Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Growing Golden Roses

Today there are roses growing in my studio. Golden Roses, of course.

Yes, these are fabric roses, made from a folded strip of satin weave, capturing-the-light, Radiance silk blend (by Kaufman Fabrics).

I turned in the raw edges of the fabric ends and hand-stitched the edge with large stitches.

Turning and shaping, a rose grows before my eyes.  These roses will be added unto the golden scarf that flows over my wallhanging. 

Soon they will be climbing to the top shimmering all the way.

If you are looking for a unique Christmas gift for someone on your Christmas list, I invite you to visit my Gift Shop.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is There a Penalty for Working on Too Many Projects at Once?

When you get creative, does it hit you a bit at a time? Or does it come? POW, SMASH YOU IN THE FACE POWERFUL?

How many projects can successfully be managed at one time?

I started out with a lovely hand-dyed scarf that I chose to embellish (check out The Art Quilt Blog for details.) This led to an idea for a quilt using the scarf. After finding fabric selections, they divided themselves into, not one, but two quilt ideas.

Now, not only is my design wall but my floor is covered with fabric, some of which is cut and starting to take shape.

The fabric search led to one pile of fabrics (put together but never used for a long forgotten project) that had more than I now need. My mind flies, of course. What can I do with the left-overs?

The next thing I'm doing is cutting this left-over fabric into strips. Out comes more stash fabric. It is getting a little hard to see the floor now as I step carefully across the room.

Oh no, now some of my left-overs have morphed into a second project.

Well, I really have to run now. My projects are shouting!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are You Really in the Ditch? Or Are You Just Riding on the Shoulder?

This variation of a log cabin block is quite dramatic with assorted colors alternating with solid black strips. Each quarter of the block is made individually by starting with a small black square and adding strips on only two sides of the square.  The four quarters are then joined to made the complete block.

In this case, I chose to quilt by stitching in the ditch. There is enough movement happening.  I didn't feel that I had to add more with the quilting.

Often we, as quilters are taught, press the seam allowances to one side or the other.  When we attempt   to stitch in the ditch, we try to stay on the "non-seam allowance" side of the seam. 
We make our best effort to ride the shoulder!

By pressing the seam allowances open, not only does the seam lie flatter but we can actually stitch in the ditch of the opened seam allowance. Our stitches become truly invisible. (Yes, the quilting has been completed in the close-up photo.)

My pillow top quilted with invisible stitches in the ditch.

Another pillow to add to my collection. 
I love the drama of the black vs. color!

May you be blessed with a bright and sunny day.

My pattern "Pizza Box
uses these blocks and
is available for purchase 
Linked to:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From Strips to Tote

While the pressing, cutting and stitching were relaxing and enjoyable, now it's time to create.

By dividing my strips into color families, I made red, green and blue braiding strips. 

It is fun to see the random patterns that develop as I braid the strips together. 
Wow, where did all these fabrics come from? 
Some were old favorites that I'm happy to have leave my stash. Some of the fabrics are more current favorites that still brighten my day. Together they work to create a colorful bag.

I love the serendipity of the braids as I lace them together.

Row after row is added until I reach a desirable size.

The ends of the braids are encased in a binding similar to how I would finish the edge of my quilts.  It is so satisfying to see the ragged, stringy edges disappear and a smooth, neat edge appear.

Just in time, my new braided tote ready for use.  
The weather is cooling and this will be a perfect match for my warmer coat. Red, of course!

Instructions for a similar tote are in my book,  
"Designer Bags and Totes" available through Herrschners.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Simple Joys of Sewing

Do you appreciate the simple joys of sewing?

There is joy in pressing over a crumbled piece of fabric and creating a beautiful smooth surface. As I press, I enjoy the pattern of the fabric, the texture as I run my hand across the now flat surface, and the anticipation of beginning a new project.

There is joy in picking up my rotary cutter, trimming the ragged edge and making those perfect cuts. Trimming the threads and revealing a clean edge gives me a feeling of order in my world.

There is joy in stitching. It is the joy of creating by joining of two fabrics together and then two more  until I have made a design.  

Today, I am thankful for small blessings as I work in my studio. May your day be blessed as well.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Toast vs. Quilting

Yes, it seems a simple slice of toast has stolen my day.

I just wanted a slice of toast so I went to the freezer to take out some bread.  On the way, I saw the bag of apples that we brought home the other day. An apple would be a happy meal time addition. As I looked at the apples, I could see that some were getting soft so I decided to peel them for applesauce.  As the sauce cooked, I ate a little and then started to clean up the kitchen. The apple peels needed to be composted so on went the outside jacket and shoes. On the way back into the house, I passed my parsley that grew so well all summer and I planned to bring in for the winter.  There it was on top of a pile of old towels that needed to be washed. After the parsley was in the house, I went back for the towels and started the washer. The floor was sandy from coming in and out so I got out the vacuum. As I plugged it in, I noticed the heat vents needed vacuuming so I started on them and as long as I had the attachment on, I also vacuumed the mini blinds in the bedroom. Then back to the floor, why stop at the hall. In the living room, I remembered last evening as I was searching for my lost needle in the couch, I found popcorn under the cushions. (I have no idea how that happened!) I may as well clean that up now. After chasing the vacuum around the house, I got back to the kitchen where I finished up those last few dishes.

