Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Salute to the Red, White and Blue

Welcome to day 3 of Paint Brush Studios 4th of July Patriotic Palette Blog Hop.
I will be hosting today so keep reading because there is a giveaway (or 2) at the end. If you've already been following along, you can see projects on IG @paintbrushstudio look for #pbstudio #painterspalettesolids and #RWBsolids.

As some of you know I have been lucky enough to be able to participate in several Paint Brush Studios events, including their March Madness bundle challenge and now, this. Some of you also know, that these solids are my favorite brand, hands down the softest hand of the quilting solids I have had the opportunity to use. 

You may also know, that besides quilts, I sew garments and to me, seams are an elevated art form. 

  • [SEAM] noun- 1. the line formed by sewing together pieces of cloth, leather, or the like. 2. the stitches used to make such a line. verb- 1. to join with or as if with stitches; make the seam or seams of.
  • taken as a whole, seams are as varied as quilt blocks with fun names to match (bias, flat fell, French, Hong Kong, inset, open welt, picot, piped, top-stitched, etc.)
  • and as a design element: seams are absolutely essential to good construction.
I knew immediately that I wanted to use the 7 Painters Palette solids to try out a seam that doesn't immediately jump to most peoples mind, by making a quick, modern, versatile, patriotic, 2-sided project that could double as a banner or a table topper and that can be made in what ever size you like. 

For my project, you have to meet the lapped-felled seam. (Like quilt blocks, some specialty seams  are identified by several names). I like this particular combination as it really identifies the 2 basic components of this technique,  lapped seams, followed by felled seams. 

I'll walk you through the process but first you'll need to gather some supplies:
Fabric: I used 7 FQ in the following colors: White, Patriot, French Blue, River, Claret, Crimson and Tomato.

Thread: I went with a top stitch (28 wt) weight on the top, color matched to the background segment I was working on and Aurifil 50 weight 2021 in the bobbin.
Glue for basting
Iron and water bottle for spritzing (or starch, or Flatter)
Heavy weight paper (for triangle template)
Ruler, rotary cutter, washable marking pen

Ready? Set? Go (create)
1. Make a template. I made my triangle 10" wide by 6" tall. Please note that the 2 sides abutting the base have squared corners instead of pointy ones. You will see in the next steps why this is necessary. Those squared corners are 1/2" high. Because this "pattern" can be personalized, you can make your triangle template any size you choose, making your project uniquely yours. 

2. Trace your triangles (using your sturdy paper template) onto the fabric you chose for those triangles. (Here, white). Trace as many triangles as your design calls for. I used 6. Cut out your triangles and put them aside.

3. Using your triangle height as a guide, cut a strip of fabric the width of your desired finished piece plus 2" by the height of your triangle plus 2" (for me, 22" wide (the width of a FQ) by 8" high). (The extra height will be necessary giving you some wiggle room when you trim). Then, place your triangle in the center of your background fabric strip and cut along the left side, using the edge of the triangle as the cut line. (This photo shows the cut background fabric aligned with the center triangle before any ironing or sewing. By lining things up before hand, you can organize your segments  making it easier and quicker to iron, glue and then sew.

4. Take your triangle to the ironing board and iron a 1/2" fold, pressing to the FRONT of the triangle. See how nicely those squared corners line up at the triangle bottom. 

5.  Iron a 1/2" fold to the BACK of the right side background fabric (red in this photo). The remaining background piece  should match the left side of the triangle if you are doing things correctly. (This is where lining things up in step 3 really speeds things along).

6. Nest the pieces into each other as shown.  Placing the right side of the triangle and the right side of the background piece together allows the folded seam allowances to overlap, with the seam allowance of the triangle covering the cut edge of the background piece. (This is the first past of lapped portion of the lapped-felled seam). Put a little glue between the nested red and white 1/2" seam allowances , iron to set glue and keep things in place.

7. Fold the red background piece over the white triangle and re-iron the ironed background fabric seam allowance. I recommend at this time, pulling back the red background fabric and adding a little glue to the top of the nested white triangle fabric- and setting the glue by ironing again.  This extra glue basting keeps all the layers in place without letting them move. If you choose not to to that, it still works, I just like the assurance of another glue basted seam.  (Now both raw edges are covered and the 2nd lapped part of the lapped-felled seam is complete). 

