Project Quilting Inspiration

Project Quilting Inspiration

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are over, and it’s time for Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams to begin the first week of the Project Quilting Season 10 challenge.

When I saw the first challenge phrase, “Hope Springs Eternal“, I instantly thought of a photo my son & daughter-in-law sent us of our sweet little granddaughter looking up in awe as she “helped” decorate their Christmas tree.

Isn’t she a sweetie? She’s just between 1-1/2 & 2…So this is the first time she’s really enjoying the tree. And that look on her face is just full of wonder and hope for what’s to come.

Not only does it represent the hope of things to come for her, it represents our hope of flying half way around the world to see her soon. I’m so grateful that I live in an age where we can video-chat online weekly and get instant photos every day, but it’s just not the same as seeing them all in person. I can’t wait to give her a hug and play together.

To start the challenge, I printed an outline of the photo on paper and used my Cutterpillar light box to lightly trace some of the important features onto white muslin with pencil.

Next I sandwiched the white muslin on top of batting and backing and started thread sketching (which also served as free motion quilting) with black cotton Aurufil thread and my Bernina BSR foot.

I decided to thread sketch everything…her sweatshirt, hair, and even the needles on the branches of the Christmas tree. And it helped to look at the photo of her beside me on my computer as I sketched in all of her features, starting with her eyes.

I’m so glad I’ve got a nice selection of variegated cotton Sulky thread! I think they really help add depth…

my granddaughter has the cutest pink cheeks (just want to kiss them!), and I couldn’t get the effect I wanted with thread…so broke out my stash of Derwent color pencils and started coloring… adding a bit if color to her lips, her hair, and some shading.

Now that’s a bit better!

A little more shading, and then I added a double border of batik fabrics.

Here’s some close up photos…

I started so late on this challenge, … I wasn’t sure I’d have enough time. But once I started, it just came together and I loved every minute. You really CAN do it in a week.

Participating in PQ is so much fun, because it forces me to try a new technique or idea and actually get it done. I don’t have time to worry about failing or to quit and start over. It is what it is. And I can’t procrastinate when it HAS to be done from start to finish in only one week!

The voting starts this Sunday afternoon (January 13, 2019). Come vote for your favorites…but of course I’d love your vote!

VOTE HERE. Be sure to scroll down to the end.

I believe the voting is open January 13-19 and the winners announced Jan. 20.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

So after seeing the gorgeous quilts by Heidi Proffetty (see my earlier post) and not having access to a digital fabric cutter (which is really a necessity for her technique), I thought I’d try creating another small mosaic art quilt using the simpler tiny squares recommended by Cheryl Lynch (see previous blog post).

I thought you might enjoy following along with the process.

The first step was to find a very simple, but inspiring photo that I could trace to make the pattern outline. I found a photo that I had taken last spring of a Trillium (my fav woodland wildflower).

I downloaded a tracing app for my iPad and used it to roughly trace the outline of the petals & leaves. Note: There are a lot of tracing apps out there (and I certainly haven’t tried them all), but this one (free) allowed me to upload my photo and trace over it with my finger or my computer stylus. It’s rough, but that’s okay…I can go over the lines again with a black Sharpie pen after it’s printed.

This particular app allows you to fade out the background (photo) so you can print only the lines, which saves printer ink. That’s a nice feature.

After saving the tracing as a jpeg file, I needed to enlarge it at 200% to get it to print to the size of a sheet of copy paper, which was the size I was looking for. Once my outline was printed, I used Cheryl Lynch’s technique of taping it to a piece of core board and then thumbtacking a sheet of Steam-a-Seam 2 over it, uncovering the top of the fusible to expose the sticky side up.

Next, it was time to go through my collection of cotton batik fabrics to see what colors might work for the tiles. I cut them into 3/4 inch squares, using Cheryl Lynch’s mini mosaic cutting guide and found that the more variation you have in the light/dark of each color, the better it looks.

Now for the fun part…placing each individual square fabric “tile” with a tweezers. It’s somewhat like putting a puzzle together…one area of color at a time, but you don’t have to make them all fit…you can trim pieces to fit as needed.

For a project this small it doesn’t take long to cut enough squares of fabric to get started. The variation in the value of each fabric color is the key. You don’t want them to look too flat by having each tile exactly the same color value. I added some bright yellow strips in the center of the flower.

