Saturday, April 10, 2021

String pieced UFO is off the design wall

One of my Make Nine 2021 prompts is a UFO finish. This scrappy string quilt is a viable contender.

String pieced scrappy quilt top. 

There are leftover blocks from a quilt made in the 1990s adjacent to blocks made in 2021. I'm sure the fabrics span at least 3 decades. 

Although I can't put my hands on the book right now, the technique was from a book, "Easy Pieces: Creative Color Play with Two Simple Quilt Blocks," by Margaret J. Miller, a innovative quiltmaker ahead of her time. Additional blocks have joined this stack of blocks as this UFO [unfinished object] has surfaced and resurfaced over the years. 

Scrap Quilts: Color vs Value 
To me, scrap quilts are the best—innovative, serendipitous, and a brilliant use of seemingly unrelated bits working together for a magnificent outcome. Making them is a good exercise in the study of value. Value is the lightness or darkness of a hue. It's been said, "Color gets all the credit, but Value does all the work." Scrap quilts are living proof!

"Make Do" stash blocks
In 2017, my guild teammates and I presented a program on "making do"... illustrating ideas for using fabrics from the stash... using what you already have... or, "making do" as our foremothers did. From this program came a sampling of 5" string-pieced blocks.

Five-inch string pieced blocks using fabric scraps and leftovers.

Somewhere along the way, these two sets of blocks joined forces.

Center block units are 6" finished. The zig-zag border has 4.5" finished blocks.

At the end of March, I finished the top. Now I'm on the hunt for a backing. Then to baste (my least favorite step in the process).

Scrappy string quilt top.

An empty design wall?
The "top layer" of the design wall is empty. Peeling back the flannel top layer will unearth the layers beneath that are sporting other in-progress works.

Empty design wall? Only the top layer.

What long-time UFO will be revealed??? I'm sure I'll find something that I'd forgotten about... and it will again make its way to the needle and continue the journey to completion.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter Bunnies with EPP

Happy Easter. Happy Spring. 

Three-quarter inch EPP hexies from the 100 Day Project.

These English paper pieced [EPP] bunny hexagons are for Day 64 of my 100 Day Project

And my 2021 Stitching Success Tracker is looking colorful for the first quarter of the year. 

Off to a great start! The first quarter 2021 of the Stitching Success Tracker.

The weather is getting more Spring-like and the days are growing longer. I'll be enjoying stitching handwork as well as a little more sunshine today.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Make Nine finish: a charity quilt in baby steps over 5 years

Sometimes a simple project takes years to complete. Life frequently steps in to disrupt the best of plans. 

Make Nine finish: charity quilt.

Baby step 1: This is a charity quilt whose blocks were started in 2016. Hey! Only 5 years ago. 

Make Nine finish. Completed charity quilt. Finished size 38.5" x 38.5".

Baby step 2: After discovering the pile of strip blocks and thinking "this quilt top needs to be finished," the alternate plain blocks were added in February of 2020. (Almost 4 years later.)

String quilt blocks for charity quilt.

Quilt top completed February 2020.

Baby steps 3 and 4: The quilting was done during a virtual guild workshop in the summer of last year. Then the scrappy binding was made and pinned to the quilted top in September.

Scrappy binding attached on the back to be machine stitched from the front.

Baby step 5: And, yesterday, March 27 of 2021... the binding got sewn down! (5 years in the making.)

Scrappy binding attached all by machine. 

Machine binding with 100 wt. thread
The binding was attached all by machine. This time, I tried a small zigzag stitch (stitching from the front of the quilt), with 100 wt. Invisafil soft poly thread in the bobbin. Invisafil is a thread from WonderFil Threads. Try it! It worked beautifully.

Can you see the bobbin thread? By choosing a thread color that matches the backing fabric... the stitching is practically invisible! 

Detail of binding from the back side. 100 wt. Invisafil thread in the bobbin. 

So, it might have taken 5 years to make this quilt, but it's finished! I'm checking off that project on my Make Nine 2021 list.

