Laundry Basket Quilt Class

I’m not sure when I started to notice quilts by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. I really don’t look at quilt patterns – it is rare that I buy one (I like to draft my own) and am always confused when someone tells me “I just finished a “blah-blah-blah quilt”, the latest quilt design by so-and-so.

When looking at the AQS Phoenix class list, I was delighted to see that Edyta Sitar would be teaching a star class. In the morning, she explained the construction and design of many star shapes, and this was the class project, called Dresden Star. It’s quite an interesting variation and before I found this class, I spent a good amount of time, to no avail, trying to figure out how to piece it.

Laundry Basket Quilts Dresden Star

Edyta brought many quilts for us to look at and I discovered this pattern, called Dresden Bloom, a variation of the Dresden Star. O happy day! Everything about this quilt just sings to me – the pattern, the colors, the setting – and I couldn’t wait to get going!

Laundry Basket Quilts Dresden Bloom

First though, here are some other great star pattern ideas. Edyta called this one a Twirling Star. I envision it in much brighter colors…perhaps a Summer throw in red, white and blue… or red, blue and yellow…

Laundry Basket Quilts Twirling Star

And this one is quite the beauty, and it’s called American Beauty! I have to look over my notes as I can’t remember how it’s constructed. (It’s a more complex variation of a simpler star.) We were encouraged to take as many pictures as we wanted and attach them to the pattern sheets so we would remember each pattern and I need to do that.

Laundry Basket Quilts American Beauty

But back to the Dresden Star. It has 16 points, which means 16 different fabrics can be used ( or 8 or 4 or 2). Here is the fabric pack that I got. Edyta explained that in order to get a nice assortment of fabrics she chooses a small, medium and large print as well as a stripe and a dot. It works for me!

Dresden Star fabrics

The lighting in the room was very odd, and made everything look a bit freak-ish. This is the best shot I got of Edyta, holding up the string piecing of my table mate. This was a whole day class and it went by much too quickly. I have taken a lot of classes with many teachers over the years, and Edyta is truly superb. She’s patient and funny and knowledgeable. She managed a class of 25 with no trouble and believe me when an instructor can’t do that it’s a loooong day! Her instructions were very clear and she repeated them as many times as we needed to hear them. Unlike many teachers, she was on her feet and working with us during the whole class. If she is teaching anywhere near you, I would suggest you sign up ASAP.

Edyta Sitar

In case you too are obsessed with the Dresden Bloom quilt, here is a close-up so you can see the wonderful quilting and fabric choices. Feel free to drool…

Laundry Basket Quilt Dresden Bloom close-up

 

 

The Incredible Work of Salley Mavor

I have followed Salley Mavor’s work for a very long time. I think the first time I saw it was in Fiberarts Magazine’s annual book. I was blown away by her tiny people/dolls and all the amazing details that I could see. Happily, she has a show at The Upcountry History Museum in Greenville and I was finally able to see her work up close and personal! I’m not sure where to start with all the pictures that I took…

The show was called A Pocketfull of Posies, the title of a book that she wrote and illustrated. Thus the tags by her work were about the Nursery Rhymes and not how she did what she did and it was billed as a children’s exhibit… Let’s start with two very familiar Nursery Rhymes, Old Mother Hubbard and Hickory Dickory Dock. Her dolls are all about 4″ tall! Look at all the wonderful details from Mother’s cutwork apron to the wooden pieces for the furniture. Salley has written several books about how to recreate her work and I read that the heads are wooden beads and the armature is usually pipe cleaners!

Valley Mavor Old Mother Hubbard

All the arms and legs are wrapped and the figures have shoes. I should have brought my reading glasses to see even closer, but it looked like the dolls even have finger nails!!! I believe this part of the piece is Daffy-Down- Dilly. I took this close-up so you could see the embellishments that she used. I found myself examining the leaves in all Salley’s work. The stitch is button-hole and she usually has several layers of color.

Salley Mavor Daffy-Down-Dilly

What a charming sense of humor! Do you see the Old Woman’s house? (Perhaps it’s not such a joke since Salley is a New Englander after all.)

