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 ūüôā

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

Guild Challenges, Part I

When I volunteered to arrange programs for one of my modern guilds this year, I didn’t realize the job included coming up with a challenge each month. ¬†Luckily, there were lots of ideas for guild challenges in internet-world, so the challenges weren’t too much of a challenge. ¬†(Sorry, that just slipped in!)

I thought it might be helpful to other modern guilds if I posted our proposed challenges, since I’m sure other folks are in need of ideas, too. ¬†So here’s the first one: slabs. ¬†If you don’t know what a slab quilt block is, Canadian quilter Cheryl Arkison published the idea in her book Sunday Morning Quilts. ¬†You can see a picture and instructions here.

modern quilt challenge

Slabs can be addictive!  And a quilt of many colors is fun.

In January, each member received brief instructions on how to make a “slab” of a single color of the rainbow. ¬†Sort of. ¬†While trying to figure out how to set up the rainbow challenge, I found this quote from Isaac Asimov (one of my heroes):

It is customary to list indigo as a color lying between blue and violet, but it has never seemed to me that indigo is worth the dignity of being considered a separate color. To my eyes it seems merely deep blue.

So our colors for the challenge are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.  Seems like the main value of indigo and violet is that they let us spell out ROY G BIV.  Huh.

Our slabs are 15-1/2 inches square, to be 15 inch finished blocks. ¬†Each person makes one in her assigned color, then can make as many others as she wants in as many of the six basic colors as she wants. ¬†At the next meeting, we’ll put all our slabs in a pile and each person’s name will go in a basket once for each block she turns in. ¬†Then we’ll draw a name and somebody gets all the blocks. ¬†Of course she’s expected to make something wonderful with those blocks before the next meeting!

I e-mailed examples of slab quilts to guild members as part of the challenge and also took some of my quilts to show.

slab quilt

Jerri Szlizewski combined her purple slabs with neutral slabs, then appliqued purple dots on the neutral backgrounds

Improvised slab quilt

I cut up the yellow-orange slabs I got in a swap and inserted blue

Does your modern guild have some great challenge ideas? ¬†Let me know! ¬†I’ll be posting about our other challenges as we go along so you can use them, too.

 

Slabs, Round 2

Cheryl Arkison is one of several people to suggest putting together scraps of the same color to make a quilt block (or fabric from which to cut quilt pieces). ¬†Cheryl calls hers “slabs” and makes them big–15 inches square finished.Mary J Puckett quilt

Above is the quilt I made from a slab swap with one of my quilt groups a couple of years ago. ¬†I had asked for slabs made from the yellow/orange family, and I loved what I got. ¬†But I’m not one to leave well enough alone, so I cut them up and made the quilt shown above.

A relative-who-will-remain-nameless looked through my quilts online and asked for something similar, but in a larger size.

I’ve had fun collecting orange and yellow fabrics. ¬†My friend Linda donated a large bag of orange “scraps”; I felt free to ask her since she claims to hate orange ūüėÄ ¬†Then she brought me a big cut of solid orange to go with the scraps!

slab quilt

Linda even found an orange patterned bag to put her scraps in!

The rest came from my stash and from a few things I bought while travelling.  I improvised the squares, featuring a few funky fabrics in each one from the fabrics I bought especially for this quilt.

Then I used Moda Bella Amelia Blue to sash each square and cut the sashing so they are all wonky. ¬†Each will finish 18″ square with sashing.orange4

This one will be big enough that it will need to go to the long-arm quilter. ¬†I’ll have more pictures when it’s finished.

Meanwhile, how are those holiday projects coming along?

 

Cherrywood Toss

This quilt was started about 2 years ago when I bought a scrap pack of Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics. The blocks are entirely from Cherrywood scrap packs plus that cute print with the words on it, which is a Robert Kaufman fabric.

improvisational quiltThe dark sashing is made from black plus little pieces of the darkest almost-black solids I could find. All are Cotton Couture from Michael Miller.

