Framed

 

 

 

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Recently I was super excited to get my hands on the latest installation of the Ghastlies fabric from Alexander Henry.  Intown Quilters Fabric & Yarn is one of my favorite shops, and I was in a hot hurry to get up there and grab some before it was all gone!  I have managed to miss out on it in the past, but that was not going to be the case this time.

As you can see from the sampling above, the line is absolutely fabulous.  There are actually two color ways, but the difference is subtle, and I still liked to mix them.  One is kind of half the color intensity of the other, if that makes sense.  There is a perfectly chilling pastoral, a delightfully harrowing panel and a number of accomplices in the form of supporting fabrics.  I am just crazy over the moths and webs.

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But let’s be honest.  Sometimes fabric like this is hard to cut into.  What exactly to do with the panel?  The print rarely straightens up well to be able to cut an actual square, even though the panel is made of squares.  And, there’s no seam allowance between squares, so losing some of the print is bound to happen.  The pastoral print is fun and large, but where to begin?  How big to make the blocks?  What if I cut off someone’s head?

Well, no worries.  After all, these are the Ghastlies.

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I didn’t have a pattern, but Sarah at IQ and I were chatting and we came up with a bit of a scheme, and I headed home with fabric in hand to get to chopping.

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In my haste to start whacking away at the Ghastlies, I forgot to get a good plan about how to cut those panel squares.  I needed some for one size of square, and some for another, and it was getting difficult to get enough of the larger squares.  Then I realized that if I cut the panel in the middle along the print from selvage to selvage and worked out from there, I would have more to choose from for the larger blocks.

Once I had accumulated enough of the larger squares, I cut into the remnants of the panel for smaller squares- which left for lots of opportunity for selective chopping.

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Then I was ready for block assembly.  This thing was taking no time at all, and I was loving every macabre moment of it.

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The squares were all assembled, but something was awry, and it wasn’t just the lighting in my living room or lack of quality from a camera phone.  First, it was way tiny.  Second, well, the delight of drama was a bit lacking.

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So, back to IQ, and back to plotting.  I ended up using both color ways of the line, and put a little more thought into placing the darker fabrics to highlight a little more contrast.  After all, what good is a mystery without a bit of conflict?

But I still found that the pastoral blocks were blending into the background more than I wanted, so I decided to highlight just a few of them using a technique I learned several years ago and has come in handy a few times.

Sometimes I need just a thin line to define a space, or break up a design.  A very thin line.  Like a 1/4″ line.  But without adding any size to the original block.  Now, admittedly, I am not a perfect quilter, in any sense of the word, so the idea of cutting the desired area down by 1/2″ all the way around, then cutting a strip 3/4″ and attaching it with a perfect 1/4″ seam and keeping all and all straight and squared up is a bit daunting to me.  Maybe even terrifying.  Disturbing.  Unnerving.  (Better stop before I run out of adjectives.)

So, this is how I do it.  I leave the block the original size.  I cut a 1″ strip of the framing fabric.  I use a 1/2″ seam allowance to attach the framing fabric to either side of the block.  At this point I make a choice to either cut away the excess 1/4″ in the seam allowance, or leave it in for a little extra bulk in the frame.  I left it in this time, but Juan the Gammill Camel (my longarm machine) was not happy with me for doing it.  Then I attach the framing fabric to both the top and the bottom of the block, again using a 1/2″ seam allowance, and then either cutting away or leaving the excess.  It finishes nicely for me, and to me is easier than fiddling with a thin piece of fabric and a thin seam allowance.

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Having said all of that, when the gang at Intown Quilters and I got to talking about it and decided for a pattern’s sake to write it up a little differently.  So, if you pick up the kit or the pattern for A Ghastlie Parquet from IQ either in person or online, you’ll see a different way of doing it, but you’ll also know the secret of how it actually came about.

Once the top was done, and I swear it took just as long to write this blogpost as it did to make the top, it went straight into Juan’s arms.  Juan and I discussed our options a bit, but really, it was decided pretty quickly that we wanted webs.  But not just regular old standard webs.  We wanted cool webs.  And I found them at Urban Elementz.

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It quilted up quickly, and before I knew it the binding was on and voila- the Ghastlies were framed and on their way to the holding cell at Intown Quilters for your viewing pleasure.  Bwahahahahahahaha…

Palettes to Points: Quilt Design with Lee Monroe of May Chappell

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Lee Monroe is the creative brain behind the pattern company, May Chappell, and she is coming for a weekend of fabric, fun and food at The Green Apricot.  Join us for the whole weekend, or just for a portion.  Do what fits your schedule, but by all means, don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a pro!