8.  Take your freshly glue basted and ironed piece back to your cutting surface and trim the background fabric using the left side of the white triangle as your guide.

9. You will see if you've done everything correctly, you will have one background piece left that is exactly cut to finish the left side of your triangle. 

10. Repeat steps 4-7 to complete the left side. Trim segment at top and bottom

11. Now, the fun part..... take your glue basted triangle/background to the sewing machine where you will sew 2 seams (This is the felled portion of your lapped-felled seam). One seam should be sewn very close to the Triangle background and the other just less than 1/2" away.  The goal is to catch both lapped edges with these 2 seams. I used a matching red thread on the top  (Front: full and detail)

and white thread in the bobbin (Back full and detail)

12. Repeat making segment "blocks" until you have the desired number of blocks all stitched and trimmed.  You attach the linear segment "blocks" to each other with the same lapped-felled seam technique as was used to prepare each segment "block".  I decided to alternate reds and blues, moving from lightest to darkest as I went.

13. Finish the outside edges with your favorite mitered-corner technique (there are so many). Deep blue fabric showcases the mired corner from the back-side of the finished piece. Because of the construction seam choice the piece is finished on both sides and is reversible.

Since both sides of this piece are finished it is ready to use once your mitered edges are done. The seam detail is truly worth the effort and makes a beautiful image with the light shining through. (Have I mentioned I have a thing for seams.....??). 
Other reasons I wanted to explore this seam detail further, is, it is another way to construct projects using the Korean technique of Pojagi. I took a class a few years ago but struggled with the repeated trimming and back and forth ironing and sewing, as well as constantly having to pay attention to joining the 2 pieces (because with the traditional pojagi technique, one side has one seam showing and the other 2 seams showing). In the end I was not happy with the visual quality of my seams. Since Pojagi is reversible, you can't hide the seam detail- it's all about the seam! By using a lapped-felled seam you can glue baste all your seams first, then sit down at the sewing machine to construct your segment "blocks", without having to worry about what side of the piece your working on.  Once the segment "blocks" are done, you then can rearrange them to your liking before sewing them all together in a finished piece, again without worrying about the sidedness of the seams. 

Yes, this technique has quite a few steps, but it is so worth the extra effort. Once you make your first block the others go quickly! Depending on the size of your triangles and the width of your background fabric the possibilities for  customization are endless. You can add more than 6 segments. You could add less. You could join side segments to make this bigger...... you can also use this seam technique to construct a multitude of other gorgeous projects including, but not limited to, curtains, scarves, clothing, and summer quilt/throws. 

I hope todays tutorial has given you a few new things to consider and I hope if you explore this seam, you'll share your projects with me, on IG @spontaneousthreads use #seamsmodern

As promised....... and because you made it this far.

  • A winner will receive 7 fat quarters in the colors used in the Patriotic Solids blog hop. Each blogger is giving away a FQ bundle, so please make sure to visit each and follow their rules for eligibility.
  • To be entered to win, you need to leave a comment here on my blog, letting me know what your favorite 4th of July activity is.
  • The giveaway is open till June 30th at midnight. Winner chosen at random on July 1st and announced here and on IG (@spontaneousthreads)
  • If you comment make sure I can contact you if you win. Failure to do so will result in another person being chosen as a winner. If you are a no-reply blogger please your email address and IG handle in your comment.
  • Anyone can comment, but only US residents can win the FQ bundle. 

BUT, there is MORE......
I made a little 2.5" charm pack of the left overs from my project. (see photo). I will send a second luck winner this charm pack and some fun variegated hand quilting thread just because. The same rules apply (see above), BUT this is why everyone should comment- I will happily ship this little gift internationally if that's how Mr. Random number generator see things lining up.

So, good luck everyone!

PS: Just in case you missed any of the blog hop, here's a list and the dates they are participating. And you really should go and see everyones posts, remember there is inspiration and fabric on the line.

6/26: OP Quilt
7/3:    Peas in a Pod

Monday, June 5, 2017

2 Degrees Celsius

3 words (2 Degrees Celsius) and a story.

