Sunday, November 10, 2019

Fall Quilt Market Recap, part 2: Quilting

As one would expect, Quilt Market booths were draped with colorful, striking quilts—examples and inspiration for creating with fabric manufacturers' upcoming fabric collections.
Painted Ladies quilt (center) featuring Street Art batiks from Banyan Batiks.
A repetition of simple shapes and basic block patterns provided a framework for the array of colors and fabrics to a dance in rhythm in these quilts—with each quilt featuring a different fabric collection.

I attended two schoolhouse presentations by Banyan Batiks. Designer, Tiffany Hayes [Needle in a Hayes Stack], talked about her upcoming Sazerac batik line for Banyan Batiks. The collection was inspired by the era of the Speakeasy and is portrayed in sultry, rich earthy colors with spicy citrus-toned accents.
Tiffany Hayes talking about her Sazerac batik collection [Banyan Batiks].
Banyan Batik quilt at the schoolhouse session at Quilt Market.

Karen Gibbs from Banyan Batiks talked about the batiking process and passed around an example of the hand-crafted tjap [pronounced "chop"] that is used to stamp and create the designs and motifs on the fabric.
A tjap used in making batik fabrics.

Technique Reboot!
Classic patchwork techniques and quilt blocks are just as fun and popular now as they ever were! Diamond Textiles featured its textured cotton embossed collection with this one-block Carpenters Star quilt. The cotton embossed fabrics are created with a resist process—much like the process for making batiks.
One block Carpenters Star quilt with Cotton Embossed [Diamond Textiles].

The Superior Threads booth featured Leesa Chandler's Melba fabric line using the classic Stack N Whack (kaleidoscope) technique. The Melba collection [from Australia-based fabric company, The Textile Pantry] also has a teal/silver colorway that is just as striking in the Stack N Whack quilt.
The Melba fabric collection [The Textile Pantry] is stunning in the stack n whack quilt.

Northcott Fabrics is pushing the traditional attic windows technique to new levels with its upcoming collection, The View from Here. What's the view you'd like to see out your window?
The View from Here from Northcott Fabrics.

The View from Here fabric collection

The Log Cabin goes Uptown
M&S Textiles Australia brought a contemporary twist to the traditional log cabin quilt. A mix of colorful aboriginal prints paired with a light fabric offers areas in this on-point log cabin setting for fun machine quilting. In the classic log cabin patchwork style, it's all about the placement of the lights and darks!
Log Cabin quilt in the M&S Textiles booth at Houston Quilt Market.

The big block Durango pattern [Villa Rosa Designs] offers easy piecing for this log cabin quilt. It's a great pattern to show off a variety of large scale fabrics like these aboriginal prints.
Durango [Villa Rosa Designs] quilt in the M&S Textiles booth, Houston Quilt Market.

Whether you're a cat or dog lover, this clowder of "calico" cats is a cute way to show off the Australian aboriginal fabric designs. The Cat City pattern [Villa Rosa Designs] is a fat quarter friendly pattern. 
Cat City quilt [Villa Rosa Designs] using Australian aboriginal prints
from M&S Textiles Australia.

Another log cabin quilt—this time with the barn raising setting—features the Primitive Collection from Batik Textiles.
Log cabin quilt in the Primitive Collection from Batik Textiles.

We never tire of these classic blocks! They stand the test of time because they are so versatile.
Primitive batiks at Houston Quilt Market.

New Techniques
MJ Kinman's booth showcased her stunning gemstone quilts. MJ has trained a team of Gem Affiliates from across the USA and Canada in her unique piecing technique. 
MJ Kinman's Gemstone booth at Quilt Market.

Northcott Fabrics is bringing her gemstone designs to the quilting community with fabric panels and jewel-toned coordinates in its Jewel Box collection. Now quilters can achieve gemstone designs in multiple ways.
MJ Kinman's booth at Houston Quilt Market

Ask your local quilt shop [YLQS] about these fabrics and any classes they will offer to help and inspire you in your quiltmaking endeavors. YLQS is your source for what's coming in the quilting world.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall Quilt Market Recap, part 1: Garment sewing

Fall Quilt Market 2019 is now down in the books. Here's my photo capsule of things you'll be seeing in YLQS [your local quilt shops] and independent fabric stores in the months ahead.
A view of the Market floor at the George R. Brown convention center.

