Anna Maria Horner & Aurifil Showcase Project

If you have followed me long, you may have noticed that I love a good challenge, so when Aurifil offered their Artisans an opportunity to make a project using Anna Maria Horner’s fabric and Aurifil thread, I was excited to sign up!  It is hard to commit to a particular project without knowing what exact materials you will be given, but based on Anna Maria Horner’s  overall design aesthetic, I thought that a pillow would be a fun project.

Three fat quarters and a spool of Aurifil were provided for the challenge.  I had requested 12wt thread because I intended to incorporate some large stitch hand quilting into the cushion.  I didn’t even think about the design of the pillow until the fabrics arrived because I knew I wanted the fabric to be the key inspiration for this project.  As soon as I saw the large floral inspired print, I was sure that it needed to be the focus of the design.

I had just enough large floral motifs to use one for the center of the pillow and a half motif for each corner.  To start, I marked where the center circle would eventually be cut out and placed the  corner motifs based on that mark.  I then used 80wt Aurifil to hand appliqué the motifs.  Once this was complete, I cut out the center circle and machine pieced the center circle into place using 50wt Aurifil.  To finish the construction of the top, I placed the central motif and used needle turn appliqué to secure it.

With the piecing and appliqué complete, it was time to begin the quilting process.  I selected a wool batting so the pillow top would have a bit of poof to it and really show off the hand stitching.  The quilting on this project really embraced decorative stitching, and I used it as an opportunity to try out several different techniques since the back of the quilting would be enclosed in the pillow.

I started by machine quilting around the circle and each floral motif.  I had 12wt thread on top and 50wt thread in the bobbin, and I loosened the tension slightly so I could have enough give to the stitching to wrap each stitch by hand with a strand of 50wt thread.  This resulted in a stitch that looks like a whipped backstitch, but it took a lot less time!

The rest of the pillow top is quilted using a total of seven colors of 12wt Aurifil that I selected to accent the colors in the fabric.  The bronze color was sent for this project, the light green came in this year’s Aurifil Artisan box, and the remaining colors had been used in previous projects.

I used a standard running stitch and several embroidery stitches to quilt the pillow including the closed fly stitch, French Knots, seed stitches, and variations of cross stitches.

The back of the quilted panel shows off how much stitching went into this project.

A yo-yo in the center of the floral motif completed the pillow top.  I thought that it would be fun to finish the center of the motif with the background print the motif was cut from!

To make the pillow cover easy to remove for cleaning, I inserted a lapped zipper into the backing fabric.

The final touch that I wanted to add was a piped edging covered with the remaining striped challenge fabric.  I love how the bias cut fabric looked with all of the angle changes within the fabric design.  This would make amazing quilt binding!

I selected a feather filled pillow form, and combined with the wool batting it creates a delightful feel for a throw pillow.

Negative Space Handbook Blog Hop

Negative space is one of my favorite tools to use in my modern quilt designs, and I was ecstatic when Sylvia Schaefer released her book, The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook.  In this book, Sylvia takes the concept of Negative Space and breaks it down into eight manageable sections for the reader to explore.   These sections can be used on their own or mixed and matched to develop your own unique designs.  While there is a project to illustrate each type of negative space, the reader is actively encouraged to apply each approach to their own original designs.  This combination makes the book perfect for all levels of quilters.  At the end of this post, you’ll have an opportunity to win a digital copy of The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook, so I hope you’ll keep reading!

Sylvia has a great eye for negative space, and I have been a fan of her work ever since I saw her quilt, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes at an American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah one year.

The Persistence of the Disintegration of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer

A couple of years later we had our quilts (both using lots of negative space!) hanging side by side in the winner’s section of the Modern category at another AQS Paducah show.  This time it was Meeting of the Geese that I was admiring.

Meeting of the Geese by Sylvia Schaefer

Most recently, I was honored to quilt Northern Lights for the book.  The edge to edge motif is a digital download by Anita Shackelford.

