Saturday, February 6, 2016

Happy Days BOM month #1...



Much more subtle in real life but sewn, here is my month #1 block for the  "Happy Days" BOM  finished albeit unpressed...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

sarah fielke BOM stars...


I've finished all the background stars for the BOM in one swoop - all 24 of them. Thought it would be easier than making one or two a month. Hopefully, will get to making Block #1 and the bonus block book on the weekend. Everyone's fabric choices are so inspiring that I'm actually using my idle Facebook account to check out all the posts in the group:) On Instagram the tag is #sarahfielkeBOM. If you'd like to join the Block of the Month you can find the all the info at Sarah's site. There's going to be a gorgeous bunch of quilts at year's end...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ombre Olé...


One of the advantages of having a niche passion by mainstream standards is that friends and family tend to give me textile-related gift certificates for Christmas and my January birthday. Am so excited that these beauties arrived guilt free today:) They are the Ombre solids from VandCo. The colour gradient in each hue from light to dark makes the eye bounce around in the most delightful way. They are a super alternative to conventional solids with greater visual texture and a depth that looks like sueded silk but is as smooth as conventional cotton. I can see them in many kinds of quilts- modern ones but also traditional applique with lots of shaded flowers and in apparel too. Not sure what they will become but am enjoying petting them lovingly...


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

sarah fielke block of the month...


2016 is going to be a difficult year with lots of family health issues so I need to learn to hand quilt/sew so that I can have portable projects to take to appointments and when traveling. Uber-quilter Sarah Fielke is hosting a BOM this year called "Happy Days". You purchase the pattern and are mailed monthly instructions. There is access to a private YouTube channel and Facebook page for subscribers. The quilt promises lots of applique, English paper piecing and hand quilting. I feel a certain creative guilt that my next project is designed by someone else but Sarah is so talented I think like Allietare it will be therapeutic to follow instructions knowing the end result will be lovely. The quilt's background is going to be cheerful yellows paired with Amy Butler prints and lots of scraps. A few hot pink and red spots as well as stripes will sneak in there too.While not a mystery quilt the sketch below provides only the vaguest hint at what the finished quilt will look like... Sounds like fun, doesn't it?


Thursday, January 14, 2016

still stitching documentary...


Watched this fascinating documentary on vintage sewing machines and their collectors. You can stream it online or if you live in the USA purchase the dvd. It really is an ode to all metal construction and old time precision engineering. My over-engineered computerized machine was a complete disaster and this doc pays tribute to stripped down simpler machines which do less but do it much much better. It is called "Still Stitching" and can be found at this site.  Must warn you though, after watching you may find yourself trolling through Ebay and Craigslist for older sewing machines. At the very least, you'll look at your mother and grandmother's machines with a great deal more love and respect...

(M if you are reading this I'm not doing looking at more sewing machines... Really I'm not:)



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

allietare part 6... the reveal


Here is my Part 6 of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare Mystery Quilt 2015. These blocks are not sewn. I'm just throwing the parts up on the design wall and starting to play with the combinations. Am definitely going to do something different from BH's quilt for a border. What that design is remains to be conceived. It is so much fun to see how everything is meant to go together. That orange print that was a concern is strong but as suggested bounced around will give the top a lot of life. The colours look pretty great together so it's all worked out to be a very happy surprise.You can see everyone else's beautiful versions of Allietare here and the gorgeous original below. Mystery quilts- one more thing checked off the quilting bucket list... Thank you Bonnie!


Monday, January 4, 2016

allietare part 5...


The last 10 days of our holiday were sadly dominated by family illness so my sewing time evaporated.  Better late than never, here is Part 5 of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare Mystery Quilt 2015. The link up to other participants is at this spot. There is lots of bulk in the middle of those four patches. Taking a cue from classic tailoring, I dug out a small chasing hammer. On a chopping board, I whacked the intersecting seams which flattened the bulk beautifully. Now the blocks just need to be trimmed and pressed. It is really hard to not peek at the final reveal now that clue 6 is posted but hope to stay off social media and keep the mystery a mystery. Happy New Year!

allietare part 4...


During the seasonal chaos, I forgot to post my completed Part 4 of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt 2015. You can check out everyone else's here. I'm blown away by the amount of organization this involves and BH's generosity in creating these mysteries every year. Am enjoying it more than I could imagine although I don't think I've ever made so many pieces :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

allietare part 3...



