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.

SEWING THE QUILT TOP 

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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More May Flowers !

“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, 
"one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”*

Flowers have a language all their own.  They evoke memories and emotions, and may symbolize hope and love. In quilting, flowers provide the ultimate challenge in color and design.  Here are some exemplary quilts that inspire us.

Receiving Grace, 65 x 37", by Elizabeth McDowell Heagy (Ontario, Canada)


Elizabeth Heagy says, "The Echinacea stands strong, radiant in the love of its Creator.  This study depicts a moment of spiritual enlightenment."
Receiving Grace won First Place, Art – Naturescapes, Pictorial at the 2017 National Canadian Quilters' Association show. It was created with machine piecing, hand and machine applique, hand and machine embellishment, and painted with Jacquard Textile colors.  


The background was appliqued, pieced, and quilted simultaneously, using tulle as a third layer. The tulle protrudes from the top and bottom edges of the quilt and creates a natural setting for the flower. The flower petals stand out from the surface of the quilt.


Honeysuckle by Elizabeth Habich (Massachusetts)


Elizabeth Habich was inspired by the exuberance and vivid colors of honeysuckle growing against a fence in Bar Harbor, Maine.  For the background, Elizabeth used an experimental piece she had made with black Procion MX dyes. The honeysuckle itself was created with hand-dyed fabrics by Elizabeth Habich and others, as well as commercial solid colors. She says, "Melinda Bula's fusible applique technique made it possible."


Tulipa by Karen Ponischil (Charlotte, North Carolina)


Tulipa was inspired by beautiful tulips given to Karen Ponischil by her niece as a birthday surprise.  Karen's fabric painting, thread painting and free motion quilting perfectly conveys the smooth texture of the tulip petals; see the closeup photo below.


Karen Ponischil creates quilts using whole cloth painting or raw edge appliqué. She then uses thread painting to bring the quilt to life. For more inspiration see Karen's online gallery.

The Implication of Red by Hsin-Chen Lin (Tainan City, Taiwan)


This quilt's title, The Implication of Red, is explained by Hsin-Chen Lin as follows: "Although red represents joy and happiness, it is also a symbol of stirring emotions.  For women in the Chinese-speaking world, the color red is like an invisible frame.  Our traditional values teach us to tolerate a variety of unhappiness for the sake of keeping happy lives for the majority.  Such uncertainty stops us from pursuing dreams."


Hsin-Chen Lin is President of the Taiwan Art Quilt Society. She created this piece entirely by hand; it was hand-pieced, appliqued, quilted, embroidered, and embellished.  The incredible detail of the quilting, embroidery and embellishment can be seen in the closeup photo below.


In Full Glory by Akiko Kawata (Osaka-City, Japan)


Akiko Kawata showcased brilliant hollyhock flowers against a strip pieced background.  She says, "I wished to express the beautiful hollyhock flowers in their full glory, stretching to the bright blue summer sky." In Full Glory was machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted; and hand embroidered.  The flowers and leaves were bordered with solid fabric to add emphasis. The magenta and green hues create a beautiful complimentary color scheme.


Summer in the South, 41.5 x 38.5", by Ellen Lindner (Melbourne, Florida)


Heavy with blossoms, the arching branches of Crepe Myrtle trees grace the Southern U.S. all throughout the summer. Their colors and shapes delight all who see them. Ellen Lindner created Summer in the South with fusible raw edge collage and machine stitching.


For more information on this and other works of art see Ellen's website, Adventure Quilter.

Pop Up Posies, 57 x 57", by Erin Russek (Colorado)


Erin Russek says, "I am continually inspired by folk art and the natural world.  I wanted to create a quilt of flower blocks set on point with scallops for leaves... I enjoy working with brightly colored prints and creating cheerful quilts." Pop Up Posies features 5 different applique blocks, a large scallop applique border and beautiful flowers throughout.


The flower blocks are Erin's own design and are hand appliqued (a complete pattern is available).  She also created a scalloped border with plenty of white space for Karen McTavish's beautiful quilting (see the closeup photo below).



Credits:   *Quote from The Complete Fairy Tales by by Hans Christian Andersen.
Photos were taken at the 2018 Road to California show (Pop Up Posies) and the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May Flowers

May is for Mother's Day... and flowers! This year, Mother's Day is celebrated on Sunday, May 13. We like to think of  Mother's Day as a tribute not only to mothers, but to the creative force of humankind. In a way, when we create a quilt, we bring to life our own artistic capabilities. Happy Mother's Day to all of us !

