Class With Maria Shell!!!

COVID rolled over my plans to attend the Vermont Quilt Festival (VQF) this past summer and take classes there with Maria Shell.  So imagine my excitement when I got an email from VQF offering one of Maria’s classes online!  (Here’s the link if you want to learn more.)

This is the Announcement from VQF

I signed up immediately and started gathering the materials–there really isn’t much needed in that department since I’ll be in my own studio for the class!  The class will be interactive, and the student information included lots of funny reminders like “Remember, we can see you.  Wear pants if you plan to stand up!”  I have no idea how to mute my microphone or much of anything else, so there’s no telling what they’ll see/hear from me, but I’ll be sure to be fully clothed 😀

As you may know, I love Maria’s book (here’s the link if you want to know more about the book.).

I’ve made some “mat-cut stripes” inspired by her, though I haven’t figured out yet what to do with them next,

as well as a little art quilt for which I used her method for making free-cut flying geese.

This quilt is titled “Blue Ridge–Cardinal”

One thing that is different about Maria’s technique for improvising is that she does NOT just combine fabrics randomly.  She looks to see if they go together visually before she sews.  Her quilts are graphic and striking, and I look forward to learning more from her.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  And here’s the link to Maria’s site if you want to explore her work more.

Just a reminder:  The links in this post are for your convenience; they are not affiliate links that generate money for me!

Happy As a Clam?

This is a little art quilt I started years ago just for fun.  It took quite a while to figure out how to make the clam and finish the quilt.

The “clamshells” were made by cutting out circles from fusible fabric and arranging them ever-so-carefully in rows.  I then fused the whole thing, and there it sat for a couple of years.  I considered adding a layer of netting, but ultimately just quilted it in waves.

I drew the clam early on but couldn’t decide how to put it on the quilt.  I considered thread sketching, drawing and coloring with pigma pens, etc.  I wanted a method that wouldn’t risk ruining the quilt if I didn’t get the clam right the first time!

Finally I read Karen Fricke’s article about thread sketching on stabilizer in my copy of The Best of Quilting Arts. (This book is an excellent resource, but it’s “old” so you probably can get it used.)  That method worked perfectly for me.  I was able to create the clam and then attach him to the quilt.  I printed the question mark on fabric and then cut it out and attached it.  For the dots going to his dialogue bubble I did, finally, have to draw directly on the quilt.

The edge is finished with satin rat-tail, a technique I learned in another class.

Quilt stats:

Name: Really? Clamshells?

Original design

Techniques: Fusible applique, machine quilting, thread sketching, drawing and coloring with permanent markers

Finished size:16″ x 16″

Quilted by me

Elizabeth’s Village

My blogging friend Elizabeth (OP Quilt) has designed a number of nice patterns and I recently found myself “forced” to make one because it is so cute.  Here is one of her samples.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Eastman

She has given instructions for multiple variations in the pattern.  (I love all of them.)

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Eastman

Naturally, I didn’t quite follow the pattern.  I had some cute fabric left from another project so used it for the town square in the center.

When I was finished, I wanted to make the quilt large enough to be used as a donation quilt (crib size), so I ordered some wilderness fabric to surround the town.

And here’s the finished quilt:

Quilt Stats

Name:  Elizabeth’s Village

Pattern:  Merrion Square, by Elizabeth Eastmond

Finished size: 39″ x 39″

Quilted by:  Julia Madison

And yes, I used the same fabric for binding as for the border.  You may want to check out Elizabeth’s beautiful projects on her blog and website: OPQuilt.com.

If you’re interested in her patterns, they are available through Payhip.

