Don’t You Just Love it When Quilt Blocks Fit Together?

Theme and border fabrics for baby hexie quilt:  Wee Wander by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabric. (click image to visit Sarah Jane)
Theme and border fabrics for baby hexie quilt: Wee Wander by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics. (click image to visit Sarah Jane)

Hello. Yes, I’m still in project-making mode here and have just completed a baby quilt for the daughter of family friends that I’d love to share with you. Initially, I thought I’d go full Modern, but her mother’s words uttered years ago rang in my memory, “Rebecca is such a girly girl.”

Somehow minimal stripes and lots of quilted negative space weren’t suitable for her, especially with the naïve and pretty prints I’d selected for the baby quilt. I’d cued their selection on a preview photo of Rebecca’s freshly painted nursery.

A Pinterest tour (yes, again, I turned to that dazzling output of creativity) yielded good inspiration, but nah, I didn’t bite. For some reason hexagons piqued my interest, plus they are fun and current. I had so much fun making a Kaffe Fassett hexagon quilt last year that I decided to pull the book from my shelf and take a look. Okay, I felt a shiver of excitement—that was a good sign. If I reduced the number of hexies I figured I could execute a sweet little quilt.

Assembling hexies--opted for an inset detail with the setting triangles for a playful touch.
Assembling hexies–opted for an inset detail with the setting triangles for a playful touch.

Little did I know that “why not?” decision would set me off on one of the best quilt-building weeks I’ve experienced in ages. I had a blast because the pattern assembled like a dream and the cotton/linen fabric combination I’d selected made for perfect pressed seams with my brand-new iron. (Had to trash the old one because it sparked and burned me—fair warning: make sure your iron cord is intact, not worn to bare wire!)

Pressed like a dream--classical sewing technique suggests the reverse side should match the front in execution . . . maybe I had one of those moments?!?
Pressed like a dream–classical sewing technique suggests the reverse side should match the front in execution . . . maybe I had one of those moments?!?
Stained glass view:  back lit finished quilt top.  The insets of the setting triangles illuminated.
Stained glass view: back lit finished quilt top. The insets of the setting triangles illuminated.

As a technical sewer I’m typically a bit haphazard. Now I don’t mean to say that I’m sloppy, I just don’t always end up with a full set of perfect blocks and my quilt tops might have some squirrely matches as a result. Not so with the baby hexie quilt:  aren’t those points delicious?

Sewn with care, this Kaffe Fassett pattern builds perfectly!
Sewn with care, this Kaffe Fassett pattern builds perfectly!
Detail view of the long-arm quilting of Cyndy Rymer.
Detail view of the long-arm quilting of Cyndy Rymer.

I delivered the quilt to the new parents this past Saturday and met tiny William, a perfect little sweetheart of a baby boy. Very manly! Parents and grandparents are over the moon with his arrival—although the novice mother and father could do with a good night’s sleep! Oh I remember that well . . . one groggy night I got lost on the way to the nursery right next door to our bedroom!

Mini hexie quilt label made with scraps.
Mini hexie quilt label made with scraps.
Ready for delivery along with Woodland Bunny by Jellycats--I've got my own Jellycat puppy standing guard by my sewing machine (yes, small obsession!).
Ready for delivery along with Woodland Bunny by Jellycats–I’ve got my own Jellycat puppy standing guard by my sewing machine (yes, a small obsession!).

Isn’t it fun to share quilted love with a new generation? Check back on Friday for the next installment of the Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! Quilt-Along–it’s time to finish up the quilt top! Type “Quilt-Along” in the blog Search bar to find the prior installments–also refer to the Pattern library for instructions.

 

Jennifer Signature

 

A Quilt From The Wild Blue Yonder + A Giveaway Winner

Quilt-J:  Wild Blue Yonder by Jennifer Rounds
A finished birthday quilt called Wild Blue Yonder–sorry, way too big to fit in the viewfinder!

