Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flip-and-Sew Fleece Throw

Published again!  This project is in the new "Quick Takes" section of Modern Quilts Unlimited's Winter 2016 issue of their magazine.

It used two jelly rolls, some polka dot fleece, and a little velvet ribbon.  So fast, so cozy, so fun!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Laura Haskell's Viet Nam Veterans Crazy Quilt

I met Laura Haskell when I taught down at the Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild in beautiful Temecula, California a few years ago.

One of the very best things about teaching is getting to meet the amazing women who show up as students.  And sometimes they bring in the most astonishing work to share.  Laura brought in this quilt..her very first crazy quilt.

It stopped me in my tracks.  I had just met Laura in class, and didn't feel it was appropriate to ask her the story behind this quilt.  I was sure it was very personal, and very private.
But the quilt speaks to all of us.  I think it is a masterpiece of folk art, and conveys tremendous power and love.  It blew me away.

Crazy quilts are not just about pretty flowers and lace.

In the wonderful world of social media--and I do think it is a force for good, as it connects people in new and meaningful ways--Laura and I became friends on Facebook so I can keep up with her life and her work. The subject of this quilt came up and I asked her if I could post it and she graciously gave me permission.

I've taken a year off of crazy quilting as I worked on a quilt book on another subject--which I am very excited about and eager to share when the time comes.
But I also am glad to return to this beloved genre. Crazy quilts can tell a story like no other quilt can....I think it is because they take time and are such repositories of the maker's heart and soul, memorabilia, and memories.

Laura, I bow to you.  Thank you for letting me share this.

Friday, November 27, 2015

"Love You Mark"

My dear friend, Mark Lipinksi, has not been feeling well.  I've been thinking a lot about him, and as I have, I've wanted to practice some of the things I've learned from his Slow Stitching Movement:

--Intention--I am focusing my mind and heart while I am stitching...on Mark getting well!
--Awareness--I want the needle to go in the perfect place with each and every stitch I take.  This leads to being careful and producing better work.
--Relaxation--There is no rush.  The process of outlining each letter was a slow unfolding and I really enjoyed it.

The square is 6" X 6".

Love you, Mark!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vintage Tobacco Silks Photographed for Your Use

My cousin just sent me these six authentic tobacco silks.  As she wrote in her note accompanying them:

The tobacco companies used to issue series of silks and one came in each package--like baseball cards. They were highly collectible and supposed to encourage tobacco users to kill themselves faster, apparently. [She has a dry wit.]

They did a series of miniature Oriental rugs, Native American chiefs, etc. Even back when I bought the butterflies years ago, the aforementioned were out of reach."

In the crazy quilt world, these images are prized as motifs within blocks, but no one uses the "real thing"--scanned images of them are printed up on fabric.
So I thought I would take high resolution photos of my six butterflies and post them here, for you to save, scan, and do with what you will!

If you click on these photos you will see that they are really large.  Hopefully they are good enough quality for you to print and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mary Jo Hiney Silk Ribbon Craftsy Class Giveaway

***Update, September 10***
Our winner was Maria, and I have emailed her.

Thank you all for your interest in Craftsy!
I would like to extend the offer of $20 off my class on Crazy Quilting to you.  Click this link.

Happy Stitching, Everyone!

Craftsy is giving me the opportunity to give away the Silk Ribbon Class by silk ribbon artist Mary Jo Hiney!

Isn't that luscious ribbonwork?

Mary Jo’s Mom began teaching her to sew and hand-embroider at age three and she’s been doing both ever since, eventually leading to a fascination with ribbon.  Her easy-to-follow class introduces you to the basics by exploring simple stitches, their variations and the subtle nuances of this particular type of embroidery.  Mary Jo’s students appreciate the clear and concise lessons in ribbon embroidery that lead to a great pay out.  That includes me!

In addition to teaching, Mary Jo is the owner of Mary Jo Hiney Designs, producing a thorough line of hand-dyed silk ribbons and fabrics for the textile artist, as well as a designer for Vogue Patterns. 

Here is the giveaway link: 

Just click it and you are entered!
Craftsy will be choosing the winner on September 9th at midnight and will let me know right away.

Mary Jo makes this form of embroidery doable and satisfying.  You will love her class!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Making of a Magazine Cover: Modern Quilts Unlimited Summer 2015

Who me?  A cover girl?  No way!!!

But it happened, and I am thrilled beyond measure.  Here is the story....

"Crazy Dresdens" began last fall, when I wanted to have some blocks to demo on in the Wonderfil booth at Quilt Market.  They make such superb threads.  I especially love their #12, Spagetti, for combining machine and hand stitching.  Their #8 rayon threads, Razzle and Dazzle, are great for adding extra handwork with lots of glimmery style.

I loved getting to know the Wonderfil folks as I demo-ed in their booth, and learned a tremendous amount from them. 
Because I would be showing how you can use their thread in both the machine and with handwork, I had to have some blocks ready.

Here are some of the blocks up on my design wall.  I assembled the Dresdens onto plain backgrounds using trims in between the blades.  This is a super cheater way to make Dresdens and you know me, I am not a piecer!
My goal was to include some crazy quilt elements--decorated seams, "random" selection of stitches, threads, and colors (though nothing is really random in my world)--but keep a fresh and simple affect and lay-out.

Here's a detail of a mostly stitched up block.

That line of stitching that looks like quilting is actually a running stitch.  I machine quilted on either side of it later in invisible thread to make it pop up.

Before I put the centers on the Dresdens and in the sashing, I had to do some practice to get my tension right and stitch length where I wanted it.

But once I was in business, away I went!

You can't imagine how much I enjoyed this.  Having an AccuQuilt Go circle die added to my enjoyment, believe me.

I chose a wool batting for it because A) I wanted this to be a warm couch quilt and I love how wool batting just radiates a nice warm glow and B) I wanted the quilting to be very dimensional, to show off that handstitching.

Basting away with pins here.
My Sweet Sixteen made the quilting really enjoyable too.  What a blessing it is to have great tools.

That backing fabric is pretty perfect, too, isn't it?

Here's a quilting detail.

There may be too much "open space" for today's quilting trends...but I wanted this quilt warm, and that means I needed air inside the layers to warm up when the quilt is draped over my snuggling body on the couch on a chilly winter's day.  Plus, the quilt didn't need it a ton of quilting, design-wise.

To see how the rick rack binding was done, you will have to buy the magazine! ;-)

It goes on sale August 1st.  Subscribers will be receiving their copies this coming week.

My thanks to Carol Zentgraf, my editor, and Vicki Case Anderson, the owner of Meander Publishing, for giving me the opportunity to write for them.  I loved every second of this project.


Well, obviously I haven't blogged in awhile.  I am working full bore on my book for C & T, and it is Top Secret!  All I can say is it is not crazy quilting!
It is very hard for me not to share my work, but I want you to know that I am fully documenting everything as I go, and will have an extensive "behind the scenes" look, like this blog post, after the book comes out. 

Meanwhile, I am posting away on Facebook under Allison Aller--friend me!  And I'm on Instagram too, under alliealler.  Lots of garden posts these days...