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

Project Quilting 9.2 Entry: Mosaic Falling Leave

Project Quilting 9.2 Entry: Mosaic Falling Leave

I’m still intrigued by the idea of fabric mosaics, so I thought I’d carry that idea a step further into this week’sProject Quilting 9.2 “Triangulation“. It’s risky… because I’m not sure this will work–it could be a huge failure, but I think it’s worth a try.

Instead of cutting the square fabric tiles,like I did in my last post, this time I’m thinking of stepping it up a notch by cutting the tiny squares into even tinier triangles and placing them onto an overall gridded pattern to replicate leaves or vines cascading down in shades of green and brown … very organic, very arts & crafts (which I love). I happened upon a beautiful tiled wall and that was the inspiration for this idea.  Plus, it gave me a good reason to use up some of the lovely fabrics I hand dyed.

I’ll start by drawing a grid on paper to use as a guide for placement, and cover that with the Steam-a-Seam 2–with one uncovered sticky side up. I can use my 3/8″ slotted template to cut the squares & then cut them in half corner-to-corner to make lots and lots (and lots) of triangles. I don’t want the triangles too large, since my Steam-a-Seam 2 sheet that I happen to have on hand is only 9×11 inches or so…and I only have a few days to get it done–the challenge deadline is fast approaching (hope I make it).

I wonder if the idea will translate well as I progress filling in the grid one by one with different values of green…and then brown…? Hmmmmm.

Little by little, one triangle at a time, it’s beginning to take shape…

It almost looks like a forest to me at this point.

I’m thinking a charcoal gray Kona cotton fabric will work best for the background “grout”. Black might be too dark and get lost in the top half of the quilt, and white might be too much of a contrast. I’ll have to audition a few grays to get the right one.

After ironing the quilt sandwich together with batting and backing fabric, I’m off to my sewing machine to stitch between the “tiles” with matching gray cotton thread.

That’s done!  And I’ve added the border (simple gray).  So I’m on the home stretch! Time to do a little hand sewing on the binding…I always save the last bit of my assortment of Aurifil threads in a special place for my hand sewing…

I love my little doll pincushion that my friend brought me back from her trip to Liberty of London…(I almost hate to stick her with pins!)

What do you think about it Snicks? … too tired to comment?

Done, done, done…with a few hours to spare…whew!  Time to get a square photo uploaded for the contest.  Since it’s not square, I hope this one will be the best choice…

Please stop by at the website for Project Quilting Season 9: Triangulation to vote for your 10 favorite quilts”!

Voting starts Sunday afternoon (January 28, 2018) and ends on Saturday (February 3, 2018).

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

It’s the middle of winter up here in Wisconsin, and cabin fever makes us do some wacky things. Waaaay back in the freezing February of 1979, the victorious Pail & Shovel party leaders fulfilled their student campaign promise to bring wackiness back to the UW-Madison campus. They built the head, crown, and torch of Lady Liberty and assembled it on top of the frozen ice on Lake Mendota. What a site! It created the illusion that the Statue of Liberty was rising out of (or sinking into) our frozen lake. It was a pretty amazing.

Since then, our Lady Liberty has suffered a fire, vandalism, and the effects of aging, only showing up (with a lot of reconstruction) a few winters over the years. So to get a glimpse of her on the frozen lake is pretty awesome. And really lifts your spirits in the dreaded cold post-holiday winter up here.

I think it was around February 2009, when the Hoofers (a UW student organization) took on the task of re-assembling it, that our Lady Liberty gloriously appeared again, not far from where I worked on the UW campus. So, during one of our lunch breaks on a beautiful cold but sunny day, , my co-worker and I just had to hike down to the lake, walk out onto the ice, and see it up close. Awesome!

Day One: When I heard this week’s Project Quilting challenge was “Hometown Proud”, I knew just what I was going to create! I brought up my Google file of photos of that day and found one to use as my inspiration!

Nothing says “Mad-Town Madison” and hometown pride better (except maybe the 1,000 pink flamingos on Bascom Hill in the springtime…LOL!)

I’ve been experimenting with a fabric mosaic technique (see my earlier blog post), so got out my stash of batiks in as many shades of blues and grays that I could find, and cut them up into 3/8th inch squares to fill in my sketch of our Lady Liberty.

To add a bit more realism to the scene, I cut silhouettes of a photographer and friend out of the darkest blue batik I could find, and decided to create the crown of the statue with fabrics cut to shape too, rather than using just squares.

Day Two: in the photos above all the bits of fabric have been fused down onto a white background (note the parchment paper to save my iron from a sticky mess). Then I added a layer of tulle over the top of all the fabric pieces to help keep them in place while machine quilting.

Next up…layering it on top of the batting & backing, and adding a border or two. I think I may get this project done in time to link it up for the contest! Yay!

Day Three: It took a lot of fabric auditioning time to find the right borders from my fabric stash, but I finally found something I liked.