Wow!  Seems like ages since I sat at the keyboard to type a post. My blogging sisters Laura and Pati have been very busy. In that interval I’ve been hard at work on a personal quilt-making project, a birthday gift for my oldest son. My children have reached the age when they need household stuff of all sorts; a fact that my eldest is still having trouble processing. Last Christmas was a real eye opener for him when his brother got very excited unwrapping a blender. His expression and snarky remarks were priceless:  du-du-du-du, du-du-du-du . . . we’ve entered the Twilight Zone! Let’s hope he’s emerged by now and will welcome a birthday quilt.

Quilt-J:  Finished scrappy blue quilt top

Impromptu is the byword for my gift inspiration. It all started at Pinterest with an image of a simple, two-color quilt that could plumb the depths of my stash of blue fabrics. Hmm: that’s a maybe for my (grown) baby . . .

Quilt-J:  LuluBloom quilt on Pinterest

I really don’t know why after collecting countless images from Pinterest that that blue-and-yellow quilt fired my creative jets. What actually impels forward motion? Easy. Check. Colorful. Yup. Guy friendly. Hope so. Doable without a single fabric purchase? Maybe . . . Whatever it was, I was in for the adventure.

Quilt-J:  Scrappy blue quilt
Countless pairings of blue prints paired up again and again and again.

Many, many miles of stitches, later plus one tiny fabric purchase to lively up the mix–only an eighth of a yard, I swear–and I was done. Wild Blue Yonder clocked in at 92 x 102 inches. Yikes, that’s a lot of backing fabric! I did have significant yardage of pair of fabrics as backing candidates, but the blue edged toward grayish green.

Quilt-J:  Auditioning quilt backing
Nope, can’t do it. Wrong blue tone. So much for a thrifty project.

The quilt sat marooned on the constructed backing for a week while I struggled with the limitations of the challenge I set for myself. To date I’d spent $3–purchasing a backing would throw my ideal budget awry. What set me shopping for an answer was something surprisingly effective; my husband remarked, as he took a look at the quilt that was taking up the floor in his soon-to-be office:  “That backing doesn’t work.” The budget exploded, but I found a fantastic super-wide batik that required absolutely no seaming.

Quilt-J:  Kathy August's machine quilting
Big Blue Yonder machine quilted by Kathy August in a mod motif.

As I decided to share the quilt on the blog, it behooved me to backtrack and establish the provenance of the idea. It turns out I hadn’t “pinned” the actual image, instead I’d taken a screen shot and left it on my desktop with scads of other images. Here’s where the story gets twisty. I went off to Australia to check the origins of the bicolor strip quilt idea before checking the blog of the quilter who made the actual quilt. So first I learned about a fantastic quilting mom Down Under who designs very pretty quilt patterns in between having beautiful children. And then I did the logical thing and backtracked to find the designer of the quilt pattern I used as inspiration. She is a creative mother as well.

Quilt-J:  Scrappy faced binding
Scrappy faced binding for the perimeter–except for the backing this was a true stash buster.

The upshot of my online adventure is that I’m confirmed in my amazement of this prolific, clever, and creative new generation of quilt makers. Not so long ago there was pessimistic talk about the future of our creative arts and the loss of brick-and-mortar shops. The present and future don’t look quite the way we expected, but Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, and a boatload of other online venues show that creativity is aflourishing globally. To me that’s humanity’s redemption. Despite truly vile things, there are places where beautiful expressions of our artistry flourish.  Please, please, please: beauty must trump ugly–Make, Create, Share! (Okay, I’ve appropriated Lisa Fulmer’s tagline–hope she doesn’t mind!)

Giveaway Winner Here

Congratulations Beth T, you are the winner of a copy of Lisa Fulmer’s fabulous book!

Jennifer Signature

 

 

 

Lisa Fulmer – Crafter Extraordinaire & Author of “Craft Your Stash”

Lisa FulmerI met Lisa Fulmer of Lisa Liza Lou Designs through a mutual friend quite a few years back. “You have got to meet Lisa, you two have so much in common,” she told me.  We became Facebook friends long before we actually met, and I finally tracked the busy girl down at one of The Craft and Hobby Association shows to have a face-to-face meeting. I admire her tremendously. She is constantly astounding me, not only her creativity, but with her craft-industry knowledge and savvy social media skills. So, it is no surprise that she has a new book, Craft Your Stash. I attended a book release party last weekend for her fabulous book and took some photos of her always fun and imaginative creations.craft your stash book

Craft Your Stash 1

Craft Your Stash 4

Craft Your Stash 3

As I come from a graphic design background, I am always excited to see how artists use print materials to express their style. Let’s just say that Lisa totally rocks in this arena.

