Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflecting on 2011

Climbing Roses combines several techniques including string piecing, serged three dimensional flowers, and a flounced edge. 
I was thinking back on 2011 and the quilts I have worked on this past year. While I can think of several of them, others slip from my memory. Do you keep a listing of all of your projects? Or, perhaps you have been working on one that consumed all of your quilting time for the entire year.

Lizard Tails drew the most attention.
A few years ago, I decided to keep a notebook of my projects. The purpose was to document when I started, what fabrics, techniques, etc. that I used. This was a trial for me because I am much more of a doer than a documenter. With some projects, I made excellent notes and others just happened and were out the door before I even thought about noting them. This year, I will again resolve to do a better job of keeping notes.

My serged pillows put a smile on my face every time I look at them.  I love the bright colors and combination of fabrics.

What were the quilts that I most enjoyed making this past year? Which one did I learn the most from? Was it a technique that I learned or perfected (well, hardly perfected, maybe got a little better at)? Was it the creativity that hooked me in? Which project was the most fun making? Was there one that I enjoy using daily? Were there quilts that gave me great joy in giving away?

I'm happiest about all of the quilts our Undercover Quilters group made and donated this year.
Where did your quilting life take you this past year? What joy did it bring into your life?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tile - Wisdom or Gold

Quilter's Tile - Wisdom or Gold?
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

Today's tile combines a variety of techniques. In the background of the piece, I've used Shiva Artist's Paintstiks over texture plates and Dye-na-Flow paints to vary the color of the fabric. I then took the fabric to my machine and added some decorative stitches using metallic thread. (Some of the over 200 stitches that my machine will do and I usually never use. What great options, I need to expand on this.)

For the writing, I dropped the feed dogs and machine quilted the words.

To finish off this tile, I went green and used recycled items. The borders strips were strips from old ties  and the buttons cut from an old suit coat.

Friday, December 23, 2011

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday's Tile - Red Leaf

Quilter's Tile - Red Leaf
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

In the midst of Christmas activities, a friend and I got together for some quilting playtime.

After watching Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasilowski  with Nancy Zieman on Wisconsin Public Television, Pat and I set out to have our own fusing adventure.  (By the way, I'm so thrilled to call these three talented quilters my friends. Frieda, Laura, and Nancy are all so enthusiastic about sharing, don't miss it if you have the opportunity to learn from them.)


Back to my quilting. Using pre-fused fabrics, I arranged and fused these pieces directly to the batting. Then I did a bit more fusing to add details. So quick and easy with great results. Another fun day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Christmas has come to the table when red and green fabrics streak across in a cheery table runner. 

For this project I used strips left over from another bigger quilt. Why would I think of tossing them when they can be easily stitched into multi-colored strips?

The pieced strips are cut into blocks and re-stitched into a quick table runner.

What have you done with excess Christmas fabric?  The options are endless.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday's Tile - Wonderful Counselor

Quilter's Tile - Wonderful Counselor
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

Today's Quilter's Tile is made of marbled fabric which I cut and added around a center marbled piece created by "Lost Marbles" by Debi Huff.

I added writing with a Pigma pen and handstitching.

The edge was finished off with hand beading.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Find Your Joy

Are you bustling with holiday spirit?  Even your sewing studio can have a simple festive look. 

I've covered my small cabinet with a miniature Ohio star quilt to brighten my day as I work on Christmas gifts. This piece reminds me of days when I first started quilting, (many of you may recognize several of the fabrics) and brings to mind the joy I have found in my sewing studio.


One easy and quick project is to make your own Christmas greeting cards.

I started with scraps of fabric that I laid on a thin batting and machine quilted.

From the quilted piece, I cut out letters and stitched them onto card stock (yes, probably not so good for your needle, I used on old one.) The fabric was loosely woven and the edges are raveling but it wasn't a concern.

Today, the JOY is in creation
not in perfection.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday's Tile - Constellations

Quilter's Tile - Constellations
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

And then the little angel flew off to the stars
 where she lived with Greater Bear, Smaller Bear
 and all of her other animal friends.

