I took a needle-turn appliqué class last month from Australian quilter and designer Sarah Fielke. She was teaching at Quilter’s Affair in Sisters, Oregon. Quilter’s Affair? That’s the week of classes leading up to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, which is always held on the second Saturday in July. My quilt group, the Quisters, goes every year and we all take at least one or two classes.
Sarah created a series of contemporary quilts based on old quilts in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, making both “a direct interpretation” and “a modern reinterpretation.” The class I took was called I’ve Got Sunshine, also the name of a quilt in her book Old Quilts New Life (CICO Books, 2015). Our class project was a block from that quilt.
We spent the day learning how to appliqué sunflowers, leaves, and hearts. Here’s my block, still under construction:
Here’s a look inside the book:
On the right you see Sarah’s quilt I’ve Got Sunshine and on the left the quilt that inspired it: Sunflowers and Hearts, made sometime between 1860 to 1880.
Sarah teaches the classic needle-turn appliqué technique in which shapes of fabric are attached to the background by hand, using a sewing needle to turn under the seam allowance. It’s a technique I have yet to master, despite having taken two other classes on it. This was by far the best of the classes I’ve taken. With the others we spent too much time getting the design ready and not enough time stitching. In Sarah’s class we had needle in hand within the first hour, and she circled the room several times to give us individual attention, gently correcting our techniques and providing tips as well as encouragement.
And I am encouraged. My plan is to spend a couple hours every week working on my practice piece. There are at least three quilts I want to make that require lots of appliqué; more on them in a future post.
Sarah had a couple of other quilts on display in the Teacher’s Tent at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Take a look at this one:
It’s an improv quilt — no templates and certainly no needle-turn appliqué. The apples and stems are cut free-form and sewn by machine on different low volume background fabrics. I was totally charmed by the fabrics Sarah chose for her apples. The only thing these fabrics have in common is that they are mostly red. They couldn’t be more different:
Getting back to needle-turn appliqué, this is Sarah’s quilt Sweet Home, inspired by a Whig Rose Quilt made in 1857-58:
It’s not the best shot as the quilt was backlit by the sun but here’s a charming detail that highlights Sarah’s hand quilting as well as her appliqué skills:
Having taken this class from Sarah two days before the quilt show, I found myself drawn to quilts featuring hand appliqué. In my next post I’ll show you several examples from the show.
The DH and I got home today from a week-long road trip that took us north into Washington State and British Columbia. Our goal was to watch a minor league baseball game every night. (Yes, I do love baseball that much.)
Mission accomplished: seven games, six stadiums, and about 1250 miles of total driving. The trip was fun and relaxing and totally enjoyable. We took our time each day, taking secondary roads when we could and really enjoying the scenery. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and never cease to marvel at its natural beauty.
Coming home to triple-digit temperatures was not part of the plan. The temperature is expected to hit 105 degrees in Portland today and 106 degrees tomorrow. My sewing room is on the second floor of our 1913 Craftsman house. Air-conditioned? Nope. Guess I won’t be spending much time up there the next couple of days.
The night before we left on our trip I finished the baby quilt top I’ve been working on:
This is a variation of the Pineapple Plus design by Karin Hellaby. Adding white sashing strips to lessen the intensity of the stronger colors was a good call. I added an outer border of the birdie fabric (Garden Birds by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods) and love how it turned out. The top now measures 46″ square.
The only problem is I used up almost all of that birdie fabric. On a whim I decided to check the Internet to see if it was still available. You know, just in case. Not only did I find another yard of the fabric, I discovered it also came in a green background color called “lettuce.” Well, you know how much I love green . . .
Look what was waiting for me when I got home:
Do you ever like a fabric so much you search for more more when you’ve used it up? Surely I’m not the only one.
Our road trip involved stops at quilt shops in some of the smaller cities where minor league games are played. My sweet husband even made a list of shops for me to visit. Be it known: I did not come home empty-handed.
While I wait for temperatures in Portland to drop — the forecast is for another week of temperatures in the low to mid-90s — I’m going to hunker down in the basement where it’s nice and cool. Instead of sewing I’ll continue editing the photos I took at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last month. The plan is to have a couple of posts about that in the near future. I hope you’ll check back.
