Sunday, October 14, 2018

18 years ago today

Today is our anniversary. 

The guy that inspired "The Chef's Dilemma" quilt and I.
It was 18 years ago today.

"Vous et nul Autre" [You and no Other] altar cloth.
Original design. Machine appliqué and machine quilted. 2000

This is the altar cloth that I created for our wedding—"Vous et nul Autre" [You and no Other]. This art quilt was on the altar in the beautiful St. Jude Church in Chattanooga for our wedding ceremony and hung there until the liturgical season changed.

Fr. Bob Hofstetter, the priest that married us and the pastor at the time, occasionally brought it back out and hung it in the church in February, around Valentine's Day.

This quilt earned a first place ribbon at a regional quilt show and appeared in a feature article in PieceWork magazine (Sept/Oct 2003). It's now on permanent display at Good Shepherd Church in Newport, TN.

"The Chef's Dilemma"
The background story about this quilt can be found here.
Larry and I had a lovely wedding reception at the Tennessee Aquarium with our families and friends—some of which traveled great distances. We had a full course dinner prepared by an excellent chef, four cakes (yes, FOUR), music and dancing—including a special rendition of Take me out to the Ballgame. It was quite the celebration.



18 years seems like a long time, 

but it doesn't feel like a long time.



Happy Anniversary, Larry.

You're my favorite!

Monday, October 8, 2018

100 Blocks 100 Days City Sampler sew-along approaching the end

Just a few more days until the end of my 100Days100Blocks2018 journey. The sew-along started on July 7 and the last day is October 14. I'm using batiks from Majestic Batiks for all my blocks. 
100Blocks100Days2018 sew-along. Majestic Batiks.
After seeing all the blocks together on the design wall, I decided the last remaining blocks should have lighter values. Here are the pieces for Blocks 97 - 100, laid out and ready for piecing.
Blocks 97 - 100 ready for piecing.
These last four blocks found their places among the others—beside the yellows, pinks, seafoam greens and the light aquas.
Oranges, magenta, yellows, pinks. Merging from warm colors to light.
City Sampler. Blocks from the book, "100 Modern Quilt Blocks."

I am researching settings—sashing/no sashing/on point/alternate blocks—and deciding whether to put them into one quilt or several smaller quilts.
100 Blocks: City Sampler.
The 100 Days of making blocks may soon be over, but there is more to be done.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Machine piecing the Farmer's Wife sampler blocks

In August, I posted about The Farmer's Wife  English paper piecing [EPP] stitch-along that was just beginning. On my birthday last week, I received this lovely Art Gallery Fabrics [AGF] bundle of fat quarters. Ah-ha! Project and supplies have met.
The Farmer's Wife pattern book and my new curated Art Gallery fat quarter bundle.

I have to calculate the Quilt Block Math for rotary cutting
Since the Farmer's Wife stitch-along began in August, I've decided to speed-piece the blocks by machine. The blocks are 6 inches (finished)—just like the City Sampler stitch-along that I'm working on. The Farmer's Wife book, however, does not provide cutting measurements. Instead, it includes a CD with a digital file for printing paper templates. Because I'm going to rotary cut the fabric for machine piecing, I'll have to calculate the cutting measurements myself.
The Autumn Tints block from The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt.

The blocks finish at 6 inches, so blocks divisible by 1, 2, 3 and 6 will be easy to calculate. Block 2, Autumn Tints (shown above), is an example.

Other handy formulas are:
Half-square triangles: add 7/8" to the finished size of the triangle leg.
Quarter-square triangles: add 1-1/4" to the finished size of the triangle's hypotenuse
(which happens to be the sides of the block).

Fabric Selection
The original bundle of Fat Quarters is shown here. It has a nice variety of almost-solids, small, medium and large prints that all coordinate... but there is not much contrast in value (lights/mediums/darks) between the fabrics.
Curated Fat Quarter bundle of Art Gallery fabrics.

I initially thought I would challenge myself to use only the fabrics in the bundle, but realized I didn't care for the lack of contrast in the piecing (a personal preference).

Here is Block 4: Basket Weave with my first attempt (left) and the second attempt with the introduction of two AGF blenders with darker values.
Two versions of Block 4: Basket Weave.

I have completed Block 2: Autumn Tints; Block 3: Basket (without the handle); Block 4: Basket Weave (two versions); Block 6: Big Dipper; and Block 10: Bowtie.
Six Farmer's Wife sampler blocks machine pieced.
The modern AGF prints and florals are a refreshing change of pace to the fabrics used in the book. And the taupe and peach blenders are a good addition to the fabric mix.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Applique with Cotton Embossed fabrics: something a little different

Have you heard of cotton embossed fabrics? Until about a year I go, I was not familiar with them. These cotton embossed fabrics are from Diamond Textiles and they are both beautiful and unique. Here are just a few of the colors from the full color palette that is available. The Cotton Embossed collection also includes black, white and natural in several different patterns. 
Selection of Embossed Cottons from Diamond Textiles.
The colors and patterns on the embossed cotton fabrics are achieved through a batik resist dye process. The removal of the resist after the dye process creates the "embossed" or "debossed" areas (the dots in this example). Yes, you can actually feel the depression of the spots on the fabric. And, like the batiks that you're familiar with, the color is on both sides of the fabric.
With embossed cottons, the color is on both sides of the fabric.

I decided to give embossed cottons a try with appliqué. The pattern is a new one from Sew Cherished called, Glory Days. The scrappy patchwork blocks and the borders of this quilt are a lovely selection of yarn-dyed wovens from the Nikko collection—also from Diamond Textiles.
Glory Days pattern from Sew Cherished.

I'm using a fusible appliqué technique (not turned edge) for my project and taking advantage of the inherent characteristic of the embossed cottons. Because these fabrics are dyed and have color all the way through, this makes them perfect for fusible appliqué—no white edges!
Fusible appliqué with hand embroidery.

Since I'm enjoying hand stitching these days, I've chosen Eleganza from Wonderfil Threads—a #8 perle cotton that comes in a range of beautiful solids and variegated—to add hand embroidery and stitch embellishment to the appliqué. Here's the start of the stitching process. The background fabric is yarn-dyed woven [PRF-568] from the Primitive Collection by Diamond Textiles.
Hand embroidery with #8 perle cotton

This weekend ushered in Fall. I think I'll keep the colors of summer a little longer with this basket of flowers... brightly colored embossed cottons... and a bit of slow stitching.

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