happy scrappy

Over the weekend I finished a couple of quilts that I’ve been working on. These are scrappy quilts, using up the ridiculous amount of small pieces of fabric that I’ve amassed. I decided that these small pieces were taking up too much shelf space, so it was time to do something with them.

Boston Terrier applique crate quilt 1

I have a bunch of these that I’ve been working on assembly-line style, first piecing together the scraps by relative size and then those pieces together and then those and so forth, then added the applique, then made the quilt sandwiches, quilted, and then did the binding. I finally hand-finished the back side of the binding on these two over the weekend.

Boston Terrier applique quilt 2

This BT head raw-edge applique is something I came up with myself and I’m pretty proud of how it looks. I did each one in a different fabric combination, so there’s a lot of variation on these. I’ll be donating them to the Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue for fundraising – but for the moment, isn’t Coraline a cute model?


WIP Wednesday: little witches

My Fall Frolic quilt is continuing to take shape, slowly but slowly. This past weekend I worked on the witches.

Art quilt WIP:Fall Frolic

I came up with their robe-shapes and cut those out freehand, and then half-traced half-sketched some Blythe heads for the witches’ heads.

Art quilt WIP:Fall Frolic

These paper templates are really more to keep me in line while I’m free cutting – it keeps everything in scale – and isn’t a 100% pattern that I’ll follow for sure.

Art quilt WIP:Fall Frolic

These witches are on a much smaller scale than most things I’ve done before, so the pieces are itty bitty. I kept having to cut them down to be the right size.

Art quilt WIP:Fall Frolic

Because these pieces are so small, I decided to hand stitch them all in place.

Sewing tiny eyes #annearchy #artquilt

As tedious a task as this could be, I actually really enjoy it! The early morning sun kept my work desk well-lit and I knocked out both faces in not very much time. I don’t know what it is about working with tiny things that is so satisfying for me.


WIP Wednesday: more background

I carved out a little more time this past weekend to work on my current art quilt. I pieced together the ground section, which I did in a log cabin-ish type of pattern (truth: I haven’t actually ever followed a pattern to make a log cabin quilt! I’ve just admired photos and looked at patterns in books). I generally do most of my quilting by the seat of my pants – whatever feels like it’ll work, I’ll try.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

Here’s the start, at the center, of the ground section.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

And the back view. Isn’t that just pleasing to look at? Maybe I’m the only one who loves to see the underside of quilting when it looks so tidy?

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

After piecing together the entire ground section, I added blue to the sky, clouds, and put the ground and sky sections together.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

Most of the photos I’ve used for reference have clouds at the point where the sky turns from sunset colors to blue, and I think it works really nicely.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I’m going for a frayed-y look around the edges of the clouds, so I removed some threads where it was easy to do so. These edges will also get more frayed-y looking as I work with the quilt top. So far so good! Now I really need to figure out what I’m doing with the figure(s) so I can work on that this coming weekend.


WIP Wednesday: quilting by hand

I’m making more slow but steady progress hand-quilting my current art quilt WIP. It’s really slow going, but I’m getting there!

Art quilt WIP

As I stitch, I keep asking myself what I was thinking making such a large piece. A learning experience for sure!

Art quilt WIP

I started re-listening to the Harry Potter books for the thousandth time and that is helping the time pass more quickly while I’m stitching. I opted for the Stephen Frye version this time, as I’ve listened to it fewer times than the Jim Dale edition.

Art quilt WIP

Some of the quilting I’m doing is also decorative, but some is just functional to keep everything together. As usual I’m making decisions about what to do as I go along, which is working well for me. I like to have a basic plan in my head but also the flexibility to make changes to that plan on the fly. This is how making art works for me – do you find the same is true for you?


wrapping up 2015 and embracing 2016

It’s hard to believe another year has passed. I mean, calendar years are kind of arbitrary, but it does feel a little useful to think about the bigger picture periodically. And it’s a great excuse to crack open some spreadsheets and do a little analysis! (Spreadsheets are my raindrops on roses.) Some of the web services I use also provided me with some fun year-end wrap up, so let’s take a look.

First off, Goodreads. I love this site as a tool for tracking which books I’ve read. As a lover of mystery series and of non-fiction books on specific topics that often have very similar titles, there’s no way I’d be able to remember which ones I’ve read or not without some kind of tool.

