Thursday, June 21, 2018

O Canada ! Canadian Nine Patch quilts

What are Canadian Nine Patch quilts?  They are quilts made by Canadians to honor the country's 150th anniversary in 2017.  Each of these outstanding quilts incorporates a nine patch design, either overtly or in a subtle way.  The quilts represent Canada’s history, geography, and culture as expressed by each artist. Since Canada Day is coming up (July 1), we wanted to share some of these wonderful quilts.

p.s. For bargains on quilt books, magazines, and jewelry, visit us on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers ! For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter ! 

Maple Leaf by Susan Therrien (Winona, Ontario, Canada)

Maple Leaf was hand appliqued, machine pieced and quilted, and paper pieced. Susan Therrien says, "I am proud to be Canadian! Finding a variety of symbols representing life in Canada became the inspiration for my Canadian Nine Patch." The nine-patch center of the quilt, inspired by clip art from the web, reflects the many aspects of Canadian heritage and cultural activities.

The red Maple Leaf and small quilted leaves are internationally recognized as symbols of Canada.

Canadian Tartan by Rebecca McAlpine (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)

This map quilt was inspired by the Canadian Nine Patch theme, the map of Canada, and Scottish heritage. All of Canada’s provinces and territories have official tartans. The Canadian Tartan quilt is a map of Canada with each province and territory depicted by its tartan as registered in The Scottish Register of Tartans.

The Tartan map of Canada is on a background of the Maple Leaf Nine Patch. The quilt is bound in the national tartan, The Maple Leaf. The Canadian Maple Leaf tartan was designed by David Weiser, for Canada in honor of the country’s centenary in 1967. If you look closely you can see the maple leaf block in the white-on-white background, shown below:

Modern Hudson Bay by Joanne and Jenna Prokop, quilted by Leslie Prokop

Machine pieced and quilted, Modern Hudson Bay is a modern interpretation of the iconic Hudson Bay Blanket. This quilt uses a variation of the traditional Nine Patch to illustrate Canada’s patchwork history.

Founded in 1670, the Hudson Bay Company was at the center of Europe’s exploration of what would become the second largest country in the world, Canada. Driven by the fur trade, HBC was the driving force in developing the trade routes across Canada, connecting Newfoundland and the Atlantic Ocean to Vancouver Island and the Pacific.

True North by Karen Brown (North York, Ontario, Canada)

Machine pieced and quilted,  Karen Brown's Canadian Nine Patch quilt takes a modern approach to traditional blocks. You can see traditional blocks, such as the Maple Leaf, viewed from a perspective.  She says, "Learning from the past and building toward a future brings Canada together as a country at the top of the world."

O Canada in Morse Code by Susan Richard (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)

Susan Richard says, "I have always been intrigued by Morse Code, a special alphabet represented by a series of dots and dashes... In this strip pieced quilt, I used the combination of dots (replaced with Canadian maple leaves) and dashes to spell out Canada’s National Anthem, “O Canada”. Within the quilt, there are two places where the dots and dashes line up and appear as three mini Canada flags sitting one on top of the other. Each flag, composed of three pieces of fabric, creates a Canadian Nine Patch out of Canadian flags."

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.  The Canadian Nine Patch exhibit was organized by Leslie Prokop and Shelley DeHay-Turner in honor of Canada's sesquicentennial.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Daddy, Hold My Hand

Here's a lovely quilt in tribute to Father's Day on June 17.  Any male who has been like a father to you can be honored on Father's Day. Fathers impart wisdom, nurturing, maturity, good advice, and often, lots of support and patience. Think of someone with these qualities and wish him a Happy Father's Day, as that may mean everything to him !

For low-cost quilt books, magazines, and jewelry, visit us on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers ! For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter !

Daddy, Hold My Hand, 44 x 57", by Heidi Proffetty (Massachusetts, U.S.A.)

At the Houston International Quilt Festival of 2017,  Heidi's quilt won Third Place in the category of Art Quilts: People, Portraits, and Figures.  Heidi explains, "This quilt is based on a photograph I took while on a stroll of Newport, Rhode Island. I think it captures the loving bond between a little girl and her daddy."

Close-up, Daddy, Hold My Hand

Heidi continues, "It is an original technique I developed that starts with a hand-drawn mosaic design, which is then traced and cut with a digital cutter. There are over 2,700 small applique pieces that have been fused and free-motion stitched." This intricate and sophisticated technique reminds us of assembling a complex jigsaw puzzle out of fabric. For more information on Heidi's mosaic art quilt techniques see the article at Superior Threads.

