Showing posts with label Pretty Crazy Pattern. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pretty Crazy Pattern. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Boonslick Quilting Guild...and Amish Country

Friends, being a traveling quilt teacher can bring so much joy in so many ways: from the students who love to learn, the audience who is interested in your work (unlike, perhaps, the beloved guys in your family whom you live with), the hosts who treat you like a princess, meeting new friends and old....and from the chance to explore new areas too.

I had all these experiences in my recent trip to Columbia, MO to teach my "Pretty Crazy" class and "Essential Crazy Quilt Embroidery", as well as to give a lecture about my transition from sane to crazy quilting.

I came home filled to the brim with great are a few pictures from my trip:

What's a better sign that you are in Missouri than having some mules come visit?  They live next door to my host family and greeted me my first morning there.

Here we are setting up for my Friday night lecture.  This guild made sure I had every thing I needed, one person even bailing me out when my PowerPoint got stuck.  *whew*

The students worked hard all day in class on Saturday.....

...and I was thrilled with the variations on my pattern and method that they discovered.

This gal said she was going to try very hard not to enjoy the handwork she is starting to add here....I loved that, and good luck!

My sweet hostess, Corrine Remeika, is learning some new embroidery stitches in Sunday's class. She brought in that lovely CQ you see in the foreground of the picture.  Nice fan there!

Another true highlight of my trip was my visit to the Clark County Amish community.  My old Point Bonita friend, the master handquilter and hand piecer Bettina Havig, took me there.  Bettina has long ties to the community and some dear friends among them too, so she knew where to go and what to show me.

We did indeed have to share the road.  A couple of buggies being driven by women intent upon their errands passed us by along the way.  They each gave us a serious nod and wave.

You don't photograph the Amish people, so I couldn't capture the utterly charming school children at play in their schoolyard at lunch time, in colorful long dresses and wee bonnets (the girls), and the straw hats, black pants, and bright shirts (the boys).  It felt like stepping back into an earlier America.  I was dazzled.

But I did photograph the little corner store that one family had on the side of their house.  Come inside and see....

Please note the minimal packaging (food is bought in bulk and then bagged in manageable sizes), natural lighting, and absence of advertising.  It felt so good in there.

Front and center, the fabrics for clothing and quilts!

...and the threads, of course.  Note the Bag Balm in the green tin above.  That's ointment for udders, so the teats don't get cracked or for cuts the cows get.  As dairy farmers, my husband and I used to buy that stuff in gallon tubs!  Fun to see it here.

Everything needed for the plain and simple Amish life was for sale here, including the straw hats worn by the men and boys.  The woodstove is ready for winter, the broom on the wall for sweeping up ashes from the floor....

It was hard to leave such a peaceful and interesting place....but it was back to the 21st Century, albeit in retro fashion...

Bettina took Corrine and me here for my last breakfast before heading south to the airport in Kansas City.  Good coffee and conversation, not to mention those hash browns.

A special thanks to Bettina, for hiring me and squiring me about.  The private quilt turning of her masterpiece quilts in her home was something I'll never forget.
Bettina is dedicated to the "made by hand" school of quilting, in applique, piecing, and quilting.  Her work is unrivaled, she teaches it here and internationally, and has published 7 books on the subject.
And her friendship is a treasure to me...

Home for a stop, Wichita!  There is still time to sign up for my classes.  Looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Pretty Crazy" Class Sample Embroidered

I am home from my trip and my travel preparations of my 4 block class sample paid off...not a single bit of fraying occurred, my blocks stayed nicely sewn together, all was well for the embroidery.

I kept the stitching simple, as this is a sample for the Essential Crazy Quilt Stitches classes that I will be teaching in the next several months.  And you know what?  Sometimes, simple is great!  There is no "bling" on this project, just stitching like in the old days....of course, they didn't have the beautiful hand dyed variegated threads from all over the world to play with like we do....

What was also fun about this project was combining such disparate fabrics: feedsacks, 30's repros, silk brocade, quilters cotton...and of course, the various trims added so much to the mix.
And that is what crazy quilting is all about, for me...the mix.....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teaching the "Pretty Crazy" Pattern

I didn't tell my delightful students this, but yesterday was the first time I have taught my "Pretty Crazy" pattern to sane quilters.  I can't express what a thrill this was for me.....because.....they got it!