Goodreads 2015 summary photo Goodreads_Annersquos_Year_in_Books_-_2016-01-01_09.48.04_zpsc2jx3jxf.png

Wow, almost 10000 pages read (according to this metric)! That is a nice number. Funny that the longest book I read was a YA novel, which sometimes have a rep for being fluffy.

Goodreads 2015 stats comparison photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2016-01-01_09.51.31_zps26wyboi5.png

This 29 seems low! Looking at the actual books Goodreads says I’ve read, that only includes the fiction. I read a ton of non-fiction but that doesn’t seem to show up in these metrics (I believe this is because I usually add fiction books to my to-read list first, and then move them to my currently reading list when I start them. NF books I tend to just add after I’ve completed them so they don’t have a span of time covered on the site). I counted up and, to some extent, I read 186 non-fiction books in addition to the 29 fiction. To some extent because that does include some I didn’t read cover to cover, of course, especially cookbooks. Either way, I’m not feeling bad about the 29 being down from last year’s 40.

2015 was a pretty good year for me in terms of blogging consistently – 132 posts throughout the year!

2015 LibrariAnne posting patterns photo posting patterns 2015_zpswaumqmyl.png

My most popular post was eff the shave-triarchy. Eff yeah! Update while I’m at it: I feel like I have saved SO MUCH time since quitting shaving. My showers are super quick and I’m probably saving a bunch of water, too. Feminism wins again!

As ever, I made a whole lot of stuff in 2015. Thanks to the magical tool that is Ravelry, I know that I completed 94 knitting projects this year!

2015 knitting projects pie chart photo 2015 knitting projects pie chart_zpsqqitgrie.png

I kept five of these knitting projects for myself (not including Blythe stuff) and gifted 26 of them to others. The Blythe stuff was a mix of samples and things that have made their way into my Blythe wardrobe.

I also spent a lot of time sewing this year. I sort of slacked on Blythe sewing until the last quarter of the year, but I made up for it by making a bunch of bags and several quilts earlier on. Once we moved into Firefly Cottage, it was a lot easier for me to spend time sewing since I have so much more room now.

Here’s a sample of the Blythe sewing I did:

2015 Blythe sewing sampler photo Blythe Sewing 2015 collage_zps3vose6lc.jpg

I made 11 projects from Dog Under My Desk patterns (actually I did a few more! But I haven’t gotten around to taking photos yet, so I’m only counting these).

2015 DUMD projects photo DUMD 2015 projects collage_zpsulzmibhb.jpg

These patterns, for anyone who is considering making a bag, are THE BEST EVER. Seriously, I never felt like I could accomplish a professional look or a durable-enough-for-actual-use bag until I found Erin’s patterns. They are amazingly detailed and you really feel confident that your project is going to turn out to meet or even exceed your expectations. I use my Take-Off Tote every time I travel, as well as many of the Essential Wristlets. I also use my enlarged Date Night as my everyday purse and it’s still going strong after months of daily use.

Quilts were also a big part of my sewing this year.

To start things off, I made a challenge quilt for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Quilt Show. The theme was Spring Fling and my quilt won a gold star for Best Portrayal of Theme.

Best portrayal of Spring Fling theme:gold

SO EXCITING!! I won some maple syrup, which was of course amazing, but the feeling of having my work recognized was mega amazing.

The Figure and Flock quilt I made in 2014 was featured in that same show, as well as in the window of Grey’s Furniture during Art Walk Central in the summer.

Check it out! My piece, "Figure and Flock" is in #artwalkcentral15 at Gray's Furniture! Vote AWC24!

These were some of my first public showings of my art quilts, so it was really exciting for me. I hope to have more opportunities to share with the public in 2016! I haven’t started the challenge quilt for the Maple Syrup Festival yet, but I am mulling ideas already. The theme will be Fall Frolic, so it’ll be interesting to make it during a different season than it is focused on. As autumn is my favorite season, I’m sure it won’t be too challenging.

I’m still working on the very large art quilt I started in 2014. The length of time it’s taking is a lot more than I anticipated, but I did have to put it on hold for much of 2015 until I got a larger workspace, and it is a much larger art piece than I’ve done before. It’s in the home stretch, though, so I hope to have it finished soon!

I also made a couple of quilts for two Skatey-Eight babies who were born in 2015.

