Margaret’s Muse – The Frida Quilt

 

Margaret's Muse Quilt Center. Frida Kahlo
Margaret’s Muse Quilt Center. Frida Kahlo

It was a dark and stormy night…

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.

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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!

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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.

The crew working on the layout
The crew working on the layout

 

Jamie in the center
Jamie in the center

Janis sewed the blocks all together, making many extra where we needed more, leaving the hole in the middle for Frida.

Quilt center in progress
Quilt center in progress

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.

Raw-edge appliqes with black batting
Raw-edge appliqes with black batting

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.

Center in Progress. Adding appliques and a frame
Center in Progress. Adding appliques and a frame

The appliques surrounded the corazon and then I created a frame for the photo of Frida.

Border corazon
Border corazon

The outer “border” was composed of more corazons, most made by Janis Stob and Kathy August.
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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!IMG_6486

I had a marathon 6 hours on the longarm to get it all quilted!

Late night bling crew!
Late night bling crew!

That night we had a bling and binding party! You won’t believe how fast Pat DeForce got that binding on for us!

Frida Flower
Frida Flower

We added crystals, beads, do-dads, bobbles, milagros and anything else we got our hands on to make the quilt more “Margaret!”

Margaret's Muse quilt center
Margaret’s Muse quilt center

The next day we threw her a surprise party!

Please hold for Part 2, wherein we give Margaret the quilt!

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Look for our quilt at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California, this weekend!

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Streak of Lightning Quilt – Make one today!

Rainbow Streak of Lightning
Rainbow Streak of Lightning

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.

Pretty Eyelet
Pretty Eyelet
Open-weave eyelet with backing
Open-weave eyelet with backing

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…

Auditioning the rainbow!
Auditioning the rainbow!

…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…)

Red Streak detail
Red Streak detail

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.

Streak of Lightning Birdies
Streak of Lightning Birdies

I first made a small version with bird fabrics and textured cottons from Andover.

Bee Streak was made with half-size blocks
Bee Streak was made with half-size blocks

Bee Streak detailThen I made the Bee Streak with some dotted swiss and Heather Ross fabrics – super cute and soft!

Zombie Streak of Lightning
Zombie Streak of Lightning

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!

Little Robot in border
Little Robot in border

I scrappied up the border something good!

Zombie Streak quilting detail
Zombie Streak quilting detail

And quilted it in a neon green!  Boo YA!

What are you inspired to make today?

 

 

All-American Flag Quilt

Star section detail from All-American Flag Quilt, by Alethea Ballard
Star section detail from All-American Flag Quilt, by Alethea Ballard

It’s true. I am very patriotic. I don’t have pictures of Uncle Sam all over my house or anything like that, but when it comes to the old red, white & blue, well, it definitely runs in my veins!

I do love to hang the Stars and Stripes at my house, especially on holidays!

All-American Flag Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 1998
All-American Flag Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 1998

Years ago I made a picnic quilt to use on the Fourth of July. I made a star section out of an old dark-blue pair of my husband’s Dickies work pants and some white cotton sheeting. I cut up a pair of husband’s jeans and some of my son’s jeans and made the “white” stripes. (Terrible, but true, one of the pairs was actual acid wash jeans – so that just dates the quilt right there!) There had been a sale on 60″ wide red denim at JoAnn’s and I had bought three yards, so I had the red stripes and the back covered! I stitched it all together and, voila, Sam’s your uncle!

Jeans and tying add interest to the All-American Flag Quilt, by Alethea Ballard
Jeans and tying add interest to the All-American Flag Quilt, by Alethea Ballard

We’ve used this quilt many times, on many picnics and holidays and it still looks great!

Detail of All-American Flag Quilt
Detail of All-American Flag Quilt

I’d really been wanting to make a pattern so that I could share this quilt with my students and y’all, so I decided to make a new version using all red, white and blue shirts. I didn’t have any of my own, so I crept into my husband’s closet and right then and there stole a shirt. Two minutes later I was cutting it into 6 1/2″ sections and the next thing I knew the quilt was on its way! I used the back yokes, the sleeves, pocket and even the button section.

I promptly headed to the thrift store and bought (not stole) some gently-worn shirts, and the rest is history!

