Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Houston Class #4 - Bent Star with Gyleen X Fitzgerald

I first became acquainted with Gyleen Fitzgerald through a sew along on Facebook.  She was guiding us through a mystery stash buster called Bricks, Cobblestones and Pebbles, which she subsequently published in book form. It is a really cool pattern and is a great way to use up some of your scraps.  
So when I saw her on the class program at Houston, I jumped at the chance to meet her in person. I wasn't disappointed. She is a dynamo!

Her class, Bent Star, was a class in which we learned some piecing techniques including how to handle set in seams. My first challenge was fabric choice - I loved her colors and wanted the same bold impact without being a copy cat. I was able to find darker and lighter tone on tone fabrics in 4 different colors - fuscia, teal, green, and brick.  I chose two shades of brown for the small kite shapes. I think it looks sort of 3-D because of the light/dark values of the same colors.
I started with a dark blue for the background, but the teal blocks just faded away. Since I really wanted the star to pop, I tried several light greys before finally settling on this very light grey.

Gyleen quilted hers with straight lines and angles. Not feeling quite up to so many absolutely STRAIGHT lines, I decided to do come gentle curves - all going horizontally across the quilt.  I'm pretty pleased with the results. It makes a very stunning wallhanging.
Check out Gyleen's stuff!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Panamanian Mola

A Mola? What's that? OK, let's ask Wikipedia

A Mola is a fabric panel made and used by Kuna women of Panama to create their beautiful traditional outfits.  The panels are made by reverse appliqueing and then cutting away the top layer to reveal the colorful fabric underneath.

Authentic Mola includes hundreds of pieces and very tiny hand stitching.  Quilt shows occasionally have booths that sell products made from Mola pieces.  I bought a pair of Mola shoes at a show in Iowa that are absolutely adorable.

Cathy Miller, also known as the singing quilter, taught a workshop in Leavenworth this past fall, called Mock Mola. It was "mock" because we used machines and raw edge applique. It was "mola" because the process is similar to, and some of our designs were inspired by, traditional Mola.

We drew the design on thin quilting paper, attached it to the back of a quilt sandwich, sewed on the lines, and then cut away the top layer to show the fabric underneath. In order to make my simple mola more in line with traditional mola, I used different colors of batiks in different sections of the sandwich, so that when the top layer of black batik was cut away, surprise!! different colors of batiks showed through. It's important to use batik or other tightly woven fabric to limit fraying when cutting the top layer away.

OK, so when creating this design, I had so many ideas, that I will probably do several more of these. I'd also like to try making one with more, smaller motifs - more like the traditional ones. Cathy Miller was a great teacher, so if you have a chance to take a class from her, I highly recommend it. 

Like Mola? Try it, you'll enjoy it!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Houston Class #3 - Wool Applique with Catherine Redford

As you can tell by most of the pictures in my blog, I like modern, colorful quilts.  In the past I've been able to resist the temptation of wool applique because most of the patterns were very traditional or primitive in style. Not so anymore.

The new trend in wool applique is whimsical, colorful, and full of wonderful embellishments. So, count me in! 

I've had my eye on Sue Spargo's work for a couple of years now. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to take classes from her.  So it was lucky for me that Catherine Redford was teaching wool applique among other things in Houston.

Our kits included wool, cotton, applique threads, and embellishment threads to make a little needle case like this one. I'm not finished yet, but I am really enjoying it. It's refreshing to be able to applique without having to prepare the applique pieces. That's the beauty of wool!

Catherine's pieces are awesome and she is a great teacher. She also teaches beading and embroidery embellishments.  To see more of her work, check out her website.

While at Houston, I bought a wonderful wool applique pattern by Australian quilter Wendy Williams. Round the Garden is quite an ambitions project, but I'm itching to start on it. I bought a piece of linen for the background and have begun collections wool felt for the applique.

Look for updates on Round the Garden later this year.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Kaffe Fassett - A Love Affair with Color

Did you know Kaffe Fassett designed clothes for Barbara Streisand? Me Neither.
My first introduction to Kaffe was through Rowan yarns during my knitting days. I had no idea he was a haute couture fashion designer, a needle point designer, as well as a fabric designer.

So over the years I have used some of Kaffe's fabrics and have become more enamored with it.  I made this Convergence Quilt called Ricky Tims Meets Kaffe Fassett back in 2013 with Kaffe and Brandon's fabrics.  But starting in Fall 2016, I really kicked up my love affair with Kaffe's fabric up a notch.

First I joined Kaffe club from Charlotte's Sew Natural - I get 6 half yard cuts of Kaffe Collection (Kaffe, Brandon Mably, and Phillip Jacobs) fabric once a quarter.  I am anxiously awaiting my second shipment. Now Kaffe Collection fabrics have their own shelf on my fat quarter spinner rack!

