Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Checking In and Catching Up!

I've been out in the garden this spring....not blogging so much!

But I have finished some here they are...

First is "Be Kind".  My Uncle Hal's dear wife Deb gave me the cross stitch piece that I used in the center of the quilt.

This was quite experimental for me, combining crazy quilt fabrics, supplies, and techniques in a traditional machine quilted format.  I loved every second of making this...

This detail I hope shows the quilting, couching, machine and hand stitching all combined together.

Next, I finished up a long term project called "The Red Guest House".  This is at my cousin Tracy's ranch in New Mexico.  I started it in one of my "Home Portraits" classes. 

This also was experimental, combining vintage blocks with embroidery, lace, photo printing on fabric, and some contemporary repro fabrics too.  It captures the feel of the place, and is really an homage to my cousin.

A throw quilt top came together quickly using blocks from my "Pretty Crazy" pattern for Brookshier Design Studio.  I can't wait to quilt this on my Handi Quilter Sweet 16!

Cheery, isn't it?

So I've been having some fun, exploring new ideas.
I'm getting more and more drawn into using vintage textiles in my work...and was recently given some very precious blocks from Lisa Boni  that I will be working with later this'll be hearing more about that project when the time comes.

And another dear friend has sent me some vintage quilt tops that I will be practicing my machine quilting on...yes, I know, you heard that right.  I have a deep desire to make functional quilts again, traveling in the footsteps of women lost to time who went before me....but adding my own quirky elements, never leaving the 15 years I've spent crazy quilting too far behind.

Here is one of them...

Lots of room to groove and practice in those white areas....

Speaking of history....
I was honored to be interviewed by the Why Quilts Matter: Quilts, Art, and Politics project undertaken by the Kentucky Quilts Project, Inc.  They asked me about the connection between crazy quilting and today's art quilt movement and made me do some deep thinking on the subject.  Take some time to look over their site...there is treasure there!

I've got some traveling ahead, but expect to be blogging more regularly after I return home in a few weeks...til then,  Happy Stitching!

Monday, May 26, 2014

French 9 Patch

I've been experimenting!
I set a challenge for myself to combine these things in one quilt:
--vintage blocks, laces, hankies, trims
--3 D embellishment
--hand embroidery
--machine quilting

What you see below is the result of this exercise.
I named it "French 9 Patch" because most of the trims are from my trip to Paris last September, and also because the white embroidery on the black reminds me of French handwriting!  The kind we saw on all the blackboards along the sidewalk cafes...
Like this image from Three Little Words

The whole quilt was driven by the small motif in the very center.

I appliqued it onto the center of a vintage hankie and everything proceeded from there.

I loved using my trims, flowers, vintage blocks, and of course, my favorite silk ribbon from RiverSilks.

Here is the whole quilt, finishing at 37" X 37".

It presented me with some interesting challenges...and I would like to pursue this new direction!

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!