04 Jun

Chipmunks!

I work in a quilt shop, and while I think I exercise great restraint, sometimes there are fabrics that I absolutely MUST have. Chipper by Tula Pink was one such fabric. It’s basically a collection of florals and coordinates, but in and amongst the blooms are foxes and chipmunks in psychedelic colors. Fun, but not something that the average not too Modern but not too Traditional quilter can easily imagine in a quilt.Chipmunk WIP 1

I could envision the chipmunks though in a kind of groovy, Modern take on Broderie Perse, the traditional appliqué method of taking motifs from a (usually) chintz fabric and re-arranging them to create a new and unique scene. I thought that a sample of this might get customers’ creative juices flowing too. So, I took it upon myself to buy some chipmunks and get to work.Chipmunk WIP 2

I combined several of the Chipper fabrics with other florals I had in my stash — Kaffe Fasset, some Amy Butler, and a few non-designer prints. I wanted the chipmunks to be circling something, so I made a floral poesie. It’s not as wildly weird as I had hoped, but I think it has a nice balance of Modern because of the colors, and Traditional because of the bouquet and needle turn appliqué.Chipmunk WIP 4

After finishing the Broderie Perse part, I added two scrappy borders in the same prints plus more from my stash. I had to include the ochre nuts which were part of a popular collection quite a few years ago. I plan on adding more borders Medallion style, and I think I may need another round of chipmunks, but that will have to wait. I have some other projects which need to take precedence, and this can probably go hang out at work while we still have bolts of the fabric to sell.

21 May

It wasn’t weird at all

You may remember that I bought this quilt as a top from Wanda about a month ago. I thought it would be weird  to quilt and finish someone else’s work, but it wasn’t at all. In fact, it was really fun and as soon as I started working on it, I couldn’t stop. Firstly, Wanda’s workmanship is impeccable. All the seams were even and all edges and points aligned. There were no poufs to “quilt out.” Basting was easy-peasy. The quilt is not quite twin sized, so I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it came together despite it’s being large enough to wrap oneself up in.

More significant though, was how the quilt revealed itself to me as I worked on it. Normally, I would already have a relationship with the fabrics from piecing them together. But since I didn’t piece this one, I got to meet each and every fabric and see how it interacted with it’s neighbor as I quilted. I enjoyed seeing how individual stripes modulated in color, and loved being surprised by each pairing that picked up on a hue in it’s partner. It was quite fun.

_______________________________________________________________

I don’t know how many readers are relatively new to quilting and it’s associated gadgets. I may be preaching to the choir, but here are two of my favorites: my walking foot, and the bar thingie that came with it. Walking feet come in several varieties depending on your machine, but they are all variations on this foot-with-box contraption. The purpose of the walking foot is to move the top layer of the quilt sandwich at the same speed as the bottom layer and thus eliminate lots of frustrating puckering. I do all my straight line machine quilting with my walking foot. On this quilt, I kept the quilting simple, because really, with fabric like this, fancy quilting is just unnecessary.

Often, I just use the side of the walking foot as my guide for stitching parallel lines. That’s how I did the first round of quilting 1/4″ from the edge of each zig zag. I wanted to quilt a line down the center of each zig zag too, so I used one of the guide bars that came with the walking foot. It is L shaped and slides through a hole in the back of the walking foot and is locked in place with a screw. You can adjust it so the “leg” sticks out anywhere from right next to the foot, to about three inches away. I also have another guide bar for the other side of the foot, depending on what I want to line up with. (As an aside, my machine came with another two guide bars that fit into the back of many of the regular presser feet too.) Once you get the hang of it, there’s all kinds of uses for these guides. I measured the width of my zig zags (4″) and set my guide bar two inches from the needle. Then, off I went, quilting down the center of each zig zag, making sure the leg of the guide bar followed the seam line. In the photo you can’t see the lovely line of stitching behind the walking foot, but it is perfectly parallel to the edge of the yellow zig. You can see that I am about to pivot the quilt and sew the zag (this is where the needle-down function on many newer machines is also very convenient). I considered more lines in between these, but the quilt didn’t seem to need them. It’s for a kid’s bed, so it didn’t need to be quilt-show-fancy.