A very long time ago, our universe, and in it our planet became a reality. Echoes today whisper of tension, change, competition, famine, extinction, survival, cooperation, love, hate, war, peace. 

Fast forward a bit to January 2017 and this post. I encourage everyone who has the time, to listen to the embedded TED talk and to re-read the blog post for January's Resolution #beesewcial prompt. It's rather timely.

As the pieces of this quilt arrived in Denver from my friends,  and I began to assemble their blocks into a cohesive whole, this quilt became something more than I originally intended. You can certainly go to each #beesewcial quilters IG post and read about their blocks. Their stories are personal and profound. In their togetherness, however, the impact of each piece resonated.
 (rez-uh-neyt: verb 1. to produce a positive feeling, emotional response, or opinion). 

The addition of rather exceptional machine quilting (thanks to Christine Perrigo) and her nod to creative spaces, I took the time to meditate on the quilt as a whole, to construct a thoughtful binding and then to add hand stitches to the quilt that celebrates the process of coming together,  creative collaboration, and of love of our planet and our fellow (wo)man.

Title: 2 Degrees Celsius

70" x 66"
Bee Sewcial blocks by: Leanne Chahley, Karen Foster, Felicity Ronaghan, Marci Debetaz, Silvia Sutters, MR Charbonneau, Debbie Jeske, Anne Sullivan, Hillary Goodwin, and me.
Materials: Quilting cottons, t-shirt material, glass nano particle fabric and embroidery floss in an arctic color palette.
100% wool batting
Original quilting design by Christine Perrigo using Fil-Tec Glide, trilobal polyester thread. Additional hand stitching details using Sulky 12 wt cotton threads in complimentary colors.

Pieced, 2" SOG binding with embellished details.

Close-ups of additional details: details are purposely subtle and often hidden. This quilt, like our planet requires close inspection, and time to see everything worth seeing. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bindings: Love 'em or Hate 'em

I seems to me that feelings around quilt bindings fall into broad 2 categories: people either love them or they hate them, and these deep feelings don't seem to be associated with whether bindings are attached by machine or by hand.
There have been some wonderful polls about how people attach bindings to their quilts. I fall squarely in the Team hand binding. If I'm attaching a binding to my quilt, I sew it to the quilt front by machine and finish it on the back, by hand using a blind hem stitch. I have evolved over time from a simple binding person to someone who gives as much thought to the binding as I do to the quilt design.  I LOVE this part of quilt making; let me tell you why.
I see the binding as the last bit of quilt design, a chance to sum up the totality of my work. It certainly isn't the last hand stitch that will grace my quilt, as the label and the hanging sleeve all require hand-stitching, but bindings allow for a bit of creativity that can have a big impact.
In my quilting career I have worked with both bias and straight of grain bindings, preferring a 2" straight of grain binding to all other. I ventured into traditional faced bindings and "skinny" faced bindings. I have embellished and quilted bindings (by machine and by hand), fussed over 2-sided matched bindings, and spent hours on intricately pieced bindings. The one thing all my bindings have in common is that I wait until I am completely done with my quilt before deciding on what kind of binding I will use. Sometimes the bindings are simple, other times they have taken all day to assemble.
I have been fortunate to received judges comments on the some of my quilt's bindings (always positive), validating, in some small way,  the amount of time I spend on them.
Below is a gallery of some of those bindings. Perhaps you'll find some inspiration in there for your next project.

Example: Color Blocked Binding cut 2" SOG (quilting by Christine Perrigo). In this quilt, this piece of turquoise was the only are of color that would touch the binding so it seemed more than appropriate to continue the color out into the binding. Because my bindings are cut at 2" they do not add to the overall measurements, keeping the proportion of the turquoise square the same.

Example: Inset binging cut 2" SOG, left photo used nano particle retroreflective fabric. These inset strips are less then 1/4" in width.
Inset seams bindings

Example: Pieced binding cut 2" SOG, pieced as I attached the binding for more precise placement)


Example: Quilted Binding (machine). After making the binding and folding it in half, it was heavily quilted using different colored threads. After quilting the binding is attached in the usual manner.

Example: Embellished/ quilted binding (hand). In both instances the hand work occurs after the binding is attached to the quilt. 

