And we decided to make a birthday quilt for our friend, mentor and teacher Margaret Linderman.
And we decided to make it a surprise!
And we wanted all of her peeps to be able to create a part of the quilt.
I thought of the French Roses quilt, created by Heather French. It is a versatile, layered, fabric flower that Margaret and her students have made many times for many people.
I drew up a layout with the blocks on point that would have 50 flowers – enough to include many friends!
Then I added in a center that could have an image of Margaret’s muse, Frida Kahlo, in a flaming corazon.
Margaret’s daughter Janis Stob and I sent out packets of background fabric, a black shadow for each flower (to add a visual punch) and inspiration appliques. It will surprise none of you that I have quite a collection of Alexander Henry fabrics from which to draw folklorico inspiration!
When the blocks came in we gathered at Wooden Gate Quilts, in Danville, and worked on a layout.
Janis sewed the blocks all together, making many extra where we needed more, leaving the hole in the middle for Frida.
I created a heart from dupioni silk and cut flames out of bright batiks. Margaret’s favorite image of Frida Kahlo was printed on to fabric to adorn the center.
To make an exciting edge to the heart I glued lots of small flower appliques to a layer of black batting which would add dimension, color and texture. I stitched them all on the longarm and cut them out with the black shadows visible.
The appliques surrounded the corazon and then I created a frame for the photo of Frida.
The outer “border” was composed of more corazons, most made by Janis Stob and Kathy August.
The quilt began to take shape!
Of course, even though we started MONTHS in advance, the quilt didn’t get on to the longarm until the DAY BEFORE THE PARTY. And we still had to add bling and bind it!
I had a marathon 6 hours on the longarm to get it all quilted!
That night we had a bling and binding party! You won’t believe how fast Pat DeForce got that binding on for us!
We added crystals, beads, do-dads, bobbles, milagros and anything else we got our hands on to make the quilt more “Margaret!”
The next day we threw her a surprise party!
Please hold for Part 2, wherein we give Margaret the quilt!
Look for our quilt at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California, this weekend!
If you’re looking for a super quick, classic, quilt pattern with endless variety, then hop over and pick up my Streak of Lightning pattern at PatternSpot.com today! They are having a 20% off sale until August 23, 2105. Use the code KIDS2015 Here’s the link.
I’ve made this quick quilt as a wonderful rainbow quilt for a teen or tween. It was really fun at use all eyelet for the whites…
…and pull together bits of every color. (Actually, you might notice that I’ve totally skipped the red and added in turquoise, but other than that…)
The Streak of Lightning pattern is actually an old traditional pattern, usually completed in two colors, like this red and white version. I had seen a vintage one when I was working on the last museum show and it inspired me to make some kid versions.
I first made a small version with bird fabrics and textured cottons from Andover.
Then I made the Bee Streak with some dotted swiss and Heather Ross fabrics – super cute and soft!
Making the Zombie Streak of Lightning was my favorite because I got to use all of my skulls, skeletons, mustaches, music notes, zombies, flames and so much more to make a great graduation gift for a friend!
I’ve been looking for quilty love in all the right places, I’ll tell you that.
I need to create a background foundation for the January Obsession quilt before I go any farther with the appliqued flowers, and I have been looking to the imagery of the Mexican and South American serape blankets for a starting point.
With the linear nature of these textiles and the gradating stripes, the little chunks of colors in some, and the white triangles in others, I’m on track for a colorful background for the quilt. I spy black stripes, graduating monochromatic sections and bold, clear colors.
The January (obsession) Quilt has made a bit of progress.
I continue to find inspirations for shape, pattern, and color, like this darling little candelabrum that my dear friend Laurie gave me. It stands about five inches tall and it is intricately painted. The five-petaled flowers and the two-color leaves are making the brain cells work! The frilly painted lace motif is also something I am intrigued with.
And this little birdie has me really trying to figure out if I can incorporate birds into the piece!
You may remember this image as where I left off in the last post.
I got the flower’s center on to the longarm and then scribbled on it for a bit.
Here it is cut out. You can see that I leave some parts, including the outsides of the pieces, unquilted so that I can have places to stitch when I add it to the quilt’s background later.
These little blue flowers are about four inches in diameter, so you can get some idea of the scale of the pieces.
I cut up a batch of little blue flowers, like the ones in the birdie candle holder, and gave them pink and yellow centers. These reddish-orange flowers are also promising! I made both four- and five-petaled ones.
I scribble-quilted circles on the nopales and gave them a nice big black batting edge.
I absolutely love them!
I don’t know if this is where the flowers will eventually live – but I like it for now.
Next up are more large-ish flowers. Yellow.
And my new favorites… the white flowers!
I’m off to Road to California tomorrow and will be taking a longarm class with Angela Walters. Maybe she can beat some of my bad, scribbly quilting habits out of me.