First off, this Back to the Future inspired quilt, made for Dan’s new daughter:

Back to the Future Quilt

And second, this Star Wars inspired quilt, made for Michael’s son:

Star Wars Quilt

I also had a pretty productive year in terms of AnneArchy biz!

2015 AnneArchy wrapup photo 2015 annearchy wrapup_zpspuxpn1wq.png

Wow, 31 patterns feels like a lot to have published in one year! I’m also thrilled to have had so many of my patterns faved on Ravelry. That is huge! I appreciate SO MUCH that folks are interested in knitting the patterns I write.

My most popular items this year were half Blythe, half Firefly.

2015 most popular AnneArchy patterns photo most popular annearchy patterns 2015 collage_zpsojgtb7vd.jpg

Last year at the beginning of January, I set a few goals:

  • Blog regularly (keeping this one)
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times (keeping this one again)
  • Find ways to be excellent to others on a regular basis
  • Write up and publish the remainder of the Blythe knitting patterns I have started working on
  • Complete my current art quilt project
  • Spend time with near- and far-flung friends more often

  • How did I do?

  • Blogging – did well (see above)
  • Swapping – did well! I participated in several swaps and am currently signed up for the next one
  • Being excellent – I would like to hope I did this
  • Writing up Blythe knitting patterns – I probably got about half of these done, which leaves me with more to do in 2016!
  • Complete art quilt – NOT DONE YET, but in the home stretch
  • Spend time with friends – somewhat? I am going to continue to strive for this one

    Sooooo, now that I’ve thought about all of these things from 2015, what am I looking forward to in 2016? I’m looking forward to a lot of things!

    Things I want to do and work on include:

    • complete the big WIP art quilt
    • complete the Fall Frolic challenge quilt by the April 23, 2016 deadline
    • learn how to do silk ribbon embroidery (I have the supplies and books in hand!)
    • compose a plan for Firefly Cottage gardens, and get a start on implementing it
    • continue writing and publishing knitting patterns
    • do whatever else strikes my fancy

    All in all, I’m excited for 2016! There are so many things to be made and plants to cultivate and people to enjoy life with. Here’s to kindness, happiness, productivity, and fulfillment in the new year!


  • FO Friday: may the quilt be with you

    Another of my best pals had a baby recently! For this one, I knew that Star Wars had to be the theme. I had found some neat SW fabric and as it is the favorite thing of my pal Michael, it was a perfect fit.

    In order to highlight the SW-themed fabric, I decided that a fairly traditional block pattern would be best, so I cut out squares, fussy cutting the SW panels to best show off and vary the print.

    Star Wars baby quilt in progress

    I also wanted to highlight the center panel in some way and decided on the Alliance Starbird. Of course this little one will side with the Rebellion. So I fussy cut this shape and then top-stitched it onto a panel, which I put at the center.

    Star Wars baby quilt in progress

    Of course I decided to make the quilt a bit larger than my work surface, so laying out the panels was slightly challenging as they needed to droop off the edge which I worked.

    Star Wars baby quilt in progress

    I am quite pleased with how the center panel turned out, and with how the colors go together.

    Star Wars Quilt

    For the back, I used a basic polka dot fabric in grey. It’s neutral and goes with all of the blues and other colors in the quilt top fabrics.

    Star Wars Quilt

    And the finished product:

    Star Wars Quilt

    I’m so happy with it! It’s Star Wars themed but it’s still classy and elegant, which fits with this child’s parents’ aesthetic. And they did love it – look at this wee Jedi practicing his force powers!

    quilt jedi photo 2015081795100630_zpskto258nc.jpg


    FO Friday: BTTF for baby

    One of my best pals recently welcomed a new baby into their family and I wanted to help celebrate this by making a quilt. Now, if you know Dan, you know that he is a big fan of, in his words, the greatest sci-fi trilogy of all time: Back to the Future.

    So I decided to make a BTTF-themed baby quilt. Is it traditional? No. Is it pink or in any other way distinctly female, as this baby is a girl? No. Does anyone involved care about any of these things? No.

    I started out thinking I’d do panels, each depicting something from the movies.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    Fairly quickly, though, I decided that this was going to be too literal for my taste and that I wanted to do something else. Then I came up with the idea of making the background of the quilt an interpretation of the giant speaker at the very beginning of the first movie.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    I overlaid the distinctive arrows over top of this, at both the top and bottom of the quilt. I feel like this is a nice happy medium of inspired by, but not too directly a literal depiction of, this movie.