7 Years and Counting!

As of this month, I’ve been blogging here every Sunday for 7 years!  I’ve debated what to do for my blogiversary, having largely skipped it last year.  My decision is to show my favorite quilt from each year I’ve blogged.  So here we go…

First year blogging:

scrap quilt

My entry for the Quilt Alliance Challenge 2014; I think it won a judge’s choice award

Second year:

I designed this quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited

Third year:

Improv Table Runner for Modern Quilts Unlimited

Fourth year:

Quilt I designed from a QR code used by Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Northwest, shown here with their staff

Fifth year:

My donation to the Quilt Alliance auction was used in their publicity

Sixth year:

My “Little Green Man” quilt included Kraft-Tex applique

Seventh year:

I’ll have more to say about “Fiddlesticks” next week

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for Year 8 🙂

Some Quarantine Fun

I’m happy to report that at least one person used the pattern I designed for Studio Stitch and then sent me a picture of her quilt! Thanks, Judi! And here it is:

Photo courtesy of Judi Bastion

I’m always happy when readers send me pictures of what they’ve made from my patterns or classes, and Judi even found a typo for me as an extra help!  Thanks again!

Meanwhile, one of my nieces sent me a picture of a “quarantine quilt” made from this pattern:

Photo courtesy of Java House Quilts

Photo courtesy of Java House Quilts

Now seriously, people, this is the quilt to make in memory of 2020!  The pattern is available here, and they are donating part of the proceeds. 

If you don’t want to make an entire quilt, this Japanese lady has a free paper-pieced pattern for a single block:

Photo courtesy of MisoQuilty.com

Of course COVID is a serious situation, but a little laughter helps offset all the worries! 

And by the way, I’m out of elastic for masks.

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to see what you make!

Sewing Circle

My Mother used to have a group of friends called her “sewing circle” who met in each other’s homes to do hand work on a regular basis.  That was in the days when she didn’t work outside the home and neither did the other ladies–times have changed!  However, I still have a group of friends with whom I quilt regularly.  This little art quilt is in honor of that tradition.

I’d been seeing cute little quilts made with a narrow wedge ruler and wanted to do something similar.  I don’t have a narrow wedge ruler and wasn’t sure I wanted to make anything with pieces that small anyway, so I used my narrowest triangle ruler, a 45 degree wedge.

I cut the wedges with the ruler and just estimated the angle for the trapezoidal doors.  I cut the windows and roofs freehand.  The houses are made from some Jen Kingwell fabric left over from another project.  The background fabric says “cut, sew, repeat”.  I decorated the doors with tiny buttons for knobs and put a bird bead on one of the houses.

Quilt stats:  Sewing Circle

Finished size: 25-3/4″ x 25-3/4″

Designed, made, and quilted by me

Teaching Landscape Techniques

I’ll be teaching a one-day class on techniques for making landscape quilts at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (NC) on Friday, March 20, so I thought I’d show some more of my samples.  We’ll be making “tiny landscapes” so everybody can try several techniques.

Somebody asked me what I do with these little quilts, which are postcard size.  First, I use them to practice art quilt techniques.  Then I send them to friends who need a get well card or other pick-me-up.  I do put them in an envelope rather than sending them as postcards so that they arrive in good shape!

 

I made this after reading Happy Villages by Karen Eckmeier

This wonky house was inspired by a class I took with Laura Wasilowski several years ago; I used both hand and machine stitching

I have no idea why this rose is floating in a pond, but it gave me the opportunity to use little beads as dew on the rose

And this one gave me a chance to use one of my little antelope charms and some fabric markers; the binding is satin cord

This dragonfly has sparkly wings with Angelina Fibers as well as a rhinestone

This pine tree has green flannel for and lots of free motion quilting for texture

Finally, I couldn’t help making a card with this cow, who has been in my stash for some time!

Please join us for this fun class if you live near enough!

I Digress…To Leaf Pounding

One of the things I love about quilting is that there is an endless supply of things to learn.  That often means that I get sidetracked onto something different, but that’s OK.

Several years go I took a class in leaf pounding but I never did anything with the results (sound familiar to anyone out there?)  I recently found the prints, still looking pretty good, in my DO SOMETHING box and decided to get busy.

