Candace Kling, Masterful Manipulator of Fabric & Ribbon–Giveaway Today!

Good enough to eat? Candace Kling's delicious "Eye Candy" may fool you, but the confections are made of fabric!
Good enough to eat? Candace Kling’s delicious “Eye Candy” may fool you, but the confections are made of fabric!

I don’t think it’s a secret here at the blog that I’ve got a case of floral love. I’ve a habit of posting flower photos when I blog and dancing around blossomy themes and colors in much of my work. Which makes me think you’re not going to be shocked when I reveal that my fave crafting book is about flowers.Giveaway-Gold

Do you know The Artful Ribbon by Candace Kling from C&T Publishing? Not only do I have an update on Candace’s further flower adventures here, but she gave me an autographed copy of The Artful Ribbon as a giveaway to one of our readers! (See details below.)

Book-J:  The Artful Ribbon by Candace Kling

Isn’t that book cover spectacular?

Lucky for me, Candace lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She joined me for lunch last Friday and, even better, she invited me to her studio so I could see her handiwork LIVE!

Pansies and fuchsia
Pansies and fuchsia made with fabric and ribbon

Reading The Artful Ribbon was transformative to me. I poured over its pages and experimented here and there with her flower-building instructions. Did I become a fabulous hat or dressmaker as a result? Nah, I just had a heck of a great time playing with ribbon and embellishing handmade decor. Nonetheless, apprenticing to Candace via her book taught me much about translating the natural world into sewn form.

Inspiration-J:  Candace Kling's flowers
The rosy nosegay shows her incredible skill with “sculpting” floral shapes, the tiny flowers show her dexterity.

Meeting her turned out to be somewhat life changing as well. I set out to interview a renowned craftswoman, but I walked away with incalculable insight into creating floral artwork. A long-time teacher, imparting know-how is as natural as breathing to her—even her hands speak as she describes sculpting petal-like shapes from ribbons and fabric.

Inspiration-J:  Candace Kling's flowersCandace is a child of the Sixties; actually, she’s a true flower child who is Bay Area born and raised. While she has formal training from leading art schools in drawing, fashion design, and costuming, what she knows about embellishments she gained first by working in an East Bay vintage clothing store called Bizarre Bazaar (Facebook link) as a seamstress and then by studying the collections of leading museums and private collectors.

At that time, BizBaz was the locus of heavy trading in garments of all 20th century decades, some even earlier. The shop was hands-on learning of the best sort because Candace tailored and fit the vintage garments for the buyers who wore them out into the world. The museum wares she studies even now are handled very gently and worn only by mannequins on the rare occasion of a public exhibit and are otherwise strictly hands-off.

Inspiration-J: Candace Kling's cockades etc.
Intricately folded cockades perfect for finely tailored clothing

Her renown as a resource about vintage clothing and embellishment, and her growing skill at ribbon work, helped her build a very busy schedule of teaching and lecturing opportunities that continues today. It turns out that ribbon work is a skill that crosses many disciplines so Candace can bring her expertise to the widest range crafters from milliners to interior designers and costumers. She teaches actively in Northern California at guilds and shops like The Ribbonerie and The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco and travels outside of California to other venues as well. Visit her website for her teaching schedule.

I was so dazzled by our visit that I realized I couldn’t possibly fit everything I wanted to cover in one post. On Friday we’ll visit Candace’s studio to see recent work and other wonders. That means the turnaround for the giveaway will be super quick. Leave me a comment by this Thursday, January 24 and I’ll announce a winner in my Friday post.

Inspiration-J:  Candace Kling box of confections
“Eye Candy” by Candace Kling–visually appetizing and easy on the waistline

FYI: Visit Candace’s website and/or find the resource page at the back of The Artful Ribbon if you have questions about resources for ribbons and embellishments.

See you Friday!


Radically Ruched Roses, a FREE Quilt Pattern!

Original inspiration for Radically Ruched Roses plus a feature in Elle Decor with similar blossoms by Sonia Delaunay

Remember my mathematically themed post from June 24th—The Algebra of Quilting? As promised, I’m offering an “official” pattern for my Radically Ruched Roses quilt today! Just click this FREE Pattern link to find the downloadable PDF.

Here’s your caveat emptor:  As Radically Ruched Roses is not a pattern for sale, I didn’t go all crazy with details like bias-strip and ruching how-tos; just wing it, you’ll do fine.

Google is a terrific resource for instructional videos, but you should know our own Laura Nownes has a bias tape how-to in the works. So check back to see if Laura’s added her video to our library.

Radically Ruched Roses visits the ever-inspiring Florali, a stellar local florist.