A funny thing happened when I got a few more blocks made for the baby quilt I’m making from Karin Hellaby’s Pineapple Plus book. When I put the blocks up on my design wall, I wasn’t loving what I was seeing:
No matter how I turned them, the deepest of the blue and pink fabrics seemed too intense. I was going for a softer look. When the blocks were spaced out on my design wall I liked the effect a lot better:
“Ah, yes,” thought I. “What this quilt needs is some white sashing strips.”
Then I thought of those darling little birdies in the centers of the blocks:
The birdies are scattered over the fabric every which way, which is why I didn’t fussycut them to begin with. I like the fact that no matter which way you turn the quilt, you see some birdies right side up.
I realized they were just the right size for the intersections of my sashing strips:
I wound up fussycutting a few after all. They’ll look really good against the crisp white background fabric. I like where this is going now, don’t you?
I so enjoyed making a baby quilt using the technique Karin Hellaby describes in her book Pineapple Plus that I’m making a second one:
Isn’t that a sweet block? The print in the center of the block features parasol-toting birds scattered on a field of flowers. The fabric, from my stash, is called Garden Birds by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods. The birds are tossed every which way . . .
. . . so I didn’t bother fussycutting the blocks.
This quilt will be quite scrappy compared with the first one. I’m using mostly medium light values of blue, green, pink, and aqua for the triangles, neatly organized on a cookie sheet:
Here are my first four blocks:
This is just a temporary arrangement. I won’t decide on the final setting till all the blocks are made. The largest triangles that form an on-point square in the center can be one color, four colors, or two colors forming an hourglass as shown above.
I like the design and the process of Pineapple Plus so much I am thinking of making a grown-up version. But first I need to finish this one!
It’s been a very busy winter and spring for me. Between preparing for and teaching two new classes at the Pine Needle (one at the shop and the other at the quilt retreat I wrote about in my last two posts) and serving as an officer on a local board, something has been neglected. No, not my husband! My house. Despite my best efforts to keep up, the Portland White House has not undergone really deep cleaning since . . . well, let’s just say it’s been a while. More than a winter and a spring, to be sure.
To the rescue: my twin sister Diane. At the end of June she flew out from her home in Georgia to spend a week helping me with my long deferred spring cleaning. What a gal! We spent four days on the kitchen alone, emptying out every cupboard and drawer, recycling duplicate tools and items I haven’t used in years, tossing rusty implements, and basically reorganizing the kitchen for efficiency. Every single surface in the kitchen has been wiped down and everything sparkles. Including the floor behind the refrigerator.
How to thank her? Besides wining and dining her, I made her a gift she always loves to receive: pillowcases.
This pair of of king-size pillowcases was made using my favorite roll-it-up method with no exposed seams (see my tutorial here.) Diane put them in her large guest room, the one we call the Swankienda. She loves how well the fabrics in the cases go with the coverlet:
The fabrics are the same as the ones I made for the Portland White House in May except in those I didn’t add the band of gold scrolled fabric in mine — only because I had overlooked it in my stash:
I sure love that Paris print in the band!
Here’s a look from the foot of the bed at Diane’s new pillowcases:
The pillowcases will actually go behind the shams I made for her several years ago when she was first decorating the Swankienda. I made the pleated bedskirt, too:
My house will never be as spotless as hers but it’s looking pretty darn good right now. (Thanks, Nubs — you are the best!!)
Here’s hoping you have a wonderful weekend doing what you love best. What should I be doing? Sewing or cleaning? Hmmm . . . .
Aren’t these lovely? They are the first group of Mini Mod Tile blocks coming from the second group of quilters attending the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat in western Washington last month. (You can read all about the first group’s output in my preceding post.) The blocks you see above were made by Sandra and Dena (top row) and Linda and Barbara B. (second row).
Here are the second group of blocks:
These were made by Lorri and Barbara S. (first row) and Liz and Roxanne (second row).
The venue for the retreat was St Andrews House on Hood Canal near Union, Washington. In my previous post I showed you the view of the Olympic Mountains from the long porch at St Andrews House. Here are some photos of the house itself starting with the porch, which runs along the back of the house:
The view from the parking lot:
The herb garden:
A pleasant shaded seating area:
Such a lovely retreat and conference center!
Now for more blocks. These blue and white blocks were made by Joyce . . .
