Near the start of our trip to Madison, I popped into Joann’s to have a peek at their fabric. I left with a small stack of fabrics, all by Denyse Schmidt. As I was leaving the store, I realized they looked really lovely together as a set and they also reminded me of Maisy. I decided that Maisy needed a quilt, so that when we’re traveling, she’ll always have something familiar to lay on. I didn’t have a set plan, so I just decided to improv the design. It’s the first quilt I’ve made that has been completely improvisational. I decided to just do wonky strips to create blocks that were about 9″ x 10″ and then started to sew. As the blocks came together, I let the process tell me what to do next. Almost all the fabrics in the quilt are from Madison with a few strips of fabric from home thrown in that I had brought with me. I had a hard time figuring out the layout of the blocks, but I really like the lighter blue squares in the middle of the quilt.
For the back, I had the idea to do a scrappy strip along the middle. I also thought it would be fun to piece the letter ‘M’. I drafted out a simple design for it and used my Machine Paper Foundation Piecing skills. It totally worked! My final touch was to hand embroider Maisy’s name with the year just beside the ‘M’.
The batting is from the workroom and was hand delivered by Jacqueline, who came to visit us for a couple days. I was able to sew the binding onto the quilt during our drive home to Toronto. I used the same navy fabric for the binding with just a small strip of orange for a little pop.
This quilt marks so many hours of our trip and holds all of the feelings I was having while sewing it. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it seems to be just perfectly Maisy.
Quilting by Eileen Quilts
Quilting Pattern : Signature
Finishing a quilt is a true labour of love. Most people think that you sew together a bunch of fabric into patches and there you go, a quilt. Oh NO. A quilt is about twenty times more work than that. There is the back of the quilt (for me, often improv pieced), basting the quilt, quilting all the layers together (this is where most people get stuck) and then sewing on binding. Don’t forget a quilt label too! To anyone who has ever finished a quilt, I applaud you. It is a long road to finishing even the most simple of quilts, but it is so worth it in the end. To be honest, I would make quilts all the time, every day if I could. I finally feel like I have worked up to understanding how to finish the quilts that I start. This has meant getting over my fear of machine quilting and starting to explore free motion quilting. But it has also meant sending off my first quilt to a long arm quilter.
It’s a scary proposition, sending off your quilt top and back to someone else to have them quilt all over it. Amanda uses Lindsay to do her long arm quilting. Lindsay quilted her Halloween Swoon quilt with the coolest spiderweb pattern. A recommendation for a long arm quilter is a MUST. I also got to meet Lindsay at the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City. She is a sweetheart and even though she lives in Virginia, I felt really good about sending away my Cog & Wheel to her.
I wanted a swirly pattern, so Lindsay sent over some options of designs she suggested. I chose one that is called ‘Signature’. I liked that it appeared to be more random. I think it looks really good with the Cog & Wheel design.
I know some people who always send their quilts out to be quilted. This way they can enjoy the patchwork process and finish more quilts. I will probably try to do the quilting on my smaller quilts and have Lindsay work on my larger bed-sized quilts for me. It is really exciting to receive a box in the mail, open it up and have your professionally quilted work all bundled up inside.
I cut the binding last night and I’m looking forward to spending some time sitting under the quilt while I hand stitch the final step.
p.s. Happy New Year! I’m picking out my first blocks to start my Farmer’s Wife Sampler this week. I’ll post about it soon.
April 27, 2011 : vintage kimono patchwork table runner
I recently brought out one of my most favourite things I’ve ever made. It’s a table runner that I made in a class taught by Denyse Schmidt at Make in NYC. This was years and years ago, before the workroom was even a twinkle in my eye. Denyse supplied all the materials, so I ended up making something I never would have chosen for myself but I’m still (to this day) so in love with it. You can’t really see, but it is backed with a solid mustard fabric. Brilliant. I never would have created this on my own! It is such a gift to learn from others around you.
I think I also love that it reminds me to try something different.
Before I left for The Makerie, I spent almost an entire week sewing up a storm of new things to bring and wear on our trip. The Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated was one of the patterns I’ve been meaning to test out for a little while now and I thought it would be great for traveling.
I chose to make it using one of the cotton voiles from Greenfield Hill by Denyse Schmidt. It’s really graphic and a much bolder print that you would normally see me wear, but I really love it. The great thing about voile is that it is a wonderful fabric to use in clothing because it has such a soft, flowing drape. It’s also very nice to sew with.
