Monday, September 10, 2018

Leaves in the Forest Update

Just a quick check-in...

Today is the start of Week 2 of the Quilt-a-Forest Geese in the Forest quilt-along on Instagram. It's not too late to join in. There are prizes!

These are my blocks for Week 1.

IMG_6093 (Edited)

I forgot to mention that I have a free tutorial for a maple leaf block on Craftsy. (Quilt and pattern kits are still available in the Etsy store.)

Off to make my nine Friendly Flock blocks for Week 2!

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Leaves in the Forest Step 1

I get a huge amount of satisfaction from checking things off lists. I guess I get a kick out of seeing visual proof of my progress toward the end of any task.
My version of a "list" for the "Leaves in the Forest" quilt is a progress diagram. I'm ahead of the game right now, but I have a couple of trips planned in the next few months (did someone say Quilt Festival?!?!?), so I need to be proactive.

The goal for the first part of the Quilt a Forest quilt along is to make 6 of Block #1 by September 8th. Since I'm replacing some of the blocks with maple leaves, this meant 4 #1 Blocks and 2 Maple Leaves (and an extra one because I made the first one in the wrong color).

It's not too late to join in. Both The Quilt Tree and Twiddletails are sponsoring giveaways for quilt-along participants on Instagram, so be sure to hop on over there for all the details! (just search for #quiltaforest or #geeseintheforest)

If you love these colors as much as I do, there are still kits in the Etsy store.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Quilt a Fall Forest

Wow! I'm not even going to attempt to commit to regular posting AGAIN. I'll try though.

As for right now, I'm in the middle of planning a new quilt, thanks to a quilt-along hosted by The Quilt Tree.
I've wanted to make another version of my Geese in the Forest pattern for a while now and this was just the kick in the butt I needed.

I decided on a Fall version with possibly a few maple leaf blocks scattered here and there.

My chosen fabrics are Moda Bella Solids (of course...).
I've added some kits to the Etsy store but, if you already have a Bella stash, the colors I'm using are as follows:
Hay 9900 104
Leaf Green 9900 192
Clementine 9900 209
Saffron 9900 232
and for the background my current favorite Eggshell 9900 281

I'm planning future blog posts with foundation piecing tips, tools, & techniques, so be sure to pop back in.

Oh and, last but not least, both The Quilt Tree and Twiddletails are sponsoring giveaways for quilt-along participants on Instagram, so be sure to hop on over there for all the details! (just search for #quiltaforest)

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Experimentation Part II

After my first attempt at printing images on fabric clearly wasn't permanent, I decided to experiment a little more with my homemade Bubble Jet Set.

If you search online, you'll find that the recipe is pretty much the same everywhere, but there seem to be different ways to use it.

A warning: I did not exactly follow the rules for conducting experiments as I was taught in school. Waaaaay too many variables were changed. My teachers would be horrified. If you're OK with that, read on.

Oh, and this is a pretty long post. If you want to see my conclusion, skip to the end and scroll up.

This is the image I started with.

After some Photoshop manipulation, it looked like this:
I'm using a Canon TS6120 inkjet printer.

Test 1:
1. Soak fabric in solution, dry in dryer
2. Rinse
3. Air dry, iron
4. Print image onto fabric
5. Air dry overnight
6. Rinse in water
7. Iron
Printer settings: highest quality possible, scale 20%, glossy photo paper, printer manages color

Here's the image right after printing. Kind of dull and yellowish. Not a good start.

And after going through all the above steps. Clearly not the way to go.

Test 2:
1. Soak fabric in solution, dry in dryer
2. Soak in solution a 2nd time
3. Air dry, iron
4. Print image onto fabric
5. Air dry overnight
6. Rinse in vinegar
7. Iron
Printer settings: highest quality possible, scale 18%, matte photo paper, Photoshop manages color

After printing. Better.
After rinsing and ironing. It does smell like vinegar so I may have to rinse it again, which may change the outcome.

Test 3:
1. Soak fabric in solution, dry in dryer
2. Soak in solution a 2nd time
3. Rinse
4. Air dry, iron
5. Print image onto fabric
6. Air dry overnight
7. Rinse in vinegar
8. Rinse in water
9. Iron
Printer settings: highest quality possible, scale 16%, matte photo paper, Photoshop manages color

After printing:
After rinsing and ironing.

