Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harvest Time

In 2010, Paintbrush Studios came out with a line of fabric of fruits and vegetables called Farmer John II. A lovely collection of colors and beautiful illustrations of the things we eat from the earth.

I had seen the free online pattern provided by the company, designed by Quilts by Nature Pattern Company and collected some of my favorite fabrics (not necessarily the ones used in the pattern).

My former living location--Walla Walla Valley--hosted the 2014 Quilt Festival with the theme "A Wrinkle in Time" (Sept 19-21, 2014) ....well, somehow just the word TIME made me think of this quilt 'Harvest Time' that I had saved for a future project. So, I got it out and went to work on it. Note: "A Wrinkle in Time" I later learned is the name of a book. Once I did a little research on that, I came up with another design on my own that I'll write about in a future blog post. Here it is prior to quilting with backlight (used a magnet to put it up on the door to the studio).

I found a few things, that if you want to make it yourself, you might want to know before you get too far into it. Be sure your printed pattern did not 'scale' to a size of block you don't want. It gives directions for 6" and 8" blocks so you can have a different sized result. Double check the first page you print of the paper piecing patterns to be sure it will result in the size you want. I re-printed ALL of mine (turned it over on the back and did it again that way I at least didn't trash my good foundation paper). Unfortunately I had already pieced two of those very intricate blocks to find out they weren't big enough. Ah well, it could have been the 'circular' ones, grateful it wasn't!

1. Make 8 copies of page #'d 5. There are two blocks illustrated on this sheet, but you need 4 for each block, and you need 2 versions of each block. So that requires 8 copies (not the 4 indicated on the pattern). The outside element of the 3 quarter pieces is not drawn correctly on the lower pattern on the page. Use the upper part again for those blocks. Easiest to just re-draw the stitching line on the lower ones to match the upper ones. If you don't do this, these lower two blocks 'watch band' fabric won't match up with the adjacent blocks.

2. Make 8 copies of page #'d 6. (not 6 copies as indicated) You need 4 on top and 4 on the bottom to make that border.

3. Page #'d 4 didn't print to give an unfinished 6 1/2" block. It was slightly larger. Just trim to leave 1/4" seam allowance on the blocks that had a point in the edge of the middle section and then center and trim the rest of the block to make sure you have a 6 1/2" unfinished block.

4. Block # 26 is illustrated in b/w and described different than the colored illustration. The Potatoes should be on top and the Watermelon 'behind' to create the woven effect in the colored illustration. You'll need to cut the opposite Watermelon/Potato fabrics based on what is written. It also seems that the 'hole' of the watch band in the middle of the 3 ought to be Watermelon since it is 'underneath' and not the background fabric as generically applied throughout the rest of the quilt.

5. Given the effect of appliqued holes for the watchband, how about doing reverse applique so that there is a DEPRESSION behind the watchband for the 'hole'? I did this by cutting a larger applique piece and basting it to the back of where I had cut a slit for the hole.  Then needle turned the watch band fabric and appliqued it to the garlic background fabric that had been basted behind it. Some cuts into the band were necessary to get it to turn under at the curves. I chose to do some more squared just because it was easier.

6. The thin grey band clasp means a lot of layers of fabric if you press towards the clasp. If you press away from the clasp, then the clasp will seem recessed and realistically it would be raised. What about adding 2-sided fusible interfacing and cutting the entire piece out? This wouldn't give it much lift, but would minimize the layers and is 'topically' applied. I actually pieced the ends into the seam very carefully and then fused the entire piece on the top. This meant that all of the blocks with a clasp I either only used the middle paper foundation and minded the issue described in #3 above, or just rotary cut the sides and center and then added the clasp as described.

Hints to the piecing: when you get to the center circle you can either cut 1/4s as the color illustration represents or use a whole circle to apply to the paper pieced blocks (4 in total). I found that doing this piecing by hand worked fairly well and I got better at keeping it circular.

I used Warm & Plush for the batting and a backing full of fruit and vegetables.

For the quilting I did an 'onion' type fill in all of the garlic areas with Wonderfil Invisifil (100 wt) off white thread, including in the watch band holes. All watch bands and centers were stitched in the ditch. Each watch face had hands quilted into it and sometimes other quilting motifs/fills to give it some depth. The hands and center were then colored in with a micron Fabric marker. I used a Wonderfil metallic to straight stitch just inside the edge of the clasp fused applique elements.

Maybe you'll see it at the WWVQFestival Sept 19-21, 2014.

I'm excited to hang this in my kitchen, finally!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Scottish Inspiration

You may have followed along on my personal Facebook while I went to Scotland in June/July. I posted several photos of inspirations I saw on my KISSed Quilts FB page too.

I have so much to say about them, I'm sharing them here too and reminding those who read the Country Register that the latest issue has a Scottish inspired design. More about that later.

