When we moved to Maryland in 2010, my favorite colors became yellow and orange. I fell in love with the colors of spring here. Coming from the desert of Arizona, the happy spring colors became a fast favorite. Once again, we had seasons and something beautiful to look forward to in each season.
In the last maybe three years, peach has really grown on me too. It is a softer version of orange and yellow, you know! Since I use fabric as my main creating medium, I am somewhat limited by what I can create, based on what is availible. For years, you have been able to get lovely pinks and reds. Finding pretty orange, yellow and peach fabrics has been extremely hard. When I saw the newest Tapestry Fabric line from Sharon Holland I knew I needed to get my hands on it. It is the perfect orangy peach. I think some might call it tangerine, but that seems harsh for this lovliness.
Tapestry starts with these lovely soft floral designs in delicate colors. There is a bit of boldness with the Tanger and Earth Mudcloth designs on the bottom row. For more contrast, there are geometric designs like the two middle prints. That is my perfect mix of fabric prints. And of course, the colors are my favorite. I’ve waited a long time for a nice soft grouping of peaches and tangerine colors.
Since my quilt guild friends and I have been playing with the Diabolical Jane design, I decided to make another in a mid mini size. This one I made completely for me. I have a space on my wall where it will reside. I used the same process to sew the segments together. The measurements of my rectangles are 2 1/2 X 6 1/2. The squares are 2 1/2 X 2 1/2. I like the idea of floating the center part of the design on some light peach solid fabric. I think it makes the center design stand out.
Thanks to Sharon Holland for finally making a lovely line with everything I adore about fabric. I’ve already made another purchase to keep these lovelies in my stash.
Do you follow Pat Bravo on Instagram? I do. When I saw her post looking for people to participate in a mini quilt blog hop using some of her new fabrics, I jumped at the chance. I chose to use a sweet bundle of Dare because it had such a great mixture of patterns.
I knew after I saw these lovelies that they were destined for greatness. Yes, I said greatness. My guild mates have been making fantastic quilts using the Diabolical Jane design that they started after seeing something similar in a museum. Jessie and Melinda have already made several Diabolical Janes and I have been looking for the perfect fabrics for a Jane of my own.
The name was Diabolical Jane was chosen because for such simple layout, fabric placement is rather challenging. I thought it would be fun to make my version by highlighting the center of the design and not continuing the blocks all the way through each side. I received fat eighths of the fabric and ran out of the perfect black dot on white background fabric. I decided to supplement alternating sides with the yummy solid in the pack. Since mine is a cute mini, and a little different than the originals, I changed the name to suit this mini a little better: Sweet Baby Jane! I think I always say this, but I kind of love her!
Thanks to Pat Bravo for letting me play along.
Check out these other blogs for more inspiration of the blog hop.
You can search IG for #diabolicaljane to see the adventures so far.
The DCMQG often goes on field trips to different museums and art exhibits in the area. A while ago, they went to the Women’s museum and saw some antique quilts. There was one quilt in particular that many of our members were taken with.
Jessie had worked on her own version. With the recent blizzard, there was a lot of sewing time for many of us. She pulled her beauty out and it sparked Melinda to start her own.
Jane has one of her own in progress too. This links to her IG I’m not sure if she has a blog.
I had a sick little boy and wasn’t able to get any sewing time in. However, I did a mock up to play with color placement. Jane and Jessie are keeping to the original color placement. I’m ok with screwing it up.
There was a bit of back and forth between Jessie, Melinda and I as they were searching for the perfect fabrics and placement for their own version. The name Diabolical Jane came up because it is a simple idea, but the selection of fabrics and placement of said fabrics is a bit of a battle.
Anyway, here is a coloring page I mocked up while sick boy was in my lap. I am sure there are going to be many different variations of this and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Jessie is going to have a tutorial up on her blog at some point.
I tried to come up with something similar to the original value layout here.
And then just some random playing because I like to do this kind of thing.
If you join in on making Diabolical Jane, please make sure you share on IG with #diabolicaljane.