All-American Flag Quilt - men's shirt version, by Alethea Ballard; 2013
All-American Flag Quilt – men’s shirt version, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

I sold this version to a wonderful lady from Carmel Valley, so this is the only photo I have – I wish I had taken some close-ups! All of the parts of the shirts really added visual interest to this quilt. Again, I had three yards of on-sale denim just lying around, this time a soft blue, and the back and border was a snap!

Now I’ve created a great downloadable pattern at my Etsy.com Pattern Store. It has loads of color photos and complete instructions for making the quilt. I even include information about stitching it and doing the tying!

But wait! Yes that’s right folks, you also get a YouTube video! Yes, you heard that right. I’ve made another dorky video (just like when I was a Home Ec teacher). This one shows how to make half-square triangles without having to cut triangles to make them! Yeah!

Alethea's YouTube video has a tutorial on how to turn humble squares into stars!
Alethea’s YouTube video has a tutorial on how to turn humble squares into stars!

I’m on track to make more dorky films, so be sure you sign up to follow the Maverick Quilts YouTube channel when you’re there for the nerdfest!

Stripes from red denim and jeans
Stripes from red denim and jeans

Awesome! Maverick Mustache Quilt

Do you like my mustache?
Do you like my mustache?

Well, hello there – do you like my mustache?

Ok – this is an old photo, but just one of many of me wearing mustaches!

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been a bit obsessed with mustaches for quite a while.

Maybe it’s because I look so good in a mustache!

Mustache loot!
Mustache loot!

It seems as though popular culture has caught up with me because I’ve been getting the most wonderful gifts lately – all adorned with mustaches!

On Christmas my husband looked at my loot and asked me if I invented this whole mustache thing. “Yes,” I replied with aplomb, “I invented the mustache!”

M is for Mustache wall-hanging, by Ashley; 2011
M is for Mustache wall-hanging, by Ashley; 2011

The first of my mustache gifts was this wonderful little quilt made especially for me by the creative and funny, Ashley J.

Awesome Mustache Quilt, 47" x 54" by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Awesome Mustache Quilt, 47″ x 54″ by Alethea Ballard; 2012

So, inspired by Ashley’s wall-hanging, I had to make a quilt covered with mustaches!

Otto's 'Stache
Otto’s ‘Stache

First, I drew pages of mustache outlines and pulled out fabrics that looked like mustache hair. Second, I went into my husband’s closet, pulled out a shirt that he didn’t wear too often and cut it up into quilt blocks! Third, I went to the thrift store and bought a bunch more shirts to cut up for the quilt! Why not?

Awesome Quilt detail
Awesome Mustache Quilt detail

It’s probably weird how much I laughed and cackled while I made this quilt! Really weird – and a little creepy.

The most fun part was naming the different mustache styles.

Inspired by Magnum P.I.
Inspired by Magnum P.I.

This one was inspired by Tom Selleck’s mustache from Magnum P.I.

So many people loved this quilt that I made up a pattern so ANYONE can make one of their own!!! That means you!

I’ve created a big PDF file with full-sized templates for the mustaches and I’ve posted it up on Craftsy.com. If you want to join my lunacy and make your own version this quilt, you can download it in a milli-jiffy from Craftsy – here’s the link! Be sure to email me photos of your Awesome Mustache Quilts- nothing would give me more pleasure than to see more versions of the Awesome Mustache Quilt!!!

Well, hello there!
Well, hello there!

My keychain says, “Well, hello there!” when you push a little button. Thank you, Catherine J!

…told you I look good in a mustache!

Superstars Quilts – Sis-ters Boom Ba; the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show – Part 2

Christmas Pixie Superstars detail
Christmas Pixie Superstars detail

Here’s the second installment in my series about the fabulous Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show.

This time I’m speaking as a teacher, and I’m really excited and proud to show you some of the student’s work from the A Quilter’s Affair classes.

Maverick Quilts and Beyond was one of the two classes I taught. Each student came with a favorite large-scale print and over the two days they designed and created a quilt using one of the patterns in Maverick Quilts, Using Large-Scale Fabrics, Novelty Prints & Panels with Panache.

