Cinque Terra Tiles • Improv Applique (Part 2)

Cinque Terra Tiles_3

This is the story of my Improv Appliqué Demo, coming up at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena.  In the last post, you saw me making a whole gang of these little bits squares, some with slightly wobbly shapes.  And lo and behold, one day they all turned into this:

Cinque Terra Tiles_ front

Cinque Terra Tiles, Quilt # 193

Yep.  I arranged those little bits and bigger bits until they coalesced into this quilt, which I love.

At the request of Paintbrush Studios, I’ll be doing two demos of this Improv Appliqué technique during QuiltCon 2018:
•  Friday, February 23 from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.,
•  Sunday, February 25, from  11:00 to 11:30 a.m.

If you come, you’ll get a little kit to get you started, complete with needle and thread, and a mini-charm pack of fabulous Painter’s Palette Solids.  I’ll have a set of printed directions for your improv appliqué, plus tips on folding techniques as well as basic hand-appliqué directions.

I loved working with this fabric, as it has a nice tight weave, but not so tight that it won’t ease and fold into shape.  The colors are saturated and rich and play well against each other.  I’m totally sold on this fabric, especially after working with it in such close circumstances: handwork reveals everything, I think.

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I’m deluging you with photos, because if you want to make one, all of a sudden you’ll say, I need a new shape! a new color combo! Feel free to steal one of mine.Cinque Terra Tiles_5

I did cut out the back of the larger appliqué shapes, but you can see where I appliquéd smaller on larger. You can also see that I did NOT press seams open, but instead, to one side.  I grouped them together, sewing four smalls, then seaming that onto one larger, and so on (sew on?)

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Sometimes it’s fun to see the undersides of our quilts, right?

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I chose a fun Kaffe Fassett circles pattern to back it with.  I decided not to gild the lilly, that is, to excessively quilt the little bits: I just stitched in the ditch.  But on the borders, I picked up the circles theme again, and did arcs in varying sizes with black thread.  It’s nearly invisible on the front, but you can see it very well on the back.Cinque Terra Tiles_6alabelCinque Terra Tiles_7quilting

Hope to see you in Pasadena–come and learn how to do some Improv Appliqué!

Cinque Terra Tiles • Improv Applique (Part 1)

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The kind folk at Paintbrush Studios asked me (some time ago) to give a demo at QuiltCon 2018.  I set to wondering what I could teach in a short amount of time (20-30 minutes) that would be interesting. Shortly after they asked me, I visited Cinque Terra, Italy, and stood on a plaza in Riomaggiore, overlooking the sea (above).

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We walked down the steps, and underneath the plaza was a passageway, the walls decorated with these tiles in all sizes. It was on the way to Via dell’amore (the Walk of Love).

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When I returned home and started looking at my photos, I thought about all those mini charm packs we pick up everywhere, and how they could become something along the lines of this impromptu artwork in Riomaggiore.  Cinque Terra Tiles1_1

So I got out my mini-charm pack from Paintbrush Studio Solids and started pairing up the colors, trying to make the duo sing together–have a little friction together–trying to get pairs that would play against each other.

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I found a worksheet online that had a whole bunch of oddball shapes, and I began trying some.

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I sent away for more mini-charm packs.  Once I got started, I kept wanting to make more.

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And more.

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I carried around a little baggie of paired squares, and did them while watching TV, getting my hair colored and while in Urgent Care one bad flu season.

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I loved watching my collection grow.  I would do one shape for a while, then another.  I used up bits and pieces of squares.  I even tried some paper-piece-wrapped hexagons; I ended up not liking them so much because the charm of these squares was in their wobbliness, their wonkiness.

And then one day, I put them up on the wall with other, larger, squares–just like the Walk of Love passageway in Italy.  And wouldn’t you know it–it was really looking fun.Cinque Terra Tiles1_5

I wasn’t finished, but what I hoped would happen, did.  I took this photo and put it up on Instagram, using the SnapSeed app to expand the edges and add the text.

Next post: the finish and the details about my demos at QuiltCon.

Oh, yeah. My take on QuiltCon.

Quiltcon Stats

This popped up in my email one morning, and it about wraps it all up, as far as I’m concerned.  No, I never met Claudia, but I did meet a few other fine quilters, including some from different countries than California.  (That was a joke, people.)