When Pellon asked me if I wanted to play with a new Flex Foam that is **FUSIBLE** I may have wept a little. I mean really, does it get any better than Fusible Flex Foam? I said absolutely yes!
The deets: “Pellon® Flex-Foam™ is a lightweight stabilizer consisting of a layer of foam sandwiched between two layers of soft fabric. It is excellent for use in crafts, accessories, and home décor projects for an elegant finished look. It can be used in place of or in addition to other stabilizers. Flex-Foam is a breeze to sew through and adds shape and body to projects such as computer cases, eyeglass cases, purses, tote bags, cup holders, diaper bags, and more! It is compatible with a wide variety of fabrics. It is available as a sew-in, a 1-sided fusible or a 2-sided fusible. Available 20” on the board and 60” on the roll*. ”
Flex-Foam is a great way to add soft and sturdy support to anything you want to keep it’s shape. And now you can fuse it right to your fabric.
All I could think of was how I could totally eliminate a drop in liner for simple bags and totes. For several nights I couldn’t get the idea of a simple tote made with the 2-sided fusible and bound seams out of my head. Of course, there are a multitude of other uses for the Fusible Flex Foam, but this is the one that instantly piqued my interest. Any small zip bags, basic tote or pouch could fairly easily be made with the Fusible Flex Foam foam and hiding the seams in some binding.
I like the look of quilting on the Flex Foam. I played around a little with some basic tracing of the fabric elements with my hopping foot.
The product sews like a dream. When I was sewing straight stitches, I used my walking foot and used Clover Wonder Clips to hold it all in place instead of pins. Again, with my walking foot it sews beautifully. I like the texture created by sewing on the foam. Since it is fused to the fabric, you certainly don’t need to quilt it, I just liked the look of a patchwork tote. I used a simple shape with curved bottom. The Flex Foam gives great structure to the tote without being hard. You can squish the tote up and it will bounce back into shape.
I love the way my tote turned out. It is simple and yet yummy.
The best part is the lining is perfectly snug against all the sides without any sagging or pulling. And while we are at it, no saggy bottom either! I hate a saggy bottom.
Be sure to check out the other awesome stops on the blog tour! Thanks Pellon for letting me play with more of your awesome products.
I love taking classes from other quilters. I don’t care if it is my “style” they are teaching. I can always learn something new. I honestly think that I get so much more out of the experience of making, when I can make with other makers. In the flesh I feel so connected to something more than just playing with fabric. I also think just watching how other makers make, I always pick up something new.
So fabric designer, artist, quilter, dress maker, person extraordinaire Lizzy House came to our DC area to teach her workshop only Meadow Quilt. It was pretty popular in our area, actually. It quickly grew into 5 or 6 days of workshops as well as a DCMQG sponsored lecture one evening. My friend Pam of Del Ray Fabrics hosted two of the workshops at Fibre Space. Natalie of Finch had two days as well as some of the ladies from our guild had another workshop in Virginia. I can’t remember the name of the location.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the lecture. I really wanted to hear Lizzy’s lecture. I wanted to know more about her story and how she got where she is. I heard it was great though. Not that I’m surprised at all.
Our location was just as adorable as could be. The shop inside was very clean and organized, but still comfy. If only I was a knitter. I would likely visit more often.
I was half an hour late. It was crazy! I had given myself an extra half an hour to get there on time. But DC area traffic being what it is, it took me an hour longer than I expected. (Read two and a half hours for something that should have been one and a half.) As I was driving in, I was contemplating just turning around. For raising a family, we live in a nice rural area. But for getting together with other makers, it just seems so far. A comparison of driving in the LA area and the DC area is likely a good one. It was a nightmare. I’m glad I decided to press on.
By the time I got there, I was embarrassed for being late, and a bit flustered by the drive. Luckily for me, my friend Melinda Quirky Granola Girl had saved me a space. I missed introductions from everyone and particularly Lizzy.