Conclusion: It's a toss up between Test 2 and Test 3. I think Test 2 lost more detail but it ended up brighter.
Of course, because of my lack of "scientificness", I'm not sure whether this has to do with my treatment of the fabric, the fact that I printed a higher definition image, or a combination of the two.

Stay tuned.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Reveal: Thread Sketched Protea

Just a quick post to show you the end result of my first venture into thread sketching:

Thread sketching
All in all I'm very happy with this for a first attempt.

Thread sketching
Thread sketching Thread sketching

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Venture into Thread Sketching

Protea Fabric Sketching
The reason I wanted to try printing on fabric was that I wanted to experiment with using thread to bring out the details in the image.
I purposely manipulated the photo to ensure that it did not look like an actual photo when printed.

What followed was a lot of research into thread sketching and thread painting. I started off trying to find instructions for thread painting techniques but quickly realized that this entailed covering the entire surface of the fabric in stitching. Not what I had in mind. I just wanted to enhance the image with quilting.

This is not a tutorial on thread sketching techniques. I have no idea what I'm doing. I just wanted to share the end result because I am quite happy with it.

I used only my old Coats & Clark threads left over from before I became a thread snob. Cost: $0.

There are things I would do differently next time but, all in all, not bad for a first try.

Off to quilt the borders and experiment more with achieving permanent images.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Experimentation Part I

If you read my last post, you know that I'm trying to bring some spontaneity (and creativity) back into my quilting. I've started by experimenting with printing on fabric.

I found that all the recipes for homemade "Bubble Jet Set" (the stuff that makes printed images permanent) are exactly the same. What you do next - that's a whole other ballgame.
Sooo...I gathered my supplies, mixed them according to the recipe, which you can find by searching online. I'm not sharing it right now because, well, read on...

I used a photo I took on a recent trip to South Africa, played around with it a bit in Photoshop, then printed it onto 100% cotton Moda Bella Solids 9900-97 PFD.
I did not rinse the fabric after applying the homemade mixture, just dried it in the dryer.

I added some borders, and then decided it needed a little spray of water to get it perfectly smooth. Oops! I guess it's not colorfast.
I stopped right here and decided that it's kind of a cool artistic touch. But this one is definitely not going to be washable. Since it was going to be an "art quilt" anyway, it's not a big deal.

Up next, I'll try my hand at thread sketching.
Then more experimenting with printing and colorfastness.

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Friday, May 25, 2018


IMG_5138 (Edited)
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not the most spontaneous person on this planet. I'm a planner.
Every so often though, I stumble across something I cannot resist.

An example: When I was at the Houston International Quilt Festival this past November and fell in love with Sue Spargo's Folk-Tails quilt. I've got 15 of the 30 blocks completed, by the way! (This is the one I'm currently working on.)

And when I went to the Winterset, IA "Airing of the Quilts" and saw the little KLM Delft houses in one of the homes open to the public.
I just had to have some and, before you knew it, I had 5 little houses in my possession. (These are my first three.)

I even used them as napkin "rings" when my quilty friends came over last week.

If you've made it this far, I'll get to what this post is really about.

This past Tuesday, Linda M. Poole was the speaker at our guild meeting. She's an amazing artist! As part of her lecture she presented a slide show of art quilts created by herself and other amazing quilters/artists using photos as inspiration.
Somewhere along the way she mentioned that you don't have to be an artist to create something like this. You could use a photo as your jumping off point. Suddenly I had an idea! What if I printed one of my photos on fabric and used some thread painting to embellish it?

My current printer does not have a rear tray and, try as I may, I haven't been able to successfully accomplish printing on fabric. On Wednesday I ran off to Best Buy and bought a new printer. Completely impulsively.

I also did some research on making your own Bubble Jet Set (the stuff that makes printing on fabric permanent and washable). And bought all the stuff to make some.

This post is getting way too long, so stay tuned for the next installment of my latest venture into spontaneity.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pattern designer? Or not?

Garden Party Quilt
When I first started quilting, I made every quilt using a pattern. Down to the color choices. As I grew, I felt the need to create my own designs.
It was so much fun! Maybe I did have a creative bone in my body after all.

I posted photos of my original quilts on this blog and received a lot of positive response. Us quilters are such a supportive group. This, almost naturally, lead me to create tutorials, which led to writing patterns. I'd found a way to bring in a little extra income and have a good time doing it.