Well, now I have my computer on. What should I write about today?    Hm............. all the sewing that I got done today?

Wait the washer just stopped, I'll be right back..........

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Still Sitting on the Edge

Sharon V. Rotz

While I was reviewing older quilts and thinking about quilt edges, this quilt stuck out as another of my favorites.

One of the little details that added to the total quilt was the curving edge. Again, this may only be a small thing but it softened what would have been a harsh line and adds to the total effect of a wavy, watery theme.

The binding was traditionally done. The strips were cut on the bias for more flexibility going around the curve. 

Easily accomplished, I have to remember this for my future quilts.

What exciting edges are surrounding your quilts?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Make Your Fabric Work for You

Sumac Roadways
Sharon V. Rotz

This week I have been revisiting some of my older works and looking for concepts that I particularly would like to repeat again. This is one of my favorites. Although I've used only a handful of fabrics, they are all working to their maximum to create a complex-looking image.

What I like about the binding is the fabric that I chose and how the fabric pattern works to create an  interesting design edge. The binding was, of course, done the traditional way of wrapping a strip of fabric around the edge of the quilt but looking at the pattern of the printed fabric, there is the illusion of  jagged movement encircling the center.

Do you ever analyze what makes your favorite quilts work?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Color Overload

I am definitely finding it hard to stay inside and sew when I awaken to a world bursting with color.

I love the colors of fall and they will be inspirations for many of my future projects but now I am out in the world enjoying! The contrast of the brilliant reds and the cool blue is overwhelming.

May your day be packed with fabulous color.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

And the Pendulum Swings Back

I started as a traditional quilter and then ventured into more contemporary art quilts. I've been very happy creating original works but since I found these unfinished blocks, I back at traditional again.

This week, I've been hand quilting on my three blocks. I have decided to finish each one individually.

I have quilting done on this one

and I'm presently working on this one.

Will they soon be done? I really don't think so because they have been crying out for some hand embroidery.

Just because they are already quilted won't stop me from adding more detail to the blocks. I seldom drive in a straight line but love to wander off the path. I have no worries, I will still get there in the end.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Out of the Box and into my Hands

Last week I found a box with the start of appliqued blocks. Of the three blocks I found, this one remained to be finished. Of course, three blocks are better than two so I pulled the extra fabric out of the box and started cutting away. (This is why I packed the fabric away with the blocks so it would be ready to go years later..........and why I find mysterious collections of fabric bagged up in my closet!) 

I completed the flower with a ruched center. I love this method of gathering a fabric strip because it adds so much dimension to a quilt.

A little ruched butterfly, along with a friend, flew into the picture and landed on the top of the block.

Ah, my block is completed. Now I am ready to add some quilting. 
Where did I put those needles?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Treasure Hunting

So, I'm in my fabric closet and jammed on the end between tubs of fabric is a small white box.
 I wonder what is in there?

Out it comes and I open it to find appliqued blocks.

Oh, these are nice. Why didn't I finish this project? What caused me to wander away? In the box is the book with instructions for a large appliqued quilt but only two blocks are completed. Was it too big of a project to keep my interest or did other things crowd in?

A third block is started. Should I fall back to the original plan? The fabrics are there. The threads are there. The patterns are there.

But, on second thought, if I didn't finish it then, would I finish it now?  Maybe I could use the blocks on a smaller version of the large quilt. Or maybe I should just finish them individually and be done.

Do you have hidden treasures buried in your closet?  Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And the Rest of the "Block" Story

You definitely came up with some good suggestions for projects to use the uncovered blocks.  There are always so many ways we can go.  Thank you for your ideas.

And this is the rest of the story of these blocks...................
Actually, these blocks were not in my stash but in a in a box of donated fabric given to our charity quilting group. We are always grateful for the generosity of others and try to make the best use of everything.

We searched through other boxes and found bits and pieces of fabric that could work 
with our blocks to make a quilt top. 
The blocks measured 8"x 8" so we cut our fabrics to that width and............. 

...............came up with this "strippy" quilt top. 

It's amazing how far a few blocks can go. The quilt top ended up twin size. 
We will finish it and it will soon be keeping someone warm at night.

If you are looking for ideas to eat up your scraps,  join me this week in Madison at the 
WI Quilt Expo where I will be presenting "Diet Quilts".  I hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Would You Do?

What would you do with four of these blocks that you found in a box of fabric?

There were also three of these stars.

There isn't a bit of any of the fabrics to be found... 
even after searching high and low.

Would you find a use for them?
Or is it o.k. to gracefully discard them into the trash
 with a flip of my hand? 

Come back to see where they go!

Friday, August 23, 2013

More Sewing Enthusiasm

 How old were you when you learned to sew?

With a bit of experience and guidance, an older child can work on her own. It is so exciting to make  fabric choices (and not be handicapped by years of being told what will and will not go together.)

Pressing can be done carefully, mindful that the iron is very hot.

The fun decisions of what to add next.

When the top is completed, rows of quilting stitches hold the quilt together. And, it is certainly more interesting to make the rows curve back and forth across the surface.

An overlapped back, the top and bottom edges stitched, and a pillow is made.

We love it!

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