Diana Showing off Maverick Quilts!
Diana Showing off Maverick Quilts!
Cowboy Superstars, by Alethea Ballard; 2006
Cowboy Superstars, by Alethea Ballard; 2006

Several of the students worked on a Superstars quilt. It’s a great quilt to showcase a cherished collection of fabrics or a fussy cut six-inch image from a fabulous single fabric. Large, showy stars surround a modified nine-patch block, and the play of color and texture is really exciting.

Cowboy Superstars detail
Cowboy Superstars detail

My favorite part of the quilt is the secondary square, set on point, which surrounds the large center blocks. When I designed the quilt, I didn’t want to figure out the math of inserting the triangles into the side rectangles, so I just added in Prairie Points instead. These are triangles made out of folded squares which are simply sewn into the seam. Set against the rectangles like this they are a modification of a Flying Geese block, but the Prairie Points really add dimension and a three-dimensional effect, which I really like. They can be left flappy or stitched down with the quilting.

Cowgirl Superstars center blocks
Cowgirl Superstars center blocks

Each student created a totally different version of the quilt.

Cowgirls in progress
Cowgirls in progress

One of us, no names mentioned (Diana), made a bunch of the center blocks, even though she only needed two for the quilt. So, this led to her creating a whole new setting and layout for her quilt. We all got to laugh with her that she hadn’t read the directions at all. I actually love when this happens, and I am always energized by the surprises quilting can bring. Let’s hope to get a photo of her finished quilt soon!

Although there were many different quilt patterns being worked on at once everyone was really wonderful about encouraging each other. It was thoroughly delightful to experience the collaborative spirit that the students brought to the class.

Maverick Quilters at work!
Maverick Quilters at work!

Each quilt evolved in its own way and the everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves!

Carolyn's Superstars in progress
Carolyn’s Superstars in progress

Carolyn started out with a juvenile rocket ship fabric and made the star points to go with it. Then she decided that she wanted to make the quilt for herself and make it more elegant, so a quick trip to the Stitchin’ Post and she had a new focus fabric! It really worked out great.

Rosemary's Angel Superstars quilt
Rosemary’s Angel Superstars quilt

Rosemary’s angels were framed with lovely emerald-green triangles.

I was so inspired by this fun work that I’ve decided to offer the Superstars quilt as a class this fall! If you want to have a little bit of time with me and you’d love a great stars quilt, join me at In Between Stitches in November!

Christmas Pixie Superstars sample
Christmas Pixie Superstars sample

I just found this fun Christmas pixie fabric and have made a sample for my class. Hope to see you there.

I’m also scheduled to teach next year at Sisters (yeah!), so watch for the announcement and sign up EARLY! Classes sell out in a heartbeat!

If any of you A Quilter’s Affair students have some finished work from my classes to share, please send photos to me; I know we all really want to see how they all came out.

Stay tuned… more to come!

Fiesta Beauties Quilt – grand debut

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; center/right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; top right

The Fiesta Beauties quilt is finally finished! I am so pleased with the result.

Many if you know that I have been working on a series of quilts that have evolved from my Lovely Landscape quilt from the Maverick Quilts book.

Drum roll, please!

Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; lower right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; lower right
Fiesta Beauties Quilt back
Fiesta Beauties Quilt back
Close up of Fiesta Beauties quilt back
Close up of Fiesta Beauties quilt back

With how much work went into the front of the quilt, it seemed only fitting that I make a whole second quilt for the back side!

And of course, there is that dee-luxe quilt label. (see last post)

Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection

I created a series of pieces of the focus fabric, which is Las Senoritas, by Alexander Henry Fabrics (still my boyfriend, I might add!). I tried to focus the visual impact of each part by covering up images that I didn’t want.  Mostly that meant covering up partial faces and sometimes extra arms, elbows, hands or hats.

Auditioning a flower applique to cover a hat
Auditioning a flower applique to cover a hat

Then I created the circles for the edges of the focus pieces. All the focus blocks are in 6″ (finished) increments to go with the 6″ finished blocks.

Circles ready for machine applique step
Circles ready for machine applique step

Each circle was machine appliqued to the blocks.

Circles and focus fabric sections in progress
Circles and focus fabric sections in progress
Right side in progress - auditioning appliques
Right side in progress – auditioning appliques

I began to audition the border fabric and started cutting boat-loads of flower appliques.