The first full day we were in Scotland, my SIL and I were dropped off in Inverness to just explore the city. My husband happened to notice a quilt shop and kindly dropped us on that street. As we walked down by the river we went inside St. Andrews Cathedral. Here are a couple of images from inside that reminded me very much of quilting blocks.

While walking up the trail to Dunnattor Castle on the east coast, there were several designs in the cobblestone/pebbly walkway. This looks like the British Flag to me.

Loved this rose medallion at each intersection on Rose St in Edinburgh.

We stopped for cover from an unusually hard rain in the National Museum of Scotland. There was a particularly attractive book cover (from a quilting design perspective) in the museum shop and some antique sewing machines in a clever display.


Later on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, this lovely formation in the cobblestone.

We used our rental car to drive into England. Just before reaching the border we came to the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. Does that name ring a bell? There was an air disaster there on a Pan Am flight in 1988. We decided it would be a good point to stop and take a look at what we could see from those many years ago. They had a lovely visitor center at their local cemetery where many had been buried that included a quilt, photos and stories of each person. A touching tribute, still today.
Detailed photos can be found at www.facebook.com/kissedquilts. Check the Scottish Inspiration 2014 album for individual photos.
Never did I have my camera ready, but at least twice, maybe three times, I saw this pattern used for cement walls along the freeway or along a train route.

Well, that just looked inviting to me for a quick quilt. The latest issue of the Country Register gives dimensions for maximizing a Fat Quarter of fabric to create this general shape and how to cut and sew it together.
Here are fabrics I picked up while in Scotland that represent the country (heather, plaid, pheasant hunting, deer and other animals in the woods, scotty dogs) and a historical family vehicle (a VW Camper Van). Thanks to Quilt Creations in Inverness, Scotland for these selections. Using these FQs to make up this quilt would be a fun way to remember this trip and make it meaningful to the family. I'll likely add a few other fabrics too.
This trip was part of a 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration for my in-laws who just happen to LOVE Scotland (although they were born/raised/married in England and now live in the U.S.). The eldest daughter arranged for us to stay in these castles. The first was quite medieval in style and age (Lickleyhead ...before arriving we discovered it was for sale and is about 30 minutes out of Aberdeen). The second one was more modern, near Edinburgh and constructed in the 20th century out of bits of various castles that were being taken down.

 I hope you'll check the Country Register article and
post a link in the comments to whatever you make!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Another Nature Block

Got another block completed last month in my Oddie's Wild Nature effort. This one is called Lone Pine or Ponderosa Pine in June Jaeger's pattern Nature's Sample. I added a few other tree elements because of how my fabric colorings were working. I needed to help some of the contrasts to work a bit better.

Fun to see this quilt coming together. Still have a pine cones and needles branch to complete and two large scenes. Then to figure out any 'gaps' in the layout to create smaller elements to fill in.

Right now I'm focusing on getting client quilts done before leaving the country for a few weeks. I'm fortunate to be able to have my mom coming to staff the studio while I'm gone. Fabrics and notions will still be for sale! A great time to stop by and figure out your next project or gathering supplies for fall classes. I hope to get back to doing some personal projects when I get back.

It's almost summer! Have a good one!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wild Nature Update

Several years ago I started doing a variety of fused applique blocks. I had taken a class from June Jaeger and designed my own quilt using some of her blocks, McKenna Ryan's and now I wanted to add a Toni Whitney design!

I decided it would take teaching a class to get me going again. So, today was the first of a two session class. Beautiful Toni Whitney designs are being created. I do have more patterns in the studio for several of her designs. Stop by to select your favorite!

I did this Backdoor Bear. The photo seems washed out, but the colors are quite vibrant.The inside image is only 8"x10" so I actually got it done today! It was quite exciting to see it come together so easily. Lots of small pieces, but her construction techniques make it simple enough. Now I can add it to my pile of blocks that at some point I'll have enough to make a quilt, "Oddie's Wild Nature."

Maybe some day I'll figure out how to make one of these from my own photo. There has to be a way in Photoshop that one can easily do this, no? If you've seen a tutorial online, please share the link!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Continuous Stitching on a Star of the Orient

I've been very busy trying to stay healthy (a bit under the weather for the last couple of weeks) and getting the manuscript and projects done for our We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler book that AQS will be publishing soon. The first class has now completed the series. So proud of them! Here are several who showed up for the bonus class. We had fun laying out some of their blocks, filling the entire table and we still had lots more blocks.

This week I had a fun client quilt so wanted to take a minute and show you this quilting path that I developed. This quilt was very scrappy with this beautiful star block framed in a traditional pineapple design, it is called Star of the Orient.

I developed a continuous stitching line for an entire row of blocks in the center of the quilt that I think is pretty clever, so thought I'd share it with you. I hope my drawings will allow you to see how it works.

