Home, Sweet, Home Mini-Quilt Class

 

HomeSweetHomeClassRecently I taught a class for my Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I snapped these photos as they were working; they’d all mostly prepped up their pieces before coming, and it made the class go quite smoothly.  I loved all the different ways that people did their blocks (shown here at our Guild Meeting):

HomeSweetHomeClass_1

Here are most of them (some didn’t bring them to Guild):

It wasn’t until posting these up that I found two errors in these quilts.  Isn’t it funny that you don’t see things…until you do?  (Hint: it’s in the bushes.)  I love the rainbow quilt made by my friend Lisa.  I may have to make one for myself.

HomeSweetHome_Melissa

(Breaking News: Melissa finished hers!)

Eclipse, deconstructed

This is the post where I reveal all my beauty secrets.  Kidding.

This is the post where I tell you how I made my Four-in-Art quilt, showing a technique   I’d read about this technique somewhere, but that crazed-woman-at-the-computer didn’t bookmark it or file it away neatly.  So I had to wing it, which is okay.

First, cut yourself a square of black fabric.  I used the wrong side of a fabric that I hoarded about 15 years ago, and I’m still trying to get rid of it.  (It’s a great fabric, really.)  Then get yourself some Steam-A-Seam II, the fusible applique stuff that will be sticky when you lift up the transfer paper, after you’ve ironed it on.

I did check to make sure that I adhered the non-release side of the Steam-A-Seam II, leaving the side that would release easily facing me.

Gather together some scraps in the colors you want to place on your background.  Since I was doing the eclipse, I basically had three: yellow, black, blue.  Throw in some related colors, just to keep it interesting.  For me, that meant some lighter blues, and orange.

Pile up your color, then randomly cut through the fabrics, and then do it again.  You need some bigger pieces (1-1/2″), but also lots of smaller pieces (1/2″).

I traced a circle on my paper, slightly off-center — because none of us saw that eclipse dead-center — and cut out a hole out of the paper backing.

I laid out my black scraps, making a loose circle. Then I tucked my yellow/orange sun flares behind the circle, pressing down with my fingers to make them adhere to that sticky surface.

Then I oopsed:

I went to the ironing board and ironed it all down.  WRONG.  While this seemed like a good idea, you know–to make sure all those pieces were not going to go anywhere — in reality it prevented me from lifting up the edges and tucking in more yellows,  and the blues.  So maybe if you can protect the edges of your design from the hot iron it might be a good idea?  Or just wait until the end?

Milky Way MJA

Star Fields, by Matthew Anselmo of MattsClicks

Then my son Matthew, who is an expert landscape photographer, put up pictures of the Milky Way on his Instagram, MattsClicks.  This gave me to freedom to really add in color to the heavens, so I pulled a greater variety of blues (and some with purples) and started scattering them around, trying to keep a “street” of lighter blues to represent the Milky Way. (Thanks, Matt!)

Eclipse_4inart_methods8Add in your bits and pieces, filling up the background in a random, organic way.

NOW go to the ironing board, lay your transfer paper over the design (the crackly sheet that came with your fusible), and press, lifting up and down, not sliding, until you think it’s adhered.

Eclipse_4inart_methods10

I used three different colors of thread, and just scribbled free-motion-quilted the pieces down.  I did a series of circles in black in the moon, the followed the shapes for the solar flares, then a random loopy design in the heavens.

Eclipse_4inart_methods9aThis is where I notice that the moon has two eyeballs staring right at me.  And this is where I go get some more scraps, use a regular old-school glue stick and paste more fabric scraps over the eyeballs (you don’t see it in the first one, do you?).  Quilt, again.  And then I thought that the moon looked more like a black lump of coal than the moon (even though it does have a mountain-y horizon…it’s not THAT bumpy).  More scraps glued on, more FMQ. I finished up by going in giant circle around the perimeter of the moon, to reinforce that Orb in the Sky thing.

