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.


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....

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Stitch ’n Swap Blog Party

Have you been following Generation Q’s Blog Party to celebrate the release of their new book? It’s Stitch ’n Swap: 25 Handmade Projects to Sew, Give and Receive, and I’m on today’s party circuit!

My contribution to the book was a pair of potholders made from a version of Rail Fence blocks that reminded me of parquet floors—hence the alliterative project title, Parquet Pot Holders.

Though they look quite different, both of the potholders were made from exactly the same block structure. In bare black and white, it looks like this:

Not much to it when stripped down, but there’re loads of ways to dress it up! I envisioned a swap or guild challenge in which participants would all use the same basic design and “color it in” with different fabrics to show the versatility of the block. To make sure it was doable, I challenged myself to come up with some other designs for the same potholder block. These are just solids, but the possibilities multiply even further when using stripes and other prints.

Make sure to check out GenQ for the rest of the blog party and to enter to win your very own copy of the book. Good luck, and happy swapping!

How does this giveaway work?

I'm so glad you asked. Comment on the original Generation Q Stitch 'N Swap post letting us know if you've ever participated in a swap and the coolest thing you've ever gotten in a swap. That's it!

All winners will be chosen from the Generation Q Magazine post Wednesday May 7th and posted Thursday May 8th.

Stitch ’n Swap: 25 Handmade Projects to Sew, Give and Receive
compiled by Jake Finch of Generation Q
112 pages

Get a signed copy from GenQ

Monday, May 05, 2014

Photo catch-up

It’s been a wild couple of months with a very full schedule—lest you think the piles of fabric and paperwork of my sewing room has finally swallowed me whole, here’re some shots from the more fun moments. (The paperwork piles are very real, but no fun, so I won’t subject you to them.)

Pomeranian in a picnic basket

Spring means picnic time with Miss Fluffinstuff! We couldn’t resist putting her in the oilcloth picnic basked I sewed for Stitch.

Pomeranian in a picnic basket

Pomeranian in a picnic basket

Pomeranian in a picnic basket

Pomeranian in a picnic basket

I’m teaching next week for Quilters Anonymous near Seattle, so I just finished a new trapunto pillow class sample…

trapunto rings pillow

A while back I stole a few minutes for a trial run of some screen-printing on fabric—lots of fun!

screen-printing test

I’m really itching to sew something with the test swatch, and my head’s buzzing with ideas for designing and printing fabric. Sometime this summer I’m going to have to take a vacation to the print studio (that is, our garage) for some uninterrupted playtime. But not until after Quilt Market!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Quilter's Appliqué Workshop Blog Tour giveaway winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway—it’s been really interesting to hear what aspects of appliqué intrigue you, what’s held you back, and what you’re looking forward to in the book. I wish I could send you all a copy!

The randomly chosen winner is SIMPLESEW, who left this comment:
Its a weird I dont like to do the applique.. I am lazy, but I am a really good cross stitcher but I dont like to embroidery either, but love EPP..But I feel the same, they can play anything on TV and if I have thread in hand, I would be happy..
I hope the book will show her some ways to appliqué that will work for her.

Thanks again for all your entries, and for following along with the blog tour. And thanks especially to the hosts of each stop along the tour! If you missed any of them, they’re all linked up here on my blog, or right here on the book’s mini site. Orders for The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop are now shipping, so please check it out!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Blog Tour day 8: Quilting Daily

Today marks the end of the Quilter’s Applique Workshop Blog Tour and also the official publication date of the book! So it’s appropriate that today’s post is on the publisher’s Quilting Daily blog. Stop by for a handful of my appliqué tips.

