Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flower Power Applique

I've definitely got my girly groove on this week, as I play with pretty applique flowers and leaves...


Wanting to make a completely fun piece that celebrated the return of Spring, I decided to make an appliqued flower table runner.


There are so many ways to do applique, from needle-turned to raw edge to fusible cut-outs, (just to name some) but for this piece I decided to use the freezer paper method. I suppose there are lots of versions to using freezer paper in applique, but for anyone unfamiliar with it, this is how I do it... 


First make a template of the shape from card-stock. Then, simply trace around the template onto the dull side of freezer paper and cut the shape out. Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the back of your fabric and cut it out adding a 1/4" allowance of fabric.



Turn the 1/4" allowance to the back, (clip curves if need be) and tack it down using matching thread and very tiny stitches placed as close to the folded edge as possible. Press each shape with a hot iron and remove the paper. Press again for good measure. A bit of spray starch can also come in handy in keeping everything crisp and nice.


Here are some flowers and leaves all ready to go!


I've gotten everything stitched and quilted, now I just need to bind it and wash it, (I like to wash most of my finished pieces to enhance the quilting texture). Of course, once It's finished I'll come back and show you the whole runner! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rusty Windmills

Well, here's the finished pinwheel quilt that I gave a small peek of in my last post. It was inspired by rusty farm windmills. Now, it seems to me that not so long ago just about every farm around here had a windmill, but now I am seeing them less and less, which makes me sad.
However, I am really happy with how the quilt turned out!
I wanted a modern take on a traditional Amish pattern, and of course I also wanted to use colors that reflect the barn/farm structures in this area. Around here you see lots of whites and reds, as well as various colors of weathered brown wood. And rust. Lots of rust!
So, once again I turned to those great "Grunge" fabrics, (from Moda). They capture the patina of this area better then any other fabric I have yet to find. Even the white fabric is streaked and flecked with bits of grey and beige, although it's so subtle you unfortunately can't really see it from the photos.
I quilted this piece with straight and wavy lines in an arrangement that I hope gives the feeling of air moving through the windmills blades...
because what good is a windmill without moving air?!
"Rusty Windmills is now here available in my Rural Retro Designs shop.
Hope you all have a great day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers...

I made this little quilt last week, with that old saying, "April Showers Bring May Flowers" in mind.


However this year, truth is that we not only haven't had any real April showers yet, we also have had no need for them either, (as far as flowers go) as unseasonably warm March days have brought flowers to us unusually early...


And even if some are really allergy inducing agents of torture, for now we will forgive them a bit, as they just look so darn pretty!

To help create the feeling of April rain coming down, I decided to quilt this piece a bit more closely then the previous two quilts that I did, (found here and here) and which for simplicities sake, I am from here on out going to refer to as "color blocking" quilts.


I used several different colors of the beautiful Sulky® variegated threads that I was gifted a while back. I love how they dance across the top and add a whole extra dimension of color and texture.


'April Showers' is now available in my shop here.

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And here's a little peek of what I am currently working on...


I've had a case of pinwheels on the brain this week, and am currently putting together this quilt top, inspired by rusty windmills. Hope to have it all finished by next week. Till then, have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Inspiration

It dawned on me this week that I have no Easter decorations. At least none that I can find. Not sure where they went... I know that I use to have decorations, which I would bring out every year when the girls were little, along with their baskets which would be filled to the brim come Easter morning.


Over time though, I have gotten more and more lax, but along with still dyeing Easter eggs, (which I have yet to do this year) and filling at least one communal basket full of treats, (which I have yet to buy any of this year) I always seemed to have the house at least a little decorated for the season, (although I admit it's been less and less with each year the girls grew). With the exception of the white stone egg, pictured in the photo above, I haven't been able to find a single Easter related decoration. (We will blame it on last year's spring cleaning. I must have done an unusually good job!)

Well, no harm done, as it gave me the perfect excuse to make this little quilt for the house! (I want to give it a name but can't can't decide between 'Egg Hunt', 'Easter Parade', or 'Candy Dots'. I am open to suggestions).


I used some of the pretty organic Cloud 9 Fabrics that my good friend Michelle, (co-owner of Cloud 9 Fabrics) gifted me a few months back. (I have been saving them for just the right projects!)

And it also gave me a good reason to do a little old-fashioned piecing, something I haven't done in a long time. And yes, I felt rusty! I had to practice a bit to get those curves close to right, and not every point matches up perfectly... which made me realize that as much as I adore improvised quilt making, I don't want to lose the formal techniques and skills that I once worked hard to learn. I have always felt that it's best to know the rules before breaking them, and it simply never occurred to me before that you could know them but forget them! So, expect to see some more old-fashioned piecing along with the improv, as I realize I need to use it so I don't lose it, (like my Easter decorations!)