Northern Lights by Sylvia Schaefer

The eight approaches to negative space design in the handbook are:

  1. Removing Elements
  2. Standing Alone
  3. Oversized Simple Blocks and Inverting
  4. Setting Rows
  5. Scattering
  6. Disintegration
  7. Making Shapes
  8. Extending Lines

I am looking forward to further exploring each of these approaches to negative space, but the one I couldn’t wait to try was scattering.  I have made several plaid quilts, and I thought some of Sylvia’s suggestions would be fun to try in creating a new design.  (Please check out this post about Infused Plaid to see how my typical design process differs from what I am doing here!)  In the book, Sylvia mentions using a random number generator to determine block placement.  This really caught my attention, and before I even went to the next page of the book, I googled “random number generator” and started sketching.

For this design, I started by setting a few parameters.  The grid is 34 units by 34 units, and I decided to place 34 colorful squares into that space.  I used a random number generator for each of the horizontal and vertical coordinates, then rolled a game die to determine the color of the square.  Since the linear matchstick quilting that creates the plaid effect will extend through the squares, each row and column was assigned a color for all future squares that were placed in them.

Once the main pieced section was developed, I decided that extra negative space would really set off the design.  Considering the concept of breathing space  that is introduced in the “Standing Alone” chapter, I decided that the top and right sides of the main section would be about half the width as the borders on the bottom and left sides.  Here is the quilt top, complete with borders.  I always make these plaid quilt tops a few inches larger than the desired finished size.  This allows me to block the quilt and trim it to the size that looks best.

When I add the quilting to this piece, I will be incorporating a third type of negative space usage to the quilt, extending lines.  I love to allow colorful quilting thread to take on a staring role, and this should be a an interesting way to infuse color into the surrounding space.  Hopefully, I will be sharing the final quilt with you soon!

Here’s the exciting part!  If you would like to win a digital copy of The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook, just leave a comment on this post.  Any comment counts, but if you are looking for inspiration, tell us about your favorite quilt using negative space.  It can be a quilt you made, or a quilt created by someone else.  One entry per person, please.

One week from today, Monday, March 25, 2019, I will use a random number generator to select a winner of a digital copy of the book.

You can also order a copy directly from the author!

There is lots of inspiration at the other stops on the blog tour, so I hope you check out these other negative space inspired posts!

March 11 – C&T Publishing – blog tour kickoff

March 12 – Nicole Neblett – Mama Love Quilts

March 13 – Christa Watson – Christa Quilts

March 14 – Jessica Caldwell – Desert Bloom Quilting

March 15 – Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill – Whole Circle Studio

March 18 – Cassandra Ireland Beaver – The (Not So) Dramatic Life

March 19 – Yvonne Fuchs – Quilting Jetgirl

March 20 – Sarah Ruiz – Saroy

March 21 – Sarah Goer – Sarah Goer Quilts

March 22 – Sylvia Schaefer – Flying Parrot Quilts – tour wrap-up

 

 

Cloud 9 New Block Blog Hop

I love designing new blocks and quilt designs, and I am so excited to work with the wonderful palette of solids provided by Cloud 9 Fabrics!

Designing this block took me back to my undergrad years as a painting major when I spent a great deal of time experimenting with pattern, particularly plaid.

berry-patch-plaid-block

The group of Organic Cirrus Solids in a Berry Harvest Color Palette included a dark and light version of two of the colors, so I was inspired to use these to create an illusion of dimension.

cloud-9-cirrus-solids

Standard machine piecing techniques are used to construct this block, so anyone who is comfortable with accurate cutting and stitching a consistent 1/4″ seam allowance can make this block.  The pattern for Berry Patch Plaid is available as a free download on Craftsy.

Multiple blocks would make an awesome complete quilt!

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More than 60 new blocks have been shared during this three day hop, so I hope you will take a look at some of the wonderful designs that have been created in this color scheme!