January is Make YOURSELF a Quilt Month – I have spoken and therefore it shall be…
What’s the deal, you ask?
The holidays are over – as I mentioned in the last post – and it’s time to move on. As creative people we are often compelled to make quilts for people as gifts – in fact, many of us make ALL of our quilts as gifts.
This can be both positive and negative.
The positives include: You feel good giving a special gift. People like getting hand-made things. You made it super special. You actually finished a project.
Here are some negatives: It’s an expensive way to give a gift. You worked outside your palette or comfort zone and didn’t enjoy it. It came out “ugly.” It took a long time. The person doesn’t always understand or appreciate what you put into to making the quilt. It gets put into a closet. You rarely see the quilt (if ever) again. It gets used as a dog bed. It ends up as a doormat. And so on.
I know we all feel like a quilt is the “perfect” gift, especially when someone has a baby. So make a baby quilt for yourself, your sibling, or your grandchild. Good plan. But, you don’t have to make a quilt for your aunt’s cousin’s hairdresser’s dog walker’s step-daughter. Draw the line, people. Just because an egg has been fertilized somewhere in the continuous United States DOESN’T MEAN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE IT A QUILT! Buy a onsie or a stuffed giraffe once in a while, for Pete’s sake!
I think and fret a lot if I am making a quilt for someone else, whether it is a commission or a gift. I worry about the theme, tone, fabrics, colors, size, pattern, quality of workmanship and everything else there is to perseverate over. And that, my friends, is just NO FUN!
When I’m making myself a quilt I take risks, I make mistakes, I work very fast and spontaneously, and I really enjoy it. Except when it tortures me and looks ugly. But even that’s OK with me!
The real reason that I want you to make a quilt for yourself is that you make such interesting choices when you create for yourself. You don’t have to worry if the recipient will like it, if it will “go” with their stuff, if it will be appreciated. Often you’re bolder, braver, and, I hope, happier when you’re working with a beloved palette, with fabric you love, on a quilt you’re excited to make. If you have to make adjustments you’ll feel less stressed. And you’ll most likely enjoy the process more and care less about the product!
So it’s make yourself a quilt month and that means me, too.
I have to do some quilt work for other people this month, but at least twice a week I am going to work on a quilt just for me. I would like to share my process with all of you. Even if it ends up a big hot mess (as my friend Kris says.) I hope you’ll join me on my journey!
I have only a vague idea of what I am going to make. It’s going to have huge quilted applique flowers and leaves. It will have vibrant colors.
I am going to make it up as I go.
I want to take the feel of this tiny postcard with the quilted appliques and bow it up HUGE!
Inspiration for this project comes from my love of certain colors and imagery that I often find in Mexican art and tiles. I have been pinning on a Pintrest board I’ve titled Obsession – see it here.
This new fabric from Alexander Henry is a good starting point.
I’ve been quilting and painting on these fabrics…
And this is really where I get the most excited!!!
I started a flower today!
I cut shapes out of batik and cotton prints.
Ultimately the flower needed seven petals.
The next step was to turn the flower parts into appliques – quilted on to batting.
I chose black batting because I really want the appliques to have a very definite edges and a sharp, coloring book look.
Here the petals get layered on to the black batting on the long arm.
I quilted the inner parts of the petals using both a variegated orange Superior Rainbows thread and a solid lime green polyester in the needle and a darker pink variegated thread in the bobbin.
The quilting is really scribbly and I don’t like how it came out. I didn’t glue the pieces down and the edges got all puckery. The batting was all stretchy and it moved a lot under the needle. At this point I’m thinking I’ve wrecked it all.
I cut the parts of the petals out, leaving about a quarter of an inch of the batting showing.
I quilted the inner ring of petals separately because I thought it needed the punch of the black edges.
I’m going to need to quilt the center, but maybe it’s not totally terrible after all.
Of course, it’s my favorite month of the year because, as you all know, I LOVE A MUSTACHE! You’ll recall ALL of my earlier mustache-obsessed blogs: Here and here and here. (P.S. there are many links in this blog and if you click on all of them you get a lot of brownie points!)
Movember is the month that raises awareness and money for men’s health issues through a global charity campaign. The charity asks men to grow a mustache over the month of November and use it to raise money. That money goes to four basic charity groups: Men’s health awareness and education, cancer research, prostate cancer and understanding mental illness. Check it out at the site.
My obsession with the mustache probably goes back to my Dad – doesn’t everything? He had a rockin’ mustache for about 20 years – except for the ill-fated time in 1973 when he shaved it off and we called him Mr. Stranger and refused to speak to him until he grew it back! I suppose growing up n the ’70s meant that I saw many, many mustaches! And of course, I do look very good in a mustache!