It’s slowly progressing! It takes quite awhile to individually place each square with a tweezers, but it’s surprising how much is accomplished by working on it in 30 minute segments throughout a couple of days. Before you know it, it’s finished and ready to fuse to the “grout” fabric and add the tulle netting over the top …

…adding the borders, batting, & backing …

and do the machine quilting using white cotton thread and a walking foot. I stitched between the rows of mosaic squares in the “grout area”, and outlined the petals and leaves. I added a few quilted veins into the petals of the Trillium too.

Close up of the quilted veins & center of the Trillium

What do you think? Originally the background was all browns and green, but I decided it needed more contrast, so I took out some of the squares and re-did the top portion of the background in blue sky.

This one’s completed and for sale at my Etsy Shop.

I’m ready to try it again…how about you?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Infatuated with Mosaic Quilts

Infatuated with Mosaic Quilts

Over and over again, I’m drawn to quilts that incorporate tiny bits of fabric into mosaic patterns. They create such interesting designs, I can’t get enough.

Recently I was thrilled with an episode of Quilting Arts TV that featured a mosaic quilt technique used by Heidi Proffetty. I was so blown away by her talent, that I wanted to share some of her amazing work with you.

Her quilt “Daddy Hold My Hand” (below) is a great example of her mosaic fabric technique.

“Daddy Hold My Hand” by Heidi Proffetty

I found this wonderful article from Superior Threads about her:

https://www.superiorthreads.com/feature-mosaic-art-quilts

Heidi says she begins with an inspiring photo. Using her computer, she reduces the colors and transforms the photo into a mosaic drawing. Using her iPad and a vector app, she creates a .SGV file that she can upload to her digital cutter to cut all the individual tiny pieces (like tiles) of fabric for the mosaic quilt. After assembling the tiny pieces onto a background fabric, she free-motion stitches them all in place.

Here’s a more detailed step-by-step article about her process:

https://www.superiorthreads.com/feature/mosaic-art-quilts-step-by-step

Heidi recently won First Place (People, Portraits, and Figures) for her quilt “Is She Ready Yet?at the 2018 Houston Int’l Quilt Festival. Isn’t it stunning

Close-up (quilt by Heidi Proffetty)

You can see the free-motion quilting in the closeup. And you can readily understand how a digital fabric cutter could be helpful in cutting each and every one of these unique shapes. Just the thought of cutting them all by hand is overwhelming.

Although I’d love to try her technique, I don’t have access to a digital fabric cutter, so I’d need to cut the individual pieces by hand. Wouldn’t it be fun to give this technique a try in a small scale project. Something a bit smaller…for example, try it on just a section of an inspirational photo?

I’ve tried a similar technique doing mosaic art quilts like my Lady Liberty, but the mosaic fabric shapes used were all squares. Using all these individual and unique shapes adds so much depth to her work. It would be fascinating to try.

This will take some experimentation, but let’s see if I can come up with something…

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

How to Hang a Quilt on the Wall

The best way to hang a quilt on your wall is to sew a fabric hanging sleeve to the back. Here’s how…

What you’ll need:

  • A strip of cotton fabric that coordinates with the backing (or plain muslin fabric), 8-1/2 inch wide by the width of your quilt
  • Needle & thread
  • a wooden dowel
  • nails or 2 Command Strip hooks

How to make the hanging sleeve:

Cut an 8-1/2” strip of cotton fabric the same width as your finished quilt. This will make your finished sleeve 4 inches wide. (*NOTE:  if you’re going to enter your quilt in a show, most require a hanging sleeve 4” wide; however, if you’re using a wooden dowel to hang the sleeve on your wall you only need the finished sleeve to be wide enough to slip the dowel through—so you can opt to cut it smaller…see note at bottom.)

Sleeve1

Fold under the short ends of your strip 1/4 inch or more and press; then fold it over once more about 1/4” or more and press.  Using your sewing machine, topstitch.

sleeve2

sleeve3

Next fold the strip down the middle the long way (wrong sides together) and iron to make a crease down the center.

sleeve4

Open the strip back up and press each long edge to that center creas.

sleeve5

Now open the strip up again and bring the long edges together (wrong sides together), pin, and machine stitch a 1/4” seam. Now you have a long tube.

sleeve6

sleeve7

Carefully press that seam open. Be careful not to disturb your original press lines on the edges.  (NOTE: You’ll notice that the sleeve doesn’t lie flat—the front side (without the seam) is a bit wider than the back, so it “curls”.  Don’t worry–it’s meant to be that way.)

sleeve8

Lay the back of the sleeve (hemmed side) onto the back of your quilt, positioning the top crease about 1/2” from the top (or just a “smidge” under the binding)—and pin. Then pin the lower creased edge.