2016 New Quilt Bloggers

A big thank you to Cloud 9 Fabrics and our wonderful hosts, Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, and Stephanie of Late Night Quilter!

Today you will see new posts from these bloggers:

Host: Stephanie @Late Night Quilter

Kathy @Kathys Kwilts and More
Paige @Quilted Blooms
Mary @Strip Quilts Pass it On
Allison @Woodberry Way
Seven @The Concerned Craft
Olusola @Alice Samuel’s Quilt Co.
Ann @Brown Paws Quilting
Jodie @Persimmon + Pear
Vicki @Orchid Owl Quilts
Kitty @Night Quilter
Francine @Mochawildchild
Shelley @The Carpenter’s Daughter who Quilts
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal
Geraldine @Living Water Quilter
Shannon @Shannon Fraser Designs
Lisa @Sunlight In Winter Quilts
Jessica @Quilty Habit
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Deanna @Stitches Quilting
Denise @Craft Traditions

Tuesday’s Bloggers were:

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs

Miranda @I Have Purple Hair
Jennifer @The Inquiring Quilter
Sarah @123 Quilt
Leanne @Devoted Quilter
Jen @Patterns By Jen
Jennifer @RV Quilting
Amanda @Quiltologie
Sharon @Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Jen @A Dream and A Stitch
Jen @Faith and Fabric
Carole @Carole Lyles Shaw
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Susan @Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Katrin @Now What Puppilalla
Amista @Hilltop Custom Designs
Nicole @Handwrought Quilts
Marla @Penny Lane Quilts
Silvia @A Stranger View
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @the zen quilter
Mary @Quilting is in My Blood
Velda @GRANNYcanQUILT

Mondays designers were:

Host: Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

Abigail @Cut & Alter
Janice @Color, Creating, and Quilting!
Lorinda @Laurel, Poppy, and Pine
Melva @Melva Loves Scraps
Renee @Quilts of a Feather
Kathryn @Upitis Quilts
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Amanda @this mom quilts
Holly @Lighthouse Lane Designs
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Jennifer @Dizzy Quilter
Karen @Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Anne @Said With Love
Suzy @Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Sharla @Thistle Thicket Studio
Kathleen @Smiles From Kate
Amanda @Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.
Sarah @Sarah Goer Quilts
Chelsea @Patch the Giraffe
Jinger @Trials of a Newbie Quilter
Anja @Anja Quilts
Daisy @Ants to Sugar

Sand Dollar Star: Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop

Today I am thrilled to share with you my creation for the Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop.  The Ocean Sunrise palette of fabric inspired me to create a block loosely based on the five pointed design found on sand dollars along the shoreline.

Sand Dollar Star

Sand Dollar Star

There are more than 35 new, free block patterns being shared during this three day blog hop, so I hope you take some time to visit all of the blog owners who have dedicated so much time and skill to create blocks for you to enjoy.  Todays bloggers are:

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Andrea @The Sewing Fools
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Tish @Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Abby @Hashtag Quilt
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @The Zen Quilter
Wanda @Wanda’s Life Sampler
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal

The Sand Dollar Star Quilt Block is an excellent skill builder block that is created using foundation paper piecing (FPP), curved piecing, and is finished with a fabric yo-yo.  Foundation paper piecing gives you lovely, precise points, resulting in a block with a clean, professional appearance.  Once this step is completed, you will set the inner circle you created into the outer section of the block using a traditional curved piecing process.  To complete the block, you will create a fabric yo-yo that is hand appliquéd onto the center of the block.

The complete directions and full scale templates for Sand Dollar Star are available for download at Craftsy.  UPDATE:  Craftsy removed this pattern (along with thousands of others) during their site-wide revamp.  The Sand Dollar Star pattern is now available on Etsy.

This post focuses on a photographic tutorial of constructing the block, while the PDF directions contain more than 20 diagrams and thorough instructions explaining the construction of the block.

This Block is constructed in three sections:

  1. The outer surround
  2. The foundation paper pieced circular star center
  3. The yo-yo that finishes the center of the block

The Surround

I like to start with the outer surround that is constructed from four pieces cut from the provided template.