The pattern was very easy to sew, has some great details and lots of room for variation. They suggest two different lengths (tunic or shirt) and I chose the longer tunic length for my first version. I was in a hurry and didn’t add side seam pockets, but I’ll definitely do that next time. I got to see three other interpretations of the Schoolhouse Tunic at The Makerie, as every day, one of the Fancy Tiger girls was wearing her own version. (You can see Emily’s soft plaid version on the far left) It gave me so many ideas on different fabrics and ways to style the pattern.
I’m trying to decide on fabric for my second Schoolhouse Tunic. Perhaps some Liberty of London?
Keep an eye out for this as a new class at the workroom this summer. Everyone needs to make one of these tunics!
I started the Denyse Schmidt Cog & Wheel quilt earlier in the summer. I was planning ahead to make this as a wedding gift for a dear friend. The wedding arrived rather quickly and then passed in September. Last week, I finally finished assembling the blocks together. This is going to be a twin size quilt. With all my leftover scraps, I put together this scrappy-style backing.
The Cog & Wheel was pretty fun to sew together. The large scale curves are actually not too hard once you get the hang of it. They just require lots and lots of pinning. This was my first quilt made from a commercial pattern and now I have a few others, I want to try out next.
I spent a couple hours basting this quilt last week, so it is ready for machine quilting. I’m so tempted to send this to a long arm quilter, but I also want to do it myself. Perhaps a long arm machine is in the workroom’s future??!! I am setting a goal of finishing this quilt + another basted quilt before the new year. This is so I am able to start on my Quilt Sampler 2 with a lighter load.
I’m going to pull out all my ongoing quilt projects and do a status report this week. I have a feeling there are about 6-ish quilts in various states of progress right now. This seems pretty normal, but I’d like to move a few more to my ‘finished’ pile.
I had technically finished my buzz saw quilt a little while ago, but had dilly-dallied in completing a label for it. In the few quilts that I have completed, I’ve made sure to carefully label them. (you know, for quilt historians 100 years from now)
This ‘ode to green’ quilt is absolutely perfect for our couch. It worked out to be just the right length. For the backing, I used a large swath of Denyse Schmidt’s wallflower in piney woods green. I just love this vintage-y print! I also used scraps from the front to create the stripe down the side. To echo the buzz saw points on the front, I cut the scraps on an angle. I machine quilted it with two different Valdani variegated threads and echoed the buzz saw pattern about a half inch around the inside and then the outside. I really like the effect this gives.
The binding is also made from scraps from the quilt. I find this most satisfying when I get to the end to use up leftover bits to make the binding.
For the quilt label, I hand embroidered using the dark variegated thread I used to machine quilt. To make the label a bit more interesting, I did a teeny tiny bit of patchwork and attached it to the end. Cute! I think I will always do this for future labels.
Yay! I can finally cross something else off my finishing list. Which is perfect timing because tonight I’m starting to make the Cog & Wheel quilt!
I really want to thank you for comments on my last post about my stolen camera. You made me feel so much better with all your cheer, support and suggestions. You are the best pep squad a girl could ask for!
I went out yesterday and bought a new camera, a Nikon D90. I NEED to have a camera. Here’s my rationale for making myself feel better. I had my D40, plus lens for over a year and a half. If I break it down, I paid $2 per day for that camera. What a deal!! All that happiness and preserved memories for less than a cup of hot chocolate. Rather than stay with the same level of camera, I felt I should upgrade now and really continue to push myself to become better with my photography. Screw you, camera thief!
These are some of the first photos taken with my new camera. First impression – LOVE IT.
We received a large shipment of the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine. I was absolutely honoured that Janine asked me to participate in this issue by writing an article on textile design. I interviewed three incredible ladies who have inspired me with their pattern design and successful careers. Denyse Schmidt, Lara Cameron and Michelle Engel Bencsko were kind enough to tell me all about their working process. Their answers were totally fascinating. I hope you enjoy reading it. The entire issue is jam packed with wonderful features, including cover art by Matte Stephens. Uppercase just gets better with each issue. You’ll also notice the workroom’s first print ad (whoo!) at the back of the magazine, designed by Andrew.
365 : hope valley fat quarters
I really love taking photographs of fabric.
I’ve decided to start yet another quilt! We’re doing an à la carte quilting series at the workroom. Since we’re learning a new block every month, I’m going to put all my blocks together and make another sampler quilt.
The Dresden Plate was really fun to put together. I love all the orange petals that radiate from the centre circle. The fabric in the centre circle is from Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy collection. It was one of the first bolts of fabrics I bought for the store and is the colour inspiration for my new sampler – grey, orange and brown. It feels very cozy and fall-like.
I’m pretty new to quilting, but it seems perfectly acceptable to have various quilts on the go at different stages of completion. Clearly, I am embracing this notion as there are now 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (this one!) in progress over here.