Saturday, November 27, 2010

"I Love You Truly"

It is a little early to be thinking about Valentine's Day, but I was so excited about my heart quilt project being published on the website of the American Quilters' Society....that I had to tell you about it now. ;-)

"I love You Truly"
25" X 25" 2010

This collage quilt uses vintage quilt blocks, a vintage hankie, applique lettering, beading, and embroidery....all tricks of the crazy quilt trade.
I was asked to create this for an article for their print magazine with complete instructions and so I did, last June. But you know me, I am heavy on the pictures! My finished article was too long for their use in print, but they put the whole thing the way I wrote it--after their smart editing and beautiful formatting, of course--in a PDF file on their website, free to everyone. (You don't have to be a member or subscriber to download it.)

Here is a detail peek:

If you wish to download the PDF with complete instructions for this project, look on AQS's homepage here. It is second from the right in the top row.

I only wish I had been brave enough to put this in the center of the heart:
"Kiss Me You Fool!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Home Portrait for Meg

I am definitely flitting between genres at an accelerated pace these days!

Putting aside my investigations into the delights of my Go! cutter and other new tools for the moment, I'm making a portrait of one of my friend's homes. This is the picture she wants, and it printed up beautifully on the silk crepe de chine I got from Out of My Mind Prints.

Yes, that is a hoop...I don't normally use one but for the fine stitching required (as the scale is so small), a hoop will help me stitch in an even straight line.

I wrote about creating "place portraits" in the recent issue of CQMagOnline. You can read it here.

I'm looking forward to working on this one...and it matches the weather outside too. ;-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

AccuQuilt's Go Cutter at work...

I am the lucky new owner of AccuQuilt's Go! fabric cutter. It uses an ingenious design developed by the president of the company, who is also an engineer, to accurately cut your fabric in shapes determined by the dies you use in the machine. It is not just turn a crank to run fabric through the machine. You can cut multiple layers at once too.

Here's a link to learn more about it.

I plan on making several service quilts over Christmas and will be putting the Go! to hard use then. But in the meantime I put it to the test to try cutting some 1 1/2" velvet strips with it. Velvet as we know is incorrigibly badly behaved in general. I wrote about how to tame this animal for CQMagOnline here. But velvet bias tape? That was way beyond me...

Until I put my Go! to work, teamed up with its new best friend in my sewing room, Simplicity's electric Bias Tape Maker. The results just thrilled me......

A strip of silk/rayon velvet awaits its transformation, from a longish scrap... these perfect strips! How cool is that?
I cut some cotton velveteen too, and then ran both fabric strips through the bias tape maker.

This picture shows me pulling a strip of velveteen through the folding tip, past that silver heating element. While the machine is actually running, the heating element has a safety case that snaps into place so you can't burn your fingers. A little electric motor movers the fabric through...but with velveteen and velvet both, I tugged it as well because it is so thick. This worked fine.

And would you look at that? The velvet is below, the velveteen above. There is no way on God's green earth I could have gotten such straight bias tape (without squished edges) out of that velvet with a rotary cutter, ruler, and iron.

So, what was I going to do with this?
A little project for a friend that is doubling as a warm up for my next quilt, after Bars and Stripes is done. If I can wait that long. I am loving these fabrics!!!

This is 18" X 18" and it is going to be a pillow. I love the velvet with the flannel and wool...and you know it is impossible for me not to include flowers somewhere, somehow...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bars and Stripes...Top Pieced

I finally was able to piece together my bars and stripes panels for my first bed quilt in about 10 years.
This was more straight seam sewing than I can remember doing all at one time!

I used a lot of trim in this quilt...I can't ignore the possibilities for texture in any project, even bed quilts.

The rick rack is from Moda and the velvet ribbon/gimp is from Simplicity...

Kerry Murphy kindly sent me the velvet pink ribbon that is behind the wide lace on the right; both laces got a dunking in potassium permanganate to give them that light gold tint...and the jacquard woven ribbon is from Simplicity, too (JoAnn's.)

I can't get a complete overall shot because my design wall space isn't large enough!
But here's how it looks up there now. (Ignore the mess in the foreground.)

You can see I didn't quite have enough of the wide lace so I just patched in some others. Crazy quilts are not about perfection! If this was in a competition it would matter, but on my bed it sure won't.

I bought some really pretty hand-dyed perle cotton from Art Fabrik at Festival and I am just wondering if I can get my Juki to quilt with it. I was told a large eyed jeans or topstitch needle can handle it, if I go slowly.
I decided to quilt this onto a fleece blanket, avoiding the batting/backing sandwich ordeal. Besides, I love quilts that are smooth on the top and cozy on the back. That's what is up next....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A "Thanks" to Baby Lock

Almost all of the cash prizes awarded at the International Quilt Festival show are sponsored by different companies in the quilt business. It is a very lovely thing for them to do. My category, Embellished Quilts, was sponsored by Baby Lock, so I decided to send them a tangible thank you for my prize money.