Stitching the short seams to create the surround using a 1/4" seam allowance

Stitching the short seams to create the surround using a 1/4″ seam allowance

Four short seams create an open circle that you will set the center star into.  I like to press the seam allowances open to reduce bulk for this part of the block.

The back of the surround with the seam allowances pressed open

The back of the surround with the seam allowances pressed open

The Inner Star

There are five foundation paper piecing (FPP) segments which come together to create the circular inner star. Each segment starts with placing pink fabric, right side up, over area 1 on the unprinted side of the FPP template.  I like to hold my template and fabric up to a light source to check my fabric placement.  Place the dark blue fabric for area two over the pink fabric with the main body of the fabric over area one and the “seam allowance” over area two.  Flip the entire unit over and use a small machine stitch to sew along the line between areas one and two.

Stitching along the line on the paper piecing template

Stitching along the line on the paper piecing template

View of the back of the FPP template after the first seam has been stitched

View of the back of the FPP template after the first seam has been stitched

Fold the paper back to use a rotary cutter to trim away the excess fabric, leaving approximately 1/4″ seam allowance.

Fold back the FPP template to access the area of fabric that needs to be trimmed

Fold back the FPP template to access the area of fabric that needs to be trimmed

Trimming the seam allowance

Trimming the seam allowance

Press the fabric into place before moving on.

Pressing the seam

Pressing the seam

Repeat the FPP process for areas 3 through 7.

Placement of the fabric for section three

Placement of the fabric for section three

Pressing Section 3 into place

Pressing Section 3 into place

Since sections four and five do not overlap, I like to sew them at one time, then trim and press them.  This saves a little travel time 😉

Placement of fabric for section 4

Placement of fabric for section 4

Placement of fabric for section 5

Placement of fabric for section 5

Pressing sections four and five

Pressing sections four and five

Placement of fabric for section six

Placement of fabric for section six

Fabric six pressed into place

Fabric six pressed into place

Section 7 pressed into place

Section 7 pressed into place

Once the entire segment is stitched into place, make sure it is well pressed before trimming the straight edges with a rotary cutter and ruler.  For this small amount of cutting I don’t worry about using my good cutter on paper- what can I say- I like to live dangerously!

Final trimming of the straight edges of the FPP segment

Final trimming of the straight edges of the FPP segment

I prefer to cut the curved edges using good quality shears.  The fabric for section 7 is large and a bit floppy, so I think it is helpful to pin slightly in from the cut line, so things don’t shift in an unpleasant manner.

Trimming the curved edge

Trimming the curved edge

Repeat this process four more times to construct all of the pieces for the center of the block.

The five segments that make up the center of the sand dollar block

The five segments that make up the center of the sand dollar block

Stitch the segments together.  I like to stick pins straight through at the points that I want to be sure will match up.  Then I use Wonder Clips to hold the rest of the seam in place.

Pins pushed straight through mark specific corners and Wonder Clips hold the rest in place

Pins pushed straight through mark specific corners and Wonder Clips hold the rest in place

Sew all five sections together.  One of the awesome things about this block is that there is an opening left in the center of the block (don’t worry, we’ll cover it later) which means there are no precise points to match!  Press the seam allowances open and press the entire unit thoroughly.

The back view of the assembled circular star

The back view of the assembled circular star

Front view of the assembled circular star unit

Front view of the assembled circular star unit

Now you need to remove the paper.  If you haven’t done a lot of curves or you are afraid the edge of the circle may stretch, do a machine straight stitch in the seam allowance (about 1/8″ from the edge) along the outer edge of the circle before removing the paper.  This stay stitch will help keep things from stretching and distorting before you have a chance to sew the center into the outer surround.

Its time to create some registration marks to help in sewing this circle.  Fold the inner circle in half, making sure that one of the pink star points falls on the fold line.  Use a disappearing marker to make a small tick mark in the seam allowance on either end of the fold.  Only one tick mark will line up with a point on the star.  I use this for the top of the block.

