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Entries in Patchwork (13)

Thursday
May082014

Molly's Sketchbook: Crossroads Quilt

I love quiltmaking because of its sheer limitlessness. Even in its simplest form, with no tricky Y seams or curved angles, the possibilities are endless! My Crossroads Quilt operates within the confines of a grid, but by playing with prints and colors, basic squares and rectangles become so much more!

I carefully chose a variety of fabrics for this project that, together, create the illusion of overlapping lines. The soft blue Essex linen-cotton blend sets the stage for the cool White Hatches, which run vertically, and the warm Apricot Shot Cotton, which runs horizontally. These two fabrics meet at sweet Orange Checked intersections, or crossroads, giving my quilt its name! I bound the whole thing in a beautiful yarn dyed gray fabric, which puts the whole piece solidly in a frame, like the piece of art it is! All of these gorgeous fabrics, plus the batting and thread, are available in our Materials for Crossroads Quilt kit right here.

The only real skill you need to complete this project is rotary cutting. Rotary cutting is a very important basic quiltmaking skill, but it can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated. If you’re new to it or just want some helpful tips, I’ve put together a comprehensive Rotary Cutting Tutorial as a companion to this quilt. Click here to check it out. Once you get the hang of rotary cutting the Crossroads Quilt (or any other quilt for that matter) will be a breeze! -- Molly

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Thursday
Aug222013

Corinne's Thread: Denim Pinwheel Quilt

Did you know that the chocolate chip cookie was a serendipitous discovery? When Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, ran out of baker’s chocolate, she tossed some semi-sweet chocolate chunks into the batter, hoping they would melt while cooking. Instead of chocolate cookies, what came out of the oven was a delicious surprise, and chocolate chip cookies were born! 

The design for my Denim Pinwheel Quilt was just such a happy accident. We had just gotten in Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim, and excited about every fabric in the collection, I sewed up a bunch of combinations for our Big Pinwheel Pillows. As I laid all the sample squares out on the table at our weekly Bee meeting, the reaction was the same all around: These were going to make beautiful pillows, but my gosh, they should also be a quilt! 

And we were right! The quiet complexity that comes from mixing various Railroad Denim stripes gives this quilt such a rich story.  The grid of nuanced color variations is reminiscent of a minimalist painting hanging in a museum, yet the humble denim cloth reminds me of my grandfather’s overalls, all lined up on the hooks beside the door of his farmhouse. The perfect mix of classic and modern.

To make a throw size quilt of your own, we’ve compiled everything you need into our Materials for Denim Pinwheel Quilt kit, including fabrics for the piecing, backing and binding.  Now, I won’t say that this quilt stacks up anywhere close to the chocolate chip cookie in terms of amazing discoveries, but it sure stacks up nice! - Corinne

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Thursday
Jun202013

Corinne's Thread: Big Pinwheel Pillows

Every sewing project has an “aha” moment. Somewhere in the process of pinning, pressing, and seaming there comes a revelation when a useless piece of fabric transforms into something else, something to wear, to use or to simply admire. 

I was struck with several of these moments while piecing these Pinwheel Pillows. From the unexpected way triangles are created from squares to the efficient use of fabrics (only two prints for all three pillow tops!), this project has “aha” written all over it. 

To help make all this magic happen I enlisted some new favorites from Robert Kaufman’s Railroad Denim collection. Because these patterns are woven not printed, the front and reverse sides create a subtle but effective contrast. What a treat to get four prints for the price of two! The pillow backs are finished with the Micro Stripe fabric from the same collection, a soft chambray that seems miraculously at home with just about everything. You can pick up all three of these fabrics, along with the thread and pillow forms you’ll need to finish this project, with our Materials for Big Pinwheel Pillows kit

With all their unexpected twists, these pillows really were a delight to make. I may just surprise myself and whip up three more this weekend! - Corinne

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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
Dec012011

Mini Quilt of the Month, December: Golden Wreath

December marks the end of our year long Mini Quilt of the Month series. It’s been such a fun and informative project for all of us here at The Purl Bee. We’ve learned how to machine appliqué a garden of vegetables, stitch together a bevy of yoyos, and even draft a quilt from an inspiring photograph.  It’s a little sad to see it end but I know we will be referencing many of these skills and techniques for a long time to come.

Since this is the final mini quilt we wanted to combine our favorite aspects of all of the previous project into one last effort. To that end we think December’s Golden Wreath Mini Quilt has it all: an unusual technique, a fun exploration of color, and a small approachable size! As an added plus, it’s a playful reinterpretation of Joelle’s Color Wheel Quilt from her now classic book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.

We used the golden “Sunbeam” spectrum bundle for this project because, in this blustery cold season, it reminded us of the warm colors of the hearth. However, you could make it in any color spectrum you like, from calming blues to Christmas reds! It’s straightforward and fun to sew even though it involves curved seams, which really aren’t as daunting as you might think.

Thanks and happy sewing!-- Molly

ps- If you’d like to take a look at all the other quilts in this series please click here.

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