Mary Schafer Exhibit at the Mercer Museum

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One of many things my friend Gwen Marston has taught me is that the quilting community at large is tremendously rich and it’s history important.  In that vein, I want to spread the word that now through August 13th at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown , Pennsylvania  there is a special special exhibit showing: “The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History”.

Gwen wrote not one, but two books about her mentor, Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker and Mary Schafer and Her Quilts (in collaboration with Joe Cunningham).  Ms Schafer is considered an important force behind the resurgent interest of quiltmaking in the 1970s, an expert quilter, a detailed quilt historian and a mentor to many.

If you get the opportunity, don’t miss the exhibit of the work by this important person in textile art.

With permission of the museum I am happy to share a couple of Mary’s Pieces.

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Grapes and Vines : Mary Schafer c 1972, flushing, Genesee County, Michigan; Cotton with Polyester Batting, 88 x 98 ; Photo by KEVA reserved Michigan State University Museum

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Lee’s Rose and Buds: Mary Schafer c 1972, Flushing, Genesee County, Michigan; Cotton with Polyester Batting, 81 x 100; Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

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What a legacy we quilt makers have!

Hillary

The Metro Tote Tutorial

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I love simple designs made with top notch materials.  I also love combining nontraditional materials together.  In this case I share a very simple tote design using thick felted wool along with leather handles and quilting cotton scraps.  There are so many other ways to experiment with this bag design and I hope those who try it take my instructions as a jumping off point to explore their own creativity.

One finished tote including handles, measures approximately 19 inches high, 12.5 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

Supplies

3 mm Felt ( I purchased mine from Aetna Felt  www.aetnafelt.com .  One 72” wide yard made 4 bags.  You can also use leather or 5 mm felt but both are much harder on a domestic machine)

2 thick leather pieces 18 x 1 ¼ inch for handles or two 18 inch premade handles (I demonstrate with some stitched 18 inch leather bag handles I made but plain leather will work perfectly well.  If you are intimidated by leather and rivets you can also use webbing as handles and sew them directly to the felt)

Exacto knife

Fabric Marker (I like Dritz Disappearing Ink pen)

Quilter’s Ruler

Rotary Cutter

Pieced block or textile that you want to feature on the bag in a reverse applique technique less then 9 1/2  x 9 1/2 inches (I have used paper piecing patterns, leftover quilt blocks, improv panels made from scraps.  The sky is the limit.)

Double sided fabric tape (optional)

Leather Hole Punch

Small Sized Rivets (If you are uncomfortable with rivet setting, screw in rivets are a nice alternative and if you chose to use 5mm thick wool, I recommend medium sized rivets)

Thread

Sewing Machine

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Step 1: Cut Out Your Pieces

Cut two pieces of Felt 12 ½ x 12 ½ inches (front and back pieces)

Cut one piece of Felt 36 x 4 inch (side piece)

Cut a piece of felt that is 1 inch larger on all sides then the cut out motif you plan for your front. (For example, if you choose to cut out a 6 inch circle in the front felt to show off a special paperpieced block then cut out a 7 inch felt circle. The front felt bag piece with the cut out motif, your chosen feature textile/block and this third felt piece will form  a sandwich that once finished will make the inside of the bag look more professional.)

Round the bottom corners of the front and back felt pieces.  (I used a 7 inch diameter circle but a round plate would work well too.)

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Step 2: Prepare your Front Felt Piece for Reverse Applique

Choose a cut out motif that you will use on you front felt piece (in this example, I used a 6×6 inch red cross sign) , mark with your marker and cut out with an Exacto knife. In previous iterations of this design, I have used a circle, rectangle, lightning bolt and a combination of shapes that will show off the piece I plan to show off in the reverse appliqué.  Let your imagination guide you.

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Once your motif is cut out in the felt, sandwich your block or textile between the front felt and the back extra felt piece centering them all as best you can.  You may use reversible tape to secure everything in place if needed.

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Stitch 1/8 inch around the reverse appliqué motif through all layers.

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Turn the whole piece to the back and trim away the extra fabric.

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Further secure them all together by stitching 1/4 inch again around the block                 through all three layers.

