Botanical Wonders

The Columbus Museum of Art currently has an exhibit of lovely antique quilts with botanical themes on view through March 11, 2018.  I went to this gallery today, and thought you may enjoy seeing a few of these quilts from the 19th and early 20th century.

Botanical Wonders

  • Left:  Rosebud Wreath, 1865
  • Center:  Cockscomb Variation with Jester’s Plumes, about 1865-1885
  • Right:  Cactus Flower Variation, about 1860-1880

Cockscomb Variation

  • Cockscomb Variation, about 1860-1875

Hawaiian Quilt

  • Hawaiian Quilt, about 1925-1950

Tree of Life

  • Tree of Life, about 1945-1955

Album Quilt

  • Album Quilt, about 1850-1865

Princess Feather Medallion

  • Princess Feather Medallion with Urns of Flowers and Stuffed Work, about 1845-1855

Grapes and Vines

  • Left: Grapes and Vines, about 1925-1935
  • Right: Pink Dogwood with Butterflies, about 1925-1935

Ten Gifts for Quilters (Other Than Fabric!)

As the holidays approach, I’m sure there are a lot of friends and family looking for gifts a quilter would love.  If you are a quilter, you may be looking for a fun or unusual notion to include in a guild gift swap.  This list includes a few of my favorite non-fabric gifts at a variety of price points- from just over $5 to around $50.

10 Gifts for Quilters

Duo Marking Pen and Eraser:  This two part pen set is fabulous for marking quilts that won’t necessarily get washed immediately.  The dark pink pink marks your dots or lines with a brown line, and once its quilted, you trace over it with the white pen to erase the mark.

Duo Pens

Full Line Stencils and Pounce:  These stencils and pounce pad are super easy to use and any residual chalk washes out or disappears with the iron.  I have the 1″ grid stencil, and it is perfect for subdividing areas of negative space.  The next stencils on my list are the 1/2″ grid, a diamond grid, and a clamshell.  They also carry more detailed designs if the quilter in your life prefers the design to be completely drawn out.

Full Line Stencil

Spiral Eye Needles:  These are hands down the best needles I have found for burying quilting threads- they are a massive time saver!  My favorite size is the 8 Quilting, but if the quilter you are buying for likes a larger needle you may want to try the 8 Sharp or even a 6.

Spiral Eye Needle

Safety Stiletto:  Not the shoes :)  A stiletto is used to guide fabrics near the machine needle, and is also great for picking out threads left after seam ripping.  I like the safety version so I can toss it in my sewing kit and not have to worry about ripping the bag or impaling myself or others.  (The stiletto I linked to here is very similar to the one I own, but I can’t remember what brand I have- it may be this one, but it may not be this one) The pointed end unscrews and turns inside the handle for travel and storage.

Safety Stiletto

Clover Protect and Grip Thimble:  The scallop shape allows this thimble to expand and contract slightly to provide a perfect fit, even if your finger swells a bit at times.  It comes in a few sizes- I use the medium.  It is so much more comfortable than any other thimble I have used, and it doesn’t turn your finger green like the metal ones!

Thimble

Waxed Silamide Skein:  This is the best thread for basting!  I use it to baste english paper piecing templates and needle turn appliqué pieces.  It  comes in a skein, so once you tear off the bottom of the package and cut through the end loop of the thread, you have precut sewing thread in the perfect length.  Since it is pre-waxed, there is virtually no tangling!  I do not use this for any permanent stitching on a quilt.Waxed Silamide

Commercial Lint Roller:  Have you ever seen the quilter in your life covered in thread and lint?  They need this!  The handle is super sturdy, and I recommend the set with a dozen rolls.

Lint Roller

Quilters Select Rulers:  They somehow managed to come up with a rotary ruler that grips the fabric really well, has thin (and therefore accurate) lines, and is still translucent enough to see what is going on with the fabric under the ruler.  You can find a retailer on the Quilter’s Select website.

QS Ruler

Bobbins:  If you know the type of machine your favorite quilter has, I am certain they would appreciate some more bobbins- You can never have too many bobbins!

