The annual event, Quilting in the Garden, was held a few weeks back. Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA. hosts this wonderful quilt show. If you have followed our blog for a while, you know that we have covered many of the past shows. It is a gorgeous venue of quilts hanging in majestic oak trees at a beautiful nursery, filled with fall festivities.
Quilting in the Garden also hosts classes the week before the show, with some truly talented quilt teachers. This year, Laura and I (along with a few of our quilty friends), were fortunate enough to take a hand embroidery workshop with the very talented Debby Schnabel.
Let’s just digest that for a moment. An embroidery class, with a talented teacher, filled with classmates that were our quilty friends, doing handwork, at a quilt show venue, in a beautiful nursery, that just happens to be filled with massive old oak trees – on a gorgeous fall day.
Terri Carpenter, longarm quilter of Hello Stitch, played with some improvisational clamshells.
My table mate and good friend, Karen McArdle, took her project on a plane ride the next week, finished it up, and gave it as a gift! Lucky recipient!
Laura’s table mate, Linda Lambert worked on this whimsical little project. Here’s the cheery piece Alex Anderson was working on.
I decided to play with paisley’s and background texture. My 1st paisley was a bit lopsided, but I figured it out on the second one!
Laura made this sweet vine and berries piece. She was so inspired that she pulled out some of her favorite embroidery books. Any of these look familiar?
Some times you just need a bit of inspiration to look at an old favorite craft in a new light. Something you did 10 years ago may take on a whole new look with what you are inclined to do today. I know it really got the ideas flowing for me! I can’t wait to incorporate this in a new project!
Hope this inspires you to pick up a needle and thread and do a bit of play yourself!
In past years, January has always been my catch up month. Not this year! I have been in a whirlwind since I shouted “Happy New Year!” a few weeks back. I have been on both a quilt retreat and an art retreat, met and spoke with 2 wonderful guilds at their monthly meetings, and then jumped on a plane to Mexico. As you are reading this, I am hoping to be causally sipping a margarita on a warm and sandy beach. Aaaah! Writing this post gives me a chance to reflect on the past year, and draw a few plans and goals together for me in 2017.
2016 was quite a year for me, with many firsts. I started the year out with a few days at Craft Napa 2016. I used the time to dig in to my creative side. I made a conscious effort to map out what was important to me, and permit myself to say no to anything that I had not enjoyed in the past year.
It was a great decision and made for a year of inspiration and adventures. I followed politics closer than I ever had before. I began speaking and teaching workshops to guilds. I was honored to be invited as the featured artist at a guild quilt show. I spent an inspirational month travelling in Italy. I made many new friends and reconnected with old friends. All in all, it was a glorious year. It is interesting for me to consider how my design work was influenced by my escapades.
Fabric “post its” are being added every day by friends, family (or anyone that wants to contribute) and will eventually cover the entire quilt. Heartfelt and positive thoughts, quotes and comments have become the overlying theme of this project. I have a stack of notes to add when I return home. If it gets too full, I will simply make another wall!
2017 is off to a great start in my little quilty world. I can’t wait to share those adventures with you! See you soon!
I can hardly believe that it’s 2017. And that it’s almost February! Sometimes I feel like life has a fast forward button and things go by in a blink.
I found a few themes when looking through the work I did in 2016. One is that I didn’t finish very many quilts! The other is that one quilt commanded most of my time, and it was worth every minute I spent on it. I’ve always been a big fan of applique, but never liked the time it took to needle-turn applique. I still am sitting on one needle-turn project that I started 2 years ago on my honeymoon!
Enter the Dutch Darlings quilt pattern from Cristy Creates. I had seen it pop up on Instagram a few times and when she called for pattern testers I had to reach out.
I just love how it turned out. Here’s a closeup of the quilting: I did this on the longarm and loved playing with the negative space.
Here’s my Meadow quilt (with a terrible photo) that finally got finished in 2016 also. This one lives at my mom’s house now. She saw it and loved it so I sent it home with her. I took the Meadow Quilt class from Lizzy House when I first moved to the Bay Area 4 years ago, and it sat in a little pile for years. Good thing quilting is not a sprint!
After all of the work on patterned quilts, I had to cleanse my pallet with a little improv. This first one is called Flower in a Square and I posted about it in on Darci Sews if you want to head over and read about it.
This purple quilt is the last finish of 2016 for me, and I challenged myself with this one. Purple is one of those colors that just doesn’t pull me, but I ended up with a lot of it in my solid stash so I gave it a go.
