YOW! I’m teaching curved piecing!

To be exact, YOW is the name of the quilt, not my reaction to teaching a curved piecing class 🙂

curved piecing

YOW is the class I’ll be teaching at Studio Stitch in Greensboro

The class is at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (NC), one of my favorite shops. To my surprise, I don’t have a picture of the quilt I’m using as a class sample, so I had to lift this one from the Studio Stitch website. There is no pattern for this quilt; it is just what I did with some really bright batiks and some nice templates from Elisa’s Backporch Designs.

I’m going to teach at least 3 different ways to piece these curves, so most anybody with some sewing experience can find success with at least one of the methods.

I got out some examples of my quilts with curved piecing yesterday to have them for display in class, and I was surprised at how many there are.  Then I found all these pictures of other things I’ve made with curved piecing, so here are a few.

curved piecing

An attempt at improvised New York Beauty blocks

My “cocktail pillow”–to put out when you have people over for cocktails! (As if!)

stack, cut, shuffle block

This block was made with curves cut freehand

This was made for my modern sampler

Quilt Alliance

Cat Circus, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

Metrol Hoops baby quilt

This was made using the Quick Curve ruler.  I don’t love it–but the baby did.

Applique quilt

Radiating Orchid mini-quilt for the Radiant Orchid Challenge, 2014

Finished! In 2016

First, the Christmas tree picture with fireplace was at the Grove Park Inn, in Asheville, N.C. That fireplace is big enough for a man to stand up in. Hopefully when there’s no fire.

And now, the 2016 finishes.

Asheville Quilt Show

Scan Me, a quilt made to promote safer sex.

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss won a blue ribbon.

art quilt, gwen marston

Refrigerator quilt inspired by Gwen Marston. Bev Manus came up with the idea for refrigerator quilts.

modern sampler

My Modern Sampler Quilt

improvisational quilt

“Gwen Visits the Farm” is the quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance contest this year

Quilted Adventure

Roxie bag made as part of Quilted Adventure online retreat

Loes Hinse blouse

Blouse from a Loes Hinse pattern, in Cherrywood fabrics

Tumbling Blocks

Tumbling Blocks placemats, made in class with Karen Combs

Sweetpea Pod pattern review

These Sweetpea Pod bags were so fun that I made a LOT of them!

And, of course, the quilts for Ronald McDonald House:

Happy new year, and may you have a great year of quilts in 2017!

Finished Tops!

After much deliberation about layout, I got my Modern Sampler quilt put together last week and sent it off to be quilted.  Here’s the final top:

modern sampler

My Modern Sampler top is ready for quilting!

Then, for good measure, I put together the batik blocks from a swap I was in several years ago and sent that top off to be quilted, as well.

batik quilt blocks

Group batik blocks, put together and ready for quilting

Yes, the sashing DOES vary a bit, because the blocks do.  That’s the way it goes with a block swap.  I love the variety of the blocks and, of course, the batik fabrics.

I’m sending this to Aunt Marti’s UFO challenge, which helps keep me motivated.  What are you up to?

My Modern Sampler: Using Linen in Quilts

After finishing the blocks for my modern sampler, I ordered several shades of Essex linen/cotton blend to consider for the background. I know I said I’d never use linen again after the last struggle, but I’ve learned several things since. So, if you’re thinking of using linen in your quilts for its nice texture, read my tips at the end of this post.

