Pillows are one of my favorite projects to make. Each one is its own little composition, and it’s a great way to create something decorative and functional for your home. I think they make great gifts, too.
If you want to try a new piecing technique, a bit of free motion quilting or even some hand quilting, a pillow is a much smaller commitment than a quilt. Last month I experimented with some worn out jeans and some thrifted shirts.
Orphan blocks can find a new home in a pillow. A bit of special, long hoarded fabric can be featured in a place of honor. Experiment with a new color scheme and see where it takes you.
A customer recently inquired about purchasing the small “Made in America” quilt that I created for American Made Brand’s “Tiny Quilt Challenge”. This little quilt has been touring and will be busy until sometime in 2017. You can view a virtual tour of this exhibit here.
So, I offered to make another, similar quilt for her. This time I took a few photos of the process to show you how I created “Made in America.2″
I began with a wonky star block, using 2.5” charm squares. Various blues and whites give a little variety to the colors.
Next, I began creating the stripes using several reds and whites for variety. Basically, I just cut a line with my rotary cutter. I laid this on another strip (right sides up) and used the first cutting line as my guide to cut the next piece.
I continued this process creating the short stripes section and the long stripes section. Then I just cut the three sections in a way that would allow them to fit together.
The last thing I did was to add a border of white around the flag, leaving extra room for trimming after quilting.
The white stripes were quilted with dense machine quilting, allowing the red stripes to stand out.
The white star was hand quilted using a variegated white perle cotton #12.
I used a single, straight fold binding to reduce the thickness since this quilt will be framed.
As I put the final stitches in this little flag, my thoughts turned to Memorial Day, a day of honor and remembrance.
Last night, while watching a wonderful MQG webinar featuring Anna Boenish, I was reminded of the many benefits of English paper piecing.
First of all, it’s portable. I keep my kit ready to go and it’s the project that I throw in my bag when I know I’ll have spare moments waiting for an appointment, riding a ferry, watching a ball game or being a passenger on a road trip.
Secondly, because you only need a few materials and hardly any space, it’s ideal for stitching in any location. Indoors or outdoors, you can literally use this technique anywhere!
Another great benefit is that EPP, like other handwork, lets you be social and visit with friends and family while still making headway on your project.
EPP is also a slow process. Now this could be seen as a benefit or a drawback, but in my opinion, slowing down is often a good thing.
If you have a design that requires precise or intricate work, EPP is definitely a way to accomplish this. It is also well suited to fussy cutting.
I had never really thought about it until I listened to Anna’s talk, but another thing that appeals to me is that you can begin without a plan. In fact, some of my traditional quilts were actually improvisational using this technique.
I often make units and just keep putting them together until they morph into something.
That’s how my current project is evolving. The template pieces for my epp plus quilt were created by Mollie Johanson and she provides a free template and tutorial on her blog Wild Olive. Check out #eppplus on Instagram for photos of folks using this pattern. You might even see pics of me basting in the truck while heading over Snoqualmie Pass.
If you are interested in learning how to English paper piece, just do a search of the topic. There are great resources and tutorials available.
And, if you’re a MQG member, but missed Anna’s webinar, log into the Community section of their website. Under the Resources tab, you’ll find a list of all the past webinars available. Just one of the perks of being a member! You can also find her work, and the unique ways she uses English paper piecing on her website Quilting Queerly or follow her on Instagram @quiltingqueerly.
After a long hiatus, I am working on this blog and intend to post more often! Here are a few of my quilting adventures from the past eight months.
Last fall, the Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild hosted their 3rd annual Bainbridge Quilt Festival. This is a one day, outdoor show, which takes place on the second Saturday in September in downtown Bainbridge. The festival is a celebration of quilts and quilters, and if you’re from our area consider joining us this year!
In October, the North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival held their 10th annual exhibition and three of my quilts were on display. The festival includes a Fiber Extravaganza that celebrates the fiber arts with workshops, demonstrations and a fiber arts market in addition to the well-curated show at the Museum and Arts Center in Sequim.
Our winter was spent camping in the desert in Arizona with our horses. Lots of horseback riding, reading, hiking and sightseeing filled our days.
But with my trusty Featherweight and some hand stitching to occupy my time, I managed to complete a few projects.
My membership in the Arizona Quilt Guild and the Vulture Peak Patchers allows me to participate in their events. This year that included a bus trip to the AQS QuiltWeek – Phoenix show, volunteering at the Desert Cabelleros Western Museum, participating in the guild’s show and attending an annual three day retreat called Sew Wickenburg.
Now that we’re back home, I’ve been busy in the studio with lots of new projects in the works. Stay tuned for updates. I promise it won’t be eight months until my next post!
At the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center, this “old dog” is working hard to learn “new tricks” in the Marketing Your Small Business class taught by Renne Emiko Brock-Richmond. The project is made possible through funding provided by the Washington State Library and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The efforts of the tribal library staff have brought this wonderful opportunity to many local entrepreneurs. What a great way to learn new skills and network with other small business owners.