If you ever wanted to learn about the nitty gritty of quilt design, this is your chance. We’ll begin with a color theory dinner lecture, then spend two days in the studio working on designing and creating your own signature block.  Plan on going home with a block that you can either finish off as a mini or a pillow, or plow on to make a complete quilt of your own original design.

And, as a bonus, Lee has agreed to teach her Clutched/Cased patterns as an additional workshop on Saturday evening.  Attendees to Palettes to Points will have priority for registration for the additional class until August 14.

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So, here’s the schedule…

Understanding the Rainbow Color Lecture and Dinner– Thursday, Oct 26, 2017, 6:30-9:30pm
Do you love color? But sometimes feel intimidated by fabric selection? You will learn the basics of color theory and how those concepts lead to better quilts! There will be lots of quilty eye candy showing the different types of palettes that you can use. You’ll leave armed with many tools to pull fabrics for your next project. This class is great for all levels of sewists. (This event takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn in McDonough, GA.) EDIT:  The location for this event has changed to The Green Apricot studio.

From Concept to Precision Points: Designing a Quilt Block– Friday-Saturday, Oct 27-28, 2017, 9am-4pm
Step up your piecing game! This class will focus on improving techniques and learning multiple ways to create block elements with the basics; half square triangles, flying geese and square in a square. There will be lots of tips on making these units precise as well as ways to attach these units together with perfect points. We will talk block design and create our own blocks with the elements. We will discuss how color and value interact within the design and can create secondary designs. This is a two day workshop that is great for confident beginners to intermediate level sewists. (This event takes place at The Green Apricot studio in McDonough, GA.)

Palettes to Points: Quilt Design with Lee Monroe includes dinner lecture on Thursday evening and two-day class Friday to Saturday.  Dinner on Thursday and lunch on Friday and Saturday are included.  $260 per person.  Limit 16. Click here to register.

Understanding the Rainbow Dinner Lecture Only.  Includes color theory lecture, trunk show, and dinner at Hilton Garden Inn in McDonough.  EDIT- The location for this event has changed to The Green Apricot studio.  $45 per person. Click here to register.

 Cased/Clutched– Saturday, Oct 28, 2017, 5-7pm  Have you always wanted to make one of those cool bags with a hard frame? Well, this is the class for you! We will sew up and learn all kinds of tips for attaching the frame. Great for confident beginners! You can make either the Clutched or Cased size in class.   $35 per person, or 6 Member hours. Limit 16.  Palettes to Points attendees have registration priority until August 14.  (This event takes place at The Green Apricot studio in McDonough, GA.)  Click here to register.

Traveling from out of town for this event?  Why not stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in McDonough?  Mention The Green Apricot for a group rate of $109/night for a double queen room.  678-827-7200, after Aug 2, 2017.

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Lee has been creating since she first discovered crayons at age 2! She’s from a family of quilters and learned everything from her mother, affectionately known as The Guru. She loves all things fabric—from zippy pouch to queen size quilt—and everything in between. With a love of color and bold graphic shapes, Lee enjoys designing patterns and teaching all types of classes, while sharing her adventures on her blog, www.maychappell.com. She is a trained graphic designer which shows in her clean aesthetic. Her work has appeared in multiple publications, including Stitch, Quiltmaker & Modern Patchwork. Lee is also a BERNINA Ambassador and Craftsy instructor. She is President of the Triad Modern Quilt Guild. Lee lives in beautiful North Carolina with Mack the Chihuahua.

 

Hack that Tote! By Mary Abreu

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It’s no oops, but she did do it again… Mary Abreu has released her third book, Hack that Tote, with Stash Books, a division of C&T Publishing.  Mary is an accomplished seamstress, working on and with projects ranging from a boutique movie production company to a wide range of sewing classes at Intown Quilters, a quilt shop in Atlanta, Georgia.  She has done multiple presentations on everything from pattern hacking to costuming at several pop culture conventions.  Her list of talents is long, and she actually is on her second career.  Her first was as an award-winning print journalist for almost two decades, so it is pretty natural for her to blend her sewing and writing talents.  Actually kind of a “duh” thing, if you think about it!