Looking through my sketchbook, I found this little angel and she was the inspiration for this whimsical quilter's tile.

My first step was to draw the angel's shape unto white muslin and used fabric markers to add color.

My little angel seemed upset with her surroundings, and I wasn't happy with the blue pencil that I added below the skirt. 

New plan: Applying fusible to the back and cutting out the angel. She was much happier freed from her background. Obviously, she wanted to fly. I thought I would try something new. I fused the angel onto a thin polyester fleece type batting and trimmed her to shape.

This blue background seemed to suit the angel and I  machine quilted her onto the quilt sandwich, leaving the edge of her wings free.

I used purchased single fold bias tape for the binding. Quite a challenge, as it was very narrow and hard to pull around the edge. It did look nice, like piping on the edge, but I don't think I will do it again.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Are you in the Christmas mood? Have you been busy running from shop to shop as you search for the perfect gift? Is you home beginning to take on a festive air?

As we put away Thanksgiving dishes and cleaned up from our holiday visitors, I gathered Christmas quilts to use in decorating our home. Often we face the dilemma of how to use a quilt which isn't sized for  our bed.  One of my favorite red and green quilts is smaller than my bed so I simply wrapped a coordinating sheet around the mattress and centered the quilt on the bed.

No, pillow tuck? Another quilt, lap size, covers the pillows. The red backs of my decorator pillows add a splash of color behind two muslin quilted throw pillows.

Instantly, we have transformed the room into a festive retreat for our next guest.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday's Tile - White on white

Quilter's Tile - White on White
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

Floating on a cloud
Peaceful, gentle breeze

This week's project is one that enabled me to enjoy the gentle art of hand stitching. Everything here was done with a hand needle, a spool of thread and a bit of heavier pearl cotton thread. 

Also, my color muse was on vacation and I only used white muslin. This was a stretch but I do like the result.

I had the opportunity to play with yo-yos, different sizes, shapes and applications. Some were appliqued around the edge, and some were attached just at the center. 

To make a yo-yo, a row of hand stitching is done on the edge of the circle.

The thread is pulled to gather.

The yo-yo is complete with the gathering centered.

The fun begins as you change where the gathering is located.

As these off-centered yo-yos are placed, the fabric starts to balloon. Therefore, the large ones were furrowed, a method where the ballooning fabric is tacked to make a lovely, textured surface.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Tiles - "Did You Hear......."

Quilter's Tile - "Did You Hear...."
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

For today's Quilter's Tile, I tried an idea I saw on the Pink House Studio blog where paint blobs on paper were folded to get the reverse image.

Of course, I had to try this on fabric using textile paint. Using red paint, I blobbed, folded, opened and let my fabric dry. Then my imagination went to work. How was I going to take my blobs and make something out of them???

Digging through a drawer, I found fabric markers which were set aside and forgotten. The colors seemed a bit bright, but, until you try, you don't know. And, they weren't dried up, the color flowed freely. My Quilter's Tiles are a chance for me to experiment and investigate ideas, aren't they?

I used the orange to draw around and over my textile paint blobs. Little creatures were taking shape. 

I don't know what I was thinking when I picked up the turquoise marker, but suddenly my creatures were surrounded. Were they now in a fish bowl, or pictured in an elaborate frame? And, what were they saying, already gossiping??? Were they telling stories about ME?

Layering and backing my mini quilt, I was off to my sewing machine. Free motion quilting added detail and texture (as it always does). 

Now that I'm ready to finish off the edges, I realize that I was way to close to the edge with my markers and I would be trimming off the design or covering it up with any of my favorite binding techniques.  Now what?

I tried zigzagging the edge with white thread. This didn't cut off any of my design but it seemed to stretch the edge. Guess I'm not done yet!

Another trip to the sewing closet. I dug into my trims and found this narrow rickrack which I stitched onto the edge. Keeping it taut, the rickrack drew up the stretching and the edge is flat and finished.