Lizzy was sweet and very knowledgeable! She knows this quilt inside and out. She sat down and actually stitched up the block on a close sewing machine. She was so down to earth and fun.
She makes her clothes too! I don’t know about you, but that is absolutely bonus points in my book. I’m impressed with people that know more than just quilting.
She paused for lots of pictures of each step. Waiting for each person to fully understand each step.
Here she was squaring up my block.
She also previewed her new line. I am so in love with the peachy/orange colors.
When we were done with our sample blocks, she even signed our blocks if we asked her to.
I am so glad I was able to make it to her workshop. She doesn’t sell the pattern, you have to take the workshop to learn how to make it. She finishes up the Meadow Quilt Classes this year I believe.
If you still have openings for this workshop near you, I highly recommend it.
Fast forward to this summer. I was contacted by Henry Glass again and asked if I wanted to participate in a blog hop. Sure. Of course. I am always game to play with fabric.
I present to you my Cascading Star mini quilt. Isn’t she lovely?
They sent me a bundle of Fusion Illusion fabrics from Blank Quilting Corp. (Part of the Jaftex family.) I got to use the bundle and some white textured fabric they sent, to make something for the blog hop. When the fabrics arrived, I knew exactly what I was going to make. This fabric is bright and bold and in a fairly good rainbow variety of colors.
It hangs on my family room wall and I spend a fair amount of time looking at it. When I looked at these interlocking star shapes, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would look like with the legs forming some kind of chain of cascading stars. The interlocking long legs would create a ribbon of stars that meander over a space.
I wanted to keep all the legs of each individual star in the same color so I flipped over alternating legs to use the backside of the fabric to create some dimension. I think it is very subtle but effective in creating distance and dimension. (The leg on the right is the wrong side of the fabric.)
I flipped over some of the background pieces as well, to give a subtle dimension. Then I laid out my stars into individual stars.
I wanted the legs of each star to be varied and wonky, some of the tips missing even. That is a big one for me. I normally like order and perfect points. Since I was playing, I wanted to throw caution to the wind and just explore the shapes.
I had made a mock up of how I wanted the mini to look and specifically which leg needed to be long and touching the next star. I referred to my diagram as I made each star. The colors on the diagram were purposefully done so I could tell which leg was to be with the wrong side of the fabric facing up. Each touching leg is a darker color…right side facing up.
With all the white in the background, I really took time to think about how I wanted to bind this. I didn’t want a bright color to interfere with the edge of the mini.
I figured this was the perfect time to try a faced binding. I love how it turned out.
The faced binding is hand stitched to the back so there are no lines from the front!
I love it and am so glad for the chance to participate in the blog hop celebrating Jaftex.
Now for the fun stuff. Please check out the other blogs for the rest of the month for your chance for some great prizes. Also, if you want to win a bundle of the same fabrics I used, please leave a comment on this blog post. I’m going to put the entries all in a hat and choose one winner October 1st.
Have you heard? We are celebrating the 85th anniversary of Jaftex with a blog hop. I’m stop #3. Jaftex is the parent company of Henry Glass, Studioe Fabrics and Blank Quilting.
My friend Linda Lum DeBono asked me if I wanted to play along and of course I said YES!
They gathered 30 of us to play along. During the month of September you get to see lots of great inspiration and have the opportunity to win some lovely prizes. Stop by and check out the other lovlies this month.
This summer, I went to Utah to visit my grandmother who is turning 90 in October, as well as my baby sister who just had a baby.
I haven’t kept most of the things I’ve made. Once I’m done making anything, I’m ready for my next adventure. I’ve actually given many of the items I’ve made to my grandma. She is probably the person I love most on this Earth. She is who Disney would create if they were creating the perfect grandma. Of course, when I send her something I’ve made, it is my way of expressing love.
My grandma has created every kind of thing you could imagine. She is an incredible painter. She taught me how to sew and make quilts. When I was very young, I also took tole painting with her and my older sister. Grandma is quite the distinguished artist in her own right. I don’t think there is anything she hasn’t made and made well.