I really like how the quilting on this one turned out. I tried to move out of the lines made by the piecing and make the quilting improv-style also. I like where it ended up, but think I could have pushed it a little further.
I’m sure I missed a few, and I also quilted lots of quilts for other people this year, so this just a sample of what I worked on last year. One of the goals I have this year is to document my finishes more! Joining the See How We Sew ladies surely will help with that. I’d love to hear about your 2017 quilty goals. What’s inspiring you?
Since you already have access to the instructions to make the blocks, thanks to Janome, I thought we might discuss some tips for designing with solid fabrics. Because most quilt fabric companies now offer their own signature line of solids, there are so many options available to us, that it can be a bit daunting to know where and how to begin. So, let’s do that – start at the beginning.
When the fabric first arrived in the mail for our 100 Blocks project, Laura and I had a tough time deciding how to ration out our stash. Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture Fabrics are, as you may know by now, some of my favorites. I love the saturated colors, the wide range of color options and the oh-so soft hand of the fabric, which make it really enjoyable to work with. But, it was still a challenge to commit to a color palette for our blocks. We were working at a cutting table that happened to be holding a beautiful display of gladiolas. I looked up and realized that our color palette was right there in front of me in nature’s display!
It’s not always that easy, though. So, read on for a few great tips. Once you have omitted the need to balance the scales of prints, you will see that you have opened up so many opportunities to new design possibilities! But balance is still the operative word. The balance of color, texture, proportion and warmth in choosing solid fabrics are a key part of your design. Here are our tips – choose one or all, but be mindful of all of them as you work through your design.
Top 10 Tips for Quilt Designs with Solid Fabrics
1. Consider starting with an inspiration piece.This could be anything from a photograph to a ceramic pot, or a historical quilt. You are looking for something that inspires you emotionally, not literally. Draw from the color combinations that are used.
2. Be aware of texture, sheen and weave in the solids you are choosing. It may be a simple answer to choose from the same manufacturer’s line for consistency. But by mixing it up a bit in these three areas, you may be adding depth and interest to your final work. Check out all your options at your favorite quilt shops.
3. Choose a minimal color palette to create elements with striking graphic design. Consider the one and two color historical quilts and the strong graphic elements that they evoke. Think of the overall impact of the finished quilt and don’t get caught up in focusing on just the individual blocks.
4. Choose a multi-color palette to create a dynamic and exciting overall design. Or as, Gianni Versace once said, “less is a snore.” A multi-colored print is a great place to draw color inspiration from. Use the colored dots on the selvedge to shape your color palette. These are the manufacturer’s registration marks and are usually tried and true. Now, take a moment and look at the amount of each color used in the fabric design. Read on to # 5 . . . .
5. Explore proportions. You can control the interaction of color choices by size and placement. Solid fabrics have a greater visual impact than prints. Manipulate this with the interaction of large and small elements to create drama and effect.
6. Rely on the rules of color theory – Just as with prints, be aware of balancing the amount of light, medium and dark colors you choose. You will find solids in every hue, value, tint and shade.Line your stash up in a manageable order by one of these categories. Move them around, tweak the order and placement. Make sure that they all play well together.
7. Be aware of saturated colors vs. non-saturated colors. Saturation offers wide range of impact and can also play an important role in the final results. Use a large amount of a strong color for a wow factor, or just add a sliver of an unusual color for accent or interest.
8. Combine warm colors with cool colors.Warm colors tend to advance, while cool colors recede. Think of designing a room in your home. Would you be happy with a completely cool, blue bedroom? Adding a lavender lamp to your bedside may give just the touch of warmth needed. How about a sumptuous red dining room? A slate blue vase might be the perfect accent to offset the warm reds.
9. Add a repeating neutral to bring cohesiveness to the design-even if your neutral is red or turquoise. It will give consistency and flow to a busy design.
10. Consider negative vs. positive space. This could be a complete topic on it’s own . . . but in short, use negative space to your advantage, allowing a resting place between solid color elements. This allows each element and color to be appreciated. I think of it as the difference between a photo collage on a refrigerator vs. choosing a few precious photos to frame and hang on the wall. Each is wonderful in it’s own way, but you are looking at the refrigerator as one big photo essay, and the wall as individual moments in time.