Craft Your Stash 2

Not only does she take full advantage of her crafty skills, she also adds personality to  her projects with her tools! Check out her playful round business cards made from a die cut machine–I want some of my own!!!

Craft Your Stash 5

Oh, and did I mention she is witty?

Hoard Your Stash

So now that I have introduced you to Lisa Fulmer, be sure to visit on Friday when we are a stop on the Craft Your Stash Book Tour !

Craft Your Stash Book Cover

See you soon,

Pati Signature

SHWS Guest Kim Buteau Adds Halloween Witch-Craft To Our Quilt-Along

IMG_0342
Zweena, the Zombies and Posies Mascot

I am happy to introduce our guest this week, Kim Buteau. I have known Kim for a few years now. Come to think of it, I believe it was in a class I taught on a Halloween project that I first met Kim. Little did I know what a Halloween fanatic she was! Kim loves, loves, loves, Halloween!!! But her talents run far deeper than spiders and cobwebs. Here is a little more that I know about this creative gal.

Kim started rubber stamping and paper arts in 1990 and then began quilting in 1998. She has always been drawn to bright colors. Each time I see her, she is busy working up a new project in her happy color palette, sometimes paper, sometimes fabric . Her sense of humor tends to peek through her work which I think lands somewhere between whimsical and urban. I am so excited to say she is now sharing these creations in her new Etsy store, ZombieandPosies. But more about that later. Welcome Kim! What have you been working on? – Pati

Hello all in the blog world. I am happy to be the guest blogger for the week here on See How We Sew. My name is Kim and I love Halloween, paper arts, and quilting! When my friend Pati Fried told me about the Quilt-Along, I just had to do something with the theme; but applique just isn’t my thing. So I decided to do something with paper and make it a Halloween theme.

IMG_0540

I used a pine frame mirror I bought at Ikea years ago. I painted it with lime green sparkle paint and then used a darker crackle green paint over the top.

IMG_0541 2I distressed it with black ink along the edges and over the body of the frame.

IMG_0544 2

I die cut circles and leaves from Halloween themed scrapbook paper and made the flowers. Then I distressed the edges with black ink.

IMG_0543 2
I adapted the layout of the wreath block to fit onto the square frame format and added a purple spider for some fun!

Beauty Shot

Loving Halloween and paper arts has led me to start an Etsy Store called ZombiesandPosies. Join me on Friday and I will show you more of my Halloween creations and a bit about the shop mascot, Zweena Zombie! Link to Etsy Store: ZombiesandPosies.

See you Friday! – Kim Buteau

Blackbirds and Blossoms Oh-La-La!: Embroidery Tips

If you are joining us in making the Quilt-Along, you may find the following tips helpful when attaching the birdhouse opening (circles) and blackbirds to the corner birdhouses.  The template patterns for both shapes are included in the Pattern Pages.  If you are new to our site, it’s not too late to start as you will find all instructions included in the Pattern Pages.

bird1

I used a fusible web product (there are many available) to secure the shape to the background fabric. Then, I stitched around the edges of the shapes and added the details (eyes & wings) with hand embroidery stitches. Either embroidery floss (2 strands) or perle cotton will work well in this application. I opted for perle cotton as I like the heavier look it provides and it also forms a nice edging along the outline of the shapes.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1/4 yard of fusible web

Embroidery needle

Perle cotton, No. 8 or embroidery floss (I used perle cotton)

Small embroidery scissors

Marking pencil to transfer stitching lines

1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the fusible web to trace, cut, and attach the circles and birds to the Birdhouse blocks.

2. Use a decorative embroidery stitch, such as a blanket stitch, as shown, to secure the edges of the shapes to the background fabric.

