Wednesday, January 1, 2020

22 Quillt Project Finishes from 2019

It has been a productive and eclectic year for me as a quilt designer and maker. While cutting down my teaching engagements has been a little bittersweet, the time freed up has enabled me to do more experimentation in my own work, as well as to spend more time making comfort quilts for others.  This latter aspect of quiltmaking has become more and more important to me.

A developing theme has been incorporating vintage textiles into my quilts.  I use the hashtags #herhandsandmine and #vintagetextilesinquilts over on Instagram where I post a lot @alliealler --do find me! 

Another new direction, at least for me, is to incorporate freemotion quilting as an integral design element in my work. I always resisted that, but knew that studying under Cindy Needham would help me break down my barriers. My 5 days of workshop study with her last July was one of the best experiences I've ever had as a student!

So here is most of the year's work., in the order of making.  I loved every minute of it.

A flannel quilt for my cousin, like the one I made last year (which she really loved.) 

 An amulet made with Amy Butler and Heather Jones in Morocco.

 My main project of the year, "Snowflowers", which took a third place ribbon in Houston last November!

 An embellished jean jacket, to illustrate some techniques from Christen Brown's book on beaded embroidery.

 A wedding pillow for my second cousin, incorporating textiles from her grandparents.

 High School graduation quilt for my niece, using a vintage quilt top as a "base".

 "Vintage Summer" completed top.  It still needs to be quilted.
Vintage doilies and Grandmothers Flower Garden blocks are part of the mix. I might add another border....

 An experiment with machine appliqued collage.

 My class project with Cindy, using a cross stitched table cover as my base.

 Another quilted cross stitched table runner, but this time with appliqued elements in the center.

 This vintage tablecloth has vintage blocks and a doily added.  It is the first time I tried using heavy thread in machine embroidery to function as quilting.

 More vintage elements collaged and appliqued.  I was quite brave to use that heavy white thread in the swag like quilting. No hiding goofs there.

 The fifth in my series of vintage collaged elements, appliqued, machine embroidered and quilted.

 This quilt, called "Regrowth", was made especially for a survivor of the Paradise Fire in California, who was suffering from PTSD. Lots of vintage fabrics and textiles are incorporated here.

 A throw quilt made with old hankies, doilies, and cotton plaid fabrics.

This is actually very small, about 8" X 10" It reminded me of Louisa May Alcott.

My friend Rhonda Dort challenged me to rescue a cutter quilt, renewing it and making it usable.  We each took half of a Double Wedding Ring and had very different interpretations. This was very fun!

I had a small section of the DWR quilt left over so I made this little wall hanging. (the colors aren't quite great in this photo, sorry.) R is my husband Robert and A is me. ;-)

 This small wallhanging brought me back to my Broderie Perse days, with some stained glass quilting technique in the lettering.

 The Pink Fan Rescue quilt.  Again, Rhonda and I split an old unusable quilt and went in wildly different directions with it.  We have another one to do in the coming months, too!

My last project of the year was a comfort quilt, for the mother who lost her daughter in a tragic accident last summer. It was very sad to make it...but it she was so glad to receive it that I am grateful to have been able to send it to her. Caitlin loved sunflowers.....

I expect to be just as busy in 2020...I post on Instagram at @alliealler and Facebook as Allison Aller all the time.  Swing on by....and Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Beaded Embroidery Stitching by Christen Brown: My Review and a Giveaway!

*************EDIT with Winner!***************
I used a random number generator to pick the winner of the ebook, and it is #7, Karen! 

Welcome to the Blog Hop for Christen Brown's latest book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching
C &T Publishing has just brought out Christen's excellent guide for creating beaded needlework. She covers everything you need to know, from supplies/tools, design inspiration, and stitch diagrams, to 8 wonderful projects, (shown in different color variations too.)  
All the stitches are shown at the front of the book, beautifully grouped and organized for easy reference to the rest of the book, a very helpful feature. The actual stitching graphics, by illustrator Mary Flynn, are clear and excellent, while the color photos of Christen's stitched beauties will inspire you no end!

I have had such fun incorporating just a few of the book's inspirations and techniques into the project below. Please follow along in my process....and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end, for an E-copy of Christen's book.

I started with a purchased jean jacket from Costco. Being totally enamored of vintage textiles, I appliqued old blocks, lace, motifs, and repro fabrics to the front and back, knowing I would be adding the finishing touches with my beading. I call this, "The Americana Jacket". Very '70's, isn't it?

The front of the jacket.

The jacket back

The first things I wanted to add were beaded buttons (page 68).

Mother of pearl buttons with lazy daisy stitches of perle cotton with a bead

Next came adding some beading to the collar and front pocket flaps.  I decided to use the Continuous Bead Stitch Fancy, pg 52.

The stitch instructions in the book.

Beading the collar

For the back of the jacket, I wanted a heart, so I started with beaded buttons again. 

 My heart template and chalked guidelines, with an array of buttons to choose from.

I wanted an inner heart to go in my button "frame", and came upon a great discovery: these Wash Away Applique Sheets from C & T provide a really great stabilizer for beading onto fabric!

A great product! The paper washes away, too.
The stabilizer placed on a vintage block, fusible side up

This shows the ironed under edges, adhering nicely to the fusible side of the stabilizer, as well as the beading stitches.

