Saturday, 15 June 2019

Intuitive Color & Design - A Book Review

2017 was the first year that I worked at Festival of Quilts and I did not get much time to view all the quilts.  One gallery I did pass through numerous times, on my way to and from the stand, was that of Jean Wells.  I was just struck with how wonderful her quilts were - the composition, the colour choices, in fact just everything!  I know she does do workshops sometimes in the UK but have been sadly unable to make one yet.  So what's the next best thing?  Her book of course!

Intuitive Color & Design Adventures in Art Quilting was published in 2017 and is an updated version of her book from 2009. It is published by C&T Publishing, and is available in the UK through Search Press.  Oh the joy to get my hands on a copy to review!  Jean Wells is a an author of 30 books, a teacher and the founder of one of the first quilt shops in America, which is still running today in Sisters, Oregon.

What did I find inside this gorgeous cover?  So much inspiration but also the tools to create new works myself.  The subject is broken down into manageable chapters covering such topics as Inspiration for Quilt Design, Launching the Design Process, Nuts and Bolts of Quilt Design, The Design Process and the all important Tools and Techniques.

A photograph is just one of the journalling tools Jean uses to create quilts ....

I always enjoy looking at quilts, either in person, in print or online, but what I like even better is to know more about the quilt, such as its story or the design process or how it was constructed.  You learn a lot about the quilts in this book which I love.  I think that it is by knowing how someone created something that you are able to start your own journey taking the piece or the artist as inspiration.

The photo above is inspiration for an abstracted design below ....

This is a book you could flick through but I am actually reading it from front and back because the content really speaks to me.  It has already sparked a lot of ideas and has bought home to me the value of journalling and sketchbooks.  I have had the pleasure of talking to several world class artists and quilters and they all observe, record, sketch and draw almost constantly.  I don't view myself as an artist and very rarely draw anything although I do constantly observe.  I would like to start this practice and, as is quite often the way, I already have some blank sketchbooks to hand after being inspired by a quilter several years ago in a class!

Both the natural and man world world are referenced in the book and from both the use of line is discussed.  Breaking down the whole into its constituent pieces and sometimes finishing up with a piece that doesn't resemble the original inspiration at all but you can see how it has been influenced.  I have always been a avid photographer and have lots of design inspiration in them from the UK, New Zealand and from backpacking.  Now all I need is more time.  If any of you know how to get more hours in the day then I am all ears!

I always keep an eye out for UK teaching dates and still hope to take a class with Jean some day.  Until then I will be reading, re-reading and referring to this book as I continue my life long journey in quilting and creating.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Intuitive Color & Design - A Book Review

Modern Quilt Series over on UKQU

My latest blog post in a short Modern Quilt series has just been published to the UKQU website.  Head over here if you fancy a read and lots of photos about asymmetry and alternate gridwork, with links to the previous posts in the series.

You can also see what I am making as a comparison between solids and read as solids fabrics.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Teeny Tiny Rainbow - A Finish

There have not been many finishes around these parts lately so I am very happy to have a ta da moment for you.  I give you Teeny Tiny Rainbow ....

and as you can it is a little more than a ta da moment - it is also a celebratory moment!

This little mini quilt started life as part of  Sugar Bowl Crafts Scrap Busting Sewalong.  The challenge that week was:

How many squares can you get into a 5" square?  

Well I was always going to go small and so managed 100!  I knew that there was method using gridded fusible interfacing but, of course, I didn't want to wait to get some so I used old dressmaking interfacing I had on my shelf and the squares from my cutting mat.  It worked OK but is a bit wonky in places but I absolutely loved the result.

I knew I didn't want this little block to sit languishing on a shelf so I decided to add the white border and then randomly added the second border.  The charcoal and white bits are as they are because they were leftovers from my Mini to Maxi - Churn Dash.  Nothing like using all scraps!

It was only as time marched on that I realised I could turn it into a quilt and enter it into the miniature category.  The quilting happened by chance and I am not sure if it is how I would quilt it if I did it again.  The rainbow squares finish at 1/2" and so I decided to just so some outline squares as stitch in the ditch.  This was actually a first for me on my longarm and I have to say I didn't dislike it as much as I thought.  However it was 5" square not a full size quilt!  

