Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Wholehearted Block

I give you my heart, treat it kindly..........

The 3 seam #wholeheartedblock Tutorial, from my heart to your hands.

This heart can be made to whatever size you need requiring only 3 seams in its construction. It is suitable for use with solids and prints.

What you will need:
background fabric
fabric for your heart
sewing machine and 1/4" foot
thread for piecing and thread for quilting
iron and ironing board
sharp scissors
glue for basting
batting and backing, or whatever additional supplies you need to complete your heart project.

Choose your background fabric cutting it a inch or so bigger than your desired finished measurements.

Cut your background fabric (in half; in thirds) length-wise where you want to have your heart reside. (I chose a 9 x 8" of fabric for my project and cut it (almost) in half. I used scissors to accomplish this since the fabric piece was small. A rotary cutter and mat work well for larger pieces.

This next step can be accomplished one of several ways. You can be a bit spontaneous, like me, and put both pieces of background fabric right-sides together and cut a free-form heart with a sharp pair of scissors. You can also, using your favorite marking implement, draw a heart, or you can trace a heart if that's your comfort level. Cutting free-hand reminds me of grade school, when about this time of year, and before the commercial availability of Valentine greeting cards for school aged children, we folded colored construction paper in half and went to town with safety scissors. Harkening back to those times of creative freedom, I cut my heart halves freehand. It felt good. Go ahead try it.

Lay your cut background fabric side my side and admire your cutting skills. Adjust if necessary. (By cutting both halves of the fabric at the same time, you get mirror images of you heart halves.

Using your sharp scissors, cut little notches around the curved top halves of one of your 1/2 hearts. Keep those snips small and closely spaced together. Repeat on the other side.

Using a hot iron and working on the wrong-side of the fabric, fold and press along the clipped edge.

Here is where the magic happens. I strive to keep the pressed fold at around 1/4", but have allowed for some variability. These are improv pieced at heart, embracing that, I have allowed for each heart, to be unique, like us.

Repeat on other side.

Flip over and spritzing lightly (starch works great here, but any pressing agent, even water will suffice), press flat.

Gently lift the pressed heart cutouts and lay then on top of your heart fabric. Press again, making sure all the previously clipped and pressed seams are to the back.

Using your basting glue, gently lift a segment of the background (light colored in this picture) fabric and apply small dots of glue at the clipped edge. Keep the glue on the folded pressed sections. Lay back down on your heart fabric, press until dry. I find doing this in sections keeps all the fabrics flat. Repeat on other side.

Working carefully from the back clip heart fabric to edge of background fabric, both sides. Press again.

Depending on how dramatic your cut curves are, you may need to gently clip your hearts again. Use your previous clips as a guided clip if necessary, press again.

Now you have your 2 1/2's glue-basted and ready to be sewn.Don't worry about trimming center seams at this point. Trust me on this.

At your sewing machine, and using your 1/4" foot,  sew along the outsides of your hearts halves using the crease created by pressing as your seam guide. Sew slowly all the way around your heart halves, stopping and making adjustments at the curves as needed.  The smaller the hearts, the slower the going.

Take both sewn heart halves to the ironing board and gently press, then spritz and press flat. Even with great care, the block halves will need some trimming before the next step.  So off to the cutting board to trim the center seam allowance only. (We'll deal with squaring up later).

Sew center seam,  matching as closely as possible top and bottom sections of your heart.

Press sewn seam open, spritz if necessary. Admire your work.

Now that your heart is complete, you can decide it's fate. Oh, the irony......

If your quilting your heart, I suggest you do so before trimming the "block" as things will move a bit.

If you hand cut your hearts, no two will be alike, just like each of us.

Finish your block as desired. I bound mine, it is a mini quilt for a special Valentine.

Share the love; if you make a heart please post a photo on IG and tag me @spontaneousthreads and your project #wholeheartedblock

Fabric used in this project is a selection of solids from the Painter's Palette line by Paintbrush Studio, a division of Fabri-Quilt.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Breaking down big ideas

Sometimes one idea begets another. Case in point.