Close-up of Quilting,  Daddy Hold My Hand

In this close up, you can see some of the many different hues of batik fabric used by Heidi. Her mosaic technique is especially useful for depicting the dappled light and shadows of the stone walkway and the surrounding garden scenery.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Patience to Raise the Sun: Quilters of Haiti

A Haitian proverb says, “You must have patience to raise the sun.” This truth is well understood by the Haitian women who made the quilts we’re sharing today. All of these quilts were machine pieced on a treadle machine, then hand appliqued, embroidered, and quilted. The exhibit* was organized by PeaceQuilts, a nonprofit organization that provides sewing machines, equipment, and training to help women establish their own small artisan businesses so they can earn a living wage.

p.s. For low-cost quilt books, magazines, and jewelry, check us out on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers ! For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter !

Tout Moun Ap Kontample Environman Haiti (Everyone Contemplates Haiti) by Nadege Florian

This charming quilt was inspired by the life and environment that all Haitians know and love. Nadege Florian says, "In the center is the tree of life, important because Haiti has been largely deforested. Around the tree are colorful tap-tap buses; each one represents a different state in Haiti. The outside band of the quilt represents the sea."

This beautiful work was pieced on a treadle sewing machine, then hand-appliqued, echo quilted, embroidered and embellished.

Kay Koule Twonpe Soley Men Li Pa Ka Twonpe Lapli (A Leaky Roof Fools the Sun but Cannot Fool the Rain) by Sr. Angela Belizire

 "A leaky roof fools the sun but cannot fool the rain" is a Haitian proverb. Sister Angela Belizire says, "These are sayings that all Haitians know, and which are used to instruct children and provide wisdom and life lessons." This quilt depicts a typical Haitian home and yard.  You can see Sister Angela's expert hand embroidery in the closeup photo below.

Machann Twal Yo (Our Fabric Market) by Imma Hyppolite

The artist, Imma Hyppolite says,  "This [depicts] the market where I sometimes buy fabric. I love to see all the different colors and designs, but most of it is synthetic. Cotton is very hard to find."  Brightly colored cloth is displayed in the closeup photo below.

Kenèp Mwen An Ap Donnen (My Kenèp Tree Will Bear Fruit) by Rose Marie Agnant

Kenep trees grow up to 30m high and bear green fruit related to the lychee.  Rose Marie Agnant says this quilt was inspired by the Kenèp tree in her yard and by the tree of life: "I love to sit under the Kenèp tree in my yard. We are always happy when we can harvest the fruit." You can see a wonderful article on Rose Marie at the PeaceQuilts website.

Vini Danse Avek Mewn (Come Dance with Me) by Sr. Angela Belizaire

Sister Angela Belizaire says, "Haitians love to dance, and even though I am a Catholic nun, I also dance on many occasions. I sew my own costumes, select the music, and follow the movements of traditional Haitian dances. In this quilt, I am inviting everyone to dance with me. I decorated the border with cow horn buttons because Haitians make beautiful things out of almost anything, including the horns of a cow."

Bann RaRa an Ayiti (Hairian RaRa Bank) by Veronique Mathurin

Veronique explains, "RaRa bands are everywhere during Carnival but this is the one in my village of Lilavois. This is the most exciting and fun festival of the year and starts the season of Lent. This quilt shows all the different costumes, people dancing, playing horns and drums."

The online store at PeaceQuilts offers folk art quilts, pillows, bags, jewelry, and other handmade items. Each purchase helps support member-owned sewing cooperatives where women create beautiful, artisan-made products, inspired by Haiti's rich artistic and cultural heritage.

*Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival. The special exhibit was called Haiti PeaceQuilts:  Patience to Raise the Sun.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Parade of Stars table runner: A Tutorial and Kit !

We just completed this festive Parade of Stars table runner, which is perfect for patriotic holiays coming up !  We love the combination of stars, fireworks, and flags.  At 16 x 46", it's perfect for a wall hanging or table runner.  We've written up a free tutorial for this post, and we are offering 2 of these pre-cut fabric kits at our store on E-Bay

(For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter !
For low-cost quilt books, magazines, and jewelry, check us out on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers !)

Parade of Stars Table Runner 16” x 46”

INSTRUCTIONS: The quilt center consists of squares in a 4 x 16 grid, using 64 squares.

1/4 yd EACH of red, white, and blue fabrics for patchwork squares.
1/4 yd  medium to large size print fabric for borders
1 piece of fabric size 21" x 54" cut lengthwise for backing
5 strips of binding fabric size 2.5 " x 40 " cut on the crosswise grain of fabric. 

