Sunday, August 25, 2019

My “Boho Wiksten” Make Nine project spans two centuries

When a plan comes together... it's magical! I'm calling this finish my Boho Wiksten top.

My new Boho Wiksten top. A Make Nine 2019 finish.

After checking off the pillowcases on my 2019 Make Nine list earlier this month, I was reminded of item 7—my desire to create a piece that incorporated or repurposed vintage textiles. All the elements were at the ready and this recollection was the prompt.

Although I originally had other ideas for some of the fabrics that came together in this eclectic mix, it was apparent that these materials were destined to play together for this project:
  • a digitally printed fabric sample from the Belle Fleur collection from P&B Textiles,
  • vintage bow tie quilt blocks from a rescued quilt top,
  • a piece of powder blue cotton embossed fabric from Diamond Textiles,
  • the Wiksten Shift top pattern—a pattern I had made, was familiar with, and was already fitted to my measurements.
Boho materials: Belle Fleur digital print, Cotton Embossed,
vintage feedsack quilt blocks, Wiksten pattern.

The Wiksten pattern
The Wiksten top is a simple, loose fitting, pullover with minimal seams and pattern pieces. It's a broad, clean canvas for patchwork or embellishment if you're looking to mix things up a bit. Ask your local quilt shop or sewing center to get it for you. I got my pattern at Topstitch Studio & Lounge.
Boho Wiksten, front view.

Since several different pieces of fabric were being incorporated—and I didn't have enough yardage of any of them to make the full top—I opted for the 2-piece back from the Wiksten shift dress version. This version offered a back yoke and back bodice with a gather detail.
Boho Wiksten, back view.

Piecing the back yoke
The back yoke offered a place to show the orphan quilt blocks. To get the most visibility for these repurposed pieces, they were set on the diagonal.
Vintage quilt blocks positioned on the back yoke.

A piece of muslin cut from the yoke pattern piece (the muslin is cut on grain) served as a yoke interlining. This interlining offered support, stability and a solid backing for one fabric piece that was quite sheer (see photo below).
Sheer antique fabrics benefited from a cotton interlining.

Because the patchwork was set diagonally, the yoke has an asymmetrical layout. What is "boho" if not finding interesting solutions to sewing challenges?
Boho Wiksten top: back yoke with gathered bodice.

Kantha stitching opportunity
Have you ever hand stitched through cotton feedsack fabrics? It's bliss! With the interlining in place for stability, I didn't pass up this opportunity for kantha hand stitching.
Hand stitching through feedsacks and vintage cotton fabrics.

Boho Wiksten: back yoke featuring kantha hand stitching.

Spanning two centuries
One of my favorite parts of this garment's story is the juxtaposition of antique quilt blocks (early to mid 1900s), an embossed cotton (a batik resist process), and a fabric printed digitally using 21st century printing technology!
1900 and 2000 fabrics and processes.

The floral design of the digital fabric features a bit of "pixelization"—definitely a term and design style not in existence until the latter part of the 20th century with the introduction of computers.
Detail: pixelation incorporated into the floral design of this digitally printed fabric.
Belle Fleur from P&B Textiles.

Additional antique quilt blocks run around the hem of this top. It makes me smile that the colors of the orphan blocks coordinated perfectly with the digital floral print! The powder blue cotton embossed provides a calm and restful background as well as interesting texture.
Boho Wiksten, side view.

Because several of the quilt blocks had bias outside edges that were "creatively pieced" by the original quiltmaker, the patchwork was sewn to the lower front and back bodice pieces by hand.
Boho Wiksten, back view.

Make Nine 2019
This Boho Wiksten top checks off another Make Nine 2019 project. And I'm pleased that it fulfills several of my Make Nine goals and objectives:
  • use existing resources and stash,
  • finish or incorporate existing UFOs, 
  • repurpose vintage or rescued fabrics,
  • incorporate visible handwork or slow stitching techniques,
  • use a technique from a workshop.
Boho Wiksten combines a variety of fabrics with mix-and-match success.

Mix it up!
I am absolutely thrilled with this top! If anyone ever asks if you can combine different types of fabrics into a single project (garment, quilt, accessory, etc.) the answer is an overwhelming "YES YOU CAN!"

