sometimes I'm not well behaved.  Every day I get up. Every day I do my best. Sometimes I have a plan. Sometimes I make it up as I go along. Every day I'm making it.

That's where the branding comes in. 'Rae's Making It' isn't just a statement about my love of creating things. It's a statement about how I'm getting through this life. Here you'll be able to follow along as I attempt to make beautiful things. You'll read about my parenting successes and failures. You'll see my dirty floors. You'll see me rant about systematic abuse in the emergency department with one breath and marvel at the opportunity to provide grace to patients and families with the next.

I hope you'll make this journey with me. It's always nice to know that I'm not the only one making it up as I go along.

Rae :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Make A Dalek Make A Friend

So, I started a blog for the sole purpose of helping me host an Instagram craft swap. The interwebs are cool and useful. I've never blogged before (unless you count angst-y MySpace essays from the early college years) but I needed a place to store all of this swap information that was easily accessible and would help reduce the amount of emails I would receive. Selfish, I know.

Now, down to brass tacks:

In celebration of the season premier of Doctor Who and the 13th Doctor, I and a few of my IG friends want to partake in a Doctor Who themed craft swap. Think, mini quilts, sewn projects, knitted goodies, paintings, and embroidery awesomeness all centered around the Doctor and the universe he travels. This is my first time organizing a swap, so I intend to limit the participants to 100 swappers. (Truthfully, I'll be impressed if that many people want to join us).  My goals for this swap are to have fun, form new friendships, and make and receive cool Whovian things.

Now, to the business part. Rules: in order to have a fully optimized and fun swap, we have to have some.

1. You must have an Instagram account to participate. We will use #makeadalekmakeafriend to tag our work and keep up with our swap community. Tag pics of your works in progress and packages received so that we can all oooh and ahhh over how amazing it all is.

2. You must complete the Google Docs form at

3. You must have at least one form of social media that is public. I strongly advise that your IG account be public as the swap is primarily hosted on IG. This makes it easier for your partner to stalk you and create something based on your likes and interests.

4. This is a blind swap. You will create something for your partner in secret and not reveal your identity until your package is received. You will not know who is creating for you.

5. Please use quality crafting supplies.

6. Sign-ups will close September 1st, or when we reach 100 participants. I hope to send out partner emails with the form responses no later than September 5th.

7. The deadline for posting packages will be November 17th for international swappers and November 24th for local swappers. I wanted to stagger the due dates from other swaps I (and many of you) am participating in and be completed before December.

8. Please, please, please resist the urge to sign up if you can't complete the swap. Speaking from experience, it is no fun to have a partner who disappears and doesn't acknowledge gifts received or send creations to others. That being said, I understand that life can sometimes be a capital B. Please communicate with me if something happens and you can no longer participate so that I can recruit an angel swapper to take your place.

9. Have lots of nerdy fun.

 Allons-y and Geronimo!