The key with something like this is to find a point that you can be symmetrical and move along to the next block and all the way across and then come back the other direction to finish the bottom side of the block.

I broke the block down into 4 parts.
1. the frame
2. the spiral into the star center
3. star points
4. star background fill

Then there is the on point square!

1. THIN RED: STARTing at the lower left side of the block, do a candy ribbon up the frame, adjusting the size and spacing of the candy ribbon when the pineapple goes from 2 to 3 layers at the corner. Continue the ribbon candy until you choose a star point where the candy ribbon hits it and is preferably a 'lighter' colored fabric. Marked A.

2. THIN GREEN: Spiral into the center of the star and back out again almost to the spike end and then begin part 3.

3. THIN BLUE: Do long swags into the star and back out almost to each star point all the way around the star coming back to where you started #2.

4. THIN PURPLE: Go around the star making a loop into the background between each spike, all the way around the star until you're back to where you started #2.

5. THICK GREEN: Continue back around the frame doing the ribbon candy until you get to the lower right side of the block and can hit the outer edge of the block, (MARK B) then pivot and start the next block. THICK BROWN: This leaves the lower section of the block unfinished, but you'll do that when you come back across the quilt.

Repeat steps 1-5 until you are at the very last block.

6. Continue around the block until you come to the top of the onpoint background square. Stop at the top of it (MARKed Ca) and THICK DARK BROWN: do the orange peels, returning to the starting point of the square.

7. THICK RED: Finish up the pineapple frame, connecting with the pivot between squares and pivot again coming left into the next block.

Repeat 6 and 7 until you're back to the very beginning of the row.

Now if you ever get a quilt that has this block...you'll have some ideas on how to break it down and get it quilted quickly!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Red and White - Make It Challenge

Following along with the Year of Red and White Challenges, I've made a red and white quilt!

This design is mine and was entered in Phase II of the challenges.

Let me know if you'd like it as a pattern.

The unique shape of the chevron is very popular and I've seen it constructed in several ways, but not like this. I wanted to minimize the number of seams and minimize the 'bias' edge handling.

Using a big square and cutting it on the diagonal both ways provides the triangle used for all rows except at the ends. In order to be efficient with the fabric, I've got a trick on creating those from within one of the larger cuts.

This is the lap size approx. 48"x60" hanging over our deck with a slight breeze.
The freemotion quilting was an experiment to try a variety of ideas, so it is not perfect, but I'll walk you through each quilting design and the border.

Solid Red  --three separate areas of the dark red, the top one is a heart with echoed once and then a scallop type fill in the background;
the middle one is a design taken from the border print with a pebbles and swirls fill in the background. The swirls on the sides should have been bigger and the top should have been smaller to provide better balance with the larger motif used in this section.

White with red circles -- This one probably detracts from the quilt more than I'd like it to, but the fabric had small white life saver type rings on it, so used that as inspiration. The parallel lines inbetween were a big tricky, but by the time I did the 2nd set I had a good system and was able to do the entire zig zag in one continuous line except for the inner round of each circle.

the bottom one is also taken from the border print and is a heart flower with two leaves and arching edge at the very bottom. The background is an echo in the large triangle. The side corners have a scroll going both directions with dense fill in the background.

Red w/white feathers --fabric is so busy that you can't really see the quilting, but I did a big feather with pearls in the stem.
Red w/bubbles --again ...the fabric is busy but did big pebbles.
White with red circles -- This one probably detracts from the quilt more than I'd like it to, but the fabric had small white life saver type rings on it, so used that as inspiration. The parallel lines inbetween were a big tricky, but by the time I did the 2nd set I had a good system and was able to do the entire zig zag in one continuous line except for the inner round of each circle.

Inner white border - mimicking the zig zag of the quilt design, I echoed a zig zag along the white border adding the heart flower with leaves element from the printed border to fill one side of the zig zag. The other side of the zig zag was left un-quilted. No background fill in the inner border at all.
Red border print - following the motif in the border to quilt it sufficiently. Border is busy so just quilted it enough to be sufficient for consistent density.
Outer white border - Really had fun with this one. Similar to the inner white border with the zig zag and echoing it except when I got to the corner and it kinda tapers to only a single line. Fills are intense in this area so the zig zag will really pop. Motifs from the red border are used (heart flower with leaves) and a ribbon candy fill on the outside triangles on the short ends of the quilt and the inner fill uses pebbles on all sides. The final inside triangle before each corner used a loop in a loop to fill--always looking for a quicker way to get a dense fill. (see upper detail photo for closeup).
Here is a photo from the backside so you can see some of the quilting motifs a bit better.