Even though I try to be forward-thinking when trolling for quilting inspiration, I do re-explore well-trodden paths as I did with this new rosy quilt. I can’t seem to shed a design aesthetic that a clever Scotsman named Rennie Mackintosh expounded in the latter days of the nineteenth century. There’s so much about the Glasgow Style that I like (clearly the roses!) that I find myself constantly noticing Mackintosh riffs in textile arts and home décor. Plus I keep making iterations of squiggle roses. Why not?  They’re pretty!

If you want to take a look at his aesthetic, leaf through Rennie Mackintosh Inspirations in Embroidery by Scottish writer and needle artist (and jewelry maker, BTW), Dorothy Wood for a terrific look at Mackintosh’s roses, among some of his other well-known design motifs. Not only does Dorothy explore his style, she also offers contemporary interpretations in project form.

Seems like I’m not alone in my Scottish fascination because this week, The Quilt Life blog is taking a trip to Scotland and features an image of Radically Ruched Roses. My original Scottish Rose quilt pattern, which was my first take on a Rennie Mackintosh rose, is available as a pattern in the August issue currently on the newsstands.

Predictably, I close with yet another floral still life. Hey, if someone gives me flowers, as did my friend Laurelle with roses from her bountiful garden, I feel obliged to share the beauty via a photo. Not only heavenly in form, but in aroma as well! Also, take a gander at the Florali website for truly wondrous floral stylings by a talented mother and son duo.

The “Algebra” of Quilting

Detail from "Radically Ruched Roses."

Do you ever think that designing quilts is like solving an algebraic equation? It’s probably insane for a math-phobic soul like me to suggest such a thing, but I swear it’s true. Look, you’ve got a bunch of variables to solve before you can create the quilt you’re mulling over in your head. There’s the idea, fabric, design plan, technique, execution, quilting, and finishing. Get all those elements lined up and you’ve got a quilt.

So that’s i + f + dp + t + e + q + f = QThat’s Algebra–right?

The challenge is getting all the variables to add up properly, which takes research, drafting/ redrafting, and best of all, a few fabric shopping excursions. You might audition an idea for a while and then drop it after you test a variation. Hey, you’re doing math by solving for the unknowns! Back and forth you go—perhaps sidetracked by other things and projects—and sometimes, years later, everything falls into place and Eureka! Equation solved!

Spiraling roses in my sketch and a feature in a recent Elle Decor with similar blossoms by Sonia Delaunay.

That happened to me recently.  Remember that workroom cleanup I mentioned last month?  Well, I found a sketch I’d drawn from when I was developing ideas for a proposal that eventually yielded my book, A Dozen Roses: Beautiful Quilts and Pillows, from Martingale & Company (co-authored with Catherine Comyns).

The idea for spiraling roses came from a page of beach towel images I’d torn from House Beautiful or some other interior design magazine—sorry I can’t find it to show you. The best one was a blue and white towel with horizontal stripes curling into snail shell shapes.  I saw roses where there were seashells and so I sketched out my idea.

Thoroughly Modern Rosie by Beate Nelleman and pillows from A Dozen Roses: Beautiful Quilts & Pillows

My Danish quilting friend Beate Nelleman took the sketch and developed a quilt pattern for us to include in the book. Her quilt was terrific and a wonderful addition to our collection of projects, but it was her riff on my theme,  not the original idea. Now as I look at my projects included in the book, I can see how I extracted elements from that drawing to use in other ways, but seeing the sketch again prodded me to bring that idea to life in my own way.

So, here’s a peek at Radically Ruched Roses still under construction. Check back in a few weeks for a pattern to download for our regular readers. Mind you, the quilt top does use miles of bias tape, but Elaine Beattie, long-arm quilter extraordinaire, has a suggestion.

Look at the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker/Presser she found included below. My experience is with the Clover bias tape makers.  And, if you don’t want to do any of that, consider giant rickrack and ruched bias tape, but making the bias strips gives you far more color and pattern choice.

Tools for manual method--Clover bias tape makers--or automation via the Simplicity product that feeds and presses the strips.

Just picked up my mail and found the latest issue of The Quilt Life (we’re the article on page 46)–it features my Flower-Powered Quilts special exhibit at the World Quilt Show last November. Wow! It’s such a pretty issue plus you can see the wonderful contributions of my very talented quilting friends (Christie, Darra, and Laura among the contributors).

Keep your eyes open for the August 2011 issue on the newsstand. BTW: Alex Anderson just told me that the magazine is offering an online sneak peek at the issue starting on Monday, June 27 along with a special subscription rate.