March 11th, 2015
Today we have a blue theme in honor of this beautiful day! The temperature is finally rising and it’s heading toward spring. The squirrels have been racing around and the cats are actually anxious to go outside. Spring is in the air and some ambitious critter has laid this enormous egg in the Blue Muse’s nest!! I wonder what will hatch and when it will happen. Maybe it will be something BLUE!
So today I am posting two blue quilts made with the Prairie Chic fabric for FreeSpirit. The Barn Raising pattern has always been a favorite traditional quilt pattern of mine. It is so graphic and dramatic that I have done it many times with many different fabric lines. Take a peek in Patchwork Sassaman Style to see them. In fact, that book will walk you through the steps for making this quilt. Here is also a Prairie Chic – Barn Raising diagram with measurements and yardage. All the measurements are finished dimensions, so don’t forget to add your extra seam allowance. I chose some simple prints from the line to keep the quilt as uncomplicated and clean as possible.
Here is another favorite quilt block, Monkey Puzzle or Churn Dash. It is a perfect design for a beginning quilter to learn the basics. But it is also the simplicity that makes this pattern so striking. I have also mixed some Designer Solids with the very usable triangle print. The quilting is done with my two-fisted 12 weight top-stitching thread, Sew Sassy from Superior. It really adds another layer of interest to the composition. You can also download a diagram for this Prairie Chic – Monkey Puzzle. Again, don’t forget to add your seam allowance to the finished dimensions.
There are more Prairie Chic quilts to share soon, so stay tuned.
March 7th, 2015
The teaching year is getting off to a productive start, after being at the Empty Spools Seminar, Session 2, last week. It is a favorite environment for quilt teachers and students for many years. Located in the quaint town of Pacific Grove, California and a skip away from Carmel, it is an ideal place to take a break from your everyday routine and infuse your spirit with beauty and inspiration. I was teaching Abstracting from Nature and got to be in a favorite classrooms in a building designed by Julia Morgan, a renowned California Arts & Crafts architect.
Here is the classroom during the glorious mess of creation. Doesn’t it look like fun? The class went for five days. On the end of the fourth day, everyone cleans their space and prepares their work to be displayed for the “walk-around”. This is when the students from all the other classes can visit to see what other methods and ideas everyone else has been working on. It has become such a tradition, that many people come from outside the seminar come to see all the new work that has been created.
Here the room is all cleaned up and ready for inspection. My students were hard-working and very diligent, as you can see. I am always amazed and pleased with the results, which is why I enjoy these longer classes so much. Most folks got to stitching on the last two days, so they really have experienced the whole technique.
I will be teaching the same five-day class this summer at Madeline Island School of the Arts, another fabulous place for rejuvenation and inspiration.
I hope to see some of you there!
February 20th, 2015
This week has been devoted to playing with my new Prairie Chic Embroidery designs for HoopSisters. I have so many ideas that it is keeping me awake at night! Now I need to bone-up on my new BERNINA V7 Embroidery software so I can mix and match the designs in a more efficient way. But this is a good beginning and each project inspires a new one.
This is the Medallion Brooch design that I demonstrated on Quilting Arts TV, so you can see how these are constructed. But for these I simply embroidered the fabric for the covered button. The ruffled fabric frame is the Seed Matrix fabric from the new Prairie Chic collection for FreeSpirit. The jacket is made with Triangle Twist in the Lapis colorway, a design that has turned out to be very usable.
This little bee brooch has a very romantic and old-fashioned feeling. It was inspired by some of the Victorian cameos that I like so much. I am very interested in one color and tone-on-tone embroidery, especially to use in my art quilts. It is so exciting to get some of these ideas into physical form!
The snow is gently falling now, so I am anticipating a cozy and productive day in the studio. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do! See you next week.
February 13th, 2015
Hello to whoever is out there! Some of you have noticed that this blog has been inactive for a few months. Yes, I have been wrestling with my soul these days and overwhelmed by a persistent feeling that I have been chasing a “carrot on a stick”. Frankly, I was exhausted! As a rather quiet and solitary artist, the nagging persistence to fulfill all these social media duties began to feel quite hollow. I felt that the social broadcasting was a sorry substitution for doing my “real” work. Also, I have realized that my brain is not oriented toward business and it was tired trying to bend in that direction.
I needed to fondle some fabric, to look at my wonderful books and get reacquainted with my priorities. So now I am quietly approaching the blog with a new spirit. I hope you will check in occasionally to see where all this soul searching will lead.