Part 3  of my Bonnie Hunter's Mystery 2015 quilt is finished. The fabrics are lighter than in these shots. I'm a little worried about how bright one of the more orange prints looks and how all my colours are going to work together. Of course this is the risk of changing BH's palette. Am hoping the quilt turns out OK and will be philosophic if my choices are not entirely successful. It is surprisingly exciting not having a clue where all the fabrics go and how the end quilt is going to look...




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

allietare part 2...


Part 2 of Bonnie Hunter's new mystery Allietare is done! It was quite addictive making these blocks and a welcome diversion from wrapping gifts!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

allietare...



 It is so difficult to write about quilting when the world seems so sad and crazy but I thought I'd show my completed Part 1 from Bonnie Hunter's new quiltalong. Having just finished my first block swap am now keen to try a mystery. Perhaps because of the current chaos, the order of being told what to make is very appealing. The original suggested colour palette is drawn from BH's recent trip to Italy but I am using a woodcut print from Japan as inspiration. Instead of black, red, gold, neutrals and grey the quilt will be made of charcoal/black, blue/green, brown/orange, whites with sage green as the constant. Veering in quilting between two extremes of working- intuitively and to precision seems to be the new norm. Right now simplifying the creative act to choosing fabrics is very comforting sewing...


Friday, November 27, 2015

black tie...



Finally got a chance to play around with the beautiful blocks I received from the Modern Bow Tie Swap organized by the lovely and evidently super-organized Barb. I received 80 4" finished blocks and love them on their own. However, I want a bigger quilt so instead of making more- the bow ties are set with some 54-40 or Fight Stars (interesting block history here). The black print is less black in real life and competes less with the colours than in the photos. From a distance there are lots of secondary circle patterns from both the swap blocks and the stars. Still need to play with the arrangement but so far am pretty pleased. If I still like it by the end of the weekend, will sew it together and start thinking about the quilting.  Many thanks to Barb and the other participants. The variety of prints is fantastic. Love each and every one!




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

hexagon overload...


Hexagon quilts have been trendy for quite awhile now and just when you think you've seen it all this antique wonder pops up. Sewn in the late 1800's, it comprises hexagons measuring only 3/4" sides. The size of this quilt is also a staggering 7x6 feet. I love the bulls-eye effect of the red concentric circles. People who hand sew always claim that these tops are easier to make than one would think because of their portability and the ability to piece in stolen moments. I remain unconvinced and am in awe of the effort that went into making this quilt...


Thursday, October 29, 2015

granny square...


On the TV show's technical survey which is, as it sounds, the outing where all the heads of departments confer on the logistics of shooting, M. met a young Dutch woman in the most beautiful coat patterned in a granny square print. He spoke with her about how much I love textiles but didn't ask to take a photo of it because he didn't want to seem creepy. Well it was meant to be because a couple of days later, he saw the same girl. This is an extraordinary coincidence as they were in a different part of a city of millions. This time he got an image but sadly not her name. Thank you lovely visitor from Holland!

Below is an actual crocheted granny square coat made by this talented person inspired by this one. Playing with the colours would be so much fun. It is tempting to learn how to crochet. Perhaps a Sophie Digard scarf is a better idea and would be more flattering on someone rounder and less vertically enhanced. In any case, the look is Boho at its most fun. Granny square clothing... Yeah or No Way?! Thoughts?


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

rwanda meets greece....




Today is a show and tell of some beautiful African fabrics. My amazing friend Katie spent a month in the summer in Rwanda volunteering with DODA. This non-profit organization teaches the widows and orphans who survived the Rwandan genocide how to sew and thus create a source of employment.
Very generously she gave me these gorgeous fabrics from the market in Kimironko. Trying in vain to tidy up, they were stacked against Anna Maria Horner's new collection of Loominous. AMH's fabrics are highly saturated woven cottons subtly shot with lurex inspired by the hand loomed pieces of her Greek family heritage. This turned out to be a happy accident of juxtaposition as these two groupings look great together!



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

red & white...


 Finally, this book "Red & White Quilts Infinity Variety" arrived after months even years of waiting! This book chronicles the 2011 exhibition by the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. Although I would have loved to seen all these quilts suspended by aircraft cables (by all accounts it was visually extraordinary) owning this book is a reasonable substitute. It is beautiful and contains 650 quilts all in red and white from the collection of Joanna Rose. There are some fascinating articles about the collection, the history of red and white patchwork and the staging of the show. The quilts themselves are organized into chapters comprising: Wholetops, Log Cabins, Pictorial, Strips, Squares and Rectangles, Triangles, Stars, Curves, Applique, Signature, Redwork and Crib quilts. The title says it all. The variety is truly infinite...




