Favorite Quilt

QuiltFest on Instagram asked for my favorite finish. That is an easy one for me because this quilt is the first one I ever made that I really love. I like most of my quilts but I usually see something I could have made better. Not with this one. It’s a Mondrian inspired quilt I designed myself – a gift for my nephew who’s an artist himself and enjoys and values quilts.

The big and medium blocks are log cabin blocks with different fabrics but in the same hue. Its machine sewn and machine quilted. Made in 2020.

 

 

Tutorial: Invisible Binding

When I was about to finish the Log Cabin Wedding Quilt I realized that the best binding would be no (seen) binding at all. So I attached an invisible binding – invisible referring to the top of the quilt. I did not sew the edges of the top and the backing together with an invisible stitch but made an easy binding which looks really nice at the back of the quilt. Here is how I did it:

Cut 4 strips for the binding, each one as long as the side of the quilt minus 2 inches (5 cm) and 3 inches (7 cm) wide. If your fabric is not long enough you have to join several strips to get the right length – in this case iron the seam allowances open so you don’t have to sew through to many layers of fabric.
Cut 4 squares 6 x 6 inches.

Fold the strips in half, left sides together, right sides out. Iron. Fold the squares in half along one diagonale and iron.

On the top of the quilt pin a triangle in the corner. (I basted the edges of the quilt because it was such a huge beast.)

Pin a binding strip along the side of your quilttop but start approximately 1 inch from the corner. The open side of the strip lies exactely at the edge of the top. The strip ends 1 inch from the next corner. Pin all sides and corners this way. The strips are always on top of the triangle.

Sew around the quilt. Don’t sew into the seam allowances at the corner. Sew up to a quarter inch, take 3 backstitches, take 3 stitches forward, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric 90 degrees, lower the presser foot, take 3 stitches, take 3 backstitches and start sewing the next side. Take some backstitches at the beginning and the end of the seam to secure the thread.

Cut backing and batting to the size of the top. Cut the corners to reduce bulk. You can even cut the batting down to the seam to reduce bulk but I found that it made a nice “filled” edge when leaving the seam allowance of the batting.

Now turn the whole binding strip to the backside of the quilt. The seam should be exactely on the edge. Pin the strips to the back. When turning the corners be careful to get a nice 90 degree corner – use a thick knitting needle or a pencil to push the corner out.
Hand sew the binding strip to the back of the quilt. The color of the thread should match the color of the strip not of the backing.

Finished.

This is how the binding looks from the front …

… from the side …

… and this is the back of the quilt. I really like the way the backside gets a “frame”.

I hope you found this way of attaching a binding interesting. And maybe you can even use it on one of your next quilts.

By the way – this kind of binding is also called “facing a quilt” and is often used when finishing art quilts.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

Book of the Month: Artful Improv by Cindy Grisdela

Since I have been quilting for more than 35 years I seldom buy quilting books anymore. Most of them are no longer interesting to me – been there, done that. But browsing Amazon I discovered “Artful Improv” by Cindy Grisdela. I follow her on Instagram and love the quilts she makes and I liked the cover – all these bright and colorful blocks! I ordered the book and I can say it is one of my best purchases of the last year.

The book is a gentle guide to improvisational quilting. By gentle I mean that you start with blocks that still resemble traditional quilting – log cabin blocks, drunkard’s path and even houses. But when you insert angled strips, curved stripes and/or a lot of negative space you suddenly have a beautiful modern quilt.

The book is a treasure chest filled with an abundance of inspiration but also with very clear tips how to cut, sew, quilt and finish a quilt. What I like best are the numerous photos of quilts that show how much you can achieve with fabric and quilting lines.

This book opened up a new way of quilting that I thoroughly enjoy! (You can see my first improv quilt here.)

artful IMPROV
by Cindy Grisdela
C&T Publishing, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-61745-261-1

 

It’s Spring!

Finally! Today at 10:37 am spring arrived – even for the astronomers. For meteorologists and me spring starts with March 1st.