This is one of the things that has brought me back to life! I have been dreaming about adding embroidery to my work for years and now that idea has come to fruition! Thanks to the digitizing talents of the fabulous HoopSisters, I can use my awesome #BERNINA to embroider almost anything. The HoopSisters have taken motifs from my new fabric designs (Prairie Chic for FreeSpirit) and turned them into elegant stitchable decorations. Here are some of the projects we have worked on so far.
I collect old damask tablecloths and napkins to use as background fabric for quilts. So I used some of the napkins to apply the new embroidery designs. You can see the original fabric (Meadow Mix) in the background with the oak leaves, dollar plants and coneflowers. This combination create quite a cozy feeling in this autumnal colorway.
Here it is in another colorway of the same fabric. As you embroider these motifs you can obviously choose any color of threads, depending on their application. I have plans to enhance many things with these new designs, especially clothing, so check in next week to see some new samples.
PS… during my hiatus I have finally surrendered to the lure of Pinterest and have started some inspiration boards of my own. If you are looking for some more eye-candy, feel free to check them out.
August 23rd, 2014
It is a delightfully dark and dreary day… my favorite kind! A good way to wrap up a satisfying week of work. We stitched out some new machine embroidery designs (more about these in the next few weeks), I received my copy of 500 Traditional Quilts (believe it or not, I have a quilt included in it) and my two favorite magazines arrived on the same day (World of Interiors and Selvedge)! And if that wasn’t enough to make me happy, the new silk scarves were also delivered this week!
This scarf is an original design exclusively for my friends at Dragon Threads, inspired by the Gregory’s Garden fabrics. They are 100% silk twill and 20″ X 70″ with a hand-rolled hem. I think they turned out beautifully and I even have the perfect blue and black raincoat to wear it with.
I like to let my scarves hang long and comfortably over my shoulders for the free-flowing Isadora Duncan effect. But here you can see that there are many other ways to drape them. I really like the contrast of the stripes with the florals as they twist in and around each other.
Best of all, they are reasonably priced and will fit anybody. So, perhaps this could be a wonderful way to get your holiday shopping done early this year!
Heading for All In Stitches in Zumbrota, MN tomorrow. Hope to see some of you there!
August 12th, 2014
This week we have plucked some new produce from Gregory’s Garden! In Patchwork Sassaman Style I listed some principles for using “personality” prints and this graphic quilt exemplifies several of them:
Keep it simple!
The bigger the print, the bigger the block.
Use simple fabrics as supporting players.
Contrast creates drama!
Symmetrical fabrics yearn to be fussy cut.
One print can be used in several colors.
Let the fabric do the work!
As you can see this is a very easy quilt to construct, it’s the fabric that make it look sophisticated! In fact, this would be a very good quilt for beginners to learn the basics of sewing and quilt making. And it is large enough to be used as a family lap blanket. Feel free to print out the pattern and FreeSpirit fabric yardage, which is shown below.
August 6th, 2014
Hello, friends! It is finally heating up here! The first cicada and cricket started their seasonal serenades the other night. The tomatoes are basking in the sunshine, too.
So in honor of these iconic August days, we have whipped up some cool cotton cases for a luxurious summertime siesta. They are all made with fabric from the Gregory’s Garden collection and are all connected by the refreshing color combination of pink, white and blue.
I’m really fond of this pussy willow design and I love it in these colors. And I like to add drama to all my creations with a little contrast, which the checks certainly supply here. A strip of the pink Dahlia fabric adds a little pizzazz, too.
This breezy design is called Blossoms and Berries. It gets a hit of excitement with checkered piping and a Color Bars border. It goes pretty well with the seat cushions, too… Night Life from the Prairie Gothic line from several years back.
This pillowcase features the fuchsia colorway of the Wasp pattern, which we also used in blouse a few weeks ago in the yellow version. Wouldn’t it make a fabulous white summer nightie or PJs, too? We are hoping that this crisp and pretty ensemble will inspire some seasonal sewing at your house, too.
July 31st, 2014
This week has been composed of perfect cool clear summer days and the flower garden is at its apex. In the studio I have completed my FreeSpirit fabric designs for next spring, which I am quite pleased with. Now I am attempting to translate those ideas into ribbon designs.
