Friday, July 12, 2019

Link-Up #summerstackfridays Primary

One of the benefits of documenting fabric pulls is that it gives you a starting point, once you are actually ready to dive into a new project. If you are like me, you might have several projects going at one time, but may have to wait until the other projects are finished before starting new ones... having time to think about favorite fabric stacks may not always match the beginning of a new project.

So for this weeks' #summerstackfridays, I started out with this "Ladder" print from the Sweet Dreams collection, from Anna Maria Horner as my inspiration fabric.The darker dots are actually an interesting dark, greenish-khaki color that is a little hard to match up. Since I don't have very much of this color in my stash, I ended up letting it read a little more gold than green.

When you match up this color to a color card/wheel, you notice that this IS the same color... just a few steps above it. By staying in the same color family, I am able to work in a color that appears to not even be in the inspiration fabric... all I did was lighten it.

Since the gold fabrics that I chose also have some pink/coral accents, it connects to the inspiration fabric. Some of the lighter and darker shades of teal are fairly obvious picks, but if I am being perfectly honest, I have to admit that I struggle a little bit with this fabric pull... not the fabric selection part, but the end result. I'm not the biggest "primary color combo" fan. If you break this stack down, it is "blue, yellow, and red"... obviously not in it's pure and bright shades, but primary nonetheless. Visit my previous post for a few more ideas how to put a twist on your primary color palette.

Currently I have a project in the works, where I used a several of these fabrics. Since it is not a high priority, deadline project, it will be on the back burner for a bit. Now that I have it cataloged, I can pull this fabric stack back up when I'm ready to pick it up again and see where I left off. Keeping a fabric stash pull in the same photo folder is really helpful once a project is being pulled to the front burner again.

So, what are you stacking this week? Do you have any color combinations that you struggle with too? If you are following the weekly themes, then how about if we warm things up next week, with a "warm colors" fabric stack - think reds, oranges, and yellows... we are headed into summer, you know?

Be sure mention that you are linking up with Campbell Soup Diary for the #summerstacks Link-Up party. Anyone can link up their fabric stack, even if you are coming late to the party, and I will keep the link open for a week. You can also link up from Instagram. The link-up runs from July 5th - August 30th.

Please take the time to visit/comment/like the posts from others who are linking up and be sure to look through the comments. If you happen to be struggling with your fabric stack, then just say so in the comments, so the rest of us can stop by and maybe help you out... sometimes a fresh eye can see something that might have been missed.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Primary Colors - Adventure or Challenge?

If you talk about a primary color combination, the first thing that might come to mind is the inside of a kindergarten... pure hues of red, yellow, and blue have a tendency to be pretty intense, and especially daring as a fabric combination. For this week's #summerstackfridays link-up, for those following along with the weekly theme, a primary color palette just might be as challenging as one can get... but why no put a little twist on it?

Let's just start out with red... what happens when you add white? You end up with pink. And depending on how much white you add to it, depends on how light or dark a pink it is. Even a pink would still "technically" be in the red family. My red has a slight orange touch, and has been lightened, which means that am now working with tints of red. (a tint is a color + white) I've toned the intensity down, which will give less contrast when I combine it with the other colors.  Even though the bottom fabric has more of a pinkish-lilac background, the coral-red flowers connect to the other "red" fabrics that I've pulled.

For my yellows, again, I've not selected the purist hue of yellow, but have picked a warmer hue. This yellow is headed towards orange, but is still arguably in the yellow family. Because these yellows have added grey to them, they start to get a little muddy. When working with such muddy hues, they don't "bite" as much as when you are combining only pure hues.

Since there are limited names for colors, we often have a tendency to use a general color name, rather than specific color name. Obviously when you mix blue and yellow, then you end up with green. In this case, even though there is a lot of green in my blue, I don't feel like I can call it green just yet. For my primary color palette, I am really using secondary and tertiary colors. Those are just essentially the more specific colors in between the secondary colors. My red moves towards orange, and so does my yellow, and my blue moves towards green - a primary color palette with a twist!