My two hour "Make and Take" class at the Northwest Quilters Expo was sponsored by one of the top rated quilt shops in the country, Greenbaum's Quilted Forest, of Salem, Oregon.  The way we set up this class, Greenbaum's would supply kits for the students to buy in class, and I would come to teach it.  I had to have faith that their kits would be good, as Salem was too far for me to go to check on them in person.  I worked with their office manager, my friend Lisa Encabo, to give them all the information they needed.

I was just blown away by how beautiful and professional those kits were.  Look!

Here is the kit from the front...included is enough to make a four block "crazy pillow" variation from the pattern.  And the back....

Just beautifully, enticingly done!

At 10:30 yesterday morning, my students arrived and I had 2 hours with them.  My goal was that each would master the "concept" of this pattern, getting one block sewn by the end of class.
Remember, these are sane quilters.  Crazy quilting, with all the strange supplies and out-of-the-box, improvisational sewing is not the normal way they work.  But they have great sewing skills.

Oh, they took to it like ducks to water.  I was sooooooo happy.  And even though they all had the same kits, everyone's block looked a little different.  Bingo!
I think my job as a teacher sometimes is to guide students in how to play.  I hope that doesn't sound presumptious, really I don't.  But what fun it is to have that as my work!

Kathleen was concentrating!

Robin was cranking!

I was too busy to take any more pictures than these, but it does illustrate that my ladies were engaged and emerged successful at the end of class.
A teacher could ask for nothing more.....   ;-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Pretty Crazy Green 9 Patch"...Top Finished

I wanted to get this little project done in time for the class I am teaching at the Northwest Quilters Expo on this coming Thursday, based on my Pretty Crazy pattern.  My goal is to show what versatile results the pattern can give, from basic cotton quiltwork to elaborate looking crazy quilting....and almost all of it by machine.

I've just added a bit of beadwork, some three dimensional embellishment to the center block, and what I call a "faux binding" around the perimeter of the top.

As you can see, it is just a hint of beadwork, in the center of the ombre ribbon flowers, along the black velvet ribbon, and that little bugle beaded flower in the upper right.  It is just enough to add to the visual complexity of the piece, without taking very long at all.

I painted some pre-made ribbon flowers and tacked them on with a bead in the center of each one, couched down the stems of the readymade craft leaves, and stem and buttonhole stitched around the green velvet butterfly (from M & S Schmalberg, shown on the bottom row, second from right if you click on the link.)  The butterfly needed some extra definition after everything was on the block, so I went over it with some Neocolor Watersoluble Wax Pastels and then painted it wet with water to blend the colors.

The flower stems are large fibers that have been simply couched down.  That little cloisonne frog was the final touch for my central embellishment "tableau".

I've been using trim a lot lately to function as a visual binding, or narrow outer border.  It is so easy to apply--I just attached it with a clear thread in a zig zag stitch, folding and mitering the corners as I got to them.

This picture actually shows the place where the trim starts and stops, in the corner.
Here is that corner from the back:

No big deal!
I am leaving the backing off this sample so I can prove to students how little handwork was involved overall.  I am really trying to demonstrate how much interest you can get with quick machine work.
When it IS time to finish this, I will just take backing fabric, iron the edges under to exactly fit the size of the top, and zigzag stitch it to the outer edge of the trim, around the perimeter.

Of course, a lot more handstitching and beading could be added, and it would be fun...but this is an exercise in getting the maximum visual impact for the least amount of handwork.  I want sane quilters to see that crazy quilting is actually quite doable....!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pretty Crazy Green 9 Patch....Sewn and Assembled

This little 24" X 24" quilt came together so fast!

I don't have the backing on yet and may wait a bit on that part, but here is the top.

As in all crazy quilts, there is ample room for handwork to enrich the surface....

...but part of the point of this exercise is to demonstrate what interest you can get by just varying the fabrics and trims/fabrics used between the patches.

There is no hand or machine embroidery at all in this project (although I did sneak one M & S Schmalberg butterfly into the center block with machine applique.)  The Pretty Crazy pattern is supposed to give you any option you want for approaching your crazy quilt, especially for newbies.

I would love it if you all gave this a try so I can see what you do with it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Pretty Crazy Green 9 Patch"

I had such a great time demo-ing my "Pretty Crazy" pattern at Fabric Depot last Saturday!  Lots of really nice people came by, and it was so easy to show them how the pattern works.  Response was good!

Marge, one of the ladies who works there, liked the block I was using to demonstrate with, all in green.  It got me thinking after I got home that I really should make another one of these while I'm in the mood, especially after I sent off the Renaissance 9 Patch and miss it!