Here I’m trying various layouts on two different potential background fabrics.  I hung the ironed fabric and pinned the blocks to it, trying out various layouts and different colors of background fabric.

essex linen

Here is the Pewter background

modern sampler

Here is the Natural background, with a different attempt at layout

I decided I liked the natural background better than they gray.  Then I took it all down and made a rectangle on my design “wall”, outlining the approximate finished size with blue painter’s tape.

modern sampler

Here is the layout I decided to use, with some of the sashing in place

And here are my thoughts on using linen in quilts:
–The linen I used the first time was “real”, 100% linen. Remember that from your childhood, when summer clothes were supposed to be linen? Think wrinkles! And avoid 100% linen for your quilts
–The “linen” of the Essex brand actually is a linen/cotton blend, so it has a nice texture but is less wrinkle-prone and tighter woven than the linen I used previously.
–Pre-wash the linen blend, even if you don’t pre-wash anything else. Wash in warm water and dry on warm so it will get its shrinking done and be more dense and stable.
–Before you pre-wash, serge or zig-zag the raw edges together to prevent fraying! This worked great and “wasted” only about 1/4″ on each raw edge, much less than would have frayed. And there was no mess of threads in the washing machine.

How have you done with using fabrics other than quilting cotton in quilts?

 

Crunchy Numbers

The WordPress people send me two statistical reports a year regarding my blog, and of course I can look at statistics on my administrative page at any time. I don’t stress it or check very often, so I was quite surprised when the recent report from WordPress said people from 61 different countries viewed my blog in 2015!

This picture of Iceland is from NordicFoodFestival.org

This picture of Iceland is from NordicFoodFestival.org

Most of the countries were predictable: the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. But there were views from every continent except Antarctica! The place I got the biggest kick out of was Iceland 🙂

This improvised log cabin block, which was made into a pillow, appears to have been the most viewed picture on the site.

improvised log cabin block

improvised log cabin block

Jo Glover, big stitch quilting

Jo Glover

And my most popular post was about Jo Glover, who first developed Big Stitch quilting but doesn’t always get enough credit now that everybody does it. You can find that post HERE if you missed it.

Another popular topic was my ongoing modern sampler quilt, and there’ll be much more about that coming up soon.  A few of those blocks are shown below.

The stats show my readership growing steadily over the 2-1/2 years I’ve been blogging. The growth is slow, but I’m blogging for fun (and I’ve kept my day job!) so that’s just fine. I’ve made some new friends, which is even better.

As always, I’m amazed by the power of the internet. I’ll skip the chance to philosophize about that and just wish anyone who reads this a very happy 2016!

Narrow Accents!

Modern Quilts Unlimited just published my article on how to add narrow accents to your projects.  It’s a very easy method for sewing crisp, even accent strips from 1/8″ to 3/4″ wide.

Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

Notice the Narrow Accents article featured on the cover, along with the beautiful quilt by Bev Getschel

There are so many uses for narrow accents!  Here are a few of mine:

narrow accents, Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

This is a corner of the piece I made to illustrate the MQU article

These blocks from my modern sampler all include narrow strips:

The samples I made for my improvised table runner class all include narrow strips, as well.  Here is one of them:

modern table runner

Here is one of the samples for my improvised table runner class

modern quilt design

Here’s a Mondrian-style block I made several years ago with narrow inserts

There are options too numerous to mention!  Go get the magazine and make some accent strips, then please send me pictures of your creations.

Blocks 11 and 12, Modern Sampler

Probably  have enough blocks now for my usual size “cuddle quilt”, about 55″ X 70″. I have enough ideas and fabric for at least 2 more quilts, so the project may continue anyway.

improvised quilt block

Doodle block inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood

Block 11 was inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s “Doodle” quilt.  I had a couple of scraps and decided to just cut them and see what happened, and this is it.  The block is only about 6″ wide. I quit without adding anything else in an attempt not to “overdo” and make it too complex.

The next block is certainly improvised, having turned out rather different from my original idea.  It started with equal amounts of these fabrics. modern fabrics I thought I would stack them, cut arcs, and shuffle–Karla Alexander’s quilts are among my favorite inspirations.  It all started out as planned…

stack, cut, shuffle block

Arcs cut, colors shuffled

But, as sometimes happens, I felt the need to change it as I went along.  The final quarter actually was made using templates (gasp!) because I had a particular look in mind. stack, cut, shuffle block Now I surely have enough blocks for my sampler.  The question is how to arrange them.  I’ll be looking for your input in a week or so!