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Step 3: Sew the Bag Pieces Together

The seams on this bag are all to the outside and there are only two of them.  SO SIMPLE!

Wrong sides together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew the front felt piece to the long side piece.  Trim any extra felt that is hanging off the top.  (Of note, I do not use clips or needles when sewing this first seam but just guide it as I go around the corners.  For the second upcoming seam I use a lot of clips)

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Wrong sides together and using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew the back felt piece to the side piece.

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Step 4: Attach the Handles

Using your hole punch, punch two holes along the horizontal bottom of each end of the handles about 1/4 inch in from sides and bottom.

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Set your ruler 2 ½ inches from the side and 1 ½ inch from the top.  Align your bag handle at the edge and mark the handle holes on the felt with your marker.

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Using you hole punch, punch holes at these marked sites and attach your handles to the bag with rivets.

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Congratulations On Your New Bag!

Tag me @entropyalwayswins on IG and use the hashtag #themetrotote so I can see your beauties.

Best!

Hillary

Easter Egg Pincushion Tutorial by Hillary Goodwin and Kitty Wilkin

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Recently Kitty (Night Quilter) and I had the opportunity to meet in person after following each other’s work online for years.  Both loving embroidery, repurposing textiles, creativity and the sewing community in general we plotted a tutorial that would allow us to play off each other’s creative personality and engage the greater sewing community as a whole.

A year ago I made an Easter Egg shaped pincushion out of velvet and repurposed leather.  We expanded on this idea and invite anyone who wants to participate to make a similar pincushion and, if interested, incorporate repurposed leather (Earth Day is coming up after all, and repurposed leather is typically thin enough to easily sew on a domestic sewing machine. Be bold. Be brave. Let’s sew leather!).

In this tutorial we give everyone some guidelines but the emphasis is PLAY and MAKING THIS PROJECT YOUR OWN.  Don’t celebrate Easter?  No biggie, make a similar pincushion in another shape.  We will be following on Instagram so please tag your makes #eastereggpincushion (as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins) so we can all enjoy.  To celebrate this group project we will both randomly be giving participants some of our own pincushions as well as supplies to make them. All you need to do to be eligible is to play along, tag us, and tag #eastereggpincushion so that we can find you!


Suggested Supplies

Thin leather (~6×12 inches)

Wool felt, velvet, jeans or any other material for the inner portion of the pincushion (~6×6 inches)

Embroidery hoop (a 4” hoop will *just* fit the inner egg)

Egg Pincushion Template (print HERE) (note updated the pdf 3/20/2017)

Embroidery thread (embroidery floss, perle cotton, or 12wt thread works. Use what you have!)

Embroidery or other needle (Kitty uses Tulip size 3 milliners)

Double sided fabric tape or fabric glue (optional)

Sewing machine with a walking foot

Leather sewing machine needle 

Thread (Kitty and Hillary used 40wt Aurifil thread)

Chalk or other removable marker 

Muslin or other scrap fabric (6×12 inches)

Craft clips (both Clover wonderclips or Evergreen Art Supply craft clips work great)

Small Funnel

Crushed Walnut shell or other favored pincushion fill

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Step 1: Templates and Leather

Print the Easter Egg Pincushion HERE and cut along both inner and outer egg outlines.

Trace the template onto the wrong side of the leather, marking out two eggs–one with only the outline and one with both the inner and outer lines drawn. Carefully cut along the marked lines, remembering to cut one piece along only the outer egg outline and cut the other piece along both the inner and outer egg outlines. Set your leather pieces aside.

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Step 2: Embroidery

Using chalk or water soluble marker, trace the inner egg outline onto on your embroidery surface (felt, velvet, jeans, etc) so you will know the limitations of your embroidery design.  Adorn at your heart’s desire with embroidery, applique, etc.  You are welcome to copy our experiments but please feel free to try your own ideas.

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Step 3: Attach the Embroidery to the Leather Upper

Align your embroidered material so that the embellishments fit within the window of your leather upper (the egg with the hole cut out of the middle). Secure the right side of your embroidery to the wrong side of your leather upper with double sided tape, glue, or other method. Then, using a ¼ or ⅛ inch seam allowance, top stitch the two together along the inner egg as shown. Thread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim. Finally, trim the seam allowance of your embroidered material carefully about ½” away from the stitched line so that it remains easily inside the outer margins of the egg.

