8.03.2015

15 Minutes of Play Workshop





















If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe, don't hesitate!  It is worth every penny and more.  First, and maybe most important, she just might be the nicest person you will ever meet!  Second, she approaches quilt design from an artist's perspective, but her work is firmly rooted in tradition.  This results in a truly Modern aesthetic.  Her quilts are like no other, and have to be seen in person to be believed.  My description will in no way do them justice, but if Jackson Pollack was reincarnated as a quilter, he must be Victoria!





















Our guild, the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, hosted Victoria for three full days of fun.  The weekend started Thursday night with a lecture and trunk show for the guild, followed by a full day workshop on both Friday and Saturday.  I took the Saturday class and it was held at the beautiful campus of the West Texas Episcopal Diocese.  The workshop featured Victoria's "15 minutes of play" technique, which is also the topic of her book by the same name.  We started by creating what she calls "made fabric" using our scrap bins.  Then she showed us how to use templates to cut the "made fabric" and pair it with other fabrics to create unique quilt designs.





















I am on a hexie kick right now, so I cut my "made fabric" using Victoria's hexie template and then surrounded them with solid black and Essex yarn dyed linen, which really makes the bright hexies the focus of the design.  I can't wait to make a ton more and finish the quilt!  Victoria said I need to make a king sized quilt, little did she know I am a notorious king sized quilt maker!  I like big quilts!





















Throughout the day she would stop and demo different techniques and short-cuts that were so simple and useful.  We were all blown away by the amount of information she shared with us.  It was amazing!  Look closely in the picture above of her giving a demo and you will see she is wearing my two Quiltcon 2015 pins I gave her.  Like me, she "likes big blocks and she cannot lie!"  The rotary cutter is also her best friend, so I thought my "I will cut you" pin was fitting.

She also demoed her double wedding ring templates and showed us how easy it is to create abstracted double wedding rings with "made fabric."  Her quilt "Double Edged Love" that won best-in-show at the first Quiltcon in 2013 uses this technique and might be the most beautiful quilt I have ever seen!  A true work of art!  This technique is definitely on my quilt bucket list.

Our guild was very fortunate to have Victoria and everyone raved about both the lecture and the workshops.  I would definitely take another workshop from Victoria and I highly recommend her to other guilds!

12.22.2013

Modern Christmas Tree Mini Quilt


If you are looking for one more handmade project for the Christmas season, here is a pattern that is quick, easy and super fun!  I wrote this pattern up last year for the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild as our December Block of the Month.  It is based on a similar design I saw on flickr that I decided needed to be made into a mini quilt.  See below for the credit.








































Finished Size –  15 ½” x 12” approximately

Credits: Based on Providence Handmade’s Patchwork Tree 

FABRIC REQUIREMENTS

TREE:                          7 Green scrap strips between 2”-8” long by 1 ½”-2 ½” tall

TRUNK:                        1 ½” x 3” Brown scrap

STAR:                          2” x 2” Yellow scrap

BACKGROUND:           1 Fat Quarter (I used linen)

BATTING:                    17 ½” x 14” piece of batting

BACKING:                    1 fat quarter

BINDING:                      4 ½” x WOF to make 65” of binding (I use 2 ¼” strips to make my binding)
       Note: There are several great tutorials online for making binding.

PREPARATION

1. Read through all of the instructions.

2. All seams are ¼” unless otherwise noted.

CUTTING

1. Cut a wonky star from the 2” x 2” yellow scrap; it helps to draw the star first with tailor’s chalk.

2. From the background fabric, cut the following:
12 1/2” x 1 ½” strip
12 ½” x 4” strip
Two 6” x 3” strips
Fourteen 6” long strips by the height of each green strip, which varies (two 6” strips of background fabric per green strip)

3. Cut a 19 ½” x 16” piece from the backing fabric.

SEWING

1. Arrange your green strips into a scrappy stacked tree, play with the strips until you find a layout you are happy with.  Take a picture with your phone so that you can remember the order you like best.

2. Sew a 6” long x 3” tall background strip to each side of the brown trunk piece.

3. Sew a 6” long background strip to each end of your seven green strips.

4. Sew all of the green strips and the trunk strip together to make your tree, being careful to center the strips on top of each other when sewing, use pins!  The background strips will be all different lengths, but don’t worry, you will trim this in the next step.

5. Trim the block down to 12 ½” to even up the background strips, but make sure to measure from the center point of your longest green strip so that the tree is centered in the block.

