Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Paper piecing the Fiesta table runner

It was buzzing at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop last Saturday: my Fiesta Table Runner paper piecing class, Christmas in July, a BOM program and the random Row by Row participants flitting in and out. Lots of quilty activity!
Fiesta Table Runner class with student blocks.
The paper piecing class was lots of fun. There were two true (never done paper piecing) novices and other students with some previous paper piecing experience in class. The beginners both admitted to being a little apprehensive about this technique, but really enjoyed and appreciated the precision that it has to offer once it "clicked" for them.
Paper piecing students at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop, Rocky Face, GA.
Everyone was very productive and got at least one block complete—including the curved background pieces. This pattern has lots of possibilities when it comes to the layout so I'm looking forward to seeing what these students do and how their personal preferences come into play.
Students working on the paper foundation.
Cynthia took my Intro to Paper Piecing class last month with the Twisty Star pattern and came back for another dose of PP-ing. She's becoming a paper piecing queen! Look at the great job she did on her Twisty Star top.
Cynthia shows her beautiful Twisty Star paper pieced top.
Thanks to everyone who came out to my class at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop. You were a great group!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Paper piecing with curves class

This may look like a bit of a mess… 
Paper piecing test blocks.
… but it's really two test blocks for the "Fiesta! Table Runner" paper piecing class I'll be teaching at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop this Saturday, July 25.

After trimming and putting the curved sides on, it will look much prettier… like this.
Table Runner Paper Piecing class.
Need a fun holiday gift? This one fits the bill. Come down to Rocky Face, GA and I'll let you "in" on a little fabric discovery I learned while making the test blocks for this project. Call Anna at the shop 706-217-8111 to see if there is still space available.

Paper piecing is fun and this technique has so many advantages. And all you need to know is how to count!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My quilt in the "The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters"—the process

Welcome to my stop on the Improv Handbook testers Blog Hop! This is a recap of my process, color and fabric choices, and a quick review of the book,  The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. Here goes...

Early in 2014, I was chosen to be a tester for Sherri Lynn Wood's improvisational patchwork process. Sherri was gathering pieces for her new book, "The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters," and invited participants to compose a piece based on one of her "scores." My quilt, "Guitar Strings Improv," was one of the 22 chosen to be included in the book out of 165 that were submitted. I'm thrilled that my quilt made the cut.
"Guitar Strings Improv"
43" x 40.5"
Photo by Sara Remington
What appealed to me about the project was that there was no pre-conceived idea/image/composition/pattern of what the final improv quilt should look like. The "Score for Strings"—the score I was given—was provided in a text format, so my interpretation of the words of Sherri's guidelines was how I proceeded. The adventure began!

