Sunday, March 22, 2009

Midnight Posies featured in Quilting Gallery

Today my blog and my free Block of the Month are featured in Quilting Gallery!

In honor of the first day of spring, I have posted the third block in the Midnight Posies BOM a few days early. I hope you enjoy the block and my blog. Thanks so much for your support and enthusiasm for this bright spring-filled design.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blue Willow Teapot Quilts

I love all things blue and white. Raised by a mother obsessed with Blue Willow China, I naturally picked up the eye for seeking out chards of blue and white china poking out of sale boxes under tables at garage sales and antique shops. To celebrate my mother's collection I made a few Blue Willow teapot quilts featuring Kay Mackenzie's wonderful Appliqued Teapots. The result was this little wall hanging. I gave this quilt to my friend Gail to thank her for helping me finish up a series of these in time to attend the International Willow Collector's Society annual convention, where I sold these. My mother has been gone for many years now, but my sister inherited her collection and still attends the IWCS meetings. I go along now and then just to sate my blue and white fix.

It was fun to find fabrics that would go with the blue willow fabric I purchased (Lakehouse produced a willow print in several color ways a few years back and I bought a bolt of it!) It also gave me a chance to use some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to quilt these little quilts.

I enjoyed combining elements from other patterns or inventing my own elements to embellish these quilts. I especially like using gold thread for some of the decorative stitching.

The quilts with the "welcome" headings were the most popular and I sold quite a few of them. I did a number of custom quilts in special sizes or colorways (including pink willow and blue with yellow) for specific collectors.

If you are a willow collector and would like a Willow Teapot Quilt, I still have a few left -- or could make up one just for you!
They were such fun, and gave me a chance to enjoy the memories I shared with my mother, all those years ago.

This is a quilt I made in honor of my mother's love of blue willow. That is a picture of her in the center, printed on fabric, holding her favorite teapot. Don't you love the little tea bags in the corners? This quilt was a round robin and several friends put rounds of teapot inspired motifs around the center block.

I just finished this quilt this winter, and it hangs in my sewing room to remind me of where my love of blue and white came from. How about a cup of tea?
I hope you have beautiful things in your life that reminds you of your family and friends.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Midnight Posies Block 3 Posted

Welcome Quilting Bloggers! In honor of having my blog featured on Quilting Bloggers I am offering my 3rd block in my Midnight Posies BOM a few days early! Thanks so much for dropping by to take a look!

I am so excited to be able to bring you the third block in the Free Midnight Posies BOM. This block is a simple friendship star flower in pink, blue and green. Even simple blocks can look anything BUT simple with the addition of bright colors accentuated by the black or dark navy background.

Let me know how you are enjoying this Block of the Month quilt. I will leave the first two blocks of this series up for a few more weeks to give everyone joining me a chance to get all the blocks for this quilt posted to-date. If you click on "free BOM" in the key word list at right you will bring up the posts with the other blocks. I really appreciate your feedback on this quilt, as I will be publishing this pattern later in the year and would love feedback before I do. Thanks so much for your interest in my patterns.
I am working on more free patterns which I will be adding in the near future. Hope you have fun stitching up these colorful posies!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Color Class Color Wheel Quilt

I am working on a new quilt. I teach a class in color for quilters and I have been wanting to make a color wheel quilt for a long time. I have designed lots of them over the years but never found one that I liked enough to make, or that illustrated all the color theory ideas I wanted to cover in the class. Here is what I came up with finally, and have been assembling the fabric to start making this weekend. The central ring of points depict tints of each color (white added) and the middle ring of points depicts the hues or pure colors. The outer ring of large points are the shades of each color (black added) and between the shades are the tones of each shade (gray added). The border juxtaposes each hue (larger triangle) with its shade (smaller triangle) to demonstrate how the contrast of light and dark (value) creates depth and three dimensionality.

The idea of color schemes posed another challenge, so instead of making a series of quilts or blocks in various color schemes, I decided to make black flanel overlays I can put on the quilt with holes cut out to reveal each of the color schemes, ie. complementary (across the color wheel from each other), tertiary (3 colors equi-distant from each other), etc. I could move these to change the colors in each scheme by lifting the overlay and pivoting it, showing different color combinations.

The quilt will be large (70" square) so that the colors will be visible in a large guild meeting room. The overlays will be made from foam core with black felt coverings so they can be easily moved and applied to the quilt with velcro dots. I thought it would be easier to move an overlay, than to make the quilt out of foam core and move each color piece. I could just picture myself in the middle of a guild presentation and having all the color triangles fall on the floor! I would love to know what you think of my idea, and how you think this would be as a prop for my presentation. I have done this presentation several times, and use power point slides to illustrate all the ideas. But I thought that a real quilt might make a better visual aid than slides, especially when answering questions after the presentation. Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Working on Projects

I cleaned up my studio this weekend. . . at last. . . and finally had room to unpack several recent projects from classes and a quilt show. I wanted to finish up a few projects so I could start on another major project or two. I taught a class on making tote bags recently and finished my second class sample yesterday. It came out quite nicely, altho I used a fusible fleece for the inner lining that was a bit too stiff. Next time I will use something softer and easier to work with. I love making tote bags and have made quite a few, but admit I have given away most and only have pictures of a few. You can see pictures of some of my bags here.
Another project I am working on is this Winding Ways quilt, made from a John Flynn precut kit. I have made 2 of those now, and I just love the precision of the precut pieces. His system of marking the patches with small cuts to match centers makes stitching so easy and precise.
I am currently quilting it myself on my Bernina 153 in concentric circles and really like the look. I am struggling with how to quilt the plain borders, and have thought out any number of ideas. Any suggestions? The 6" turquoise border needs something interesting, but I am more of a piecer and designer, and am only learning to do my own machine quilting, especially on a quilt this size. So what projects have you been finishing up?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Beautiful Day

It was 70 degrees in Kansas today. Sunshine, birds chirping, it felt like spring. My tulips and daffodils are up about 5" and I pray that they don't get their little noses frozen before the risk of frost is over in a few weeks. All last week it was below freezing so I have no illusions that spring is REALLY here. But to help urge it along, I made a small needlework quilt to remind myself that spring is just around the corner. A wonderful quilter and designer Angela Prince-Bex designed the needlework and I designed and made the setting and quilted it. The stitchery design is available on her Country Cellar site, along with lots of great primitive stitchery patterns. When I first saw it I fell in love with the dainty flowers and whimsical style of the piece. I wanted something that would fit on my front door to herald the coming season and this was just the right size.

I used cross hatching on the background and McTavishing inside the stitchery. The yellow lines were from the chaco marker, and they dusted off when I was done. I used #16 Perle Cotton to embroider this and really love the ease of only dealing with one strand instead of having to use multiple strands of traditional floss. I was able to find Finca Fresencia No. 16 at my local quilt shop. A bit pricey, but worth the convenience and ease of handling. It doesn't come in as many colors as traditional embroidery floss, which is a shortcoming, but still has a nice selection, including variegated styles.

So now Spring can come since I have my Happy Spring Quilt on my front door to welcome it in.