A while back, I received a lovely bundle of P&B Textiles to play with. It was perfect timing, because Laura and I were just beginning our exploration with wedge rulers. New fabric and new quilty toys – now what could be better?
For my first project, I started with sewing up selected 2 1/2″ strips from Bella Suede and Suede Medley, along with one sweet little green print from the Blissful Moments line. Since I had no idea where I was going with this, I wanted to stay with a minimal color palette – to keep some control in the design. I chose a light to dark combination in greens and blues that had a gradating effect
Next, I cut my strips to a 20″ width and then proceeded to cut out wedges with a 24 degree wedge ruler that we were experimenting with from Quints Measuring Systems. I alternated up and down, so that I wouldn’t have any waste.
Then I was off to the design wall to see what I could come up with! This is definitely my favorite part of the process.
I liked alternating them, but my wedges seemed to blend into each other too much, so spacing them out helped to emphasize their shape more. Hmmm… That just might work. Now to repeat that for another row.
I added white strips between each wedge to give a crip, clean edge to the layout. .
Finish it off with white setting triangles and some borders. For my setting triangles, I just cut my wedges out of white and then sliced them in half lengthwise.
For quilting, I stitched some simple, straight lines with my walking foot. Almost finished, right?
Well, of course not. While I was quilting, I kept thinking about how cool some “Big Stitch” handwork would look. I could just follow the lines of the fabric strips in some coordinating threads to give it an interesting texture.
So, I guess you won’t be seeing a finished project quite yet. But, the good news is, it’s a beautiful sunny afternoon – I think I will just plop myself down outside and get started on the handwork! Wish you could join me!
I just returned from a quick overnight getaway to one of my favorite places, The Monterey Bay Aquarium. My wonderful husband purchased “Behind the Scenes Tour” tickets for us to get up close and personal with the sea otters. The tour was spectacular, complete with fluffy baby otters. The tour was almost as good as the previous one we took last year on the jellies. I must admit however, the highlight for me was seeing the Giant Pacific Octopus on display in the newly installed Tentacles exhibit. What a fascinating and magestic creature!
Our final walk on the beach this morning gave me the perfect setting to photograph my new beach totebag. My vision for this project was to design a circular beach totebag that would double as a groundcloth. I used the large 36 degree rulers to cut fabric wedges. I doubled alternate spaces creating pockets for holding some beach necessities, such as sunscreen, flip-flops, sunglasses and waterbottles. There would be enough space in the middle of the bag to carry your towel, beach coverup and bikini ; ).
I used Kim Andersson’s new Tidal Lace line by Windham Fabrics and our new Making Waves pattern as inspiration to create a beach ball design on one side of the tote. The opposite side is a solid piece of vinyl covered cotton fabric. Everything was running smoothly until I came to adding the casing to the outer edge of the circle. Notice the rippling in the casing? Ugh!
I’m generally not one to encourage pointing out disappointments, but in this case, I think there are two valuable tips I can share here. First, since I was working on a circular design, the casing strips should have been cut on the bias to prevent rippling. I didn’t have enough of the backing fabric to cut bias strips, so thought I might get away with some wide straight-grain cut strips . . . WRONG! I know better than this ; ). Second, I didn’t have my teflon presser foot with me while sewing on the vinyl fabric. Stitching with my regular foot only contributed to the problem. In an effort to resolve the situation, I put some blue painters tape on the bottom of my regular presser foot. This works in a pinch but I highly recommend using a teflon foot for any serious sewing with these fabrics.
Sooo, not being happy with the end result, I decided to cut off the wobbly casing and attach a new bias cut strip. Finally, I inserted some cording/rope through the opening to create a drawstring strap. Ready to insert all my gear and head off to the beach.
I found a comfortable spot, spread out the tote and began setting up with some goodies purchased in town . . . local wine and Ghirdadelli chocolates!
While I was setting up, I noticed that one of the locals was keeping a close eye on me!
I have a workshop at Broadway Quilts this Saturday, March 14. There are still a few spots open, so if you live local to Sonoma, California, consider joining me. The workshop will be an opportunity for students to explore the traditional designs of Amish quilts and how to draw from their inspiration to develop quilts with a more modern aesthetic. As with most of my classes and workshops, the design wall will play a large part of the process.
We are so fortunate to have Carol Van Zandt, from ThePlaid Portico, share her beautiful photographs with See How We Sew. Last week, Carol was busy snapping photos of the quilts at Quiltcon 2015 in Austin, Texas.
The dust is settling from Quiltcon. Everyone is arriving home and posting lots of wonderful photos of the show, the quilts and the friendships they have nurtured . It was an amazing few days for me and I am so appreciative of all the hard work and talent that went into this event. The quilts were amazing, of course. The lectures were incredibly informative. But, I believe I enjoyed the workshops most of all.
I thought it would be fun to share my experiences with you.
