Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Paisley Power :: Bias Tape

Apparently I was in a funky, mod mood when I designed this!  It was not what I expected I would design when I took the Bias Tape Workshop with Latifah Saarif.  Once an idea comes to me it's hard to back away from it and easy to get lost in the process.  
Paisley Power
17" x 43"
Paisley Power is a 17" x 43" table runner made using 1/2" bias tape and adding fabric inserts.  

I have tried bias tape before on my Technicolor Galaxy Quilt, it still isn't finished and it's been two years!  I did not enjoy that bias tape process at all...not one little bit!  And then more recently, I used bias tape on my Maze Hearts.  Except I didn't cut the fabric on the bias for the bias tape.  (Big Heart, Small Heart)

My attitude at the beginning of this class was just to learn something.  I didn't have a set idea of what I would make, let alone that I would even finish it.  But I did!  And I had fun!

  

We started by sketching a rough design and then making bias tape.  Lot's of bias tape!  



The workshop was only a few hours long, not nearly enough to finish even a small project. It did get us started and well on our way to finishing.  I didn't pay close enough attention to how Latifah joined ends or folded for sharp points, so I did my best on my own.

I used a glue stick to hold the inserts in place and then stitched the inside edge of the bias tape around the shapes, and then the outside was stitched down.  At this stage it's just the top, no batting or backing.

When it was time for the quilting, I was so excited!  I'm don't usually get excited when I get to this stage, but I knew I was going to go over the top with this quilt.



Inside each paisley and circle got a different free motion design.  From pebbles, paisleys and stippling, to loops and flowers. It was so much fun that I found it hard to stop!  I didn't hold back and I didn't leave much untouched real estate!



I switched to my walking foot for the echo quilting around each paisley.  With three times around it left me with ample space in between to fill in with more pebble quilting.    



It is definitely effective!  I'm blown away by the texture!  When I decided to FMQ, I also knew that I was picking a print for the backing.  This was going to be my safety net for the inevitable less than perfect stitches!  



And what's a post without an artsy photo?!  Since I'm not much for taking a field trip with my quilts, I have to amp it up in other ways!  

I can't believe I'm going to say this...but I want to make another something with bias tape! And I do love a good paisley!  This runner, believe it or not will be staying with me!    

Have you ever made a bias tape quilt?  I think I will...I think...it...could...be...fun!


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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Two Workshops :: Long Days!

Exhausting, but worth it!  Two workshops and a trunk show in two days.  It doesn't sound like much.  But when one of those days is 9-5, nearly all sewing and something as of late I haven't done...its very tiring!

I will start off by saying that I've never taken a workshop/class...ever.  And, I wasn't going to miss out on this chance to take two.  I took full advantage of the opportunity!  We had full classes, amazing company, lots of snacks and the chance to meet quilters from not just Nashville, but Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville! 

Meet Latifah,  formerly known as 'The Quilt Engineer'.  The lady behind the Glam Clam Quilts and templates.  I've admired her for years and years.  I believe my daughter steered me in her direction a long, long time ago!

I was impressed with her warmth, humor, skills along with her her endless patience throughout the classes.  She was just as I had hoped she would be and more.  If you ever get the chance to meet her or take her workshops, you won't be disappointed!  


Latifah Saarif and Me!
This post will mostly be about 'eye candy' in the form of Latifah Saarif and her quilts.  They are worthy of a post all their own!  Plus, I haven't finished my two projects and want to do so before sharing a lot about them.

Our first workshop was all about Bias Tape.  We got to pick a small project, sketch ideas and and attempt to execute them.  This was a three hour class that flew by!  I should have paid better attention to how to finish up ends in a pretty way...but I was to fixated on my table runner idea!



My idea was paisley and circles.  You can see I didn't get very far with the bias tape part of the class!  The good news is I just need to quilt the runner and I can share it!
Medallion, No Latitude, Air Show
Aren't these quilts gorgeous?!  These three are all Bias Tape quilts.  The medallion is amazing!

The next day was our full Glam Clam Day!  It was an amazing day!  I'm so glad I decided to take this class!

Take a look at these Clams!  The bottom left is the only 8" quilt out of these four.  I'm loving the 12", even though the 6" clam caught my eye big time!


For all you Glam Clam lovers...Latifah has a new design/templates coming out!  Check out the upper left and lower right quilts...curious now?! 



We all got set up pretty quickly at our tables.  Irons were heating...more snacks...fabric flying everywhere!