Garment sewing going strong!
The vendor booths illustrated that quilting cottons aren't just for quilting—but also for sewing. The Diamond Textiles booth had a mini "garment district" display featuring tops, jackets, dresses and childrenswear made from their yarn-dyed textured wovens, World Fabrics, and their curated collections of ikats, embossed cottons and pintuck cottons.
A mini Garment District at the Diamond Textiles booth.

I wore my navy Nine Lives top [The Sewing Workshop pattern] made from Diamond Textiles' pintuck fabric collection on the second day of Market.
My Nine Lives Top [The Sewing Workshop pattern] in a Diamond Textiles navy pintuck.

The Australian aboriginal designs from M&S Textiles Australia are eye-catching in apparel. This Classic Caftan [pattern from Indygo Junction]—featuring two aboriginal fabric prints—is an easy, breezy top that can be worn alone or over a long sleeve tee.
Classic Caftan in aboriginal fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia

Have you considered batiks for garment sewing? 
Why not?! This zippered hooded jacket (below, left) showcases a Banyan Batik from the Kilts & Quilts / Addicted to Plaid collection by Patience Griffin. I sooo love that there are pockets on this jacket!

For warmer temps, consider the sleeveless Hannah Dress [Victory patterns] in rayon or cotton fabrics from After the Rain by Sara Boccaccini Meadows for FIGO. Contrasting fabrics highlight the Hannah's angled side seams and front pockets. The neckline is finished with a double fold binding—a technique quite familiar to quiltmakers.
Zippered hooded jacket with Banyan Batiks (left)
and sleeveless Hannah shift dress with FIGO rayon fabrics.

Another FIGO display vignette showed garments alongside quilts. Check out FIGO lookbooks for additional garment, accessory and quilt inspiration.
The Glasshouse collection comes in two colorways and includes
four 53"/54" rayon prints.

P&B Textiles borrowed my new favorite Siena Shirt for their booth at Market (unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the booth). This shirt showcases a fabulous digital print from the P&B Off the Grid 45 collection (Off the Grid is also available in 108" wide backings). You can read about my making process for this shirt in this blog post.
Off the Grid Siena Shirt. Digital fabric print from P&B Textiles.
Pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

In one of the Northcott booths, new designer, Brett Lewis, had this man's shirt on display. It features a print from the Stag and Thistle collection for Northcott.
Stag and Thistle print from Northcott.

Are you a garment maker? Re-use your patterns for efficiency and economics.
Before leaving for Market, I was able to get two pairs of pants and a new top made. I reused my Collins Top pattern [from In the Folds] and paired it with my yardage from the green colorway of Off the Grid by P&B Textiles. It was fun to wear this top to the P&B sales meeting.

The Collins Top was my first 2019 Make Nine finish, so I was already familiar with this top's construction. Re-using garment patterns makes efficient use of your time because:

  • the pattern pieces are already cut out, making the pattern piece layout quick and easy, and 
  • the muslin-making steps were completed on the first make. 
When there's a time crunch, it's so nice to have a go-to pattern that is familiar and already fitted to your body!
The Collins Top from In the Folds. Fabric is Off the Grid from P&B Textiles.
Be sure to make notes on your pattern so you'll be reminded of any helpful tips for the next make—another time-saver! And, with the second... and all subsequent makes... that $20 pattern is also FREE to use! We all like that. 

Bank that savings and apply it to great buttons, a useful tool or new fabric! 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Finishing a cotton embossed 9 Lives top by machine

Next week I'm going to Fall Quilt Market, so my travel schedule is pushing me to finish final details—buttonholes, buttons, hems—on what will be packed in the suitcase. On this plum-colored cotton embossed Nine Lives top, the finishing steps are mostly done by machine.
Nine Lives top from The Sewing Workshop in cotton embossed fabric by Diamond Textiles.

Since the buttons I chose for this top had 4 holes (instead of two), I decided to use the X stitch to attach the buttons by machine. I just have to tie off the thread tails.
Machine sewn buttons and buttonholes.
With my experience making other tops with quilting cottons, I opted to omit interfacing on the front facings. It didn't seem to affect making the machine buttonholes. I'll monitor the success after several wears and washes, to see how it holds up.

Both the sleeve and bottom hems were completed on the machine—quick and easy. The only hand sewing on this top was on the collar seam at the neck on the inside.
Machine hems.