Well.  Not quite.  But that’s what my work table looked like after I trimmed it up, bound it, and made the label.  I’m a total believer in a clean workspace at all times.  I’m a total believer in a clean workspace at least once every couple of weeks.  I mean, I’d like it to be all the time, but I create in small room, and I decided to adjust to the life I have.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the Deconstruction Post for the Final Four-in-Art Quilt.  I probably won’t leave the art quilt in the dust, though, as it’s a quick way to make a quilt while trying out a new technique.  Given that it is often smaller (most of mine were 12″ square), you can crank one out in a day, or an afternoon, if your design is not too complicated.

Thank you for coming along on this five-year journey.

~Elizabeth, of OPQuilt.com

Rewards for WorkingCreatively

Eclipse: Final *Four-in-Art* Art Quilt

 

Eclipse_fourinart_frontEclipse • Quilt #189
Four-in-Art, Series Four: Light
12″ square

Click to enlarge any photo.

This is the final post of our Four-in-Art Art Quilt group.

Our group had its genesis when I saw the Twelve-by-Twelve group at a quilt show. Rachel and I emailed back and forth about maybe trying to make some art quilts.  I think we had done tons of regular quilts, and were looking for something new.  The idea was to put out a theme, create a quilt around the theme and maybe try a new technique while we were at it.  It started with just four quilters who wanted to try something, so we called ourselves Four-in-Art, and I made up a logo, incorporating the idea of four:

Sometime later, we added four more quilters, then switched the scheduling to four times a year, so we were still Four-in-Art.  We created a blog to post our quilts, for once you archive, you are real.

 Here is an overview of my quilts: (By the way, I am following the newspaper convention of captioning underneath my photos, so look there for details.
Year 1: Nature

We took turns coming up with the overarching theme for the year, then again, turns for the quarterly challenges.  The challenges are, from the upper left: Queen Anne’s Lace, Tree(s), Fire, Owl.  It was liberating to craft this way, without getting out too many rulers or drafting things on the computer (see below for a glimpse of my journal).

Year2_FourinArtYear 2: Urban  Quarterly Challenges (from upper left): Maps, Structure, Landmarks, Contrast, Light (we seem to like this topic).Year 3: Literature  —  We could choose what segment of literature to focus on.  Some did a series of novels, Nancy did a series of children’s books’ titles, which she then donated to her local library, and I did a series of poems.  I love the poems, pretty much hate these quilts, for a variety of reasons.  Year 4: Color, and the challenges (again, from upper left): Microscopic, Music, Purple Passion, and I’ve Got the Blues.

And this year’s, with the yearly theme of Light.  The quarterly challenges were: Shimmer,  Light in the Darkness, Stained Glass Shadows, and Illumination.

It’s very satisfying to notice the growth, the steps backward, the consequence of leaving things to the last minute, and how having enough time impacts what you can create.  I also learned new techniques, new ways of doing things, new ways to incorporate design beyond the grid and have it mean something.

A few pages from my notebook/sketchbook.  It really helped to keep one of these, and not just for the journaling.  I was often able to arrive at an idea for my quilt through drawing out (that old mysterious hand-brain connection) and writing out my feelings about the theme and the challenge.

Four-in-Art_book2

(I came back in later and pasted in the four quilts we did under that theme.)

Four-in-Art_book1Four-in-Art_book4

It was also a place to keep patterns, those bits and pieces of paper that led me to the final quilt, as well as notes and thoughts while on the run:

Four-in-Art_book3Four-in-Art_book5Four-in-Art_book6

Pages about this quilt (the second page is digitally pasted on top of the first).  You can see the rejected ideas.

This little quilt, Ted and Maurice at Lorinc Pap Ter, is my favorite, not only for the idea of Contrast which it expresses (and was our challenge for this 12″ square quilt), but also because I learned how to print photos onto fabric [making my own photo-ready fabric, not buying it] and had a great time doing this.

I have more than one that qualifies for the Least-Favorite-Maybe-Even-Hate, so I won’t tell you which ones.  But I can share the why: when I was trying to be too “artsy” and didn’t let the idea drive the design, or when I forced the design, or when I was new at this and just had no clue how to execute the idea.