Although this quilt is only 18" x 19" it became the starting point for an exploration of scale based on this original design. I loved each section of this small quilt and decided to play with the idea of taking each quadrant and making a larger quilt from its sections.

"Quartered A, 1/x" resulted from that exploration

This study from the upper left hand section of the original smaller quilt finished at 42.5" x 42.5". Like it's smaller cousin the colors and flow of the quilt remain the same. Because of the expansive use of subtle minimalism extra care was taken in the thread selection for this quilt. 

Difficult to see, and subtle for sure, there are dozens of different closely color coordinated threads in differing weights and fibers (silk and cotton) that pay homage to the 3  main colors used in the making of the quilt. Up close you can see and feel the threads used in the matchstick quilting.
One of the ideas I still have brewing for this small quilt and her larger scaled cousins is to place hanging sleeved on all 4 sides of the larger pieces allowing for different arrangements of the 4 quilts when hung together. If I do my math correctly, the 256 possibilities would be interesting to explore.

Both quilts will be hanging at Quiltcon in Savannah, GA, February 2017. 

18" x 19"
Restricted seaming study (less than 12 seams) using Kona 100% cotton quilting solids in snow, steel, wasabi, tangerine, glacier, breakers, pool and bone.
Dense matchstick (echoed) quilting with Aurifil 100% threads, color matched. #2026, 2311, 4093, 2615, 5004, 2810. (50 wt for piecing, 28 wt for quilting).
Double batting (layered 100% cotton, 100% wool).
Self facing

"Quartered A, 1/x"
42.5" x 42.5"
Sub study of smaller quilt with only 2 seams. Minimalist aesthetic and study o f scale.
Kona 100% cotton quilting solids in pool, bone and snow.
Dense color coordinated matchstick echo quilting in numerous threads of differing weights (50 wt, 40 wt and 28 wt) by Aurifil (for colors see above), in addition off -white silk thread from Superior threads .
Hobb's heirloom 80/20 cotton poly blend batting 
Self facing

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bee Sewcial January: RESOLUTION

January’s PromptResolution

“ When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!” (author unknown)

Zaria Forman at work on her pastel landscapes of icebergs

This past year, 2016, has left many unsettled, uncertain and some afraid. The vibrating undercurrents of what next are palpable like the tingling of the air right before you turn on the lights, knowing the static charge of electricity awaits, it’s physical manifestation a certainty. 

With the new year comes the resolutions; the personal statement of a goal, yet to be achieved. There are several definitions of the word Resolution,  but, I’d like you to focus on this: “the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc. “

Please watch the attached Ted talk, not as a call to action on climate change, albeit a critical issue of our time, but as a story of passion, art, family, love, loss and resolution

Pay attention to the detail and scale of Zaria’s art, the laying on of hands, the colors, the personal journey…….

Working from a similar palette of colors (her paintings not her photographs)  I’d like  ” long”  block(s)- like a panoramic photograph for lack of a better analogy  (12.5” x 24.5”; 8.5” x 36”; 6.5” x 47”, etc…… you get the idea). The numbers are relative of course…… as long as it’s(they’re) rectangular, I’m good. 

Your work should reflect your personal resolution(s) for 2017, whatever that may be. It can reflect your makers resolution or something more personal. I don’t need to know your resolution, unless you’d like to share. 

You can depict that resolution however it suits you, you may mix-in any any solid fabric of your choice, (as long as it’s washable), but please keep those exotic other fabrics as composition punctuation marks, not as the composition base and limited to the color palette in Zaria’s Ted Talk (see above).

Texture is good (hence the use of other fabrics), I’ll even consider appliqué (all kinds)  as long as it can then be quilted by machine, (ie: it has to fit under the presser foot on my domestic sewing machine), are durably constructed (read washable and sturdy). Thread painting focally is OK to lend texture.  Focal embellishment with embroidery floss is also allowable.

Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Bee Sewcial members post with #beesewcial; if you’re creating along please use #inspiredbybeesewcial. 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!