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Hack that Tote! feels like an extension of one of Mary’s classes.  She does a brilliant job of breaking down the basics of making a simple tote bag, and how knowledge of the parts makes it possible to create your own style of the whole.

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Think of your favorite bags, and maybe even your not-so-favorite bags.  Why do you feel that way about them?  What makes them good?  What makes them not?  Mary explores how to start with a basic shape and then, well, hack it to create the bag your heart truly desires.

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With a particularly helpful discussion on shape, interfacings and hardware, Hack that Tote! can help any maker to up their sewing game.  While the basic tote pattern along with ten tote hacks alone make this book worth having, the descriptions of how to work with the elements of bag making make it worth keeping for a long-term reference guide.

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My favorite of the Hack that Tote! patterns is the Tubular Frame Purse, which Mary will be coming to teach at The Green Apricot Studio on Saturday, January 14, 2017.  I’ve seen this bag in person, and I love the length of the handles, the zipper pocket, and the use of an enclosed tubular purse frame.  After reading through the book, I can easily see how the pattern is based on a simple tote, and it gives me ideas for future projects.  Having said that, I am still excited to have Mary come to teach in the studio.  It always amazes me how much I can learn simply by being with other makers, and I don’t believe we can ever stop learning from each other!

Interested in Mary’s other publications?  Here they are, along with a fabulous photo of Mary herself in one of her amazing costumes…

Piecing with Patty

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Here’s the thing.  There really are rules to follow.  And there really are rules to be broken.

To me, one of the wonderful aspects of any art or craft is taking the wildness of creativity and mixing it with the rules of skill.  Notice I did not say taming it with the rules of skill.

Understanding the medium, the tools used, and the variety of desired outcomes means knowing how to bend all of those to the will of creativity.  One may begin by bending inspiration to skill in the process of learning, but eventually, the goal can be the other way around.

Enter Patty Murphy, author of recently released Piecing Makeover: Simple Tricks to Fine-Tune Your Patchwork from C&T Publishing.  This book is an excellent source for everyone from less experienced quilters to those who have been around the block a few times.  It addresses basic construction as well as how to deal with precision issues.  In other words, it gives all the rules, which in the end, gives all the freedom.

Speaking of freedom, how about a bit of improvisational quilting with Patty?  No, I am not confused.  Yes, I did just talk all about rules and block construction and avoiding issues, and yes, it does lead to improv.

I am really excited to host Patty at The Green Apricot Studio on December 3, 2016 for a workshop on her quilt, “Yes Ma’am!”  We’ll be exploring both improv and precision piecing, and talking about how to have quilt tops that extend into boarders.  We’ll discuss some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.  And best of all, we’ll bust some of our stash while we are at it.

And we’ll find out the story behind the name of this quilt.  Because I really want to know.

Click here to register for “Yes Ma’am” with Patty Murphy, 12/3/16, 9am- 4pm.

From Piecing Makeover:  “Patty Murphy has been sewing since she was six years old.  The first thing she recalls making is a pink-and-white seersucker pillow with the word Dad crudely embroidered on it as a gift for her father on Father’s Day.  Fortunately for everyone, her sewing and quilting have greatly improved since then, and so has her gift giving.

Patty loves to share her craft with anyone that will listen, and she teaches regularly at Intown Quilters in Decatur, Georgia, so she can share her knowledge and support her fabric obsession.  Her work has been featured in several books, on the websites of major fabric manufacturers, on blogs, and in magazines, including an original quilt design for Intown Quilters that was featured on the cover of the Spring 2007 Quilt Sampler magazine.”

Churning Green

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I love quilting books and patterns to the point that it’s almost sick.  Like seriously, the obsession with everything about this industry is real.  I just can never have enough quilts or pictures of quilts or plans of quilts or thoughts of quilts or ideas of quilts.  It’s a bit concerning, really.

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And people like these two like to feed my obsession.  Meet Liz Evans and Elizabeth Evans, and if you are double taking over their names, you should be.  They are sisters-in-law, and cohorts in quilting.  Together they have written The Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting, and it’s a good thing they did.

I never get tired of a beginning quilting book, even after all these years.  Sure, I’m pretty familiar with most of the basic techniques, but I still love them for a few reasons.  This book is a good example of what I mean.

First, the fabrics and photos are updated.  Doesn’t seem like that’s a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I love that it helps to invite new quilters into “our world.”  Crisp, clear and modern constantly mean something different, and it helps to keep our creative blood flowing.

