Monday, August 29, 2016

What's Under My Needle?

Sometimes I just want to sew. I upsized some Dogtooth borders for foundation piecing and got to work using some 2-1/2" strips of Kaffe Fassett fabrics that I had on hand. What are my plans? I really don't know. Who says I have to have a plan?

Foundation Pieced Dogtooth strips
What size are they? 4" wide and about 12" long (finished).

Dogtooth strip before trimming
 And can we see the front?
Trimmed. Can you see those 1/4" seam allowances?
Then I had a thought to add these to my Pickle Dish quilt center. This is a new class I am teaching and is based on a pattern from American Patchwork & Quilting (yes, I asked permission). I tweaked the pattern in so many ways so that it is teachable and for my students to be able to stitch it.

Here are my steps:
Three of the fabrics
 I always make a cutting template for odd shaped patches, rather than use squares or rectangles, which can result in a LOT of fabric waste.
Cutting Template
 These are my background triangles.

Background triangles
Now for a shot mid-process. It took me quite awhile to realize I got my colors messed up. Each curved unit is to have either the orange OR the purple throughout. Can you say RIP IT OUT?

Color mistake!
Now let's see the paper pieced arcs:
Unit with blues
 And the other one?
Unit with oranges
But then I had a flash and wanted a different arrangement. Can you hear the frogs again? Rippit. Rippit.

Here is my quilt center. I wanted all the red-oranges to be in the center and the blue-purples on the outside. Good thing I had only done two blocks before the flash.

Four block Pickle Dish
Do you remember my previous post about this Pickle Dish pattern? I had used the Windham Collection called Up in the Air:

Pickle Dish arcs
And the joining of the background and center melon shape:

And the center:
Four Block Pickle Dish before borders
Then I added borders
Traditional Pickle Dish
So, back to those Dogtooth Borders. Not sure what I'll do with them, but I'm inching toward adding them to the Kaffe Fassett center. But I'm in no hurry. I'm busy getting ready to teach 7 workshops and present 3 trunk shows in September, so I'm lucky if I can fit in some serious sewing time.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Winding Ways Tutorial

I'm back with some more Winding Ways quilts. It's also called Wheel of Mystery. But, you may ask, besides buying a set of templates, how did someone think this up in the first place? How was this design formed way back in the Age of the Dinosaurs?!

First, let's look at a few blocks:

10" blocks using shot cottons and Kaffe Fassett fabrics
And an old quilt or two:

Appliquéd Winding Ways
And another one. This appears in my 2012 Wall Calendar of Quilts (which has 13 quilt patterns). But I've also added it as a single pattern for this black and white (and rainbow) quilt, too. Check it out here: EZ Winding Ways Quilt.
EZ Winding Ways. 10" Blocks; 55" x 55" quilt
Now let's see how this block is created:
Simple Winding Ways block
Take note of the colors. Each color in that picture above is part of a circle. Let's start with the first set of circles with that square. Draw a square. Now draw a circle twice the size. My square (X) is 2". My circle (2X) has a diameter of 4". Center them. Everything from now on is relative to the vertical and horizontal center lines of that square (X).
Centered 2" square and 4" circle.
Now, let's add some other circles. Two red and two green squares. The two red circles are aligned as shown with the vertical line of the square. They meet at the center horizontal line. The green circles are aligned with the horizontal line and meet at the center vertical line.

Adding two red and two green circles

Now we add two purple circles, with their tops aligned with the top red circle. Again, everything is relative to the vertical and horizontal lines of the beginning square (X).

And then we add our last two circles, blue. Now I want you to look only at the colors that appear in that square. Can you see it? Shezaamm! Holy Cow! We have a Wheel of Mystery block, don't we?

We have just drawn a Wheel of Mystery (Winding Ways) block
And for those of you who love to color, here's a planning sheet. Now you can really see all those circles, can't you? This is SO WOW!
Winding Ways Coloring Sheet
I have made several of these quilts. Some I've "cheated" with the technique and just simplified the piecing to create a single appliqué shape. That's what's going on in the little child's quilt in the 2nd picture above. And I did the same thing in that black and white quilt.

I've been working with a set of acrylic templates by John Flynn. They are accurate but there is curved piecing that insists on a perfect 1/4" seam. Sometimes I like to challenge myself. I absolutely enjoy making Winding Ways blocks with these templates. Here are a few I made as class samples a few years ago. To be fair, John Flynn's company laser cut the patches for my students so we could start sewing immediately.

3 Block table runner
 And a Four Block wall quilt:
Each student had enough patches to make 4 blocks
I have several more blocks stitched, just waiting for assembly inspiration.

Let's go back to those appliquéd blocks. I took some process shots last week. I traced my template (from the pattern for the EZ Winding Ways Quilt above) onto freezer paper and cut it out full size. I applied lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the floral fabric. I did not choose fusible web because I don't like how stiff it will be and also because if the appliqué is a light colored fabric and the background square is dark, it really affects the color of the appliqué patch. I will be trimming away the background fabric from behind the patch.

Iron freezer paper template to right side of fabric
Cut it out:
Cut out single patch
Here's the wrong side with the fusible interfacing:

Wrong side of the Winding Ways patch
Let's line it up on the background square and stitch it:

Aligning the applique patch
Now, let's see the stitching on the back:
Yes, I used a simple zig zag stitch (and made a mess in that one section!)
Now, for a second block and showing the trimming away of the background fabric:

Second block appliquéd

And trimmed away:
Trim away the background. Reduces bulk
A few more shots with the use of the templates:

Patches cut and stitched

Ready for the next to the last seams
And those blocks again!
10 of my 20 blocks
OK. I'm exhausted! Hope you enjoyed the show and learned how to draft your own Winding Ways blocks. If you don't want to draft them, buy a template set from John Flynn. They're very affordable ($9 for a 3-piece set, plus shipping). Or you can go for my Wheel of Mystery pattern.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Quilt Coloring Books - What Do You Think?