Four-in-Art Index

I used to have a dedicated page for all the Four-in-Art quilts, but recently I was cleaning out around here and filed them away in the Master Index to my quilts.  Now they are all on the 200 Quilts page, making them easy to find.  Slowly I’m going through the posts, adding the tag “Technique” to those pages that show how I tried a new way of doing things, or a new method.  I hope they will be helpful for you (use my search engines to the right–Wordpress has outstanding search capability).

It’s been a wonderful journey, these past five years, and my hat is off to those who started — and stuck — with me: Rachel and Betty.  They were some of the best companions to have alongside me as I traveled this road.  Other travelers were Leanne (SheCanQuilt), Anne (SpringLeaf Studios), Amanda, Carla, Jennifer, Nancy (Patchwork Breeze), Simone (Quiltalicious), Susan (PatchworknPlay), and Camilla.  Finally, Catherine (Knotted Cotton) and Janine (Rainbow Hare), who were also members, will be carrying this art quilt group forward, through their Endeavorers.  Click on their links to be taken to their blogs. And thank you for reading this WHOLE thing.

Now, please enjoy the final round of quilts for the Four-in-Art group!

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

 

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Gridster Bee Blocks & Catch-Ups

gridsters-250-buttonx

Gridster_Septemeber Teton

Simone, the Queen Bee for September, visited Grand Teton National Park over the summer and wanted a block to commemorate her visit.  I can hardly wait to see this one.

Gridster_October African QueenLeisa’s mother used to live in Ghana, a missionary for the LDS church.  While she was there, she sent Leisa a box of fabrics that she’s turned into African Queen blocks.  In case you want one, here’s the info on the pattern by Anne Batiste.

I also saw Leisa’s block in my latest Quiltfolk Magazine, issue #4:

Quiltfolk Issue 4Quiltfolk Issue 4aI have to admit, even though it’s a bit more than I’d usually pay for a single issue, I do enjoy this publication, as it generally focuses on the regular people of quilting, not the big Brand Names of Quilt Stardom.  A nice change, which exposes me to a wider range of our quilt world (and lets me find an African Queen pattern!).

Uppercase_35

Here’s another I really enjoy–Uppercase Magazine.  This issue hit it out of the park, in my view, so if you decide to subscribe, make sure you start with #35.  Neither of these publications have advertisements, they are subscription based only, which is why they cost a bit more: the advertisers aren’t subsidizing the costs.  I like advertisements okay; it helps me know what my favorite companies are doing.  But I also like not having advertisements, too.

If you join up with Jeanine’s mailing list, she’ll give you a deal on a new subscription, plus you get her cool little missives.  Never heavy, only intriguing and fun, filled with art and creativity everywhere.  I’m sure you can sign up to get those all by themselves, if you want.  (And no, Uppercase doesn’t pay me.)

Okay, as long as we are in the panting-over-something-but-don’t-know-if-I’ll-get-it phase, look what came in my mailbox this morning:

QuiltMania box set Di Ford

You get one box at a time, filled with stuff to make two Di Ford blocks.  I’m not even a Di Ford aficionado (although you might persuade me) and I’m tempted.  They are only making 400.

This news comes from someone who has the complete set of Frivols, yes, boxes 1-12.  It was my retirement gift to myself.  I still haven’t made ONE of those quilts, although I still like seeing the boxes.  Soon.

My box fetish comes honestly from my mother, who always had a cupboard full of empty boxes for gift-giving, and a stack of them outside in the garage next to the freezer, just in case we needed one.  I’m sure there are other box-hoarders out there, besides me, right?

4-in-art_3

Coming November 1st: my final quilt in the Four-in-Art experience.  Although I’ll not be a part of it, the art quilt group still continues on, however, as Endeavourers, with Janine and Catherine at the helm.

 

Endeavourer

They had such a nice response that their slots are full, but having run a few groups, I know that the line-ups change all the time.  If you are interested in joining them, drop either one of them a note and ask to be added to their waiting list.  It has been a wonderful experience to make art quilts these past five years, and being a part of a group is wonderful.