Folding the circle in half with a pink point on the fold line

Folding the circle in half with a pink point on the fold line

The tick mark lined up with one of the pink points

The tick mark lined up with one of the pink points

Fold the block in half again, this time matching the first tick marks to each other.  Fold to find the halfway points between all of the tick marks on the circle.  You should have a total of eight marks.  On the outer surround the seams act as the first four registration marks.  Fold each segment in half to locate the halfway points.

Folding the outer surround to locate registration marks

Folding the outer surround to locate registration marks

Match the registration marks around the circle and pin in place.

Pinned registration points

Pinned registration points

Add extra pins to hold everything in place while you sew.  Use as many as you need to make the edges line up as you sew.  I like to stitch with the surround on top and the circular star on the bottom.

Additional pins

Additional pins

Check both the front and back of the unit to make sure there aren’t any tucks or puckers in the seam.

Top of the stitched unit

Top of the stitched unit

Back of the stitched unit

Back of the stitched unit

It may look a bit rumpled when you first flip out the surround . . .Sand Dollar Star Image 45

but as long as there are no tucks in the seam, it will press out nice and flat.  I generally press my seam allowance toward the outer surround.Sand Dollar Star Image 46

 

The Central Yo-Yo

The only left to do in making this block is to close up the center of the circle.  A fabric yo-yo does this while adding a bit of texture and dimension.

You will use the provided template to cut the circle and a doubled thread to do the stitching.  Make sure the knot falls on the wrong side of the fabric.  Do a hand running stitch around the edge of the circle turning the raw edge of the fabric back about 1/8″ as you sew.

Turning back the raw edge as you stitch

Turning back the raw edge as you stitch

For best results, your stitches should each be about 1/8″ long.

Stitching around the edge of the yo-yo circle

Stitching around the edge of the yo-yo circle

When you have gone all the way around the circle, draw the thread to gather the edges of the circle into the center point.

Gathering the yo-yo

Gathering the yo-yo

To further secure the yo-yo and help control any unwieldy gathers, I like to stitch through the pleats two or three at a time.

Stitching back through the gathers

Stitching back through the gathers

Knot off and bury the thread before clipping.

Finished yo-yo

Finished yo-yo

Position the finished yo-yo in the center of the block.

Positioning the yo-yo and bringing the needle up through the back of the block

Positioning the yo-yo and bringing the needle up through the back of the block

Take small appliqué stitches around the edge of the yo-yo to secure.  Many small stitches are preferable to fewer large stitches.

Stitching the yo-yo

Stitching the yo-yo

As you stitch, try to have as little thread show as possible.  Visible thread tends to be the weakest part of hand sewing, so keep as much of it as possible behind the fabric of the main block or the yo-yo.

Sand Dollar Star

Sand Dollar Star

Use this block as a primary block design for a quilt, combine with other blocks for a seaside sampler quilt or table runner, or add borders to a single block to create a mini quilt or pillow.

When you head over to Craftsy to download the pattern for this block, I hope you will take a look at my other patterns as well!

Rainbow Rotary in Three Sizes

Rainbow Rotary in Three Sizes

Summer Starburst Block

Summer Starburst Block

Filmstrip Bee Block

Filmstrip Bee Block

A Planner made just for Quilters!

(It seems that I didn’t schedule this post properly last week, but better late than never!  This planner looks amazing, and I hope you all take a moment to check it out if you haven’t already!)

Last week, Stephanie at Late Night Quilter released for pre-sale a yearly planner that she has created with the specific needs and wants of the contemporary quilter in mind!  I encourage you to head over to Stephanie’s blog to have a more detailed look at this planner because it is so much more than a calendar.  Among its many features is a quilt block pattern for every week of the year.  I am thrilled that my block, Summer Starburst, is included, and I am so excited to see how this book comes together!

Summer Starburst Block

Summer Starburst Quilt Block