6. Sew the 12 ½” x 1 ½” background strip to the bottom of the block.

7. Sew the 12 ½” x 4” background strip to the top of the block.

8. Machine appliqué the star to the top of the tree on the 12 ½” x 4” background strip you just pieced.  I top-stitched mine to leave the edges raw.







































QUILTING:

1. Make your quilt sandwich: Place the backing right-side-down.  Center the batting on top of the backing.  Center the tree block on top of the batting with the right-side-up.  Use safety pins to baste the quilt sandwich.

2. Quilt the mini quilt in the pattern of your choice, I chose straight lines ¼” apart.







































FINISHING

1. Make and prepare your binding.  Machine stitch the binding to the top of the mini quilt.  

2. Trim away the excess batting and backing fabric along the edge of the nesting doll.

3. Fold the binding to the back of the mini quilt and hand stitch it down.

4. If you choose, you can add a sleeve to the back for hanging on the wall.  My friend Laurie has the very best tutorial on the web for making a quilt sleeve.  You can find it here

5. Congrats!  Your Modern Christmas Tree Mini Quilt is complete! 

12.11.2013

Russian Nesting Doll Mug Rug - Small Sewn Gifts Sew-Along

This post is part of the Small Sewn Gifts Sew-Along hosted by the amazing Jen of Reannalilydesigns.com.  You can check out all of the other participating blogs on the link round-up here.

If you are looking for a quick handmade project for Christmas, try my adorable Russian Nesting Doll Mug Rug, also known as a Matryoshka doll.  It makes a great gift for a special friend.  I designed this pattern last year when my local guild, the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, did a mug rug swap for our annual Christmas party.  It was a big hit, so I decided to share it with you. 



Download a pdf of the pattern pieces here.  Reduce or enlarge the patterns to make dolls in multiple sizes!


Finished Size –  9 ½” x 6 ½” approximately


FABRIC REQUIREMENTS

DRESS:      10” x 7” piece of fabric

APRON:      5” x 5” piece of fabric (I fussy cut my apron)
                    5” x 5” piece of Mistyfuse or double sided fusible web

SCARF:       6” x 7” piece of fabric (If you choose a print, I suggest a small scale print)
                    6” x 7” piece of Mistyfuse or double sided fusible web

FACE:         4 ½” x 3” piece of fabric in the flesh color of your choice
                    4 ½” x 3” piece of Mistyfuse or double sided fusible web

HAIR:          4 ½” x 2” piece of fabric in the hair color of your choice
                    4 ½” x 2” piece of Mistyfuse or double sided fusible web

BATTING:   11” x 8” piece of batting

BACKING:  12” x 9” piece of fabric

BINDING:   40” of bias cut binding (I use 2 ¼” strips to make my binding)
Note: There are several great tutorials online for making bias cut binding.  This project requires bias cut binding so that it will flex around the curves of the nesting doll shape.


PREPARATION

1. Read through all of the instructions.

2. All seams are ¼” unless otherwise noted.

3. Cut out all of the paper patterns or trace them onto template plastic.  Do not trace the patterns onto the fabric yet.

4. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply Mistyfuse to the back of the corresponding pieces of fabric for the apron, scarf, face, and hair.


CUTTING

1. Trace and cut out each of the pattern pieces onto the right side of the corresponding fabric pieces.


SEWING

1. Fold and finger press the dress, apron, scarf, hair and face pieces in half length wise (the pattern pieces have a dotted line to indicate where to fold each piece).


APRON & SCARF:

1. Place the apron on top of the dress using the folds to align and center the pieces.  The bottom of the apron should be located 1 5/8” from the bottom of the dress (refer to the mark on the dress pattern piece).  Use a hot iron to attach the apron to the dress. 

2. Place the scarf on top of the dress using the folds to align and center the pieces.  The top edge of the scarf should align with the top edge of the dress.  The bottom edge of the scarf should overlap the top of the apron by 1/8”.  Use a hot iron to attach the scarf to the dress and apron.
 
3. Machine appliqué the exposed edge of the apron using coordinating thread.

4. Machine appliqué the bottom edge of the scarf using coordinating thread.



FACE & HAIR:

1. Place the face on top of the scarf using the fold to align and center the piece.  The top of the face should be located 1” below the top of the scarf (refer to the mark on the scarf pattern piece).  Use a hot iron to attach the face to the scarf.  Do not appliqué at this point.

2. Place the hair on top of the face using the fold to align and center the piece.  The top edge of the hair should align with the top edge of the face.  Use a hot iron to attach the hair to the face. 