CUTTING:  [instructions for quilt center, borders, and backing]
Cut 22 red squares size 2.5" x 2.5"
Cut  21 white squares size 2.5" x 2.5 "
Cut  21 blue squares size  2.5" x 2.5"
Cut top and bottom borders size 3.5" x 43" ( You will be trimming off excess at the ends)
Cut side borders size 3.5" x 20" ( You will be trimming off excess at the ends)
Cut the backing lengthwise, in one long piece, size 21" x 54". That way, you will have some excess backing fabric on the sides, in case you wish to long-arm quilt this project.

LAYOUT: Arrange the 64 squares in a grid, as shown in the diagram below.
Note that on the layout diagram, the columns are labelled 1 through 16 and the rows are labelled A, B, C, and D.

Step 1. Assemble the patches by sewing the squares together in sets. Start at the left-hand side of the diagram.  For example, sew A1,  A2 and; A3; then sew B1, B2, and B3. Our photos below show how we started sewing our sets.

Assemble a six-patch block by sewing these A and B strips together. Our photo below shows how we sewed Row A  1-3 to Row B 1-3

Continue in this fashion for the remaining blocks. (Column 16 can be assembled in sets of two patches).

Step 2.  Join the sets to make the quilt center.

Step 3. Add the borders.  There are two short and two longer strips for the border. Sew the longer strips to the top and bottom of the quilt center. Then sew the short border strips to the sides of the quilt.

Step 4.  Finish the quilt: Add the backing and your choice of batting. Bind the quilt.

It's easy to stitch up this project in a day!  The Parade of Stars table runner kit - available at our shop on eBay - contains pre-cut squares, border strips, and backing, along with binding strips.  We have 2 of these completely pre-cut  kits with complete easy-to-read instructions available for purchase at $26.99 plus shipping.
Here's what our kit looks like, with all the fabric pre-cut, so all you have to do is sew:

Image credits:  Photos and design by Quilt Inspiration.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day USA

On Memorial Day we remember the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom. Here is a wonderful red, white and blue quilt filled with stars.

American Lone Stars by Gail Witt, quilted by Teresa Silva

For this heirloom quilt, Gail Witt designed nine classic lone star blocks.  Teresa Silva's creative quilting adds movement to the blocks and border.  American Lone Stars received third place in the Large Pieced Quilt category at the 2018 Quilt Arizona show.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Checks and Plaids Quilt from 6 Shirts : A Tutorial !

We made a quilt in patriotic red, white and blue.  In this post we'll show you how!
We used 6 men's shirts ("waste not, want not") but you can use any fabrics you like.
It's easy to make this quilt in a day, once the shirts are cut up.  Plus you'll have enough fabric for two throw quilts... you can give one as a gift!

(For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter ! 
For low-cost  books, magazines, and jewelry, check us out on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers! )

THROW QUILT or PICNIC QUILT: approx. 48” x 56” 
The quilt was made from 6 different shirts. For a nice contrast, select light and dark shirts.*

Cut each shirt as follows: Remove the cuffs, collar, back yoke, and seam allowances. 

We love this dark blue plaid by Tommy Hilfiger !

Cut the back into 4.5" strips:

Remove the shirt pocket and the front placket buttons, and open up the front button placket.  Then cut the shirt fronts into 4.5" strips:

Do the same for the sleeves:

You will end up with short and long strips ranging from 10" to 27".  Before making the quilt top, square off the ends of each strip.


You will be sewing each color into one long ribbon of that fabric, alternating short and long pieces.

Step 1. First, separate Dark Blue Plaid strips into short and long pieces. Join them end to end, as shown below.

Continue in this fashion, alternating short and long strips of the same color, until you have one very long Dark Blue Plaid ribbon.  Depending on the size of the men’s shirt (M-XL), the ribbon will range from 120” to 150” long.

Quick Sewing Tip : Use chain piecing to join pairs of strips.  The project will go even faster. :-)

Step 2. Repeat Step 1 for each one of the other fabrics, making long ribbons of each color.

Step 3. Cut each long ribbon into 30.5” and 18.5” pieces according to the chart below.

Step 4. Referring to the photo and the diagram below, lay out the 30.5” and 18.5” strips. Each row will have one 30.5” strip and one 18.5” strip. Stitch them together to make a row.

STEP 5. To complete the quilt top, join the rows along their length until all 14 rows are joined.

Sewing Tip : Sew the first row to the second row starting from the left hand side of the quilt top. Then sew strip set 1+ 2 to strip 3 starting from the right hand side of the quilt top. This helps the quilt to lie flat. We also used a walking foot to piece the long rows. 

For more patriotic inspiration: How about a project that is already cut and ready to sew from new fabrics? Check out our PRE-CUT FABRIC KIT for this "Parade of Stars" table runner at our shop at E-Bay !

Image credits: *We made a few changes to the final shirt selection, but you get the general idea. ~ Photos and design are by Quilt Inspiration.  Please do not copy or re-post this tutorial without written permission.
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