21 Jan

Nina’s Quilt

Last year a longtime family friend asked me to make a quilt for her sister’s 50th birthday. That sister and I were best friends from middle school to well into our adult lives. We don’t talk or see each other much these days as our lives have diverged on different paths, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the rare opportunity to re-connect. Of course I said yes to the quilt project and dove in enthusiastically.

 

Nina Quilt WIP1 I started by pulling several color stories from my stash that I thought Nina might like and sent photos to her sister, Kara. I also invited Kara to look at my Pinterest board of quilt inspiration and tell me if anything struck a chord. Kara liked all the colors, and chose a few inspiration quilts that had a single block, sometimes a bit wonky. From that, I created three “sketches” in Adobe Illustrator showing different color and design options.

 

Nina Quilt WIP2 Kara chose a design which I planned to create with the Quick Curve Ruler, a tool I had recently used for a sample at work and really enjoyed. I started with my stash fabrics, cutting and sewing and putting everything on the design wall. At first, it was a big jumbled mess. I had wanted the quilt to be scrappy looking, so my intention was that it have more variety than the Illustrator sketch, but it had gone too far. I stepped back and realized that I had to pay closer attention to the color placement that was indicated on the sketch, and more importantly, that the print fabrics needed solids or near-solids as a foil. Once I got a handle on the specific fabrics, then the quilt started coming to life.

 

Nina Quilt WIP3 About half way through, I ran out of stash fabric in the appropriate colors, so I  went shopping. I really needed solids, which I did not have many of in my own collection.

 

Nina Quilt WIP4Using the ruler made a pretty precise quilt and I had in mind something with bit of bohemian flavor. The mix of fabrics got me part of the way there, but I knew the quilting would take it all the way. I machine quilted it, loosely following the curves, but adding some undulation. I used variegated thread and changed the colors a few times. I also used variegated perle cotton in a variety of coordinating colors to hand stitch, with large stitches, between every second or third row of machine quilting. The result is a wonderful texture and a subtle softening of the regularity of the ruler curves.

 

Nina Quilt med

Photo by Bill Volkening

This project was an absolute joy to make. I thought about my friendship with Nina as I chose fabrics and sewed. I was even able to incorporate a fabric her late mother gave to me about 25 years ago. I wish I could have been there when Nina opened the box since the gift was a surprise. But she later wrote,  “Every time I look at it I smile and think to myself how lucky I am to have a sister who was kind enough to commission it and a friend talented enough and who knows me well enough in a sort of gut way to make something so perfect for me.” That’s the kind of reaction I was hoping for. I couldn’t be happier.

13 Jan

First Finish of 2017!

In the previous post I mentioned wanting to make scrap quilts from my bins of leftovers. After several years of this being a back-burner project, I finally had motivation to finish it. Leftovers 1 is done and submitted to IQF’s Beauty in Pieces special exhibit. My fingers are crossed that they’ll like this wonky, freeform, take on a scrap quilt.

Leftovers web

Leftovers 1, 2017, 76″ x 83″

I started by making the quarter log cabin blocks, not exactly sure where I was going with them. I played with setting them on point to make zig zag rows which looked pretty cool, but then I bored of making them. I was distracted by seeing posts of Sherri Lynn Woods’ Get Your Curve On workshops, so I started sewing wedges, happy that they went faster than the log cabins. That’s the point where the pieces told me they wanted to be a medallion and it grew from there with more purpose. I had lots of squares already cut and leftover from making Temporary Safety which came together easily as a checkerboard, and the center of the quilt was set. The mostly checkered border was inspired by my trip to the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum and seeing Margaret Fabrizio’s Kawandi-inspired work. I still have enough fabric to make another round, and as a bed quilt, it could use it, but I stopped when I reached the maximum size for the exhibit, since I think it’s submission-worthy. I quilted Leftovers 1 on my home machine with wonky leave and scallop motifs mixed with straight-ish lines. It’s quirky, but hopefully that’s it’s charm.

With seven bins of fabric and twelve months, I hope to keep this momentum going and make more medallion style quilts in 2017. The rules will be to endeavor to use just the fabric in the scrap bins, but if necessary, I can go to my regular stash. New fabric is only allowed for backing. New batting is allowed. For continuity, I’ll create these from the center outward, Medallion-style, but other than that anything goes design-wise. It’s going to be fun!

28 Sep

Too Many Quilts (6)

I’ve gotten lots of questions about my sale quilts — mostly about which others will also be for sale. So, without further ado, here are the quilts I am price cutting:

hansel-u-gretel-web

Hansel und Gretel (link to it’s own blog post HERE).