While I was visiting her, I looked to find some of the things I’ve made for her, just to visit them. One of the oldest things I’ve made was a cigar box purse with my now 13 year old son’s picture on it. I had taken the picture and then changed it in Photoshop to look like a drawing. It stares at you when you walk into her house! I also specifically wanted to see a yellow Hopscotch quilt I made her as well as a Hexi Window table runner.
I was surprised and delighted with the craftsmanship on the pieces I’d made. Some of them were superb. Some of them, not so much. Let’s talk about the yellow quilt I made. It was pieced extremely well. My points were pretty much spot on. But the quilting. Oh! The quilting! I hadn’t remembered the quilting being so crappy. I checked out a few other pieces I made and in them, was able to see my growth. I’m not even kidding. It was like a report card in a way. I could see the piecing was always pretty good. The quilting started out pretty bad and ended up being pretty good. I could see my own personal evolution and growth in the quilting. My husband wasn’t too pleased to hear me judging and critiquing my own work. But I was delighted to see right in my hands, my growth.
It came right at a time when I was working on another project. I made a table runner for an upcoming blog hop. I had something on my midarm machine already. I had to quilt it up on my domestic sewing machine. I realized how it is easier to quilt on my midarm machine than on my domestic. Oh my! It was nothing like my midarm. I had been spoiled by having my midarm and comparing the quilting from my domestic to my midarm was not pretty at all.
And then I remembered that I was doing the best I could. Every time I make something, it is the best I can at that moment. I can’t compare myself to myself from years ago. I was doing the best I could at the time. Each time I make anything, I get a little better. It takes hours of making to grow.
I realize also, that when I look at other people’s work, they are doing the best they can. Sometimes I get a little crush on the way they can make something look so effortless. I know that quilting is something that takes hours and hours to become better. The more free motion quilting I do, the more I understand how talented other longarmers are. It is hard. It takes practice. Lots of practice. I know that I’ve gotten better over time. And I also can appreciate other people’s work more now. I can’t compare myself to myself. I also can’t compare myself to someone else.
I love to look at Tia Curtis’ gorgeous quilting. I’ve followed her for years online. She has quilted for years on longarms. She has years more experience than I do. And I’m not saying this in a way that I feel like I’m not good. I’m able to appreciate her work and how many hours she has spent perfecting her craft. I am perfecting mine in my own way and in my own time. And I’m thankful for the crappy quilting on my yellow quilt. I remember at the time being proud of it. I’m still proud of it. I was doing the best I could at the time.
My quilt guild, the DC Modern Quilt Guild hosted a workshop and lecture with Denyse Schmidt a few weekends ago. There were only something like 20 spots open for the workshop. If you live under a rock and don’t know, Denyse is the queen of all things Improv. She is also a big reason Modern Quilting came to be. I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t want to be labeled with that though, but it is arguably the truth.
I am a girl that likes to make things with symmetry and repetition. I’m not really one to dive into wonky. I’ve decided I like order because #1 it is about the only place in my life I can guarantee order…when I make something. #2 When I worked, I worked with numbers and accounting. Everything followed a rule and the rules were followed. I think the number cruncher in me likes repetition and order. #3 When I make something, I want my time spent to be time worth spending.
I wanted to take the workshop to open up. I’m always open to learning something or trying something new. Denyse would give you some instructions and then you would go back to your space and make whatever she told you to make. Then you would put your finished piece on your wall next to you. As the day progressed, you started seeing little bits of magic happening on people’s walls.
After we were done for the day, she took the time to look at each person’s design wall and we all had a chat about what they made. Each person would talk a little about what they did and why. She would give suggestions and we all got to peek into each person’s mind a little and learn about their creative process. I really liked this part. I think you can always learn something from everyone. I like that Denyse looks at each creation with an artist’s eye. I’m going to say something and then I’m going to duck. I think sometimes Improv is an excuse for people to mash things together when they don’t really know what they are doing. Whew! I’ve wanted to say that for a long time. I love that Denyse had us start with an actual block, with an actual pattern. Then we each sat down and tried to deconstruct it or change it and see what the outcome was. Sometimes what was made worked. Sometimes it did not. But always it was about the process.