Enter there for a chance to win a copy of the book—and there’s still time to enter for the tour’s grand prize! Thanks for your entries—the winner is announced here!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour day 7: CraftyPod

Still wondering if The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop is for you? Diane Gilleland’s review on CraftyPod gets to the core of what makes this book great (he said, humbly).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blog Tour day 6: Happy Appliquer

Magazines may be able to dig up quotes and photos from years gone by, but nobody can dredge up the past like a mother! Thankfully she only shared the minimally embarrassing anecdote of my childhood cartoon creations (Mo-om!), and today I’m honored to present a guest post on my talented mom’s blog, Happy Appliquer. Be sure to look around to ogle the work of a truly accomplished appliqué artist.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blog Tour day 5: Generation Q

Today longtime quilt friend Melissa Thompson Maher reviews The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop on the Generation Q Magazine site! I’m blushing...
It’s classic Kevin.  His urbane sense of humor oozes off the pages right from the start.
Don’t miss the goofy portrait of me they dug up from the archives.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog Tour day 4: LoveBug Studios

Jump over to Ebony Love’s LoveBug Studios for a guest post on die cutting for appliqué. While you’re there, enter to win some wool charm squares!

And don’t forget to enter the grand-prize giveaway for the blog tour by commenting on the first day’s post. Thanks for your entries—the winner is announced here!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Quilter's Applique Workshop Blog Tour: Virtual trunk show

Yesterday I launched my new book The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop with a trunk show, book signing, and demo at the annual retreat held by my home guild, the Tuleburg Quilt Guild. After the relatively solitary process of putting the book together, it was a real treat to share the quilts with my friends and fellow quilters, and to hear what they made of them. So to kick off my blog tour, I thought I’d share a few pics from the event with you too.

Keep following the blog tour through the official publication date of February 28 to get more ideas for appliqué and hear more about The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop from these bloggers:
 Don’t forget to check out the grand-prize giveaway details at the end of this post!

Since my Fruit Market quilt got shipped to the publisher almost immediately after I got it back from the quilter, it was great to get it out into the light of day.

Speaking of the light of day, how’s this for dramatic lighting? The sun decided to act as a natural spotlight for Pineapple Rings.

Cover quilt Cobblestones got the spotlight treatment too.

Check out these treat boxes my super friend, cashier, and cheerleader Sandy made for the retreat using the Cobblestones blocks! Even better, they were filled with her homemade caramely, chocolatey shortbread.

My lovely assistants, Deborah and Sandy, with my Mod Flowers Table Runner. The runners were too small for them to hide their faces behind; I do believe there were some secrets whispered behind the larger quilts....

Counterbalance turned on its side reminded some audience members of snakes who’d gobbling up a rat, which I had to admit was a pretty fair assessment. So the quilt’s nickname will now be Well-Fed Snakes.

Garden Allotments was one of the crowd favorites—broderie perse is great with fairly large-scale prints like these florals.

Round the Block was another crowd pleaser, not that you’d know it from the faces we’re pulling.

Having a TED Talks moment.

One of our guild members is named Dessie. As I was unfurling this banner and only the left half was showing, one of our VPs was momentarily puzzled as to why I’d made a quilt that said “Feed Dessie”—was she hungry?? (The pattern for the full pieced alphabet is forthcoming, so you can spell out the name of whoever needs to be fed in your own guild.)

After lunch, I demonstrated needle-turn appliqué with freehand tree shapes as in the All Seasons Pillows peeking out to the left of me (a free pattern for the project is coming later in the blog tour). Not having a precise line to follow takes the stress out of needle-turning so you can focus instead on learning the process and hand movements. I was thrilled to see guild mates discovering (to their surprise) that the process was easy and fun! There’s really no need for all that “A-word” name-calling.

For the duration blog tour, enter to win the “grand prize” giveaway of a signed copy of the book, a stack of my other appliqué patterns, and my home-dec sewing DVD. Just tell me what intrigues you about appliqué in a comment on this post, whether you’re a beginner or an appliqué aficionado. Comments will be open through March 1, 11:59 pm Pacific Time, then a winner will be randomly chosen. (U.S. addresses only please; one entry per person.) Good luck, and make sure to check out all the other stops on the tour too! Thanks for your entries—the winner is announced here!

The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop
By Kevin Kosbab
Interweave/F+W Media; $26.99
The Quilter's Appliqué Workshop

Thanks JD for taking the retreat photos!