My color palette was a "loose" complementary color scheme of red-orange and green. Bits of black, turquoise and yellow were added for contrast. In the finished quilt, you can see how the yellow bits against the red ground add a twinkle to the composition.
A red-orange and green color scheme.
I had done some improvisational cutting and piecing prior to using Sherri's score, so I was looking forward to these spontaneous and liberating parts of the process. Rotary cutting without a ruler is freeing and energizing! If you haven't tried this, please do. Watching the free-form, organic shapes of the patchwork emerge is inspiring and exciting. The more you do, the more you want to do.
In-progress strip sets.
The String Score offered the option of a "neutral background" fabric, but as my composition developed, I liked the strength and energy of the bold colors playing off each other, so I opted not to introduce another fabric.
Piecing the patchwork.
Patchwork problem-solving is required to get all the improv strip sets to "fit" together. For me, that is the part of the challenge (which I like)—and part of the fun! Sherri Lynn offers great tips in the book for getting improv patchwork to lie flat and how to ease in any bumps and ripples that may occur in the piecing.
A view of the design wall.
A design wall is so very helpful with this part of the process. It provides the opportunity to stand back and fine tune the composition as needed. If you look back at the finished quilt (above) you'll see that the pieces were turned 90-degrees before this quilt was all said and done.
Work in progress.
The free-motion quilting—another of my favorite parts of the quiltmaking process—in this piece takes a back seat to the saturated colors of the improvisationally pieced composition. The textures and patterns of the quilting appear to the viewer only upon closer inspection.
Free-motion quilting.
Here are some in-progress views of the free-motion quilting from the back—where it's much easier to see the quilting. I used a tonal 108" wide backing for my backing fabric.
Free-motion quilting (back view).
Free-motion quilting (back view).
Free-motion quilting (back view).
Instead of a binding, I decided to use a facing to finish the quilt. 
Finishing the quilt with a facing.
"Guitar Strings Improv," appears on page 38 of the book, sharing the 2-page spread with Beth Lehman of and Barb Mortell at [By the way, all the websites/blogs of the contributors are listed at the back of the book—great addition!] A shout out to Sara Remington for the fabulous full-color photography of all the contributed quilts. I'm honored to be in the company of the other talented quilters that participated in the project.
"Guitar Strings Improv" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
Photo by Sara Remington
About the Book
I'm looking forward to devouring the rest of Sherri Lynn's book and exploring the other 9 improv scores. There are 5 (big, fat) chapters in the book including one on finishing techniques. Lists of references, design considerations, and "mind tools" can be found throughout the chapters as well as in the back. There are oodles of color photos—in-progress detail shots, close-ups and full front views. The book's typography is clean and playful, and the layout is organized, easy to follow and approachable. Hey, kinda like improv! 
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This is a must-have book for your quilting library and especially for those curious about trying improvisational patchwork. So, are you ready to try improv? Have you done improv piecing already? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about it.

Best of luck with "The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters," Sherri Lynn! Thanks for the opportunity to participate and contribute to your project. For a list of the other sites on the Blog Hop, click here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July Blog Hop for Improv Handbook quilt testers

"Guitar String Improv" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
from The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters
by Sherri Lynn Wood.
I previously mentioned (in this post) that my "Guitar Strings Improv" quilt was published in the "Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters." (It's on page 38.)

To celebrate the book and Sherri Lynn Wood's continued success with it, I was invited to participate in the Improv Handbook July Blog Hop—to talk about the process—along with several other quilt makers who tested one of the 10 scores.

The July Blog Hop agenda is below. Watch for my post on July 8 and leave me a comment about what you think of the improv process or Sherri Lynn's book.

Be sure to hop over to see how the other blogger/quilters interpreted their improv score. The quilts are fabulous!

July 1: The Quilting Edge by Marianne Haak
July 3: Andrew Steinbrecher
July 6: Heather Kojan Quilts
July 8: FiberAntics by Veronica
July 16: Marion's Journal
Date TBD: Latifah Saafir Studios

You also might want to be inspired by all of the 165 test quilts that were made (only 22 were chosen for the book). Here is the list of online galleries. Amazing work! Please check it out.

 The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters
by Sherri Lynn Wood
Get a copy of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters at YLQS or bookseller. It's a great addition to any quilter's library.

Friday, July 3, 2015

ATCs: Things with Wings

"Things with Wings"
by Dawn Spagna
Do pigs fly?!

The Artist Trading Card (ATC) theme in June was "Things with Wings." And I guess this image is proof they do.

Complements of the ATC artists that participated in the FiberAntics June swap, here are other magical and mythical things with wings.

"Dream" by Marilyn League

"Things with Wings"
by Diane Penischi
"Birds" by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

"Things with Wings"
by Karen Downer

"Things with Wings—My Home" by Bonnie Stevens

"Things with Wings: KFC"
by Liz Armstrong

"Things with Wings" by Debbie Joyner
 I couldn't resist including this one with the two little ones sleeping—another by Dawn.
"Things with Wings" by Dawn Spagna
And, of course, everyone has at least one angel. Does yours have her/his wings?
"Does your Angel have Wings?"
by Sharon Griffith
This month, I finally got to trade ATCs in person with a long-time participant in my ATC swaps, Marilyn League. We met for Memphis BBQ last week at Central BBQ. Talked the whole evening long… art, ATCs, fabric, quilting, garment sewing... to name a few. Had a great time! Thanks, Marilyn.
Marilyn League (left) and me at Central BBQ,
Memphis, TN.
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