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!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Easy Finishing.... on the Renaissance 9 Patch

Using the properties of trims--especially their finished edges--helps to make finishing a small quilt a breeze.  I guess you could call this the Faux Binding approach.

May has been very helpful of late...

Silly cat.

Seriously, once the nine blocks were sewn together, it was a short morning's work to finish up this quilt.  Here is how it went...

This quilt did not need batting so I decided to forgo it.  I cut out a cotton backing that was 3/4" bigger all the way around than the quilt.  Then I ironed on a line of Lite Steam a Seam 2 along the perimeter of the quilt top.  It was a simple matter to iron the edge of the backing to the front.

Along the way I retrimmed the edge of the backing before the final folding where make sure it was 3/4".

Once those edges were ironed over, I did a quick quilt in the ditch between the blocks with clear thread.

But what about those raw edges?
Here is where the trim comes in.  I just sewed it on, again with the clear thread in a zig zag, lining up the edge of the quilt and the edge of the trim on either side of my presser foot.  No pinning.  I don't like pinning.

Then another trim went on alongside the first one, which covered any bits of the backing that still showed, and gave me additional detail in the "binding".

As I got to the corners, I folded them into miters and just kept on sewing!

I love how that embossed, cut-out velvet trim plus the narrow fine lined ribbon gives such interest to the outside edge, for hardly any work.  This crazy quilt has a clean fresh look that I like...and I have to say, is in keeping with the "modern" look in quilting these days.
After all, this is for display in Renaissance Ribbon's trade show booth, so it has to be au curant.  ;-)  It measures 24" X 24".

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nine Patch with Renaissance Ribbons

I've bought their ribbon and trim for years, so you can imagine how much I have enjoyed working with a whole array of treasures from Renaissance Ribbons this past week. Using my pattern, "Pretty Crazy", I've been making a 9 block quilt showcasing their ribbon and trim for them to use in their booth at trade shows.

Here's the pattern, to refresh your memory if you've seen it before:

This pattern totally lends itself to showcasing anyone's trim, ribbon, and lace collections too, but I didn't use lace this time around.

The head of the company, a lovely woman named Edith, and I decided on a pink/orange palette for the ribbon; I chose purple and blue fabrics to set them off.

After tracing my block's design onto muslin foundation, I cut out all the patch shapes and laid them out.

Because I wanted to give the illusion of curved piecing, I ironed the trims into gentle arcs before laying them in place.  A spray bottle helped, as the jacqard woven trims are kind of dense.

It was a blast picking out the trims and pinning them into place, tucking under the ends so that there were no raw edges anywhere. 
Then it was a quick matter to sew these down with a clear thread in a zig zag stitch (such a forgiving way to sew, isn't it?)

Truly, each block might take 10 to 15 minutes to sew down, after you've laid it out.

Then I just trimmed them up, zig zagged the edges....

and voila!  The blocks are ready to assemble.
I think I will add ribbon sashing and some simple hand embroidery here and there.  But seriously, this sewed up fast.
I'll bring this to Fabric Depot this coming Saturday, and will be teaching it at Northwest Quilters Expo in Portland on September 22.  My class will be hosted by Greenbaum's Quilted Forest of Salem, Oregon.

My next project is very personal and meaningful...honoring a recently deceased family member, a Superman named Mark can read about this heroic and inspiring man here.  I'll be making five memorial quilts for Mark's wife, daughters, father, and father-in-law.  What an honor and privilege this will be.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Matt's House...Stitching Finished

This sample for my "Home Portraits" classes at the Victorian Stitchery Retreat in Wichita, Kansas next November is all stitched up now.  I've decided not to actually finish the piece until after class, so students can see the back.  (Don't you always want to see the back of a stitching project?  I do.)

My brother has lived in this little bungalow for 20 years now and I always love going to see him there.  Working on his home portrait was almost like a visit...

I'll start with some detail shots and then show the whole thing.

More and more, I love including writing on my quilts.

A tiny bit of silver thread brings those windchimes to life, doesn't it?

I wanted to create a foreground to put the house "in context".  I used cut out printed fabric flowers, some vintage appliques, and a few vintage millinery leaves.  It was a fun compositional problem, and quite simple to execute, as it was all done by machine.....

...and I had to sign it.

The whole piece is 12" X 14".

What a great porch that is...and the roses in their pots are so welcoming...

There are actually a lot of design issues that I tried to build into this sample for the purpose of class discussion.  I am so looking forward to working with my students as they create their own "home portraits"!