Monday, November 11, 2019

Metro Link Quilt 2

Who braved the freezing temps and rushing wind to snap a few photos of her quilt? This girl. The phrase about suffering for the sake art came to mind.

I'm happy with the way the quilt came out, especially the choice of backing and binding. I'd been saving the Habitat print for just the right quilt, and I love it with the bright colors of the scraps on the front.  It was begging for a solid yellow binding.
In typical Kansas City fashion, yesterday was sunny and warm. Can you believe I hand stitched the binding outside on the deck, then this?
This is the Metro Link quilt, pattern by Michelle (@ilikeorangetoo on Instagram). I made another version of the quilt several years ago.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Metrolink Quilt Top

It's a quilt top! We're in the middle of a wet, gloomy stretch of cold weather here, so a couple of quick shots by an open door will have to do. I have to say it is so satisfying to see all those neat 90 degree corners matching, and I'm still loving the bright scraps against the black essex linen.
Now on to basting and quilting. I think I will use straight line quilting to emphasize the geometric piecing.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Metro Link Progress

I've been piecing the blocks of my Metro Link quilt this week, enjoying every minute. Each block is a new chance to make unique fabric pairings since I'm working with scraps. It's been like eating candy - I want to savor each one and not rush through, because then they will be finished.
The columns came together fairly quickly, so I'm ready to assemble the top next.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A New Link

I decided to get back in the scrappy saddle with the start of a new Metro Link quilt. Boy, I had forgotten how many tiny pieces (617!) are in this pattern by Michelle. The smallest ones finish at 1 x 2 inches. Cutting the background pieces from Essex linen yardage was quick, but cutting each individual piece from scraps took the better part of the past week. Whew!

I usually enjoy sewing from scraps improvisationally because it eliminates the need for precision in the initial phases, but I have to admit that there is something very satisfying about all those neat stacks cut to precisely the right size.
I've got the first step of the pattern all lined up for a night of chain piecing. Belying its precision, this type of sewing is actually quite relaxing. Unlike every step of an improv piece, there are no decisions to be made - just methodical, soothing stitches. Sometimes, it's just what you need.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Prisms and Fireworks

Ronnie Thompson from British Columbia was kind enough to send me this photo of a Floating Prisms quilt she longarm quilted. It was pieced by Marven Ecker. He asked her to create fireworks with the quilting, and I think the bursts are a stunning design in the negative space.
You can find my post about the Floating Prisms pattern here, as well as the whole pattern as a free download on the Robert Kaufman site. The design is foundation pieced.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Scrap It?

Here they are - all 54 scrappy, three quarter log cabin blocks. Now I just have to decide if I want to keep them. I have thoroughly enjoyed making them, and individually they are pretty. The best part of these blocks has been the process. I loved picking strips for each one, playing with colors, and finding old fabric friends in the bin (which is still crammed full somehow).
It's just that together they are ugly - like so ugly I can't bring myself to post a picture of all of them here. It seems odd because I love other people's versions. So what went wrong? I believe it comes down to three things. First, I didn't limit my color palette. Even with scraps, I usually stick to a select few colors to ensure a harmony, as with my Scrappy Trip Along Quilt.
The same calming effect might have been achieved by using more white and low volumes too, to give the colors room to breath. Each block tells a color story I enjoy, but it's just too loud for me when the blocks are together.

My second mistake was giving no thought to color placement for the quilt top as a whole. I don't mind using all the colors, if they are in some sort of color order, like the Therapist Quilt.
Lastly, there is nothing tempering the chaos, as with a background fabric in my Midwest Metro Link. 
So, while I enjoyed the process of this project, which is frankly all I really intended, I'm not sure if I want to put any more time into the blocks or pass them along to someone who might feel differently. Another idea is to reverse engineer a color scheme by selecting blocks that do go together and making a couple of smaller quilts from those. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Scrappy Log Cabin Blocks

I saw Jacey's blocks on instagram and got an itch to sew with my scraps. My scrap bin of random width strips has been over flowing for a while now, so this project will be good for scrap management.
The blocks (maybe called 3/4 log cabin blocks since they are just missing one side) are sewn improvisationally and trimmed to 9  x 12.
I've got 15 so far. I think I have enough scraps strips to sew a few more, don't you think? The pile wouldn't even fit in the frame, and it doesn't seem to have diminished in the slightest. The magical procreation of scraps.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Streamliner Pouches

I was looking for a simple zippy bag to make as pencil pouches for Operation Christmas Child when I came across the streamline pouch by Elnora. She has a free downloadable pdf pattern which includes a a neat trick with the zipper installation that avoids the little indentations you can sometimes get at each end of the zipper. These pouches can open completely from end to end, so you can fit even the longest pencil in with room to spare.
I made mine with solid scraps. Because I sewed quilt-as-you-go style onto batting, there was no need to use interfacing - perfect when you don't have any at home.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Patchwork and Pillowcase Drive

I pulled some bright, fun prints from my stash to make a few pillowcases. I used the pattern from School of Sewing which I have used before and know holds up beautifully in many washes because it uses french seams. I especially love the burrito method of attaching the cuff (I would never have thought of that on my own in a million years, but it works!). You just need 1 yard (or 3/4 yard and 1/4 yard if you want the cuff to be different from the larger portion of the pillow) and a 2 inch strip x WOF to make each pillowcase.
I know so many of us are concerned about the plight of new immigrants and asylum seekers, particularly at our southern border. Especially heartbreaking are the conditions facing children and families. One organization, the Socorro Foundation, is working to assist families who have been released from detention and are awaiting hearings. Sarah Hunter of LazyCozyQuilts has organized a drive for baby quilts and pillowcases (you can find the specifics here). Each child Socorro serves will receive a pillowcase to keep. It's a small thing to contribute, but I think no act of love or compassion goes unseen.

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, it is available for sale 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.