By hand, with a needle and matching thread, whip stitch the top creased edge and bottom creased edge to the quilt backing.  (NOTE:  Be sure not to sew all the way through the quilt…we don’t want the stitching to show on the front of the quilt.)

sleeve9a

You can also whip stitch the short ends to the quilt…but only the back part…. (NOTE:  Be sure not to whip stitch the front of the short ends—you need the ends open so you can slip the dowel inside the sleeve.)

Again, notice the front of the sleeve will poof out just a bit (see photo below). That’s okay! This is done on purpose to accommodate the width of the wooden dowel (or rod) so that the front of the quilt doesn’t buckle or get distorted when you hang it up.

sleeve9b

The wooden dowel can be any diameter, but I like to choose the smallest diameter dowel that can handle the weight of the quilt without bending out of shape.  For most of my quilts and wall hangings, I use a 3/8 to 1/2 inch diameter wooden dowel.  For my smaller wallhangings, I might even use a smaller one. If you’re hanging a very large bed-sized quilt, or a quilt that is unusually heavy, you might want to consider a larger diameter dowel or even use a metal curtain rod.

Cut the wooden dowel about an inch or less than your quilt back.  Twist an eye screw into each end.  Slip the dowel evenly through the hanging sleeve.  Hold the quilt (with dowel) up against your wall, positioning where you want it and being sure it’s level. Then mark with a pencil where the center of the eye screws are.  Then hammer the nails at those marks, and hang the quilt by putting the eye screws on the nails.

sleeve9c

If you’d rather not use the eye screws, you can cut the dowel almost the same size as the quilt, and hang the dowel ends directly on command strip hooks or nails instead.

That’s it!  Here’s a photo of my latest quilted wallhanging on my wall…

sleeve9d

By the way, this one’s for sale in my Etsy shop.

I hang all of my quilted wall hangings and art quilts this way. Here’s one in my livingroom… and a large landscape art quilt in my diningroom…

sleeve9e

IMG_7471

And s photo of the hanging sleeve on the back of one of my smaller art quilts. I used a 3/8 inch diameter wooden dowel for this one…

sleeve9g

sleeve9h

This method of hanging quilts works great for most of my quilted wall hangings and quilts. However, I’ve found a different method for hanging my small art quilts.

If you’d like to see that tutorial, just go to my earlier blog HERE.

Most quilt contests require a hanging sleeve that is 4 inches wide, so by cutting your original strip 8-1/2” it will end up being 4” wide. However, if you’re just hanging it at home, you don’t really need to start with your strip that wide. Just be sure your strip us wide enough so when it’s finished you can insert the dowel through it with a little extra wiggle room (don’t make it too tight).

I hope this tutorial on hanging your quilt is helpful.

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Make Your Own Washi Tape

Make Your Own Washi Tape

Have you ever used a strip of Wash tape to embellish a card, or add to your journal page or scrapbook? They’re beautiful, but although they’re not terribly expensive, if you want a variety to choose from it can add up. Plus I never seem to have exactly the color or style I want.

Well, my friend Carol gave me a tip for making my own…and Since I already had everything I need to make them, I had to try it and share it with you.

What you’ll need:

  1. Scotch tape (matt works best, but shiny will work)
  2. Magazines
  3. Warm water
  4. Glue stick

Any glossy magazine page will work. I have plenty of quilting magazines, catalogues and flyers.

To begin, simply tear off a strip of tape (whatever size you want) sticky side down over the top of the picture. It can be a pattern, words, some flowers, leaves…whatever design strikes your fancy.

Here I chose a section of a quilt photo from a catalogue.

Burnish the tape by rubbing it with your fingernail or an old credit card. As a quilter, I happened to have a seam roller for pressing down seams…and it worked great. The object is to get the tape stuck down firmly without any air bubbles.

Then place it in a bowl of warm water. You can tear off the extra magazine page around it first if you like, but it’s not necessary. Here I put the whole page in.

Wait for a few minutes. The tape with the image attached will slip away from the rest of the page. The paper backing slides off the back of the strip of tape completely, but magically leaves the color image transferred to the tape! It becomes part of the tape and is translucent.

