Thursday, August 22, 2019

Improv Art Quilt


Another improv appliqué project, this time pairing appliqué with pieced improv. I have found I really love the process of improv appliqué, from the cutting, to the basting (pictured below), to hand sewing.
I used matchstick quilting which works especially well to lend structure to wall hangings like this art quilt.
Although this shot is from before I hand stitched the facing, you can see the method of binding I chose. A facing is perfect for quilts you want to avoid framing with a binding that would show. I have to admit I find facing a bit tedious though.
On to the next experiment.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Appliqué Landscape

Another appliqué experiment - this time inspired by pottery.
I made up the process as I went along, and began with a quick freehand drawing using smooth, simple shapes. I numbered and labeled each piece before cutting the paper along the draw lines.
I used each paper piece as a template, cutting the fabric about 1/8" larger on all sides. I did this because I wanted about an 1/8" of foundation fabric to show between my appliqué shapes, reminiscent of the dark ceramic base of my inspiration. I experimented a bit with different colors in the landscape, ultimately keeping the hills a single green and swapping the lightest coral for one closer to the darker coral.

After pinning in place, making sure each piece overlapped evenly with its neighbors, I basted all the pieces down.
I used needle-turn appliqué and 50 or 80 weight, whichever I had on hand, of Aurifil thread to stitch the pieces down. This was a bit fiddly because of the overlapping pieces. Here it is about half finished.
After appliquéing, I removed the basting stitches. I like how the landscape looks, simply framed, but now I wonder if it would be improved with quilting. There is a slight wave to the fabrics that is bugging me a little bit, even with a few layers of batting added behind it. If I quilted it, I could mount it on top of the mat, rather than behind it. What do you think?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Midmod Improv Appliqué Pillow

Okay, so I'm just going to say up front that I am so excited about this pillow. I think it is the coolest thing I have made in a long time, and the technique has so many possibilities, my mind is whirring with what to make next.

Like the pillow I made recently, this is improv appliqué, meaning I cut all the shapes by eye, without templates. I riffed off the square in a square design but added a mid century modern twist with the rounded edges. It turned out just as I intended.

The pillow gave me a chance to try matchstick quilting over appliqué, and I'm happy with the result. The texture is great, and it doesn't overwhelm the design underneath, possibly because I used bold colors. I finally used Living Coral, the Pantone color of the year. Nice.

I will say this 16 x 24 piece took forever, as it is all hand appliquéd, needle turn, using my favorite Aurifil 80 weight thread. The matchstick quilting isn't quick either. But it was all worth it to me. I really love this. Having said that, the bit I enjoy is the making, rather than the owning. If you'd like a chance to add this functional art to your home. check it out in my etsy shop. I doubt I'll make another, so this is a one of a kind piece!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Improv Appliqué

In the interest of creating a hand sewing project for a recent road trip, I put together a small improv appliqué experiment. I cut the appliqué fabric by eye into rough atomic shapes, and pinned them in place. After basting them down, it was just a matter of some leisurely needle turn appliqué in matching 50 weight Aurifil thread. I didn't have 80 weight in the right color, but if you have time to source it, 80 weight is a dream for appliqué.


I wanted to keep the impact of the appliqué shapes, so I chose not to quilt on top of them, echo quilting instead about an 1/8th of an inch from the edge. Then I filled in the background with a free motion figure eight shape to make the appliqué really pop.
I interfaced the back of the pillow and finished it with a lapped zipper, which is my favorite type of closure. The pillow finishes at 18 x 18. It truly one of a kind, although I may be inspired to do a series with slightly different shapes.  What a fun way to make appliqué improv. I encourage you to try it, and if you are interested, the pillow is in my etsy shop.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Memory Pillow

From the scraps of the memory quilt I made last year, I created a simple, 18 x 18 improv pillow for another family member. Strip sets are a great way to use a variety of prints.

I quilted it with straight lines to keep the focus on the fabrics, which were cut from men's dress shirts.
This type of design works just as well oriented in horizontal or vertical stripes. It's a quick project that will be meaningful to the recipient.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Flying Geese Pillow


I drafted the elongated flying geese in this pillow as a foundation pieced pattern to create really crisp points. The high contrast of the black and white makes the simple design quite bold, which I like.

I quilted the flying geese minimally with an outline in black thread, while I filled in the white with a free motion swirl in white thread to keep the emphasis on the triangles.

I finished this 16 x 24 pillow with a lapped zipper back, and I think this quilted pillow cover will be an even better fit once it's washed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Hexie Zip Bag

English paper piecing is probably my favorite type of hand sewing. It's just so portable, perfect for scraps, and cute. Of course it stops being portable when you try to make something large, so the two panels necessary for this sweet zip bag were just right to my way of thinking.

The pattern I used to make the bag is the Perfect Zip Bag by Elizabeth Hartman. You can make it with a pieced panel or without. It is my go-to pattern for zip bags because of the method she uses for inserting the zipper and covering the zipper ends. Perfect every time.

I was trying to decide who would appreciate this sort of gift, and I think it has to be a quilter, don't you? I'm going to surprise a special woman via post this week.