LorenaLoriSqueak

Since it’s been over a month since QuiltCon, I thought I should get around to writing about my impressions.  The show was held in Pasadena, California and the Registration Desk, Vendor Mall, part of the quilt show, and lecture room were in one building.

QuiltCon bannersAcross the courtyard was a large older room with high clerestory windows (building behind these banners) where the rest of the quilts were, and to the other side of that, was the building where the classes were held. While pretty close together, I did miss Austin’s intimacy, but the great part about being here was that the weather was unseasonably warm which made everyone except those Californians happy (we want rain).

Silliest moment for me:

Bacon Brownie

Hollering Polo! to Eileen’s (@luckycharm93635) Marco! as we bumbled out of the restaurant after topping off our 50/50 burgers with a bacon-brownie.  And yes, we did the Marco! Polo! thing all conference long, whenever we’d see each other.

(I’m behind the camera)

Moment when I realized that none of us quilters ever charge enough for our quilts:

MakerMakingLiving

When, during our From Maker to Making a Living class, I glimpsed the majesty of Jacqueline Sava’s spreadsheets and listened to her funny and wonderful stories about making a living.  She’s the SOAK lady, and to support her, I went down to the selling floor and bought a bottle of Flatter, in the Fig flavor.  So so yummy-smelling and it works, too.  A whiff of it and it brings back that class and the belief that I, too, can be as successful as she is.  Kidding.

Moment when I realized that I’ve missed mucking around in paint all my whole life:

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In Lizzy House’s block printing class.  Even though I was beyond tired (and I’m pretty sure she was too), we had a great class of doodling, carving, printing, sharing.  This was my last class of QuiltCon, and after this, I met up with Lisa and Simone and we drove the 90 minutes home.  We’d stayed for two days and two nights, beginning with an early morning (up at 4:30 a.m.) on Thursday, and ending Saturday night.

Moment when I realized that my QuiltCon experience had shifted from taking classes, to hobnobbing with the Women of QuiltCon:

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This is the only photo I have of me ( at the end of the table, nearly on Lorena’s lap) and Lisa (third down on the right, with glasses and blonde hair) and Simone (second down on the right, with brown hair).  The rest of the time we passed like ships in the night, or sat next to each at lectures.  I met several quilters I’d only followed on blogs or on IG, and deepened friendships with many of these fine women.

Moment when I realized that quilting connections could be made from other subjects:

Lecture Notes

Simone’s notes from Victoria Findlay-Wolfe’s lecture

One of the highlights for me at QuiltCon this year were the lectures, and Bill Kerr’s lecture in particular.  I filled pages of notes of him talking about the branching connections we make from the choices that come into our creative lives, and he used Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes around Chicago as an example.  Victoria’s lecture was also good, as were Luke Haynes (I wish I could have gone out to see his exhibit of fifty log cabin quilts) and others.  Usually I hit the vending floor’s mix of lectures, but hardly made it to any this year, and the ones I did, I thought sounded like commercials.

And in other ways (witness my badge collection):

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Some QuiltCon eye candy is this tote bag and the signature quilt (hanging below).QuiltCon_quiltBestofShowRibbonFriedlanderapplique

Moment when I learned I should have left class at noon, like my buddy Martie did:

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This was in our third conference/discussion of the day in a class where I found I was more interested in learning about how to make a panorama photo on my iPhone, than in listening to the adroit conference/discussion by our very well-learned teacher.  When you know you are just done with a technique, it should be okay to go. The teacher was fabulous.  I wasn’t, obviously.  If I’d left, maybe I would have seen more of the quilts.

Moment when I realized that creativity was all around me, and I was slightly besotted by it all:

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(That’s besotted using the archaic definition) Glimpsing the fabulous booth from our Los Angeles shop, Sew Modern.  That camper!