So, when mixing your primary color fabrics for the link-up tomorrow, think about how you can put a little twist on your colors... do you want to lighten them? darken them? use muddy hues?  I hope that this second glance makes working with a primary color palette more of an adventure and less of a challenge. I''ll be sharing the full fabric stack tomorrow for the #summerstackfridays link-up... it's not too late to join in!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Circle Around Reverse Applique Pillow

Recently I shared one of my favorite, lesser-known, and all-too-often-forgotten-about quilting techniques. If you were to ask me, I would tell you without a doubt, that reverse applique should get more recognition than it does. Don't stop reading there, or snub your nose, just because it has the word "applique" in it... I promise, it's not a dirty word like some might like to label it with quick judgments.

But I've actually noticed something a lot recently - I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I have seen a quilt, and thought to myself - "wow, one could have cut corners, shaved off hours of drunkard's path, curved-piecing sewing, and still ended up at the finish line in half the time... just by using reverse applique instead!" Just stop and ponder it for a bit.

As part of my color theory class at Nadelwelt, I ended up making several quilt blocks to use as samples. I was inspired by a simple Baumhaus-influenced art print that I found, and decided that it would be perfect as an applique block. What starts out as one block, grows to two, well, and you know the rest...

I thought that straight line quilting was quite fitting to the simple geometric shapes. I finished the back with a really nice linen in fuchsia that I had picked up several years ago at a bargain price. I love mixing linens in my quilting projects.

So, have you done any reverse applique projects? What has been your experience? ... do you love it or are you scared of it because it's "applique"? Then let me challenge you... see if you can spot a couple projects that reverse applique would be a faster substitution than pieced curves... you might actually end up thanking me later!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Link-Up Week 1 #summerstackfridays

Welcome to week one of the #summerstackfridays... I'm so glad you've joined in! As I mentioned in my introduction post, summer stack Fridays is all about carving out a little bit of time in the busy summer months to sneak in few creative, quilty mintues, even if it is just 10 - 15 mintues. Let's just face it - summer sewing doesn't have anything on the cold, winter months, but a link-up party gives you a chance to make it into your sewing room, even if you don't have the time to sew anything. ... and let's face it - what quilter doesn't love petting all her pretty fabrics, am I right?

Just in case you happened to miss my first fabric stack, be sure to backtrack where I shared a little of my process of how I select fabrics. For the link-up, you don't have to follow my method, but perhaps it helps you take a different approach when you select your fabrics. Remember, there is no wrong or right. Picking fabrics is purely personal, and what appeals to me, might not appeal to you. 

So, as a fun little experiment for this week's fabric pull, I wanted to start with the same "inspiration fabric" that I used last week. With my first stack, I used a lot of cool colors, but with this fabric stack, I wanted to warm it up - we are going into summer, you know! I added the middle brown fabric to connect some of the warmer colors into this stack. The second fuchsia fabric brings in a little element of orange, which connects to the warmer tones, while connecting to the inpiration fabric too.

And now it's your turn... just link up either from your blog or from Instagram, and be sure to use the #summerstackfridays hastag. Please visit some of the other fabric stack posts, because it's all about connecting. If you are struggling with your fabric selection, and would like for me (or others) to give you my (our) two cents - just say so in the comments! Happy stacking!

Just in case you would like to have a weekly theme, next week I will be sharing a "primary" fabric stack. Primary colors can be pretty insense, so if you struggle with working with such vibrant colors, it might be helpful to thinkin about playing with the values and clarity of the colors... make sure you look back at my "Art of the Fabric Pull" for working with values. For some fantasic primary color ispiration, be sure to stop by Rachel's blog.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Put Your Feet Up - Brimfield Stool

I recently had a visit from a quilty friend for the weekend, and it seemed as if I was all over the place with my projects... somehow, I wasn't really motivated to work on the things that I was "supposed" to work on... and I actually pulled out a project that had been a long time in the works... for a long time.

When I first started this Brimfield block, I didn't have a specific plan, but had thought to possibly make a little pillow for my living room. Since I already have several quilted pillows, I quickly concluded that it was perhaps a little predictable... and even overdone. By the time I had decided to turn this single block into a stool, the next step was to actually find a stool.  

Anyone who is keen on vintage shopping or furniture refurbishing knows that you might have a general idea of what you are looking for, but may not find it on the first couple excursions. Sometimes you find the most when you are not looking for something specific.