Then it happened. I started overthinking things. Feeling forced to come up with new designs that quilters will like and want to buy. It wasn't as much fun any more. Fewer patterns (and fewer quilts) were being created. I never really gave it a lot of thought other than feeling guilty about not coming up with anything new.

Fast forward to April 2018. Our guild retreat was coming up and I had no project to work on. Bonnie Hunter and her lovely scrappy quilts had just visited the guild in March. I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone - use up some scraps and have a project for retreat. Deep inside I felt a little guilty for making a quilt using someone else's pattern.

Oh my goodness, how much fun it was! I picked Bonnie's Garden Party pattern because it used 1.5" strips, which I had a lot of. (You can find it in the "Addicted to Scraps" book, if you're interested.)
Garden Party Quilt
I couldn't wait to finish this quilt when I got home from retreat.

Last Thursday a friend showed me the Pecking Order pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I'd been wanting to make a quilt for our master bedroom for a long time but just couldn't come up with a good "design". This looked quick and easy, so I started this project. (Jenny has a video tutorial over here.)

Pecking Order Quilt
More fun and so relaxing!

I really hope letting go of my "need" to constantly think about creating new, original, "sellable" things, will bring the design mojo back.
For now I'm just going with the flow.

P.S. Did I mention that I met Jenny from MSQC at the Iowa Quilt Museum last month? She is so sweet!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spring has sprung!

A little late this year, but it's here! Spring!

I went hunting for quilts to put on the quilt ladder and, along with Pinwheel Party and my Grandmother's Flower Garden, stumbled upon my Spring Fling quilt. From 2009!!
I'm amazed that, between 2009 and now, my preference for brighter colors has not changed.

(The Spring Fling pattern is available in the Craftsy store.)

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Fanning seams for less bulky blocks

Since I've been working on and posting pictures of my Garden Party quilt on Facebook and Instagram, I've gotten some questions about the fanning (or spinning or popping) of seams on blocks.
Like this:

In response I added a new video tutorial to my YouTube channel. The link is in the sidebar if you'd like to take a look.

Oh, and here's the latest progress photo. All the full green blocks are done. 21 more "flowers" to make. And a whole bunch of half blocks!

(Please excuse the quality of the photos. The light indoors is not all that great.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm using my scraps!

In March, Bonnie Hunter visited our guild. I've admired her use of scraps to make stunning quilts for years and, between my recent scrap organization frenzy, her visit, and an urgent need for a retreat project, I determined it was time to make a scrappy quilt. After much research (thank you Pinterest), I decided on the Garden Party quilt because it uses a variety of scraps and all 1/2" strips, which I have a ton of.

I found the book containing the pattern on The printed version is $19.99 and the Kindle version $9.99 so, for the first time ever, I decided to buy a digital "picture book".

I cut all the background strips (solid scraps, because somehow I don't have light scraps) in advance and, come retreat time, I was ready to get to work.
When I got home, I put all the blocks up on the design wall to gauge my progress. Not bad, but I have to make 100 "flower" blocks, so I have a long way to go.
Back at it this morning.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fabric Organization, Part 3

It's been a while since I posted the previous two installments sharing my fabric organization/storage method: yardage & medium pieces. There's a reason for that (other than life getting away from me).
I'm not quite sure my "small scraps" storage method has been 100% finalized. I'll share where I'm at with this and, if you have any input, please share.

I knew the secret to the smaller scraps would be standardization. My problem was (and still is) figuring out which size cuts would be most useful. Maybe, when I eventually get around to making a scrappy quilt or two, it'll become clearer.

This method applies to anything smaller than around 1/4 yard of fabric.

This is my "scrap" bin. When it gets full (or I have time on my hands), I'll either fold the larger pieces or cut the smaller ones into strips and/or squares.

My rule is as follows:
If I can cut a strip of at least 12", I'll cut a strip. If not, I'll cut squares.

The sizes I'm using right now are:
1.5", 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 5", 7", and 10". (Update 04/18 - I've eliminated the 7" cuts. No idea why I ever thought that was a good idea.)
I do not cut 1.5" or 2" squares (only strips) because I've already determined that I will NEVER be sewing together squares that tiny. I could do strip piecing and make 4, 9, or 16-patches though...

At the moment I'm using these Sterilite containers for storage. I have to admit I'm slightly addicted to these. I have 12 and counting!

These bins are getting a little full so I'll either have to get more (yay!) or start sewing...

Stay tuned...

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