Charras, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Charras, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Viva Frida, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Viva Frida, by Alexander Henry Fabric Collection
Cacti, by Michael Miller
Cacti, by Michael Miller

After sewing the pieces together, I worked to integrate all the visuals in the piece by breaking the barriers of the focus sections and the surrounding blocks.

This is where the fun begins because there are so many ways to do this. Often I found myself “creating” new flowers by strategically splicing pieces of the fabric.

Estela needs a blue flower
Estela needs a blue flower

In this section I wanted to break the plane by bringing the flower out into the next block.

plain fabric ready with a blue flower
plain fabric ready with a blue flower

This flower proved especially challenging, as it didn’t have any whole petals to work with.  If I just removed the surrounding imagery, the flower would look chopped. I wanted a whole flower.

Flower with leaf
Flower with leaf

For the foundation, I made this cutout. By including the leaf, the applique will blend in better on the background.

Bring in an extra petal
Bring in an extra petal

Then I have to cut up a whole flower to get another petal to overlay.

Overlay the new petal
Overlay the new petal

Trim things up until it looks right.

Trim the petal if needed
Trim the petal if needed
Bring in the flower with the leaf
Bring in the flower with the leaf
Glue flower and leaf in place
Glue flower and leaf in place
Glue on the extra petal
Glue on the extra petal

I added appliques all over the place. All of the other appliques (except the really big cacti) came from other Alexander Henry fabrics I’ve collected over time (of course).

Here are some examples of the results.

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; middle right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; middle right
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; left middle
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; left middle
First layer of quilting in - choose second layer thread colors
First layer of quilting in – choose second layer thread colors

When it came to quilting, I gave everything a once-over with a blue and green variegated rayon thread called Rainbows from Superior threads. In this pass I quilted the backgrounds and borders as well as the edges of all of the appliques.  Then I chose colors to go with all of the different parts of the quilt. Each flower, circle and applique was then quilted a second time with a thread of a matching color. I ended up using green, orange, pink, red and brown.

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; upper center
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; upper center

It’s getting packed up for its debut at Sisters next week.

I hope y’all like it!

Quilt Label – a very long 4-letter word!

Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

OK! Uncle!

I am making some labels for a few of my new quilts. But, only because I have to.

detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
detail of Fiesta Beauties quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

The Quilt Police have had a warrant out on me for years for section 420.67b, non-completion of quilt labels (along with section 316.28a, undocumented quilt gift-giving (no photo of quilt taken before given away); section 421.12c non-inclusion of hanging sleeves; and a few other misdemeanors to be named later).

However, I am showing some of my new work in the Teacher’s Tent at the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt show next week, and they require compliance with the practice of adding a label.  I get why a quilt should be labeled – I even agree that it’s a good thing.

One should label their quilts. (Should – another long 4-letter word.)

I don’t know if it is the rebel in me, the lazy in me, or the absolute aversion to hand sewing, but I NEVER make labels for my quilts. Except for now, when I am doing it for these five quilts (and a few other times).

So, could I just have made a nice simple label? A pretty square with the pertinent information? I COULD have.

But did I?

Why, no.

Quilt Label pre-view
Quilt Label pre-view

Of course not! I made a super-complex collage of at least 12 pieces.

Why so many bits, you might ask? Well, I made her a new skirt top with the pretty red points (the original has just one red point), and then I collaged the basilica, flowers, cacti, and leaves to make a balanced arrangement.

I am sure you’ve noticed by now that the piece is not a simple square either. Of course not! That would just be too easy!

Starting to pin the label edge to the quilt back
Starting to pin the label edge to the quilt back

I did give her a nice set of arm and shoulder tattoos while I was at it. And why not?

Then, I used a zig-zag stitch to attach the collage to a background piece. Not sure it’s the best look, but TOO LATE NOW!

Now we come to the yucky bit – all that hand sewing and turning under of edges, curves, inner corners, and other tools of torture to a hand-sew-a-phobe like me!

Trim the excess off the edges
Trim the excess off the edges

I trimmed the edge a bit and clipped the outer curves. Then I pinned with long, sharp pins (I chose long pins so that the thread could get caught in the pins with each and every stitch – seriously!)

the Maverick Voodoo pin technique
the Maverick Voodoo pin technique

Then I did sew it with little invisible stitches and green thread.