Valley Mavor Old Mother Hubbard

The sheep lover in me was entranced by the next two photographs. Here is Baa Baa Black Sheep and you can really see the lovely felt she used. In perusing her website, I discovered that she did purchase hand-dyed (and perhaps hand felted) felt. The colors were soft and uneven, adding more depth to the work.

Salley MavorBaa Baa Black Sheep

And here is Little Bo Peep. This piece was interesting in that the girl has a felt face, rather than a bead. Notice her apron…

Salley Mavor Little Bo Peep

What exquisite chain stitching; so tiny and so precise. I wondered what this was doing in the show, but then realized that it was for the frontispiece of the book. (Or perhaps not called the frontispiece but the pages when you open the book?) Her work is framed in lovely shadowbox frames made by her husband. I tried to get out of the way when I was photographing.

Salley Mavor frontispiece

I believe that this show is done traveling, but if you look at Salley’s website, there are other shows to look for. Salley’s website and blog have a wealth of information, should you be interested. She has many videos which I am looking froward to watching, as I think I must make a doll! In the latest blog post, Salley announced that she is selling these pieces! I would love to have one…

Seasonal Projects – Finished!

I began a set of four seasonal cross stitch samplers by the very wonderful  Birds of a Feather some time ago, I’m not sure when! I got this one out in January and finished it up, and then continued throughout this year. I’m very proud of myself.

Birds of a Feather Holiday Seasons

As you may remember, I just love these quirky patterns and the brown background is fun to work on, though a bit hard to see. This pattern is still available – buy here. All of them are now framed and I tried all over the house but could not find a place or a way to photograph them without reflection, so here is the pattern so you can see them all!

Birds of a Feather Pattern

I enjoy changing pictures and artwork on the walls. I began doing seasonal projects when we lived in Singapore in 1993 and 1994. Singapore is about 50 miles from the Equator and the weather there is hot and humid most of the time. The “locals” say “same-same. It is a bit depressing for those of us used to four seasons. I started a Prairie Schooler cross stitch pattern and then sewed it in the middle of a quilt square. And I did more and more. The squares are not finished; I staple them on to a stretcher frame and hang them up at the proper time.

Turkey cross stitch quilt square

Before I began quilting, I was an avid cross stitcher and thought it would be fun to combine both crafts.

Watermelon cross stitch quilt square

I was a very new quilter then, and it was fun to leaf through my pattern books and find and draft a quilt square that enhanced the cross stitch.

Rabbit cross stitch quilt square

There are a few “holes” – – – I haven’t made any new squares for quite awhile. I need February and May and July, I think.

Santa cross stitch quilt square

Perhaps when I have some spare time and no other projects to work on, I’ll get out my box of cross stitch patterns and do a new one!  ;-D

Wheels in Progress…

I’ve been fiddling with color combinations. I pieced the bottom right one in a flash and feel like it is a bit bright and clear; my usual color choice. The pales in the double nine patches are grayer…

IMG_1517

Instead of bending over the wheels on the floor, I finally laid the quilt pieces on the design wall. You actually can see in this photo, that I chose a warm colored batik for the background squares. I’m all about adding as much color and texture as possible, even if I am using a more subtle color scheme than usual. I am still not sure about the upper left wheel…

Design Wall Auditions

And it appears that I mindlessly pieced way too many squares before I chose the quilt design! I think they will make a nice border. I am enjoying these colors so I’m happy to piece more of them for the connector squares.

A border

 

 

It Was A Dark & Stormy Day…

Hooray! This Summer in South Carolina has been endlessly hot, humid and sunny. Yesterday the storm clouds arrived early in the morning and we had several downpours during the day. One was really violent with probably 50 mph winds and we lost power for about two hours. On a day like that, I declare it to be an indoor day. {When I lived in Singapore, except for Monsoon Season in January, it was mostly sunny, hot and humid. When we would have a cloudy day, my friend Beth and I would call each other up and discuss what we were going to do on our indoor day! When it’s nice out, you just feel the need to be doing something in the sun.}

Of course I decided to sew some more nine patches. Then, because I had so many of them, I sewed some double nines as well. When I completed nine double nines, I realized that if I use the medallion type layout, that I was done piecing. I put a fresh sheet on our bed and tried out the different layouts.

