Show and Tell

Laurie Schierer took my Pick-Up Sticks class at the Hands All Around Quilt Guild a couple of weeks ago in Normal, IL. Not only is her quilt amazing, it is also quilted and bound! Way to go, Laurie! (The Pick-Up Sticks pattern is in my book, The Quilter’s Practical Guide to Color.)

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During the design part of this class, we put together student blocks in a variety of sets. It occurred to me that you could add triangles to the blocks to form a center (wonky) square. Laurie ran with that idea and I’m so glad she did!

Here are just a few of the other settings, combining student blocks, that we played with:

 

 

Amy Marson, on embroidery…

My good friend, Amy, offered share more about her embroidery art. Yay!

Do you spend a lot of time commuting? passenger in a car? on an airplane? I do! And I am fidgety, always needing something in my hands to keep me busy.  Well last April I started embroidering when I travel and I am hooked. I have done two famous paintings, The Scream and Starry Night. My favorite part of both of these is the sky done in a big chain stitch.

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I am fairly new to embroidery and I like it when my work looks a bit rough (I am a recovering perfectionist) and not precise.  I really enjoyed trying to figure out what colors to use where and how to make certain sections stand out. I made different choices than the artists just for fun and I am really happy with the results.  My Starry Night hangs next door at my neighbors house (a Christmas present) and I am not sure yet what to do with The Scream. I may keep it…

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A few good things to note. To transfer the pattern I used C&T Publishing’s Wash-Away Stitch Stabilizer, a great surface that you can run through an ink jet printer and adhere to your fabric while you are stitching, and when you are done you swish it in water and it melts away!

I got some great needles from Becky (this is a good set) and used a variety of perle cottons (lots of choices here) for much of the designs. I love how the perle cotton sits on top of the fabric. Also, I did not stick with one weight of Perle Cotton, I used three different weights, my goal was to create a lot of texture and I think it worked.

I am a self taught stitcher using Judith Baker Montano’s Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool and I work very quickly with the goal of done is better than perfect. What am I working on now? I sketched a world encircled by houses, trees and a book. I started freehand stitching and it is coming along beautifully! If Becky let’s me guest post again I will show you my latest project. Until then, needles up!

Amy

PS from Becky: Amy, you can guest post any time!

Color(s) of the year…

I’m busy working away on the next new thing that I can’t tell anyone about for months. It is ever thus. BUT, as I’m working, I can’t get these colors out of my head.

First, did you see the Kona Cotton color of the year announcement? The color is Tiger Lily and it does make me happy.

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Click here to see the Robert Kaufman Tiger Lily Look Book. It’s full of designs from their designers using this color.

A few days later, I became aware of Pantone’s color of the year, Ultra Violet. Who knew, right? I remember when there was one color of the year and that was that.

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Do you remember last year’s Pantone color of the year? It was Greenery…

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These 3 colors form a triadic color combination that is both lovely and not often used: purple, orange, and green.

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I’m hoping that now that I’ve shared this with you, I can stop thinking about these 3 colors because it’s very distracting when I need to be thinking about other colors :-).

 

 

 

Fabric love at first sight…

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I love Alison Glass‘s fabric. That’s a fact.

You know that the fabrics in any collection, by any designer or from any company, are designed to work together. I have found that even though I may like a collection, there are only a few fabrics that I actually use. It is a rare thing to find a collection of prints where everything works together as well as these fabrics do. Why is that?

  • In addition to being just luscious, there is a nice mix of values.
  • These particular prints add texture without being distracting. That works really well in both piecing and appliqué.
  • There are both clear colors and gray colors. When used together, clear colors come forward, grayer colors recede. In a quilt, the combination of clear and gray colors adds dimension to the design.

This is what I have right now: a mix of Alison’s Chroma and Handcrafted Indigo collections as well as a text print. It’s a great start but I know I’m going to be adding more AG fabric to this mix because more is obviously better in this case :-).

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m working on a foundation paper pieced quilt. The first quilt top is sewn and I’m now making variations of the pattern in AG fabric. I don’t want to ruin future surprises but this gives you an idea of how these prints work together in a pieced block.

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One last thing: When I was in St. Louis last week I picked up some give-away scraps of vintage fabric from the guild table. Too many quilters are nervous about mixing vintage-style prints with modern prints. Don’t be! This is a happy stack of fabric that would make a great quilt.

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I don’t often go on and on about fabric on my blog, but these prints are special. You should consider adding them to your stash.