Birds7

3. Lightly mark the stitching lines onto the right side of the birds. Then stitch along the lines with a decorative stitch such as the stem stitch, as shown here.

Birds8

4. The beak, legs, and feather lines were stitched with long basting-type stitches.

bird6

That completes the Birdhouse blocks. Be sure to check back for final assembly instructions.

Just a reminder that Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA is coming up in just a few short weeks. If you are in the area, sure hope to see you there!

Dates & Places-J:  Quilting in the Garden 2014

Happy stitching everyone!

L1-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackbirds and Blossoms Oh-La-La! Quilt-Along: The Birdhouse Blocks

This week it’s my turn to share my contribution to our Quilt-Along project, Blackbirds and Blossoms, Oh-La-La! If you have been following along with us, these pieces will complete the center of the quilt top. If you are newcomer to this fun group project, it’s certainly not too late to start. All of the instructions can be found in our Pattern Pages. Please join the fun!

Birdhouses complete our Quilt-Along.
The Birdhouses to complete our Quilt-Along.

I was given the task of designing a block for the corners of the quilt. The center floral designs seemed to call for the addition of birds. With this in mind, the idea of creating birdhouses to fit into the corners provided the perfect setting for a quartet of simple, whimsical birds. This is a super-easy-to-construct birdhouse block and it adds a nice corner element to the center floral medallion.

Here’s what you will need to make four Birdhouses:

House front: Four 6-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ pieces

House top: One 11-1/4″ square. Cut the square twice into quarters diagonally to yield four triangles.

Roof: Two 1-3/4″ x 42″ strips. Cut the strips to make four 1-3/4″ x 9-1/4″ pieces and four 1-3/4″ x 10-1/4″ pieces.

Background: Two 13″ squares. Cut each square twice into quarters diagonally to yield eight triangles.

Cut pieces for Birdhouses.
Cut pieces for Birdhouses.

Construction:

1. Sew a Background triangle to each short side of the House Front pieces, aligning the bottom edges.

2. Use your cutting tools to remove the excess Background and straighten the top edge, as shown.

Birdhouse1

3. Sew a 1-3/4″ x 9-1/4″ piece  of Roof fabric to one short side of the House Top triangle. Then use the 45-degree angle marking on the ruler to cut the excess fabric even with the bottom edge of the House Top.

Birdhouse2

4. Sew a 1-3/4″ x 10-1/4″ piece of Roof fabric to the adjoining short side of the House Top triangle. Then use the 45-degree angle marking on the ruler to cut the excess fabric, as shown. This completes the top half of the Birdhouse.

Birdhouse3

5. Join the top and bottom sections together, matching seams where the House Front and House Top pieces intersect.

Birdhouse4

6. Press the seam in the direction of the bottom half of the birdhouse.

Easy enough? Yes, of course! Please join me on Friday as I give instructions and hints for adding the Birdhouse opening as well as the birds.

Until next time, enjoy!

L1-Signature

 

 

 

 

Under Wraps: A Peek at a Summertime Fabric Fling

Fabric-J:  Gelato ombre Schenck
A lovely pink ombre from the Gelato series offered by E.E. Schenck.

Like last week’s guest blogger Christine Barnes, I too have a strong liking for ombre fabric. While I absolutely love Christine’s deft hand with color and value play as she builds her blocks, my typical take on ombre is to use it to make flower petals for dimensional applique.

Project-J:  Blossom made of color-changing fabric
I cannot remember where I bought this perfect flower-making print, but I wish I had a bolt!

Clever cuts of fabric can yield petals kissed by sunlight at the tips and darker shadows where the petals grow from the flower stems (or the reverse as shown above). Or, also beguiling, bi-color petals which can be folded and shaped to form realistic flower buds.

Project-J:  Rosebud
Although hard to discern the value differences, this rosebud is made from one ombre fabric.

That’s been my recurring task for much of the summer:  cutting and sewing petals and leaves. No, not 90 days of flower making 24/7–I’m not that insane–a few hours here and there over three months preparing to make a dimensional appliqué floral still life.

