Monday, April 14, 2014

"Hungarian Medallion" for the Quilt Alliance

Every year the Quilt Alliance hosts a combination competition/fundraiser for quiltmakers.  This year's theme is "Inspired by..."; entrants choose a quilt from the Quilt Index or the Quilters Save Our Stories project, and make a quilt inspired in some way by that quilt.  Read about the contest here.

I love the idea of tranforming an old quilt into a new one...I think most of us do.
And working on a small scale quilt, 16" X 16", makes it easy to try out some fun new ideas without spending too much time....

Plus, this contest has sent us all scurrying to the Quilt Index and finding treasure after treasure there, as we seek the one quilt we will use for our inspiration.

And here is mine:

I've always loved medallion quilts and also Broderie Perse (the technique of cutting out printed images from cloth and appliqueing them onto another cloth background.)  The other element that really intrigued me were all those triangles!  I love how they look with the cut out floral motifs.
This quilt is from the 1820's, and now lives in Tennessee.
Its full record in the Quilt Index is here.

Below is a blow by blow account of how my quilt came together.  I'll try to go heavy on the pictures and light on the text!

Well, I am not an accurate piecer by trade, so I did an end around to get my little triangles.

This is some woven plaid silk dupioni.  I figured I could cut apart those little one inch squares, cut those on the diagonal into half-square triangles, and then fuse the triangles over another piece of the plaid silk.
Tricky, eh?
The photo above shows the one piece of silk with interfacing (the background) and the other with fusible web (for the triangles), both ready to be fused.

The corners are cut, ready for their triangles. I tried to be very careful here, but didn't account for the fabric being off grain a little bit.  This came back to haunt me later, but....not too badly.

All the little triangles are set in place, ready to be fused.  The embroidery in the center is Hungarian (hence, the title of the quilt.)  If you Google Image Hungarian embroidery, you'll see all kinds of cheerful beautiful stitching.

Once the triangles are fused, they look pretty "real"!

I decided to quilt "in the ditch" (except there was no ditch) with Silk Serica thread made by Kreinik.

All done!

Next, for the Broderie Perse part....

First I had to get the center embroidery on there...

(There's a ribbon covering the raw edge of the embroidery, but I forgot to photograph that.)

I played with lots of lay-outs of cut out flowers and also premade ones from M & S Schmalberg.  This is the one I liked best.
I fused the cut out flowers into place, appliqued them with clear thread in a zig zag, and attached the premade flowers with silk ribbon French knots.

But I wasn't finished yet.  I wanted to bring out the embroidered green elements from the center out into the rest of the quilt.

Memory Thread, by DMC is my go-to viney maker of choice!
It is so easy to work with.  I just pin it in place...

...and couch it down with fine silk thread.

The last step was to fill in those leaves....

3 strand cotton floss in a satin stitch did the trick.

Now, you should know that this quilt was assembled a little bit differently than a normal quilt.  I spray basted the batting into place before I quilted with the red silk thread.
So after all the quilting, applique, and hand stitching, the back looked like this:

The combination of the batting and interfaced background fabric made for a very stable stitching surface.

A detail....

I think I might try this again sometime....

I put a nice cotton backing over this and just quilted around the center diamond.

Then it was time for the label.

Measure, measure, measure.  For the writing I used a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric.

No smears or bleeds...I love this pen!  It is waterproof and permanent too.

The final finished quilt....

I used velvet ribbon for the binding, which is nice...but I want to take that Craftsy class, Finishing School, with Mimi Dietrich. 
I want it perfect next time!

As I am a Quilt Alliance board member, my quilt won't be eligible for the contest, but it will be part of the traveling display of contest quilts this summer and fall, and for sale at auction on Ebay in November.

It is so fun to enter, and it feels so good to support the great work of the Alliance.
The prizes are awesome too.
So....what are you waiting for?  The deadline is June've still got plenty of time!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Quilt for Oso: Layers of Hope 9/11

I've spent the last 5 days making a bed quilt to be donated to someone needing comfort and support--and warmth--in the community hit by the mudslide in Northern Washington state.  I'm just calling it the Oso quilt.