I decided that this will be the year when I make a quilt for every season. All will be approximately the same size and will be hung at the same place. This is a plan that I had for some years now but I never did it. But this year it will work out. Because of a book I recently bought: “Artful Improv” by Cindy Grisdela. I will tell you all about this book next Tuesday – today I will only say that this is the book I was waiting for. Colorful, graphical quilts with a lot of space for quilting, one more beautiful than the other.

I immediately started my first improvisational quilt with a simple improv log cabin block in the colors of the first flowers of the year (the yellow daffodils, the purple crocuses, the red tulips) mixed with some blue for the sky and some green for the fresh grass. I then surrounded the block with spring green fabric, quilted some wavy lines because spring is rather windy where I live and voilà my spring quilt is finished.

Spring quilt

 

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

A Quilt of Significance

Once upon a time …. or to be more precise in 2017 the “Through our Hands” textile art group had a great idea: The Portrait Shuffle.

One could sign up for a kit including a canvas, create a portrait of any kind (person, animal, flower, …) in any way (draw, paint, collage, patchwork, photograph, …) and return it to the organizers. All the portraits were exhibited at the prestigious Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England in August and they all were all shown on a blog created for this special event. After the show, the portraits were shuffled and randomly sent back to the participants meaning you got a portrait back, not your own but somebody else’s. So, you got back an original work of art by an artist from somewhere in the world. You could be the lucky receiver of a portrait/quilt by Alicia Merrett, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Jette Clover, Linda Barlow, Sandra Meech or any other celebrity of the quilting world. An exciting idea and I wanted to be a part of it.

I was thinking about my portrait for a long time. It should be a kind of quilt not a drawing and it should be in the bright colors that I love so much. I was thinking about a Picasso-like face or a Venetian mask – but no idea was really that appealing. And then I looked down where my dog Felix was happily snoring away under my desk. How about a portrait of Felix? In bright colors?

I looked through my photos of Felix and found a suitable one.

I traced the outline and divided the forms, the lines mimicking the fall of his fur. I fused colorful fabric to the background trying to leave very small gaps between the fabrics. In these gaps I hand-embroidered black lines. (From pre-school on, this was always my favorite way of coloring – black outlines filled with the brightest colors.) I glued batting to the canvas to get the quilty feeling and mounted the portrait. It looked fabulous and exactly like Felix.

And then it happened.

Just for the records: I am not a sentimental or romantic person. I don’t collect things from my childhood, not even things from my daughter’s early years. I have no problem when my husband forgets our wedding anniversary or if somebody doesn’t call me for my birthday. When my grandmother died, I didn’t keep anything from her stuff as a memento and when my father died, I only took over his BMW because it’s a really nice car and I’m an only child and my mother couldn’t use it.
The same goes for my quilts. If I make a quilt for someone, I don’t care what they use it for. Fine if they wrap the baby in it (as intended), equally fine if the dog sleeps on it. Really! I couldn’t understand my friend who was heart-broken when a quilt she gave to a friend was nailed to the wall (with really large nails, producing holes the size of a penny).

And then that all changed.

I was not able to put the portrait in an envelope and send it to England. It was impossible for me to send my own dog away. What if the portrait would have gone to someone who doesn’t like dogs, to someone who would throw it away? For the first time in 30 years of quilting I understood the meaning of “I put all my heart and soul into it”.

For several days I tried to convince myself to send the quilt but I couldn’t bring me to do it. As much as I would have liked to own a quilt by Alicia Merrett or Annabel Rainbow, Felix stayed at home. I really would have loved to be part of that exhibition – next time I will make a portrait of an unknown horse.

 

BOM 2021: STAR #3

This is a fast and easy star. So can either relax with one star or make a whole quilt with a lot of them.

Cut (all measurements include ¼ inch (0,75 cm) seam allowance)
4 squares 3 x 3 inches (8,75 x 8,75 cm) in green,
4 squares 3 x 3 inches (8,75 x 8,75 cm) in orange and
4 squares 3 x 3 inches (8,75 x 8,75 cm) in darkblue (background fabric)
Cut each of these 12 squares diagonally to get 24 triangles.

Cut 4 squares 2¾ x 2¾ inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) in darkblue

Join the triangles to get squares again. Sew
4 squares orange-blue,

4 squares green-blue

and 4 squares orange-green.