Moment when I found my personal Best of Show quilt, and wanted to grow up and be Yvonne Fuch (@quiltingjetgirl):

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Happy Moment:

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Lots and lots of them, but especially when I turned the corner and saw my quilt Focus in Paintbrush Studio’s booth.  Thank you Paintbrush!  It’s made from Paintbrush Studio’s line of solids, Painter’s Palette Solids, and I used the leftovers from making them a quilt for their booth at market, which will remain under wraps until then. (Well, okay.  Maybe just one sneak peek…)

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Another set of happy moments was finding quilts in the show from people I knew, and also when Cindy Wiens showed me the quilt she’d made for Lucien fabrics, using another design of mine, Semaphore:

from LiveAColorfulLife’s blog

Yes, I couldn’t find the photo I’d snapped one late night in her room, so I borrowed this one from her website.  And here’s another of hers, hanging in the show:

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Moment when I realized that I should skip going to Savannah-QuiltCon-East2017 and just stay home and sew:

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When breezing through my Instagram feed, where I’d posted most of the quilts, and realized if I was ever to get a quilt in this show, I’d better stay home and get busy.  So next year, I’ll be at QuiltNon, home and grateful for the chance I had to go this year, and looking forward to QuiltConWest in 2018!

Final Thoughts:

Most of the quilts I found fascinating are on my Instagram feed, to the right.  Scroll back through the feed to see them, or follow me on Instagram (@occasionalpiecequilt) and see them that way.  Take screen shots of the ones you love, compile your own QuiltCon collection and use them to inspire you further!

Lanyard Tutorial for Quilt Shows

lanyard_hangingI didn’t have a lanyard last year at QuiltCon, and my pins slipped and slid everywhere, beside the fact that I jingle-jangled as I walked.  I wanted one of those spiffy ones, where I could pin on my pins.

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I patchworked up a strip 3 3/4″ wide and 37″ long, took it to my ironing board and pressed it in half, lengthwise. lanyard_2

Open it up, and to one side of the center fold, lay down a 1″ wide by length-of-lanyard strip of fusible interfacing; iron that into place. lanyard_3

Fold both raw edges in, almost to the center, but not quite.  The side with the interfacing should be folded over that interfacing, and the side without interfacing should match when all folded up.  With the interfacing UP (not to the feed dogs), stitch first along one long side about 1/4″ away from the fold, then the other.  Make sure you’ve caught all the folded edges when you stitch it down.  Then stitch down the center. lanyard_4

Arrange the strips so that it will hang around your neck (see top photo), then mis-align the lower raw edges, setting the top one 1/4″ beyond the bottom strip.  Slip on the lanyard clasp. lanyard_5

Zigzag the extended top strip over the bottom strip, to hold it in place. lanyard_6

(View from the underside)

Again, for ease in wearing, slightly splay the two strips apart, then stitch along the finished ends (refer to photos). lanyard_7

(View from the top side)

lanyard_heartYes, I’m headed to QuiltCon West 2016 this week (held in Pasadena, California), along with some friends from the Good Heart Quilters, the small monthly sewing group I belong to here (which is why there is heart fabric on our lanyards).

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That Friday night class is taught by Jacqueline Sava.  I hope to meet a lot of my online friends, trying to make “real” the digital friendships I’ve enjoyed.  There should be more than a few a whole mess of photos on my Instagram feed (button is to the right).  If you are going, find me and swap me a button!