. . . and these were made by Sue and Lisa:
So far all the blocks you’ve seen measure 11″ unfinished and were made with the QCR Mini, the small version of the original Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Kay was one of those making my “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles in which the blocks measure 18″ unfinished:
What about those three blocks on top? Kay was also working on a second project, making Ribbon Star blocks from the Missouri Star Quilt C0. It’s pretty clear Kay likes color!
Another quilter making colorful supersized blocks was Kristine:
Missy was making the mini version using a palette quite similar to Kristine’s:
Three of my students were using the original Quick Curve Ruler to make different designs by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Janna started with the free pattern Spring Fling from SKW but departed from the design to do her own thing. Here’s her first block:
Katie fell in love with the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by SKW for Cut Loose Press. Here are her first two blocks:
Delia chose SKW’s Chic Diamonds design:
With the second group of students I was much better at getting pictures of them with their projects toward the end of our time together. Here is Rosalie with her five beautiful blocks:
Barbara B. completed a runner . . .
. . . and had enough fabric left to make a mini Fun Poinsettia block:
Here’s Missy with her four blocks sewn together:
Do you see how there’s a fifth block in the center that is made up of partial blocks from the four? This is an example of a secondary block design being the same as the primary.
In addition to their blocks (shown behind them), Dena and Kristine made self-binding baby blankets in soft flannels:
Dena showed several quilters how she mitered the corners on her baby quilt. Joyce practiced the technique, making a square with mitered corners in addition to her lovely runner:
Another vision in blue and white is Roxanne’s quilt top:
Linda decided to change the 3 x 3 setting to 4 x 5 to make a bigger quilt. Here is half of her Mini Mod Tiles quilt sewn together:
Mini Mod Tiles looks wonderful in both traditional and modern fabrics. Here is Sandra with her four-block runner in soothing muted colors. . .
. . . and Lorri with her five-block runner using bright Tula Pink prints:
Lisa’s runner makes me think of pink lemonade:
Or maybe raspberry sorbet?
Liz completed her purple pansy runner and made a second one with a charming pinecone print:
Sue departed from the original design by incorporating sashing strips inside some of her blocks:
Remember Janna’s bright batik block? Here is her quilt top complete with narrow and wide borders:
Here is Katie with her four Dancing Churndash blocks:
Can you believe Katie is working on her very first quilt? Amazing! She has a bright future as a quiltmaker.
Katie’s sister Barbara S. was originally planning to make a runner but she liked her blocks so well she kept making them and wound up with a quilt top!
In this photo Kay has laid out her supersized blocks and is auditioning the scrappy connector strips between blocks:
Kay also made a few more fabulous Ribbon Star blocks:
During her time at the retreat Delia finished quilting a quilt begun in an improv class with Jean Wells:
The back is as interesting as the front:
It was all quilted on Delia’s domestic machine. She was on deadline: her quilt needed to be in the mail the following week to Sisters, Oregon where it will hang in the world’s largest outdoor quilt show on Saturday, July 7.
That’s the perfect segue to let you know I am in Sisters right now with my quilt group, the Quisters. We’ve taken classes this week put on by A Quilter’s Affair and we will all be at the quilt show tomorrow where a record 1,497 quilts will be hung for one day. Of course I will be keeping an eye out for Delia’s quilt.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the beautiful blocks, runners, quilt tops, and other projects created by my students at the two Pine Needle retreats!
Don’t these quilters look happy? This photo was taken the first evening of the Pine Needle Quilt Shop‘s retreat last month in Union, Washington just after completing a pillowcase exchange. The retreat had a western theme, which is why you see cowboy hats, boots, and bandana prints on both people and pillowcases.
The retreat was held at St Andrews House, a retreat and conference center run by the Episcopal Church of Western Washington. I had the pleasure of teaching for the Pine Needle at St Andrews House last year and returned this year for two back-to-back retreats.
What a lovely spot for a sewing/quilting getaway! The house sits above Hood Canal and offers commanding views of the Olympic Mountains. This is what you see from the long porch that runs along one side of the main building:
I stayed with Geri, owner of the Pine Needle and organizer of the retreat, in Bayne Cottage, a little house below the retreat center also owned by the church. Every morning before walking up a short (but very steep) hill to the retreat center, I had coffee on the deck that sits right over the water when the tide is in. This was my view:
This is the quilt that appears on the SKW website. It was made with the QCR Mini, the smaller of the two specialty curve rulers designed by Sew Kind of Wonderful. The block finishes at 10½” and the entire quilt finishes at 35″. Did you know the pattern is a free download? You can find it here.
