About zippyquilts

I quilt for pleasure but I also teach and write about quilting.

Rabbits!

I guess every quilt has a story, but sometimes I think “Hoo-boy, this one really has a story!”

The finish here started with a shibori dying class with Debbie Maddy in 2018.indigo dye

I decided to use the fat quarters (FQs) I’d dyed in the class to make a quilt using Debbie’s Usagi pattern.

The blocks were easy to make and I enjoyed the process.  Then I decided to quilt it myself!  I usually do pretty well quilting on my domestic machine, but my walking foot decided it didn’t want to participate.  The resulting quilt was quite a mess.  No, I did not take pictures!

I took out a lot of the quilting, using both a regular seam ripper and a tool that looks like a miniature electric razor.  Both worked pretty well, and I managed not to make holes in the fabric!

Finally I got up the nerve to try again.  I did small meandering in the blocks to make the rabbits stand out, some stitch-in-the-ditch around the blocks, and some wavy quilting in the border.  Done!

Quilt stats:

Name:  Rabbits!

Pattern:  Usagi by Debbie Maddy

Fabric:  Most shibori-dyed in class with Debbie Maddy; border is a commercial batik

Size: 44″ x 44″

Quilted by: me (twice–a learning experience!)

New Classes

I like to start the year with a scrap quilt, so I’ll be teaching one January 21 at Studio Stitch in Greensboro, NC.  It’s based on this pattern by Linda Hahn, but I have made some significant changes.

On February 29 I’ll be teaching a quilt I call “Easier Than It Looks”.  It’s great for those “just can’t cut” fabrics, whether you can’t cut because the design is large or because you love the fabric so much. 

Not sure yet what I’ll be teaching in March, but I’m thinking about tiny landscape quilts.  Opinions, anyone?

If you live near Greensboro, please join us for one of these classes–we’ll have fun!  And there’ll be chocolate 😉

One of the Last Finishes of 2019

Having the internet out for several days caused problems with my blog, but I got a lot of quilting done.  I finally finished (got the binding on) my bed-size One Block Wonder (OBW) quilt!

I found this Jane Sassaman fabric many years ago and just had to make something from it.

one-block wonder quilt

Garden Divas fabric by Jane Sassaman

After many design experiments (using photocopies of the fabric so as not to waste), I decided on OBW.  Not sure I’d do that again.  Anyway, here’s the finished quilt, as well as some detail shots.:

Quilt Stats:

Name: Wondering in the Garden

Size: 69″ x 85″

Pattern:  One Block Wonder

Quilted by: Julia Madison

It Was A Very Good Year

This year’s finishes:

One bed size quilt:

This isn’t as wonky as it looks, thank goodness! It’s just that I had trouble hanging it for the photo because it’s bigger than the design wall!

And a number of other quilts for various family, or for things I was teaching, or just because I wanted to:

A few of this year’s 13 donation quilts:

And finally, some table runners, art quilts, etc:

These projects were started this year but still aren’t finished:

Yes, quitting my day job really improved my productivity 😀

Kraft-Tex Christmas

One of our Christmas traditions is re-usable gift wrap.  I’ve made a number of fabric bags for the purpose over the years, and we have lots of hemmed lengths of holiday fabric that we use for Furoshiki style gift wrap.  (Here’s a link if you want to see an expert doing a Furoshiki style wrap.)

Enter the red Kraft-Tex recently sent by C&T for me to experiment with.  From the time I saw it, I wanted to make a flower to decorate a holiday package.  It took a good bit of experimentation, but here’s what i came up with;

This is the Crimson color of hand-dyed, prewashed Kraft-Tex

I started by cutting pointed ovals about 2″ long and then sewing a little dart in one end to make them 3-dimensional.  I did tie a knot a the point of the dart, but there was no problem with back-stitching at the other end.

I glued the petals to a button with a concave surface to give them some support, then glued a piece of discarded costume jewelry in the middle.  I’m going to glue an alligator clip on the back for attaching the flower to the package.

You may wonder how this flower will do being stored with the wraps between holidays.  The answer is: just fine!  Read on for why.

This color is “Sapphire”

I recently made this little pyramid bag from Kraft-Tex (free pattern here, if you’re interested).  There was no need for batting between layers because the Kraft-Tex has enough body to hold the bag up.

It took some DOING to get this little bag turned right side out after construction because it’s so tiny.  The material actually looked better after all that squishing and twisting than it did before!  There were no permanent creases in it, and it looks much more like leather now that it’s been manipulated a lot.  So, as I’ve said before: was the Kraft-Tex, crumple it in your hands, etc, etc.  It just improves the appearance.Please note:  C&T provides Kraft-Tex for me to play with, but the links in this post are for your convenience.  I do not make money when you buy from them.

Triangle Variations Finished!

