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Entries in Machine Quilting (22)

Thursday
May162013

Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Four Square Quilt

I’m not a painter, but I have always imagined that quilt making is a lot like oil painting. Both involve a detailed setup and complex series of steps, yet both tap into a deep well of freedom and creativity.  My sewing projects tend towards the quick, easy and practical, but every once in a while I like to slow down and explore big gestures using the refined techniques of quilting.

This Simple Four Square Quilt crystallizes everything I love about quilt making! It uses traditional block patterns in a decidedly unorthodox way, exploring color and proportionality much like a striking modern painting. I used Robert Kaufman’s Architextures prints, whose simple mechanical drawings I love for their clean freshness. I anchored the prints with a cool gray solid, and for fun, added a hot pop of neon orange dots.

With a project like this, it is important to do all of the steps, from the cutting to the piecing to the pressing, with care. Savor this deliberate process; it is well worth the extra time! The finished quilt is truly something special, an heirloom that is modern, elegant and simply beautiful! --Molly

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Thursday
Sep132012

Molly's Sketchbook: Quilted Tea Cozy

While I was on maternity leave this summer learning how to swaddle, sling and sleepwalk, Purl Soho was busy stocking up on a whole new family of products! Returning to the store, I was greeted by lots of questions from my co-workers and also by a myriad of exciting new things: a beautiful quilting line from Liberty of London, bags and quilts from Utility Canvas, and most surprisingly, tea from Bellocq

I was so intrigued by its colorful ingredients and handsome packaging, its amazing fragrance and unusual flavors, that I immediately conjured a cozy autumn scene involving a steaming pot of Bellocq tea and me knitting something sweet for my daughter. And while I may not actually get much knitting done this year with a little baby around, I do think I’ll make time for the tea. This lovely Quilted Tea Cozy will keep my pot warm while I answer emails, put away the laundry, and sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” for the hundredth time! 

I used the sturdy yet pretty Kiyohara Upholstery Weight solid in Pink, quilted it with thick cotton batting to keep the tea piping hot, and finished it with a smokey gray cotton twill tape. I love this Cozy's simple elegance and old-fashioned charm, and with a tin of your favorite Bellocq tea, it's an excellent gift too! 

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Thursday
Jul262012

Amy Gropp Forbes of Eclectic Mom: Inkodye!

As a child I loved making sun prints, and as a mom I have bought sunprint paper many times for my kids. So when I discovered Inkodye Light Sensitive Dyes, I couldn't wait to try them! Instead of paper, Inkodye harnesses the power of the sun to create images on fabric. For me this is definitely an exciting development!

I knew my kids would enjoy trying Inkodye too, so we set up a big table, gathered our supplies, and got ready to experiment. I cut a yard of Moda's Muslin into about 16 small pieces, knowing that I would probably patchwork them back together again. Having a lot of scraps to work with eliminated the pressure to get it "right" on the first try and kept us all loose and creative.

We started out by testing Inkodye's colors with a few simple stripes. It was magical to watch the very pale dyes come alive the moment we stepped out into the sun. I really responded to the warm red tones that we got doing this first test, so I used red and orange dyes for my project. Sometimes I mixed the two together or added a little water to get a variety of shades. (For a similar sun bleached look, Purl Soho also suggests Inkodye's Color Extender. It lightens the dye's color while preserving its thick consistency, and it also gives you a whole lot more dye to work with!)

The next step was to get printing! We knew we wanted to play with botanicals and so snipped a few blossoms, leaves, and stems from our garden. Ferns and Japanese maple leaves made particularly nice prints, but we also tried hydrangea leaves, a clematis vine, and some other flowers too. We all loved watching as each print evolved in the light, surprising us every time!

Some designs I started by brushing on a color and exposing it before adding any leaves. After letting the fabric expose for ten minutes I brushed on a second color and placed the leaves for a second exposure. Even layering a lighter dye over a darker one created some pretty, subtle prints. For a few pieces I did not use any leaves but instead just experimented with brush strokes and pattern using a special comb (above). 

When we were finished dyeing, I started to think about what I could make with our fabric. I had plenty of fabric for a quilted bag and so with some Quilters Dream Cotton Batting, I got busy. To read all about my piecing and quilting process, just visit my blog, Eclectic Mom!

Once I had created a lovely piece of quilted fabric, I turned to Molly's fabulous 40 Minute Tote pattern. I used my own fabric for the outer layer, 3/4 yard of Shot Cotton in Watermelon to line the bag, and Gutermann's Cotton Thread in color 4930 to sew it.

Get the whole scoop, including more construction details and a few modifications, at my blog, Eclectic Mom. Just click right here! Thanks, Purl Bee, for hosting me this week! Can't wait for next time! - Amy

Thursday
Jun142012

Molly's Sketchbook: Quilted Throw Pillows

Kind of like a good hair cut, throw pillows can really transform a look. They add a unique and fresh something-new without a lot of fuss. Personally, I’ve had the same tired pillows on my bed for at least four years, and I was ready for a change!

These Quilted Throw Pillows, with their crisp, graphic simplicity, are really giving my bedroom the new life it needed.  Normally I don’t much like machine quilting, but for this project I decided to explore the more creative side to this usually tedious (for me at least!) process. With a creamy soft muslin as my canvas, I let the quilting itself be the point, creating grids of snappy red for a clean, breath-of-fresh-air look!

I discovered that I actually like machine quilting on a small scale. It makes the steps that I usually struggle with, like laying out the quilt sandwich and basting, no sweat! It’s also a real joy to start with such basic materials (muslin, cotton batting, thread) and to end with something so pretty. In fact the whole process turned out to be about transformations: of the materials, of my attitude about machine quilting, and of my bedroom! --Molly

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Sunday
Apr292012

Molly's Sketchbook: Broken Dishes Baby Quilt

I have always loved to make baby gifts, imagining the baby-to-be and anticipating its arrival. Lately this has been particularly true because I myself am expecting my first baby (a girl) this June! After years of crafting gifts for the babies of dear friends and family, I relished the idea of making my own baby something extra special. Of course, a beautiful quilt would be just that!

Picking out the fabric proved to be much easier than I had imagined. I walked into the store one day and there was a stunning rainbow of Japanese yarn dyed linen blend solids, each lovelier than the next! I instantly fell in love and bought a piece of every single color.

Using the traditional “broken dishes” pattern, I approached my work with a sense of unhurried improvisation, putting the blocks next to one another randomly and then rearranging them as I saw fit. It felt more like flower arranging than sewing, and I loved seeing my quilt grow at about the same pace I did! Once the quilt top was finished, I decided that the slow process of hand quilting it would give me plenty of time to daydream about its recipient.  

It took me almost the whole length of my pregnancy to create this quilt, but if you’d like to make your own, it doesn’t have to be such a major commitment. Machine quilting and pin basting would go a lot quicker. But then again there is something lovely and very rewarding about not rushing certain projects. Kind of like growing a baby! 

ps- This quilt can be made in any color palate imaginable using any quiltweight fabric. Shot Cotton, and Kona Cotton have some gorgeous color options! Also, The pretty stuffed swan in the pictures above was made by the very talented Tamar Mogendorff, you can check out more of her work here.

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