Stitches are looking invisible to me
Stitches are looking invisible to me

Not too bad for someone who avoids this kind of work like a plague of nose-picking pig farmers.

Clip into the inner corners (I think)
Clip into the inner corners (I think)

When I had to work on this (the most complex) section, I clipped into the corners.

Got it pretty-much under control
Got it pretty-much under control

So that’s about it – and it’s done.

(You’re probably wondering why there is that funny line on her chest. The reason is that I started with a piece that had her face, arm and body but had the left part of her chest cut off. Rather than starting with a whole lady, I just cut the chest off of another intact lady. What was I thinking? No Idea. Just sometimes one makes silly decisions.)

Here’s the finished look…

Fiesta Beauties quilt label all finished
Fiesta Beauties quilt label all finished
close-up of Fiesta Beauties quilt label all finished
close-up of Fiesta Beauties quilt label all finished

So only four more to go!

Quilt label for Barbed Wire Betsy quilt, by Alethea Ballard
Quilt label for Barbed Wire Betsy quilt, by Alethea Ballard

Well, I actually finished the label for Barbed Wire Betsy (see this post), and I kept this one more simple!!!

I gave her a barbed-wire font!
I gave her a barbed-wire font!

So three more to go – please hold.

Wanna read a good book?

Eli's Pirate Ship Quilt
Pirateland, 2010

It was after dinner and before Cheeto-thirty (you know – the time to eat Cheetos each night) and there I was sitting in the Lay-Z-Boy googling myself again. Just another Thursday night for the old maverick quilter.

And I came across a book review that made me want to buy my own book – I swear!  It was so positive, even I was inspired.  I ran right into the sewing room and cut up some large scale fabric – kidding.

Check your humble author out HERE!

And thank you Creating the Hive for the shout out.

OK folks, Cheeto-thirty starts now.

Pirateland detail
Pirateland detail

Maverick Quilts – Goddess

Rivoli Goddesses
Rivoli Goddesses

The blog has been quiet but the sewing machine loud!  I have been working on quilts like a madwoman and have lots of new work to show y’all.

I have just made a new version of the Goddess quilt in the super-hip Alexander Henry Rivoli Girl fabric. These modern, slightly-coy girls just called out to me to be featured in a quilt. Boy, do I love fabric with people on it.

I know you can get some of this fabric at the delightful Wooden Gate Quilts store in Danville, California right now. I have also spied this fabric in other colors at Fabric.com, and I just Might have to get me some in anther colorway – just MIGHT! Rivoli Girl fabric from Fabric.com.

I love making these curved blocks. I use half of a quarter yard (a fat eighth) and free-cut the curves. Each pairing of fabric makes two curvy blocks and then I have some fun long strips to play with and put into the blocks.

Goddess block in progress
Goddess block in progress

I audition all the curve strips on the wall and play with possible sashing ideas.

In progress on the design wall
In progress on the design wall

I am teaching this quilt as a class in Danville at Wooden Gate Quilts. You can contact them for information about the class. Wooden Gate Quilts If you are nervous about trying this on your own, sign up; I would love to teach you how to make these fun curves.

For the Rivoli Goddesses, I made the blocks 17″ and used a 2″ sashing with posts. I used the left over fabrics for a fun scrappy outer border. Yes, please!

Rivoli Goddesses, by Alethea Ballard; 2011
Rivoli Goddesses, by Alethea Ballard; 2011

For those of you who are making the Goddess quilt out of the book, and for those of you who are making the curvy border for the Jalousie quilt in Maverick Quilts, the following images might help you get into the rhythm of the cutting and pinning. This is meant simply to give further information if you’re working out of the book; it is not the whole set of instructions.

First – you must make sure that you stack your two pieces of fabric so the right sides both face up – do not make them pretty sides in!!!

Rotary cut the curves
Rotary cut the curves

Then use your rotary cutter to create a gentle curve down the middle of the block.

trim a scant 1/4"
trim a scant 1/4"

Clip the inner part of the curves a scant quarter inch and about 1/4″ apart.