And just to show how fast this can come together, I will honestly state that I did the fabric lay-out in one 4 hour session, and the trim/pinning in a 6 hour session.  Fast and furiously fun....the sewing will be another 3 hours or so, finishing maybe 1 1/2, so the whole thing should come in at 15 hours.  Not bad...  ;-)

Yes, I used the old blogger's trick of standing on a step stool to get this overhead shot.  It's a nice sturdy stool.

The fun part of this process is that the whole thing is laid out at once, so you can keep the composition balanced as you go.  The fabric pieces are just laying on top of the foundation muslin squares at this point. So much for phase one...

When it was time to add the trim, I found that once in awhile I had to iron under the edge of the patch before laying the trim over it--this was when I was using lace, or the trim was really narrow.

I wanted those edges to stay flat once I pressed them, so I painted them first with a little starch/water solution.  It worked wonders.

Here is one of the 9 blocks, all pinned up.  There are lots of different manufacturers represented here, including Simplicity's ombre flower trim, and Mokuba's ready made black passementerie.

And another block....

Little bits from here and there in my stash all came out to play, including some old printed quilter's cottons that I've had for well over a decade...

The overall view is now at this stage...

I might have to tweak it so there is one more largish pink shape in the upper right (reduced views make problem areas pop right out).  Click on it to see it better....and come on back next week when it will be done!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Pretty Crazy" in Riversilks Ribbon

It's been a stitching marathon over the last couple of days!
The challenge for this variation of my "Pretty Crazy" pattern for Brookshier Design Studio was to incorporate all the colors in Riversilks' "Summer" collection and keep the stitching simple enough for newcomers. So I kept to just three stitches: herringbone, detached chain, and French knot.

I ended up not curving the seams too much, because I really do want to keep this simple, an introductory project in both crazy "piecing" and silk ribbon embroidery. By the time a newbie is done with this, those three stitches should be second nature!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Getting Ready for Spring Market

I've been sewing sample blocks like mad for Spring Market in Salt Lake City next week. These are all cotton and aimed at the sane quilters out there...but I've snuck in a tiny bit of trim here and there, just to show that you CAN add a few fun elements to the mix of a cotton quilt...

However, my next project for Market will allow me to step through the looking glass into bona fide crazy quilting again with this pattern. I'm making a pillow for RiverSilks, showcasing their silk ribbon. I have to admit, it will be great to use silk again!
It will also be fun to show an example of how this pattern can be adapted to curves...
Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Pretty Crazy", My First Commercial Pattern!

What you see here is the result of 13 years of a beautiful friendship. Do click on the picture!

My friend, Tracey Brookshier, has a wonderful quilt pattern business called Brookshier Design Studio. Her forte is making bold, graphic quilts that look complicated but are in fact quite easy to construct. You all no doubt know her Bento Box pattern.

Tracey sometimes has designers contribute patterns to her line, and that is what "Pretty Crazy" is all about.
A little background...Tracey has been a "key player" in my quilting life, giving me good advice along the way and also prodding me to go in directions she thinks will benefit me.

We met at a Quilting by the Sound conference in Port Townsend, WA. Susan Else was there too, and the three of us hit it off like a house afire. (One of us had a spectacular melt-down during a Nancy Crow workshop that was a true bonding experience...but I am not divulging who....)

Here are me and Tracey after a really fun week together, back in the fall of 1998.

It was Tracey who suggested I attend the Point Bonita quilt conference, which you readers know has been a huge and valued part of my quilt life. I sit with Tracey and Sue there every year and though our work is wildly divergent, our friendship just keeps gets stronger through the years.

This was taken in February of 2010 at Point was our turn to host Happy Hour that evening!

It was Tracey who invited me to be the Featured Artist at her guild show last year in Santa Cruz, Tracey who made me overcome my reluctant shyness and meet one of the heads of the Empty Spools Conference at Asilimar....where I will be an Artist in Residence in May of 2012. When Tracey speaks now, I listen!
So when she invited me to make a crazy quilt pattern for her business, aimed at sane quilters, I took her up on the challenge. The result is what you see at the top of this post.

Tracey and I will be debuting this pattern at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah in May. I'll be demo-ing in her booth, Number 2131. After Market, I'll have it for sale here on the blog, but you will also hopefully be able to find it at your local quilt shop, as well as being able to order it off Tracey's website.

The pattern is easy, sews up fast, and yet filled with countless possibilities. The Accuquilt Go Cutter speeds things up alot when it comes to cutting the strips, too. My hope is that it will offer sane quilters a gentle introduction into the world of crazy quilting...and bring them in!

It would be so fun to see you at Quilt come visit us at Booth #2131.