Lay the individual tape strips on a clean towel to dry for several minutes. At this point they’re not very sticky, but there may be just enough glue residue left on some strips that they’ll lift up some fiber if you lay them on paper towels–which you don’t want–so a fiber towel is best.

And ta-da! … you have the equivalent of (non-sticky) washi tape strips to use to decorate your cards and scrapbook pages.

To make them sticky, just run a glue stick across the back of the strip when you’re ready to stick them on your page or card. Or you could use any scrapbook glue. Or (if you have one) you could even run them through a xylon stickermaker.

Here are a few of mine..

Aren’t they cute?

Some are bright, and some very subtle (like the leaves above).

They do tend to curl a bit after they’re dry, but I’ve discovered a way to straighten them. Take two sheets of parchment paper–the kind used for baking. Put one on your ironing board (to protect it) and place the strip on top. Then cover that with the second piece of parchment (to protect the iron) and iron for a few seconds.

I understand that besides using pages from magazines or flyers, that this technique will work on anything printed on a laser printer. Since I don’t have a laser printer, I can’t verify how well that works, …but if you have access to one, it would be a great way to make your own washi tape phrases or quotes, …or print out your own photos and computer-generated designs to use.

Hope you’ll give it a try.

Until next time…HAPPY QUILTING,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Scrapbuster of a Scrap Quilt

Scrapbuster of a Scrap Quilt

It’s the last challenge of the year (“Scraptastic”) for season 9 of Project Quilting, and if you’ve been following along you know I’ve entered every challenge this year so far. However, for this one I’m really in a time crunch. I think my real challenge will be to finish it in time! The entire quilted item must be started and completely finished (yup, quilted & bound) within one short week.

I’ve got bins and bins full of leftover fabric from years of sewing. Some are so old, I think they might be considered “vintage “…maybe you’ll recognize a few of these prints. I gathered my beiges, browns, threw in a few reds, greens, and blues, and made a plethora of half square triangles.

As I was pinning them up on my design wall, secondary stars began to appear in the pattern…so I purposely went back and placed light contrasting hst in white or beige in those areas to help the stars shine.

You really need to stand back to see them.

It’s a very simple pattern once you lay the hst and squares out to make one block at a time…

It’s a 16 block made up of hst and squares, and depending on where you place the lights and darks, it creates the stretched star.

Here I’ve done a little better job of alternating the beige and white stars. Each block measures 12-1/2 inches (12 inches finished). It’s a great stash buster, but as you can see on the table, half square triangles seem to multiply like bunnies when you’re not looking! The clock is ticking, so to get done in time, I’d better stop now and use those extras in another project.

I found a great backing in my stash, and here it is on my trusty Tin Lizzy ready to quilt. I’m planning to do straight lines around each of the stars and then fill in with meandering and loops between the stars with swirls inside the centers…leaving the star points unquilted so they pop.

I decided on a faux flange binding.

And here it is…finished just in time!

Hope you’ll stop by Project Quilting and vote for your favorites Mine is #50, hint-hint). Voting begins Sunday, March 25, 2018 (I think voting runs through Friday).

It’s now for sale in my shop here.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Stitch in Time Entry

Project Quilting Stitch in Time Entry

So…I thought about the challenge for Project Quilting this week…A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE. And nothing came to me for several days. I thought this would be the week I just didn’t enter.

Then, as I was thinking about the time change this Sunday…and about having more daylight, …the sun was shining (even though we did get more snow a few days ago)…and the birds were singing outside. They weren’t singing their usual winter chirps, but their special beautiful spring time songs! Then I thought about how I should be saving bits of colorful ribbon, yarn, and little strips of fabric and putting them outside so the birds could use them because they’ll be building their nests soon. And the idea for the challenge came to me…

I started to equate “a stitch in time” with the little birds getting their nests “stitched” together with bits of string and twigs. And then I started to visualize nests made out of fabric selvages and bright fabric strips. And the idea started taking shape!

I used scraps from my stash to flip and sew the background, and fused the appliqué shapes on top. Then cut up a bunch of my selvedge edges I’ve been saving and quilted them down to create the nest.

I even found the Stonehedge fabric selvage from their fabric called “a stitch in time”!! What are the chances? Totally unplanned! How cool was that?

So here’s my entry for Project Quilting Season 9, Challenge #5 “A Stitch in Time”. I hope you’ll stop by the website to vote for your 10 favorite entries. Voting starts after noon (Wisconsin time) on Sunday, March 11, 2018 and I think it runs through Friday, March 16, 2018.,

Until next time…HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts