Sunday, November 11, 2018

Fussy cutting Australian aboriginal fabrics for the Siena shirt

Want a shirt that gets you noticed? This is my latest Siena Shirt [pattern by Linda Lee from The Sewing Workshop] made with two fun and colorful aboriginal 100% cotton fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.
The Siena Shirt [from The Sewing Workshop] with
cotton fabrics by M&S Textiles Australia.

Working with the Sandy Creek stripe design
The main fabric in this shirt is an aboriginal design called Sandy Creek from M&S Textiles Australia. This print has wide stripes running with the crosswise grain of the fabric (perpendicular to the selvedge). 
Sandy Creek design with a wide stripe.
To make the garment look cohesive, conscious decisions were made when positioning the pattern pieces on the yardage. First, I needed to determine where the stripe would lay on the body so I could then "fussy cut" (as quilters would call it) the pattern pieces.
Matching stripes across the front of the shirt.
The pattern pieces were cut so the stripes matched across the front. The stripes aligned from front to back of the shirt and between the back bodice and the back yoke. The front button band was carefully fussy cut to preserve the flow of the design across the shirt's front. 
Back yoke and pleated back bodice.
Another "fussy cut" was on the sleeves so the darker part of the "creek" design would carry through across the shoulders. 

Construction in progress: collar, fronts and sleeves laid out.
The upper and lower collars were cut from two different areas of the print. Depending on whether the collar is worn up or down, the design will blend or contrast with the yoke and front.
Upper and lower collars show contrasting prints. 
A coordinating fabric—Spirit Dreaming from M&S Textiles Australia—was used for the sides and one front band of the shirt.
Contrasting sides and front band.

Using quilting cottons for garments
The M&S Textiles Australia fabrics lend themselves quite nicely to garment sewing. These cottons have a soft surface quality, good drape and are breathable. I completed the shirt and was able to wear it at Quilt Market. It received several compliments. 
Siena Shirt pattern and Australian aboriginal fabrics.
When considering fabrics with specific or directional motifs—such as the stripes in this Sandy Creek print—I would recommend purchasing a little more fabric than the pattern calls for. This would allow flexibility to position pattern pieces, fussy cut the motifs, and match motifs as needed.
Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop and
Sandy Creek and Spirit Dreaming fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.
Give the Siena Shirt and Australian aboriginal fabrics a try. A little extra thought and time in the cutting will yield great results... and some well-deserved compliments.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Giving pintuck fabric a go with the 9 Lives Top

I've had this lovely, drapey, indigo blue piece of pintuck fabric [PT-70225 from Diamond Textiles] for quite a while and finally got it made into something I can wear! 
Nine Lives Vest pattern from The Sewing Workshop
made with pintuck cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Pintuck fabric + Nine Lives pattern = Easy make
I used the Nine Lives Vest pattern from The Sewing Workshop. There are only four pattern pieces to this pattern—two fronts, a back and a collar. It's a fast and easy make.
Nine Lives Vest: a Shapes pattern by Linda Lee and Louise Cutting.

My pattern mods
The Nine Lives top is airy, flowy, comfy and casual. The oversized bodice drops over the shoulders to create a short, cap-like sleeve. The original pattern has a slanted, asymmetrical hemline. However, I decided to modify my version with a straight, symmetrical hem—shorter in the front and a little longer in the back.
Nine Lives top, side view.

The collar on my version is a batik from Majestic Batiks. This was a serendipitous addition during the construction process. I think the print and the color of this batik works nicely with the decorative stitching and the indigo color of the pintuck fabric. The pintucks, decorative stitching and the contrasting collar are the stars of the show in my version.
Nine Lives top, back view.

The most difficult part of constructing this top was deciding the placement of the pintucks... and picking out the buttons from my button stash.
I tape-baste the buttons in place for hand sewing. 

Give pintuck fabric a try with the Nine Lives Vest pattern. It's minimal work with a big impact.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fussy Cutting ruler for Farmer’s Wife quilt blocks

Since I'm skipping around in The Farmer's Wife sampler book and machine piecing the blocks with "easy math," I thought I'd add a bit of novelty to my blocks with selective fabric cutting—often called "fussy cutting."
The Farmer's Wife Block 20: Churn Dash with fussy cut center.
Fabrics from a Color Masters collection from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Selective Cutting/Fussy Cutting
Selective cutting makes the patchwork process more interesting for the maker and the challenge of seeking out motifs in the fabric... or finding a good block to feature a motif... is really fun. The resulting quilt blocks are also more unique. 

Last week I talked to the very helpful folks at Heavenly Stitches quilt shop about fussy cutting units for my 6-inch Farmer's Wife blocks. They showed me two possible rulers and we decided the Creative Grids Square it Up and Fussy Cut ruler would be best for the small units that comprise 6-inch blocks.
"Square it Up and Fussy Cut Ruler" from Creative Grids is a good tool for selective cutting.