See you November 1st!

 

Flowers! (and Rules)

Sunflower1

My nephew’s wife, Grace, wrote to me and asked for help.  She is a young quilter, who makes awesome gooseberry jam (she shared a jar with me), so I wanted to help. The quilt was for someone close to her who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she thought a quilt was needed.  I agree.

She sent me the screen shot you see above, and since it was on Pinterest…and you know how much I LOVE their search engines (NOT), I thought it was easier to draft it on my computer using QuiltPro than try to find the original design (I tried…and failed…but kudos to whoever dreamed it up).  Besides, that was one of those “barn” quilts, painted on wood, not a cloth quilt.

This is what I came up with.  But I knew Grace wanted to move quickly, and yeah–all those pieces?

I thought about my Home Sweet Home mini quilt, and how she could make fewer blocks, but bigger blocks, and I modified it as on the left.  Nope.  Those middle petals look like cookies or fingers or something.  I left the pattern in the same, but just colored it differently, and came up with the one on the right.  I sent it over.

Grace wrote back.  She loved what I’d done, but now they were thinking poppies. She sent me a sample of a quilt she’d seen.  I drafted it up in my QuiltPro program, drew up a quilt.  But I thought I should test out my own pattern, so I made a Poppy Block:

Poppy block constructon1

trimming snowball corners

Poppy for Grace

I think it will be cute quilt.  This is a 10-inch block and I thought you’d like to have the pattern, too.  Each is a PDF file which you can download.

Here’s the Poppy Block:  Poppies for Grace

And here’s the quilt instructions: Poppies for Grace Quilt

It can be made in reds and greens and be thought of as poinsettias for Christmas.  Or made to commemorate Anzac Day in April, for the Australians.  Or red and white for a bouquet of posies for Valentine’s Day.  Have fun, but please don’t print off dozens for a class or for your friends–send them here to get their own free pattern.  Thanks.

About QuiltPro: they do not pay me or give me free stuff.  I started using that quilt program eons ago, and they are still going strong.  If you are struggling with the current software (I know, I have it and love/hate it too), consider trying this software, as it’s based on making shapes, not connecting lines.  I find it pretty intuitive, but as with anything, there is a learning curve–it’s just that theirs is not quite as steep.

redwhite triangles1

Making that block added to my collection of red and white triangles (ignore the interlopers in the upper right corner).  I trim them to whatever measurement’s closest, without it being a weird number, and save them.redwhite triangles2

Every once in a while, I sew them into four-patches.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with them, but a couple of questions arise: do I include the Christmas prints?  Or do they get their own collection? (I think so.)

Do you ever quilt with “rules”?  It’s about all I remember from my beginning art classes, ages ago in college.  The assignments laid out rules to create by — an edge to the sandbox — if you will, and went something like this:

  • Take an old piece of clothing, adhere it to a canvas and paint it like something else.
  • Use three shapes only.
  • Create a composition by taking a square of black paper, cutting out some shape and using the negative and positive pieces.
  • This assignment will use only two colors, but you may use any range of those colors.

And so on.  There are many books out there in the marketplace for guided creativity, but they all start with a rule.

Sometimes I find little bags of treasures in my sewing room, with pieces inside that have been collected according to some rule.  Like the red and white triangle rule.  Or the 3-inch square rule, but I kind of think that last one’s a bit of a cheat.

About seven years ago, I saw this on Jan Burgwinkle’s blog, Be*mused, and fell in love with it.  Maybe that’s why I started making little HSTs.  (While she doesn’t seem to update her blog much these days, it’s still amazing to read through the archives.)

So that’s my rule and I’m sticking with it: red and white triangles, although seeing this quilt again does make me wonder if I should break it.

PS.  I did adhere that old piece of clothing to a canvas and paint it.  It was a maternity shirt, which I stuffed and painted it like a landscape: three mountains and a river.  Somewhere I have a photo of it, but the original was mercifully carted off to a dump somewhere.