Documenting via digital camera
Thanks to my photo library that time stamps the photos I take. And a pat on the back to me and my iPad for documenting various stages of my work. Sometimes photos are taken for color and composition auditioning, sometimes it's for remembering a layout, or in this case, the on-going documentation of my work processes. 

It's good to take notes via camera!

Monday, March 22, 2021

The 100 Day Project: 50 days, 141 hexies

This is the halfway point of my 100 Day Project of 3/4-inch English paper pieced hexagons. 

141 three-quarter inch EPP hexagons. 50 days into The 100 Day Project.

There are 141 hexies. Each has a selective cut image. I have no project(s) planned for these. I'm just enjoying the hunt for fabric... and thread- or glue-basting each hexagon.

It's all about the process.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

National Quilting Day 2021

Quilt made with fabric from M&S Textiles Australia.
Happy National Quilting Day 2021

We've got a colorful quilt made with Australian Aboriginal fabrics hanging outside in celebration of quilts and quiltmakers around the globe!

Since many quilts outlive their makers, The National Quilt Museum and Quilt Alliance are spreading the message to label quilts—whether you are the maker, recipient or purchaser.

Labeling quilts
The more information on the label, the better, since quilts can't talk. Consider including this information:

  • name of the quilt
  • the name of the maker
  • the name of the quilter (if not quilted by the maker)
  • date completed
  • city, state
  • description or reason or occasion for making the quilt—birthday, anniversary, commemorative, sampler quilt, etc.
  • if purchased, where it was purchased
  • any other information appropriate to telling the quilt's or quiltmaker's story.

Document your quilts and share their stories.

"Dominique" pattern by Villa Rosa Designs.

Here is the video with messages from the National Quilt Museum and the Quilt Alliance.

And an example of a quilt label for a purchased or inherited quilt.

Example of a quilt label for a purchased quilt.
Compliments of the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY.

Document quilts for future generations!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Pillowcases from fabric panels, a Make Nine finish

Fabric panels.
They come in a variety of themes, sizes, formats—horizontal and vertical—are ubiquitous, and easy to use for all kinds of quilting and sewing projects, both large and small.

Have you considered using fabric panels for pillowcases? 

Make pillowcases with fabric panels.

The Whispering Pines fabric panel
These pillowcases were made with the 28" fabric panel from the Whispering Pines fabric collection from Northcott. For all the campers, nature lovers and outdoorsy types, this panel is ideal for pillowcases! I've paired it with a glow-in-the-dark firefly coordinate from the Nighttime in Bluebell Wood collection from Lewis and Irene

The Burrito Pillowcase construction method
The Magic Burrito Pillowcase method is my go-to construction for pillowcases. It uses French seams and there are no raw edges... and it's fun too!

Burrito method for pillowcase construction.

Because I was making a pair of pillowcases, two panels were needed. The panels are the same orientation, but I prefer each pillowcase of the pair to have the cuff on the "outside" (toward the edge of the bed). You have to plan for this when making the burrito roll... one cuff on the head side of the deer and the other cuff on the butt side. (Yes, this is how I reminded myself.)

Make sure one cuff is on the head side and one on the butt side of the deer.

My pillowcases fit the extra long, king pillows. If you have standard size pillows, you can omit the cuff or trim the width of the panel (to make the body of the pillowcase smaller). 

The other side of the pillowcase (which is actually the bottom portion of the panel) has a beautiful, watercolor design in blue-greens and teals.

Whispering Pines pillowcase backs.

Pillowcases from large scale prints
Continuing with animal fabrics, I also made pillowcases with 
Kenyan Cats, a large format print by Alexander Henry Fabrics. No cuffs were needed on these pillowcases. I'm just letting those big kitties dance and tumble across the bed. 

Pillowcases from Kenyan Cats from Alexander Henry Fabrics.

Gotta love all the color and print on these big kitties!

Reverse side of the Kenyan Cats pillowcases.