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Step 4: Make an Inner Pincushion

Using only the outer margin of your Egg Template, trace and cut two pieces of muslin.  Sew the two pieces together using a ¼ inch seam allowance, leaving a small opening to use for filling.  Fill with crushed walnut shells (a funnel can be helpful for this).  One half cup of crushed walnut shells for this project seems to be the right amount. Use, a little more if you want a more rounded pincushion.  Sew closed the opening of the inner pincushion.

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Step 5: Finishing your Pincushion

Place the two leather egg pieces wrong sides together and secure with wonderclips. (Note that pinning will create visible holes in the leather–use clips!)  Sew around the outer margin of the egg using a ¼ seam allowance, leaving an opening at least 3 inches long unsewn.  Stuff your filled and fully closed inner pincushion through this opening.  Ensuring the inner pincushion remains entirely inside, top stitch the remaining way around the outer edge of the egg.  Thread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim or bury.

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Step 6: Share your creation with us!

Tag your pincushion on Instagram #eastereggpincushion as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins or link to the blog posts.   We can’t wait to see what you create! Enjoy!!

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Derivatively Yours

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There is a long tradition of learning by copying. My journey in creativity has been no different. I started quilting several years ago by making quilts by Kaffe Fasset and Malka Dubrowsky using their patterns and their fabrics to make almost identical replicas of their work. Attracted to the aesthetic of the Modern Art Movement and buoyed by my improved skills I soon started designing quilts using artwork seen on Pinterest as guides in my making.

Why is this germaine you ask? Last year I had two quilts accepted and displayed in the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit at the Houston International Quilt Festival. It was the first Quilt show I submitted anything to. I was so naive to the whole process, as a quilt show virgin I think even Jacquie Gering weighed in on IG and helped direct me to a tutorial on making quilt sleeves. Of the two pieces that were accepted and shown, one piece I call “Life in the ER” was a fairly direct copy of a 1958 poster I reinterpreted in fabric. The other piece “5/325” was highly inspired by the work of Cecil Touchon but certainly not a direct copy of any of his work.

Fast Forward to this month when I have another piece hanging in the Modern Quilt Guild showcase in Houston. This piece, “Bloberella” is a work inspired by many but designed soley by me. In it I see the color inspiration of Gwen Marston, improv piecing techniques of Sherri Lynn Wood and needle turn appliqué learned from Carolyn Friedlander. It is unequivocally improved by the quilting art of Krista Withers.

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There has been significant unease over the Modern Quilt Guild’s recent blog post and discussion about “Derivative works”. As one who has been pretty derivative in the past I welcome the discussion. Clearly everything we make is to some extent “derivative” and I don’t envy the task force of the MQG who will need to parce out what is “too derivative” for consideration in future quilt shows.  For perspective, these copyright topics are not isolated to the MQG and have been evolving in the rest of the world too. I know in day job, I now need to get permission now to use photos by others for lectures. Speaking to my brother who is a photographer if he wants to gain profit from pictures that even display public art he has to get permission from the artist.

To be clear, I have not profited one cent from any of the derivative pieces I have made. In some ways though I have benefitted from standing on the shoulders of the design work of others though also likely have gained the disdain of purists.

This year of making has been one of significant evolution as I have directly steered away from trolling Pinterest and instead have been experimenting, designing, drawing, painting and sewing, sewing, sewing. Designing work from scratch is hard but oh so satisfying.

In all of this I am not suggesting that derivative work will ever go away (indeed there are several directly derivative pieces again on display this year at the International Quilt Festival from what I have seen of pictures). We all should be allowed to grow as quilters and artists and again the normal evolution of that process for most means being derivative. For me however it has become important to move forward and discover my own voice. I am finding that much more satisfying. In my opinion if I want quilting to be considered the art form it is, I owe it that.

Thanks for listening and keep making.

Hillary

Minimalism with Meaning :: The Story of Us

Last September I led our Bee Sewcial group.  My mission was to make two blocks in blacks and whites that said something personal about them.  I asked each member to embrace minimalism in the process.

