Monday, January 25, 2016

Quilts are a Generous Gift

This isn't a story about me, but I'm involved.  You see, I used to teach a quilt class on the pattern "Pickle Dish".  Many of my close friends took this class from me and started their quilts back in 1999.   I got tired of making class samples, so I borrowed the students' blocks and sewed on them in later classes.  This is the story of one of my close friends and her quilt.

My friend, Lynn Patterson, decided to make her quilt HUGE and she decided to give it to her mother-in-law when it was completed.  But before the quilt top got finished, her mother-in-law died in a tragic car accident.  Talk about taking the wind out of your sails.  We all watched in agony for our friend as she sadly set aside this unfinished quilt.

Seven years later she decided to give the quilt to her sister-in-law, so she pulled it out and started working on it again.  Many years and many sewing hours later, she completed the top.  Then she started the arduous process of hand quilting this huge quilt.  She dragged that quilt everywhere and quilted like a demon.  This year at the holidays, and 16 years after she started, she got the quilt done and gave it to her sister-in-law.   I heard that there were tears everywhere when this generous gift was given away.

1999-2015 it says on the label.  It also has her mother-in-laws name, her sister-in-laws name, her name.  And wouldn't you know it, she even put my name on it.  OK, now look who's crying!  RIP Virginia.

Lynn's Pickle Dish Quilt
The quilt label

Monday, January 18, 2016

Art Quilt "Dressed Up"

I made a fantasy nest art quilt this week.  Well, aren't all my nest art quilts fantasies?  But this one has that sparkle and razzle dazzle that made it feel all dressed up, hence the name.

My favorite fabric right now is the fabulous Ombre fabric called "Daiwabo Selection" for E. E. Schenck Company.  I have previously used this in several other art quilts in other colorways.  This color, or lack thereof, is the one that fades from white through gray shades and into black.  I could really envision this fabric with a light center and radiating to dark on the outside.  So I cut it into triangles and pieced them together to give me the background that I wanted to have.  Then I started laying out the nest in the center.  And guess what?  The nest totally covered up the light effect that I was aiming for.  So I had to piece the remnants into another background so that I could use the nest on this fabric.  You never know how things are going to turn out, and the fun about small art quilts is that you can switch directions easily midstream.  Having a design board is invaluable for checking the design as you go.  After I laid out the quilt and put the top tulle on top, it just looked like a bulls-eye.
Quilt top looking like a bulls-eye

So off came the nest to ponder the background again.  When I go to sleep with a problem looming, I sometimes wake up with a bright idea.  So, in the wee hours of the night, I decided to add a branch and a small shadow underneath the nest.  Both of them felt like they had to be sheer fabric so as not to distract from the nest and the background fabric.   I fused some misty fuse to the sheers, fused them to the background, and laid back down the nest.  The next few pictures show the progress.

Pattern for the branch

Using the pattern to cut the branch

Branch and shadow fused to the background

Quilt top reassembled

I decided to quilt this in straight lines to enhance the background fabric.  And some of my fun eyelash yarn seemed like just the right thing to couch down on the outside edges to finish this quilt off.

Dressed Up by Joanne Adams Roth

I hope you like it!

Close up of eggs of gold lame
Nest materials

Monday, January 11, 2016

Two Colored Binding

I recently wrote a blog about "Summer Breeze", one of my nest art quilts.  For that quilt, I used a two colored binding and so I'm showing you how that was made. The top of the quilt is blue, the bottom is green, so what do you do with the sides on a quilt  like this?

Two different colors of binding on top and bottom

My solution was to piece the binding on the sides with both colors.  I measured the length that I wanted to be green, and added 2" to this measurement.  This was pieced on the diagonal with the blue binding fabric, as shown in the picture below.  The two sides were pieced opposite of each other to keep the diagonal slanting down towards the quilt.  This little quilt didn't have continuous binding since I wanted to position the color transition in the right spot.  I extended the green binding 1" from the corner spot where I started sewing.

Then I sewed the corner seams.  I marked the corner seams first with a chalk marker.  It's a little triangle that I later matched up with the other side to get that perfect corner seam.

Marked with chalk

Pinned in place

Sewn and trimmed seam

One of my favorite tools is That Purple Thang.  It's got a not-too-sharp point and a square end that are perfect for pushing out those corners.

Turned corner with That Purple Thang
And here one more time is the completed quilt, "Summer Breeze", showing the two colored binding.

I hope you like it still and can use this technique on one of your quilts!

Summer Breeze two colored binding

Friday, January 8, 2016

Quilting Groups

You need to be involved with quilting groups if you're a quilter.  Enough said.

Well, OK, a little more insight might be helpful.

If you've been reading my blogs, you've probably figured out by now that I've been quilting for a while.  It's hard to admit this, but I have been quilting seriously since I was 17.   And I've just turned 65.  So that's almost 50 years!  My, how the times flies.

I've joined quilting groups everywhere that I have lived, and I've stepped up to the plate to take on leadership roles in every guild that I've joined.  I love the passion, inspiration, and friendship that have come my way by being a member of both the quilt guilds and the small quilting groups.  So thanks to guilds in Idaho, Ontario, New Brunswick, Georgia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Washington, and Oregon.  I loved the friendships in all those locations and still love to hear from quilters in those places.

 Most of my friends know that I am self-motivated, but they don't realize is how much their presence fuels my passion.  So, shout out to all my friends for their inspiration and support.  I love seeing all of your work and getting tips and tricks from you.

Please, please, please... if you're sitting on the sidelines, get up and join your local quilt guild.  The guilds give you have access to local and National quilt teachers, wonderful charity opportunities, quilt shows, quilt book libraries, free fabric, free patterns, exchanges of blocks/fabrics, and learning new techniques. Better yet, get involved with a small quilt group.  It doesn't matter if the group is a sub-group of your quilt guild or if it's associated with your church, or if it's a bunch of your neighbors, co-workers, or friends. The comradery of the quilting groups is a fantastic experience and not to be missed.  Besides your pets and grandchildren, nobody else is as happy to see you.

So what are you waiting for --- get up and join quilting groups.

Joanne Adams Roth 2015

Monday, January 4, 2016

Summer Breeze Part Two

In my last blog, I showed the start of "Summer Breeze".  Since I added so many layers to this little art quilt, I thought it would be easier to show you some of the steps in a second blog.

I painted the background stems and flowers for the first layer (as shown in the last blog).  I added stems with dyed rick-rack for and fabric for the second layer.  Then I attached the flowers loosely for the final layer.  Here is a close up showing the layers.
Summer Breeze flowers close up
I pulled pink, purple and blue fibers to form the nest.  One of my quilting friends, who owns a long-arm quilting machine save a whole bag of threads for me, which were the main inspiration for this nest.  I actually made two nests; the first one was too shiny, so it got put in the reject pile.  

Fibers for the nest
 I decided that this nest needed some eggs.  A previously painted fabric was just right.  I formed the eggs around a dissolving stabilizer, then added some batting as stuffing.  In these pictures, you can see the eggs front and back, and with the stuffing added as they were attached to the quilt.

For the nest, I laid the selected fibers on the background until I liked the look, and stitched through all the layers with invisible thread.  I purposely left some of the threads hang loose around the edges.  If you see the quilt, please don't try to pick them off to tidy up the quilt!  If you're a quilter, you know what I mean!
Summer Breeze by Joanne Adams Roth

Here is the finished quilt. I hope you like it!