A Make Nine finish

This is my second Make Nine finish for 2021. It checks off the "Easy and Fun" category. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

A third of the way through the 100 Day Project

My 100 Day Project with EPP Hexagons is about a third of the way through. I have 118 three-quarter inch selective cut English paper pieced (EPP) hexagons thus far. What?

118 hexagons for #100daysofepphexies 

At this rate, I could have over 300 little hexagons by the end of the 100 days. This batch is about 12 inches wide. 

Over 12 inches wide.

What would 3 feet of hexagons look like??

The pile of hexies grows daily. The 100 Day Project. #the100dayproject 

And what can I make with them?

Monday, March 1, 2021

Stitch Success Tracker on target for March 2021

January and February 2021 are a wrap and the 2021 Stitching Success Tracker is fully colored with stitching activities for both months. March is starting with a good track record.

January and February on my 2021 Stitching Success Tracker.

I'm enjoying and being challenged with both of my 100 Day Projects—EPP 3/4" hexagons and Slow Drawing studies. And I've completed one of my 2021 Make Nine projects

2021 Stitching Success Tracker calendar.

One of the popular EPP hexie posts was this one... which makes me contemplate potential patchwork or applique compositions once the 100 days are up.

From my #100daysofepphexies

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Australia Aboriginal designs: Let the fabric do the talking!

A multi-color package of M&S Textiles Australia charm squares, a background fabric, and an uneven wide stripe for the border... that's all it takes. This is the Dominique quilt, a pattern from Villa Rosa Designs.

Dominique. 44" x 57.5"
pattern from Villa Rosa Designs, fabric from M&S Textiles Australia.

With these energizing, brightly colored Australian aboriginal fabric prints, a simple quilt pattern is all that is needed for this quilt. The fabric does all the talking. 

An easy charm square quilt on a rocking arm chair.

Be mindful of fabric value—light, medium and dark—to provide contrast between the charm squares and the background fabric so you can see the block outlines. 

The charm square's pinked edge allows for trimming
Note that the M&S Textiles charm squares are pinked (zigzag cut on the edges) to minimize fraying. Some quilters find a pinked edge more challenging when piecing—not knowing where to line up the presser foot with the pinked fabric edge. 

The charm squares from M&S Textiles have a pinked edge that extends beyond the 5" measurement so it can be trimmed off before piecing. Therefore, if you prefer to run a straight cut edge under your presser foot (I did), just trim off the pinked edge before beginning your patchwork.

Dominique, a charm square quilt. 
Finished size: 44' x 57.5"

My friend, Cheryl, from 3 Hens and a Chick Quilt Shop, did the machine quilting on this quilt for me. She chose a medium scale, swirly, all-over quilting design that complements these fun fabric prints. I opted for a contrasting binding, that was hand stitched—by me. 

The Villa Rosa Dominique pattern is designed for charm squares.

This was a fun and fast make! 

Contact your local quilt shop for M&S Textiles Australia fabrics and precuts, and Villa Rosa patterns.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Week 1 of the 100 Day Hexie Project: it's about the tools

Progress: the first 7 days of my 100 Day Project, #100daysofepphexies. 

January 31 through February 6 of The 100 Day Project.

I'm using 3/4" hexagon papers for English paper piecing [EPP] and selective cutting (fussy cutting) motifs from the fabrics. 

3/4" hexagons with fussy cut images.

Initially, I thought I would do a single hexie a day. However... there are often multiple images on a piece of fabric—the same image or different, but related—that shout out to be included. As long as I'm tracing and cutting, I might as well take advantage of what that fabric offers.

There were multiple kitties on this Small Things Pets fabric by Lewis and Irene.

Daily posts of The 100 Day Project are on my Instagram [veronica.fiberantics] and Facebook feeds. One of my friends commented that she was impressed that I liked all the handwork. 

Confession: I'm using a fabric glue pen to glue-baste these hexies. I haven't been thread basting any of these hexies.

Back side of the hexie EPP pieces. Fabric is glue-basted with the glue pen.

It's all about the right tools to: 
  • make the process more efficient, 
  • make it more accurate, 
  • make the assembly easier or quicker, 
  • ______ (fill in the blank).
  • and, in the end, to enjoy the process more! 
That's what it's all about—enjoying the process. Don't you think?