I had signed up for a workshop with the talented Alison Glass. I thought it might be a good idea to “up my game” at embroidery. It has never been my strong suit and I do love me some hand work with pretty colored thread. Alison is such a warm and friendly person and it reflects in her colorful and oh- so-whimsical work. I am always inspired to grab a sketchbook and colored pencils after looking at Allison’s designs.
The project Alison shared with us was a stitched sampler that could be made into a needle book. Sweet, simple images that would allow us the chance to practice stitches that she demonstrated.
She also shared samples in which she added bits of wool applique into her work. This is something I will definitely try. It paired so nicely with the texture of the stitches.
Playing with the beautiful colors of my threads was the best part of the class for me. I kept threading another needle just to try a new stitch in a different color. I had brought some small samplings of Presentia Perle Cotton #8 to work with on the project. I seem to have an embarrassing amount of the thread that I’ve stockpiled for Big Stitch projects. I am so happy to have another use for it.
I didn’t get terribly far, but I feel like I now have the “tools” to go home and practice – oh, along with her book, Alison Glass Appliqué.
As I mentioned in the workshop, my French knots tend to be more like french tangles. Hopefully this will improve now. Thank you Alison for all the wonderful tips. I aspire to create stitches as lovely as yours.
I also took a Screen Printing with Celina Mancurti. Celina was a wonderful teacher and had everyone messing up their manicures in no time! I had done a lot of screen printing in college, but forgot how messy it could be. It all came back quickly once I put that squeegee in my hand.
Celina had a lot of beautiful designs on screens and ready to print. That made it very simple to dive right in and start printing. I chose some lovely images and some muslin and got started. Three little birds, all in a row. Aren’t they lovely?
The student next to me decided to cut her own stencils and was kind enough to let me photograph her work in progress. She was really quick with the Exacto knife!
She whipped out her own original design in no time, then started printing away. Isn’t this great? Love, love, love the bright green on muslin.
By now my birds were somewhat dry, so I chose to add a second color. I liked it so much, I made it twice! I think I will add these to the bottom of some toweling that I bought ages ago and never used. Wow, I actually made something useful!
And then, I discovered the red poppies. And linen. And a very cool graphic element that I printed in black. Sigh. I am so in love with the final result of my poppies.
No idea what I am going to do with it, but would love some suggestions from all of you!
Celina also brought a sprinkling of the beautiful pre-printed linens that she has created. You will find a full line of the pre-printed fabrics, kitchen and table linens available on her website. Be sure to visit her shop at CelinaMancurti.com
As you can see, my workshops were wonderful. It is always great to have the opportunity to be learn a new technique or be inspired by someone else’s creativity. I hope you found a little spark of creativity also.
If you have an idea of what to do with my red poppies, be sure to leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.
It’s been a crazy, busy week here but just want to pop in and share an apron design I made using some new and very large wedge rulers from Quint Measuring Systems, Inc. It’s hard to tell in the photo but the skirt is so cute and swishy when worn. Since I’m a huge lover of all dotted fabrics, this black and white became the perfect choice when combined with the beautiful large scale floral print. It’s super simple and sews up fairly quickly.
Dots and stripes on the backside make this a reversible design. Two in one . . . not bad.
Ok, just one more shot since I couldn’t resist having the adorable Jamie Hirano of Wooden Gate Quilts model the finished product. Love the look on you, Jamie!
Here’s a sneak peek at another wedge project I am working on. Any guesses on what it will be? It was inspired by our new Making Waves quilt pattern. It will be something that can be used along with the quilt. If all goes well, I’ll reveal the completed (not going to tell you) in my next post.
It’s been fun making these easy projects but I’m so anxious to design and make a new quilt. Feel like it’s been way too long. I’ve just not been inspired, until this week when I came across this gorgeous print by M&S Textiles Australia. Yes, it is one piece, NOT pieced. Circles and stripes in jewel tones, oh my! I can hardly wait to get started. I’ll be away teaching at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar next week and hope to find a few minutes in the evening to play and work out some new designs. Fingers crossed.
That’s it for today. Hope wherever you live, you are staying warm and cozy. It’s such a perfect time to be inside working on projects. Take advantage.
Until next time, keep your eyes open for inspiration, it’s everywhere.
As promised, Carol Van Zandt has published the second installment of her photographs from the exhibit currently at the San Jose Quilt Museum called, Amish: The Modern Muse Part II. Click on the link below to view all the wonderful quilts from this exhibit.
Actually, all the answers to last weeks riddle were winners. I was so touched by all the wonderful answers given. Unfortunately, I had to narrow it down to one lucky contributor – Christi. Read her comment and you will understand why she was chosen.