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

bow ties...



 
Joined my first block swap organized by the funny and talented Barb featuring bow ties in modern fabrics. While the swap is now closed you can find her excellent block tutorial here . These are super fast to sew and it is easy to see why historically so many of these quilts are scrappy. They make good use of leftover fabric. There are also myriad ways to set these blocks. Above are mine and I can't wait to see what arrives in the mail from the other participants!

This vintage quilt is currently on Ebay. Love the jade solid...


Another crisp vintage yet modern-looking example...


Interesting setting in a pattern from the Temecula Quilting Company...


Lastly my favorite- a beautiful improv bowtie made by the incomparable Kattie Pennington in 1985.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

$5...


Continuing the theme of the perception of ugliness- I bought this quilt for $5 at a yard sale. It was actually being used to protect a number of greasy auto parts from a driveway. The owner seemed shocked that I was interested in buying the dirty "blanket" rather than the metal sitting on top of it. It stank but after a wash is now faded but pristine. It is not the most beautiful quilt in the world but it needed rescuing and a good home. My husband, on the other hand, views this wholesale embrace of the unwanted and the unloved as a worrying trend...

Finally, in tribute to the waning of summer holidays here are some dolphin-garnished cocktails from Lucky Peach. Enjoy!




Friday, August 14, 2015

ugly fabric...


Found this listing for fabric on Ebay. It describes this print as being ugly, weird and bizarre. While not appealing to me in any way this fabric got me thinking. Is there such a thing as fabric that is too ugly? Bonnie Hunter would say it just needs to be cut up enough. Have you ever seen or bought (?!) a fabric that you felt was irretrievably awful? Can anything me made to look beautiful?

Also apologies, am inexplicably having problems receiving comments these days so please excuse me if it takes awhile to get back to you. I really appreciate your thoughts!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

housetop...


This quilt speaks for itself. It is a gorgeous and graphic house top variation made by the late Clementine Kennedy of Gee's Bend Alabama in the 40's. I have serious fabric envy. These geometric prints are timeless...


Sunday, August 2, 2015

indian horse...


Finally had some time to draft the horse pattern for my Indian Marwari quilt. The weather is stormy and our motivation to leave the house this evening was low.

Tried to draw straight onto the fabric but horses are peculiar animals in that while extraordinarily beautiful moving, standing still they are disproportionate and rather top heavy with delicate legs. Eventually, I drew the outline with some inspiration from various online images on regular letter size paper. Thanks to Splitprint I tiled the drawing up to the just under 4 ft size needed. I love this app and have used it to make patterns for both tiny and very large images.

Now to think about the elaborate surface embroidery and quilting. Know what I want to do but it may be ambitious for my skill set...


Sunday, July 26, 2015

twinkle twinkle little star...


WOW. I love a star quilt and this one from Pennsylvania is a standout. Made in the late 1800's each block is 2 3/4" with a whopping total of 600 stars...


Love the turkey red, cheddar and the acidic yellow colors which unify all the other prints...


Am equally  in love with the half square triangle and shirting border. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

red and white...


Four years ago the American Folk Art Museum in NYC staged the most extraordinary exhibition of red and white quilts. I remain a bitter kitten that I didn't see the quilts in person but am thrilled to discover that a book is coming out at the end of September. You can pre-order it here and at the museum's shop. The book will contain lots of interesting and insightful articles but what is most exciting is that images of all 650 quilts from the exhibit are included. The wait will be worse than as a kid counting down days to Christmas...


Sunday, July 12, 2015

georgia on my mind...


This African-American utility quilt is from rural Georgia probably sewn around 1900 and is from the collection of the late cultural historian and art expert Caroll Greene. Love the soft palette and the way the pieces of homespun work clothes remain intact in the top. Beautiful...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

dreaming of india...


Have you ever had a quilt dream?
I've been dying to go to India for ages. We've mapped out the ultimate trip in every detail including a short safari on horseback, riding Marwari horses a breed native to Rajasthan. Last week, I had the most vivid dream that I made a quilt from all of these travel plans. Upon waking, I felt compelled to actually make it in real life...


The background is lots of randomly sewn strips and triangles inspired by the spice markets and the beautiful architecture...


The plan is to add some rajasthani-inspired embroidery and applique a giant purple Indian horse across the top...


Have no idea whether the end result will be inspired or hideous but have decided to make what makes me happy:)