Monday, December 11, 2017

Scissors

I used to think you only needed a few pairs of scissors for sewing.  Heck, my Mom had the one big pair in the house and everyone used it for everything.  Sound familiar?  I learned a long time ago to guard my precious sewing scissors and only use them for fabric.  (And get them sharpened once in a while).  I added small ones early on for cutting threads and of course the pinking shears.  But, every time I am around other quilters, I seem to notice another pair that I just have to get for myself.  I now have almost a drawer full of them.  My preferred manufacturers are Kai , Gingher and Fiskars.  Here's the styles I like and recommend.

Tiny sharp points
I can't live without scissors that snip cleanly into a tiny tight spot.  My favorite brand is Kai, but I do have several others that I've used over the years.  The points should be so tiny and sharp that you literally stab yourself from time to time.  (Not on purpose). I like that these scissors come with a little sheath and a cord to hang around your neck.







Spring loaded thread clippers.
I have 2 pairs of these from Fiskars.  One is so worn out, I probably need to replace it.  These are a wonderful pair to clip threads at the sewing machine, or anywhere else when you cut a lot of thread.  The spring loaded feature means that you exercise your hand less since you don't have to open the scissors first.  I believe these come in several sizes, but this is the size I like to use.  They fit into all of my traveling sewing kits.



Large handles, small blades
I was first introduced to this style by Sharon Schamber.  They are great when you have to do a lot of  tedious trimming (think applique).  Since most small scissors also have tiny handles, this style really helps your hand from getting tired.  Much more ergonomic.  The pair on the right are from Karen Kay Buckley.  They are micro-serrated and super sharp.



Large blades and large handles
We probably all have one of these styles.  I have several including the classic Gingher from my garment sewing days, one from Kai because they are so comfortable, and an old Fiskars pair, mostly for cutting interfacing, dissolving products and paper patterns.



Blunt edge, applique
If you do any trapunto or like to cut away the background from an applique pieces these are very handy.  The blunt (or rounded) edge won't stick into your fabric and slides nicely right up to the edges.  I'm sure there is a proper name for this type, but I can't think of it right now.



Serrated edge for applique
A relatively new introduction to me are the tiny serrated edged scissors  They hold the edge of the fabric as you cut out your applique pieces and are very useful on tiny pieces or pieces on the bias.  I love the little green ones shown above from Karen Kay Buckley.  People who do more sewing than quilting would probably like the larger styles.

Medium sizes for clipping corners and small pieces
I have several different sizes in the medium range, and I like all of the Kai scissors for their different lengths and comfortable handles.  I also like Fiskars.




Pinking Shears
These are so great for sewing garments and home dec.  I don't use them that much in quilting, but I know several people who pink the edges of their fabric before they pre-wash it.  Nice to have when you need them.



Paper Cutting
I reserve two pairs for paper cutting and use these when I do pattern work, for cutting fusible release papers, and for whenever it feels like I'm cutting something that will dull my scissors.  These are my more inexpensive scissors, and I don't mind if anyone in the house grabs them for cutting something.


I hope you check out the scissors at your local quilt store, your local fabric store, and the manufacturer's booths at regional quilt shows.  You never know when you'll see that new perfect pair of scissors.  Happy cutting!



Monday, December 4, 2017

Slice and Dice Square in a Square - or Magic Inch Quilt

I saw this quilt made on Nancy Zieman's show on PBS,  "Sewing with Nancy".   Here is the link to it on her webpage:  Magic Inch Quilts .  The guests that designed it are Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle.




When I saw it, I took a picture of the TV screen so that I would have the idea when I needed it.  I always have my phone with me and I always tape the show.  So it's easy to stop the playback and take a picture.  I love having a camera in my cell phone!  Don't you?  This quilt, I decided right from the start, would be a fun one to make while traveling in our trailer.  It's basically a square in a square block that gets slashed 3 times to allow for inserts of striped fabric.  The end result gives you the illusion of floating strips and squares.  So modern.  I love it!

I designed it to use a 6" block, 2-1/2" strips for the outer block, and 1" strips for the inserts.  I don't remember if these were the measurements used on the show, but for sure the 1" insert was the key.

I wanted to make it from fabric I already had on hand, so I pulled out a large piece of gray for the background (outer part of the block), some solids that I had left over from a class, and some striped fabric.


Not too far into the project, I realized that I didn't have enough of the black and white stripe.  So I went with my friends to Country Manor Quilt shop in Battle Ground, WA and found the exact fabric I needed.  I bought the rest of the bolt since it was only 1-3/8 yards.  I also found some striped black/red/white materials that I wanted for the next quilt.  I only bought a yard, and hoped that this would be enough to finished the second quilt.

I sewed just enough of the blocks to make sure the measurements would work, and then cut out all the material before our trip.  It was easy to piece with my little featherweight in the trailer and here is the finished top.


I took it over to our charity group so that they can put together a backing and batting and get it one of our long arm ladies to get it quilted.