With the cooler weather and change of season, the color of my wardrobe has turned to an autumnal palette. Although this top is made from a lighter weight cotton, this plum colored cotton embossed fabric from Diamond Textiles reminds me of the colors of changing leaves and a fall harvest.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kinship Sampler layout: kin to a Hot Hash square dance

The layout of my 100 Days Kinship Fusion Sampler blocks has been like a hot hash square dance with the blocks turning, sliding, passing and do-si-do-ing on the design wall. The plan is to get a graduated flow of color and value across the quilt top while working with the two different size blocks. It's been an ongoing process of auditioning, arranging and rearranging...

Tentative layout of my 00 Days 100 Blocks Kinship Fusion sampler blocks.

I've been working on a 49 block layout with the lightest blocks in the center. Since I didn't devise a master color plan for the blocks at the onset, I now have the task of making all the pieces to this puzzle fit into a cohesive composition—or at least one with an organized randomness.

The sashing I chose is a creamy beige Monks Colonial solid from Diamond Textiles.
4-block unit from my Kinship Sampler.

Between the "dance" sets, I pulled fabrics to make blocks for my guild's charity quilt project...
Cuddle Quilt blocks.

and ironed a bag of crumbs to use for leaders and enders.
Crumb blocks.

Now and then, it's good to take a breather from the dance floor... and the design wall.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Going Off the Grid with the Siena Shirt

It was love at first sight! 
Everything about this fabric—the colors, the gritty, industrial-like texture, the energetic, painterly design—came together gloriously in a digitally printed cotton, called Off the Grid. I just had to get a piece of this fabric!

My new Siena Shirt [from The Sewing Workshop] made with Off the Grid from P&B Textiles.

Actually, I got two pieces from the Off the Grid collection by P&B Textiles—because I couldn't decide which colorway I liked best. (It's always a dilemma... so just get them both, I say.)
Off the Grid from P&B Textiles: GR45 109GL (left) and GR45 109DB (right).

Siena Shirt pattern
I considered a few pattern options, but in the end, went with my tried-and-true (already fitted to me) Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop. This is my 5th make from this pattern.
The Siena shirt in Off the Grid (dark blue colorway).
Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

Process of [button] Elimination
The only perplexing part of this make was auditioning and making the choice of buttons. I dumped out the green and the blue ones from my inventory. (Don't giggle, I'm not the only one with an extensive button collection.)
Auditioning the buttons for the shirt.

Dismissed the ones that were:
  • too big or too small for a shirt (the pattern suggests 1/2" buttons)
  • obviously not the right color
  • less than the quantity needed (the pattern suggests 8)
  • inappropriate for the look (stars, anchors, the ones with gold, etc.)
Dismissing the buttons that don't meet the criteria.

Narrowed the choice to four...
Auditioning buttons.

and ultimately chose the hexagon shaped buttons. They were a complimentary color with a slight iridescence property... and there were eight.
Set-up for a practice buttonhole.

I always make a test buttonhole or two on a fabric scrap. The thread—a variegated 40 wt cotton from YLI—was a perfect match. The color combination included navy, turquoise, medium blue and even a touch of lavender.
A YLI variegated cotton thread for the buttonholes.

After the handwork finishing processes (hand sewing the inside neck band, sewing on the buttons, burying thread tails) my new Off the Grid Siena shirt was complete!
Back view: Siena shirt [The Sewing Workshop] with Off the Grid [P&B Textiles].

The detail I added to this garment was a side vent at the lower hem... just something to make it a little different.
Siena shirt side vent.

Quilting cottons and digital prints for garment sewing and quilting
If you're a sewer or garment maker, don't be hesitant about using quilting cottons or a digitally printed fabric in your next garment or sewing project. This Off the Grid cotton print machine washed, machine dried and sewed very nicely.

If you're a quilter and know the wonderful advantages of wide backings, Off the Grid also comes in a 108" wide back. Ask YLQS [your local quilt shop] or independent sewing center that carries fabric for Off the Grid. Remember, if you can't decide which colorway you like best, get them all (there are five)!

Like a newly painted canvas, I'm looking forward to wearing and showing off my Off the Grid Siena. I think it's an illustration of a symbiotic relationship between digital printing technology, street art and wearables. What's not to love?!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Got orphan blocks? The Cat Clinic kitties will adopt them.