When I set to changing up my block, I decided to go all in. I started with gentle curves. It really shrunk the size of the block to the point where I need to add a strip of fabric to make it work now. Ok.
Then I had the idea to make a triangle in the triangle. Denyse said it reminded her of cat ears. After the cat ears, I did an entire triangle in the triangle. I guess it is like a log cabin in the way you start from the center and sew each piece on in a round.
The end result I really liked! I think my last blocks were the most different from everyone elses. BUT I really dig them. And that makes me happy. They are the far right rows mostly.
Something I really enjoyed about her teaching was when she told us to really enjoy the time you spend making. Be present in the process. Sometimes I think I’m just trying to get something accomplished that I may not get as much joy out of the process as I could. I really took that in and I believe I was really present while I was making these. I really enjoyed trying new things.
She had a drawing to win a bundle of her not yet released line New Bedford tied with the most adorable vintage button from her personal collection. Guess who won? ME! I know there were other friends of mine there that were bigger fans of Denyse. But I promise you these lovely fabrics are not lost on me. I do love her fabrics. I find that I buy the same ones over and over. Then a new line comes out and I have the same handful of patterns that I buy over and over again. I have quite the collection of her fabric in my stash. Just never an entire collection of hers. I have great plans for this bundle! My expression is one of embarrassment and awkwardness for asking her to pose with me for a picture. While I do admire her and think she is awesome, I felt a bit like a crazed fangirl. A happy fangirl though.
There was a lecture after the workshop. It was cool to learn more about where she came from and what her path has been like so far. After learning about her more, I have a different plan in store for this bundle than I had before. I can’t wait to get a few more “have to do” projects off my plate before I can dive into these fabrics. I am going to be absolutely present in the making, I can promise you that.
My sweet friend Diane of Crafty Pod has done it again. She has written another great book All Points Patchwork. It needs to reside with all your other much loved reference books for creating. I’m serious. It is a fantastic book on Technique for EPP (English Paper Piecing).
I jumped at the chance to be in her blog hop promoting her new book for two reasons.
#1 I adore Diane. I have followed her for years and she has been so kind and encouraging to me the entire time. I’ve also followed her mom for years. My sister and her mom used to be pen pals until my sister’s life became crazy busy. Someday I’ll get to meet Diane in real life. In the meanwhile, I’ll admire her online.
#2 I knew her book would be awesome. I hadn’t seen it but I knew that true to Diane standards, it would be awesome. She is a fantastic teacher. She writes in a way that you feel like you are great friends, and she makes whatever she is teaching seem doable.
When I got to peek into the book I discovered that it was a bit different than many of the books out there. It is very much technique and idea driven. All these little nuggets of information I wish I learned when I started EPPing and had to figure out by trial and error. Many nuggets of information I never knew. A great resource for EPP technique!
So let’s talk about the blog hop. This week she asked us if we would use hexagons and fussy cutting. I love that she let us just go with whatever we wanted to, inside of those two words.
Maybe we should back up a little. What is “Fussy Cutting” anyway? I did a little internet search to see if there was anything saying were the term fussy cutting came from. I’m sure there is a fantastic story, but it was something I could not find. Basically, it is choosing a motif or part of the printed fabric to be in a specific place in your creating. Fussy cutting isn’t only something quilters use, but paper crafters often fussy cut too.
I see two different kinds of fussy cutting being used. The first kind of fussy cut is to cut out a novelty print or motif and position it in your patchwork in a specific way. If you were to make a pillow from a large print, you would carefully center the chosen design motif and cut to size. If you are using your sewing machine to piece a quilt, you may choose to fussy cut a bird from a print pattern and place it in the center of each block.