Press and cut off the dog ears.

Lay out the star as shown on the picture below.

Tipp: Do this layout as close to your sewing machine as possible so can take the pieces, sew them together and put them back at the appropriate place so that the pieces don’t get mixed up.

Sew the squares together to make 4 rows, then join the rows.

Take 4 of the strips 10½ x 1 inches (28 x 2,5 cm) that you cut from the background fabric previously (see introduction to the BOM here) and sew 2 of them to opposite sides of your block. They are a little bit too long – shorten them to the block size. Sew the 2 remaining strips to the other sides of the block and shorten if necessary. Finished!

As I told you – fun, fast and easy.

If you just found this BOM you can find the general instructions and the previous stars on the Free BOM 2021 page on top.

I would love to see your finished star-blocks. Please post them in the comments at TheQuiltingSpace’s Facebook page, tag me on Instagram @thequiltingspace and/or use the hashtag #thequiltingspace.

See you in April for star #4.

 

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

A Heirloom Quilt?

The prompt for InstagramQuiltFest today is „Heirloom“. To be honest I never made a heirloom quilt, which for me means a large quilt with a lot of work including appliqué and/or pictures. The closest I got to a heirloom quilt was this LogCabin quilt I sewed for my nephew and his wife when they got married.

She is from Taiwan so I chose red as this is the color for a wedding in Taiwan and combined it with the grey and black for the male part. Some of the fabrics have gold prints to make the whole quilt more festive and sparkling. And as the bride is an architect the LogCabin pattern did fit perfectly.

It’s a king size quilt, of course machine sewn but hand quilted.

It was a lot of work and a lot of stress as we only had a 3 weeks advance notice of the wedding, but also fun to make. And I hope that they use the quilt and don’t regard it as a heirloom to be put into a closet and saved for future generation.

 

Crazy Chicken Quilt

This is one of my favorite quilts – displayed in my home only a few weeks before and after Easter. The weird chicken make me smile every time I pass by.

The quilt is really easy and fast to sew and you can make it in any size you want.

Make the pattern: Draw a rectangle in the height and width you want your chicken to be. On the upper side of the rectangle mark the middle and draw a triangle as shown in my sketch. Mark the pieces A, B and C. Cut the pattern into the three pieces.

Sewing a chicken: Lay the pattern piece A onto the backside of your fabric and trace around it. Cut out with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Do the same for the B and C pieces. Carefully pin B to A. Pin the corner points together, than add one or two pins in between. Sew B to A. Do the same with C. Sew as many chicken as you like.

Sew the chicken together. I added strips between the blocks but you can also sew them side by side. Add borders on all sides.

For the comb of the chicken lay a piece of tracing paper on the quilttop and trace a comb, don’t forget to trace the top of the chicken (the triangle) as well. This is your pattern for the comb, to be placed on the right side of the fabric (you have to mirror it if you place it on the left side of your fabric). Cut out with a seam allowance if you want to hand appliqué it or with no seam allowance and satin-stitch it in place.

Add two black dots for the eyes, a triangle for the beak and two small pieces formed like waterdrops for the wattles (as the hanging flaps of skin on either side under the beak are called as I just learned on Wikipedia). I fused all of these pieces.

Make a quilt sandwich, quilt, bind and hang on the wall so that you can have your daily chuckle too.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

A chat with Jane Sassaman

Everybody knows her and most of us admire her: Jane Sassaman. Her quilt “Willow” was selected as one the 100 best American quilts of the Twentieth Century.

Patricia Belyea and Victoria Stone of Okan Arts, a Seattle based business specializing in Japanese textiles hosted a Zoom-chat with Jane Sassaman and were so kind to publish the video on their website so that everyone can see it. Jane talks about her career, her studio and her way of creating. It’s an interesting insight into the artist’s life. Click here to see the video. If you scroll down on this page there even is a tour of Jane’s studio (together with some other interesting articles). And while you are there don’t forget to browse Okan Arts’ website, you can see and learn a lot there and you can buy the most beautiful fabric. Grab a cup of coffee and click on the link – you will have a wonderful time I promise.