Monday, September 29, 2014

DVD Review and Giveaway!



I recently had the opportunity to review a new DVD by the talented Carrie of Such Designs called Art Techniques for Quilt Design.  I jumped at the chance to learn from Carrie, as I’ve been wanting to add more of my own voice to the the quilts I make.  Lucky for me, Carrie does too and she teaches this in her new DVD.  

Carrie was trained as a fine artist and brought her fine art skills to her quilt and fabric designs.   Carrie describes herself as a creativity enabler, and that is such a good description of herself and how this class is designed.  Rather than teach you how to sew, she teaches you basic fundamentals of art and drawing that you can apply to your sewing projects.   

The first half of the class focuses on arming you with basic drawing skills.  In this portion, she has you explore line drawings, gesture, and composition.  She encourages you to find the spirit of the form of whatever you are drawing and helps you learn to see what is actually there rather than your mind naturally thinks is there – ie what an apple actually looks like versus what you think an apple should look like.  In her discussion of composition, she uses several quilts to discuss the different types of composition and how to apply them to quilts.   

All of the basic drawing skills that Carrie teaches in the first half of the class are useful in the next portion, where she teaches her popular nest quilt design.  In real time, she describes how to draw the nest, how to cut the fabric, and how to sew the nest design.  It is so fun to watch her build the nest, piece by piece, all while giving great encouragement.  At one point she says that if nothing else, she wants you to trust your creativity and know that you are good enough just as you are.  I love that.   
 
 
There is also a small portion at the end of the class that goes over turning children’s art into quilt designs.  I do wish this segment had been longer, but it did get my brain spinning with ideas of how to turn my own daughter’s artwork into a quilt design to treasure forever. 

Carrie teaches so much in this DVD that I think it’s important to discuss what you will NOT learn by watching this DVD.  This is not a how-to-quilt class.  She does not go over basic sewing skills or piecing instructions.  What she does do in this class is teach you to draw and create composition while helping you build up your confidence so that you trust your own creative process.  I’ve already taken what I’ve learned from her class and applied it to the next project I am working on – a raw applique storybook design – which I’ll leave a sneak peak of here.
 

 
Would you like to build your confidence as a quilter?  Definitely check out this DVD. You can purchase the DVD or direct download at the Interweave Store.  Better yet, how about a chance to win a copy of this DVD?  Hop over to Carrie’s blogto enter a DVD giveaway for Art Techniques for Quilt Design.  Hurry, the giveaway ends October 4th! 

Thank you to Carrie and Interweave for the chance to review this DVD.  Note that I did receive a free copy in exchange for this review, but all views and opinions are my own!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Apple Season

I signed up for the Apple Dumpling Pouch Swap last month after I had so much fun participating in the Schnitzel and Book Mini Quilt Swap this summer.  I really enjoy making stuff for other like-minded, crafty quilters.  Of course there is the added bonus of getting some secret crafty goodness back in return!

 

The rules for the apple dumpling swap were to make an apple themed dumpling pouch and fill it with apple goodies.  Michele Patterns provides a wonderful pattern and tutorial for the cute dumpling pouch.  As I was pulling out my fabrics, I was inspired by the aqua and red combination and decided to just run with it. 


My first plan was to do a mini granny square, but even at 4 inches square, it was still slightly too big to fit completely on the dumpling pouch side (those pouches are pretty small!) so I turned it into a mini pincushion instead.  I went back to the cutting mat and decided to continue on my Dresden plate kick and made a tiny Dresden plate for the dumpling pouch instead. 


Seriously people, these mini dresdens are ridiculously cute (pattern from Westwood Acres fabric), are they not?  I attached it to some lightly quilted Essex yarn died linen in indigo.  I'll admit it was hard to give this dumpling away!

 
I also wanted to make my partner a little something else when I came across this fabric basket tutorial by Ayumi of Pink Penguin fame.


But I couldn't stop there.  I have had the book, Heather Ross Prints, for quite some time.  Knowing that my partner was a Heather Ross fan, I made her some notepads using the instructions from the book.  People, these notepads were so easy and satisfying to make.  I think everyone in my life will get one at some point. 


My partner, Courtney, received her basket of apples yesterday and sent the nicest thank you note.  I really enjoyed creating this package; it was a great way to try some new things I've been wanting to check off my to-make list for quite some time.  Of course I already have plans for more mini dresdens. 






Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Sewing: Scrappy Dresden Plate Quilt

 
 
 
 
 
If this summer had a sewing theme, it would be the Dresden Plate.  I was inspired by Anna Maria Horner's use of Dresden plates in her quilts and the lovely plates @MariaUtah (on Instagram) made at Craft-South.  I came home and almost immediately cut into the large stash of  napkins I made for my wedding- a pile of fabric I have been hanging on to for five years, waiting for just the right bit of inspiration to get me moving.  Funny how that happens.  Stay tuned.
 