Here is a reminder of the first layout, the horizontal one. I’m adding these thumbnails in so you can see the whole design. It’s hard to lay squares out on the bed and really get the whole picture.

Master bedroom quilt idea 2

Obviously I can add more squares on each row, or leave it as is and have a large border. I like to make square, symmetrical quilts for our queen sized bed so that I can rotate them, for even wear. Cats, accidents, the sun from the window all “weather” a quilt.

Straight pattern

Here is the medallion layout.

Masterbedroom quilt idea 4

It’s just nine double nines with a border fabric (on the right) which is so pale that you can hardly see it! This design would be centered on the bed and have lots of border fabric to make it the correct size.

Medallion layout

And this is the four on point design…

Masterbedroom quilt idea 3

…with the whole bed covered in double nines on point.

Four on point layout

Peter helped me arrange the squares and we discussed the merits of each layout. He thinks I should make the middle design – the medallion one. (I like that one too!) He’s been noticing that the new Sweet Sixteen machine has been quiet this Summer as I dart in and out of the studio. Those big borders have lots of room for machine quilting. I hope I’m up to the task!

Next up – what to put in the medallion part of the quilt.

Itchin’ to Stitch!

I have been working outside for months. Not complaining, just saying. It’s so hot now, I keep thinking I won’t work outside so much, but the gardens call to me, there’s always something to do or pick! I go into the studio to read e-mail, write posts and browse Pinterest, but I miss creating. At times like this I need a mindless sewing project. I did a little shopping at one of the quilt shows I recently attended and picked out all these cool, pale batiks. I am always very influenced by where we live and all this hot weather makes me want to have cool colors around me. Aren’t they wonderful?

Yummy!

So what do I mean by mindless sewing? Something I can do for a few minutes and then move on. I decided on a double nine patch. I’ve had some ideas floating around in my head for a new quilt for our bedroom. A coooool quilt! Here are some nine patches mindlessly sewn… ;-D

Lots of nine patches!

And here are a few double nine patches sewn together. I know that you can’t see the background fabric I am using in the double nines. I bought it quite awhile ago – it has small concentric circles in pale grey or green. I know it reads like white, but it’s not white. I rarely use white.

Some Double Nines

So I had a bunch of squares done and thought I should get on EQ7 to decide on a layout. That’s what I like best to do with that software is play with layouts. In The Dark Ages, I colored patterns on graph paper, which I really still like to do. Then I would give them to Peter who would photocopy them in the office. When he brought them home, I would cut the squares out and lay them all over the floor and ponder ideas. And then one of the cats (Widget or Schminky in those days) would run through and that would be that!

Here is one idea, a horizontal layout. Lots of double nines and lots of empty squares for something. The double nines are about 14″ and all the quilt designs are drawn to be about 84″. The top of the bed is about 60″ so I want the quilt to look nice on that space.

Master bedroom quilt idea 2

And here are the double nines on point. I am always surprised at how different this looks and how the math changes. Geometry – not my best subject!

Masterbedroom quilt idea 4

In this version, the top and sides of the queen sized bed would be covered with the double nines. In the one above, the nine double nines { ;-D } would be centered on the top of the bed with a lot of background around them. It is almost like a medallion type design. The blank lavender squares will have something in them as well, which I will think about once I choose the layout.

Masterbedroom quilt idea 3

So as I piece and garden and swim, I can think about what layout I like. What are your thoughts???

 

 

 

 

Feathered Star With Fancy Middle & A Giveaway!

The last feathered star square I made went so well that I thought I would try another, so I printed out the pieces for a larger, 15″ square. I wanted another fun middle and when I was rummaging around in my Asian stash of fabrics and tidbits, I found some reverse appliqué pieces done by the Hmong ladies, which you have just read about. I printed out more foundations for the small 10″ size, which was a perfect fit for this tiny 3″ square.