But soon my teaching schedule steps up for the rest on the year. I am looking forward to doing several 3-5 day workshops in some beautiful and charming locations… August 24 – 27 at All In Stitches in quaint Zumbrota, Mn, September 29- October 3 at the fabulous Madeline Island School of the Arts, November 2-7 at awesome Art Quilt Tahoe and the delightful and yummy Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, December 8-12. I will also be speaking at Quilt Expo in Madison, WI on September 5. I hope to see some of you there!
For this weeks blog we want to share another new garment made with fabrics from the Gregory’s Garden collection. This classy creation is McCall’s pattern M6564. I really like the asymmetry of this design and its elegant details.
The zesty green Pussy Willow fabric fits right into the garden. The contrasting and adjustable belt make a flattering silhouette. Nicely fitted, this stylish blouse has a retro feel. Have you seen the wonderful noir movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice?
I think Lana Turner would look right at home in this outfit! Well… she would look fabulous in anything!
July 24th, 2014
Welcome, everyone! I am so pleased to be part of this blogging event for Quilting Arts TV! And even happier to be on the roster for their new 1400 Series of programs. One of my segments shows how to make the ribbon rosette which graces this weeks featured sewing project. This rosette uses my Renaissance Ribbon with some of my FreeSpirit fabrics, but it can be made with any combination you’d like. So once you see the process you can make them to your own preferences. Tune into QA TV or order your own DVD to learn more.
Today we are sharing a light-hearted blouse made from a fabric in my current FreeSpirit collection called Gregory’s Garden. This is Simplicity pattern 1590, an elegantly fitted design. The fabric, too, makes this a perfect summer costume, since it is sprinkled with a quintessential hot weather critter… a wasp!
I always find peplums very feminine and romantically old-fashioned. The peplum on this blouse is shorter in front and gracefully lengthens in the back.
The cap sleeves add to the striking hourglass silhouette.
Obviously, I love the color yellow, as it appears repeatedly in my work. But here it seems especially ideal for a light and lovely summer outfit. But the fabric also comes in two other gentle pastel colorations. I think they all would make fabulous nursery accessories. At my house they are destined to become hot weather pillowcases and new summery shower curtains.
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Please visit again next week to see our another project from Gregory’s Garden!
July 18th, 2014
This week we really got a head! A big blue head! We have been anticipating this delivery for months and Wednesday our new garden ornament arrived. If you were in Chicago last summer you may have noticed these head planters lining South Michigan Avenue. Like the “Cows”, these heads were sponsored and individually decorated. Then they were planted so the flowers, leaves and vines became their hair. A giant Chia Pet!
Or this summer you may have seen the banners for the “Cultural Mile” Second Friday events around the city, which was designed by my husband and son. In the process of working on the banner, they discovered that a few heads had not been claimed at the end of the season. Being surrealists at heart, they thought this would be the perfect focal piece for our country landscape.
Obviously, this head had originally been funded by Ford, but we will eventually replace their logo with something more fitting to its new home. It gave the Fed Ex driver quite a surprise yesterday afternoon! I think it is fabulous and it’s going to be great fun to plant his new hairdo every year… morning glories, grasses…
Even the color is perfect! But it’s our secret because you can’t see it from the road.
The next neat event is the Quilting Arts TV Blog Hop which begins today! To celebrate the new season of Quilting Arts TV, series 1400, many of the guests will have a specific day in the next week to post a special blog.
Here is the schedule:
July 18: Vivika DeNegre at quiltingdaily.com
July 19: Luana Rubin (luanarubin.typepad.com)/Linda Friedman (lindasartquilts.blogspot.com)
July 20: Sarah Ann Smith (sarahannsmith.com/weblog)/Karen Gloeggler (seminarandsew.com)
July 21: Carrie Bloomston (suchitysuch.blogspot.com/ Catherine Redford (catherineredford.com)
July 22: Sue Reno (suereno.blogspot.com)/ Rebekah Meier (rebekahmeier.com)
July 23: Lyric Kinard (lyrickinard.com/blog) / Margie Ullery (ribboncandyquilts.blogspot.com)
July 24: Cheryl Sleboda (muppin.com/wordpress/) / Jane Sassaman (janesassaman.com/weblog)/Julia Creus (http/todera.blogspot.com)
July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (bluemoonriver.blogspot.com)
There are lots of talented folks involved and it’s sure to be a week of wonderful information and entertainment.
You can also purchase a Quilting Arts TV 1400 Series DVD of your own to watch whenever you need a hit of insight and encouragement. See you next week!