Monday, January 30, 2012

The House Quilt Project

I have admired Jamie Fingal's work for quite some time.  She is a quilt artist who calls herself the rebel quilter.  She does a lot of creating through art quilts.  Jamie loves color and she does wonderful things with zippers. You can view her creativity on her website: .  This is a piece she made for the International Quilt Association's auction in Houston. 

Jamie started a project in 2010 called "The House Quilt Project".   It is a partnership with Furnishing Hope to provide a Welcome Home patriotic piece of quilt art to help decorate a room of the houses that they provide for those in need, including returning marines in the Wounded Warrior Battalion.  The requirements are that it measures 12"x16", depicts a house and has an American flag. 

Since I have been so enamoured with the conch houses in Key West, I decided to use one as a theme for The House Quilt Project.   I chose wild crazy colors.  I hope not too wild! Can you see the flag hanging off the porch railing?

If you would like to participate, visit the blog for The House Quilt Project. 
"Build" a house to decorate for hope.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scrappy Quilt #3

I brought a bunch of fabric with me to Key West that I wanted to use up.  I made 2 scrap quilt tops for our house in the Poconos.  You can see them here and here.  I had one more quilt on my "To Do" list from this pile of fabrics.   This quilt is for a community project in Israel.  I am heading to Israel in a few weeks and wanted to bring a quilt top with me for  "Quilts For Benji".

Men and women from around the world volunteer to join the Israeli army.  In 1998, a young man from London named Benji Hillman came to Israel to join the army and then lost his life fighting to protect Israel in 2006. These young people leave their family, friends and country and are willing to give their life for the people of Israel.  There is a group of women who want to show their gratitude and appreciation by making each of them a quilt for their bed in the army barracks. 

So I still had a pile of fabric left from my the other 2 scrappy quilts that I made.  Inspiration came to me on one of my morning walks here in Key West in front of The Banyon House.  Check out the sidewalk.

Here is a close-up.

It reminded me of the pattern, "Yellow Brick Road", published by Atkinson Designs.

I made a quick sketch, decided to make it a 12" block and designated the size of all the pieces.

This became my cutting list.  I also decided to make each piece the same color.  For some of the blocks, I did not have enough fabric, so I used multiple fabrics of the same color.

This is a finished block.

This is what the blocks looked like laid out on the floor as a quilt.  (I really miss my design wall.)

I intentionally used the gold fabric for the smallest piece and I really like what they did as the blocks came together.  I was not so crazy about the big patches of blue.

So I added a corner triangle to each of the blue patches and liked that much better as the blue rectangles came together.

I only need to bring the quilt top with me.  The quilters in Israel will make it into a quilt.  It's really a win-win, because then I will have extra room in my suitcase to bring souvenirs home!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #5 - Key West Conch House


 Key West has it's own architectural style of houses.  Often they make me smile with their gingerbread detailing, simple style and pastel colors.   Although they are not all painted pink or blue, they do have similar characteristics to suit the tropical climate.   They are called conch (pronounced konk) houses since they were originally made from ground up conch shells.  Although conch shells are no longer used in their construction, they typically have galvanized steel roofs, ventilating roof hatches, window shutters and porches with an overhang. All of this "to beat the heat". 

Here is a sampling of some of my photos:

This is a photo of my favorite breakfast spot, Blue Heaven.  It's an outdoor restaurant with the best pancakes, all served with roaming roosters and cats.

I used fusible machine applique to create this block. 
 A machine blanket stitch was used to stitch it down. 

I also used machine stitching for the porch railing.

The most fun was creating the palm fronds.  I wanted them to be 3-D.  To achieve this, I fused 2 pieces of fabric, back to back.  Then I cut it out. 
 I only stitch the fronds down the middle to achieve dimensionality.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Where Else?

On my morning walk, the other day, I saw the most adorable vehicle.

Where else, but in Key West?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wonderful Wonderfil #3

"It Takes A Village" is the 3rd piece that I created to showcase Wonderfil threads. 

I use a heavyweight stabilizer such as Pelltex II to achieve unusual edges like the roof top shape. It makes the whole piece very stiff.

The pink leaves of this tree are 3-D.  I only stitch them down the middle, leaving the sides of the leaves free to curl up and be leaf-like.

I used rayon thread (Splendor) to machine blanket stitch all of the little houses.

The buttons are tied on using an 8 wt rayon thread (Razzle).  I use a drop of Fray Chek to keep the knots of this slippery thread from coming loose.
Since these pieces are decorative and not meant to be washed, I often use the foam letters from the craft store.  Moat of them have sticky backs that help to keep them in place while I whipstitch them down. 

Here's a close-up.  I love using Dazzle.  It's a heavyweight rayon thread with a strand of metallic thread that gives it a touch of sparkle.

I call these embellished triangles hanging down from the bottom, jewels. I usually add beads and/or charms to them.  For this piece I also added some old keys to the bottom using Wonderfil's 12 wt cotton thread.  (Thank you to my friend Barbara for giving me all those fabulous old keys.)

Wonderfil will be displaying all three of my pieces in their booth at a bunch of sewing and quilting shows both in the US and Canada.  If you want to see the other 2 pieces, click:  "I Love Paris" or  "My Wish".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #4 - Ride on Bailey

Here we are on week #2 of my year long project to create a block a week.  I am still in Key West, so there is still lots of inspiration. I have received lots of feedback that you are enjoying the local color, so this week I will continue.

 Bicycles are one of the most popular way to get around the island.  You see both locals and tourists riding bikes.  A lot of the locals ride bikes in lieu of owning a car.  Bike riding is fun for us tourists and it alleviates the aggravation of traffic and trying to find a parking space for a car.  There are bike racks everywhere.  (Even though this is paradise, you still have to lock your bike.)

For the time we are here, I try not to get behind the wheel of the car.  I am able to do this because my husband does all of the grocery shopping,. (VBG)  I ride my bike for fun and to run errands.  I have a folding bike that is a little strange looking with a very utilitarian basket.

And whenever I can, Bailey is my companion. She sits in that basket and checks out the scenery like a masthead. Every once in a while she turns around for a kiss and to make sure that I am still there.

Here she is in the basket with her ear flying in the breeze. 

I used the big stitch and metallic thread to add the spokes.

And then I used free motion quilting to add the words.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Scrappy Strippy String Quilt Tutorial

This quilt will fulfill my mission of having every bed in our mountain house covered with one of my quilts.  My ultimate motivation was two-fold.  The first motivator is that I am hosting a quilting retreat for a group of ladies in June.  The second motivator is that we are hosting my son's wedding, also in June.  Do we see a little over-commitment here?  Of course - I wouldn't have it any other way.

String quilts are not new.  They are a great way to use up strips and/or scraps of fabric. String quilts are traditionally sewn to a foundation of fabric or paper.  I like to stitch them to fabric for stability and to avoid bias edges.  When you stitch to paper, paper removal becomes a time consuming and messy step. 

Part of my goal was to use up a bunch of my traditional; fabric as well as have the quilt fir that mountain aesthetic.  To keep with that goal, I cut up lots of my fabric to use as the foundation.  I cut 100 rectangles measuring 7" x 10".

Then I took a bunch of fabric and cut them into strips.  I cut them without a ruler, varying the widths and not caring whether they were straight or not. I place a strip right side up diagonally on the rectangular foundation fabric.  (Those words are from my ironing board cover.)

Then I placed another strip on top of the first, right side down and stitched it down with a 1/4" seam allowance.

After pressing that strip open, you can add strips on both sides of the existing strips.  I do them assembly line style - usually 20 blocks at a time.

After covering the foundation fabric, it is time to trim.

  I didn't find much shrinkage to the size of the block. I recommend using anything but a loosely woven fabric like a homespun to prevent shifting.

 To trim, I first used the rotary cutter to trim one of the long sides.  Then I aligned it with the lines on my cutting mat, to trim the other 3 sides.

  If you want the diamond pattern, make sure that you make half of the blocks with the strips going diagonally to the left and the other half of the blocks with the strips going diagonally to the right.

After prepping all 100 of the blocks, I sewed them together in pairs and then sewed the pairs together to form the diamond.

And this is the finished quilt top.  If your family likes a heavy quilt - this project is for you.  The top alone weighs a ton because of the extra layer from the foundation fabric.  I am thinking about quilting it without batting so I don't add any more weight.  But I think it would look too flat.

And I just couldn't resist sharing this last photo with you.  How could you not love a dog that can sleep with her head resting on the bed of your sewing machine?