Grey & Pink Hmong

 

And here she is – – –

Pink Hmong Star

What a disaster! I have no idea in what order I pieced the first one, which went quite smoothly and is very flat. I sewed several sections of this one together and kept boxing myself in! I would end up with several interior seams to piece and no way to get them to cooperate. (I was also piecing in little “pleats”) I really wish I had made a master piecing plan of the first star and numbered the large sections to remind me of what I did. I finally had to rip all the pieces apart and start over – – – it was very frustrating. It’s not very flat or even and I am hoping that lots of quilting in the background areas will hide my wonky seams. I am happy with the overall design and all my fun hand dyed fabrics though…

There was a good bit of interest in the Hmong reverse appliquéd squares. As usual, when I find something unusual, I buy multiples of them and so I have a little stash of these squares. If you would like one to frame or make something out of, I have picked three pretty examples to give away. Leave a message and I will choose three winners on  Saturday. First winner gets to choose the one she wants, and then number two gets her choice…

Tiny orange-y pink: design area about 3″

Tiny orange-y pink

Small red and black: design area about 3″

Small red and black

Red and green: design area about 6″

Red and green

 

The Orphan Blocks Mash-Up Middle…

… is done!

This is one of the times I wish that I had a tile floor to measure and check the square-ness of the top, but I did the best I could with the lines in our wood floor. It seems to be fairly even and I hope, as I said before, to be able to quilt some of the irregularities out of the top.

Orphan Blocks Mash-Up Middle!

So now it’s on to redesigning the appliqué. Here’s what I started when it was a different quilt. Now the vines need to grow down one edge (at least) and perhaps over the dark log cabin. I love hand appliqué and haven’t done it for a long time.

Orphan Blocks Mash-Up Border

I’m looking forward to some hand work!

Hooking at the Florida Harbor Hookin’

The room at the Florida Harbor Hookin’ was – obviously – filled with women hooking. Between classes, the vendors and people to talk to, many seats were empty, but still, there was a lot of hooking going on. Here are some of the fun pieces I saw.

My table mate, Suzanne, was working on this great runner. The photograph that came with the pattern showed that the designer had hooked it in browns and beiges, but Suzanne asked her teacher for bright colors. These really do sing, don’t they?

Suzanne's runner

It was fun to be in Florida and see what colors and motifs the ladies chose! This woman was finishing up a project that her friend had started. What a cute bunch of frogs.

Frog hooked rug

This is a great start to what is going to be an interesting piece. The hooker wasn’t at her seat, but from the drawing on the linen, it has a very Zentangle feel to it. What a fun project to hook!

Zentangle hooked rug

This was a pillow design I found in the Heavens to Betsy booth. For those of you who are not rug hookers, at the bottom you see what a design drawn on linen might look like, when you buy it. It’s like a coloring book. This was hooked using very wide strips.

Heavens to Betsy pillow

This wonderful piece was also designed and hooked by my dip dyed scrolls teacher, Angela Foote. I asked if this was dip dyed wool as well, but she said that she hooked with variegated wools (dump dyes). I really like the intensity of her colors.

Angela Foote design

These next rugs were designed and hooked by Carol Feeney, whose work I was happy to discover! She and her husband moved to Florida some years ago and she said that her designs and colors are greatly influenced by the area. I seem to have photographed many of her tile series; this is called Aesthetic.

Carol Feeney  Aesthetic

 

This is Flower Medallion Tile. Her colors are so rich and her hand dyed wool adds such texture. This piece is probably larger than it looks at 39″x39″.

Carol Feeney Flower Medallion Tile

This is Funky Flower Tile. I was really drawn to the lacy leaves and asymmetry of this piece. Click on this photo to see the many fibers she uses – funky yarns, sari ribbons and even buttons and beads.

Carol Feeney Funky Flower Tile

And just one more – this is Double Trouble Tile. This piece has lots of interesting fibers hooked in the design as well.

Carol Feeney Double Trouble Tile

I was inspired and delighted by all the rugs I saw. And now, I have added the heart scrolls piece to my rugs-to-finish list!