3. Machine appliqué the exposed edge of the face using coordinating thread. 

4. Machine appliqué around all edges of the hair using coordinating thread.


QUILTING:

1. Make your quilt sandwich. Place the backing right-side-down.  Center the batting on top of the backing.  Center the nesting doll on top of the batting with the right-side-up.  Use safety pins to baste the quilt sandwich.

2. Quilt the mug rug in the pattern of your choice, I chose straight lines.



FINISHING

1. Make and prepare your bias binding.  Machine stitch the binding to the top of the mug rug.  (Note:  If you have never made bias cut binding, there are several great tutorials online for cutting and attaching bias binding to curved pieces.)

2. Trim away the excess batting and backing fabric along the edge of the nesting doll.

3. Fold the binding to the back of the mug rug and hand stitch it down. 

4. Congrats!  Your Russian Nesting Doll Mug Rug is complete!  Make a hot cup of tea and some scones and put your adorable mug rug to work!






6.02.2013

A Walking Foot Will Change Your Life

























I’m a believer that a walking foot will change your life! Tonight I proved that to my mom by helping her via iphone install one on her 1911 Singer Sewing Machine.  If you’ve never tried one, get online right now and order one to fit your machine!  Your sewing experience will never be the same.  The walking foot has top-side feed dogs that work in tandem with the lower feed dogs on your machine.  Together they feed the fabric, top and bottom layers, through the machine evenly.  Life Changing!  If you have a walking foot, you know what I’m talking about.  Some quilters, once they start sewing with a walking foot, never go back to their standard foot, but me, I still use my ¼” foot for piecing, though for thicker fabrics and all straight-line quilting, it’s the walking foot all the way!  Above is a photo of my “Made in Japan” generic walking foot for my vintage Kenmore machine (the Stitch Witch). Happy Sewing!

5.29.2013

Life Changes and Quiltcon Highlights




For more years than I would like to admit, I have let my life control me rather than me controlling my life, but things are about to change!  I’ve been making small steps over the past few months with this goal in mind and although it won’t be an overnight transformation, I’m already starting to feel like I’m in a better zone.

One of my goals is to dedicate more time to the things that make me happy, which includes this blog.  I love having a blog and being part of the blogging community, but I have let life get in the way of putting dedicated energy toward it.  This blog highlights my true passion for quilt design, but I hope to expand it a little so that you, my readers (all four of you), can get to know more about me and this life changing journey I’m embarking on. 

Now, to change topics, but only slightly…

To say that Quilcon was life changing is an overstated understatement spread across the interwebs long before now!  The inaugural conference of the Modern Quilt Guild took place back in February at the Austin Convention Center and I was lucky enough to attend all four days along with some of my best gals from the San Antonio Chapter of the MQG, also known as the Hot Tamales!  Not only was I able to take a class each day from some of my favorite sew-lebrities, view some of the most creative quilt designs up close, and hang out with my girls, but I also got to experience a community of gifted, caring, and generous quilters willing to share their knowledge and love of the craft with others.  I left so inspired and luckily that inspiration has stayed with me and is one of the driving forces for taking control of my life again. 

Quiltcon also marked a milestone in my own creative journey because it was the first time one of my quilts was on display.  Zigzigzag was featured in the piecing category and I got a lot of positive feedback.  Jay McCarroll of Project Runway fame even told me he loved it and took a picture of it!  Amazing!  I would definitely recommend that if you have been contemplating submitting a quilt to a show, do it!  It’s not about the judging, it’s about sharing your creative journey with others.
























Some of the Hot Tamales met  for lunch between classes.






























Hot Tamales tore up the dance floor at the 80's Dance Party.


Here are just a few of my favorite quilts from the show.  I wish I could post them all because each one I saw made an impact in one way or another:








































Best in Show – Double Edged Love by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, quilted by Lisa Sipes.




 RGB Modern by Sherri Lynn Wood










































Ash Transition in Fiber by Lavialle Campbell










































Intersections by Alissa Haight Carlton










































Untitled by Lindsay Stead










































Hot and cold by Krista Fleckenstein










































Neutral and Neon by Latifah Saafir










































Honey in Space by Elizabeth Hartman










































Log Pyramids by Liz Harvatine










































Frost Bank by Claire Jain










































RonQuilt: The Ron Swanson Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow


P.S. After tracking down the websites for each of these quilters to link in this post, I realized although I did not know many of these ladies by their real name, their blogs have been a major source of inspiration for me, further proof of the importance of the blogging community in the modern quilt movement.