In examining the ruler, it’s fairly intuitive but instructions are included in the package. The ruler's lines and markings are easy to see and ruler worked like a champ. Creative Grids rulers also have those built-in "grippy circles" to keep the fabric from slipping during the cutting process, which, as it turns out, are also helpful when centering the ruler on the fabric motif and marking the corner points. 

The Farmer's Wife Block 31: Evening Star with fussy cut center.
Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.

High Success Rate
Using this specialty ruler is much easier and the success rate is much higher than using a standard acrylic ruler for this technique. Contact YLQS (your local quilt shop) to get one of these great patchwork tools! The Evening Star block (above), with a fussy cut center, is next up for assembly.

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.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Quilt with oil paint stick embellishments gets washed

This quilt was made about 10 years ago. The design was inspired by an antique coverlet from the crazy patch era of quiltmaking.
Quilt embellished with Shiva oil paintsticks. 54" x 64"
The centers of the blocks were hand embellished using Shiva Artist's Paintstiks and rubbing plates. Remember when oil paint sticks came on the radar of the art quilters? I was there. Yep, I was experimenting with them.
Centers of the quilt blocks embellished with oil paintsticks and rubbing plates.
So instead of decorative hand embroidery stitches on the blocks of this crazy patch-inspired quilt, I decorated the blocks by hand with colorful iridescent oil paints.
Free-motion quilting using Mirage, a 30 wt. rayon thread.
I was also new to free-motion quilting and crushing on Mirage, a 30 wt. rayon thread, and Accent, a 12 wt. rayon thread from Wonderfil Specialty Threads. These variegated threads have gorgeous colorways. It was easy to show them off on the black sashing and solid batiks used in this quilt.
The color of the paintstiks before washing.

Last week, I decided to wash this quilt to see how the oil paints would hold up. 
The paintstick colors held up from washing.
They did just great! No noticeable loss of color saturation. The quilt was washed in cool water, gentle cycle on speed wash (yes, in the washing machine). As expected, the 100% cotton batting caused the typical fabric puckering, but that was about all that changed.
Detail: block embellished with oil paint sticks after washing.
I've used the Artist's Paintstiks for surface design on other fabric items. It's a fun process and there is an abundance of rubbing plates, textures, stencils and the like that you can use with them. Follow the directions for use, care and how to work with these oil paints on fabric. There is a time period you must wait for the oils to dissipate before washing... but it's much less than 10 years.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

I'm taking the September Textile Love Challenge

This summer, I joined the #100Days100blocks2018 Challenge. This was my first virtual stitch-along and I'm enjoying it. A recent Instagram post by a friend introduced me to the UK-based textile community, Seam Collective. Seam Collective is issuing their second September Textile Love Challenge. I decided to jump on board!
This is my Textile Love "Introduction" photo to my chaotic studio space with its
wild, uncontrollable yet colorful design wall. Only 2 WIPs on it today.
This is my "Introduction" post photo on Instagram, where the Challenge is hosted using hashtag #SeptTextileLove. I'm not experienced with selfies (nor do I like them much), so just take in the color in the background... or the lovely Art Gallery knit fabric I'm wearing. Be sure to follow me at veronica.fiberantics to see my responses to the SeptTextileLove daily prompts.
Daily prompt worksheet for the Seam Collective September Textile Love Challenge.
On the Seam blog, you can download a worksheet with the full month of daily prompts issued for the Challenge. Here's my worksheet amidst the Majestic batik scraps I'm using for the 100 Blocks Challenge. Yep, my cutting board looks much like my design wall.

I would like to use some of the Textile Love prompts on new work—or in-progress pieces that have stalled. But I'm OK with experiments and practice swatches. I believe that every piece you start doesn't need to be finished. Sometimes a piece serves a temporary purpose for experimentation, skill building, auditioning... or ya just need to busy your hands. If I don't used a prompt for doing hands-on work, it will motivate a search for inspiring photos from my archives. A revisit to inspiration from the past is a good thing, too.

September always reminds me of the end of summer, the saturated colors of Fall, going back to school, and the opportunity and possibilities for learning new things! This September Textile Love Challenge fits this so well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

100 days 100 blocks progress

I saw a billboard last week that read, "Unplug to Recharge." Sounds like an oxymoron... but it has validity and it's darned good advice! So with that, I took a few hours last weekend to step away from the computer and retreat to the sewing machine.

With 77 blocks complete, I’m 3/4 of the way to completing the City Sampler blocks from the book, "100 Modern Quilt Blocks." These are Blocks 1 through 25.
Blocks 1-25. 100 Modern Quilt Blocks City Sampler quilt.
Made with Majestic Batiks.

Blocks 26 through 50.
Blocks 26-50. 100 Modern Quilt Blocks City Sampler quilt.
Made with Majestic Batiks.