Button for QuiltShows

Prints Charming and QuiltCon

Michael Levine's stripes I admit it–I was in two fabric stores today: Michael Levine’s in Los Angeles (where they had 10% off all quilt fabric) and Sew Modern (always a treat to visit).  I went to Los Angeles as part of my week-long This-Will-Matter-Spring-Break experience, which also means I’m trying to avoid cleaning out the garage, or other household chores, but I did love Lily van der Stoker’s take on housework, seen at the Hammer Museum at UCLA: Lily van der Stoker Charles Gaines I’d gone to see Charles Gaines’ work, as he’s all about the grid, but the pieces I really wanted to see were in an area of the gallery that was roped off because of maintenance (which made me a bit crazy).  Above is a schematic of fallen leaves off a tree (you can see the branches in the background), but it’s something you just have to see–I can’t explain it.  And then I topped that all off with four hours of LA traffic (Motto: You Aren’t in a Hurry, Are You?) and a fun night at my local quilt guild. And all around was pattern.  The stack of fabrics I bought were prints.  The art I saw in the gallery was based on the grid and time and three-dimensions and it was all this idea of marks on paper, on photographs. . . no blank space unless it was part of the idea of his work.  But the filled–in little squares defined those blank spaces. QuiltCon Solids Now look at this.  This is predominantly what I saw at Quiltcon: solids.  Yes, chopped up, sliced, diced and pickled, but all solids (kidding about the pickled part).  Over and over.  And straight lines.  Over and over.  Don’t get me wrong–I really enjoyed the show, only tiring of the square-in-a-square or rectangle-in-a-rectangle when I saw it too often (time to move on now, peoples). Where were the prints?  There’s been a healthy discussion going on on Instagram (just click on the button on the right to be taken to my feed, where you’ll also find the names of the makers of the following quilts) about what happened to the prints? AlisonGlass_QuiltCon I was a total fan-girl for Alison Glass and her prints. AlisonGlass_QuiltCon2 Heather Ross Selfie And here is Heather Ross, she of print fabrics fame, agreeing to a selfie with me (yes, I’m a fangirl there, too).  But I did find some prints, and I thought I’d show you them.  Notice also how many straight lines there are.  Yes, there seems to be a bias against curved seams, with a few notable exceptions (Leanne Chahley’s fine work comes to mind), but here’s a few quilts that had print fabrics: QuiltCon_1 QuiltCon_2 This was a small quilt–maybe 24″? QuiltCon_3 QuiltCon_4 Lee Heinrich also does excellent work with prints, making them modern by her treatment of them through repetition and color-shifting. QuiltCon_5 When there were prints, they were more like this one, where the print “read” as a solid, disappearing. QuiltCon_6 Caught in the QuiltCon wild: a quilt with prints AND curves. QuiltCon_7 And another, with detail shown below. The prints aren’t try to disappear, they are there in all their patterned glory. QuiltCon_7a QuiltCon_8 Here’s another great use of prints, by the talented duo of Lora Douglas (piecing) and my friend Linda Hungerford (quilting).  Again, click on Instagram and scroll through the photos, then click to see the captions, where I identify all these quilts and their makers (offending several in my family with my quilt-heavy feed–cue eyeroll). QuiltCon_9 Final print-prominent quilt of QuiltCon for this grouping.  Like I said, the majority of quilts were solids, pieced and quilted in straight lines.  Glorious, but there is obviously a bias.  Now take a look at what WE, the QuiltCon attendees were wearing: Brightly Colored Tote A mix of solids and prints. CharlieHarper backpack Charlie Harper on a backpack. Show Attendees Her scarf? Print.  His body?  Print. Storybook GirlI wish I’d had the guts to ask Storybook Lass for a photo showing the front of this dress.   And here was a quilt by Windham Fabrics, a manufacturer: WindhamFabrics Chairs Stitching Jessica And the lovely young woman who sat manning the Sit and Sew Booth, with a lot of fun PRINT fabrics (her creation after sitting there for four days). Malka Dubrawsky Malka Dubrawsky, who has wonderful bold prints (yes, I was shameless in asking for selfless), as well as Vanessa Christensen (below) of V and Co. with lots of fabulous prints in her line of fabrics (although she is showing a solids quilt example for our class). Vanessa Christensen In talking with the saleslady at Sew Modern today, she saw some of the same thing (as she cut my yardage of. . . what else. . . prints), but here’s hoping that the Modern Quilt movement will start to branch out as the skill level grows of these quilters, finding ways to incorporate print into their modern version.  Next show is in a year, in Pasadena.  Stay tuned. Giveaway BannerI was totally impressed with all the things you readers have been doing, from cleaning out cupboards, to fixing computers to making blankets and quilts. Since today is March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, I chose the 17th commenter for one prize, then did a double-algorhymic interpolation to pick the second winner.  Just kidding, I picked the first person who wrote, because Vanessa Christensen was the giving away tons of cool stuff in her class, but I was number 1 and NEVER got picked.  Ever.  So I thought that our Number One should win something.  Congratulations–I’ll send you an email to get your mailing addresses.

Winner #1Winner #2

Post-QuiltCon Musings

QuiltCon Buttons

This was QuiltCon 2015.

Girl w Pearl Earring Selfie

No, wait.  This was QuiltCon.

QuiltCon Selfies 2015What was interesting was meeting people that had been 2D to me, through correspondence and jpeg images, and having them become 3D persons.  I think that was my favorite part of QuiltCon, and as you know, the one keeping me up at night before I went.

