Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nibbles Revisited: Stay Tuned for Modern Quilt Along

jill here....While Marny prepares for the "quilt along"( starting next week),  I'll invite you to join in the fun.  If you have never pieced a circle it is a great chance to gain a new skill.  It looks harder than it really is and the more you practice, the better you get. Grab a partner and meet the challenge.

On with Nibbles revisited.  When we design patterns, we're always trying to find appealing fabric selections. It's fun to change things up and showcase different options. Our trunk show samples allow us play time.

We recently visited Robin at Isabelle Originals and Ivy Threads in Dysart, Iowa.  What a cute shop with fun fabric and a very welcoming atmosphere!  A Kaffe Facette fabric "Paisley Jungle"spoke to me for a remake of our pattern Nibbles. It is quite colorful, contemporary and different from the original on our published cover. I decided to try the large scale print as a background, using smaller scale prints as the nibbles.  The print was not nondirectional but had enough movement in both directions;  I thought it could still be successful.

Kaffe Fassett's (Rowan Fabrics) "Paisley Jungle"

First attempt with variety of 10 values, colors and prints.
Once the strip sets were finished, it  appeared too crazy
with no place for the eye to rest (and not in keeping
with the intention of the pattern).

Searching for a narrower color range.... these analogous colors
have a tighter range, less pattern but the dots yelled out
above the rest.  I was looking for more balance.

Five Kona solid values ranging from red to pink seem to be the best option.
The solids gives a clean edge to the squares.  The lighter values
will give some variety in the overall visual effect.

The red works for two reasons:  there is only a small amount
of it in the background (creating contrast)
and it's the complementary color to a
mostly green background.

Off to Dysart.  We'll check on it later.  See you next Tuesday for the Quilt Along.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Free Modern Quilt Pattern and Modern Quilt Along Coming Soon!

Marny here...

Let me share a few announcements, in no particular order.

First, we had two of our quilts in Sisters, Oregon at Jean Wells' shop, The Stitchin' Post, during the big quilt show they just had.  A picture was passed along to us via Jeanne who got it from Rose.  We really got a kick out of seeing the display of Leftovers (on the seat of the chair) and Bowtie Pasta with a Twist (on the back of the chair) in such a well known shop.  Thank you letting us see them in place.

Second, let me remind you all again that the Des Moines Area Modern Quilt Guild will be meeting this Thursday, the 21st.  Please take a look here to get more information about the Guild and this meeting and take special note of the nametag discussion.  It is going to be great fun!  

Third, let me introduce you to Dinner Plates.  Jill motivated me to create this summery quilt in a bit of a challenge she gave me a few years ago.  She said "try using circles in a modern quilt" and look what happened.  It became a large quilt for a queen sized bed. Often the challenges we give one another either end up as small projects or as permanent WIPs so this was a happy surprise.  It was fun using large and small scale fabrics, some fabrics that read "solid" and a tight color scheme.  April finished it off with some special quilting!
A Dinner Plate block.

A  "without" Dinner Plate block.

I've decided to blog about the steps involved in creating Dinner Plates in several upcoming posts.  You can turn it into a quilt along so please join in.  This queen size and a scaled down throw size will be described in the pattern. 

Fabric selection and fabric quantities for making the Dinner Plates quilt will be posted August 2nd.  The steps will probably be posted every other week.  I am having great fun because I get to use color in my diagrams.  Yipee!  It is more of an immediate visual treat for me, I must say.  When creating patterns to be printed commercially the diagrams and steps have to be in black and white.  

I am hopeful I can create a pdf of the entire pattern that will be available for you to download once we have reached the end of the process or you can choose to follow along in the posts.  All the steps will appear when you click on the label Dinner Plates in the label column if you miss any as we go along.  

Is anybody interested in joining in? 

Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild and lets get the Modern Quilt Relish Trunk Show on the Road

Marny here...Just a heads up that the Des Moines Area Modern Quilt Guild has a meeting the 21st.  Everyone with an interest in the Modern Quilt Guild movement is welcome.

We are getting all our samples bound and are just about ready to start official Trunk Shows.  I have a small sample to finish binding today.  It is a really cute baby/wall version of Nibbles.  We have already posted our binding tutorial.  You can click on it in the right sidebar.  Today I want to show you how I trim my quilts before putting the binding on.  Everyone has their own method, but here is mine.