Lesson of the week: Remember to leave room so you don't get pushed off the quilt.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finished, at last and in the spotlight

As I walked into my studio this morning, the sun was coming through the window and there in the spotlight was my blue broken star. I had just completed hand stitching the binding last night and now my finished quilt was shining in all its splendor. Finished, at last.

Today, I want to share with you the method that I used for the binding.

First I cut strips of one of my coordinating fabrics, piecing as needed to get the length. I make enough to got around the quilt plus at least 6 inches extra. Because this quilt has an uneven edge, I allowed a bit  more.

I fed one end of the strip through a Clover 18 mm ( 3/4") bias tape marker.

I pulled the bias tape maker along and pressed the strip as it came out.

Then I opened one side of my coordinating tape and stitched it to the quilt edge for a binding. This strip was then folded around to the back of the quilt and hand stitched to the back.

Blue Broken Star 
44" x 44"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

The basic pattern for a broken star quilt is available at my website.

How will you make it your own?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tiles

Quilter's Tile - Ghosts of Koi
8" x 8"
©2011 Sharon V. Rotz

One bright and sunny day, the happy little quilter decided to brighten up her garden with a soothing and serene pond full of colorful, orange and white koi. The little quilter dug and dug and filled her pond with clear, clean water. Cheerfully, she admired her beautiful koi as she placed them in the water. How she loved their bright, intense orange color.

But, as the fish splashed into the water, their brilliant color began to bleed. Alas, they were not colorfast. The sad little quilter was left with nothing but ghosts of koi.

Moral of story: Always test your koi before adding them to your pond.

Today's Tile was made using Jacquard's Dye-na-Flow and Lumiere paints. The orange Dye-na-Flow was marbled into the background. The metallic olive Lumiere was painted on with a round brush. The fish were drawn on with Zig Textile markers. The borders were fused on with Lite Steam-a-Seam. The free-motion quilting was done with a rich rust Madeira rayon thread.

I enjoyed each step along the way in this project, exploring and trying new things.

I tried a new way of finishing the quilt. (These steps were done before quilting.)

I pieced the back leaving a slit to turn the quilt. I then layered the backing, top and batting and stitched totally around the quilt.

I turned the quilt, only to find that the corners were not not firmly stitched and starting to pull apart. Oops!

As you can tell by my lack of concern, things like this often happen and I just carry on.

Plan 2:  I am now "rounding" the corners. I'm going to like this so much better now!! (Actually, I did.)

After turning the quilt, I hand stitched the opening closed. I then pressed the edges and machine quilted my quilter's tile.

I did like this finishing method and I would do it again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Squares, Anyone?

What is it about squares?

Do you finished off your quilts with quilted squares (crosshatching)?

I've found this is one of my favorite, go to, choices for quilting areas of my quilts. Is it the consistency of the pattern? Is it the predictability? Is it the way the light hits the surface giving each little square an area of highlight and shadow?

Again, I have found myself falling back to this old favorite. It seemed to set off the other areas of quilting nicely. Quilting squares is not always the easiest to do. It can involved a lot of starts and stops or constantly turning the quilt. Today, I've chosen to free-motion my squares. It will eliminate the turning and stopping but it is  definitely a challenge to make straight and even lines.

Do you find squares a perfect choice for your projects? What is your best working method?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Small Play, Quilter's Tiles

Quilter's Tile #1
8" x 8"
Sharon V. Rotz

No, I have not finished all of my larger quilts. I am still quilting on my blue broken star. I still have grand ideas and more large projects floating around in my head ready for their moment.

But, I have found great joy in making small quilted projects which I am calling Quilter's Tiles. There are so many things I want to try. Everyday, I am inspired by something I see on another blog or read about in a quilting magazine.

I can't wait to try new ideas and have found a fun way to experiment and end up with a finished project. It may be spectacular or it may be a dud, chances are it will be somewhere in between. Mostly, it will be a learning experience.

Because, I want to share the fun with you and get your thoughts and suggestions, I will be posting my Quilter's Tiles on Mondays. (See I've already missed this week.)

Stop by and see what's happening.
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