My Modern Sampler, Blocks 9 and 10

Channeling Gwen Marston, I made a couple of “liberated” quilt blocks for the sampler.  This means they were cut without a ruler and the pieces are deliberately “wonky”.

modern sampler, modern quilt block

Liberated Hole in the Barn Door blocks finish about 5″ square

Some current authors are making a big deal of cutting without a ruler, but Gwen Marston has been doing it for years.

I DID use a ruler to make the original background square.  Here are the steps:

modern quilt block

I cut the big square using a ruler, the subdivided it into a 9-patch freehand

modern sampler quilt

Corners done, time for the sides

modern sampler

Sides done using method similar to the corners: pin, check, then sew and trim

modern sampler

Ready to be sewn together!

For Block 10, I cut my scraps into strips.and lined them up.

modern quilt block

Scraps cut into strips and pieced with black and white background

The widths of the colored strips and the white strips between them are semi-random. The sashing between the columns finishes 2″, and the block finishes 12″ square.

A few more blocks and then I’ll have to decide how to set them!  Here are the previous posts about My Modern Sampler:

Block 8

Painter’s Tape Block

Humbug Star

Improv Block I

Pretty Blocks

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take a Year!

6 August Projects!

As always, I’m taking part in Aunt Marti’s UFO challenge. The August UFO was actually finished back in February as a donation quilt:

Donation quilt

February donation quilt. This started out entirely different, but I failed to take Before and After pictures.

That gave me all of August to work on quilting another UFO, my Swim quilt. It’s completely quilted, but I’m still thinking about whether to add more fish, some beads, or more quilting before I bind it.

improvised quilt

“Swim” is about 50′ x 50″.  I quilted wavy horizontal lines all over it.

I’m caught up on making quilt tops for donation. My goal is a quilt a month, and I made 3 tops in August. They still need to be quilted, but I’ll have a one-woman quilting party and get it done.  They are 40″ x 40″, so not difficult to do on a home machine.

Finally, I made several new blocks for My Modern Sampler. You can read about the one below here, and I’ll be blogging about the others in the coming weeks.

modern scrap block

The Modern Scrap Block will finish 12 inches square

And a good thing August was so productive, because every weekend in September is scheduled! Yikes!

My Modern Sampler, Block 8

Here’s a picture of the blocks made to date for my modern sampler. Links to the posts about each one are at the bottom of this post.  Some are designed by me, some not.

modern sampler

These are the sampler blocks I’ve made so far

It’s time to look at all the blocks together and think about what this quilt needs next.

  • So far I’ve made 7 blocks; it needs 7 or 8 more.
  • The blocks will fit together in multiples of 3″, with some solid strips to fill in spaces. The blocks are generally “busy”, so I think those solid strips will be important.
  • There are a variety of colors and a lot of white and bright.  I like the bright, but I want some more black backgrounds.
  • All of the blocks except one have some text fabric.  I need to either save the one block with no text for another purpose or make 2 more without text.  I can use some text fabric as background strips.
  • That orange and turquoise block with all the random trapezoids doesn’t fit with the others, so I either need to make more like it or modify it in some way.  I may cut it up and re-make it altogether.  Suggestions?

Meanwhile, here’s one new block to add to the sampler.

modern scrap block

The Modern Scrap Block will finish 12 inches square

And here are the steps for making it.  I just sewed together my scraps and then framed them with triangles.

modern scrap quilt

I made sets of strips left from other blocks.

These strips varied in width, and some were uneven widths.

modern scrappy block

Strips of tiny blocks cut from the strip sets.

I joined the strips of little blocks (which varied in width from 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches) and then added black triangles.  The center “square” is NOT square–it is improvised without much measuring!

There, now I have another one with a black background! Here are the links to the other quilt blocks in my sampler:

Painter’s Tape Block

Humbug Star

Improv Block I

Pretty Blocks

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take a Year!