I like square corners.  Many of the quilts I have made in the past as store samples have ended up on the walls of the Quilting Connection in downtown Ames.  (Lots of our current quilts and patterns and kits are there now of course.)  When you work in a store all day and view your own quilts up for all to see it is discouraging when the binding detracts from the quilt.  Square corners are so much nicer than warped, curved or otherwise oddly shaped ones.  A square corner starts with the trimming of the quilt.  I do not grade my batting/backing as I trim.  Others have success with that system, but here is what I do.

I am lucky in many ways.  First, these quilts have been quilted by a long arm quilter. April does a wonderful job and the quilts are evenly quilted and lie very flat when we get them back.  She has advised us to stitch the quilt tops 1/8" or so from the edge all the way around before she quilts them.  This does help stabilize the top a bit during the quilting process.  

Second, I have a large cutting table.  I prefer cutting on my green mat, it seems kinder to my blades, even though the entire surface is covered with a cutting mat.  (We get quirky the longer we quilt.) 

Third, my rulers are awesome.  There are long ones and large square ones that make this job so easy.
You will see MasterPiece and two Creative Grid rulers here.
I also have a large Olfa cutting blade that is great for cutting through the quilt with its additional batting.

So here we go...

1. Smooth out your quilt on whatever surface you are using.  A large table is good so that the quilt stays flat and not in some rumpled state as you trim.  You can scoot a smaller mat around as you need it to cut on.  Just be careful not to nick a surface other than your mat.

2.  Start along an edge with a corner included in the first cut.  

3.  Be sure to line up the corner both horizontally and vertically under your ruler.  Keep it as "square" as you can.  You might need to cut a bit away from the edge of the quilt to do so.  Just make sure this "fudge factor" is less than the seam allowance you use to apply the binding.
Here the ruler is being "squared" on the corner.  The trimming will
be on the right length of the ruler.

The quilt is trimmed along one side.

4.  Turn the quilt, smooth it out and start working up the other side.  Sometimes a good sized square is handy on larger quilts, but on these smaller ones my wide, long rulers should do the trick.

5.  Again line up corner number two both horizontally and vertically under the ruler.

6.  Here is one corner completed.

7.  Repeat all the way around the perimeter of your quilt.

8.  Now it is time to bind with a scrappy binding of the fabrics used in the quilt.  A completed quilt is just around the corner!  (and it will be a square corner)

Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quilting Line Forms Here

Marny's turn...It started innocently enough.  I was choosing thread for the circular quilting lines I planned for my ongoing Wave project.  (The straight lines I had originally envisioned were pushed aside by the concentric circles that result when you drop a pebble in water.)
These four all have potential crossing the Kona snow background and the pieced lines.
It is a good idea to spread your thread choices across the surface to allow you to make a decision with some basis.
But then a new idea popped into my head and I tried it out on a sheet of paper.
Cool wave opportunities rev up the imagination.

So I tried it out on a plain quilt sandwich.  All along I am thinking too much thread and too many lines for my current project.  But the inspiration moves me forward.
It starts out simply enough, and I stay on track at first.
The intersecting lines and spaces are intriguing.
But then I lose my concept and stray from what I learned in the drawing.
 The crossover point is important to keep consistent.
The wave is kind of lost, but it is a learning experience.
So with nothing to lose, I started adding lines below then
above the original set.
Lots of movement, but not believable as waves.  Twisting yes, wave action no.
Quilting lines are important in your quilts.  Their first job is to keep the layers of your quilt together through whatever use and laundering methods you have planned for it.  But they also can serve to reinforce the look you hope to achieve for your quilt.  The scale of the quilting shape, the density of the line, the geometry or organic flow of the stitching and the color of thread all need to be considered when making your quilting choice.  Quilting often makes the quilt come alive.

The Wave quilt is already about lines of waves.  The blocks are simple and there is a relatively large amount of negative space.  So I am heading back to simple lines of quilting.  I'm hopeful the experimentation today will show up somewhere else before long.  The practice and exploration has my mind hopping with ideas.

Till next Tuesday.