Posts Tagged ‘applique’

Playing favorites

September 1, 2011

So, I raved about the class I took with Bobbi Finley and now every design problem screams, “Applique!” Which is fine, because I prefer when the fabric tells me what it wants. Bits Rot; Only the Chant Remains told me it wanted simple lines:

It also told me it wanted the rhinestone edging that has lived in a small box on the corner of the sewing table:

A little glitter here -

- and a little glitz there

I thought this was the last of the series, but then another title made itself known – Mailer Daemon. I get that error message more often than I would like. Perhaps if I make the technopixie in charge of it a special quilt my e-mails will get through.

In the meantime, I am also making progress on the quilt I started in Bobbi’s class. Although the class was for one block, the fabric I collected has been most insistent that it wants to be part of a four-block quilt. Here is the second in the series:

The last block I did this week was for the Progressive Party:

The assignment was to make a landscape, preferably something dramatic, dream-like and whimsical. My design is based on a painting I saw years ago at a street fair in Los Altos. It was way out of my price range, and bigger than the available wall space could accommodate, and I didn’t think my husband would like the lemon yellow the artist used for the sky. Imagine my surprise when my husband took one look at this block and said I should make a similar one for us – yellow sky and all!

Now I’m looking at all my yellows for the perfect sky. I’m not sure how long this attachment to applique will last, but for the moment it is my technique of choice and definitely what I plan to use for my own landscape quilt.  How about you – what’s your go-to style of the day?


August 17, 2011

The week started out with a quilt guild workshop, the first one I’ve taken in quite some time. Bobbi Finley, co-author of Tile Quilt Revival (with Carol Gilham Jones) presented an informative and productive session of block design, assembly, and hand applique.

My son and my block

I know Bobbi, or I probably wouldn’t have taken the workshop. Too many projects are languishing in my studio already, there’s always something else that can be done with the time and money, I don’t do enough hand applique to justify the investment – the excuses go on and on. They’re all reasonable, and all irrelevant. The workshop was fabulous, it used up fabric that had been sitting in a basket waiting for a design, and it gave me an idea for another stack of fabric that was also waiting for a design but now has hopes of becoming a quilt. The take-away point? Take the workshops! Even if you can only do one a year, take something. You’ll thank me later.

So, yes, I do have another WIP (work-in-progress), but I’m happy.

The WIP from The Computer Ate My Homework series didn’t get much further along, but that was because I was debating border designs. Here is what won:

I’ll be making Flying Geese units with the green rectangles, using the red-and-green paisley for the background and border. The top will go on the pile with the others, then I’ll start the last two quilts in the series. I’ll do the quilting and embellishing in one marathon session.

Of course, with all this creative energy running amok, the studio suffered.

I know, it really does look like a fabric bomb went off in the room. Organizing is also a WIP, a never-ending WIP.

Let the organizing begin . . .

June 15, 2011

My husband gave me new incentive to become tidy. He is building a workbench for his saws. The bench will have a wide, flat surface. If I promise not to colonize this space, he told me, I might be allowed to baste quilts on it.

The workbench in progress

For those of you who think basting quilts in a dusty garage isn’t the stuff of dreams, here is the surface on which I currently baste my quilts:

Yes, that is a dressmaker’s cardboard mat. I set it down on the family room carpet, use push-pins to secure the backing, then crawl around on my hands and knees to pin the three layers. It’s amusing for others to watch, especially when I try to get up again. My joints make noises resembling that of a popcorn bag in the microwave.

My husband also mentioned that the corner shelves he promised for the sewing room are getting closer to the top of the to-do list. This is the project he wanted to make out of recycled parts from a retired shelf unit.

I’d like to say the prospect of more storage space in the sewing room unleashed a whirlwind of organizing activity on my part. Ah, but you know that isn’t true, so why should I lie? I did, however, nibble away at the edges of some piles and discovered some new treasures. One is a wool applique that Lori Vogel made for me:

I still don’t have a brilliant idea for how to use it, but it’s pretty and I like it, so I thought I’d share. Enjoy.

Unintended Consequences: The Reckoning

March 16, 2011

For the first time in three weeks, I turned on my sewing machine. Between waiting for my hands to heal and trying to keep up with other projects my trusty Viking hasn’t seen a lot of me. I think it was resentful, too, because my first seam was just awful – wibbly-wobbly doesn’t begin to describe it!

After correcting the error, I put the final borders on the appliqued hearts quilt for Challenge:

Then, since I am determined not to add to the UFO pile (at least this week), I started looking for backings. Those who have seen my quilts will tell you that I’ve never been bound by the convention that the back of a quilt should somehow correspond to the front. Very often, my quilts are backed by whatever was on top of the cutting table.

This is what was on top of the cutting table:

Much as I love the dancing lobsters, I thought it would be worth the effort to paw through some of the other fabric on the the cutting table to see if there was something more appropriate. I came up with this:

Unfortunately, I only have half a yard of this, so I went to the fabric drawers. I found this:

There isn’t quite enough of this, either, but perhaps together they would make a good back:

I’m not sure how I want to sew these two fabrics together – straight panels, larger strips, big blocks – but it’s a start. In the meantime, I decided I would deal with the scraps from the borders. Just as I picked them up to cut into squares, I spied an orphan block. This is where the title of today’s blog comes from – the revenge of unintended consequences. Here I am, all set to be tidy and organized, and a random orphan block leaps into my field of view. Now it’s demanding attention. This is what I’ve come up with so far:

So, instead of congratulating myself that I’m finally finishing up a project, I’ve got a newer, pushier project on my hands. The life of a quilter is never dull.

Decisions, decisions

January 27, 2011

Today is Australia Day. I have no idea how the Australians celebrate, but I decided to draw a kangaroo.

There is more of a reason to draw a kangaroo than Australia Day. The Challenge Group assignment this time is to make an animal block that Gretchen Crozier will put together for a community quilt. I’m certain there are scads of patterns available for kangaroos, but I thought I would try making one myself. I bought the book in the picture – Animal Art – years ago. If you ever find a copy, snap it up. Even if you only do one bit of animal embroidery or applique a decade, it’s worth it.

I’m not certain how I’ll make the block yet, embroidery or applique, or perhaps a combination. I could even transform it into paper-piecing. If I choose not to do paper-piecing, I might use this for the background:

I also have decisions to make about Garden Variety Aliens. I finished the blocks, and realized I don’t have nearly enough tulip fabric to set them. Then I thought, why not arrange them to look like a flying saucer:

Imagine the ring as ribbon embroidery

Alas, there is no more time for quilting decisions today – it’s time to make decisions about dinner.