Bobbins

Gingher Rotary Cutter:  This is a sturdy rotary cutter that is available in both the right-handed and left-handed version.  The best part is when you do have to change the blade (they last a really long time!), it is set up so you never have to touch the blade.

Rotary Cutter

What quilt-y gift would you like to give or receive this year?

Lateral Ascension

Lateral Ascension is based on a simplified drafting of a spiral staircase.  Lateral refers to the suggestion of treads on the staircase, and ascension references the use of stairs to move to an upper level.

Lateral Ascension full

This quilt is a larger and even more simplified version of a spiral staircase mini quilt I did a couple years ago.  A spiral staircase is a really beautiful thing to look at in its drafted form.  The image below shows the beginning stages of drawing a front view of spiral stairs.

/Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Work for Michael/Shockheaded Pe

 

The horizontal lines of the stair treads are emphasized with matchstick quilting done in 12 weight thread in a color to match the fabric of the tread rectangle.  The remaining quilting is also comprised of horizontal lines.  In the background, every quarter inch is stitched in 50 weight thread to match the background.  Between many of these lines are rows of stitching in a variety of colors.  All of the primary and secondary colors are represented in the fabrics and/or thread in this piece.

Lateral Ascension detail

Some large stitch hand quilting is included between some rows of machine stitching.  This is intended to show the balance between the regimented appearance of architecture and the hand done craftsmanship that goes into producing it.

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Lateral Ascension

Size: 65″ x 74″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Walking foot quilting on a domestic Bernina 1008, Large stitch hand quilting

Fabric:  Kona Cottons

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread:  50wt Aurifil in multiple colors, 12wt Aurifil in three colors

Binding:  Facing in the same Kona as the backing

This quilt was entered into QuiltCon 2018

Improv Trees

This weekend I had the opportunity to teach my first improvisational piecing class at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  And it happened to be one of my all-time favorite improv inspirations- winter trees!  Talk about being perfect for this time of year!  In the sample piece I used a lot of bright colors.

Improv Trees Sample

I love using unexpected fabrics for the trees, especially irregular stripes or splotches.  We spent the first part of class selecting fabrics, and the students made fabulous selections!  Here are a couple student projects.  I tend to get pretty wrapped up in the class itself and forget to take photos, but I can assure you that there was a lot of awesomeness going on!

For the tree fabric strips she selected a print of trees!  Don’t you love how the print looks all cut up?

Improv student process shot

Here is a finished top.  The tree fabric used in this one was a popular choice and looked terrific with a bunch of different backgrounds.

Improv student project

 

I really hope I have the chance to teach this class again!  If you would like to see another example and read more about the process, please check out another improv trees mini quilt I did awhile ago.

Taking Flight is in Modern Patchwork

Taking Flight is is a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Flock of Geese quilt block with an asymmetrical twist.  This quilt is now a project in the November/December 2017 issue of Modern Patchwork.

Taking Flight Magazine

I designed this quilt shortly after completing Overlay (post coming soon), so I was apparently really into the Flock of Geese Block.  The blocks are rather large- each large half square triangle (HST) measures 10″ square, meaning that a full block is 20″ square.  I had drafted the quilt in my usual AutoCad and did a lot of experimentation with possible color schemes.  My top two choices were citrus-y colors with a white background and a play of warm and cool colors with the red/orange/pink and a blue background.

Taking Flight Light Background Illustration

Taking Flight Dark Background Illustration

Both color ways were included in the magazine proposal, and I am thrilled that they liked the blue background the best.  I have done a lot of white backgrounds in the past few years, so it was exciting to work with a mid-value-range color scheme.

Taking Flight Front

The quilting in the warm colored areas is ruler work with a touch of free motion in a wishbone design.  The blue background is filled with mixed motif free motion quilting.  The feathers in these areas relate to the title- Taking Flight.

Taking Flight detail image

Here is the magazine cover so you know what to look for at the newsstand!

MP5_Cover copy

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Taking Flight

Size: 90″ x 100″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Mixed motif free motion quilting and Ruler work, all done on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Kona Cotton in Deep Blue, Flame, Cardinal, Bright Pink

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread:  50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding in Deep Blue Kona, cut 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front and hand finished on the back