Another wonderful use for orphan quilt blocks and fabric crumbs is the making of charity quilts. My quilty donations go to the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga where these little quilts are used in the cubbies where the cats and kittens recover from surgeries and medical procedures. My kitty quilt pile grew to 6, so it was time again to visit the kitties!
Six kitty cuddle quilts ready for drop-off at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga.

The finished size of the kitty quilts is approximately 25" x 27". They're small, manageable, quick and fun to make. In addition to comforting the cats, a quiltmaker can benefit by 
  • practicing free-motion quilting on them.
  • trying out new quilting techniques—such as ruler work or curved piecing.
  • practicing binding by machine.
  • testing decorative stitches or new quilting motifs.
  • and using orphan quilt blocks and scraps to create something useful and appreciated.

Charity quilts made with orphan quilt blocks and scraps.

I combine orphan blocks and various fabric bits to produce colorful patchwork menageries. Dr. Toumayan, the veterinarian and founder of the Cat Clinic, says both the kitties and the clinic's staff enjoy the bright colors and fun novelty prints! I usually put flannel on the backs of these quilts for an extra snuggle factor.

Flannel fabric is often used on the back.

Upon my arrival at the clinic, it didn't take long for Mooch, the current office cat waiting for his forever home, to check out the delivery.

I got to meet Mooch at the Cat Clinic.

Mooch is a sweet, friendly cat. He and his brother would make great additions to anyone's family! Oh, and he likes quilts.

Mooch inspects the new quilts.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Orphan block Zippy Pouch: another Make Nine finish

This month, my guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, had a program about adopting and embracing orphan blocks and ideas for using them in projects. Orphan blocks—we all have them. They're tucked away in drawers, bags and boxes in the sewing room, they're the test blocks made before deciding to make a full quilt, the blocks from a class you took 5... 10... or 15 years ago, or maybe you rescued someone else's quilt blocks or vintage quilt top at a yard sale or e-Bay. Sadly, many of us have those lonesome misfits that never quite made it into a finished project.

One block Zippy Pouch made with an orphan quilt block.

As I have "collected" quite a number of miscellaneous quilt blocks and rescued and repurposed several abandoned quilt tops over the years, I offered to help with the program. While gathering my examples, this lonely block resurfaced. I decided to give the re-purposing process a go and make this orphan into a useful item—a zippered pouch. A zippered project bag also happens to be one of my Make Nine Challenge projects. Serendipity! I got twice the bang from this one block.

Repurposing an orphan block
The pattern I used was the Chunky Wee Zippy Pouch by Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio. This is a great pattern as it not only has instructions for three sizes and shapes (see photo above), but provides a formula for making a custom size. (Visit your local quilt shop and ask for this pattern or support the indie pattern designer and purchase from her website.)

The size of my orphan block was 12.5" unfinished. Here is the quilted sandwich.
Quilted orphan block for zippered pouch.

The backing—which ends up being the inside of the pouch—was another random fabric bit from my stash.

Quilted block (inside). Examples of different free-motion fillers, a zigzag
and using rulers to stitch in the ditch can be seen.

A single fold binding was attached in preparation for sewing in the zipper.

Orphan block quilted, trimmed and ready for zipper insertion.

In addition to the orphan block, the materials used in the project were all scraps.

Finished zipper pouch.

Benefits of creating with orphan blocks 
As I worked through this project, I was reminded of several benefits to using these orphan UFOs [unfinished objects] in a project.
  • you get a jump-start to making a project. Part of the work is already done! (by you or by someone)
  • a small project offers an opportunity to practice free-motion quilting.
  • it offers an opportunity to experiment with different FMQ designs. Try a different motif in each section of the patchwork.
  • you can practice new quilting techniques: rulerwork, quilting in the ditch, walking-foot quilting, etc.
  • this project gave me practice with inserting a zipper.
  • a single orphan block can be combined with other orphan blocks, and/or combined with scraps from other projects.
  • If your orphan is a rescue, it's fun to collaborate with other (anonymous) quilters.
  • It's rewarding to recycle and give a new purpose and meaning to a languishing block or blocks.
Finished Zippy Pouch made from a single 12" quilt block.

It was fun to refashion an unused quilt block into something new and useful. Several guild members showed examples of pillows, tote bags, needle books, and the like that they created from orphan quilt blocks and fabric bits. Put on your thinking cap and you will be pleasantly surprised.

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