Last year on the way home from Nadelwelt, I made a spontaneous stop at a little antique place that was on the side of the road. I was excited to find some comic books for my boys, a few vintage cigar items for my husband, and yes, you guessed... a stool for me!

But as you can imagine, my block had been basted, half quilted, and put on the back burner by then. It's not always easy to pick up a project that has been packed away for so long, dust it off, and jump back in.

Because I had to custom fit the block to the stool, you can probably imagine how nerve wracking it was to cut this block into a circle... if the measurements slightly off, then I would have to scrap the whole thing - only one-chance-cutting here. Sewing the inset circle was nothing new to me, because I did it often from my purse-making days... and give me a staple gun, and I am a happy girl.

... and just like that, to my surprise, I was stapling away for a weekend finish!?! I was super please how well the upholstery fit. So the only thing left for me to do now, is kick back and really put my feet up.

Pattern: Brimfield Block, from Brimfield Awaking
Fabrics: Anna Maria Horner, Alison Glass, Heather Baily
Background: Essex Linen

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Art of the Fabric Pull

Next week the #summerstackfridays Link-Up Party starts... are you ready? The Link-Up will start July 5th and go through August 30th, 2019. But before the fun begins, I thought that it might be helpful to give you a little behind the scenes sneak peek of my process of how I do a fabric pull... you know, it is my favorite part of quilting!

Several years ago I heard the best piece of advice on a home decorating show, and while it is so simple, it is so true... "start with an inspiration piece, and build around it". While I don't always start my fabric pulls with an inspiration fabric, it is definitely a great starting point if you are unsure of where to begin. The inspiration fabric for my stack is this pretty print, "Soma" in avocado, from Monika Forsberg's "Savernke Road" collection from Free Spirit Fabrics (Conservatory Fabrics).

So, you have your inspiration fabric... now what? Sometimes it's helpful to have an idea where to go from this point. Perhaps you've noticed the color/source code that is on the selvedge edge of your fabrics? This is essentially a resource for the manufacturer to reference the colors used in the printing process, but if you are uncertain of yourself when matching fabrics, it could really be a helpful tool.

There are several colors that seem pretty "obvious"... so those should be the first fabrics you grab for. Below you will notice that my bottom two fabrics are a pretty good match up to the dark leaves from my inspiration fabric. I would consider these to be "first tier" fabrics. I've purposely chosen two fabrics that have multiple colors in them. The background color is spot on, but there are some additional colors that are being brought in that are not in the inspiration fabric.

When you take a look closer at my original stack, you probably notice that not all of the fabrics match to my inspiration print... so how did they make it in there?!?

This is the point where I start adding what I like to call "connecting fabrics". If you look back to the "first tier" fabrics picture, you'll notice that the bottom three fabrics brought additional colors into the mix that are not in the inspiration fabric. You especially see it with the middle spots fabric -the background matches the brighter pink in the inspiration fabric, but periwinkle is a new color. This means that I am now able to introduce this "new" color, because it "connects" to my first tier fabrics.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make when matching fabrics, is that they are not really aware of how colors are made. Do you know what happens to your color when you add white to it? grey? black? Do you know how your color changes when you add one of the primary colors to it? How red is your purple or how blue is it? Are you working with a yellow green or a blue green? Is your orange more yellow or more red? If you don't know these basics, once you start trying to lighten or darken a color, it makes it hard to recognize if you are still in the same "color family". Once you understand how colors are made, it makes matching those specific tints, shades, and tones much easier. With the fabrics below, what starts out as a yellow, ends up going a bit greenish when black is added to it, which means that I am still in the same color family

This is where you start adding what I would call "second tier" fabrics. These might not be as obvious as the first tier fabrics. The top three fabrics are essentially the same background color as my inspiration fabric... they've just been lightened or darkened. Again, I have purposefully added the third fabric because I want to "connect" other colors to it.