I decided to “supersize” the block so that the quilt could also be made with the original Quick Curve Ruler. That way I could offer my retreat students two options. Here are my two test blocks, one finishing at 10½” and the other finishing at 18″:
In no time at all, my students were sewing curves the Sew Kind of Wonderful way: no pinning! The fabrics are cut slightly oversize and trimmed so that when the block components are sewn together, they fit the way they’re supposed to.
Here are the first three blocks:
The blocks in the top row were made by Diane and Lynn. We were all dazzled by Diane’s choice of Kaffe Fassett prints combined with a bold text print for the background. Doesn’t Lynn’s block look like real tile? She chose the perfect batik for her focus fabric to get that effect. Lynn’s sister Karen made the block in the second row. She reversed the usual placement, using a lovely floral print for the background and a dark blue solid where a print would normally go.
As the first day progressed, the number of blocks on the wall quickly increased:
The new blocks were made by Denise (Asian fabrics in second row), Colleen (aboriginal fabrics in third row), Puff (autumn colors on the far right side of photo), Marti (marbled print with rust background in lower left), Tamara (rich purple batiks in bottom row), and me (blue and green holiday print in third row). As you can see with Puff’s two blocks on the right, one block was made with a contrasting center square and one without. Puff decided she liked the top version better.
I told the students, “Once you have your curves sewn and trimmed, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly the quilt goes together.” When I came to the classroom on the morning of the second day, I was flabbergasted to see a finished quilt top. Kay had finished hers the evening before!
As always, it’s so fun to see the different fabrics that students choose. Candyce’s blue and white fabrics are Shibori prints:
Susie’s focus fabrics are from the Marks line by Valori and Jean Wells. She found the perfect background fabric from another line to go with them:
Best friends Martha and Sandy wanted to make a different Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern, Metro Rings. That was fine with me, as I’ve made Metro Rings myself and could offer them some special tips. This block represents a joint effort, as they are using the same fabrics. See how the big block is made of four smaller ones? Two of them were made by Martha and the other two by Sandy. The four blocks haven’t been sewn together but you can see that their points of the triangles in the center are going to come together perfectly:
Here is Linda’s supersized version of Mini Mod Tiles, made in one of my favorite color combinations, green and purple:
I had suggested that students making the supersized version save their fabric scraps, as they’re large enough to be used in something else. Linda proved my point. She sewed four curvy scraps together and then trimmed them to make an hourglass block. Five hourglass blocks (see the center block?) then became part of a larger nine-patch star block:
Linda’s background fabric, from the Alison Glass Sun Print 2016 line, goes so well with her wild floral print.
Jan had a charm pack of 5″ squares in grey and white prints, pairing them with white and yellow to great effect:
Kitty used that same fresh color combination in her runner:
She added a border of her yellow accent fabric. See how the edges of the runner have been cut to match the curve? That was an option I suggested to accentuate the curve within the block. Kitty will bind her runner in the focus print which will give her runner nice definition.
Here is Kitty’s sister Puff with her lovely runner:
She’s going to make a set of napkins from the print to go along with the table runner.
We had three sets of sisters at this retreat! Marti came all the way from New York to join her sister Vicki. Here are their bold and beautiful supersized blocks:
I also cut curves on the runner I made at the retreat:
When I bind this in the dark green, the curved ends will really stand out.
My plan was to snap pictures on the last day of all the quilters with their projects but alas, that didn’t happen. Still, I think you have an idea of the many wonderful ways in which Mini Mod Tiles can be interpreted. Sometime this fall the Pine Needle will have a reunion for retreat participants. Many of these projects will be completed by then and I promise to get some good pictures.
In my next post you’ll see more versions of Mini Mod Tiles, including some supersized ones, made by the second group of retreat participants. Do come back to see!
The first meaning: I am bound for a quilt retreat. Yes, tomorrow morning I head north to Hood Canal in Washington State to teach at a retreat center outside the tiny town of Union. I’ll be gone a week.