Monday, January 25, 2021

Prep for the 100 Day Project with 3/4" EPP hexagons

I'm prepping for the 100 Day Project. It starts in less than a week—on Sunday, January 31.

From Dr. Seuss

My 3/4" paper pieces from Paper Pieces have arrived along with an acrylic template for selective cutting the fabrics. I also cut my own preview window from cardboard (because I couldn't wait). So I have two tools.

Paper templates for English paper piecing and acrylic viewer.

I'm collecting fabrics with small images or motifs that look interesting.

Templates for selecting images from fabrics.

Everyone should think about doing this! 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The 100 Day Project

So, what's one more on-line Challenge? I've decided to join the #100DayProject since it's starting early this year—on January 31. 

The 100 Day Project.

What's The 100 Day Project?

Initially, The 100 Day Project was inspired by a grad school project conceived by the iconic graphic designer and principal at Pentagram, Michael Bierut. After being launched on social media in 2014, it has since become a global art project that encourages participants to show up every day, for 100 days, and make/do something creative. It celebrates the process. The goal is to show up day after day. 

100 Days of 3/4" fussy-cut hexies

Knowing that my "thing" for the 100 Day Project had to be something manageable and not time consuming, I'm choosing two simple/do-able ones. The first is to fussy cut [selective cut] fabric for 3/4" English paper pieced [EPP] hexagons. I've started gathering potential fabrics. I got inspired by smaller EPP shapes through participation in the #IloveEPPparty2020 stitch-along last year.

Prep for #100daysoffussycuthexies 

100 Days of Mindful Mark Making

My second item is to do 100 days of "mindful mark making." Here is an example of these doodle-like drawings in my sketchbook. This paper is for mixed media, but I'm contemplating watercolor paper in case I want to add color.

Sketchbook page of mindful mark making, slow drawing.

The 100 Day Project starts on January 31, 2021. My daily posts will be on my Instagram feed [veronica.fiberantics]. 

Here's to celebrating PROCESS!

Image: from The Great Discontent

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Crumb Quilt—first Make Nine finish for 2021

Can I get an exchange on 2021? It didn't start off as expected. Or maybe we'll just say this is December 42. Despite the chaos and horror of January 6, I'm going to take this quilt as a success in my small part of the world. This is my first Make Nine finish for 2021: a Crumb quilt.

Kitty crumb quilt. 22" x 29.25"

One of my Make Nine projects this year is to make something with crumbs—either fabric, yarn or threads. A week or so ago, I found a small bag of leftovers from a foundation paper piecing project—possibly started around 2014 -15. This fit the criteria.

Crumbs: foundation paper piecing project leftovers.

Piecing small crumbs together to make larger pieces, I picked up and sewed whatever pieces were close to the same size.

Paper piecing blocks.

Piecing together small crumbs into larger blocks and strips.

Eventually, the piece grew into a small patchwork quilt top.

Crumb quilt top

The top was pin basted and free-motion quilted this weekend. 

Pin basted quilt top.

The backing is flannel and the binding was attached by machine.

Flannel quilt backing.

I'm keeping this kitty quilt for our own pack of neighborhood cats. Here is a five-kitty pile-up of the tuxedo kitties. Where does one kitty start and another one end??

The tuxedo kitties in a Five Cat Pile-up.

But it looks like Oliver, one of the all-black kitties, tested the new quilt first.

Oliver sleeping on the new crumb quilt.

I'm sure the kitties will take turns on the new quilt. For me, I'm calling it a Make Nine finish!

First finish on my 2021 Stitching Success Tracker.

I love scrappy quilts and enjoy the challenge of improvisational patchwork with crumbs and strings. No doubt this little quilt will not be the only scrappy crumb quilt made this year. 

This stack of string blocks might be next in line for a finish. Definitely a time-span quilt. I know some of these blocks and fabrics go back to the 1990s.

String quilt blocks and a scrappy diamond block.

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