Sunday, November 16, 2014

Modern Appliqué Illusions blog tour (and giveaway!)

Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York (cover)

Welcome to everyone here for the Modern Appliqué Illusions Blog Tour! I enjoyed getting to know author Casey York over lunch at Quilting LIVE in Atlanta, right before the book debuted, and I’m pleased (but not surprised) to report that her book is equally enjoyable.

The illusions Casey explores in Modern Appliqué Illusions are those that lend a sense of perspective to the flat surface of a quilt. She explores the concept through lots of different techniques and approaches, which makes for plenty of inspiration.

Casey is absolutely the right person to present these ideas—her solid grounding in art history enriches and contextualizes the technique discussions. She interprets classic methods of perspective from Western art in fabric and thread rather than paint or ink, and I really enjoyed learning about the theoretical background while seeing the ideas put to use in quilts.

Tunnel Vision

I was also struck that, though this is first and foremost a book about appliqué, Casey goes into detail about how she also uses quilting to enhance the appliquéd perspective effects. So often quilting instructions stop at “quilt as desired,” but Casey, for example, gives precise dimensions for how to plan the radiating quilting for Tunnel Vision (shown above) while explaining the underlying concepts so you can adapt them to your own designs.

River Bend

The perspective-quilting techniques are easily achieved on a domestic machine, as Casey shows by quilting many of the book’s projects herself, which I always appreciate from quilt-book authors. In a quilt like River Bend, I love that the appliqué, fabric choices, and quilting all contribute to the overall composition as well as the sense of perspective, turning a relatively simple quilt into much more.

Ripples


The general rule of thumb is that quilting shouldn’t cross over appliqués, but Casey’s quilt Ripples is a great example of why rules of thumb aren’t set in stone: she quilted concentric circles to suggest ripples on the surface of the water above the koi, which is a fantastic way to reinforce the sense of depth introduced by the appliquéd shadows.

That only scratches the surface of Casey’s ideas for bringing perspective into your appliqué, so make sure to check out the book for more! (You can get signed copies from Casey’s shop.) Or leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy—just tell me what interests you most about appliqué, perspective, or both before the end of Monday, 11/17/2014, Pacific Time, and I’ll draw a winner at random. (The printed book giveaway is open to US addresses only, but non-US residents are welcome to enter for a chance to win an e-book copy.) Entries are closed. Congratulations to commenter number 3, Janie, the winner! I’ll be in touch by e-mail shortly.

Stop by Casey’s blog (she’s talking about her Grove quilt today, which has more interesting quilting to suggest rounded tree trunks) as well as the rest of the blogs on the tour—GenQ is up tomorrow!

Friday, November 14, 2014

New pattern, Grey Gardens!

Grey Gardens quilt pattern cover


I’m on a bias-strip appliqué kick...along with last weekend’s Sewing Party class (such fun chatting with all the quilters who stopped by!), I’ve just got the PDF version of my Grey Gardens quilt pattern finished up and ready for the world.

Grey Gardens wallhanging quilt made with La Fiesta blocks

Grey Gardens wallhanging quilt made with La Costa blocks

The pattern includes full instructions and templates for two different blocks using the same easy machine appliqué technique, so you can choose your favorite version (or make both!).

The idea came from the perforated concrete blocks often used to build garden walls, and the way those blocks stack together to make secondary circle patterns. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same idea that sparked the Cordova Table Runner in my book, The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop. But the block designs in Grey Gardens are different (they’re named La Fiesta and La Costa, after their concrete progenitors). They’re a compatible size, though, so you could do a mashup and make a runner with one of the new blocks.

Cordova Table Runner from The Quilter's Applique Workshop

The gentle curves of these blocks make them quite easy to sew, and the pattern sheets ensure perfect placement so the strips meet in the right places. Trust me when I say it wasn’t as easy as it looks to make the geometry work out—but the pattern’s done that all for you, so you can get straight to the fun parts. For me, that was picking out which fabrics to have peeping through the bias lattices—I had such fun with it that I couldn’t stop with just making one quilt.

The Grey Gardens pattern is available for download from my online shop, and the book is available from the usual suspects. As always, I’d love to see photos of what you make from Cordova or Grey Gardens! And if you’ve already got your copy of The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop, I’d be delighted if you reviewed it on Amazon—it really helps!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Are you ready to party?

Have you reserved your spot at the Sewing Party? It’s happening tomorrow, November 8! You can learn to make my Woven Waves Table Runner and take 30 other classes at this first-ever online sewing convention, all for one registration fee.


Any idea where I got the inspiration for the runner design? All will be revealed in class, but leave your guess in the comments!

Also in class, I’ll walk you through all the steps of designing and making your own one-of-a-kind version of this bias-tape appliqué runner. You’ll get a handout with all the cutting info too, so you don’t have to be scribbling notes down while the class is running, and you’ll be able to rewatch the presentation for 90 days in case you want to review anything. That also means you can view all the classes even if you can’t make it tomorrow—or if you’re busy watching one of the other classes scheduled at the same time.

Of course, the benefit of taking the class when scheduled is that you can ask questions in the live chat and I’ll be there to help you along! I hope you’ll stop by and join the fun.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Saturday, November 8, 2014
online at The Sewing Party!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pigeons in search of a city



Rats of their air they may be, but for some reason I find pigeons fascinating. So for the class I’m teaching at Quilting LIVE!, I’m using my Bird Crossing pattern to make a runner with the birds as pigeons.

Since they’re city dwellers, I figured an urban print would be the appropriate background, and I have several options in my stash. But which to choose? I’d love to get your help. Here’s a closer look at the shortlist....





Where does the pigeon look most at home to you?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mid-Century Monday: Patchwork quilt by Alexander Girard


photo from Alexander Girard by Todd Oldham and Keira Coffee
This grainy image is tantalizing proof that Alexander Girard made—or at least designed—a quilt! It’s from a bedroom Girard designed for the Scoren house in 1977. The fabrics are his own stripes, checkers, and probably solids or woven textures (from what I can tell), with a simple piecing pattern of squares. It’s so exciting to see one of my design heroes working in my own medium!

I’m sharing this today because I’m just about to set off for Seattle, where one of the lectures I’m giving is Mid-Century Modern Quilts. Though I don’t know much about Girard’s quilt, it’s a great point of connection between the work of well-known mid-century designers and mid-century styles in quiltmaking.

Bonus Girard quilting connection: quilt artist Jean Ray Laury thanks him in the acknowledgments in her book Wood Applique...perhaps the “high” designers of the period and their craft-oriented colleagues were closer connected that we might think....