(Psss. Linking up at Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday - Needleworks



I've recently grown interested in hand needlework.  Maybe it's the natural progression in one's quilting journey, but I find myself wanting to add more to each quilt I made - more challenging techniques or color schemes, more deliberate design choices, more personal touches.  I've loved the look of chunky hand quilting for some time, and decided to try it with a quilt I am making for June.  After watching a class by Anna Maria Horner on Creativebug and in person at Craft-South (more on that later), as well as this helpful video from Sarah Fielke, I gathered my courage and supplies and found a comfy place to practice.  By the way, Sarah very correcntly pointed out that I should use larger needles with perle cotton thread when I posted the picture above on Instagram. 

 
Here was my first attempt at hand quilting.  Not too shabby I say.  I am taking it very slowly and one stitch at a time.  I check the back often to make sure the stitches are about the same length on the back as they are on the front (very rarely but often close enough).  Every once in a while, I feel brave enough to do two stitches at a time, and perhaps over time I will do even more at once and get faster.  Then again, maybe I won't.  This is a long-term project so I don't need, nor do I want, to rush.  I find myself alternating between using a hoop (the traditional way), and not using a hoop (as Anna Maria suggests trying to allow more flexibility with the fabric and the rocking needle motion).  I can't decide which way I like better.  I'm allowing myself to take time on this, to enjoy it, one slow stitch at a time.  

 
Like most quilters though, I tend to have multiple projects in the works to keep from feeling bored (Bored, what's that?).  I've found four projects at once to be about my limit.  After falling hard for this picture, I dug into my scraps and started an applique wall-hanging.  The pattern is "Here's the Dish" in Anna Maria Horner's "Seams to Me" book.  I love how Alecia made her version scrappy and decided to do the same with mine.  Stitching the pieces down and adding embroidery will take some time, but since this is pretty portable, perhaps I'll finish it before starting another project.  Then again, maybe I won't.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mini Stars Quilt


In progress.  Love the afternoon light.


Goodies sent: a boxy bag filled with needles, handquilting thread, hexies and cards made from Heather Ross Prints.  On a sidenote, have you seen this book?  Heather basically gives you carte blanche to make whatever you'd like with many of her prints.  I want to make all the things.


Finished mini.  The Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap was my first sewing swap and I had a great experience.  I loved making something for a fellow quilter.  I'm really looking forward to participating in more swaps in the future. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boxy Bag

I've been wanting to try a quilted patchwork bag ever since I saw Oh Fransson's amazing Weekender bag.  She kindly wrote up a tutorial for making the quilted patchwork panels (using the quilt as you go method).  A few weeks ago, I mustered up the motivation to try it.  The verdict: love it.  Here's the panel I came up with:


I organized my scraps by color a few months ago which helped the process go quicker.  I then turned the panel into a boxy bag using this super easy tutorial by Lolo Sinclair.


The only thing I will change the next time I make this bag (because I will be making more of these!) is to add a tab at the end of the zipper to make it easier to open.  Now that I've gotten my feet wet, I might dive into making a quilted Weekender bag next. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stained Glass Quilt



This quilt was  four years in the making.  It was made with Good Folks fabric by Anna Maria Horner, still one of my favorite fabric lines (I may or may not be hoarding some of this precious fabric).  I started it in December 2010 (see here and here) when the quilting world, and I along with it, discovered the wonders of half-square triangles.  I'm pretty sure this quilt was my inspiration.  I remember my sister saying "Oy, all that piecing!" when I showed it to her but "all that piecing" was completely worth it (as it usually is).


The top was completed sometime in 2011 or 2012 (more evidence), backed and quilted at the end of 2013, and hand bound in 2014.  I backed it with a subtle Denyse Schmidt print.  I didn't want to use a print that was too busy since I wanted the diamond quilting to show well on the back.  For the quilting, I did straight line stitching with my walking foot in the neutral fabric.  Stitching the inner diamonds was a bit difficult (and time consuming to bury all the knots), but again completely worth it.  I love the diamond shape it created.


I am head over heels for this quilt.  When I showed it to my mom, she exclaimed that it looked just like a beautiful stained glass window.  Thus, I am calling this my "Stained Glass" quilt.


 Pattern: Half Square Triangle Diamonds
Fabrics: Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler Lotus, Kona Cotton in Ivory.  Backing is Denyse Schmidt.
Quilted: Straight line machine quilted in neutral lines.
Started in December 2010 and completed in Winter 2014