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. You can purchase the pattern in my etsy shop.
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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

MarimeFaux Wall Hanging

You may recognize the inspiration for this piece as a print by Marimekko. It was a very large scale print; I'm guessing the motif was a yard across. Recently the design has resurfaced as a special line at a certain big box store and can be purchased on items like napkins and boogie boards. I guess you could say I'm on trend, but I've actually been working on this this needle turn applique wall hanging for over a year, finishing it just in time to photograph it in some beautiful spring weather.
I developed a new technique to create the design, something of a cross between Hawaiian applique and cutting paper dolls. I folded the fabric several times and cut out the motif using a template I designed. The result is not quite as smooth as I would like, but the slight irregularity of the shapes is somehow pleasing.
I finished the piece with straight line quilting and a faced binding, made following this tutorial.
I'm currently revisiting this technique in a table runner and print fabrics. I've adjusted the technique to fold and cut freezer paper to create a full size template to apply to the fabric, rather than cutting the fabric itself folded. This has allowed me to make smoother curves and more regular shapes. I hope that project will be finished more quickly than this was.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Inspired by Improvising Tradition, Again

I have more of projects share with you today, made by readers of Improvising Tradition.

Veronica, a talented graphic designer, business owner, and quilter from my ancestral homeland of Scotland, made this lovely quilted pillow cover based on the By the Fireside pillow in the Strips section of the book. I really like her use of prints in this.
Eva made matching placemats and a table runner from the Ribbons Placemats pattern in the Slice and Insert portion of the book. She won a second place ribbon on them at the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild Show that's runs in conjunction with the AQS Des Moines show!
I was so pleased to see the progress shots on Instagram of Cassie's baby quilt from the Shattered Chevrons pattern. This was her first FMQ project start to finish, and it looks so pretty. I love the colors she chose!

I had a sweet email from Kaaren who doesn't use social media but shared this set of coasters made from the Jewel Box Coasters pattern from the Strata section of the book. This is actually a pattern you can read for free as a excerpt on Sew Mama Sew.
With the strata technique under her belt, Kaaren made this cute baby quilt, a variation of the cover quilt, Waterfall.
I'd love to see what you make too. Send me a photo via email or use the hashtag #improvisingtradition online to share. I'm happy to link to your blog or other social media site, with your permission.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Machine Pieced Pojagi

Pojagi is a traditional Korean form of patchwork used to make wrapping clothes and ceremonial items. It is pieced using a special technique than encloses all raw edges so that the finished item is lovely from both sides. This patchwork is not layered with batting and back and is not quilted. When placed against the light, which highlights the seams, this type of patchwork is especially beautiful.
Although traditionally pieced by hand using a variety of stitches and methods, I've tried my hand at machine pieced pojagi in the past. More recently, I've discovered that the use of a flat fell foot speeds up the process quite a bit, eliminating several steps.
If you'd like to learn this technique, while exploring improv piecing, join me for a Machine Pieced Pojagi class at the Overland Park Bernina store on March 4th. Contact the store for more details.
For lots of pojagi inspiration, you can peruse my Pojagi Pinterest board.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Introducing the Chromascope Quilt

I'm excited to share a new quilt design and pattern with you today. The Chromascope Quilt is a modern variation on a kaleidoscope block, featuring a rainbow of stars set against a trellised grey and white background. Careful color placement creates a diagonal gradation of color and value. The best part about this quilt, aside from the opportunity for color play and use of scraps, is that it can be pieced from a single foundation template.
The eight page, full color, pattern includes fabric requirements, cutting instructions, piecing directions, foundation template, construction diagram, and coloring page. You can find the pattern for the 50" x 60" Chromascope Quilt for sale in my Craftsy shop.
Nervous about paper piecing or creating all those points? I've created a detailed tutorial for piecing the 10" Chromascope block, with step by step photos. You can find the free tutorial over on one of my favorite sewing sites, Sew Mama Sew. I walk you through the process, give you rough cut sizes for each fabric piece, and share tips for precision piecing.
The design is such a fun opportunity to play with scraps and think about color. I used some of my favorite prints. I'd love to see your Chromascope blocks and quilts. Tag your photos #chromascopequilt or #chromascopeblock to share yours with the online sewing community.
The gorgeous cover and pattern layout were put together by my friend and fellow quilter, Trish Koch, a photographer and graphic designer. Local peeps, she's a genius at portrait photography, and fellow quilters, she's available for graphic design work.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Fran who wrote:

"I live near the beach and I take most of my quilt photos there. I also like industrial type backdrops but they're more difficult to get. Love your quilt. Thanks for the chance to win this amazing book!"

I have sent you an email. Send me your information, and I'll forward it to Lucky Spool so you can get your copy of Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2.
Thanks to everyone who kindly left comments. You can still get 30% off the cover price with the code Scraps30. And check out the other stops on the blog tour for more chances to win a copy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Twirligigs Quilt - Scraps, Inc. Volume 2 Blog Tour

If you've visited my blog more than a couple of times, then you know I *heart* sewing with scraps. It's my favorite way to make quilts. My quilt, Stripes Earned, from Scraps, Inc. Volume 1 featured scraps strips in a very masculine palette in keeping with the military inspiration. When I was asked to contribute to Volume 2, I took the opportunity to make a quilt with feminine curves and a saturated, analogous color palette.
The name Twirligigs came from the hanging, spinning garden ornaments that twirl in the breeze. I made the quilt using freehand arcs, sewn by hand using needle turn applique to strips of natural Essex linen. The improv shapes and offset placement of the curves in the columns creates the effect of spinning, cascading spirals. It's just a lot of fun. The bold, graphic shapes work best with saturated fabrics like I chose, but the quilt could take on an entirely different feel done in low volume prints on a dark background. The contrast is key.
Nydia Kehnle did the photography for Scraps, Inc. Volume 2. The urban setting she chose is such a fun contrast to the softness of the quilts. I often struggle with  photographing my quilts in interesting ways, and Nydia has done a beautiful job. The book has a fresh and hip feel, as do the scrap quilts in it. The book features 15 scrappy quilt patterns, each by a different designer.
Lucky Spool has kindly offered a copy of Scraps, Inc. Volume 2 for me to giveaway. For a chance to win, leave a comment on how you like to photograph your quilts, or the type of photos you enjoy most. I will chose a winner at random on Thursday February 11th at noon. Giveaway now closed, but you can purchase a copy at 30% off the list price here until February 16th. Just use the code Scraps30 for the discount.
Check out more stops on the Scraps, Inc. Volume 2 blog tour for more chances to win! You'll get a sneak peek at all the quilts in the book.
Monday, February 8 Amy Smart, Diary of a Quilter Nydia Kehnle, Nydia Kehnle Design + Photography
Tuesday, February 9 Amy Friend, During Quiet Time Alexandra Ledgerwood, Teaginny Designs Wednesday, February 10 April Rosenthal, April Rosenthal - The {Studio} Blog Dorie Schwarz, Tumbling Blocks
Thursday, February 11 Erin Harris, House on Hill Road Janice Ryan, Better Off Thread
Friday, February 12 John Adams, Quilt Dad Kari Vojtechovsky, Craft Happy
Saturday, February 13 Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt Kati Spencer, From the Blue Chair
Sunday, February 14 Melissa Lunden, Lunden Designs Allison Harris, Cluck Cluck Sew Sherri McConnell, A Quilting Life