Happy fabric shopping (is there any other kind?).

 

My color class…

After The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color was published, people asked me to teach a class on color. I’ve been teaching this class for about a year and, judging from student responses, it is one of my very best classes.

This is a no-sew class. Students come with 4″ squares of white paper and 4″ squares of fabric in a variety of colors and values. I begin with a mini-version of my color lecture and then show how I organize fabric for a project. Students organize their own fabric squares and then the fun begins!

I choose a block from  The New Quick & Easy Block Tool and a color combo and everyone quickly mocks up 4 blocks. ‘Quickly’ is key. Thinking too much about color choices can stop a project from ever happening and it’s important to learn to trust your instincts.

Once glued, we put the blocks together on a table. They are flat and it’s hard to see a pattern, so I use my phone to take a photo. It’s always fun to hear the gasp as everyone sees the pattern emerge on the screen.

These photos are from a color class taught at Happiness Is… Quilting in McKinney, TX.

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Grandmother’s Choice Block

Everyone is working from the fabric they brought and it’s a stretch to imagine using them together in a quilt, but it is surprising how well the blocks come together.

We change the layout and take more photos:

Each individual knows what they like and what they don’t. We talk about why some colors/values/settings work better than others. My goal is to empower each student, to make color their friend and ally.

Here is the Homeward Bound block in complimentary reds and greens:

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It’s fun to put different blocks together, just to see what happens.

 

This was a 6-hour class, so there was time to mock up several blocks. As the day went on, everyone loosened up and color decisions come quicker and with more confidence.

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I love this class because quilters who begin the day nervous, leave knowing that color is their friend. Trust me when I tell you that color is your friend too!

PS: If you are a shop or guild and would like to have me come teach, email me. I’m usually booking about 2 years out.

 

Seen on my morning walk…

You just can’t beat a morning walk that includes the ocean. That may be one of the most rejuvenating parts of taking part in an Empty Spools seminar. 

I would happily live in this house…

There were people snorkeling this morning, in wetsuits. And fishing, and taking photos. 

Someday I’ll master the art of the selfie. As it is, at least my nose isn’t huge :-). 


Lots of purple/pink/blue flowers are blooming. Wish these would grow for me in north Texas. 


The quilting fun starts later today. I am looking forward to spending the week with 13 happily sewing women!

Weeding tips…

anudge asked for tips on how I weeded out my stash. Here goes:

I used to keep my linen, vintage, hand-dyes, etc., in their own separate groups. I realized that I forgot about them when I was pulling fabrics for a quilt so I decided to merge all of my fabric.

I emptied the top shelf in my closet. I worked standing up at the long dresser in the bedroom where my fabric lives. I worked with one stack of at a time. I touched every fabric and decided to keep it, or not. The ‘nots’ went into bags.

The keepers were sorted into stacks of solids, lights, mediums, or darks. Where it made sense, I grouped similar shades of a color together. For example I have yellow-greens in one stack and blue-greens in another. I know that my stacks are going to eventually get messed up so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on this.

Next I pulled my ‘special’ fabrics, sorted them and added them to the cottons in the closet. 1-yard big print pieces that will be used for backings are still separate.

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Let me show you how it works with a much smaller group of fabrics. The back story is that I have been inspired by friends to work on a quilt using Liberty of London fabric. My friend, Kathy (hi Kathy!) sent me a fat quarter bundle from the Liberty shop in London — how cool is that! I do love these fabrics from the bundle…

I don’t love these 4 fabrics. If they were just plain old fabrics in my stash, they’d be gone.

But I’m going to make a Liberty of London quilt and can’t afford to be picky! Plus all the fabrics in the bundle actually do play well together. (It goes to show that you can make just about any fabric work, but that’s another story.)

And the bundle fabrics look really good with my other Liberties…

So what does this mean? It means that there are some fabrics I like and some that I like less. When I have too much fabric, I have to decide what no longer fits. Making decisions is hard and it can wear you out if you over-think it. So I don’t think too much as I’m sorting. I put the cast-offs in a bag so that I’m not tempted to bring them back.

If you have more fabric than I do (and that’s a real possibility) I would suggest tackling one color at a time. If you start with yellow, pull all of your yellows, from everywhere. Put them on a big table or bed. Work through them. Put your tidy stacks on the shelves, ignore the cast-offs, move on to the next color. Don’t give up (you’ll be tempted). Power through it, you’ll be glad you did