Project-J:  Using ombre fabric to make blossoms
Blossoms made from red and pink ombre fabrics–the same pink featured in the rosebud.

Some quilting projects are piecing extravaganzas:  pedal to the metal, innumerable passes of a rotary cutter through fabric, and sweating over a steaming iron. That’s not my way with dimensional appliqué quilts. The grueling part is the preparation–composing the still life is almost anti-climactic. Gotta say I’m about to take on that challenge; after weeks of labor I’m ready to roll.  (But not ready to share yet–stay tuned!)

Congratulations to Monica, the winner of the giveaway goodies from Christine Barnes.

J-Signature

 

 

 

An Indie Modern Quilt Group Takes on a Color Challenge

As promised in Tuesday’s post, here are the fruits of the recent creative labor of Indie Modern Quilters, Danville, CA. You’ll recall that the group explores modern quilting. Meetings take place every first Thursday of the month at Wooden Gate Quilts to chat about projects, take on challenges, and share a love of quilting.

2014-07-28 13.23.31

In the first challenge each member created small quilts with a modern twist using a limited color palette. The variety of interpretations was really interesting and a lot of fun to see. They are on display at Wooden Gate Quilts, but we’ve got photos here at SHWS for you to enjoy.

Kerry Reed          Patty Flynn

Sandra Chan Brown (2) (1)   Sandra Chan Brown (2)

Catherine Jarett    Gina Chang

Kim ButterworthKim Buteau

Linda Harding    Carol Roach

Judy Miller     Tracy Allen

H.J. Martin      Pati Fried

Teresa Zaste     Mary Tigert

Signature Cropped

L1-SignatureJ-Signature

 

Status Update:  Indie Modern Quilters Stretch Their Wings—Maybe You’d Like to As Well?

Some months ago, blogging sis Pati sent out query to quilters in our geographic area to gauge interest in forming an Indie Modern quilting group. As luck would have it, there was an enthusiastic response plus a quilt-shop owner who wanted to host regular get-togethers. We thought it would be a good time to update our readers about their activities—you might find a good model for a starting your own Indie Modern group in your own area.  ♥ Jennifer ♥

Setting Up an Indie Modern Group:  One Group’s Adventure

I have been a member of the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years now, and one of the things that repeatedly caught my attention was the curiosity and interest in the Modern Quilting movement in its neighboring county, but no resulting push to establish another guild.  Each time someone asked me about my guild, they lost interest when considering traveling to Berkeley or the Peninsula for regular meetings. That all changed once I spoke to Gina Chang, the new owner of Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA.  We decided to create an opportunity to gather enthusiasts once a month and to see where our efforts would lead us. I opted to call the gathering Indie Modern Quilters because I didn’t want to limit the group in any way and to encourage independent thinking and out-of-the-box-creativity.

The turnout was great for that first meeting and for each since! Typically, we start with a social hour/shopping, move on to a member’s tips-and-tricks segment, and then finish with Show-and-Tell.  As a new group, we are having fun creating something that fits everyone’s hopes and interests—and getting to know each other as well. After discussing our preferences, we decided that we don’t want to be a guild or a drop-in, but we would like to meet monthly as a group of like-minded quilters. We are slowly defining what we would like an Indie Modern Quilt Group to be!

2014-07-28 13.23.18

I am excited to announce that Wooden Gate Quilts has scheduled some dates this Fall for Indie Modern Sew Day drop-ins. Other items on our Wish List are field trips and weekend retreat getaways.  And of course, more challenges and projects to explore. Feeling independent? Give our group a spin! – Pati

The first group challenge was to create a small quilt in a modern style using only the colors in a selected paint chip sample, along with one tint + white, as a color palette.

different-colors_300

The little quilts are beautiful! Wooden Gate Quilts graciously offered to host a mini quilt show of the work–they look wonderful hanging together!

2014-07-28 13.23.31

Don’t live in the area? No worries! Stop by SHWS on Friday and we will share all the wonderful quilts from the Indie Modern Color Challenge. For locals, Gina’ll give you a sneak peek if you stop by!

2014-07-28 13.27.35