Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - Oh, I Didn't See That Coming!

Quilter's Tile - The Fan
8" x8"
©2012 Sharon V. Rotz

When I was searching my stash for pink fabric, I discovered this paper pieced fan block between the pieces.

I laid it aside, but it kept calling to me. It measured 8" so it would be perfect for a Quilter's Tile.

I auditioned several fabrics looking for the best background.

This fabric fit the mood of the picture in my mind.

Contemporary styling was not the choice this time. Out came a variety of traditional trims.

I opened up small sections of the seam allowance, tucked the end of the rickrack in and added narrow rickrack along each point.

When I checked my block it was definitely not square, as you can see. Vertically, it is on the line. Horizontally, it is at least a 1/2" off.  Could this be why it didn't make it into the original project?

All to often, I have seen quilters take out their rotary cutter and square ruler and trim off the excess, mis-shaping the block in the effort to make it square again.

I like to pin the outside of the block to a square corner and see if I can steam press the block back into the correct shape. Here is the bumpy block pinned in position.

And, after steaming, it is laying flat and square.

Since I have no idea where the pattern is for the outside of my fan, I will make a new pattern. When the fan was laying on the paper, I traced along the outside edge.

Using a flexible curve, I drew a line 1/2" inside my first line. This will become my cutting line.

The pattern piece drawn and cut to size.

The seam line will be midway between my two lines.

The fabric was cut using the new pattern. It is marked in quarters and pinned to the fan ready for stitching.

Stitched on, a perfect fit.

The fan was finished with machine quilting and lace around the edge for a binding. I added, not tiny pearl beads, but  dots of Pearl White Lumiere paint.

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Friday Stitching

Dancing Log Cabins detail
©2012 Marlyn Butchins

I am always inspired by the quilters I meet (through the internet or in person) and the quilts that they make. Recently, Marlyn from Israel sent me a photo her quilt "Dancing Log Cabins". She mentioned that she has a new Janome 7700 with more than 240 embroidery stitches. I'm delighted that she chose to try out those stitches on the sashing of Dancing Log Cabins.

To quote Marlyn, 

"To me it is a quilt filled with taking chances, passion, and lots of cheeky statements,
excitement, vibrancy and all the things that make me feel good. This is how I want a quilt to make me feel, and this one certainly does it."

I am so happy that Marlyn used my book, Log Cabin Quilts with Attitude, for her inspiration.  

Find the freedom of using for your scrap strips in these fun-loving skewed log cabin blocks.  Feel free to disregard perfect seam allowances and forget about matching corners as you combine fabrics without fretting.

Note:  Thanks to Marlyn for sharing her quilt. Please follow the link to find out more about Marlyn and The Dizengoff Memorial Quilt.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - A Summer Project?

For this week's project, I started with pink stones fused unto a varied pink background. I think I had my little grand-daughter in mind as her favorite color is "PEEnk".

After fusing came the question, where do I go now? Do we always have a plan in mind before we start? I think not.

Since I had been thinking of utilizing my machine stitches more, that option came to mind. But I just couldn't see how it would be a good choice to try fighting with turning corners with stitches that would be so much easier done in a straight line.

Using hand stitches seemed a much better option. I love hand work as it is relaxing and portable. I reached into my box of embroidery threads and came out with more pink (pink floss this time) and my favorite stitch manual.

Stitching through the fused stones is not a problem, since I used Steam-A-Seam Lite as the fusible. I backed my fabric with a layer of batting and it provided enough body that I don't have to use an embroidery hoop.

As you can see, I am on my way.  This is the feather stitch.

A closed feather stitch.

The chevron stitch.

A button hole stitch.
 You could say done backward, usually the closed line is on the exterior of the fabric.

And the open chain stitch.

I can see a relaxing summer project here as I begin to create a sampler of stitches. You see, it is just too much fun to hurry.  

I hope you will come back and see my progress.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Creative Stitching Friday

Quilt detail
©2012 Pat Gaska

Last Friday, I explored a new stitch on my sewing machine. Today I would like continue the same thought of incorporating our machine programmed stitches into our quilts.

My talented and good friend, Pat Gaska, shared her newest art quilt and I couldn't resist reaching for my camera. Pat has brought her project to life by creatively using her machine's stitches.

As we zoom in for a closer look, you can pick out several of those attention-grabbing stitches. My favorite is the cross-stitch that she has used on the roof. Immediately, my eyes went to my machine to see if I had that option. Yes! Although Pat and I have different brands of machines, I noticed they share many of the same or very similar stitches.

Pat loves the stitch she used on this roof and the perfect circle that became a door knob.  Pat has certainly opened my mind to using my machine more creatively and I can't wait to start sewing and trying new options.