I've had my Baby Lock Embellisher for a few years and I adore working with it. So I decided to use it in my little "Thanks" quilt I made for them.

After appliqueing the lettering on by hand (the word is about 7" across), I began needle felting a background for the frame that would go around it. That is lace and then 4mm silk ribbon.

More silk ribbon going on. The RiverSilks ribbon works great because it is sturdy. The needlepunching scrunches it up, but doesn't shred it.

I cut out some wool leaves and needlepunched them onto the frame background. Those three large leaves are made from wool roving and knitting ribbon punched onto green flannel.

You knew there were going to be flowers!
The white daisies started out as trim from Simplicity.

A few more details and the center was done. But I needed to set this in a larger background.

I used a doily over a foundation of green dupioni silk for the background..this quilt measures about 14" X 14" completed.
One new thing I tried was using lace for the binding. I had some that was the right width and fiber, but it was off-white. A quick trip to the microwave in a baggie filled with some old Procion dyes and the proper mordant...and I had my dark green lace.

I hope the folks at Baby Lock will know how much I appreciate their participation in Quilt Festival. The quilting industry truly is made up of the nicest people.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vintage Quilts from Houston

There are so many great vendors of antique quilts at the International Quilt Association Festival in Houston. And they let you take pictures, too!

I love the graphic quality of these humble old crazy quilts...

Isn't this so great?

That black diamond shape looks a little familiar...this got me thinking about finishing up that Vintage CQ of mine.

But how about this for a cool shaped block?

I'd really like to make this one day.

A quilt like this next one inspired a modern quiltmaker you may have heard of...

Love it, love it, love it!

Here's a detail. Look how the quiltmaker buttonholed the edge of the quilt, too...

This is a detail from one of Kaffe Fassett's quilts that was part of his special exhibit in Houston this year. It looks like he simplified the piecing quite a bit from the antique one. In fact, I think these are strips made of diamond and triangle shapes, with those little black fans appliqued on after the fact. So there really aren't any "Y" seams here, it just looks like it.
But this is just a guess...or at least how I might do it.

Can't get enough of these fans...

There are never enough variations on a fan!

And never enough ways to stitch on a quilt, either.

This quiltmaker sure loved embroidery.

Pretty darn nice....

Ms. H. E. Merrill--there's her name!--snuck in some velvet applique while she was at it, too.

With lots of quilting of course.

These quilts are so was a treat to get to see them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Subjective Selection of Quilts from Houston 2010

On my third trip walking through the exhibit at Festival, I took pictures of some of the quilts that really grabbed me. It's a pretty eclectic mix. I'll post them so you can see....Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Legendary Ladies & Fabulous Fans
Barbara Warner

Legendary Ladies, detail

Barbara cut out this lace feather and used it as a motif....great, isn't that? Neat that the cross stitch was pieced in there, too.

Om Ma
Teresa May

I love how she covered this with a mantra. Here is her artist's statement about that:

A very beautiful sentiment....

Cabbage Patch
Sandra Werlich

Cabbage Patch, detail

As a vegetable grower, I found this quilt irresistible.

The White Garden
Akiko Kawata

Eun Ryoung Choi

A Symphony of Love
Kiyoko Ishihara

Icing on the Cake
Linda Roy

Icing on the Cake, detail

I wish my photography was better...sorry, folks! What I want to show here is how Linda embroidered over some of her quilting lines with perle cotton. I've never seen this done before and I really like it.

Orphan Blossoms
Timna Tarr

Fashion in Motion
Diane M. Dempsey

The Girls of Tyrone Farm
Beth Miller

As a former dairy farmer, I can really appreciate the way Beth captured these Jersey Girls. Their dehorning job wasn't so good though... ;-)

After the Rain
Dianne Firth

Paisley Peacock
Pat Holly

This was a major award winner, for Machine Artistry. I like how Pat used trim for the binding and that embroidered rick rack in an inner border. I saw her in a vendor's booth buying some jacquard ribbon, too...nice to see those elements in a mainstream show quilt.

Paisley Peacock, detail

She definitely has achieved mastery of her machine!

Kirara's Walking Road in the Wood
Ayako Kawakami

This was in the "Made by Hand" category, which was entirely filled by Japanese women. Their utter commitment to their craft felt like a blow to the chest to me.

Kirara's Walking Road in the Wood, detail

Glory of Ancient Remains
Hiroka Goda

Glory of Ancient Remains, detail

This is also in the Made by Hand category.

For a look at all the winners, click here.

My overall take on this year's competitive show was that there was less emphasis on art quilts and more on tradition and excellent craftsmanship. And I must confess this was a welcome change for me.

My next post will show some of the antique quilts I snapped photos of in the vendor's area, or details of them. They are the ones that rock my world these days...not a function of my age, I hope!!