 

juni-web-lg

Juni im Rhein Neckar Kreis (link to it’s own blog post HERE). SOLD

 

fliegenpilz-i-web

Fliegenpilz I. Named after the red and white mushrooms the polka dot fabric suggests, this is yet another quilt in my Impressions of Germany series. It’s machine pieced mostly of cottons, but with a few interesting bits thrown in for texture. The work is machine quilted with hand stitched details.  At 33.5″ x 51.5” it’s made to be a wall quilt, but I think it could be fine for a lap or small child as well. I’m offering this quilt for $200, mailing included, anywhere in the US.  SOLDfliegenpilz-i-detail

Fliegenpilz I detail.

 

bauer-9-patch

This last quilt is an early one — I made it in 1997 before I discovered “art quilting.” The center is a vintage flour sack. The surrounding 9-patch blocks are reproduction fabrics. The colors coordinate with my collection of Bauer pottery. I still have most of the collection, but no longer want to use a quilt in my accompanying decor. This one is hand quilted (as were many of my early quilts) and also priced at $200, mailing included. It’s 43.25″ x 52.”

That’s it. Everything else is either sentimental, useful, or just too horrible to be seen in public! Thanks. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested.

 

25 Sep

Too Many Quilts (5)

“Juni im Rhen Nekar Kreis” was the first quilt I made for my “Impressions of Germany” show in Heidelberg, Germany in 2006. I love it’s combination of traditional 9-patch blocks, free-piecing, and stitched embellishment to create a landscape that is both recognizable and abstract at the same time.

juni-web-lg

As the title suggests, this quilt is what I saw in June in the Rhein-Nekar county in Germany. It represents still-green spring wheat fields edged with Flanders poppies. It’s smallish (and therefore easy to find a place for) at 30″ x 42.” I’m offering this quilt for $150, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. SOLD

21 Sep

Too Many Quilts (4)

I’m cleaning house again. This time it’s the wall quilts that I’m looking at. I built some quilt storage and still have more than I want to fill it with. My work has changed over the last decade or more (as it should) and I have many quilts that just don’t make sense for me to hold on to for exhibits or display in my home. So, I’m going to post them here at bargain basement prices.

hansel-u-gretel-web

This is “Hansel ind Gretel,” created for my solo show Impressions of Germany in 2006 and juried into Main Quiltfestival 2006 Wettbewerb “Märchenwelt” (The World of Fairy Tales). It is 29.25″ x 35. The center is has dyed cotton velvet embellished with suggestions of a magical forest with a button and pebble path. There’s even a (boiled and bleached) chicken bone should any inquisitive witches be looking for small children to eat. The backing is an adorable Japanese print with Hansel, Gretel, and forest critters of course. This would make a lovely wall hanging for a child’s bedroom, and if you buy it and remove the bone and pebbles, it would be a snuggly lap or play quilt as well. I’m offering this quilt for $150, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested.

hansel-u-gretel-detail-3

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.

24 Apr

Just Checking in

So often it’s hard to blog because I’m just not sure what to blog about. For lack of any finished projects or deep thoughts, here’s a random sampling of what’s going on in my world right now.

There’s been a lot of work on our house projects, both by me and my mom and by hired pros, but nothing is quite finished yet.

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Vanity in progress: pro built, stained by me, I added hardware, waiting on a countertop and plumbing.

I took a block printing workshop with Valori Wells yesterday (through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild) which was lots of fun and jump started my thinking about fabric designs again.

Block Printing

I’m super happy with how these designs turned out — both from a printing standpoint, and a design standpoint.

I’m plugging away at several stitchy projects…

Project Chair

Hand stitching at the ready for quiet evenings.

… which have taken over and made more of a mess than anything else!

Project Table

Lots of work in progress on my studio table and sewing machine. Nothing worth showing yet though.

Work at The Pine Needle is excellent, and I’ve got some behind the scenes projects I’m working on with the team in preparation of summer shop hops and our Fall catalog.

The Pine Needle

This is where I work — surrounded by a wide variety of gorgeous fabrics. That yellow, teal, and maroon whirligig sample in the middle of the photo is one I made. I’m working on an asian-inspired version now.

I hope you all are knee deep in fulfilling projects too; every little bit counts, even if doesn’t seem very blog- or Instagram-worthy.

25 Feb

Too Many Quilts (3)

Who needs a baby quilt?

I made a simple, happy, baby quilt for a friend and since I was teaching basic patchwork at my local Parks and Rec in Hawaii at the time, thought it might make a good class quilt so I made a few samples. Star Baby Indigo is one of those samples. It’s a mix of printed, hand dyed, and batik cottons. Machine quilted, and very gently used. The backing is cream colored muslin. The quilt is 35″ x 50.”

Star Baby Indigo

I’m offering Star Baby Indigo for $100, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. DONATED to Cares Northwest