Saturday, March 18, 2017

Learning and Laughing at Kimberbell Academy

I had a great opportunity last month to go with Mona and Liz from Mea Bernina to Logan Utah. Logan Utah? February? I know!
It was great!
Logan Utah is the home of Kimberbell Designs, a wonderful embroidery design company owned by Kim Christopherson. We were there to go through training so that Mea Bernina can offer very cool embroidery events. So now after the training we are officially a Kimberbell Certified Shop!

Our training was held in the gorgeous, spacious classroom at My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe owned by Kim's twin sister Kris. The shop has wonderful fabrics, including Kim's line of Kimberbell fabrics. I also bought some wool to use on Around the Garden (more about that in a later post).

We made a sampling of various types of projects from four of the main event collections: Pillow covers, goodie cinch bags, zipper bags, flower pins, and mug rugs. All absolutely adorable. What impressed me the most was how ingenious the digitizing team constructed the dimensional pieces - putting in zippers in the embroidery hoop, lining cinch bags in the hoop, using mylar and tule, and adding ribbon hanging loops.  Oh so much fun and so interesting! Our (Mea's) embroidery customers are going to love these projects! But until they are ready, we've got some other great Kimberbell classes. Check it out!

Logan Utah is in the Cache Valley, a beautiful vale surrounded by snow dusted hills. The trip there and back was also pretty cool. I had never been through north eastern Colorado or southern Wyoming before. The landscape was quite spectacular - barren and beautiful. The rock formations were awesome - perhaps they might inspire a future quilt!

Kimberbell rocks in so many ways - as a woman-owned and run business; as a source of sweet, cute embroidery designs (Kimberbell Kute); as a smart, customer-focused enterprise, and as great hosts in Logan.  Overall, a great trip!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Autumn Path - A Confetti Project

Every time I sit down to write about a quilt or project, I think its my favorite! Yes, they are all my favorites - like your kids, you really can't choose. They are each special for different reasons.

Autumn Path is special for several reasons. First, it is my first confetti quilt. Second I learned this technique from Japanese quilter Noriko Endo. Third is that it is the first quilt that I actually sold! My baby is going out into the world!

OK, let's start at the beginning - I was visiting my Mom in Glendale, Arizona in 2014. At that time there happened to be an AQS show in Phoenix. Ohhhh two birds, one stone. 

In our materials list, Noriko asked that we bring a picture that we wanted to recreate in fabric. I found a photo on the internet of a path through a wood in beautiful autumn colors. 

First she had us lay down large blocks of color for the background. Then we sliced up fabric into matchstick size pieces. I used mostly batiks so that no matter what side was up it was the right side. 
After laying down the confetti pieces for the leaves and the path, I covered it all with a layer of black tule. We could have used any color, but I think black worked well. Some free motion quilting on the tule ensured that all the little confetti pieces were trapped under the tule. 

Next came more confetti to give depth and perspective. Finally, before a second layer of tule, Noriko went around the class and added little bits of turquoise, pink, and purple confetti. She said it was the secret ingredient to make our landscapes "pop". A final layer of tule and then some thread painting to highlight some areas and lowlight other areas. I finished it off with deep red piping and black binding.

Autumn Path was hanging at my mini-show at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Founders Hall, and really grabbed the interest of the membership there. It's new home is with E. Jay Hilty. I'm glad he will be enjoying it.

If you ever get the chance to take a workshop with Noriko, run, do not walk, to sign up. She is a great teacher and a beautiful artist. Her book is a good reference, but nothing beats the real thing!

Curious About Confetti?

Friday, March 3, 2017

One Block Wonder - One crazy fabric equals one GEORGEOUS quilt

OK I almost don't even know where to start about One Block Wonder (OBW) quilts. I love them! I probably buy more OBW fabric than any other type of fabric.

My love affair with OBW quilts actually started with a Stack-n-Whack class at Overbrook Quilt Connection. What's the difference between OBW and SnW? The OBW was designed by Maxine Rosenthal. The SnW technique was designed by Bethany Reynolds. They are close cousins - the quilts, not the designers (grin). Both are kaleidoscope quilts. Both start with layers of fabric cut in exactly the same place. OBW usually have 6 layers and SnW usually have 8. OBW are cut in equilateral triangles; SnW are cut in wedges or 90 degree triangles. OBW are usually put together without a background, SnW utilizes a background fabric. You can get books that feature both techniques.

The SnW class I took at Overbrook Quilt Connection a million years ago was wonderful, although I am sorry that I don't remember who taught it. Here is what I do remember: my friend Bobbie and I used the same focus fabric with different backgrounds - I used yellow, she used green. The teacher warned us not to get our fabric mixed up, but one look at my area and you could tell by the mess that it was mine. Bobbie's fabric was nicely trimmed and stacked and mine was all over the place. There was no way we were going to mix up our stacks of fabric!

My next one was a OBW. My son James wanted a black and green quilt, so I decided to make him a OBW (see the first pic in the post). After looking for just the right fabric for a month or so, I finally found a cool tropical flower print in Colby Kansas.  I bought 6 or so yards - enough for the 6 repeats of the pattern plus some extra for borders.  After cutting the triangles and putting together the half hexies, I set aside all the blocks with the bright red, yellow, orange and yellow flowers. So James' quilt was mostly black and green and I had plenty of leftovers for a bright tablerunner.

One of the things I love about SnW and OBW is that you can use fabrics that you wouldn't normally put in a quilt - or at least fabric that I wouldn't normally use. You could even use "ugly" fabric! Check out some of the fabrics before I stacked and cut, and then the resulting hexagons. Pretty amazing, yes? 

Western Belt Buckle fabric

Kaffe Fassett Floral fabric

The other thing I love about OBW is that the technique is fairly simple. You just layer the fabric, cut strips and then triangles, and then sew 2 sets of 3 triangles together to make 2 half hexies. The hardest part is laying the hexies out in a way that "flows".

The third aspect of OBW that thrills me is that you have a million options when it comes to the layout - you can add tumbling blocks, solid strips, make the layout asymmetrical, or any number of other creative options. 

I am going to be teaching One Block Wonder quilts at Mea Bernina sometime in the future. I've taught 2 classes already and people want more. So check out the website for upcoming classes and come play with OBW quilts with me! 

Just writing about OBW makes me want to go down to my studio and play with my pretty OBW fabrics!