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The stories they told me were rich and meaningful.  They described loss, triumph, compassion, family, recreation, personal identity.  Honestly I felt a little overwhelmed with the task of putting these meaningful pieces into something worthy of the sentiments.

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In the end, I decided to continue the minimalism theme and connected the blocks with extra negative space.  The words spoken when describing these blocks became the quilting motif in free motion quilted cursive writing (the first I have done this but certainly not the last).  The whole was surrounded with quilted borders and a gilded binding (purl soho mineral linen which sparkles when seen at an angle) to enhance the theme of story.  I want it to read like a well worn and treasured book.

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I hope that I have done these ladies justice in the making of our collective story.  Since it is so hard to read, I have included the quilted words for you below.

 

Minimalism with Meaning :: The Story of US
Positivity engages the negative space :: These are little womb blocks. The white ones represent pregnancy loss which is real but not talked about. The black ones are my obvious births, which are obvious and find it easy to see and talk about. The reason for the one with the white square with the black one is a permanent loss of being able to have a child from one side from the ectopic pregnancy I had in my tube. I love my two children with all my heart and grieve what could have been with my two lost babies :: Tall, strong, bend but not break ::When we are together, we are stronger :: My life can be best described as a wonderful mixture of family, work and my creative pursuits :: When using the right tools you can see things a lot more clearly. For me, it’s glasses (since I was 9) and calm. When life is chaotic for me, I get lost in the details. When I establish calm, I see better :: Frustration. From sun up to sundown I’m frustrated about any and everything and nothing at all :: Embrace: More expansive then a hug and open ended to be all inclusive :: Sometimes I feel like a square peg in a round hole :: A Quilter’s Table because that is me :: For me when it gets too active, too chaotic at some point I shut down and like a clean break BAM nothing gets done, nothing good happens, except I don’t get overwhelmed :: The top row signifies my family in height order and for now in this moment in time I am second in line. The shadow casted beneath our figures represents the amount of care required by each of us at this point in time. It is such a fleeting point of life but such an important one and I know I’ll never make anything as wonderful as my three children :: The pool is my favorite place to exercise so this is my interpretation of the swimming symbol :: Ascend as I am not one to begin anything by taking baby steps. If the stakes are high enough and you are determined success or fail you will take that leap of faith because it is your only option :: I am modern stepped in tradition :: My personal mantra is to look for the positive. light in the darkness as we need that positivity these days :: The balance of keeping focus looking ahead in life instead of behind but also being aware of your surroundings in a broader sense and how occasionally glancing back is a good and necessary thing :: A hint or clue a circle nature’s impossible shape standing out of the expected spot not perfect but industrial modern and minimalist :: In me you will find the place where science and art meet in the middle :: It’s about letting life’s annoyances roll off your back
Bee Sewcial 2015

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Hillary

Mini-Mes

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Last year I was challenged by Catherine (@knittingcatherine on IG) to a mini quilt swap using mostly repurposed or me-made materials.  In typical fashion, my mind came up with several ideas and I am sharing the fruit of 4 such finishes here (all of which let me “try on” different quilting styles I have been eager to test).  There are two other quilts made of my old tshirts that are part of this series but they and the concept of tshirt quilting are worthy of a post of their own.

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For my first quilt I grabbed some dress clothing in linens and silks that I never wear, chopped them up and reconstructed improv style.  They are much more attractive on a quilt then on me.  I also “tried on” some nontraditional hand quilting and made random “ant trails” along the piece.

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For my second quilt I wanted to play with Nicole Daksiewicz’s (Modernhandcraft) appliquéd hexie technique but decided to make my own spin with pieced hexies.  For this quilt I used some of my old scrubs, an orange shirt and a hospital sheet.

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After introducing a tertiary pattern and playing a bunch of designs I came up with the mini quilt below.  This is the one that ended up in Catherine’s hands and I call it “Colliding Migrations”

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For the last two quilts, I used some material I had hand painted over the summer and layered using a raw edge appliqué to show off unusual shapes.  These quilts have a lot of hidden meaning for me involving self reliance and the concept that things are rarely “Black or White”.

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Are these quilts my style?  YES as complex, varied and flawed as my style can be.  Are all of them masterpieces? Nope.  Did I learn from them? Yes, yes, yes!

Have a great weekend.

Hillary

Molly Made Me Do It

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Hi there!  Missed you my friends.  Clearly I have been hanging out on IG (you can find me there @entropyalwayswins) but life has recently gotten a bit busy for blogging somehow.  In any case I wanted to introduce you all to a new quilt I have been working on.

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About a year ago, I was in SF and noticed a building with wonderful long thin windows.  Though I didn’t take a picture, they were similar to these windows here I saw with Stephanie Ruyle and Christine Perrigo in Austin at Quiltcon 2014.

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Fast forward to the last couple months when I pulled out some shot cottons, woven striped fabric and left over bits of yellow fabric and started making some blocks with these windows as inspiration.  I made up a new (at least new to me) piecing technique that I call Tethered Y Seams and intentionally changed the grain orientation on the tops and sides so as to add visual interest.

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The blocks started to get especially fun when using the striped fabric and different angles, giving a fun 3 dimensional effect.

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As I was sharing these on Instagram, someone introduced me to The Chapel of Notre Dame de Haut in Ronchamp by architect Le Corbusier.  Proving that there are few truly new ideas, I had been unintentionally channeling the lovely windows from this amazing building.  And as I was sewing up the last seam on my quilt top, I started to realize how different this quilt top was for me.  SO MUCH PURPLE!  I never use purple.  Absorbed in my pondering,  the amazing quilts of Molly Upton featured at Quiltcon 2016 came to mind.  Somehow this quilt top (though clearly much more humble in execution) reminds me of her work in color and style.  We are subliminally absorbing so much I believe.

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And there it is, a quilt inspired by a local building, a crazy cool church in France and a gifted, now gone Modern Quilter : “Molly’s Windows”.  Now I’m hoping Molly will inspire me how to quilt it.

Hillary

Fly Merel Fly :: A Community Quilt for Merel van Looi

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Merel van Looi is a quilter and fabric shop owner from the Netherlands I have gotten to know online.  Unfortunately we did not connect at the last Quiltcon but the picture above on the right shows her working as a volunteer.  Tragically earlier this month, she suffered some bleeding around her spinal cord and for the moment has limited movement of her legs.  When I heard of her recent health crisis I was so saddened and reached out to her asking if she would be open to me organizing a community quilt project for her and she said YES!

I have often said that those are discouraged about the state of the world need to start sewing and become involved in their local and online sewing communities.  Sewists and quilters are some of the most generous and creative people I know.  This fact was made even more evident as I was plotting and planning this group project.  Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint) if you don’t already know is a master quilter and teacher, an all around wonderful person and friend.  Merel said online that Krista’s amazing “Blackbird Fly” quilt (an award winner at Quiltcon 2015) meant a lot to her as she hoped to “fly” again someday even if it was in a wheelchair.  I mentioned that I was going to plan a quilt for Merel and Krista brought up the work of Kajsa Wikman (home – Syko Design).  Kajsa’s style, raw edge appliqué with black thread at this point is fairly iconic and has been much copied and repeated.  She published the book Scandinavian Stitches which I quickly ordered online.  Krista contacted her friend and Kajsa not only gave me permission to use her sweet wonky birds as inspiration  (Merel in dutch means blackbird and her IG handle is @merel_birdblocks) but hopes to contribute a block too (she also knows Merel- I love how small this quilting community is and did I mention how generous quilters are?)  These sweet birds are so cheerful and I hope will encourage Merel in her recovery.

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Knowing I would need additional help I reached out to my friend Rachael Dorr (www.quiltingamemory.org) who agreed to long arm quilt this quilt I have planned.  Her work is AMAZING  and this quilt will be extra special because of it.

HOW CAN YOU HELPT?

I am looking for as many people who are interested to make 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch appliquéd blocks inspired by Kajsa’s birds and get them to me by May 23rd (that gives 8 weeks for blocks to be made and delivered to my doorstep).  My hope is to assemble them and get them then to Rachael to quilt by June 1st.

DETAILS and HINTS:

-8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch blocks (be sure to leave a quarter inch appliqué free around all sides to allow for seam allowance) The blocks will be 8 x 8 inches finished.