I quilted this on my home machine, using randomly-spaced, gently curving, lines from edge to edge. I used Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin, which I always do. Top thread is a medium grey light weight polyester, Mettler Metrosene.

This is going to the Smoky Mountain Quilters show in September. This year the show is scheduled in conjunction with Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day, which I think is a great idea. Of course I’ll have pictures from that show when it happens.

Linking to Aunt Marti’s UFO Challenge. I did get one finished this month!

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Layer Cake Quilt

I bought a¬†terrific layer cake was bought a couple of years ago and it has been “waiting”, along with its solid coordinates, for inspiration to strike.

quilting storage

Future projects are stored in boxes…oops, sometimes for years! (Found a nice set of these at Costco.)

Then the other day I decided I wanted to insert strips of the coordinating colors into the squares. As you probably know, a layer cake is a stack of 10″ x 10″ squares. That means fat quarters (18″ x 22″) of solids will work well for insert strips.

I started by sorting the layer cake squares into stacks with the solids I wanted to use with them.

layer cake quilt

Layer Cake and Coordinates

Then I cut strips of various widths from the solids.The strips varied from 1″ x 18″ to 2″ x 18″, in 1/4″ increments. I cut a variety of widths from each solid color.

insert strips into quilt blocks

Strips ranging from 1″ to 2″ wide in 1/4″ increments

I had NO idea what I was going to do with these blocks once I got them modified; I just liked cutting them up and inserting strips–it takes very little to entertain some of us ūüėČ Then I remembered John Cage’s “prepared piano”. ¬† So I called these “prepared fabrics”.

I did the inserts in several ways, still working on this just for fun:

When I looked at my “prepared fabrics” together, it was apparent I wasn’t going to just sew them together along the edges (for several reasons)!Retreat18

So the next step was to go to EQ (Electric Quilt, a computer program for quilt design) and make some designs:

Quilt from layer cake

Option #1. I’ve always loved concentric blocks, and alternating them like this produces a nice design easily.

modern quilt design

Option #2. Concentric blocks off-center are even better!

layer cake quilt design

Option #3. Flying geese are always a lively design element, and I just bought a special ruler for trimming!

modern quilt design

Option #4: I haven’t done anything with gentle curves for a while. These look like flags to me.

What do you think? ¬†Anybody have a strong preference for one of these designs? ¬†Whatever I do, I think it will be fun to see how the inserted strips turn out in the final design ūüôā

 

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?

 

Projects 2013–Part I

For some time I’ve been meaning to add to my blog with a gallery of projects for each of the past several years. ¬†I’ve been held up in part by the variable quality of my photography over the years, but I’ve decided to just start anyway. ¬†Here are some projects from 2013.

I entered several national contests in 2013, the year I also started this blog.  Here is the quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY challenge and chose as the header for my blog:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

I made this quilt for the Michael Miller challenge in 2013:

Michael Miller Challenge 2013

Packet of Posey Seeds

And I made this little quilt for the Pantone Challenge:

Applique quilt

Radiating Orchid mini-quilt for the Radiant Orchid Challenge

I attended some wonderful classes with Laura Wasilowski in 2013, and made this little art quilt:

applique art quilt

Leaf, made in class with Laura Wasilowski

I did some “crafty” things in 2013, including¬†chambray shirts decorated with orphan blocks¬†and matching T shirts for a special baby and his special Dad:

Here are a set of placemats and two table runners from 2013:quilted placemats

leaf runner

table runner

Table runner made from a strip of leftovers

Also in 2013, I made an apron for a special friend and a caddy for carrying my iron to classes and retreats:

2013 was also a good year to make pillows for friends and to use up orphan blocks:

Well! ¬†That’s it for special projects from 2013. ¬†The actual quilts from 2013 are up next–more to come!

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 ūüôā

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‚Äôve been blogging. The growth is slow, but I‚Äôm blogging for fun (and I’ve kept my day job!) so that‚Äôs just fine. I‚Äôve 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!

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!