It went together very helps when you've got a stash of vintage blocks to put to work.  Another speedy technique is to quilt it right onto polar get a cozy quilt, and it is much simpler when there are not those two layers to keep from wrinkling as you sew.  There is much less basting involved.
I got my fleece at my local discount store for ten dollars: a good price for what is essentially both backing and batting.

The blocks are to the right; the fabrics I pulled are to the left.  This quilt came entirely from my stash.

The first thing I did was lay the blocks out on the fleece, up on the design wall.  The small blocks are the "Crown and Thorns" pattern.

To cut my long sashing strips, I used my new Quilt Cut 2, by Alto's.

It's a very neat system.

It holds the fabric layers securely and you can set the ruler to any angle.  (This is 90 degrees.)  I went through design school using a T square, so this comes very naturally to me and it was fun, too.

I hung my strips between the rows of blocks.  I liked the look, so sewed them up and then made the sashing strips between the small blocks.

Do you notice that small strip of white along the bottom of the right hand block?  I had to do a little fudging to get them to fit...

As always, quilting was a dream on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16.  And see the trim I had appliqued onto the big blocks in the center row?  That was fun...

I reused the binding that was on the fleece blanket to make my smaller quilt binding.

And here it is finished, 76" X 76".
I am sending it off tomorrow to the lady who has initiated this quilt drive.

This is her blog entry that tells all about it:
I hope you will consider making a quilt too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Layers of Hope Quilting 9/11...time to get to work!

In response to the terrible mudslide tragedy in my home state of Washington, I'll be making a quilt for someone who needs it, via this wonderful effort by QuiltingGranny.

The information on her blog is here:

I'll blog about it too.  Going to get to work on it today!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

QNNtv....and me!

I well remember, when I was asked as a girl what I wanted to be when I grew up, what my answer was:  "Something where working and playing are the same thing..."

My time filming 3-D Flower Embellishments with host Jodie Davis on QNNtv sure fit that criteria.  What a blast!  And we were so productive!
The first of three episodes has just gone live; you can view the free preview here.

QNNtv has a very reasonable subscription price to give you access to so many great TV shows.  My co-author Val Bothell has a 3 segment episode too, and the timely project is a crazy quilted Easter Egg.  Her preview is here, and her blogpost about it is here.  It is awesome.

Here are a few photos from my play/work on the show last summer.

This painted lace bouquet quilt was my teaching sample for one of the techniques I demonstrated, putting color onto lace and then making 3 D flowers out of it.

Here are Jodie and I on set.  The crew was great, and Jodie is the ultimate hostess...she made me feel so comfortable and at home.

Of course, while  I was in Denver I had to make a couple of field to a very cool craft and sewing store named the Fancy Tiger

Also, I went to nearby Golden to finally visit the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, something I've long wanted to do.

There was a great exhibit of quilts by Pat Holly, whose work I admire so much. (Click here to see a few more of her small quilts.)

This is Flight of Fancy, 20" X 24", 2001.

Jodie and I are great friends and you can tell when you watch our show.  Thanks, Jodie, so much!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Announcing Our New Book! "Quilting...Just a Little Bit Crazy"

Quilting...Just a Little Bit Crazy: A Marriage of Traditional and Crazy Quilting

Our new book is done and will be out in May!!!

Valerie Bothell and I are absolutely thrilled to be able to share our news with you at last.  We are so proud of our work with C & T Publishers to bring this new book to you.

Our hope is to reach out to both crazy and "sane" quilters--mainstream quilters, if you will--to show that crazy quilting can be for all quiltmakers!
In our technique chapters and in the 10 projects we present, you will see that embellishment is an option for these quilts--not necessarily a requirement. Learn that you can still incorporate machine quilting, and you can use all cotton fabrics, not just the "fancies", (though we offer projects in wool and silk as well). Embroider by hand OR'll still be crazy quilting.  We love both traditional and crazy quilting and you will learn how to combine them in ways that bring out the best of both genres.  You can speed up the process or take your time.....
Inspiring old time CQers to try new techniques and enticing first timers to give this liberating approach to quiltmaking a try, we've designed projects everyone can relate to.

