Posts filed under ‘handmade’
I was lucky enough to attend a workshop recently with Kaffe Fassett and his fabric designing, patchwork creator and partner Brandon Mably. I was happy and anxious to take this workshop for many reasons, mostly because it really was a bucket list thing for me to take a workshop from the master of color himself. Luckily enough, the people at my job and my family were encouraging of me to take a day for myself and to travel to Lafayette, CA to spend learning about snowball quilts and tackling the all important element of color.
I have to start by saying that I learned so much. And, what I learned was completely everything I didn’t expect to learn. Let me back up. During the day at the shop, I help people all day long with their selections of fabric with particular attention to how several fabrics may look together. So, I really thought I had my act together with the fabrics I had brought. In fact, I had chosen and re-chosen many different sets of fabrics with my ‘final answer’ fabrics chosen only the night before. Immediately, Kaffe came over to my tidy basket of cut squares and said, “These are lovely fabrics, but not for this workshop.” I wilted and my stomach tightened all at once. Thank goodness they had heaps and heaps of fabrics there on hand. I walked over to the lot and started choosing anything with pink, yellow and orange in it with little thought to much else. At that moment my education in color started. The message he gave me was, “Work quickly, an artist has much to do. Don’t overthink anything too much.” And from Brandon Mably, who kept offering me other fabrics that I didn’t like, “I’m looking for a reaction, not a reason why you don’t like it.” I started to think differently – or, rather, to turn off the thinker and to get in touch with something visceral, something instinctive. Let the color do the talking.
For the rest of the day, my two teachers were calling out to me from across the room and referring to me as “Mrs. Yellow” and I loved them! I especially developed a small crush on Brandon, who whispered a few naughty things to me as he pointed to the pair of peaches in one of my snowball blocks. I’ll let you all wonder about that! I cut fabric with abandon, spent too much money on fabric I didn’t necessarily need (or would have chosen on my own before the workshop) and I loved every minute of it.
I needed a small break from all of the Hope Valley blocks I’ve been making. However, finding time to sew and quilt is escaping me more and more. I haven’t talked about it here, but I spend most days working here. I know! How lucky am I!? Gone is my life of large blocks of time for fabric play, but also less time with these two monkeys -
So, when I do find myself with a bit of time ( at 10 o’clock p.m. or so…) I make these two soft things for their red, pink and aqua room. Lately, pillows and pillowcases. Pictured above are pillows that will eventually match a quilt that will be made thanks to my girls over at the snip.sew.send quilting bee. I’ve been hoarding saving up all sorts of girly fabrics such as the ones pictured above, namely some great Japanese fabrics like the kerchief girl, Kei polka dots and the one on the right, a sweet print from Megumi Sakakibara. These fabrics are mixed in with a few Nicey Jane prints from Heather Bailey and some Kona cotton solids.
Also adorning the girls’ room and adding to the overall scheme of things is this little gem -
Isn’t it a beauty? I was the lucky recipient of this curvalicious mini quilt from Sam who got my name for the fabulous DQS8 flickr swap. She had taken inspiration from Jean Wells and learned curved piecing. It translates beautifully here and I am so excited to add it to the girls’ room. Thank you Sam! We love it!
And lastly, I found this sheet of wrapping paper at our local bookshop. I squealed quietly to myself while I snapped it up and brought it home. I found a spare Ikea frame hanging around and in no time I had yet one more bit of red, pink and aqua…and it even looks like Japanese fabric.
And if that weren’t enough, I was inspired by the ever-creative and prolific Ashley from Film in the Fridge and her Pretty Quick Pillowcase Tutorial. I wanted to make pillowcases for the girls out of some Heather Ross cottons because they are sooo incredibly soft. With this tutorial, I had these made from cutting to on their bed in about an hour.
Getting on with the show here…progress has been made (this truly is a quilt along) and this is what these rectangular blocks look like with their borders in sand, and with sashing in zucchini, both Kona cottons.
How to finish the blocks with borders – finished here in Kona cotton in Sand: I wanted an irregular placement of each block within the sashing, meaning that each rectangle would not be as the next one. Each rectangle is slightly off-center and not exactly straight. We embrace that right?! What this means in terms of adding strips to the rectangles is adding slightly more than what you need. I added 5″ wide strips to the rectangles and then trimmed each block to measure 21.5″ x 12.5″. The extra width ensured me that I could trim each one so that (as pictured above as an example) I could put each rectangle with a slight bit of wonk and still be able to trim to the measurement I wanted.
