Thursday, September 26, 2013

Carla's Quilt

Carla's Quilt 
45" x 54"

Today I'll share my most recent quilt with you.  Surprised?  Not one bit of appliqué!  Here's the story:

My daughter Carla and her hubby Jack purchased a 1920's farmhouse near Minneapolis and have done major renovations while still keeping the beauty and character of the home intact.  In the process of decorating, Carla found a photo of an antique, traditional quilt and asked me to replicate it for their living room.  No problem!

I found the vintage navy fabric on Etsy and the white background is a Moda Bella cotton.  

The pieced block is a variation of The Old Maid's Puzzle, set on point.  

I used my favorite Triangulations software to create the half square triangles which was a breeze, but then matching points while piecing the blocks took a bit of practice, not having done this for a while! 

The quilting needed to be just right and I decided to find an expert to do this, someone who could capture the hand quilted look on a long arm machine.

At the Treasures for Tomorrow quilt show in Marshfield, WI 2 years ago, I was lucky to meet the  winner of the Best Machine Quilting award, Ann Becker of Always in Stitches and see her winning quilting.  I contacted her about this challenge and she was up for it.  What a wonderful job she did!

The finished quilt is beautiful.  Carla had debated about wanting me to wash the quilt creating even more of an antique soft puckered look, but right now, she's happy with it as is.   

I will present it to the Fahdens next weekend.

 Close up heirloom machine quilting.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Nature's Journey Bouquet

Here we have a photo of a lovely bouquet presented to me by my kids to congratulate me on my recently published book.  Carla had sent my cover photo image to a wonderful florist in Minneapolis, who created the arrangement.  I just love it!  

Having my book finished and out there, I now find myself in a sort of limbo.  What shall I do now?  I need to regroup.  I will continue making show quilts and work on other projects, but gee, should I think about my next book?  

In the meantime, I decided to do a make-over of one of the guest rooms.  Having the old windows replaced was the first step and the impetus to get going.  As decorators will tell you, start with the largest item in the room, in this case that would be the twin beds.  New "Cubism Birds" duvet covers from West Elm were chosen. Next, I took down existing wall quilts and pictures to have a clean slate.  

After looking at blank walls, I searched for new art work on Etsy and elsewhere.  Not finding anything, I went to my fabric stash and pulled out a pile of colors that I thought would work for a quilted wallhanging. I wanted to keep the overall look of the birds and bring in color.  Other than the birds' turquoise eyes, which I love, the duvet covers are neutral grays and white.  

Leo immediately nestled amongst my chosen fabrics and I assumed he approved.

I often incorporate circles in my quilts and that's where I began.  I cut circles in different sizes from 1" to 3" in diameter, layered them randomly color-wise, placed them in rows and started fusing. 

Yesterday, I finished appliqué stitching the top and will now add a narrow framing border (to look like framed art) and I'll machine quilt it with an all-over squarish block design.  

Title:  "Cubic Circles".  

Loon on Echo Lake and color inspiration.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fons and Porter Master Class Review

Today I have the pleasure of presenting my review of Janet Pittman's video "Learn How-To Fusible Appliqué."  

You'll find this class and many more on Fons and Porter's Daily Craft TV which is "a community showing new craft ideas and projects with online webinar videos.  Expert instructors provide online craft classes in Quilting, Scrapbooking, Sewing, Crocheting, Knitting and Paper Crafts."

Janet Pittman, "a quilt artist from West Des Moines, Iowa, has been designing her own quilts since 1994. Her appliqué designs are stitched are then embellished to add natural texture and dimension for a realistic appearance whether it is a fuzzy bear or a satin rose. Janet is a Master Gardener and finds inspiration from her colorful garden."

Click here to visit Janet's web site.

Considering my love of appliqué in quilting, the subject "Fusible Appliqué"  jumped right at me when browsing the list of classes.  

I really enjoyed this class. It is short, well organized and nicely presented.  It reminds me that there is always something new to learn when taking a class and I should do it more often. 

Janet's class is listed as intermediate level, but I really think anyone interested in fusible appliqué would enjoy it.  

Sources for appliqué patterns, types of fusible web, fabrics and other supplies are covered. 

Next, Janet teaches how to trace, fuse, cut appliqué shapes and arrange them on a background.  

An interesting and easy method of making fusible bias stems is shown - I will definitely use it!  

The need to reverse shapes in fusible appliqué can be confusing, but here it is explained well and is easy to understand.  

Janet talks about fussy cutting with special motifs and the use of fabric gradation and linear fabrics for maximum effect.  Also covered is how to line light appliqué shapes so that darker fabric shapes won't show through.  Another trick I will try.

The last portion of the video class teaches how to use different appliqué stitches and the machine settings for each.  Janet also demos free motion embellishment which looks like a fun technique to explore.

The complete pattern for Janet's original Clematis Block is available for download once you order this class.  It features full size color templates and instructions to make the block including free-motion zigzag stitching.  It is an excellent practice project.

Be sure to browse Daily Craft TV and take a class!  There are 37 quilting classes alone, covering a wide range of topics.

Fons and Porter to me are the quintessential quilters, teachers, designers and leaders in the industry.