Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Chuck Nohara Pillow Finish

If you're a quilter, I'm sure you can identify: that package of long awaited fabrics just arrived... you know, the ones you've been drooling over since Quilt Market, which at this point seems like an eternity ago. (and in the world of quilting, technically it was) You only have about thirty minutes to sew, but you're at a place with all of your other projects that take more than 30 minutes just to get started... what do you do?

Ok so, I suppose that it's obvious that I like to come up with creative ways, week to week to justify why I just "had" to start another project... but could you resist a new stack of Anna Maria Horner fabrics either? I didn't think so.To further justify things (at least in my head) working on just a "little pillow" means that I'm not going to be off track for long... maybe that's why I make so many of them!?!

I decided to enlarge one of the Chuck Nohara templates so I could make a 20" pillow. So far, I've only made 8" blocks, but things always come together a littler faster when you are working with larger shapes.

This was my first time installing a zipper closure... definitely more work, but I love the end result. I found this tutorial on Pinterest, and of course the Internet is peppered with all kinds of DIY zipper tutorials.

Perhaps you've noticed a new fabric in this project? When I was looking for a background fabric, I of course went to my standard chocolate brown Essex linen that I've used in so many of my other pillows, but it was just a little too intense in it's contrast. Then I remembered this fabulous wool that I purchased a long time ago for another project. I love the little flecks of color throughout, and I thought that if linen works with such a nice result, then why not wool?

painting by Gene Campbell

What about you, do you like to mix other fabric types into your quilting projects? any favorite experiences with wool?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Checking Boxes

Well, I suppose that Santa Claus is not the only one who makes a list, and checks it twice... the only difference is that I'm not concerned with finding out who has been naughty or nice. But, just like Santa, my checklist for finishing two patterns for release by May plus class preparations for Nadelwelt has keep it busy, busy here behind the scenes...
  • Finish binding my Lovebirds' Garden quilt for the official release date on March 15th! ... ✔check

 ... Isn't Iva's quilting just amazingly fantastic?!? (boy, oh, boy... how I wish I could take credit for it!)

  • Line up the photo shooting location for proper quilt finish photos... ✔check.  (just needing the Northern Germany weather to co-operate with me... and that's actually asking a lot) 

  • Finish the pattern corrections that have come in so far... ✔check. (talk about some serious fine tuning?!? It's not easy making sure all those i's are dotted and those t's are crossed)
  • Finish 5 mini patterns - 1 spin-off from Lovebirds' Garden, and 4 mini patterns from Home Sweet Home Applique Sampler... check.  
  • Prepare materials kits for Nadelwelt check (super excited that Alison Glass put together a template set that will be exclusive for class participants!)
  • Work on Nadelwelt presentations for May... check  
  • Work on samples for Nadelwelt ... check
Even though I've been checking off so many boxes these days, there's still a lot on my list to finish by May... what about you? what have you been checking off your to-do list these days?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Craft Everyday Keeps The Grumpies Away

How does the familiar saying go... "all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl"? If you happen to be a crafter like I am, and there's more time spent behind the computer screen than the sewing machine, then it's easy to see how one can hit that "I can't take it anymore point!" because of lack of creative time.

I've got a lot on my list these days that makes me feel like I am permanently parked behind the computer... making final corrections on my Lovebirds' Garden pattern, preparing presentations for two courses at Nadelwelt, adding five mini patterns and working on the Home Sweet Home applique sampler pattern... just to name a few.

Sometimes I need those 30 minutes here or 30 minutes there projects to give me the sense that I am still crafting despite the big to-do list on my desk. For me it's better to be working on something rather than nothing at all because I don't have the time to "think" myself back into a project.

Upon reflection, I suppose I have so many smaller in-between projects because I'm usually at that step in the quilting process with my larger projects where they cannot be easily started or stopped. Once you've put your project to the side because the kids are hungry, it's the end of the work day, emails need to be answered, or whatever the case, by the time you figure out where you need to start again, there is something else that need attended to.

So here's my "in-between" breather project ... a little starch applique Chuck Nohara project with the new Anna Maria Horner fabrics. Oh, come on, like you could stay away from a freshly delivered fabric package?

Do you get stuck because you only have 30 minutes to sew, and no start and stop projects in the works? Maybe Mell can help you get motivated with her #30minsewingdaily challenge.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mixed Medium Applique - Felt

I know that I've mentioned several times over the past month, how excited I am that I will be teaching a starch applique class at the Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe, Germany in May... perhaps what I didn't mention is that I am actually teaching two classes this year!?! So, right now, I've been busy working on a few samples on how to turn favorite fabric designs into felt applique shapes.


I've always enjoyed mixing different mediums with fabric... especially paper and felt. The main thing for me is that fabric has to be included in that mix. You may remember this pillow that I started the year out with last year... well, it has been my inspiration for this second class.

There are a lot of people who might enjoy applique, but don't feel that they are "artsy" enough to draw their own motifs, and let's face it - purchasing one pattern after the next can be kind of expensive. So, my thought was why not let some of your favorite designers give you a hand?

Over the next weeks, I'll be sharing the finished versions of these, but I thought a few sneak peeks might be enough to hold you until then. You've seen this project already, but now it quilted and ready to be finished.

So, what are your favorite mixed mediums to work with?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

I've Got Your Back Covered

I wanted to talk about a quilting topic that doesn't get a whole lot of coverage (no pun intended) in the quilting scene... and that's the back of a quilt. So, what's your approach for the backside of your quilting masterpiece? I thought that it would be fun to share the current backing that I am working on, as well as sharing in one place all those quilt backings that are supporting the "stars-of-the-show"...

Pieced backing planned for my Home Sweet Home Applique Sampler quilt pattern to be released in May at the Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Since I've been quilting, I've ended up piecing the good majority of the backings for my quilts. Somehow, stitching two big pieces of plain fabric together, with a seam smack dab in the middle, was never very appealing to me. However, I find that I piece my backings often for quite another reason than putting orphan blocks to good use, although this is a fantastic way to give even those rejects a piece of the pie... this one for example.

Back of my "Chrunstile" quilt... I actually sleep under this one.

Often I might not have large quantities of a single fabric on hand that match my current project, and if I don't want to eat up all one favorite fabric "just" for the back, then I find that piecing is a good option. I'm always taken aback when people tell me that they actually like the back of my quilt better than the front, but I'll just leave that in the "things-that-make-you-go-hmmmm" category.

"Facing East" backing... this one actually got the "I like the backside better" comment.

... and perhaps we should just leave the topic of double-the-price fabrics that one pays in Germany on the backburner. This coupled with high shipping cost, and long waiting times, pushes me again in the same direction of pieced backs.

Back of my "Swell" quilt... another one that adorns one of my beds.

The stars are the "star" of my Penny quilt, but a simple backing was a good choice for a pieced backing.

I've always like adding just a little bit of the unexpected...  it's a little bit like ordering a crossiant at the bakery, getting it home, and realizing that it's filled with chocolate when you bite into it.

I was able to use up even more scraps not only for the front of my Scrappy Windmill quilt, but the back too!

So how about if I end things by sharing a little things-yet-to-come backing... the back of my Whirly Girl quilt. Just a little more quilting, and I'll be ready for my big reveal!

Looking for some more quilt backing inspiration? Check out my favorites on Pinterest.
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