The second kind of fussy cutting I see is where a repeat in a pattern is used it to create other effects inside the patchwork, such as Willyne Hammerstein, author of Millefiori Quilts. For this kind of fussy cutting, you would inspect the fabric and locate repeats, color gradations, interesting parts of the pattern that cut up and put back together in a kaleidoscoping way. A great example of this is the lovely La Passacaglia Quilt you may see popping up in many photostreams particularly on Instagram. The piece on the front of Diane’s book uses fussy cut fabrics that creates the contrasting dark design in the center of the star.
I played with the latter kind of fussy cutting, but quickly decided I wanted to spend more time delving into creating more interesting repeats than I had time for. I found the kaleidescoping fussy cutting to be extremely fun and it kind of sucked me in. I will come back to this another time. (Read: I fell in love)
For either of these techniques, I suggest starching your fabric well before you start. I love to have a nice crisp hand to my fabric for EPP. Once my paper basted fabric is hand stitched together, I always press it again and I find that having it starched well before I started, I end up with a nicely finished piece.
I ended up using the first kind of fussy cutting for my project I’m sharing today. I was delighted for an excuse to use a new Layer Cake from Riley Blake designer Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches. She has recently released another adorable line called Saltwater. It features these adorable mermaids with flowing hair and seahorses and even Narwhals. I mean. I can’t even stand it’s adorableness.
I knew I wanted the goddesses of the sea to be featured. I wanted to center them on my hexagons. There are several ways to go about fussy cutting. I chose this way because I wasn’t interested in matching up an exact repeat and because the fabric I had was in 10” squares. The size of the fabric made it easy for me to tape it to my sliding glass doors and choose an image to fussy cut. With the light shining through the door, I was able to see the mermaids through my punched out hexagon papers.
I taped my fabric squares with the right side facing towards the glass and the wrong side facing me. I used my glue stick and applied some glue to the back of my paper hexagon. Looked through the paper and fabric and lined them up the way I wanted them to be and stuck the hexagon to the fabric. When I placed the next hexagon, I made sure there was enough fabric around the edges of my hexagon for a seam allowance. I like to have at least a 1/4” seam allowance for EPP. The final product isn’t going to be a quilt or something that gets washed often. Because of that, I wasn’t terribly worried about the grain of the fabric. Had this been for a quilt, I would have been more careful to use the grain to help me line the hexagons up.
I carefully took the fabric off the glass and trimmed the seam allowances around each hexagon. I used both thread basting and glue basting to baste the papers to the fabric. I do prefer thread basting, but glue basting is just so much faster. I think with thread basting, I get the corners of my paper shapes more precisely basted which means the sewing together of the paper pieced fabrics is more precise IMO. My tip for glue basting is to make sure when you are gluing the seam allowance to the papers, leave the very edge of the paper without glue. In other words, glue about 1/8” from each edge. I find that the glue basted pieces have a little less give or play where I want them to (the length of the sides) and not enough precision at the points where I want them to be precise.
Anyway, I put together a few rows of hexagons in a scrappy layout.
I decided to applique this piece onto some medium weight denim for a casual zipper pouch. I have some pouches that I use all the time. This one I made using the scrappy piece as a guide for the size.
I added a pocket and a place for needles inside the lining. I also added a little handle on the side to make it easy to carry around.
I think this size is so useful and I can see having many of them around for different projects. I typically keep one of these pouches handy for my EPP and hand stitching. Why yes, I am using a fussy cut hexagon pouch to home my other EPP projects in. Those mermaids and narwhals make me so happy! Is the plural of Narwhal “Narwals” or just “Narwhal”? Either way, they are stinking adorable!
Thanks for visiting my blog for this blog hop. Check out the other great bloggers for their day on the hop. Be sure to check out Diane’s new book All Points Patchwork. You won’t be disappointed.
Diane has also put together a giveaway of Black Gold hand sewing needles and Quilt Needle Threader from Clover. You can enter by Rafflecopter below. International entries are welcome and the giveaway closes on June 7nd. a Rafflecopter giveaway