Two of my all-time favorite mustachioed men also have beards, but I won’t hold that against them!
In 2010 ran into the now-famous Jack Passion at Peet’s in Walnut Creek and stopped him to tell him that his beard was so good that he should be in a competition. (Because I had, of course, been looking at all of the beard and mustache competition websites in my spare time.) He happily told me that he ALREADY HAD and had (at that point) twice won the World Beard Competition. Now he has a TV show, has written books, plays in a band and has written a coloring book that I HAVE TO BUY!!! He’s a lovely man and his beard is quite lovely, too!
In honor of Movember I am offering to donate one dollar of every sale of my Awesome Mustache quilt on Craftsy to the cause! You can instantly download a full-sized pattern for all of these fun mustaches and this quilt and help the cause at the same time!
When I was teaching up in Redding, California this year, a quilter brought in this fabulous version of the quilt. She had reduced all of the drawings to 50% and made this quilt for her brother’s kitchen wall! I love it!
If you really need a Movember quilt fast, and you don’t want to make one, I have his little beauty for sale at Etsy. It’s the only one, so click fast if you really want it! Of, course there are some fun pillows at my store, too!
But, as an added bonus, I’m going to send the instructions for this wall hanging to everyone who has bought the Awesome Mustache pattern! Because that’s how I roll!
I’ve also been on a roll making a new quilt about every week – I’ll be sharing these with you all pronto! Stay tuned and Happy Movember.
I’m off to my esthetician now, to get my facial hair worked on – moustaches don’t really look that good on me after all!
Let me introduce you to our cat Scott Hastings, who passed away last month.
Now, don’t be swayed by the photos – he was not exactly a little cutie!
He was a remarkable guy who blew through his nine lives in about two years and lived the next 16 years on borrowed time. He almost died from a million things including being shot by a BB gun many times, broken spine bone, crazy bacterial infection, multiple face surgeries after cat fights, lacerated tongue with plenty of stitches, just to name a few.
We named him Scott Hastings after the ballroom dancer from the movie “Strictly Ballroom,” and he went by many nicknames, Grumpy Dude being the favorite one towards the end there.
Scott was the LOUDEST, most vocal cat I’ve ever seen, and as he went deaf in the last few years, he took to howling in the bathtub – charming.
He was really my son’s cat. He picked my son out at the pet store by snagging his shirt with a claw when we walked by. He was a bit older than the age of a kitten we wanted, but it was clear from the start that he was going to be Nathan’s cat.
I have made a quilt for my son about every 10 years. When he was 8, I made this Trip Around the World, which was on his bed or his wall for ever. It was made of all cowboy fabrics and a great starry border fabric from Robert Kaufmann fabrics.
Then, at 18, I made a very manly quilt for Nathan, which ended up in my book Maverick Quilts. It’s all from 1/4 yard pieces of blue batik with great green “butterflies.”
Now that he’s 28, I figured it was about time for a new quilt. I made him an Irish flag quilt with his favorite lucky charm, shamrocks, on it. I absolutely love it and I think he does, too!
Most of the fabrics in the quilt are of something that has meaning to us and I was able to use many of my conversation prints – always a good thing. From the State of California to golf to football to barbecuing, all of Nathan’s interests are there.
Of course, I had to include Grumpy Dude, right?
I started with a fabric that had an orange cat. But it was too light, and didn’t have Scott’s white bib, his deep orange parts, or the right face shape.
So I got out the fabric paints, added fabric medium, and went to town.
Not too bad, right?
I’ll finish the binding on the quilt any minute now and give it to my son to keep!
Post script: Scott passed away at home after being able to say goodbye to Nathan. He’s buried under the redwood tree he used to climb.
If you haven’t gotten down to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville to see the Quintessential Quilts – a Floral Fantasy show, you still have ten days to hustle down there. I’ve worked with the museum volunteers to create a really beautiful collection of quilts which showcase flowers. We were able to gather quilts with flower appliques, flower fabrics, painted flowers, embroidered, embellished and everything in between!
We have fresh flowers delivered twice a week, compliments of our local floral businesses, gardening groups and stores. The rooms smell lovely and it’s a delightful little exhibit.
We’ve also been able to include some very interesting men’s quilts in the “man cave.” We wanted to be sure everyone know men quilt, too. Even if they don’t do loads of floral quilts!
My teacher Margaret Linderman and I will be doing a free demonstration and our raw-edge floral work on Saturday, September 28 from 11:00 to 12:00. Come early to get parking. The farmer’s market is going on at the same time and it’s a bit of a busy corner of the world!
Be sure to come by Saturday, September 21, to see the lovely Sandra Newman demonstrate hand sewing hexagons. She’s created some packets for everyone to try them out and then you can see her beautiful work, too! Also from 11:00 to 12:00.