Hey! It’s looking like a quilt top….the sashing in Kona zucchini measures 5.5 inches wide. Sashing is optional of course and I apologize for not including it in my original instructions. I found myself liking the framing that sashing gives and decided to add this to the quilt. I think the quilt can look great either way. I decided that 9 blocks was enough for me, and this will make a nice throw – sized quilt. Final measurements to come!
So…here we are again. Let’s get all these strips and bits together so that they actually look like something. Above you can see the center strip. It measures 12×3. But, as with the whole approach to this quilt, exact measurements are not crucial and an extra quarter to half inch in any direction only adds to the improvisational look and great off-kilter feel. Around this strip I’ve arranged some of the sub strips I made in the last post, in a way that looks good to me.
So, moving along…here we go with making multiple strip sets. Making several different strip sets helps ensure that each block is slightly different. Here, I had some three strip sets, and some four strip sets. I have a few others made as well.
A word on piecing the strips. By all means, perfection and an accurate 1/4 inch seam are not all that important. In fact, I made it a point to let the seams go together as they wanted to. This was in keeping with an improvisational and off-kilter, imperfect design. Which I love. Here’s a closeup of the back of one of my seams.
Then, when you have all your strip sets made and without your straight edge ruler, cut perpindicularly. The width of each cut should be 2 to 2 1/2 inches. You’ll end up with many pieces of three and four piece sub strips.
Pictured are four different strip sets beginning to be cut into sub strips.
Keeping up? Have I lost you? Please put all questions in the comments section and I’ll answer them all. Next post will be about piecing the rectangle together!!
I’m using the prints above – 10 in total. You can use all the prints in the Hope Valley collection if you like, or as few as perhaps 7. I particularly liked these together. But I think the use of a few solids is an important element to modern quilting, and is also very much a Denyse Schmidt part of quilt design. For a discussion on what solids work with the Hope Valley range of fabrics, look here.
The main technique of the block we’ll be making is strip piecing. So let’s start cutting.
It starts with a quarter yard. I purchased long quarter yards, but fat quarter yards are just fine. You’ll want to cut a strip along the width of fabric, or if you’re cutting fat quarters, along the longer side. Put your straight edge away! Your strip should look a bit like this:
Now, go forth and sew these together. Tomorrow, we’ll work on the next part!
And…if the fabric seems familiar to you…
From the movie, ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. Starring my fabric!
So, you could totally have a duvet like Scarlet Johansson’s. But, no. You cannot have Bradley Cooper. Sorry.
This quilt is nearly done! And it will be finished in under a week. Here’s why – I caved in and started with a perfectly lovely sage green albeit purchased (read completed) quilt. Here’s my rationale. Unless I can somehow get my hands on a longarm, I can’t see myself making a king-sized quilt. With two children, two puppies, a full-time job, laundry and 5 other quilts I’m working on, I need to be realistic. This is a perfectly lovely quilt, 100% cotton with one of my favorite greens, already quilted in a very nice Chrysanthemum motif, on sale at Target for nder $50. And like the cobbler whose children have no shoes, my bed was missing a quilt made by me. I’m calling these peacock colors. It’s all greens and blues. I can’t wait to show you the completed quilt and a wrench has been thrown into the whole situation by Henry, the boy puppy who chewed my sewing machine cord. (I’ll be dealing with HIM later.)
More pictures soon of this quilt and the pink, red and aqua quilt for the girls. It’s going to be really fun sewing all those half square triangles together.
Here it is all tidy and ready for sewing. – my sewing room. This picture was taken during one of our recent storms and so the light is a bit low, but I think you can see the space pretty well.
The goal was to make the work area as efficient as possible. I have the iron and board to the left for instant pressing. I love that. Each project has its own basket so that I don’t misplace anything. Some baskets are simply fabrics that I think look great together, but are awaiting the right pattern or project.
Here’s a closeup of the sewing table. On the left is a roatary mat and a basket with triangles and other cutting rulers.
This is my ‘design wall’ which is just a piece of batting. I don’t love it here, and it’s pretty small, but it’s still reallly helpful. These here are two quilts I’m working on, one is Hop, Skip & Jump quilt, and the other is my own design for a very dear friend.
Below is the new cutting table which folds down. I really like it! The basket holds all of my ‘bee business’ including postage, recently received blocks and things to mail out. To the right…new fabrics. Lately, I’ve really been drawn to Kaffe Fassett.
And, if you ever come visit us, this is where you’ll sleep – the guest portion of the room, complete with quilt of course.