Next came machine quilting. I wanted to emphasize the tiles by quilting between them, but also quilt in the sculpted face of the statue with Aurifil 50 wt grey thread.

In the photo above I’m going back and forth over the facial features with grey thread and free motion quilting,

Day Four: After adding the binding and hanging corners and hand sewing the binding to the back, I felt it still needed a bit more definition between the statue and the background.  So I went over some of the stitches with black Aurifil thread, giving it a bit more depth…

LadyL10

I think the black really made the statute’s features show up from a distance…

LadyL9

And the black helped define the statue against the ice and sky backgrounds…

Here’s some photos of the finished fabric mosaic…

LadyL7

A closeup of the “ice”

LadyL8

And last but not least, the photo I’m going to uplink to the First Challenge of the Project Quilting Season 9…

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

Voting begins Sunday, January 15, 2018 and ends the following Saturday.  I hope you’ll stop by and vote for your favorites (of course, I’m hoping one of your favorites will be mine).  🙂

UPDATE: VOTING IS CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who voted for my quilt–I really appreciate it. I came in 3rd — no prize, but I’m very pleased to be third out of 113 entries!❤️. And my name will be entered with the other quilters into the final drawing at the end of the season. Yay!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

I was looking through my Quilting Arts magazines and found an article by Cheryl Lynch where she shared her technique to make mini mosaic quilts.

I’ve always been drawn to mosaics, whether they’re made in glass, tile, paint, or fabric. It’s something about their detail I guess…so I was intrigued with the idea of making a mosaic pattern out of fabric.

After a little searching, I found her Etsy shop online and decided the best way to learn her technique was to purchase one of her kits, and the cutting template.

Photo of mosaic quilting kit

It arrived fast, and I was so excited to get started. Her kit included the instructions, lots and lots of batik fabric squares (to cut up for the “tiles”), a sheet of Steam a Seam II, tulle, a light batik for the “grout”, and full size pattern. It was hard choosing which of her darling patterns to try, but I decided on the bicycle pattern (I love bicycling). The plastic slotted template I bought in addition to her kit helps in cutting the 3/8″ square “tiles” with your rotary cutter. I tried doing it with a regular rotary ruler, and you can do it–but believe me, the slotted specialized template makes it so much easier.

The first step is to cut the variety of batik fabrics (by color) into tiny tiles, and organize them by color. Variety is the key. Batiks really help…not only do they provide the variation, the color permeates through to the back of the fabric so there’s no “wrong side”…so you never have to worry which side is up!

After sliding her master pattern under a sheet of Steam a Seam II (with one sticky exposed and facing side up) I secured them with thumbtacks to a foam core base. Using the pattern underneath as my guide, I placed each individual fabric square with a tweezers on top of the base following the outline of the pattern and then filled each section in…being sure to leave a little space in between each “tile” to let the fabric “grout” show through (the light batik fabric is added later and will show through these spaces).

It was a bit time-consuming, BUT I actually found the process relaxing and almost therapeutic and satisfying …kind of like putting a puzzle together or coloring in a coloring book. I also enjoyed the fact that it was an easy project to work on for a while, step away to do other things, and then come back and continue.

Isn’t it amazing how much progress you can make on a project (whether it’s sewing, quilting, or even cleaning a closet)… if you can carve out 20 minutes here and there throughout your day?

The next step was covering it with parchment (to protect the iron) and fusing it to the light batik “grout” fabric. Then layering it on top of a quilt sandwich (batting & backing) and adding a piece of light-colored tulle before adding the 2 narrow borders and machine quilting.

It’s hard deciding on the borders (see photos above)! But you know, I don’t think you can make a bad choice when you’re auditioning fabrics for your borders. You intuitively know when something really isn’t working. And when I came down to the last few choices…I think any of them would have worked. It’s just a matter of going with your gut, …so I finally decided on a grey batik and a medium brown batik–both from my stash.

Next up was machine quilting through all the layers. You could free motion quilt, but for this piece I was able to follow the grout lines pretty easily using my walking foot. I found a cotton Aurafil thread in a matching color and outlined the main bicycle, then continued along the horizontal lines of the background.

To finish up, I added a couple of folded squares (triangles) to the top corners of the back of the mini quilt for easy hanging with a thin wooden dowel. For more info on how to do that, see my earlier blog here. And finished it off with matching binding.

MosaicBike3IMG_6996MosaicBike6MosaicBike1

I hope you’ll give mini mosaic quilting a try.  (Or if you’d rather purchase this finished art quilt, it’s now for sale in my Etsy Shop.)

For more information on Cheryl Lynch and her technique, click on the link to her website below. She has some marvelous “how to” videos!

http://www.cheryllynchquilts.com/mini-mosaic-quilts.html

I can’ wait to start a new mini mosaic art quilt–using my own design. 

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts