Friday, April 28, 2017

Hedgehog Post - A Quilt from Missouri Star's You've Got Mail Tutorial

Hey Quilters! Doesn't it feel great to get something out of the UFO pile? Especially if it is something that makes me smile every time I look at it.

I finished piecing this one shortly after we came back to the states from Turkey, so fall of 2013.  I used this tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co. I had a layer cake and a jelly roll of Bluebird Park by Kate and Birdie Paper Co. for Moda that I was dying to use because several of the prints have cute little hedgehogs.  We had hedgehogs in Turkey that would come out at night and wander through the base housing area like little pokey potatoes. I loved them.

Anyway, the tutorial is great. Supposed to make a queen size top but I couldn't bear to leave out the spare HSTs so I made another row top and bottom. Also my piano key border, which is not included in the tutorial, is a bit wider than hers, since I used jelly roll strips rather than halved charm squares. All said and done, mine came out more of a king size at 86" by 100".

As it seemed too big for me to tackle quilting it with my domestic machine, I never finished it. And even after I got Olga (my Innova longarm) I hesitated, wanting to be pretty solid in my custom quilting skills before I tackled this one.

So when the German winter finally started giving way to spring, I decided it was time.

I really enjoyed the quilting process. Feather plumes, swirls, and double pin stripes for the envelopes surrounded by a stipple in the off blocks. And the HSTs were the perfect chance to perfect Lori Kennedy's square flower and to do some simple ruler work.

So now she's done and I get to enjoy her. I've got one more finished top sitting in that UFO pile. A fun one with yards of solid grey negative space and a lovely large braid down one side.  But I've had a couple of client quilts keeping me busy and a couple more in the queue. So it looks like I'll have a few more weeks to figure out what I'm going to do with it.

How many finished tops are in your UFO pile? And how well-aged is the oldest one?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Interchange Applique a la' Gillian Travis

      The lovely and interesting Gillian Travis recently visited our guild here in Germany for a trunk show and weekend of classes. I promise I don't mean 'interesting' as in 'slightly crazy' but as in actually interesting. Here is a lady who lives in England but travels everywhere and makes these amazing small journal quilts each month reflecting where she's been and what she saw. She brought dozens of them with her, most smaller than a piece of copy paper. And there were all so different. Visit her website's galleries page and check out the Journal quilts section.

And then be sure to pop onto the Voyage Quilts 2015 tab to see the Interchange Appliqué quilts that she taught us to do in the day long class I took.  Last October when I visited the European Quilt Championships in Maastricht, Netherlands I met Gillian and took a short free motion embroidery class from her. I also got to chat with her at her booth and see many of her interchange appliqué quilts in person.

The technique she teaches involves cutting a simple design from a square of batik fabric in such a way that you end up with a positive and a negative of the image. Both of these are then combined with two other fabric squares to create two blocks. She has done this with vases, turnips, pears, pomegranates, birds, and sweaters. Here are some of her many lovely interchange appliqué quilts:

But I decided to use elephants. I have a thing for them. Here is mine:

And I made two. Cuz why not?

Gillian did a fantastic job teaching us the technique. The hardest part for me was the color selection. I don't work with batiks very often but since this is essentially raw edge appliqué, batiks work really well because they are tightly woven and don't fray. I also don't have a lot of batiks. I brought what I had to the class but luckily all the students were generous and we swapped back and forth all over to make sure everyone got the pieces they needed.

There are actually no seams in the whole piece. The individual blocks are put together with fusible adhesive and then fused onto the batting. A zig zag stitch holds it all together, and a rat tail type binding with a length of matching yarn finishes off the edge.

The fun part is adding the details. It's been a while since I did any free motion stitching on my domestic machine but it came back pretty quickly.  Here's a closeup of  one block after I added some FMQ details.

We had our guild quilt retreat soon after the class, which was the prefect chance to get these completely finished. Someone took a couple of snaps of me while I was quilting.

One of these minis, the one with purple thread,  is now hanging on my studio wall with my other minis. The other I sent in a care package to a friend in California. I hope she likes it.

And I hope I cross paths with Gillian again.