And Blocks 51 through 75.
Blocks 51-75. 100 Modern Quilt Blocks City Sampler quilt.
Made with Majestic Batiks.
My stack of these 6-inch beauties is growing tall. It will be a fun exercise on the design wall once all 100 blocks are complete. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Trunk Show and Space quilt exhibit at Birdsong Quilting

"Mother Earth: Her Face Evolving"
by Christine Schramm Cetrulo. Celebrating the art of
quilting at Birdsong Quilting, Embroidery and Crafts.
There is a wonderful art quilt exhibit at Birdsong Quilting, Embroidery and Crafts, featuring the work of members of the Quilt Artists of Kentucky (QAK), an auxiliary group of the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society. The exhibit has several pieces from "Space: The Final Frontier Challenge" and other art quilts by members of the group.

While at the exhibit, I met Christine Schramm Cetrulo, a member of QAK. Christine was teaching a fabric painting class at Birdsong—introducing quilters and sewers to fun and exciting techniques for embellishing fabric. Here is one of Christine's quilts, "Mother Earth: Her Face Evolving" that is on display at the shop. Amazing work!

A Trunk Show: quilts and wearables
As part of the month-long celebration of quilting and quilt artistry at Birdsong Quilting, Shannon, the owner, asked if I would come and do a trunk show of my work. 

It was a pleasure to be included in the celebration and fun to share my quilts and wearables with the Kentucky quilters that came out to see my show and tell. It's been a while since I've shown "finished" pieces, so it was good to be able to show how the quilting adds to the design and composition of a piece. (We did a lot of looking at the quilt backs.)

Examples of the diversity of fabrics available at Birdsong:
ikats and yarn-dyed textured cottons from Diamond Textiles, knits from Art Gallery,
batiks from Majestic Batiks, and art panels from Frond Design Studios.

I had a sampling of quilts, guild Challenges, art quilts, free-motion quilting and apparel (jackets, blouses, knit tops and pants). A few of the attendees said that this was their first trunk show so I hope they got a good dose of inspiration and a broad range of possibilities and ideas for new projects.

My trunk show included examples of quilts and wearables.

The dialog with the attendees at my trunk show was lively. Their questions were thoughtful and inquisitive. Questions spanned a range of topics including: free-motion quilting, the whats and whys of bobbin thread, quilt facings, sewing machine needles, yarn-dyed vs. printed cotton fabrics, patterns for garment sewing, and the different fabrics—knits, canvas, rayon, etc.—that are now available to quilt shops from fabric manufacturers of quilting cottons. Birdsong Quilting has a great selection of fabrics for quilting as well as sewing. The store also offers classes and events to support these endeavors.

Quilting cottons, ikat, textured wovens, batiks, hand-dyed, shibori
can be used for wearables and garments
Thank you to Shannon for the kind invitation and to the staff at Birdsong that helped with the set-up and logistics of the trunk show.

If you are in Georgetown, KY (Lexington, KY area) in August, stop in to see the art quilt exhibit at Birdsong Quilting. Shop Birdsong's wonderful selection of fabrics, notions, books and supplies and take your next quilting or sewing project to another level... or out of this world!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Farmer's Wife goes EPP with Art Gallery Fabrics

There are a lot of stitch-alongs, sew-alongs, quilt-alongs (and knit-alongs, for that matter) available for makers. Some are hosted through local quilt shops, some through on-line sources. These programs help makers tackle a big project by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable bites. The latest program I've encountered is The Farmer's Wife.
The Farmer's Wife Sew-along with Paper Pieces and Art Gallery Fabrics.

Paper Pieces, a well-known creator of English Paper Piecing [EPP] products, has teamed up with Laurie Aaron Hird to re-create The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt using the English paper piecing technique. See the Say Hello to Farmer's Wife blog post for an introduction to the program.

The Farmer's Wife English Paper Piecing kits and instruction book.
The EPP paper templates are perforated and come with pieces for the sashing and cornerstone. The blocks are 6 inches and the book is needed for assembly instructions.
EPP paper templates include sashing and cornerstone templates.
So when each block is complete, you can assemble as you go if you choose.

Art Gallery Fabrics

Paper Pieces chose Art Gallery Fabrics Color Masters for a beautiful, 21st century colorwash version of a 1920s era sampler quilt. Color Masters by AGF come in 10-piece curated selections of either fat quarters or half-yard cuts. The Farmer's Wife sampler uses the fat quarter boxes (available through Paper Pieces or YLQS (your local quilt shop)). Paper Pieces has made it easy for the stitch-along participants by creating a color layout for the colorwash sampler. It's available on their website here.

Gnome Angel, your stitch-along hostess
Looking for additional support, tips and stitching camaraderie? Angie Wilson of the GnomeAngel blog is hosting The Farmer's Wife Stitch-along. There is also a Facebook page and Instrgram hashtag, #FW1920EPPSAL, for your virtual Show and Tell and prize eligibility.

Kick-off date: August 24
The official launch date for The Farmer's Wife stitch-along is August 24. EPP kits and Color Masters fabrics are available now so you can get a jump on planning a beautiful colorwash sampler. I'm told there will be a break for Thanksgiving and December holidays, so don't panic.

Are you in? EPP is portable, so you can take it with you and work on your blocks anywhere. You'll also enjoy reading the stories of the women across the country who were married to farmers in the 1920s. 

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