Next you can see that I am able to bring in additional colors that are not in the original inspiration fabric because I am connecting to colors in the tier fabrics. The bottom three fabrics connect to the the green leaf on the third fabric. The top green has pinks in it, which work with the other pinks that I've already added, and the middle green repeats the chartreuse yellow that was brought in with the last fabrics. The leaves on the last green fabric connect to the top two fabrics, which means I can bring in colors that may not "match" the inspiration fabric, but as a whole works well together. The last grey fabric that you see on top, has pinks, greens, and yellows, which are just a repeat of some of the other colors used.

So, now it's your turn to get started. Next Friday is the first link-up day, and remember, the link up is about practicing, pushing yourself, documenting, visiting others and helping them out. I've had requests for a theme, so I thought that next week's stack should be "Inspiration Fabric". You don't have to follow the weekly themes, but for some it's helpful to have a little direction... I
I can't wait to see what you stack up!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Very Berry Applique Mini Pattern

Warm, sunny days, flowers in full-color bloom, and a freshly-picked, picnic spread on a breezy afternoon... isn't that what summer is all about? Introducing my "Very Berry" applique template set... the perfect way to get you in the summer mood! These scrumptious berries are a delicious embellishment for a sweet summer pillow for the terrace, a pretty table runner for your summertime table decor, a playful carryall bag, or whatever quilting project you can dream up!

The "Very Berry" mini applique pattern, includes 4-piece applique templates, a brief explanation of the starch applique method, how-to instructions for the reverse applique leaf, as well as a layout/coloring sheet.

I thought that a few of my favorite Basic Grey grunge fabrics highlight these fresh tastes of summer perfectly... adding just the right depth and interest.

So, are you ready for summer yet? You can now find my "Very Berry" applique template set in my Payhip shop.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Summer Stack Fridays Countdown - Two Weeks!

Summer is a time of traveling and for simply taking things slow. For many of us, it means that we have to close the door to our sewing room, and think about how to entertain those kids, and get as much family time in during the long daylight hours.Sometimes it's hard to find the time to even finish a quilt block, but there is always time to pull together a quick, little stack of fabrics, right?

That's why I wanted to host a #summerstackfridays Link-Up Party - the Link-Up will start July 5th and go through August 30th, 2019... so, unplug that iron because there is no need to heat up your sewing room. Make this summer all about the fabric pull... who is with me? There are no prizes or giveaways, but the link-up is simply about...
  • practicing fabric pulls using your current stash
  • pushing yourself to try challenging color combinations
  • documenting fabric pulls that work for you, so that when summer is over, you are ready to start sewing
  • helping others out that might be struggling with fabric combinations, and
  • simply about being more connected to others in the quilting community

When the Link-Up kicks off, I will be sharing how I personally pick fabrics for a quilting project, and covering some tips that might help you with selecting fabrics for your summer stacks. You'll be able to link up from your blog OR from Instagram. Please be sure to let me know if you will be joining in on the summer fun!

... see you in two weeks!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Find Me in Love Patchwork & Quilting!

Last week was all about secret projects and confessions, and this week is about letting it all out! I've been an avid reader of Love Patchwork & Quilting for quite some time now, and was immediately captivated by its beautiful styling and modern feel, all while staying on trend with the current quilting scene... and now I get to be a part of it with my Urban Paradise applique cushion!?!

Bold tropical leaves and colorful blooms on a fresh, white linen background is just beckoning summer to come. Some of my favorite Basic Grey grunge colors give this cushion balance, while giving it a bit of movement and texture.

You can find my Urban Paradise cushion pattern and instructions in this month's Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine! The Sew Tropical Vibes issue #75 is on sale today!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Confessions of a Secret Agent

I have a new-found respect for the life of a secret agent... trying to live a life of normalcy, but behind the scenes there's enough action to fill movie screens. With that being said, did I happen to mention that I have three patterns in the works... no? hmm, that could be because I was stuck behind the computer screen and everything has to stay under wraps until it's time. Sneak peeks are few and far between, and showing too much too soon might give it all away.

It's no secret that I love applique, but what I really love is the combination of traditional piecing combined with applique... who says you can't have it all, right? Right now my flavor of the month are these elongated drunkard's path units. I find them so much more interesting than their simple-curved cousin. My original plan for this project was to go super saturated in my colors, but I found that I needed to reign things in a bit and bring a little balance into things... thus, more grunge!