Example: 2-sided binding (also quilted). This quilt was a challenge in that the quilt was 2 sided, one side white the other black. It posed a problem for picking a color for the binding. The solution was a 2-sided quilted binding. The thread on the black fabric is metallic and standard cotton on the white side.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Threads of Resistance

If you haven't heard...... there's resistance going on. Marches and protests, and quilts. Threads of Resistance is looking for quilts and I answered the call. Still have to wait until June to find out if my quilt makes it in, but I felt it was important to make, either way.

Title: "Nothing would be what it is. Everything would be what it isn't." Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland).

I don't often include an Artist's statement but in this case, it's important. Also, because I put out a call for help with naming the quilt and many of you on IG answered that call. So many of the suggestions were very clever and clearly the result of a talented group of insightful individuals. I loved so many of them I couldn't pick just one, but they all got me thinking and many of your suggestions helped me compose my artists statement.

"Designed in a simple style, this quilt's message is anything but childish and on closer inspection, everything is "knot" as it seems. As the slow drip of information continues to be discovered, Russian meddling into the bedrock democracy of the United States become more apparent. As the slow drip of information is collected and analyzed (often in secret), a dark cloud looms over us all, casting a long shadow. The initials "USA" are made from thousands of french knots reminiscent of the raised letters of a varsity/collegiate "letter", a symbol of achievement. But those letters are shadowed by another set of letters, both separate and intertwined. As more information becomes apparent the letters become more defined, like a political game of hangman, but with much higher stakes.

After reading the artists statement to my son (the quilting environmental engineer), he said it reminded him of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. He sent me a quote that he thought summed it all up. Unfortunately, the entire quote was too long for the quilt title. Due to space limitations it was shortened slightly and seemed in the end, exceedingly apropos. Those of you that offered covert, punny and exceedingly clever suggestions might see your influence in the artists statement and I thank you from the bottom on my heart for that. For a simple quilt, there is a lot going on, and nearly all of you got something that I hoped would be "seen" with close inspection.

More details:
23" x 23" (letters USA= 5.5" tall)

100% quilting cottons front and back without attribution in case we differ in our views on Russian meddling.
100% cotton batting remnant
2" SOB color  matched binding.

Simple echo quilting surrounding the cloud with color matched thread (again, manufacturers names withheld). Ghost FBI/CIA in the cloud. Russia spelled out in a combination of ghost and french knot letters, hiding Russia and emphasizing USA.

Detail hand stitching rain with drops (french knots) in color matched embroidery floss. Red and blue variegated embroidered letters with thousands and thousands of french knots. Photos show full letter and detail of the french knots. It's hard to tell from the photos but the texture and dimension is remarkable. No lie- it took forever, way longer than I anticipated, but now that's complete, I love it.

If the quilt makes it into the show the opening reception is in my home town of Lowell, MA at the New England Quilt Museum. That's an opening reception I wouldn't want to miss. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mad for Solids: VOTE!!

Today is my day......

Go vote for your favorite paint Brush Studios Mad for Solids bundle.
Here is a reminder:
"Colorado Spring"
Click here to vote:
on IG
on Inspired by Fabric blog: here

There are prizes to be won, but only if you VOTE!!!!!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Colorado Spring and March Madness (Quilter's Version)

It's that time of the year again and this is by far the best March Madness event out there (sorry NCAA).  Sponsored by Paint Brush Studios and featuring their Painter's Palette solids , this years 2017 Mad for Solids bracket features 16 quilters going head to head in what will be a fun event for everyone.

And there are prizes. Fabric prizes. Every day from Monday, March 27- Thursday, April 6th you can vote (via their blog link above or on IG) for your favorite 8-color fabric bundle. The winners of each day progress all the way to the championship pairing. All voters in the championship game will be entered to win 1/4 yard cuts of the winning bundle (that's 2 yards of fabric!!!!).

Here is my bundle called "Colorado Spring". I chose these 8 colors, (from a gorgeous collection of 168 options), as a reminder after a dry and mostly brown winter, these colors represent  little purple crocus and the tiny yellow green leaf buds all pictured against the vast blue Colorado sky.

Voting for my bundle starts on Thursday, March 30, 2017. I'd love your vote!

Blog voting: http://inspiredbyfabric.blogspot.com
IG voting: @paintbrushstudio