Monday, November 21, 2016

Appliqué Table Runner


This project has certainly been in the works for a long time (Instagram tells me I started is this past spring). I decided to take my time with it, which I think is the best way to approach needle turn appliqué. A variation on my MarimeFaux wall hanging, this 20" x 51" table runner uses a slightly different template but the same folding, cutting, and appliqué technique. The method is a cross between cutting paper dolls and Hawaiian appliqué, and its one I’d like to continue to explore.


Instead of the high contrast black and white solids, in this variation I played with fabrics that blur the boundaries between appliqué and background. It's a trick I used in improv piecing, and I think its so interesting in this application.

 
Once the appliqué was complete, the project stalled for a while as I tried out different quilting patterns. I settled on a free motion figure eights, as you can see. If I had it to do again, I think the modern design and fabric would be better complimented by simple, matchstick quilting.


I enjoyed the process of making this quilt, from the template creation, to folding and cutting, and appliqué. The quilting went quickly on the machine, but the facing did take some time. I think it is more tedious than binding, but some quilts really demand one.


I think I’ll experiment more with this technique, perhaps on a smaller scale.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Adventures in Indigo Shibori


I recently had the pleasure of taking a class with Kim Eichler-Messmer, author of Modern Color, on indigo shibori fabric dyeing. It was just a delight. Kim, a professor at the Kansas City Art Institute, also teaches private classes at KC Textile Studio. If you have the opportunity to take a class, do it!
 
We learned to make two different types of indigo dye vats, as well as the shirbori technique, including itajime, arashi, and machine sewn. This traditional Japanese dyeing method, which uses  uses clamps, string, and stitching to create resist patterns, creates truly endless design possibilities. I tried a bit of everything, which is the fun of this sort of class.
itajime
 
arashi
 
machine sewn
 
machine sewn
 
itajime

Indigo dyeing is certainly simple enough to do at home, albeit a bit messy. I hope an outdoor indigo party with crafty friends is in my future.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Paper Pieced Block

 
Inspired by an ikat fabric I saw on instagram, this new paper pieced block has captivated my imagination. I used grey scraps on a pure white background to evoke a wintery, Nordic feel. The block motif reminds me of arrows and stars, which fit the theme perfectly.
I made a second block using more scraps, this time in black and white, but I think I'll look to my stash next to make each block unique with no repeating fabrics and to achieve a subtle twinkle from different values of grey and black prints.
I'm thinking of calling it the Ketchikan quilt and making it my next pattern. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rainbow Baby Quilt

 
What is it about a rainbow that is so soothing and energizing and happy all at once? Practically speaking, this quilt was born of my overflowing scrap bin of strips. Therapeutically, it is the product of a few happy hours of simple sewing.
This baby quilt is 42 x 49, and quilters will not be surprised to know that my scrap bin somehow looks just a full now as it did before I started. That proves scraps and scrap quilts are magic, right? I love revisiting so many favorite fabrics in my scrap bins.
 
I used white, Aurifil 2021 thread to free motion quilt swirls, paisleys and pebbles. I find this combination of designs compliment each other well, fit into each other's curves, and flow easily under my hands.
I've had the backing fabric for several years, and it makes me happy to find the perfect quilt in which to use it. Raindrops for a rainbow quilt. I think saturated backing prints really balance a super colorful top.
You can find this Rainbow Baby Quilt in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

MarimeFaux Wall Hanging

You may recognize the inspiration for this piece as a print by Marimekko. It was a very large scale print; I'm guessing the motif was a yard across. Recently the design has resurfaced as a special line at a certain big box store and can be purchased on items like napkins and boogie boards. I guess you could say I'm on trend, but I've actually been working on this this needle turn applique wall hanging for over a year, finishing it just in time to photograph it in some beautiful spring weather.
I developed a new technique to create the design, something of a cross between Hawaiian applique and cutting paper dolls. I folded the fabric several times and cut out the motif using a template I designed. The result is not quite as smooth as I would like, but the slight irregularity of the shapes is somehow pleasing.
I finished the piece with straight line quilting and a faced binding, made following this tutorial.
I'm currently revisiting this technique in a table runner and print fabrics. I've adjusted the technique to fold and cut freezer paper to create a full size template to apply to the fabric, rather than cutting the fabric itself folded. This has allowed me to make smoother curves and more regular shapes. I hope that project will be finished more quickly than this was.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Inspired by Improvising Tradition, Again

I have more of projects share with you today, made by readers of Improvising Tradition.

Veronica, a talented graphic designer, business owner, and quilter from my ancestral homeland of Scotland, made this lovely quilted pillow cover based on the By the Fireside pillow in the Strips section of the book. I really like her use of prints in this.
 
Eva made matching placemats and a table runner from the Ribbons Placemats pattern in the Slice and Insert portion of the book. She won a second place ribbon on them at the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild Show that's runs in conjunction with the AQS Des Moines show!
I was so pleased to see the progress shots on Instagram of Cassie's baby quilt from the Shattered Chevrons pattern. This was her first FMQ project start to finish, and it looks so pretty. I love the colors she chose!

I had a sweet email from Kaaren who doesn't use social media but shared this set of coasters made from the Jewel Box Coasters pattern from the Strata section of the book. This is actually a pattern you can read for free as a excerpt on Sew Mama Sew.
 
With the strata technique under her belt, Kaaren made this cute baby quilt, a variation of the cover quilt, Waterfall.
I'd love to see what you make too. Send me a photo via email or use the hashtag #improvisingtradition online to share. I'm happy to link to your blog or other social media site, with your permission.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Machine Pieced Pojagi

Pojagi is a traditional Korean form of patchwork used to make wrapping clothes and ceremonial items. It is pieced using a special technique than encloses all raw edges so that the finished item is lovely from both sides. This patchwork is not layered with batting and back and is not quilted. When placed against the light, which highlights the seams, this type of patchwork is especially beautiful.
Although traditionally pieced by hand using a variety of stitches and methods, I've tried my hand at machine pieced pojagi in the past. More recently, I've discovered that the use of a flat fell foot speeds up the process quite a bit, eliminating several steps.
 
If you'd like to learn this technique, while exploring improv piecing, join me for a Machine Pieced Pojagi class at the Overland Park Bernina store on March 4th. Contact the store for more details.
For lots of pojagi inspiration, you can peruse my Pojagi Pinterest board.