Latifah demonstrated how to cut the side pieces.  I over achieved and had mine cut before hand. You would think that should have allowed me to make more progress on my quilt, but it didn't!


Check out her dress!  It's from her fabric line 'Graphic'!





































Believe it or not, someone actually finished their quilt top!  I know!  They used the 12" template, which I thought was huge when I first saw it.  Ummm...I should have gone with the 12"!  Piecing together the clams is not a quick process.  It was super awkward to me.  The alignment of each clam confused me more times than I care to admit.  That being said, don't shy away from it!  If we don't push, we don't learn.  This seriously pushed me!  



I completed the top row and six rows of clams!  Like I said, it isn't fast!  Once you get the hang of it, it does go a little faster.  My clams are 8" and I'm doing a rather large (IMO) throw quilt.  I am determined, dead set, serious as a heart attack going to finish this quilt!  I'm afraid if I don't keep working on it I'll forget how to do it!  And that would be tragic!



Here's a few more Latifah originals!  Gorgeous...amazing...inspiring!
Log Cabin (amazing), The Big Log, and Two versions of Mole Hills.  I loved seeing all her quilts and hearing the stories and thoughts behind them.  When I grow up...

Notice the bindings on many of these quilts.  It's a one inch binding that Latifah does on many of her quilts.  Take her class...she shows you how she does it!!  I will be giving it a whirl on my Clam quilt!  Thank you Debbie @ A Quilter's Table for telling me to ask about the 'demo' of the binding!

Let's just say this was a two day extravaganza for me!!  It most likely won't happen again anytime soon!



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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Workshop Prep :: Glam Clam :: Purging

I'm super excited for the 'Glam Clam' workshop this weekend, and especially excited to meet Latifah Saafir!  Our guild 'Music City Modern Quilters Guild', has set forth an action packed weekend for members and non-members.  How fun is it to meet someone you have long admired and been a huge fan of?!



Tomorrow will begin the festivities with Latifah's Bias Tape Workshop.  I do know a little about bias tape, but if you get the chance to learn from a pro you should take advantage of it!  I've spent countless hours deciding what my bias tape project will be...fabric wise.  I guess I've come to the conclusion it will coordinate with the Glam Clam quilt.

You may be surprised to learn that I am not, I repeat...I am not using solids!  Even though every instinct I had was saying 'solids, solids, solids'!  And my heart wanted to do the 6" Clammy, but went with an 8", after all it will be my first one.

  

And so I contemplated.  What fabrics.  What prints.  What colors.  Along with, what size of quilt? Scrappy?  Not scrappy?



I pondered and pulled fabric.  I stressed and pulled fabric.  I threw up my hands and still pulled fabric.  



In the end I decided scrappy-ish, and I'm going green-ish!  I'm using all my funky fabric that lingers in my stash.  Stuff that sucks, stuff that I love (but never use...because I love it) and stuff that is every thing in between.  Lime green to aqua...it was all going in.

The hope was it would deplete my stash, but no such luck!  I cut anywhere from one to 4 or 5 Glam Clams from various prints.  Not nearly enough!  I need more clammy's!

  

Tula.  Tula Plume.  Another love, another fabric that has lingered far too long.  I had just enough left over for two and of course, I had to make sure I got one bird front and center.



One thing I knew for sure about this quilt, if I didn't cut every single Clam for it at once...I may never finish it.  This way I am sure to make the quilt regardless!  I decided to make the throw quilt which required 128 - 8" full size Clams and a handful of partial pieces.  It will finish at 64" x 72", which in my mind is a very respectable throw size quilt!



My design wall was a bit small, but I managed to figure out a layout for the most part.  At least I have all the rows marked and ready to hit the workshop running!  The backing I have already decided with be all scraps, all left over prints and then some.  

If that doesn't take care of a good part of my stash then nothing will!  Purge quilt #2!

Have you made a Glam Glam Quilt?  I'd love to know what fabrics you used.  Picking fabrics is always the hardest part!

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Placemats :: Lots and Lots of Placemats!

Back in January I was asked if I could make custom placemats.  Not just any placemats, placemats from a drawing they had made from tile they had seen.  Tile can be a big inspiration for quilt ideas and upon seeing the drawing I thought it was something I could figure out.  

My version may not be exactly like the drawing, but she was totally fine with that.  Mostly it was about the shapes, colors and size.  