Second, the techniques do get updated.  A book written 50 years ago wouldn’t have included any information about rotary cutters because, hello, they weren’t invented for quilting yet.

Third, the projects themselves get updated.  I love that in this book they have a great mix of quilts and other projects- everything from a bunting to a bib, from a pouch to a pillow.  Love it!

So, here’s what I made.  It didn’t take me long to make the top, but it did take a while to quilt it.  I love the simplicity of this project as a background for some massive quilting, so that’s what I did.

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Churning Green

I had copious amounts of this fabric in my stash, and it was exactly what I wanted.  If you come to the studio/my husband’s shop, you will see it hanging in the bathroom.  This color combination appeals to me, as it reminds me of a lot that we’ve been seeing from prominent fabric designers over the last few years.  The main print is an older piece by Laura Gunn, and I’ve been hoarding it for a while.

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I started quilting it the day our youngest went off to college.  I wasn’t in the mood for a lot of chatter, and I for sure needed chocolate.  Juan and I worked quietly and diligently, and for the most part, all went well.  However, I did run into some technical issues that eliminates this quilt from being shown anywhere but the bathroom.  Let’s just say I learned a lot, and am grateful for it, but am really sad because this started out as a great quilt and could have done well.  I may have to try again.

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I artfully staged this pic so that the biggest offense is not that visible, but I will tell you that a bit of it is peaking out at the top right corner.  Maybe I will write a post sometime about using a Statler, and some of the things I’ve learned since bringing Juan home a year ago.  It’s been an amazing process.

The irony?  This book was written as a beginning quilting book, and while I may be all “I know how to do that already,” I still ended up getting a lesson in the end.

Pride goeth before a fall.  (Prov 16:18)

Simple Knit Dress Workshop with Chrissy Weeks

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You chose your dress or tunic pattern (some options listed below). And we will make them together. First we will make a sample and adjust your pattern for fit. Then we will make your dress out of your “for real” fabric.

Supplies: Bring your machine and basic sewing supplies. Thread to match your project, polyester is best for apparel. You can sew on a regular machine and / or serger. We will have a couple sergers available for class use, but limited thread color options. Please make sure to pre-wash and dry your fabric. Keep in mind when buying your fabric that natural fiber knit shrinks up to 40% be sure to buy extra if using a cotton or silk knit. Sample fabric needs to be similar weight and stretch to your “for real” fabric. Good quality fabric is easier to sew and will give you a nicer finished garment.

Pattern Suggestions:
Colette Patterns,  https://www.colettepatterns.com  (Monetta, Myrtle)

 

McCalls Patterns (M7382, M7432, M7407)

 

Sew Caroline,  http://www.shopsewcaroline.com/ (Out and About Dress)

 

Any dress pattern similar to these simple shapes is appropriate as long as it is a pattern intended for knits!

Best places to buy knits:
Stores:
Gail K, in-town and Norcross,   http://www.gailkfabricsinc.com/
Fine Fabric, Jimmy Carter Access Road 6218 Dawson Blvd Norcross, (678) 894-2067
Joann’s (has surprisingly decent knits)

On-Line:
Fabric.com
http://www.girlcharlee.com

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 9am- 4pm.  Nonmembers- $36, Members- 6 hours.  Click here to register.

Jus a lil lovins…

There are few things more productive and powerful than a crew of creators with a passionate mission. So many of us have seen it, on either side of the line.

Recently a friend of ours, Nisha Bouri, had an unusual, and quite honestly scary, illness. Thankfully she is doing better now, and is on the mend.

When word began to spread amongst a dozen or so of us in the quilting community, it didn’t take long for several to step forward to organize an effort to show her we love her in the best way we know how.

Image creds- Kim Martucci, weatherkim

Full disclosure here, I have very strong, very negative feelings about group sewing projects in general, so I was quick to offer Juan’s quilting services rather than making an actual block. And in the end, I’m so grateful that the rest of the makers trusted us with their offering of kindness and love.


The quilt top was just stunning, and Juan and I both brooded over it for days before jumping in. We debated about an all-over pattern to kind of unify the message of the quilt, but in the end knew that Nisha would love it best if each block, and in turn each quilter, was given their day in the sun.




Seen enough?  I don’t think so.

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

One more… The best one of all…

Photo creds- Amy Webb, amylouwhosews