Then came a change in plan because I realised that you could see the charcoal fabric behind the white fabric as a dark strip down the middle of the skinny white borders.  Aaaaarrrgh I had planned to quilt the borders with 1 or 2 lines of white stitching extending into the charcoal area and to the edge.  Now I couldn't do that because, to hide that mistake, I needed to quilt a dark line in the middle.  This was done several times and included lots of unpicking but in the end I just had to go with it.  Because of that I decided to quilt straight lines in the resulting charcoal spaces.  I like the difference between lines and grid and the change in direction to the diagonal.  This is something I would use again.

Quilt Stats

Finished Size:  11" x 11"

Fabrics Used:  multicoloured scraps for the rainbow centre and Kona Charcoal and White for the borders

Quilting:  was done on my Handi Quilter Avante longarm machine and I used Glide 40wt thread in Shadow and 60wt thread in Sterling

Wadding:  The Warm Co Warm and White

So the ribbon?  Well it was entered into the Miniature Category at the British Quilt and Stitch Show whichwas held in Uttoxeter over the weekend.  I was delighted to hear it had won 3rd place and also pleased to see that both this and the 2nd placed quilt were modern quilts.  It is lovely to see the rise in the number of modern quilts in all categories now.  Long may it continue!!

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Fabric Review on UKQU

I have the pleasure of making with this gorgeous fabric this week .....

To find out more head over to my post on UKQU where I have reviewed the wonderful Rainbow Etchings, the new collection by Stuart Hillard for Craft Cotton Co.

It's in the shops now!!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Modern Quilts Designs of the New Century - A Book Review

I have waited a long time to see this book but it was definitely worth the wait ....

Modern Quilt Designs of the New Century was compiled by Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight Carlton and Heather Grant, who are all on the board of the Modern Quilt Guild.

The book looks at the development of modern quilting and is split into 6 sections - from Early Influencers of Modern Quilting: Before 2009 through to The Birth of the MQG: 2009 and onto The Movement Becomes Mainstream.

There are over 200 quilts in the book and all are made by MQG members.  They have been beautifully photographed so that you can really see the detail in them.

What was truly wonderful for me was to see the work of people I know in here.  When I returned to quilting in 2014/2015 I found the American quilting bloggers to be a wonderful source of inspiration and encouragement.  Having been in various groups and Bees over the years with some of them it is great to see their work featured in such a book.  It was also a lovely surprise to see the work of Lou Orth in here who is the co-founder of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild which I am a member of.

And of course lots of people who I have never heard of but have now looked into!

There are lots of inspiring quilts in the book by people that I truly admire and would love to meet one day.  QuiltCon 2020 anyone?

This book is published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing and was released in early 2018.  I would definitely recommend anyone who has an interest in Modern Quilts to get a copy!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

2019 Finish Along :: Finish No 1

Oh it feels good to get my first project ticket of my 2019FAL list - a charity quilt for Project Linus.

The jelly roll of fabric was donated quite a while ago and I thought it would be ideal to try piecing on the frame.

This was the first time I have tried this technique and I used the Square Feet from Handi Quilter.  It was brilliant - so quick and easy and very satisfying!

Since moving my machine, I have a lot more space around the back and so I thought I would try pantographs again.  Basically you have a pattern at the back of the machine which you trace with a laser light.  These are called Edge 2 Edge designs.

This is a new one for me and it called Bellflower by Keryn Emmerson.  It stitched out beautifully and gave such great texture.

I have to say that I really enjoyed doing this and, although FMQ is my first love, I would definitely quilt more using pantographs and will shortly be adding it to the services I offer my customers.

The only thing I didn't think about when I decided to quilt it this way, was that you would be able to see the horizontal lines, from piecing on the frame, on the back of the quilt.  

In future that would certainly determine what patterns I would quilt on a quilt that had been pieced this way, but there are still plenty of designs that would work.