Val and I live in different states and have very different styles in our crazy quilting. How we came to work together is a great story...and you can read about it on Val's blog.

I will say that this great lady, Carole Samples, played a most pivotal role in our becoming co-authors.

Our joined creative processes present a broad spectrum of working methods and sensibilities to our readers. We loved working together and just adore each can feel that on every page.  ;-)

We did spend a few days actually sewing together in the summer of 2012 (this book has been in the works a long time).  Val came to my home in Washington state--she lives in Kansas--and we had a great time.

She saw that my silk stash needed sorting....Val is very organized, one of her many qualities that I really appreciate.

We both got a lot of work done together that week.  For the next many months we relied on Dropbox and emails, with lots of imagery being sent back and forth.  It was so much fun.

There are some seriously delicious projects in our book!  This became "Morning Chores", in the chapter we call "Workingman's CQ"....

We have hand and machine embroidery techniques, several ways to piece blocks and a myriad of options for finishing your quilts. And there is one project that is so very, very special, in the chapter called "Historically Crazy".....You will just have to wait til the book comes out for us to tell you its story....all I can say now is that it started at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, NE....

We can hardly wait until May! (Though you can pre-order it on Amazon here.)
It feels so great to finally be able to tell you about it!

....with lots of love, (and great excitement!)
Val and Allie

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Inspired By..." A Modern Take on an Amish Crazy Quilt

The Quilt Alliance has a great theme for this year's annual fundraising contest: "Inspired By...". (The contest guidelines are here.) You all know that I have lately been deeply inspired by vintage crazy current project is a case in point.

But in the midst of that very long term project, I had occasion to try the Inspired By approach for a wedding throw quilt for my nephew Andy and his lovely bride Caylie.  You remember them, don't you?  ;-)  And the wallhanging I made for him to give to her (at his request) while he was wooing her, "Love by the Moon"?

They love bright colors, live by the beach down near Oceanside, and needed something cozy because Caylie gets cold!  So silks quilted onto silk fleece seemed perfect.

The quilt that so inspired me is from the Susie Tompkins Buell Quilt Collection.

I love the large blocks and solid shapes with the intricate geometric grid overall.  I had to try out my own quilt with these basic parameters.

Here is the beginning.  As always, my "blanks"--foundation muslins--are up on the design wall.  I like to see how the blocks are going together as I make them.  (Here I am using Method 4, Intuitive Applique, from my Craftsy Class.  Sign up for it here if you are interested, with a $20 discount!)

It came together very fast, and here it is under the needle of my beloved Sweet 16 from Handiquilter.
I didn't mark the quilting lines, but I did first quilt in the ditch in the seams between the blocks, using clear thread.  That helped stabilize everything (along with my basting pins) for the quilting to come.

Here's a better look at that quilting on the silk.  So yummy!

I loved diving deeply into my prodigious silk stash to make this quilt.  I didn't have to buy a thing.  ;-)

You know me and binding: we are not pals. I will do anything to avoid making a traditional binding.
So I love to use trim or lace; it is so quick, easy, and looks and functions great.

I had trimmed the edge of the quilt and am just covering the raw edge with the lace.  There won't be any fraying, and the quilt police were nowhere in sight....

To sew it on, I used a 9mm wide zigzag stitch in clear thread, with a strong yet fine matching thread in the bobbin.  I only needed to make one pass.  My kind of binding, for sure!

You can see it from the back, along with how cool that gridded quilting looks on the silk fleece.  And the label, of course.  Always label your work, please!

Let's look again at how my quilt was definitely was inspired by the Amish quilt.  Here it is again, so you can view them right next to each other:

(And just a reminder, when you are thinking about your Quilt Alliance quilt for "Inspired by", you must choose a quilt from the Quilt Index and site it in your entry.  We are hoping to encourage more people to explore the Indesx this way!)

Of course, I had to try my Inspired-by version out before sending it off to Andy and Caylie....

It works great!!!