Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fresh Fabric Inspirations

Minneapolis Quilt Market 2010 did not disappoint us.  One of the great perks of being an employee of the Quilting Connection is occasionally attending Quilt Market.  It is the wholesale market for quiltshop retailers and other quilting professionals.  We hope to give you a peek.

Schoolhouse takes place on day one.  The day is divided into 15 sessions with 267 class options on a wide range of topics.  The classes are offered by fabric designers, pattern makers, authors and suppliers.  It's purpose is to introduce new products and techniques and to educate retailers.  Here are just a few of our favorite sessions.

One author, Cherri House, introduced her first book City Quilts.  Wow!  We think her designs represent modern quilting at its best.  Her colors, shapes and instructions are inspiring.

C&T Publishing has started a new imprint Stashbooks.  These new books are planned to encourage the 30 year old "sewists" in their "soft crafts" with quick, achievable projects.  City Quilts is their publication. We will be looking forward to upcoming releases.

Amy Butler showcased her fabrics, vinyls, patterns and her new book Style Stitches.  She is a personable presenter and very approachable.

Erin McMorris for FreeSpirit Fabric also has fanciful fabrics and laminated cottons coming out in her "Weekends" collection.  Check out the cute bicycle fabric.
Terry Atkinson of Atkinson Designs will now be supplying zippers in many colors for wallets and bags.  We are excited to have them in the store soon.  Her Urban Cabin quilt pattern is a great way to use fresh modern prints of all scales.

Now for fabric at Sample Spree.  Talk about a bunch of aggressive quilters.  The aisles get pretty ruthless, but the event is great.  A number (limited by the fire marshal) of quilters are allowed into a very large room filled with vendor tables at the stroke of 8 pm.  The lines going in stretch for a couple of blocks.  Then the buying begins at wholesale prices for us common folks.  Chaos.  But here is what we chose.
We headed straight for Robert Kaufman seeking solids.  We were rewarded, purchasing fat quarter bundles (great for value gradation) and Charm Squares of Kona Cotton Solids.

Couldn't resist the luscious silk.  Yummy.
Happily, graphic modern prints are now available in organic cotton collections.  Here is one colorway of Free to Grow by Nancy Mims/Mod Green PC with a charm pack of solids. 

A fun bundle of Riley Blake designs in greys, blacks, whites, fushia and aqua. 

And finally, Arianna for Benartex by Jennifer Young in two colorways.

Next week we will discuss our day on "the floor" exploring all sorts of vendors and their ideas and products.  See you Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Following the Path of Least Resistance Continued

Last week, we cut our stacked fabrics.  Today they are ready to take shape.  They have great movement with the improvisational curve so we will try to create a connection.

Firstly, the blocks edges are cleaned up - not necessarily squared.  Marny sketched several options for a vertical layout (table runner or skinny quilt).  Plan "D" seems to speak to her but in the end but it will take on a life of its own.

The blocks are framed with varying widths of a subtle light stripe (2 3/4, 1 1/2, 3, 4 inches ).   It's liberating  to ignore rules that we have always sewn with!!  The seams are pressed open.

The five blocks are placed on the design wall with a darker background fabric.  This background is cut so that each block can be shifted for the final placement.  The photo shows the strips arranged vertically.

We decided to add sashing between the blocks to distribute the darker background within the lighter areas.  This was a 3 inch cut to provide unity.

The finished project will be revealed in a future post.  We're off to Minneapolis Quilt Market!  Yipee Skipee!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Join Us and Follow the Path of Least Resistance

Quilt along with us. 

Jill's Recipe influenced by Karla Alexander's Stack a New Deck.

  • 5 fabrics in a tight range of values from a medium dark to a medium light
  • 1 solid (in our case silk)
  • something dull/muted
  • something funky-highly patterned
  • 2 other textures that are different scale/different pattern from the previous 3.

Cut a 9 1/2 inch square from each fabric (or whatever size you desire.)  If distinct patterns are printed on grain--cut a bit wonky so the pattern is no longer regular.  Stack the five squares on top of one another all right side up.  Cut gentle curves at least one inch away from the corners.  Avoid small of pieces with severe angles.

Take a moment after cutting to think of a logical way to piece--follow the path of least resistance.

Now rearrange each stack randomly.  We each have nine sections after cutting, so fabric will repeat in each block.  Feel free to rearrange to please your eye.

Using a small seam allowance and a tight stitch start sewing your pieces together.  Align the corners of your pieces and sew to maintain the original curve as much as possible.  Sew from the inside out.  The outside edges of the block can be trimmed more easily.  Press seam allowances opposing to one another.  Match the intersecting seams when possible.

You will complete five blocks.  Do not trim the uneven edges.  We will cut and arrange next week.
See you then.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Backing Up and Moving Forward

Backing up to last week's blog:
Marny….I continued with improvisational piecing and ended up with a practice piece for a larger quilt to be hung above my fireplace.  The final project will need to use larger scaled piecing and more greens to be effective on the very tall and violet wall I have, but I think I am on to some of the shapes that will work well.  The improvisational curves will be interesting against the strong geometric shapes of the walls.  The two curved “column” shapes on either side of the tulle-covered center are intriguing.  I want to see them repeated.  The fabric choices pictured in the April 20th blog seem to play well with one another.  While I didn’t use very many of them in the practice piece, I have considered them while contemplating a larger quilt.  The original little units constructed from the curved pieced strip sets still please me.    Lilacs, the source of my inspiration, are blooming profusely right now.  Their scent is filling the evening and morning air.  Hopefully time will present itself to continue working on this project.  May is a month full of promise and ninety other things we have to do! 

And now moving forward to a new topic.
We are always intrigued to see the optional fabric choices publishers share when showing quilt patterns.  Recently we created three versions of Rungs by Karla Alexander found in Skinny Quilts & Table Runners II edited by Eleanor Levie. first intent was to use stash fabrics, full range of values and a polychromatic color scheme.  An interesting outcome of this pattern is the equal proportions of each fabric-with your choice of distribution.
Typically I prefer to use smaller amounts of the very light and the very dark and a more controlled color scheme.
My second attempt was a more controlled monochromatic (blue-green) color scheme with a planned punch of intensity (gold/yellow) to give it a luminous quality.  I used a more asymmetrical layout, which I personally prefer.
Marny....having seen Jill's first one on her design wall I headed home inspired to make one.  Mine is an analogous color scheme of blue, blue-green and red-violet in a range of values and textures.  The asymmetrical choice for cutting intrigued me as well.  It was a quick and appealing pattern for experimentation.
We will close with the comment that photographing the quilt makes the value more obvious.  It is a good tool for planning fabric placement.  'Till next Tuesday.