Here's hoping for another finish before too long!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Teaching and Demonstrating in 2019

Last year I became one of two Handi Quilter Educators for the UK which was wonderful.  I did some teaching for Pinhole Quilting in 2018 and found a real passion for it.  It really is a privilege to meet so many lovely quilters and share my passion with them, along with lots of information and tips to help them on their journey.  I have learnt a lot from them aswell so it certainly is a two way street.  This year I am also developing several courses that will be suitable for either longarm or domestic quilters.  

I am delighted to be able to announce my 2019 teaching schedule.  I have some great classes coming up - some working for Pinhole Quilting exclusively for longarm quilting and others for myself which focus on quilting on domestic sewing machines.

For a full Calendar of Events, for teaching, demonstrating and talks, please click here.

I am happy to travel to teach and to tailor make workshops for groups or Guilds.

A full set of Workshops and Talks is currently being developed and will soon be up here, but until then please do get in touch if you would like any more information.  To get in touch please use the box on the left hand side .....

Monday, 21 January 2019

2019FAL - Quarter 1 :: My List

Finishing things seemed to go by the wayside last year so I have decided to get some motivation back by joining in with the Finish Along again.  Just looking at my photo files, I see that I first joined this community back in 2016 and it really did get me finishing things - fingers crossed it will work again this time.

The link up closed last Friday and I very quickly photographed projects to hand and linked up via Instagram,but I thought it would be good to have  record here swell ..... for accountability!  Now this certainly doesn't represent all my WIPs and UFOs but as some are now in storage since our move I can conveniently forget them.  I was still able to find a dozen projects without looking to hard so that's what I have listed!

1.  EDITED 27/01/19 - this is now complete, to read more head over here!
A quilt for Project Linus - this is my first quilt that I have pieced on my longarm and I am using a new pantograph to quilt it

Action required: quilt and trim

2. Farm Girl Vintage - this was started way back when and still only totals 6 blocks!  This isn't a realistic finish but if I could just make some progress on this I will be happy ....

Action required:  makes LOTS of blocks, piece, quilt, bind!!

3. Tumbling Spools with white background - I couldn't decide which background to use so have started two Tumbling Spools quilts as part of a the #tumblingspoolsqal with The Crafty Nomad

Action required:  make blocks, piece, quilt, bind

4. Tumbling Spools with coal background - as above

Action required:  piece, quilt, bind

5.  Teeny tiny piecing project - this is going to be yet another rainbow project!  It was inspired by making my first block as part of the #scrapbustingsewalong with Sugar Bowl Crafts ....

Action required:  make 6 more blocks, piece, quilt and bind

6.  Teeny tiny piecing #1 - this was the first time I had sewn so small and I loved it - mini quilt or cushion cover?

Action required:  finish piecing, quilt and make into something!

 7.  My Stash Bee '16 and '17 still waiting for the binding .....

Action required:  bind and use!

8. Thistle blocks from the Fancy Forest QAL18 - which I totally fell out of love with and decided to use the blocks I had made in stand alone projects - I think this will become a table runner ....

Action: piece, quilt and bind

9.  UKTQB - I have made some inroads on getting this top pieced but then the move put paid to any more work on it - I would LOVE to get this finished this quarter!

Action required: filler blocks to be made, piece, quilt and bind

10.  Puffins wall hanging - this was started in May 18 in a workshop with Catherine Nicholls and has not been touched since ....

Action required: apply pointilism, quilt and bind

11.  Improv Quilt - this was pieced last year and has been waiting for its time to come to be quilted - I have quilting ideas in my head and it's just a case of working its way up the queue!

Action required: quilt and bind

12.  Black & White Sampler Quilt - these were test blocks from my Christmas 18 QAL last year - not sure whether to sash or not ....

Action required:  piece, quilt and bind

There you have it.  It all sounds so simple when it's typed up in black and white but that thing called life does have this way of sneaking up on you and derailing best laid plans!

Are you taking part in the Finsh Along?  What motivates you to get older projects finished or is the lure of a sparkly new project just too much?!! x

Intuitive Color & Design - A Book Review

2017 was the first year that I worked at Festival of Quilts and I did not get much time to view all the quilts.  One gallery I did pass thr...