Congratulations go to MoeWest, the winner of a copy of Laura’s book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!, third edition. Laura will be in contact with you shortly to arrange shipping.
Laura and I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with peace, happiness and love. We will see you back here in 2016 for another year of fun with See How We Sew!
Years ago, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. As most of us would, I just wanted to fix things. make things better. Do something. There wasn’t a lot I could do to help. I had just finished contributing a block for a healing hands quilt to be given to someone in my quilt group that was battling with cancer. I knew that I needed to make a healing hands quilt for my friend Jodi. I like to think of this as Chapter 1 to my story.
I gathered her family and many, many friends and had them choose a fabric from a collection I had put together. They drew their hand prints on paper, which I transferred to fabric for raw edge applique. They also wrote notes filled with love and well wishes, which were added in later near each hand.
It was important for me to find a unique and artful way to display the many loving hands I had collected for my warrior friend. The hands eventually found their way into an unending circle with the notes of love weaving throughout their fingers.
Jodi loved the quilt. It travelled to chemotherapy with her every week, where she shrouded herself under it, like a big hug from all her friends and family. She is now 6 years cancer-free and the quilt now resides, center stage on her bed, continuing to cover her each night with the love of her friends and family.
Then there is a Chapter 2. . . . I wrote a lot about Jodi’s quilt and other community minded quilt projects on my own blog, PatiFried.com/healing-hands-quilt as I was working on them.During this time, I received an email from a reader, wanting to make the quilt for her brother fighting cancer. I happily shared all my tips and tricks with her. She created a lovely quilt for her brother and announced that he was on the way to recovery!
A few weeks ago, I got a call from Cynthia, who had known my friend Jodi for many years more than I had. “Pati, someone I know has just been diagnosed with cancer. Would you consider making a quilt like Jodi’s for my friend Brit?” she asked. Here was my chance to prove that a non-quilter could tackle this project. I answered, “No, but I would be happy to help YOU make it!” There was a long pause of silence, and then she replied, “But, I don’t know how to quilt.” I just smiled and said,”I know.”
And so we have Chapter 3 – Over the past few weeks, I have been coaching Cynthia with all the steps involved before a single stitch is placed. She gathered fabrics that she felt reflected her friends life and interests. She called out to family and friends to collect hand prints, notes, and fabric choices. She did a wonderful job. I loved watching the project evolve.
Now it was time for me to help. We determined the layout, tweaking the hands and fingers to give movement and flow. After fusing everything in place, I stitched around each hand with a buttonhole stitch. It was time to add a border. Cynthia said she had been looking for fabric that would reflect the time her friend spent in Italy every year, but couldn’t find anything. Well, it just so happens that I had designed a line of fabric years ago that was inspired by Italian pottery. I ran to the basement and pulled out my old stash – it was the perfect finish to her creation. Next it was off to the longarm quilter.
Kathy August did a wonderful job of quilting. The echo design in the quilting actually leaves an opportunity to add more notes if wanted.
In the center of the quilt, “B” for Brit is surrounded with well-wishes from friends and family. The notes are lovely and the hands have such creative and thoughtful poses.
And so, another chapter is completed. Brit’s Quilt is finished and has been given to Brit. I have received a few emails from her friends and family thanking me for my part. I am so proud of Cynthia for tackling this project. She did an awesome job!
I don’t know Brit, but I do know a lot of people that love her. I wish her good health during her journey.
This is a photo of our muse, Jodi’s Quilt, from Chapter 1. It is now about 7 years old and still loved daily.
And this is the Chapter 2 quilt. The one that my blog follower, Pamela Kersey, made for her brother. What a lovely quilt! And what a lovely family!
On Friday, I am going to share a story of another quilt that was given with hopes for healing. It is a very special story involving our own Laura Nownes and her dear friend Diana McClun. They teamed up to make a quilt that has had an incredible journey. I can’t wait to share the story with you!
We have a winner! The lucky winner for Laura’s giveaway last week is Kathe L. Congratulations Kathie! Laura will be emailing you soon.
I am so happy to announce today that my new Craftsy class, “Improve Your Quilts – 37 Troubleshooting Techniques” is live. I am grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey but especially to my very talented production team for making this dream a reality.
Here they are, my Dream Team! This photo was taken at the end of three long days of filming. The are such fun loving and positive troopers. I truly loved working with them. We called this “the wrap” What better way to wrap up a class then with the sampler quilt made in 1988 for my first book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!?