I hope you see quilts you like on TV shows too!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sputnik Stars in AQS ads

I got a few texts from friends who had seen my quilt, Sputnik Stars, in advertisements for the American Quilters Society Grand Rapids quilt show.  I had no idea they were using my quilts in their ads, and it's perfectly legal for them to do so, since you sign a form giving them permission when you enter a quilt into their shows.  Sputnik Stars was in the 2015 show and didn't win an award.  So it was quite a surprise that they liked the colors enough to use it so many years later.

Here is one of the ads.



I hope you get a nice surprise once in a while too.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Coming Attraction: Featured Artist Show October 2018

My local quilt guild, Clark County Quilters, has a special quilt how they host every fall.  It's called "The Featured Artist Show".  It's held to fete someone in our guild (or a group in our guild) who has a large portfolio of quilts and whose collection is of interest to the public.  It is basically a lifetime achievement award that our guild bestows on the chosen quilter.

I was recently selected to be that featured artist in OCTOBER 2018 with a solo show.  What a fantastic surprise and honor.

It's a good thing that I've kept notebooks of all the quilts I've made and have all the stories that go with them.  Now, I'm scrambling a little bit to figure out which quilts to display, get them back from the owners, who are spread out in Alaska, Canada, and the United States, and clean them up and add sleeves if they don't already have them.   I've made 167 quilts (to date), and I think that I can come up with 95 to 100 for the show.

So, here's looking forward to October 2018.  The opening reception will be on Friday October 19th from 5 to 7 pm.  The show runs on Saturday, October 20th and Sunday, October 21st.  It'll be at the H.H. Hall office building near the corner of Highway 99 and 99th street NE in Vancouver, WA. 



Monday, November 13, 2017

Old quilting photo at the Puyallup Fair

I ran across this old photo of the Puyallup Valley Quilters at the Puyallup fair.  My mother and I used to go one of the days and help to tie our charity quilts.  It was always such a fun day in September.  We loved to be with other quilters, talk to the public about quilting, and to spend some one-on-one time with each other.

We would tie quilts for a couple of hours, then head out to get our scones and look at quilts entered in the fair.  If we were feeling energetic, we would head over to the flower displays and ooh and aah at the dahlias.  Mom usually had a few of her dahlias entered in the displays. 

So, without further ado, here is our picture.  We are with Jenise Doty (pink blouse), JoAnn James (seated) and Patty de Kamp (blue dress).

Helen Adams and Joanne Adams Roth at Puyallup Fair

Monday, November 6, 2017

Confetti Nest Art Quilt - Nest #21

I saved scraps from making children's' charity quilts and bunched them together confetti style to make a nest.  Then I scrunched together some green tulle to get the darker center area. I found a perfect background fabric from my stash.  The quilting was done to give some kind of ground effect to the nest.  After the quilting was done, I used Inktense pencil and shaded in the area underneath the nest.  then I attached the nest.






This time after I attached the nest, I went back and did some "long stitches" with invisible thread so that I could weave in more fiber on top of the nest.  I did this by taking a few stitches in place, then raised the presser foot and moved the piece an inch or so, then took a few more stitches.  I did this over the front part of the nest only.  Then I pulled out a bunch of fiber things, including yarn, thread, hand dyed fabric and rick rack from my collection.  Did I ever tell you that people bring me all kinds of things to use in my fiber art pieces?  I love getting all of this cast off stuff and especially like using it in my nest art quilts.  So here's the pile of stuff.


After I added the fluffy stuff on the front of the nest, I decided it looked too blah!  My husband said it needed eggs.  So I tested out several colors of black/white and orange.  He liked a marbled orange the best, so that's what I used.  I added highlights and shadows with Derwent Inktense pencils.  And here it is what it looked like after I added the eggs.  I'm sure I have the light source all mixed up, but it's OK.  I like it like it is.


And here it is after I did the facing.



It has been fun to make another nest quilt after all the time has passed, and I hope to make some more.

I hope you like it!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Nelly's Kenya House - The little African quilt

The inspiration for this little quilt was a small embroidered piece that was made by Nelly in Kenya.  She made this piece for the "Beyond Fistula" organization, which supports obstetric fistula survivors.  One of my acquaintances in Portland travels to Kenya and brings these pieces back to sell, while she travels around bringing awareness of the issues and the organization that helps the girls lead a somewhat normal life.  Oh boy, this is a very sad event in many of the young girls' lives and is very hard to fathom what they have endured.  The organization helps the girls get surgery and provides housing and support for many of them.  So I was happy to purchase a piece and have mounted it onto a larger little quilt.  If you want to learn more, just click on this link: Beyond Fistula

I made a few sketches of how to mount this piece.




And here it is against a purple background with the extra huts drawn in chalk.


I embroidered the houses and the paths.


I quilted the entire piece in a overall square in a square design, then stitched the little quilt onto the larger one.  I bound it in black and white stripes, cut on the bias.   And here is the finished quilt.

Nelly's Kenya House by Joanne Adams Roth and Nelly 2017

I hope you like it!