Here is the first, a sycamore leaf that was pounded onto Kona PFD (fabric prepared for dying).

After the fabric dried, I outlined the leaf with a brown Pigma pen.  When I took it out recently I used cotton batting and muslin backing, spray basted it, and quilted it freehand.  I used my Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) and found it worked quite well for this purpose.  (I haven’t been so happy with the BSR on larger projects–as a friend once told me, “It’s like training wheels”, meaning it’s just too slow on something big.) However, I was pleased with the way the BSR worked it on this little piece.

Here’s a detail, showing some of the unevenness created when part of the leaf “stuck” to the fabric more than the rest of it.  I figure nature isn’t perfect so I’m not worrying about it.

If you want to try leaf pounding, there’s a tutorial here.

And now the question:  How should I finish this?  I don’t think binding would look right.  I have seen leaf pounding pieces framed, so I guess I could mount and frame it.  Edge finish with brown satin rat-tail?  Face the piece?  Other ideas?  Thanks, as always, for your suggestions!

Scraps Happen, Part II

Many of my scrap quilts are inspired by other quilters.  I still find it useful to start with a collection of fabrics I think “go together”.  In that regard, I do NOT worry about color per se, though I recognize that color is a big “bugaboo” for many quilters.  I do find it useful to decide at the outset whether the quilt is to be bright or muted colors, but beyond that I don’t worry much.  And of course I break that rule sometimes, too.

One of my first inspired-by-others adventures was a series of quilts I made after reading Gwen Marston’s books.  I just love her aesthetic, and wish I had been able to take a class with her while she was alive.  Here is a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance annual contest a few years ago, based on Gwen’s published quilts:

improvisational quilt

“Gwen Visits the Farm” is a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance contest; the black fabric has words representing animal sounds such as “quack”

I also used a collection of Cherrywood scraps to make this quilt based on Gwen’s “liberated log cabin” idea:

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss, 59″ x 61″, 2016.  My favorite part of this was making the background out of a mixture of dark colors.

Also, taking a cue from my friend who makes a small art quilt each week, I made these 3 quilts based on lessons in one of Gwen’s books:

I continue to learn from the quilters I consider “the best” by making quilts inspired by their ideas.  A recent one was inspired by Maria Shell’s tutorial on improvised flying geese:

The colors of the quilt blended with the colors of my chimney, where I stuck it up to be photographed

Of course, not all such experiments are particularly successful.  I love Freddy Moran’s aesthetic, but this table runner based on her ideas didn’t turn out very well, in my opinion.  I expect to make more things using her ideas, and they’ll improve 🙂

I designed and made this runner for a guild challenge

Since, at this point in my quilting career, most of my fabric collection is scraps, there will be many more scrap quilts to come!  Next week I’ll discuss how I use scraps in quilts made from patterns.

 

 

Current Series: Blue Ridge

My first Blue Ridge quilt just returned from the Vermont Quilt Festival and will next go to the Asheville Quilt show.

art quilt

Meanwhile, Maria Shell published a tutorial on how she makes flying geese blocks for her quilts, so of course I had to try it.The result is Blue Ridge II.

The colors of the quilt blended with the colors of my chimney, where I stuck it up to be photographed

In case a viewer doesn’t get why there is a red triangle among the earth-sky-water tones, I backed the quilt with cardinal fabric 🙂 The fabric is from Cotton + Steel in 2018, before they left RJR.

The quilt is faced using the technique from Terry Aske’s tutorial, which worked very well.  Here are the quilt stats:

Blue Ridge II

  • 28.5 inches wide, 26.5 inches tall
  • The fabrics are batik scraps left from other projects
  • The backing is from RJR, a Cotton and Steel fabric from 2018
  • The piecing was inspired by Maria Shell’s tutorial on flying geese (link above)
  • The facing was done using Terry Aske’s tutorial (link above)
  • Quilt was pieced and quilted by me.  The batting is Quilter’s Dream Cotton, Request loft.