... and give me a quilt block, and I'll add a circle to it! Such a simple little embellishment can go so far!?! Don't sit there too long with your coffee, or you might get a dot too!

Believe it or not, this quilt top is finished, and already with the long arm quilter... that way it frees me up to get to the dirty work of pattern writing...  rolling up my sleeves and delving back in. I'll try to come up for air soon!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Reverse Applique How-To with Spray Starch

Even though there are endless possibilities with reverse applique, somehow it seems that it is the forgotten method... perhaps for some it's just not a familiar technique, or maybe for others it's just a little nerve racking to cut that hole in the middle of the fabric. Whatever the reason might be, let me show you how fabulous a technique it really is... and that it gets even better when you use spray starch!

This is the current status of my Folk Flower quilt. The block can be found on Creativebug from Anna Maria Horner, in which she essentially uses the reverse applique technique, but per hand. Since hand sewing doesn't even come into question for me, why not use the same approach... but with starch applique?!?

Start by layering two pieces of freezer paper, both shiny side down. Iron together, leaving the steam function OFF. Using a compass, draw a circle in the center of the template, and trim so that there are the same measurements on all sides. For this template, I left one inch on all sides. I'll show you why it is important to do this in the next step. When cutting out the shape, start cutting directly on the line instead of cutting into the template - we'll be using the cut-out for a later step.

Remember how I said that it is important to have the same measurements on all sides? Well, this is because it can be a big help when you are placing the template on the fabric. You can easily measure how far the template is to be placed on the background fabric, so that you end up having the template spaced the same on every block. Place the shiny side of the template on the wrong side of your fabric, and iron in place.

The next step might be a little bit of the scary part for some, and that's cutting a hole in the middle of your fabric. I'm sure we all had those grade school teachers who scolded to NEVER cut shapes out of the center of the paper, but rather from the edges. Well, this is where you get to brush that little voice off your shoulder, and be brave. I usually use about a 1/4" seam allowance.

... and make sure you keep that fabric cut-out, and in all one piece!

For regular starch applique circles, it's not needed to clip along the curve, but it this case it is necessary. Usually you can feel the spots where you need to clip - if it feels like you are having a little resistance for the fabric to wrap around to the back, you most likely need a little snip in that spot. Since I used bias tape on this block, I made sure to cut on either side so I wouldn't have to cut into the bulk.

For the leaf shape, you actually have to make less cuts - just around the rounded part of the template, and in the sharp point.

Begin by spraying starch in a small ashtray or bowl. Wait for the bubbles to dissolve, and using a stiff brush, begin to brush the starch on the seam allowance. If you are unsure about your supplies, then you can read my Top-Ten Starch Applique Tips or visit my YouTube channel.

Use a mini-iron to iron the seam allowance to the back of the template.The starch will hold it it place.

Once you have ironed the fabric to the back of template, you can remove the freezer paper template.

Remember how I told you that you would be needing the center cut-outs from your templates? Well, this is why: Because you can use them as a cutting template for your fabric that will be inserted on the back side of the block. Simply align the cut-out on your selected fabric, and use about a 1/2" seam allowance. Here I use a larger seam allowance to make sure that I can center the shape as I want it.

Use an applique basting glue, apply a thin line along the seam allowance. 

Position the fabric behind the finished opening, so that the fabric is "peeking" through. Once the placement is as desired, iron in place to set.

If there is excess fabric on the back side, trim as desired so that the extra fabric will not be seen from the front side of the block.

There are two ways that you can stitch the block in place: Most of the time I use an invisible thread from Aurifil, and using a straight stitch, sew as close to the edge as possible.

The second way that can be used to finish the block, is to stitch it in place from behind. Simply fold the fabric to the side, and stitch along the pressed seam line. Your thread will not be seen from the front.

Remember how I said to keep the fabric cut-outs from the beginning? This is where you can really bring "waste not, want not" to life - here I reduced the size of my leaf shape, and used the cut-outs for leaves for another project.

I did the same thing for the circle cut-outs, and I really like how they look with the bias tape stripe. I could imagine that these would make a sweet baby quilt, with a good amount of negative space for design interest.

... oh, the possibilies!

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