Wednesday, June 21, 2017

En Pointe 2.0

I suppose En Pointe 2.0 is a bit of a misnomer, although I like the way it sounds. This was actually the original version of the wall hanging from Improvising Tradition before I decided to change the colors as inspired by Degas ballerina paintings.
I found the abandoned top a while ago and decided to finish it. My favorite bit is the sparkle of the golden shot cotton.
Do you ever make a quilt more than once, changing the fabrics? I tend to prefer the original when I do, but these each have their charms. I like the more masculine colors of this version, as well as the teal voile binding.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Scrappy Triangles Quilt

My first finished quilt of 2017 is this Scrappy Triangles Quilt. I took my time on this one and probably enjoyed the fabric layout the most of all the steps in the process. I limited myself to triangles I had cut from my scrap bins. Creating color gradations and a pleasing overall look was quite a challenge under that limitation. 
At the same time I always love using scraps. Revisiting favorite fabrics and seeing them play with new and unexpected friends in a layout like this is energizing and enjoyable. I definitely recommend making scrap quilts. Very therapeutic.
I quilted this with a variation on a paisley but with a rounded shape rather than teardrop. I like the bubble effect it gives and the softeness of the circles against the sharp edges of the triangles.
The backing was a gift from a friend, and I like how the circles echo the quilting design. The binding is a mix from my scrap binding bin, including a piece I trimmed from the backing after basting. Use it all.
The quilt finished at 47 x 58, a generous baby size, and I think it will be a gift for a baby coming soon to a treasured teacher and grandmother.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Scrappy Triangles

Whew, it's been a while! A few kind friends have asked where I've been, and I thought I'd do a quick update post and share what little sewing I manage to do these days. The short version is that I've been writing - not another quilting book, but writing for educational publishers. My background is in teaching, writing, and literature, so it's really a great fit. It doesn't leave me with much time or energy for quilting though. As much fun as blogging is, it does require quite a bit of time. Instagram is a much easier way for me to share quick snapshots.  I didn't take the time to get "real" photos of this project along the way, so I'll share my IG shots. In need of scrap therapy, I managed to cut a few triangles in the evenings and ended up with an inspiring stack.

The next step seemed to me to be some mindless chain sewing around the holidays. So relaxing.

I played around with the triangles on the design wall and discovered that creating color gradations with a stack of scrappy print fabrics is a real challenge. Value is complicated by white in so many prints, not to mentioned how multicolored prints read from a few steps back. Then there is the fact that in places I wanted a certain color to transition between color blocked areas of the design, but that color wasn't present in my scrap bins. It took some careful arranging, thought, and compromise. I challenge you to try it; you'll see.

I am happy with my final arrangement, which I will share soon. I'm hoping to get a little time to baste the top this weekend. I am usually inclined towards limited color palettes, but there is something about a rainbow in winter. I decided not to fight it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Appliqué Table Runner

This project has certainly been in the works for a long time (Instagram tells me I started is this past spring). I decided to take my time with it, which I think is the best way to approach needle turn appliqué. A variation on my MarimeFaux wall hanging, this 20" x 51" table runner uses a slightly different template but the same folding, cutting, and appliqué technique. The method is a cross between cutting paper dolls and Hawaiian appliqué, and its one I’d like to continue to explore.

Instead of the high contrast black and white solids, in this variation I played with fabrics that blur the boundaries between appliqué and background. It's a trick I used in improv piecing, and I think its so interesting in this application.

Once the appliqué was complete, the project stalled for a while as I tried out different quilting patterns. I settled on a free motion figure eights, as you can see. If I had it to do again, I think the modern design and fabric would be better complimented by simple, matchstick quilting.

I enjoyed the process of making this quilt, from the template creation, to folding and cutting, and appliqué. The quilting went quickly on the machine, but the facing did take some time. I think it is more tedious than binding, but some quilts really demand one.

I think I’ll experiment more with this technique, perhaps on a smaller scale.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Adventures in Indigo Shibori

I recently had the pleasure of taking a class with Kim Eichler-Messmer, author of Modern Color, on indigo shibori fabric dyeing. It was just a delight. Kim, a professor at the Kansas City Art Institute, also teaches private classes at KC Textile Studio. If you have the opportunity to take a class, do it!
We learned to make two different types of indigo dye vats, as well as the shirbori technique, including itajime, arashi, and machine sewn. This traditional Japanese dyeing method, which uses  uses clamps, string, and stitching to create resist patterns, creates truly endless design possibilities. I tried a bit of everything, which is the fun of this sort of class.
machine sewn
machine sewn

Indigo dyeing is certainly simple enough to do at home, albeit a bit messy. I hope an outdoor indigo party with crafty friends is in my future.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Paper Pieced Block

Inspired by an ikat fabric I saw on instagram, this new paper pieced block has captivated my imagination. I used grey scraps on a pure white background to evoke a wintery, Nordic feel. The block motif reminds me of arrows and stars, which fit the theme perfectly.
I made a second block using more scraps, this time in black and white, but I think I'll look to my stash next to make each block unique with no repeating fabrics and to achieve a subtle twinkle from different values of grey and black prints.
I'm thinking of calling it the Ketchikan quilt and making it my next pattern. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rainbow Baby Quilt

What is it about a rainbow that is so soothing and energizing and happy all at once? Practically speaking, this quilt was born of my overflowing scrap bin of strips. Therapeutically, it is the product of a few happy hours of simple sewing.
This baby quilt is 42 x 49, and quilters will not be surprised to know that my scrap bin somehow looks just a full now as it did before I started. That proves scraps and scrap quilts are magic, right? I love revisiting so many favorite fabrics in my scrap bins.
I used white, Aurifil 2021 thread to free motion quilt swirls, paisleys and pebbles. I find this combination of designs compliment each other well, fit into each other's curves, and flow easily under my hands.
I've had the backing fabric for several years, and it makes me happy to find the perfect quilt in which to use it. Raindrops for a rainbow quilt. I think saturated backing prints really balance a super colorful top.
You can find this Rainbow Baby Quilt in my etsy shop.