Second, I joined the Kaffe Club at Sarah's Fabrics. We meet once a month on the first Saturday at Sarah's. Each month there are challenges - pertaining to fabrics, colors, or patterns. I haven't done any yet, but have fabric and plans to do the flying geese challenge.

Third, I had the definite pleasure to hear a lecture and take a workshop with Kaffe and Brandon hosted by Sarah's Fabrics on October 4th and 5th.

The workshop was awesome! Kaffe took some of us shopping in Sarah's to get just the right fabrics for our zig zag quilt.  We all did the same pattern from Kaffe's book Quilts In Italy. The pattern is quite simple but it's the fabrics that make it outstanding. We all used very different colorways. I choose soft blues and greens to evoke the feeling of the Italian coast.  We only did cutting and arranging during the workshop. I have most of my quilt sewn together now. 

Sarah's is having a show of all the workshop quilts on Friday January 27, 2017. Since I'm traveling, I don't think I'll have my quilt done in time to hang. Too bad! But I'm going to go and see all the completed quilts. I'll add some pics in a blog update so you can see some of the other colorways.

Curious about color? Check out the Kaffe Collective!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Houston Class #2 - Paula Nadelstern: Simple pattern, complex fabric

Continuing the series on classes I took at the Houston International Quilt Festival . . .

Class #2 was stellar, as in star like, as in Paula Nadelstern!
I took a Needlestar (get it? needle star, as in Nadelstern) class from Paula several years ago in Dallas and I just couldn't get enough.  I need to go back and finish the quilt I started in her class because it really is awesome.

The bottom line for the class I took in Houston reads use simple patterns and let complex fabrics do all the hard work.

Her new fabrics fall into two categories she likes to call prima donnas and allovers. Here is a perfect example of the prima donnas with allover sashing.

She had her new book available, which of course had to come home with me.  Ooooo lots of great projects in here. Also, got some new fabric. Surprised? No me neither.

OK, so if you ever have a chance to take a workshop or hear a lecture from Paula, do it! Do not pass it up. She is actually teaching on a quilting cruise to Norway this summer. I so wish I could go, but its not in the budget this year.

I'm telling you, you need to be CURIOUS about Paula Nadelstern!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Magic Squares - Thank You Sara Chappell

So, I have my guild friend Sara Chappell to thank for my increasing stripe stash. Stripes are wonderfully versatile - they make great bindings, an accent fabric, or borders. But my favorite way to use stripes is what I call magic squares. I'm not exactly sure where that name came from, but I do think its's absolutely MAGIC!

There is more magic if the stripped fabric is wild and doesn't repeat too often. Two color fine stripes don't make any magic at all.  Stripes with multiple colors, sizes, and shapes make wonderful magic!

Here is how the magic happens - 

  • Layer 2 layers of matching fabric - matching so that both layers are identical (sort of like a stack and whack)
  • Cut a strip any size you want depending on how often the stripes repeat - anywhere from 4 to 6 inches wide and at least twice as long.
  • Cut the strip into squares
  • Draw a line diagonally from corner to corner.
  • Sew a seam .25 inches from the each side of the line.
  • Cut apart on the line. Press
  • You should have 2 matching half square triangles.
  • Make 2 more if you want 4 for a square.
  • Keep making more, using a different cut of fabric so that your squares are not all the same.
They can be put together in squares or partial squares like I did, or in rows, or randomly.

I've only made 1 so far and it sold at an arts and crafts fair, so I am dying to make some more and play with different layouts.

I'm curious about what you do with your striped fabric! Let me know.

Houston Class #1 - Paint Sticks with Laura Murray

The Houston International Quilt Festival was fantastic. You can read about the overview here.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take several classes and I learned so much in each class. 

My first class was a Paint Sticks class with Laura Murray.  I had bought some of her tiles and paint sticks at a show several years ago, but this process was so far out of my comfort zone that I hadn't even cracked the plastic on the products. So I was uber excited to learn from Laura how she makes these terrific fabrics by embellishing plain fabric with paint sticks and textured tiles.

It really was quite easy. You just place the fabric over a texture tile and rub over it with an oil-based paint stick. OK, there are some tricks to it to get good results, but even my ho-hum (technically and color choice speaking) results looked stunning.

We used Laura's Exotica stamp set and a choice of several paint sticks to make several different mini blocks that were cut apart and layered to make a complete block. No sewing - its all fused. Laura's website is great - it even includes instructions on how to create the Exotica block we did in class. You can find it here.

Since I don't have the exact colors of paint sticks at home as we used in class, I decided to use the single block to make a mini project. After micro stippling the background, I had the block framed. I think it turned out great.

I can really see making more of these. It was fun, pretty fast and easy, and with several different tiles and colors I can envision tons of creative colorful blocks.

Curious about paint sticks? Check out Laura Murray's site. She'll also be teaching at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival in June 2017.