I’ve made multiple triangle quilts this year, and this final one is my favorite. It all started when I saw this book:

Modern Triangle Quilts,, published by Stash Books

The book presents variations on 3 different types of triangles (equilateral, right, isoceles), with multiple options for each type.  You know I don’t like to make the same block twice, so the variety of these triangle blocks seemed perfect!  (The cover states there are 70 different blocks!)

I chose the equilateral triangles and a limited color palette.  And of course I changed some of her patterns and improvised a few new ones.  That said, her instructions were excellent.  (You may take excellent instructions for granted when you’ve paid for a book, but don’t.  Enough said.)

So here’s my finished quilt! There are 11 different layouts for the blocks; this isn’t one of them 😉

The quilting was done by my friend Andrea Walker.  Andrea does beautiful custom quilting, but she is understanding when I want edge-to-edge quilting instead (because I want the quilt to be about my design rather than her quilting).  

And here’s the back:

Quilt stats:

  • Name: Triangle Variations (Hmmm…boring.  If you have a more creative idea please let me know.)
  • Finished size:57″ x 66″
  • Source: Inspired by Rebecca Bryan’s book Modern Triangle Quilts, and most of the blocks are from that book.  (Book available here.)
  • Quilted by: Andrea Walker.  (You can see her website by clicking on her name.)

This quilt went together well (due to the excellent instructions) and it is unique even though most of the blocks came from patterns.  Try it!

Note: The links here are for your convenience; I do not make money if you buy from them.

Improvised Table Runners

Several years ago I made this table runner by my own improvisational method.

modern table runner

Then I made this one, same method, using a lovely group of crossweave fabric.It was accepted for publication in a magazine, and I wrote the instructions, but the magazine ceased publication just before the issue in which my runner was to appear!

While developing the article for Crossweave Runner 1, I made Crossweave Runner 2 so I could take some process photos.

So, while cleaning the studio recently, I found two partially finished runners, the one above and the one below.

I finished these last two runners, and that’s about enough of those for now! It’s good to get even a little project finished and out of the way, especially right before the holidays when I’m thinking about gifts for folks!

My 2020 Workshops and Guild Talks

I have updated my list of workshops and guild talks, so I’m publishing it here.  Please pass along to anyone who may be looking for presenters.

Guild talks:

  1. “What is Modern Quilting?”  The Modern Quilt Guild has their own definition, but I find that there is not much new under the sun and illustrate this with slides of quilts by the Amish, Gees Bend, Gwen Marston, and others, as well as many quilts shown at QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Guild’s annual conference.
  2.  “Improvisational Quilting”  I illustrate this with many quilts of my own and have a post on my blog that goes with the presentation for those who want to try improvising.  Here’s the link for the post:  https://zippyquilts.blog/2019/11/03/improvising/I also have three improvisation workshops, two beginner and one advanced.

Workshops:

YOW! Learn 3 Ways to Piece Curves  (6 hours)

In this class you will make lively quarter circle blocks that can be assembled in multiple ways depending on your preference.  Three different methods for piecing the curves will be taught, so you can try them all and decide what works best for you.  This quilt can be very traditional (think Drunkard’s Path) or very modern depending on your color choices and how you want to arrange the blocks.  There is no pattern for this class, but the supply list does include templates.

——————————————————————————————————————–Intro to Improvisational Quilt Blocks  (6 hours, but can be shortened to 3 hours)Bring your scraps and learn 3 ways to improvise quilt blocks, then consider ways to combine them into an original quilt.

——————————————————————————————————————-Improvisational Design: Table Runner (6 hours)

This is a challenging class in which you will design your own table runner using nontraditional methods.  You will learn about choosing fabrics, designing focal points, and changing your design when you don’t like the way it’s going.  Your runner will not look like mine; it will be your own!

——————————————————————————————————————–Wonky Stars (3 hours)This is an easy introduction to improvisational design.  Bring your scraps and learn to make wonky stars and choose colors that will go well together in a small quilt.

——————————————————————————————————————-Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG) 3 Ways (6 hours)

QAYG has been around at least since the 1970s, when long arm quilting wasn’t really available.  Although we have many more options now, QAYG remains one way to quilt an entire top yourself without having to maneuver a large quilt on your domestic machine or quilt by hand.  We will learn 3 QAYG techniques in the morning, and you’ll get started with the technique you like best in the afternoon.  Make a quilt like my sample, or bring a pattern of your choice and I’ll help you figure out how to use QAYG with it.

——————————————————————————————————————–Alien Among the Stars (6 hours)

This is a fun class in which to learn how to make wonky stars and a couple of easy ways to applique the alien.  The stars can be made from bright scraps or from yardage.  The alien can be made from Kraft-Tex or from fabric.  I will discuss the pros and cons of using Kraft-Tex for applique and you can check it out on my sample before you decide what you want to do.

——————————————————————————————————————

Some of these workshops will be offered as classes at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (NC).

Any feedback on these offerings is appreciated.  Is there something I should add?  Something that’s been overworked that I should remove?

Have a good week!