-White fabric background (Kona white if possible)

-Cheery prints to be used for the appliquéd birds (this is a perfect project for scraps).  I would love to have birds that are simple and FLYING like Kajsa’s but I am also happy for you to make them your own, and even add encouraging stitched words for Merel if you like.  An example of Kajsa’s birds is below and they also can be found at her flickr page (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sykossa/4567924620/in/album-72157601967630500/)

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-Use black thread for your appliqué and shorten your stitch length

-Use fusible webbing like steam a seam to initially attach your appliqué bits before stitching

-if you feel compelled to use stabilizer on the back, please use tear away or cut away so that it is only around the appliqué

-so as to prevent stray black threads from appearing in the back, please tie off and bury loose ends in the appliqué (see pic)

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-I have a suspicion that there may be more then enough blocks for one quilt and I will not turn anyone down who is interested.  If that is the case I may be looking for someone to help me quilt up a second quilt (longarmers keep this project in mind)

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If you are interested in contributing, please email me at entropyalwayswinshg@gmail.com and I will send you my address and add you to the list.  Tag your pieces with the hashtag #flymerelfly on IG so everyone can see what you are up to

If you feel like you want to do more for this sweet girl, I am sure she would love cards or small gifts of encouragement.  The address at the rehab hospital she is at is:

Reade locatie Overtoom / Merel van Looi /113-B1 / Postbus 58271 /1040HG Amsterdam

Thank you so much everyone!!

“Fly Merel Fly”

 

Hillary

Layers :: Bee Sewcial Theme for March

As a novice photographer, I have discovered that some of my favorite captured images have both an interesting foreground and background.  Over the last several months I have been playing with the same concept in quilting and am anxious to see where other people take it.

In March I would like my Bee Mates (#beesewcial on IG) and any other interested folks (#inspiredbybeesewcial on IG) to make the equivalent of two 12×12 inch blocks (loosely defined as I am good with wonky shapes and strange sizes) exploring the idea of layers (components that appear to be in the foreground and components that appear to be in the background) in your block design using the colors of this peeling paint image by Richman as a guide.  There are several ways to do this and you are welcome to look at my feed on IG to see what I have done but honestly I am most interested to see where YOU take it.  Please bring at least two “layers” to your design but you may add more.  For consistency in a quilt, I ask that you use specific colors in the foreground and others in the background.  With the Kona Color Card as a guide and following the Richman picture:

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Background: (Turquoise/Blues) Cyan, Breakers, Capri, Robin Egg or similar with or without traces of black

Foreground/Middleground: (Oranges/Greys/White) School Bus, Carrot, Flame, Ash, Medium Grey or similar and traces of Papaya, White

If you choose a Medium layer/layers use the foreground colors leaving the blues and turquoise colors only for the “back”

Note:  If you have studied Albers, you will know that the cool blues will “want” to read background and the warm oranges foreground.  Color choices themselves help us define layers.  Because of this I am setting the color layer choices opposite of what they physically are on the picture.

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Feel Free to check my Pinterest Board for image ideas that inspire me:Pinterest: Discover and save creative ideas

Don’t forget to tag your makes with the #beesewcial tag for my bee mates and #inspiredbybeesewcial for anyone else who wants to play along

Hillary

 

 

 

 

Opioids and Y-Seams

Last Year our county was awarded one of twelve grants by the California Opioid Safety Commission to help educate the public and medical community on the increasing use and danger of both prescription and street narcotics.  The Commission got wind of my 5/325 quilt and invited me for an interview.  The results of that interview can be found here (you can find the link below my picture): Placer Nevada County Medical Society – Just another WordPress site

The fact that this statement piece is getting recognition in the medical community is pretty satisfying.  Even more exciting is the fact that it is getting the word out about the narcotic dependence and addiction issues in the general community.  (It was on display in Houston at the International Quilt Festival, will be shown next month at Quiltcon in LA and will be featured in the Quiltcon Magazine).  I am scheduled to speak (with my quilt if it is available) in April at our hospital medical staff meeting and there are some other venues pending.  Who knew that my crazy idea would get so much play?

Hillary