The beaded heart topstitched into place, with outline beading being added
The completed heart. Christen gives a great tip for keeping those tiny outline beads in a smooth line, on pg.52.

Once the back was finished, I decided to add some more beaded lazy daisies to the front.

Chain stitch with beads. Notice how the lace has provided my spacing for me.

So here is the completed back of my Americana Jacket. With my bead embroidery stitching, I wanted to add to the complexity of the detail without turning it into a "Rhinestone Cowboy" type of garment, if you know what I mean.  It's still within the vintage vibe I was after, but definitely more interesting.

Design notes: the vintage block used for the inner heart is on point, as is the vintage block in the back yoke.  Also, the stamped brass filigree in the center of the heart mimics the shape of the embroidered "A" motif in the center of the yoke. I think these subtle touches unify the design without being too obvious.

The front of the jacket is just slightly glitzy, enough to make that 70's aesthetic more fun. 

 Jacket front. Two vintage log cabin blocks were used for the yoke; I pieced the vertical strips from repro fabric. Design note: the pattern of the vintage red print along the bottom of the yoke is carried on in the buttons going down the front, another hopefully unifying element to the overall design.

Having Christen's book in front of me really freed me up in this project, and gave me lots of tips.  I have done beading before, as in my book, Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting, but this resource has lit my fire anew!

I am so eager to see and read what my fellow bloggers on this hop will present to you, featuring Christen's book. Be sure and check them out! Especially because each one of us will be giving away a free E-copy of  Beaded Embroidery Stitching. Leave a comment below each blog post the day it is posted, and that night the Blog hop host for the day will choose a winner.  We'll each notify the winner the next day on our blogs, so we can get the email of the lucky winner and email them a copy of their book!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Visual Review of my Quilts of 2018

I have been quite productive this year, making studio work, commissions, class samples, gifts, and service projects.

I thought it would be fun to have a visual record here on the blog, in chronological order, to get a sense of where I've been and where I'm heading. Lots of imagery here, but I promise the captions will be short!

A 24" X 24" pillow top incorporating vintage textiles. 

I quilted and finished a vintage top given to me by Nancy Darooge on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16

Two pillow tops made of vintage, Indian, and repro textiles and trims for my friend Geeta Khandalwahl, whom I visited in Mumbai in February with my traveling companion Meg Cox.

A class sample for my Road to California class in January.  It is next to Geeta's book on Godharis of Maharastra.

Conifer and Deciduous, 6" X 10", created on those long flights to and from India

Two versions of my "Gothic Windows" quilt made for my class at the Lincoln Quilt Guild in Lincoln, NE. Vintage and repro textiles are used in the second example.

An experiment combining my stained glass technique, vintage and hand dyed fabrics.  I consider this a fail.

But I love this one, a throw quilt made from vintage blocks, hankies, curtains, crocheted and embroidered table linens, and hand block prints from India.

Another success, combining vintage blocks from my friend Lisa Boni and Peppered Cottons, from Studio E Fabrics, along with my stained glass technique.  This is currently being big stitched, then it will be machine quilted.

 The jury is still out on this Vintage Spring top. I think one more, dark-in-value border on the left and right sides would have made me feel better. (Too late for that; it's already pin basted waiting to be quilted.) But I did love pushing the envelope on how to combine vintage textiles in new ways.

This was my major piece of the year, the commission for Camp Newaygo in Western Michigan.

 June Collage, a gift for my brother Matt, combining vintage textiles, repros, and embellishments.

Nan, my mother.  A class sample for the World of Quilts Alaska Cruise I taught on in August.

Class sample for my Stained Glass Leaves class on the Alaska cruise.

Two pillow tops for hostess gifts during my travels to Michigan in August.  Both incorporate vintage textiles and some hand embroidery.

A commission for Karen South using her and her grandmother's blocks, as well as vintage textiles belonging to her grandmother.

A memorial quilt for the widow and daughters of my dear high school friend, Dr. Douglas Mossman of Cincinnati, Ohio.

I quilted up this adorable panel to make a baby quilt for my new grandniece, Grace.

For the first time in over 30 years, I made myself a garment, this Tamarack Jacket from Grainline Studio. It fits and I love wearing it!

Vintage Autumn combines vintage blocks and fabrics, Indian block print fabric and trim, repro fabric, embellishments, and a handful of silk scraps (the orange triangles). 

When Paradise, California burned to the ground one day in November, nearby resident Cindy Needham, one of the quilt world's finest instructors, organized a multi faceted relief effort for quilter survivors in the area.  A quilt drive was part of that, so I made this and sent it on down.

My cousin Tracy really liked it so I made one for her during the week between Christmas and New Years.

 Buffy, a Christmas gift for my son Chad's girlfriend, Deidre.


That brings me to the present.  
Obviously, the main theme is combiing vintage textiles in new ways, a direction I've been hashtagging #herhandsandmine over on Instagram
I've been working on what I call "Snowflowers" to go onto what will be my Vintage Winter quilt.  Each "flower" is a doily that's been enhanced with fabric and embroidery.  They'll be appliqued onto a background, looking something like this:

This is a longer term project, and is reminding of the crazy quilts I used to make.  The more time spent working to realize the vision, the richer and more enjoyable the work on it becomes.

And that's like life, right?

Vintage Summer waits in the wings for next year when all the flowers are up and inspiring my soul.

Happy 2019, my friends!