In addition, this garment not only incorporates fabrics from different centuries, made with different manufacturing processes (cotton embossed, digital printing, screen printing), but I had the pleasure of doing hand stitching and using my sewing machine and serger to create something meaningful, unique and wearable.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

100 Days 100 Blocks Challenge: Day 49 perspective

At the nearly half-way point of the Kinship Fusion Sampler sew-along—aka #100Days100Block—here is what my first 49 blocks look like together. 
#100Days100Blocks2019 Kinship Fusion Sampler progress at day 49.
Fabrics are Tweed Thicket and Nikko III from Diamond Textiles.

I'm using yarn-dyed wovens from Diamond Textiles for my fabrics this year, so at a distance, the fabrics look much like solids. Up close, their inherent woven textures becomes apparent—especially the Nikko III fabrics.
Nikko III yarn-dyed cotton wovens from Diamond Textiles.

Still time to change navigation
The current process is that I compose each block individually—pulling colors and value for a single block's composition. Now, with only half of the blocks complete, there is still opportunity to rethink color and/or value placement for the remainder of the blocks.

The final block layout is not yet determined. The arrangement of the blocks (with color in mind), the introduction of sashing or background fabric(s) will play a part in the final composition and flow of the eye across the quilt.

One thing I did discover while putting the blocks up on the design wall was a missing piece in Block 46 (the block was smaller in one dimension).

This is the corrected block.
Kinship Block 46

It's good to stand back and look at the progress of your work every so often.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pillowcases: a Make Nine finish

Back in January, I signed up for the Make Nine Challenge [#makenine]. Pillowcases was one of the projects on my list. After a lot of intricate piecing of 6-inch blocks for The Farmer’s Wife sampler, I am happy the tides turned toward easier sewing—pillowcases.
Four pairs of pillowcases. Make Nine Challenge 2019.

Pillowcases are always fun to make and especially fun to give—whether you have those "hard to get for" people or not. Pillowcases are personal, customizable, useful, easy to sew, and one size fits all!
Floral and Fishing themed pillowcases.

The colorful birds shown in various fabric prints is my personal favorite. The pillowcase cuff has rows of dog houses.
Pillowcases for the yarn lover. The birds and dog house pillowcases are for me.

A refresher of my 2019 Make Nine list and a status report:
  1. Picasso Top.
  2. Collins Top. Finished
  3. Jacket using Diamond Textiles yarn-dyed wovens. Finished
  4. Lolita Vest (a yarn project)Finished
  5. PillowcasesFinished
  6. Tote or project bag with a zipper
  7. Project incorporating vintage textiles, recycled or re-purposed elements
  8. Project with visible hand stitchingFinished
  9. Wild Card—something using rayon fabrics
Five finishes and four to go for Make Nine 2019.

Stan Leigh.
This is Stan Leigh, my studio sentry. She was supervising the photography for this blog post. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A scrappy state of mind

Once the storage boxes and bags of fabric scraps are out and within arm's reach, it's difficult to stop at just one scrappy quilt top. The Tea Cup quilt blocks from my guild's Cuddle Quilt workshop last weekend were the impetus for the fabric leftover frenzy.
Tea Cup quilt top. 93.5" x 76.5"

I finished this quilt top for the Choo Choo Quilters' community service program. The block we used is called the Tea Cup block, and this quilt top marries scraps and leftovers from my and several guild members' fabric stashes. Proof that many hands working together can achieve great results—and lovely quilts.

While tidying up the cutting table from the Tea Cup project, I organized a collection of orphan blocks, test blocks and patchwork experiments. This pile of WIP kitty quilt tops are now in the queue to be quilted.

Four small quilt tops awaiting basting and quilting.

The next scrap quilt needing attention is my Farmer's Wife project, which I started just about a year ago. I've decided to make multiple quilts from the 111+ blocks I've amassed. For this larger group of blocks, it's the layout dilemma of sashing vs. no sashing. I'm leaning toward a multi-color sashing for this group.

The Farmer's Wife blocks in a straight set layout.

Below is a smaller group of blocks in a more controlled color palette. I think the on point layout is a good choice since several of the blocks (tree and baskets blocks) are more suited to this orientation.
The Farmer's Wife blocks set on point.

And yet a few more blocks remain...
The Farmer's Wife blocks made with Art Gallery Fabrics.

Guess I'll be back to pulling out the fabric boxes and scrap baskets again. This time from my stash of Art Gallery fabrics.

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