12" x 15"
It took a while for me to figure out the best way to go about it.  How do I make each one the same?  How can I make sure each point, each intersection will line up?  Can I do it on EQ7? I pondered.  I played.  I drew shapes and cut them out like a puzzle.  

My first thought was to work with a top and bottom section. (horizontal)  It didn't work exactly the way I wanted it to.  Eventually I figured out that if I made two rows of triangles it just might work. There was still the issue of making each placemat, each section, each piece and each color line up...but I came up with the solution!



Paper pieced!  Only because I needed certain sections to line up and only because each placemat had to be the same.  Yes, it was a lot of work!  It looks relatively simple, and in all honestly it was once the math and templates were figured out.  I made a test placemat, sent off fabric swatches and waited for the thumbs up.    

I should mention that I needed to make sixteen (16)...yes, you read that right!  Sixteen placemats!  Which is why I needed approval on the colors and test out my pattern.  You might wonder why anyone would need that many placemats?!  She said she her children tend to make a mess while eating...and this way she could just switch them out every time. 



Here's a close up of one finished placemat.  You see how the top pink needed to line up? And the light gray on the top right that needed to line up with the light gray on the bottom? That was the reason I thought paper piecing each triangle was my best option.

I printed templates and marked them with numbers (previous picture), and colored each section in the triangles so I wouldn't mess anything up.  Triangle one...sixteen times.  Press. Trim. Repeat.  Then I stitched each triangle in the top section, then the bottom section...

 

...then stitched the top and bottom together...yes...sixteen times!  Here's the proof!  They all matched!  I'm sure you won't surprised when I tell you that after seeing all these on the design wall, I started getting ideas for a quilt or three!!  Another time perhaps!



You might think the hardest part was done, and in some ways it was.  But imagine this: trimming 16 placemats, cutting 16 pieces of batting and backing, making 16 sets of binding, and then quilting 16 placemats, sewing the bindings on and eventually hand stitching each and every binding to the back!  

I cannot lie, this process from start to finish became very repetitive and mind numbing by the end!  I know I shouldn't complain and I'm not...it was a lot.  A lot!

 

Usually I make my placemats larger than the 12" x 15" requested.  These days you have to be flexible with the 'norm'.  You have to consider table size and shape to living space available. 

In the end, I love these placemats!  I'm so happy I was able to work with a design, figure out the best way to achieve it and actually complete it.  Plus, it gave me ideas for future projects!  And if that's not enough...I had scraps...leftovers!  And got a little crazy and make a quilt with them!  To be continued...

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Round Robin :: Round Three

Ahead of schedule, ahead of the game!  I've been trying to clear up, clean up and get caught up with several projects this past week.  Including preparing for a couple workshops.  
Next weekend our Guild is hosting Latifah Saafir.  I am looking forward to meeting and learning from her.  We have a Glam Clam workshop, a Bias Tape workshop and of course a lecture and trunk show.  I'll most certainly let you know how it goes and share some pictures!

So, because of all the hub-bub going on I needed to finish my Round Robin Round earlier than I normally would.

21" x 21" 
This is my starting point, my starting block.  Maria's block if a pretty one!  An on point 'X' block variation. A little floral, a little solids.  Which is good for those of us who love one or the other (or both!).  



It appears this block/quilt is going to end up full of color magic!  Emily had the round before me and as always she likes to mix it up!  It took a while for me to think this one through.  But you know how it is when you get an idea and it won't let go...



At first I was trying to find a suitable print that matched in color to the starting block.  With my stash, that was not going to happen!

And then I came across these extra HST's from my 'Wanta Fanta' quilt.  I saved them knowing full well one day I would use those little extras for something.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that.  I love when I can use scraps!

  

I trimmed each one to a whopping 1 1/2" square and then stitched two together to make a ribbon like block.  I'm sure the block actually has a name, but I'm calling it the Ribbon Effect...whether it is or not!



Before the ribbon blocks, I added a 2" white border.  I think it will keep it light and airy, plus it will let each round stand out.



Once I figured out the math for the white piece in between each ribbon block (believe me it wasn't easy!), I pieced the strips and added that around all four sides.



And as the final touch, another 2" border. I think it works, I think!  So, there you have the madness behind the scenes!  

29" x 29" After Round Three 
Again, I'm looking forward to the next block to work on and you know...I'll be sharing that one too!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What Do You See?

I was very pleased to have a day to play with a design I came up with.  It was purely by accident, but I had to see what I could do with it.  I really wasn't concerned if it worked or not, I was more looking forward to experimenting.  