As Leisa and I (lowerest left photo) walked into the Convention Center to register, the first person we met was Susan Katz from Southern California (photo just to the right of that).  Then in the lowerest right photo, I met TaosSunflower.  She was in line ahead of me and I put the description she’d given me in a 2D world together with the elegant, tall woman that I glimpsed, and asked her name.  We left Flatland together and smiled and hugged and talked.  I met her nearly every morning for breakfast, as she was staying in my hotel, and feel like I’ve deepened the friendship that we’d established through our correspondence.  It was she who asked me one morning if I was almost through my “Flat Stanley phase.”  I laughed out loud, for it was a perfect description of what I’d been doing.

The thing is that people whose books I’ve purchased, people I’ve been reading, people whose blogs I’ve commented on and whose bees I’ve joined were all so accessible.  I’d never ask Alex Anderson or Ricky Tims (two traditional quilters) for a dual selfie, but I walked right up to Malka Dubrawsky and Heather Ross and asked them for one. . . and they happily smiled and posed.

I met other 2D quilters, and we again left Flatland as we figured out that we read each other on blogs, or knew of each other on Istagram.

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Here are Cindy (LiveaColorfulLife), Anne (SpringLeaf Studios), me and Leisa.

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The two tall women in the back are Nicole (MamaLovesQuilts) and Ginny (Minnowpeck).  They are who I’d invited to lunch, along with the cute short quilter in the back, Christa (ChristaQuilts). I’d met Heidi (front left) in class on that first day, and I already knew Cindy (center).

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That luncheon swelled to ten happy quilters.

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And. . . this was QuiltCon.

I hadn’t seen many of the quilts from the 2013 version, and was curious at what was there, what was deemed to be “modern,” since no one really knows, or could seemingly articulate.  I was happily surprised.  I think we’ve all conquered the deconstructed Log Cabin or Square in a Square, as there were several of those, so it’s probably time to move on from that block.  And I glimpsed another faction within this faction, shown in the photo above, as the modern-traditionalists are on one side of the floor, and the modern-moderns are on the other.

I’ve been putting the photos of the quilts up on my Instagram (button to the right), blowing up my children’s feeds in the process, and still have quite a few to post.  But I wanted them up there for others who were in my position last time–so they could see the quilts that made it in.  To be truthful, there were a few I would pull out and put in some of those QuiltCon rejects.  (You know I’ll write about them in the days to come.)  But for the most part, I was happy to see such fine quilts of such high quality.

Sewing at CS BoothThis was QuiltCon.

This felt different than a “regular” quilt show, as there were many vendor booths with things to do, such as the Cotton and Steel Booth, above, where I sewed a patchworky square (okay–I confess–it was a wonky Log Cabin).  They also had many “Demos”: half hour (or shorter) talks from Famous Quilters.  Sometimes it was an out-and-out pitch for a product, but other times they talked about their process or their designs.

I enjoyed my classes, trying to find at least one thing that was new to me, and I really loved the lectures, proudly letting Bill Volkening know (he, of 1970s quilt-collection fame), that I made my first quilt in 1973, out of sheets, calicos and a poly-cotton blend solid.  I still have that quilt (and perhaps moderns would like to know that even though I pressed the seams to one side, all the seams are now flat flat flat after so many years).  I laughed and smiled through the Luke Haynes lecture (where someone really did ask him how often he changed his needle), and was fascinated by what Bill Kerr had to say about noticing details.

I met Claire, another digital pen-pal of mine and regretted terribly that I didn’t get a selfie of us together.  Next time, Claire.  Maybe even in Pasadena in 2016?

I realize that I may have participated in something that cannot ever be duplicated, as they are now splitting the convention into two geographical halves: Pasadena in 2016 and Savannah in 2017.  And I’m a bit saddened by that.  Austin is pretty darn perfect for this sort of thing, with good hotels with close proximity to the convention center, delicious food in the restaurants (we never ate the same place twice), terrific vendors  and superb lighting for all the quilts.  But it was the mix of quilters and Famous People who were happy to talk to you and visit with you that made it so enjoyable. I am looking forward to the West Coast version of QuiltCon in Pasadena, and maybe I’ll see more of you there.

Bring your buttons, and let’s trade.  Let’s leave Flatland together!