Inspiration! What a timely post to stumble upon today! Thank you! I just got back from Big Sur on Sunday and I’m already missing it so much! We go every year for my birthday (and Carmel, too). Of course, I can’t wait to get in my sewing room after feeling so inspired after spending a few days there. I just adore Nepenthe as well as the Phoenix (and so many other wonderful places in Big Sur). And because of your post, I just had to walk over at lunchtime today to the “The Cook and Her Farmer” for one of Romney’s grilled cheese sandwiches! I had the “Big Sur” and it was delicious! Can’t wait to play with some Kaffe fabrics this weekend. It’s interesting I heard Kaffe speak one time and he said Big Sur didn’t inspire him with the colors…he thought they were very monochromatic….but I think it inspires on a deep spiritual level because it’s so unharnessed and a bit wild! Your imagination is free to experiment and that to me is the essence of Big Sur. – Christi
Thank you all for your participation.I urge everyone to take a moment to go back and read all the fabulous comments from last weeks post, My Nepenthe, A Story, A Riddle and A Giveaway. They were quite inspirational! And yes, inspiration was the answer to my riddle – although, many other comments had answers just as fitting. Don’t give up – there will be lots more giveaways to come.
I want to start with a riddle. Think of this as you read on, and at the end, I will give you an opportunity to answer the riddle for a giveaway!
What do a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?
I feel like I have opened the door to a whole new world this past few weeks.
My husband gave me a beautiful book for Christmas, My Nepenthe, by Romney Steele.
If you live on the West Coast, you may know of the restaurant, Nepenthe. I think of Nepenthe as more of a destination than just a restaurant. For years, my family has been making the drive down the coast to spend a magical day in Big Sur, California. We visit some of the most beautiful coastline available, stroll through majestic redwoods and explore the bohemic lifestyle in this mystical place that inspired artists, writers and creative souls over the years.
But at the end of the day, we always, and I do mean always, stop to visit Nepenthe.
It is the perfect way to end a day in Big Sur.We relax and enjoy the spectacular views, have something to eat, and then search for a special treasure in the gift shop, The Phoenix.
It was on one of my first visits, I looked up at the vaulted ceilings in The Phoenix and noticed quilts hanging from the rafters in all their glorious colors. That is the day I found out Kaffe Fasset‘s family owned Nepenthe.
You would think that being given a beautiful book called My Nepenthe would be a very meaningful gift for me. But it even gets better.
Author Romney Steele is also co-owner of a very special cafe, oyster and wine bar in historic Old Oakland appropriately named The Cook and Her Farmer. My husband eats many of his lunches there, noshing on an extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of savory mussels.
As much as I love the food, I also love simply taking in the atmosphere. Colorful jars of canned goods and bowls of fresh produce line the counters.They convey the spirit of her farm to table principles.
You can pull up a cheery, red stool to the warm, wooden tables for a casual and communal meal.
I am in awe of those able to convey their vision so clearly for others to enjoy. Romney’s bio describes herself as a writer, cook and visual artist. I would agree. Whether I am reading her book, sitting in her establishment or peeking at her blog, there is a vision that she is sharing. It is warm, and colorful, and I enjoy being a part of it.
So all of this leads up to my gift, the book My Nepenthe. A book of stories and tales of Big Sur. It is a story about food, family, how it all unfolds around the table and why that matters. It celebrates the magic and history of the family who started Nepenthe, Romney Steele’s family and yes, the Fassett family.
Ahhh, it’s all coming together, now isn’t it??? Kaffe Fassett is Romney Steele’s uncle!
I am sure many of you have read and loved the autobiography by Kaffe Fassett’s, Dreaming in Colour, which shares his stories of life in Big Sur.
Consider My Nepenthe as part of a series of books. The book is lovely. The stories are wonderful, the visuals are inspiring and the recipes are fresh and unique.
Even the design elements are delightful. Romney used Kaffe Fassett’s ever popular Millefiore design for the spine of the book, along with remnants of her grandmother’s smocks which were scanned and shared throughout the pages. It is so amazing to know a family such as the Fassett family could completely embrace the spirit of creativity.
Aren’t we fortunate that they did?
To end my story, I want to share a excerpt from Romney Steele’s blog,
She writes about her love of cooking in words that resonate with the way I feel about quilting:
“I often turn to cooking when I feel out of sorts, when I feel less than grounded, less than knowing my way. Cooking, like gardening, feels tangible. Whether slicing lemons for a bright marmalade, or turning over the soil to plant spring greens, both feel grounded in my history and in my present–in so much that is healing and gives me joy. Preparing and sharing food creates a feeling of well being, of time well spent and good work done. It’s also deeply meditative, restorative by way of making.” Romney Steele
Thank you Romney. Your words inspire me to be true to myself. To do what I do because it is who I am. But for now, I am yearning for the Big Sur Life and I just want to curl up in some quilts and read all about it!
So, dear readers,
What do a a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?
What do you think they have in common? Leave your answer and share what inspires you as a comment. One of you will win a copy of our newest pattern, Making Waves.