16" x 16"
While fiddling with EQ7 one evening, this design came to life and I knew it was going to be my next 'when time permits' selfish project.  I tweaked a few things here and there until I was sure it would be manageable.



 


People who have seen this block have said it reminds them of  mushrooms, rocket ships, fiesta or art deco.  But to me it first reminded me of the inside of flowers.  Kind of like these orchids.

  

Paper piecing was going to be the best way to achieve the shapes and with one printed block, I began the fabric selection.  I wasn't sure this would even work out.  So I had it in my mind that I would only try one block.


8 1/2" x 8 1/2" Unfinished
After posting a picture of the block, I was shocked at the response and encouragement!  I know I always say if you are unsure while piecing something to keep going because you never know how it will turn out...well, I should have remembered that piece of advice! Initially I wasn't in love with this block at all!  After a while it grew on me and I felt I needed to go further.

 

Three more blocks were printed, paper pieced and ready to go!  (almost!)  Because this was an experiment block, I went with an assortment of colors.  The only think I kept consistent throughout each block was the yellow.  All different shades, but yellow it was!



The colors are pretty vibrant and wild...like a fiesta!  I pulled some Aurifil thread and couldn't wait to dive into some quilting!  This screams for some fun dot-to-dot quilting!

 

The angles of the pieces made it so easy to quilt.  Simple straight lines forming an interesting geometric pattern.  



To break it up and do something a little different, I quilted a 1/2" grid in the outside sections. Gotta be different once in a while!

  

After all the quilting was finished I struggled with what color the binding should be!  Should it be white, yellow, black?  Should I piece the corners using the same colors of the block?  In the end I went safe and simple.  

The only thing I did differently was glue.  Yep, I love glue!  After sewing the binding on to the front, I wondered what it would be like to hand stitch a binding without any pins or clips getting in my way.  I decided to give it a try and see if it makes a difference.

And it actually did!  It seemed to me the hand stitching went so much faster, plus my thread didn't get tangled in clips or pins.  I'm sure I won't do this on every quilt.  It's nice to have options, don't you think?!



Isn't the quilting wonderful?!  Seriously, I love quilting mini's!  You can get more detail because it's small.  I don't think I would or could ever do this on a large quilt.  



Now that I've experimented with this block, I'm wondering if I should try it again.  There is a pretty amazing secondary design that happens and just looking at it now...I see another idea I may have to try!  Time, I need more time!

Naming this block is another dilemma!  I've thought about Firecracker, Atomic Boom! and Fiesta Floral.  Not sure any of those are worthy or adequate.  If you have a suggestion, I'm all ears!  Naming quilts or blocks is difficult, more difficult than naming children!


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Improv Finish :: Machine Quilting

I could have done better.  I could have been more creative.  I could have, should have!  I'll go out on a limb and say most of us have had at least one project we quilted that we knew we could have done more or wished we had done something differently.

16 1/2" x 26"
And of course, a finish is better than not finishing!  

What did I do and what would I have done differently?  



I began quilting random straight lines, but not straight as in ruler straight.  Let's call these organic.  The widths varied from 1/4" to maybe 3/4".  Dense, but not matchstick dense. 

If you recall from the previous post about this improv quilt:  Improv + Paper Pieced, I attempted to make a structured paper pieced improv (that's a mouth full!) frame that would highlight the center improv section.  While I do love how this one turned out, it didn't exactly come together as I had hoped.  That being said...



In order to delineate the center from the frame, I quilted organic lines horizontally.  It helped, but honestly it is a busy little piece and hard to see or focus on anything!



You can see it a little better on the back.  Dark blue thread on dark blue backing isn't easy to see!



I really didn't have the luxury of setting this aside until I could come up with the perfect quilting idea.  But if I could have what would I have cone differently?  

The possibilities on something like this are endless.  Had I had the time to stare at it for days on end...I'm pretty sure I would have busted out the darning foot and free motion quilted the center in tiny squares of all different sizes.  Something like this piece I did last year: Controlled Improv or Chaos.  The outside I would quilted the sides in horizontal lines and the top and bottom in vertical lines.  Or...I would have sectioned it out and quilted spiral squares.  Or...lots of pebbles!  You can see what I'm saying!  With enough time to think, there are a lot of choices!

I'm not saying I'm disappointed with this quilted finish at all.  It just makes me want to do better next time!

Have you had a quilt you just wanted to get quilted and be done with and were left underwhelmed?

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