In addition to being a talented art quilter, Pat Gaska is also a quilting instructor. She is the first to admit that when it comes to quilting she has a split personality. Her other quilting interest -- Civil War Quilts.

I would like to thank Pat for sharing her work with us today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday's Tile Speaks Up

Quilter's Tile - Isabelle and the Bear
8" x 8"
Sharon V. Rotz

Do your quilts have a story to tell?

Truthfully, every quilt has a story. Most tell them quietly without a word. But some put it out there for everyone to see.

Today, I am talking about actual words written on quilts. In today's quilter's tile, I added a poem by Ogden Nash called Isabelle and the Bear. Starting at the center of the design following the curves and bumps, I wrote the words with a Pigma micron pen.

It was fun, even if a bit confusing at times as I wrote around and around. I do like how it adds a new textural element to this small piece.

Do you have something to say? Would you incorporate a favorite piece of poetry, a sentiment, a journal event, a social issue or a charged political statement?

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's a New Stitch Friday

What's hiding inside your sewing machine? (I mean, besides the fuzz and lint.)

Is there a wealth of unused stitches?

I have to admit my sewing machine has so many stitches that I have never tried. Oh, perhaps, I used some of them once to make a stitch sampler but they have long since been neglected. All of that technology being wasted.

I constantly use my straight stitch. My zigzag comes in second. But then, there is a sharp drop-off.

I have used a blanket stitch to applique on my quilts. (To me, this will always be called a button-hole stitch because, believe it or not, I once learned this as a hand-stitch tailoring technique to make a button-hole.)

But beyond my small repertoire of stitches, there is a vast selection of unused choices. This week I was determined to use at least one new option in my work.

To applique this strip, I broke out stitch number 203. I used a 30 weight Madeira rayon in a bright golden yellow. It's wonderful. Why have I been waiting? It's time to break into all of those other stitches.

Do you have a favorite stitch? How have you used it?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - Super Moon

Quilter's Tile - Super Moon
8" x 8"
©2012 - Sharon V. Rotz

This past Saturday the world viewed the moon at it most magnificent. It was the moment that the moon was the closest to the earth and it looked bigger and brighter than normal. In honor of the super moon, we have this week's Tuesday's Tile.

Of course, because it was so close you could plainly see the man in the moon. 

As my story goes....To keep his robust shape, he nibbles and nibbles away until there is nothing but a narrow slice of moon left.

(But fear not, because the Wisconsin cows are producing the milk and the Wisconsin cheese-makers are making the cheddar and soon there will be a new moon.)

This tile is a combination of fusing and free-motion machine quilting. 

I drew out a reasonable face on paper, so I thought I would just "wing it" and quilt the face without marking on the quilt. I did quilt one side of the face without trouble but then my brain shut down. Apparently, I can duplicate a shape but reversing it (drawing the mirror image) at the machine is a problem. How well does your mind think in reverse?

I added a few chalk lines and completed the man in the moon. Of course, he was quite proud of himself, so a few beads brought out his shine.

A new thing for my to-do list:  Practice drawing mirror images.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Get Creative with a New Pattern

String Breeze
20" x 30"
©2012 - Sharon V. Rotz

I'm proud to announce the release of my newest pattern:  String Breeze

I had so much fun working on this project that I can't wait to share it with you.

The design is off-center with abstract flower shapes and the bright colors jump up and sing. You can use a variety of your favorite fabrics in the string pieced flowers. Rickrack, a sewing box standard, gets a contemporary spin as it flirts its way around the flower edges.

Quilting is done not after everything is in place but first, before there are flowers and leaves to stitch around or starts and stops to make.

The pattern is available to U.S. shoppers for $8.00 plus $2.00 shipping.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday's Tile - Hybrid Flowers

Quilter's Tile - Hybrid
8" x 8"
©2012 - Sharon V. Rotz

Inspired by a new seed catalog, I had thoughts of flowers running through my head. Although I love flowers, my garden never seems to live up to my expectations.

So I turn to fabric. With a ruched flower made from a yellow and purple striped fabric, I set out to create my own flower garden.  (Step-by-step instructions for ruching were given in a previous post.)

I tried stamping some leaves on a white muslin background and they will become the background for my ruched flowers. 

The stamped background was zig-zag stitched to a striped square of fabric which will become the borders. Underlining (adding an extra layer of white fabric under the leaf fabric) kept the stripes from showing through.

A bit of rickrack adds a decorative fence around my garden. And remember from a previous post, I have a large quantity of rickrack to choose from.

The ruched flowers were hand appliqued onto the leaf background and beads were added to the center. I chose a large yellow bead with a lavender seed bead on top.

Instead of binding the edge, I decided to wrap this Quilter's Tile around an artist's canvas. Here it is, ready to be stapled to the back.

My garden is ready to go, no watering, and no weeding.

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