As you may know, I've designed quilts for publication for close to 25 years. Between my 14 years as Special Projects Editor for Quilt Magazine, my 3 books, my 13 Block a Day desktop calendars and 3 wall calendars of quilts - I honestly think at times that my brain is empty!

We're not talking hundreds of patterns; we're talking thousands! Yikes!

2017 Block & Quilt Pattern Calendar

So, I've been thinking of creating some adult coloring books featuring a LOT of quilts. What do you think? Do you enjoy coloring? Do you like themes, like Stars, Vintage 30s series, Civil War, Applique Baskets, etc?

I've approached two of my publishers and we'll see what they say. I can always get them up on my Craftsy site. And you know that I always offer a LOT of FREE patterns. So, let's just say this is FREE PATTERN FRIDAY, ok?

So, here are a few small projects you can color. They are pdf and you can print multiples of the black and white pages and color to your heart's content. You can increase the size in printing because I've included a 1" square on each page (you'll have to do your own math!)

Let me know your ideas about this whole thing. I promise to answer on the blog (only one of my computers allows me to do this; I typically answer everyone via email if your email shows up). I think this would be a good blog discussion. Or maybe I'm having hallucinations!

I'm calling this my Color Me! series.

Blooming Hearts is a traditional appliqué pattern:

Blooming Hearts Applique Pattern
Sunbonnet Sue as she appears on my Craftsy pattern site (the pattern sells for $5; 14" block and 104" x 114" queen sized quilt). You can have the coloring pages free!

Sunbonnet Sue
 And another vintage pattern for a butterfly. You will get this quilt assembly to color as well as the Vintage Butterfly in a line drawing.

Vintage Butterflies
Give me your thoughts. How many pages should even an eBook contain? Do you want to print your own or would you rather buy a book already printed?

Thanks for letting me share a new (and maybe crazy) idea with you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let's Talk Shot Cottons

I have been working with shot cottons for over ten years. The first ones were those of Kaffe Fassett. While the colors were great, the "hand" was pretty flimsy. They were quite pricey, but so thin that I honestly didn't enjoy sewing with them. Here are a few of my quilts made with the shots. Beautiful to behold, though!

My Zig Zag quilt
My Cobblestones Quilt is a combination of shots (for the solids) and the bold Kaffe Fasset florals. Two easy blocks alternate using a variety of textures. You really need "solids" to showcase the beauty of print fabrics.

Cobblestones Quilt
And my "famous" Princess Feather (a free pattern, btw). That ochre colored background for the feathers is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton. This appeared in my Supersize 'Em Quilts book and is a remake of one I made for Windham a few years earlier. The free pattern is on the Craftsy site and was made with the Regency Dandy fabrics by Windham.

Princess Feather, beautifully quilted by Leslee Evans of Atlanta
The next group of shot cottons are those by Windham Fabrics. I showed a few of these last month (July 2016).
Shot Cottons mimic solid colors
But it's the woven strands of threads of two different colors that sets them apart. Can you see the red threads on the edge of this magenta piece of fabric?

Fat quarter bundle of Artisan Cotton
From the Windham web site, describing these fabrics:
Artisan Cotton by Another Point of View is a beautiful cross-dyed quilter's weight cotton that acts as a solid but with a zing! The rich, saturated colors truly pop and are simply spectacular. These solids are a mixture of pretty pastels, zesty brights and rich neutral tones.

These fabrics also have a good feel (hand) and are just as "weighty" as good quality quilter's cotton. That's what I like!
Yellow/Green shot cotton by Windham
And I've also had the pleasure of working with Peppered Cottons by Pepper Cory. They have a wonderful "hand" and are a real joy to work with. Let's see a few of my shots by Pepper. Don't you just love these colors? They are produced by Studio E Fabrics.
A set of fat quarters I bought in Atlanta at Intown Quilters in March 2014

And 3 one-yard cuts I bought last month. I wanted some neutral colors as background for some projects.

3 one-yard cuts of Pepper's shot cottons by Studio E Fabrics
OK, you say. Yawn. Let's see some things you've MADE!

Winding Ways block using Windham shots and Kaffe Fasset florals
And what does it look like on the back?

Can you see some of those yellow threads on the edges?
And how about some of my Hosannah/Palm blocks using Pepper's shots and some light gray fabric?

10 Palm paper pieced Palm Block using Pepper's shot cottons

3 more colors from Pepper's shots

And 3 more colors
Do you remember this block from last year, my South Carolina Star? It is still a FREE PATTERN. I made the entire thing using shot cottons. It was to honor those who tragically lost their lives in June of 2015. Go read the post.

South Carolina Star
I'm going to blog about piecing the Winding Ways block. I've cut out enough for 20 (gasp!!) and have sewn 11 so far. All the backgrounds are shot cottons and the centers use a variety of Kaffe Fassett florals. Here's a little sneak peek at the cutting using my template set from John Flynn. Can you see those awesome blue threads?!! For a khaki reading color. Go figure!

Cutting for my Winding Ways blocks
And let's see some more of those threads!
Yellow and blue threads woven together make a nubby gray color.
I'll be back in another post with some more of these awesome blocks. And a tutorial on how a Winding Ways block is drafted. Fascinating, believe me! All done with circles. See you then.