This will be at the 22nd annual Spring Fling Quilt Show "Fronen Steppdecker" in Odessa (WA) Quilt Show April 25-26 and in the Krazy Horse Quilters Annual Show in Pendleton (OR) May 3-4

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Red and White Design Challenge

Although I was part of the Blog Hop to get the design juices flowing for creating red and white quilts in EQ, I had never made a red and white quilt myself. I enjoyed the process of writing the tutorial for the blog hop and subsequently designed a quilt with the 48" x 60" parameters in mind.

So, here is my entry to the Design It! Challenge.

Here is my inspiration behind this design: My mom does an incredible amount of work for charity working with a chapter of It's My Very Own (IMVO) that meets weekly on Mondays in Apache Junction, AZ. From 2007-2011 they delivered a total of 500 bags. In the past two years they have delivered 483 bags. Already in 2014 two other agencies have signed on to be recipients, so they anticipate a huge increase in demand for their bags this year. The bags are referred to as a "Bag of Love". Several local organizations have been generous contributors to this effort. All contributions are greatly appreciated. Sometimes when someone in the area is cleaning out their estate, downsizing, etc. fabrics will be donated to the group. Good quilting cottons are hard to come by, but they use as many types of fabrics that are reasonable. They often receive types of fabrics that just can't be used in a quilt and have been quite inventive to create other objects that they can sell or put the fabrics in a bi-annual rummage sale whose proceeds go to a local one room school that they support. Not often does an organization have the opportunity to pass along goods that aren't quite the right fit in such a productive way. I continue to be impressed with their charitable spirit.

What is a "Bag of Love" you ask?  Each Bag of Love includes a handmade quilt, stuffed animal, toys, and personal care items that are gender and age appropriate. There are 10 separate groupings of gender/age.

They aim to have the quilts be a 48"x60" size. So, since I had suggested to my mom that while I was in AZ, if the volunteers would appreciate a quilting class, maybe I could help them with a fairly simple, yet different than they usually put together for their charity quilts. Since these bags even go to teenagers, something with a bit of design I thought would be nice.

This design helps to teach color value and the importance of understanding lights to darks and how it can effect the design. With a border fabric of their choice that might be something hard to work with, choose 4 coordinating colors. Place them in order of what your perceived value from light to dark is and take a black and white photocopy of it to test your perception. If you got it right they will shade from light to dark in a natural progression. If not, rearrange the order so that you can get the appropriate contrasts and effect of the intended design.

This is the design result in black and white. (48"x60")

In red and white with a Jinny Beyer border from her Monochrome line.

Fabric Requirements:
Border: 1.5 yards if pieced; if cut lengthwise with a border print --2 yards
Four values - EACH 1 yard
This is a generous portion. If you have usable 41.75" WOF, then 14.25" x WOF is sufficient.
Binding: 0.5 yard
Backing: 2.75 yards

Some of their results:

by Betty
by Cindy

by Margaret
by Kris

by Mary
by Mary

by Sally

There are several ways to construct this quilt (half square triangles  and two strip sets are just two ways that I can think of quickly), but I choose to minimize the number of seams and keep use of fabric efficient, which required diagonal sewing on the bias when assembling an individual row.

Key piecing elements include knowing when to have a dog ear at each end and when you don't! The triangles at the end of each row matches up at the point, but the other end of it needs a dog ear. The large triangles all need dog ears at each intersection. Once you have the whole row put together. Repeat until all rows are are complete and sew the rows together. I found pressing the seams in a given row in the same direction (need to think about this while you're piecing the row together) keeps a better 'average' of intersection depth rather than getting some quite flat seams and some double overlapped seams. This design is easily adapted into larger sizes.

I have upsized it to twin, queen and king sizes. I have designed pieced borders for the queen and king size. The sizing provides a bit more opportunity to design something to sit ON the bed, and something separate for the sides of the bed.

Fabric Estimates below are based on EQ7 calculations.

Twin - Approx 73"x98"

Fabric requirements:

Border 2 yards (3 yards if cut lengthwise)

Darkest and Lightest: 2 yards

Two Medium values: 2.5 yards

Binding: 5/8 yard

Backing: 5 5/8 yards

Queen - Approx 97x110

Fabric requirements:

Pieced Border
Light: 2 7/8 yards
Dark: 2 7/8 yards

Dark Inner Border : 1 1/4 yards
Light Inner Border: 1/2 yard


Darkest and Lightest: 1 5/8 yards

Medium Light : 1 1/8 yard
Medium Dark: 2 1/4 yards

Binding: 1 yard

Backing: 8.5 yards

King - Approx 110 x 110

Fabric requirements:

Pieced Border
Light: 2 7/8 yards
Dark: 2 7/8 yards

Dark Inner Border : 1 1/8 yards
Light Inner Border: 1/2 yard


Darkest and Lightest: 1 7/8 yards

Two Medium Values: 2 3/4 yards

Binding: 1 yard

Backing: 9.75 yards

I'm entering this design in Phase Two of the Red and White Challenge - Design It! I hope you'll check them all out.
Have fun!!