The second meaning: Terrazzo Tiles, my retreat quilt, is bound and (almost) ready to go with me. The (almost)? It’s still lacking a label, which may have to wait till I get home. I finished binding the quilt last night at midnight and took this photo at the Pine Needle this afternoon:
I’m calling it my retreat quilt because that’s the design I’m teaching there. The pattern is Mini Mod Tiles by Sew Kind of Wonderful. The original MMT quilt finishes at 35″ square; you can see my unquilted version here. The quilt you see above finishes at 63″ square after quilting because I “supersized” the block. My retreat students get to pick from two sizes, one made with the original Quick Curve Ruler and the other made with the QCR Mini.
The beautiful quilting you see was done by Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day.com, and I couldn’t be happier with it. It may look like a digitized quilting motif but Karlee did every bit of it with a ruler. Isn’t that amazing? Every stitch was hand-guided on her longarm machine.
I took several pictures in natural light earlier this week but found the light too bright to put the quilting in strong relief. Still, these close-ups do show some detail:
I encourage you to visit Karlee’s blog to see her post on this quilt. In addition to more photos, she describes how she settled on the quilting design. Karlee has quilted several quilts for me and I trust her to take my general guidelines and come up with a great design.
Look for a post after I return from retreat but while there I’ll be posting on my Instagram account, dawn_at_first_light_designs. You can find me here.
I finished binding and labeling Dutch Treat yesterday. The rain held off just long enough for a few shots taken in the back yard:
Red and green look so good together, don’t they?
Here you can see the entire quilt:
The windmill blocks measure 12″ square and the pinwheels in the center of each block measure 4″ square. The block is a variation of the classic Winding Ways quilt block usually made with curved seams. These seams are straight but the overall design of the quilt gives the illusion of overlapping circles.
On the back of the quilt I used leftover blocks:
I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, that’s a lot of leftover blocks.” You’re right — and I didn’t even use all of them. I confess: those extras resulted from a miscalculation on my part. At least I was able to put most of them to good use.
Here’s a close-up of the label:
I made the label round using a compact disc for a pattern (described in my tutorial) and then set the label inside a larger circle of red fabric so it would stand out against the backing fabric.
I’m so pleased with the quilting of longarmer Debbie Scroggy. You can see close-ups of Debbie’s quilting in this earlier post.
Dutch Treat (named for the windmill-shaped block)
48″ x 60″
Adapted from the pattern A Mid-Winter’s Night by Cottage Rose
Fabrics: a mix of reds and two light background prints, all from my stash
Quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC
To read older posts about the making of Dutch Treat, click on the category “windmill block” at the bottom of this post.
Thanks for stopping by. It’s always fun to share a finish!
Presenting . . . Mini Mod Tiles from Sew Kind of Wonderful:
The curves were cut with a specialty ruler called the QCR Mini — the smaller version of the Quick Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful — and sewn with a pins-free technique. SKW has great patterns for sale on its website — and several free patterns, including Mod Mini Tiles. You can find all the free patterns here. The link to Mini Mod Tiles is here.
Using the original Quick Curve Ruler I made a “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles that I showed you in my last post. The quilt, named Terrazzo Tiles, is at the longarmer being quilted as I write this. Look for a reveal post in just a few days!
I’m teaching both sizes of this design at a quilt retreat coming up in a few days. A couple of my students are interested in making a wall hanging or table runner so I decided to play around with possible border treatments. Since a finished block of the original Mini Mod Tiles is 10½” wide, a border is clearly called for.
A plain border would certainly work but I thought it would be fun to incorporate the sashing design. This is a mock-up made by cutting up a photo of Terrazzo Tiles:
I used a gluestick to add cornerstones in each corner.
Then I wondered how it would look without the periwinkle squares along the outer edges so I covered them up:
Hmmm. That’s a little stark for my taste but the effect might be completely different if a lighter fabric were used where the black is used here.
Next I wondered how the edges would look if they were trimmed to match the curves in the focus fabric:
I am loving this! I think I’m on to something here. . .
Since I covered up the periwinkle squares in the second test, I restored them (sort of) with colored pencils to get a fourth test version:
Which do you like better, 3 or 4? Whether those border squares stay or go, the curved edges are definitely staying. A three-block runner like my mocked up version would finish at 13½” x 38″. A four-block version would finish at 13½” x 50 and a five-block at 13½” x 62″.
I’m eager to try this out with some holiday fabric that’s been in my stash for a few years. My Mini Mod Tiles mania continues!