From the moment I entered the studio and was given my own dressing room, and
a makeup artist, my experience was nothing but positive! Thank you sweet Danica, for making me look my best!
Appearing natural in front of a room full of cameras can be a bit intimidating, so my thoughtful producer, Lori put a photo of my “special students” onto the teleprompter to help keep me calm and focused. How sweet is this?
During this class, you’ll discover an array of tips and tricks no quilter should be without. We’ll dive in with the first step for every quilt project: the fabric! I’ll share helpful strategies for selecting harmonious color palettes, incorporating value and contrast, and even fixing fabric that bleeds. You’ll also learn how to improvise if you run out of fabric, and how to include seam allowances when fussy cutting. Plus, I’ll reveal my go–to sources for inspiration — they’re sure to spark your imagination, too!
Each Craftsy class includes video lessons that you can access anytime, anywhere. They include close-up instruction and I am always there to answer any questions.
Without further ado, please enjoy this class trailer.
Of course, a BIG thanks to all of you for your continued support of my work. The lucky winner of this class, selected by Craftsy, has been notified. To all of my other readers, here is a link for my new class. In case you missed it the first round, my Craftsy 2013 Free Block of the Month class is still available. You can access it by simply clicking on the image in the sidebar.
ALL good things going on here . . . just super busy. So much so, that I really have not had time to share with you all the exciting details of this past month. Here’s a quick recap, hoping you enjoy!
Last week, my dear Diana McClun and her two daughters hosted a beautiful bridal shower for my daughter, Sara. Diana knew that last year Sara put in her request for a blue and white Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Diana also knew that although my heart wanted to make this quilt for Sara, I was over-the-top busy with a new Craftsy class (more later) and wedding prep, and as a result, I put the quilt project on the back burner. Diana stepped in and with a lot of help from her friends, this is what Diana surprised ALL of us with at the shower! Yes, even I didn’t know this was being made.
Diana says they worked feverishly and completed the quilt in 15 hours!
While Diana and friends were busy making the quilt, I was happily making 16 table runners and 144 cupcakes for the upcoming big event.
Vanilla, chocolate, carrot and lemon. My girls and I had a full day of baking and decorating. Not only was it so much fun, they were a huge hit.
The wedding took place last weekend at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, CA. It was truly a magical day, with the ceremony at the gazebo in front of the beautiful Victorian Patterson House Mansion. The elaborate Victorian gardens provided the setting for the reception. Way too much delicious food and lots of dancing kept everyone warm and happy. We could not have asked for a better day and most importantly, it was everything Sara had dreamed it would be.
Now on to some more exciting news-
My NEW Craftsy class will be available on May 22nd! I’m so excited about this one as it is packed with lots of helpful tips and hints for improving your quilt making skills. If you haven’t yet visited the Craftsy website, please be sure to do so. There are an abundance of classes for all levels and styles of quilt making. Once you have purchased a class, it is yours FOREVER . . . and you can access it anytime.
The Craftsy team is offering my class to one of our readers so please take a minute to follow this link for a chance to win my class for free! As soon as Craftsy selects the winner, I will announce it in a future post. Don’t miss this opportunity. I would love to have you join my classroom!
Looks like it’s my turn to wax nostalgic. Last week, my Friday class of 10 students met for brunch to bid our farewells to one of our dear friends, Rosalie. After spending the first 84 years of her life in California, she is now moving to Hawaii to be with her only daughter and family. Although we are delighted that she will be close to her family, we are saddened to see her leave. Wanting to gift her with something meaningful from all of us, we came up with the idea of making a yoyo lei; so perfect for her new home on the big island.
When we arrived at the restaurant, the yo-yos were placed into a small basket. During brunch, the basket was passed around and one by one we strung the yo-yos. It was such a lovely gathering of friends, remembering . . . .
the special moments we shared together over the past 10 years,
the many friendships that were formed,
Rosalie’s joyful spirit and contagious giggle,
her love of quilting and sharing stories of her dear grand dog, Finnegan,
and the day we named her our team captain. You see, we often took breaks during class to shoot baskets on the basketball court next door to our classroom. As hard as we tried, no one could complete with our Rosalie! Here’s a photo of her with her jersey. She says it’s time to pass the torch. However, we must come to Hawaii to claim the title and the jersey! I see a trip in my future.
When the final yoyo was attached, the ends were joined and then placed over the head of our special guest of honor. The expression on her face says it all.