Again I want to remind you that the image in the book for the curves cutting is wrong!

Bad left image! Good right image
Bad left image! Good right image

Clip the concave part of the curve only – the image on the left of this image is very naughty – it’s wrong. Just cross it out so you remember that the image on the right is the correct one! Thanks!

use ruler to mark opposite seams
use ruler to mark opposite seams

Put the pairs pretty sides in and mark opposite sides of the seams to create markers for the pin placement.

all ready for the pins
all ready for the pins

Mark the apex of each curve and its opposite side. Then you will pin only where you marked.

The rest is just sewing, pressing and trimming. Easy-ish!

I really hope you try this technique out! I really love it.

Here is a close up of Goddess flowers, which is in the book.

Pretty, Pretty quilting
Pretty, Pretty quilting

Quilting for You Magazine loves me!

Fabrications - Quilting for you cover, August/September 2011
Fabrications - Quilting for you cover, August/September 2011

Fabrications – Quilting for You magazine has put one of my quilts right on the cover of their magazine! And they did a five-page spread about it, too.

I am so proud.

Yep – that’s my Emerald Jalousie quilt hanging in that garden.

Inside they have the whole chapter from the book that shows how to make the Jalousie quilt.

This quilt is one of the first quilts I created for the Maverick Quilts book, and the Ginger version that is on the book’s cover was one of the last quilts I made leading up to the final deadline.

I had bought a large piece of this Amy Butler fabric and I absolutely loved the whole piece. I had been experimenting with cutting two fabrics into long vertical strips and sewing them together in such a way so the whole pattern peeked through. It worked with some success but wasted a lot of fabric.

For this quilt I realized that if I cut just a one-inch strip of fabric and sewed it into a cut in the fabric that the pattern would not be altered in size or scale. Armed with this knowledge, I set out to create a lattice glass window, called a jalousie, where I could see the whole fabric pattern through the grid.

Emerald Jalousie quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2009
Emerald Jalousie quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2009

I had also been exploring free-cutting curves in my quilts and borders. For this quilt I felt that the softness and movement of the curves would be the perfect alternative to the linear nature of the quilt’s center.

I have taught the Jalousie as a class and will be teaching it soon at In Between Stitches in Livermore, California. See the class description here, and you can sign up to take the class at the bottom of that page.

Here are some examples of my students work before quilting:

Lovely Irises peek through the jalousie in this quilt
Lovely Irises peek through the jalousie in this quilt
Beautiful example of a Jalousie quilt
Beautiful example of a Jalousie quilt

The directions for the curved piecing is in the book and the magazine article, but there is an error in the following graphic.

Diagram 6 - naughty and nice!
Diagram 6 - naughty and nice!

The graphic on the left shows the clips on the outside of the curves. That is wrong – naughty graphic!

To make the curves work, you really only want to clip the  inner curves. This allows for some easing of the fabric as you sew the pieces together. So the graphic to the right is correct – nice graphic.

Of course, you can always change the border to suit your own taste and working style. Read on…

I got a great email from my teacher’s pet, who said that she bought  my book in the morning and had this quilt finished by evening! She left out some of the vertical strips, and then she added the great squares in the border. I always encourage my students to make the quilts the way they want to doing the parts they like and leaving out the parts that aren’t fun to them. That is exactly what Chris did – that’s one of the things that makes her my pet!

by Chris Leach; 2011
by Chris Leach; 2011
detail of Jalousie by Chris Leach; 2011
detail of Jalousie by Chris Leach; 2011

I love that she used this fabric. I had bought some for a Jalousie quilt myself, and two of my closest friends have bought some for their projects, too! You can never have large enough flowered fabric, in my opinion.

You can get Fabrications, Quilting for You magazine anywhere in the UK and also certain locations her in the U.S. and abroad. If you live in England, you can get a copy of my book Maverick Quilts, using Large-Scale Fabrics, Novelty Prints & Panels with Panache through a special offer made by Roadhouse. Here is what they say: Roadhouse is offering this book at the special price of £19.99 (r.r.p. £23.00) including FREE postage & handling to mainland U.K. addresses (other destinations on request). To place an order contact Roadhouse on 01273 603717. The offer deadline is 15th November, 2011.