Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Getting the Christmas Spirit With American Patchwork & Quilting

Someone posted a picture online of the cover of the latest edition of American Patchwork & Quilting; I couldn't stop thinking about the cover quilt and had to find a copy of the magazine.  I found it at my LQS but Barnes & Noble likely carries it too.


The cover quilt is called Snowfall and was designed by Wendy Sheppard.  I bet I have enough Christmas prints in my stash to make it.  The curved seams don't deter me but I'd like to find acrylic templates to use for the cutting.  Please leave a comment if you are aware of any good sources.  The pattern pieces are included in the magazine but I think it would be easier and more accurate to use acrylic templates. 

There are a couple of other projects in this December 2017 edition of the magazine that I like.  Arctic Circles, designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, is a variation on the kaleidoscope block.  Nine individual blocks come together to form a large 36" block and four of these larger blocks go together to make a 96" square quilt. Yes, giant!


There is a 10-page write-up on Meg Hawkey and Crabapple Hill Studio designs.  She has a signature soft look that combines piecing and embroidery, often embellished with beads and other materials.  Some great designs are showcased in the article and then comes Holiday Wishes, a 30" square table topper design.  I love it but am not sure my embroidery skills are up to the demands of the center square.  The magazine does include detailed directions for using crayons to add color to embroidery designs.


I'm sure I can't finish any of these projects in time for this Christmas, but as Christmas comes every year, there is always 2018.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Millefiori Quilts 3

Willyne Hammerstein has a new book out, Millefiori Quilts 3.  I bought it at my LQS as soon as it come out because I've been thinking it is time for me to start another hand project.  There's lots of great eye candy and more than a little inspiration!  Willyne makes all her quilts by hand, not the English paper piecing method, but with the instructions in the book, you can use either method.  (But machine sewing is probably not an option with these tiny pieces.) 


There are 18 new designs in the book.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Please excuse the poor photography; it is difficult to hold the camera with one hand while you hold the book open with the other hand. 

This is the cover quilt, Moncarapacho.  Really fantastic, and an unusual combination of colors.  I'm deterred by the fact that the center of each motif is a 10-pointed star.  Think of all those points coming together and the bulk of the seam allowances!


Nocturne uses a similar color scheme and also has a pieced border.  It looks a little easier too, with just six points coming together in the center. 


Le Grand Desert is her take on the dresden plate block, with the addition of smaller six-pointed stars.  And all fussy cut from one fabric.  It's like a mash-up of dresden plate and one block wonder and looks so impressive.


Belle Fleur, again an unusual color combination but so effective.  I've seen this block before, called Antique Rose Star (in fact, I have a whole Pinterest board on it, here), and it is very adaptable to different fabric types, from the 19th century reproductions shown here to modern prints and everything in between.


So now I'm looking for some color inspiration in the form of a possible border fabric, then I'll decide exactly which direction to take.  But another epp project is definitely in my future.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wildflowers Progress

I'm making good progress on my Wildflowers quilt.  The blocks go together pretty easily.  As long as I have the pieces cut and ready by my sewing machine, I can work on it for a few minutes each evening after work and have 10 blocks made by the end of the week.  I think I need about 60 blocks for the size quilt I want to end up with - a wall hanging.


The directions in the book instruct you to completely piece each hexagonal block and applique the center circle then sew the blocks together.  I think it will be easier to make half-blocks, arrange them as shown above, then sew together in vertical strips. 


So I keep each block in two pieces, like this. I'll add the centers at the end.  I'm going to use the two yellow floral prints from this collection for the centers of the flowers.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wildflowers Quilt by Kim Brackett - Test Block

A while back, I fell in love with this fabric line:  Garden Delights from In The Beginning.  I like the Liberty-like floral prints. 


Then I came across a quilt pattern, Wildflowers by Kim Brackett, in her book Scrap Basket Strips and Squares. 


So now I'm working on the marriage of the two - a Wildflowers quilt made from Garden Delights fabric.  I did some cutting...


...and made a test block.



My block is actually two half blocks because I am changing the construction method a bit to avoid having to sew set-in seams.  If it works, I'll do a tutorial in a later post. 


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Singer Sew Handy - Vintage Child's Sewing Machine

I mentioned in my last post that I recently visited my mom at her home in Michigan.  She's been doing some cleaning out, with thoughts of an eventual move to some kind of  "senior" living, and she came across this very old Singer Sew Handy child's sewing machine.  She knows it came from her parents' house but does not recall ever using it as a child.  My mom is not a crafter and does not sew and her own mom sewed only out of necessity during the Depression and WWII.  But Mom's own grandmothers were handy with a needle and one of them may have given this to her for a birthday or Christmas present.


It is an entirely metal machine, heavy for its size (cast iron I think), and works with a hand crank (the turn wheel on the right side).  It uses thread on the top, but not a bobbin, and sews a sort of chain stitch that appears to be formed by a looping mechanism from underneath.  


I took this photo with the rotary cutter to give you an idea of how small it is.  Also see below, where each square on the grid is 1 inch.


I looked for a date on the machine itself and on the booklet but did not find one.  I found a little history of the machines on a website and conclude mine was made after 1926 (makes sense as Mom was born in 1934).


While I can't see actually using this to sew, it is a fun little thing to have in my studio.  Please leave a comment if you know anything more about these machines.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Plantation Road/Country Road - A Finished Quilt

Finally, a quilt finish!


Quilt is folded so you see about a quarter of it here.

In July, 2016, I started working on a design called Plantation Road, from the book Tributes and Treasures by Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts.  I'd had a large piece of fabric in my stash for ages, a floral print from Blackbird Designs that I'd purchased with borders in mind, and this seemed like a good match.  All of the fabric in this quilt came from my stash, including the back which is a simple ecru tone-on-tone.  


The quilt has been finished except for binding for some time.  I took it along on a trip to visit my mom in Michigan thinking it would be a good evening occupation while there.  The season opener of Dancing With The Stars (Mom is an avid fan) plus some pre-dinner conversation time another evening and I had this one bound.

It's a very simple quilt.  Small nine-patch blocks are sewn into double nine-patch blocks then set on-point with alternating blocks of unpieced fabric.  My longarm quilter, Karen Thompson, found a panto design that is very similar to the motif in the toile-like fabric I used for the alternate blocks.  I think it looks good.


I made my version smaller than the original design in the book but at at 69" by 80" it is about twin bed size and will serve us well in our family room when two or three of us watch TV together.  And it's ready for use just as the evenings are getting chillier.  I'm calling my version Country Road.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Finimus Pariter Renovamusque Labores


We Finish Our Labors to Begin Them Anew*...the motto of my daughter's high school.  Perfect for the quilter, don't you think?  We finish one project to turn around and begin cutting fabric for the next.  But we probably don't call it "labor."

On Labor Day, I finished my 60 degree triangle quilt, The Ladies' Stitching Club.  It's a free pattern from Moda, with some revised cutting and piecing directions from Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  Except instead of white fabric for my alternating blocks, I made mine half lightweight denim, half pale gray print.  Then I mixed in aqua, lime green, and darker gray.  I'm pretty happy with the look and it's on its way to my quilter now.


I made some binding over the weekend too.  I have two quilts waiting for cooler weather so I can do the binding and call them officially finished.


And then there's the begin them anew part.  I starched the fabric for my next project so the cutting and sewing can start again.  Starting a new quilt project puts a smile on my face!

*  Sometimes more loosely translated as there will always be homework.

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