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Entries in Machine Quilting (22)

Sunday
Sep112011

Mini Quilt of the Month, September: Bright Bits

September's Mini Quilt of the Month is our most playful and risky one yet! And not just because it looks so cool and edgy, but because it's sewn in such a breezy, off-the-cuff manner. As I sliced and pieced, I felt like I was painting with fabric because the process is so improvisational and free. With a rotary cutter for a paintbrush, you get to wield your tool with a wild abandon not usually associated with quilting.

Like our June Rainbow Mini Quilt, this piece takes its inspiration from the remarkable formalist painter, Ellsworth Kelly. This time we turned to an ink drawing from 1950 called Study for "La Combe II" (you can see the painting here.) We all loved its disjointed graphic quality and knew it would translate beautifully to a quilt. By first piecing thin strips of colored fabric at  random angles against a white background and then cutting it all up and piecing it back together in a different order, I think we achieved a similarly bold statement.

It takes a bit of courage to start slicing through the fabric at haphazard angles, but once you get going, it's hard to stop. It's amazing how quickly and easily a few strips of colored fabric can create something so beautiful. The bright, crisp mix of Kona and Shot Cottons makes the whole thing seem so alive, just like a great painting!

ps- You can see our whole Mini Quilt of the Month series by clicking here.

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Sunday
Aug282011

Mini Quilt of the Month, August: Piecing a Photograph

When we first caught site of this delightful photo from Jake Messenger in our flickr contacts, all we could talk about was how we could each live in one these adorable huts on the beach of Southwold, England and create our Purl Bee stories from there!  Once we came down to earth our next thougt was that the graphic nature of the image would lend itself perfectly to a quilt.  We felt that the image was modern enough to withstand a bit of abstraction, but romantic enough to hold its own as something soft and sewn.  And let's not forget the fact that all the straight lines made it a perfect candidate for strip piecing, a technique we've been planning to cover in our mini-quilt of the month series.  Did we mention the wonderful color palette as well? We love it!

Admittedly we struggled a bit at first, settling upon a basic method for piecing from a photograph was challenging, there are so many ways to go about it.  But eventually we settled on the method that you find here, and in doing so we also realized that our technique can be easily applied to almost any photograph.

We hope you will enjoy the journey as much as we have!  You can find all of our Mini Quilts right here.

 P.S. Please be sure to visit Jake Messenger's website right here, his flickr page here and his etsy site right here, you won't be disappointed! Thank you Jake for allowing us to use your beautiful photograph!

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Thursday
Jun092011

Mini Quilt of the Month, June: The Rainbow Quilt

If you have ever been to Purl Soho in New York City you have probably noticed how much we love to arrange things in rainbow order. Our yarns are stacked in their cubbies with oranges next to reds next to pinks next to purples and our solid fabrics are arranged along a giant wall sized rainbow spectrum. So as we were brainstorming about our Mini Quilt series we knew that one of the projects would have to reflect our rainbow obsession.

In case you haven't heard, every month this year we are presenting a mini quilt project. These small projects are the perfect way to learn a new skill and make something beautiful in the process. To see all of our Mini Quilts so far please click right here. This month's offering, the Rainbow Quilt, is more about celebrating and exploring color rather than learning a new technique. It's very simple to put together and would be a perfect first quilting project.

As we were thinking about how to design a rainbow inspired quilt we were drawn to the work of the painter Ellsworth Kelly. His stunning use of color and clean shapes helped inspire our eventual design. (Click here to see an example of Kelly's rainbow reminiscent paintings.)

The resulting quilt is one of our very favorite mini quilt projects to date. The colors quite simply glow against the white background fabric, and its happy colors and simple design make us smile each time we see it! It would look stunning as wall hanging or scaled up as a baby or even adult sized quilt.

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Tuesday
May312011

May Mini Quilt of the Month: Yo-Yo Coverlet 

Every month this year we are presenting a new mini quilt! It's been such a fun project for everyone involved. These little pieces are a great way to try a new idea or technique without too much pressure. To see all of the quilts we've run so far in this series please click here.

This month we are so excited to present our mini Yo-Yo Coverlet! Yo-yos are small rosette-like shapes that are made simply by gathering the edge of a circle of fabric.  Made in the traditional way, yo-yos are notoriously time consuming.  Fortunately, though, there is a modern solution to this problem, the Clover Yo-yo maker! It makes the process speedy and fun.  You just click it onto your fabric, cut around the edges, stitch along the marked holes, and then pull your thread to form one of these beautiful little shapes.  It's actually quite addictive!

You may be familiar with vintage yo-yo coverlets which are often used as decorative bedspreads and are traditionally made of an assortment of small colorful prints. We decided to make our mini coverlet a bit more modern by using a mix of denim colored blues accented by bright orange stitching.  While arranging the yo-yos, we found ourselves pulling inspiration from the Gees Bend quilts made of multiple denims, as well as Japanese strip pieced quilts that also incorporate beautiful denim blues.  The whole thing came to life once we started stitching with the bright, happy Trio thread.

Despite its delicate appearance, the piece is very sturdy and would also work well on a larger scale.  That said, we are fascinated by how sweet and petite this mini coverlet is and can't help but think of little desserts or dumplings each time we look at it.  It would be such a beautiful wall hanging or would look great as part of a table setting.

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Wednesday
Mar302011

March Mini Quilt of the Month: Masking Tape Quilt

We are so excited about our Mini Quilt project!  Each month this year we are bringing you a pattern for a new mini quilt. These small projects are the perfect way to learn a new skill and make something beautiful in the process. To see all of our Mini Quilts so far please click right here. We are all extra excited about March's Mini offering, this Masking Tape Quilt which was inspired by some beautiful vintage quilts that we admire.  We love how the contrast between the shapes creates play between the foreground and background. For instance, if you focus on the darker shapes the quilt looks like hatch symbols, but if you shift your focus to the lighter shapes the whole thing looks like a series of diamonds that are connected by rectangular pieces. The traditional name of this block is "Churn Dash" but we thought these rectangular pieces looked like little bits of masking tape and so we called it our Mini Masking Tape Quilt. 

This is a great project if you've just started quilting and want to try your hand at a slightly more complicated block. There is nothing very difficult about it but the sewing needs to be fairly precise in order for all of the pieces to fit together neatly. It's kind of like a very fun and creative jigsaw puzzle.

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