    While I was designing, I laid out the fabrics from my stash that were in keeping with the colors from the original movie poster.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    I picked out the ones that I felt fit best, and then started with the center of the quilt.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    Working my way out from the center, I added the sections of the speaker until I had the entire quilt top completed.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    Then I cut out and assembled the pieces for the arrows and pinned them in place on the quilt top. For the arrows, I chose fabrics that have a flame-esque pattern.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    To contrast the designed quilt top, I wanted the backing to be color blocked with bright colors and patterns.

    Back to the Future quilt in progress

    This allows the quilting, which follows the shapes of the speaker and arrows, to show a neat pattern on the back.

    Back to the Future Quilt

    I am so pleased with how the finished product turned out!

    Back to the Future Quilt

    The quilt is whimsical but not cutesy, and keeps the BTTF theme while not being too grown-up-ish. And it was well-received by Dan and his family!


    no-longer-a-WIP Wednesday

    Finally, a WIP is complete! And just in the nick of time.

    This is the Spring Fling quilt, which I made for the quilt show this weekend at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival. Last year I picked up one of the little kits they had which included instructions/rules and an 8×8″ square of fabric to be incorporated into the quilt. The challenge theme is spring fling, which I used as the name of this quilt.

    Spring Fling quilt

    I decided that this would be another Blythe-inspired quilt (I’m hoping to make a series of these) and that I would use themes of feminism and nature as well.

    Spring Fling quilt

    I crowned the figure with a wreath of butterflies. This is inspired by this painting, as well as by the fact that butterflies are symbols of spring and renewal.

    Spring Fling quilt

    The center of focus is the robin’s next the figure is holding in front of her on a tray. This is meant to echo advertising images from the middle of the 20th century: a woman serving, dressed in a traditionally feminine dress with apron, offering a tangible object as an item of value. All the quilting lines on the main body background radiate out from this nest. The idea of the egg-containing nest being the most valued item is also a statement on our society’s insistence that a woman’s value is directly tied to her ability/desire to have children.

    Spring Fling quilt

    I also added butterflies as a 3D element. They are emerging, flying as if from the figure, and they are adhered by their bodies only (this may not translate well in these photos), so the wings are free and stand out from the main body of the quilt.

    This quilt, as well as my larger Figure and Flock quilt, will be on display at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival – Festival of Quilts show this Saturday, with, presumably, a lot of other great quilts. Check it totally out!


    WIP Wednesday: getting to the art of this art quilt

    I’m finally finished with the background of this project! Technically I do still have some earth to do on the right side, but the sea and sky are complete, which feels like a milestone.


    I had completed the piecing of the moon awhile ago, and now I was finally able to put it together with the background.


    On my last project, I used fusible interfacing to attach most of the pieces to the background before stitching them on. This time I decided to try it without interfacing to see how it works. I’m pleased that it worked just fine.


    I pinned it and then stitched around, removing the pins as I went, and I didn’t have any problems with the moon piece shifting.


    I wanted it to come out with a sketch-ish look, so I stitched around a few times, purposely overlapping and varying where the line of stitching fell.


    Next I started cutting out pieces for the main figure at the center of the landscape.


    I started out with my computer sketch, which I made from a photograph I took of one of my dolls. Of course, though, the doll doesn’t have the physique I’d like to portray, so I used it as a basis for making a pencil outline that I then used as a pattern piece to cut out the figure. I also cut separate pieces for the figure’s arms so that they will show as a distinct layer above the body. Much of the body will end up covered anyway, but I still like to have the physical shape represented there.


    WIP Wednesday

    My current art quilt project is coming along!


    I have finished piecing the sections of the sky portion of the background, and now I’m working on the sea portion. I designed this quilt to be pretty large and this is the part of the process where I think, why did I do that? It’s working out fine, though, and actually the sea is coming together pretty quickly. Once the sea is done, I’ll piece the sky sections together and then connect the sea and the sky and create the land that will be on the right side of the background.

    The sky is made of square pieces, so I chose to make the sea rectangles for some variety. I also chose to piece the sea on the diagonal, which I hope will add some feeling of the movement of water to that section.

    Feeling that I don’t have as much time to work on this as I’d like has me convinced that after this project, I will focus on some smaller pieces. Not that they’ll necessarily end up taking any less time, but perhaps they will feel quicker?