Unfurling by Frieda Anderson (Illinois, USA)


Unfurling won First Place in the Innovative Pieced category at the Houston International Quilt Festival. Frieda Anderson is known for her artistic quilt designs.  She says, "I am fascinated by pattern and color, and in particular, I love the imagery of trees and leaves.  I work with my own hand-dyed cotton and silk fabrics and enjoy the deep rich saturated colors I achieve dyeing my own fabric."


Unfurling was inspired by the landscape of the Midwest, where Frieda Anderson lives.  Her hand dyed cotton fabric is responsible for the beautiful colors. Silk, rayon and cotton thread were used. Frieda sells her fabric, quilt patterns, kits and other unique items at her website: Friestyle.

All Dressed Up by Pat Durbin (California)


Pat Durbin says, "[Begonias] just intrigue me with their frilly pedals and edges tinged with color.  The flowers were painted on cotton fabric (with So-Soft paint), thread painted and then heavily quilted.


Sunflowers by Charlotte R. Freeman (California)


A bouquet of frilly sunflowers come to life in this striking design, based loosely on an old note card image. The Perky Nine Patch border is machine pieced and is a Donna Lynn Thomas design.  The gold quarter-inch inner border creates a visual break separating the dark background from the pieced border.


Full Bloom by Pamela Burke (North Carolina)


This hibiscus was created with fused applique using commercial fabrics.  Pamela Burke says, "To me, the hibiscus is one of the most beautiful flowers.  I love taking pictures of them and wanted to recreate one in a quilt.  The contrast and depth of the throat of the flower is always amazing to study."


The English Garden by Tomoko Takeuchi and 8 Friends (Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan)


This large wall quilt is filled with a profusion of flowers, all created with hand applique.  Tomoko Takeuchi and 8 friends created this masterpiece.  The design source is the famous Japanese quilt artist, Kathy Nakajima. Tomoko says, "We had a very hard time creating the feeling of visual perspective, although it was a great experience for all of us."


Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2018 Road to California show (Sunflowers) and the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Yoko Saito Through the Years

A prominent and celebrated quilt artist and designer, Yoko Saito is known for her use of gentle taupe colors in quilting and sewing projects. Last fall, the Houston International Quilt Festival hosted a special exhibit called "Yoko Saito Through the Years, My Quilt Journey." The exhibit was a showcase of Saito's exquisite handiwork, her choices of color, and designs that have inspired her. We hope you enjoy these photos and descriptions from the exhibit!

~Scroll down for two free quilt patterns featuring Ms. Saito's fabric collection for Lecien.
~Check out our shop on eBay for quilt patterns, books, and vintage items!

Mystery Quilt by Yoko Saito (2012)


Designed for Quiltmania's "2012 Mystery Quilt" series, this wall hanging consists of six blocks that were combined into a final quilt.  The houses and buildings were arranged in such a way that when all the blocks are pieced together, it made the village come to life. In the border, Ms. Saito added random staircases that seem to go nowhere, giving the quilt a magical feel.


Cats, dogs, street lights, and trees were added with applique and embroidery. The entire quilt is hand-pieced, appliqued, quilted and embroidered. and machine pieced. Embroidery was added around the windows and doors of the houses.


Cosmos by Yoko Saito (2002)


Ms. Saito says, "This quilt, Cosmos, is special to me as it is what I showed at The Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival for my first exhibition there in 2002. The venue where it is held, The Tokyo Dome, is so huge that I wanted to create a bold design. I chose to applique flowers that are not as well-known as others, and used my signature taupe color favorites."  The quilt is hand-pieced, appliqued, embroidered and quilted.


Fågel Pipa by Yoko Saito (2011)


Inspired by Yoko Saito's trips to Sweden, Fågel Pipa (bird pipe or whistle) is an intricate combination of flowers, trees, and birds.  The quilt was made entirely by hand.  Hundreds of small leaves from a leafy-printed fabric were appliqued along with other motifs.


The curved vines and branches add a sense of movement. She says, "I imagine the bird chirping in the tree."


Julstjärna (Poinsettia) by Yoko Saito (2009)


Julstjärna (Poinsettia) was inspired by another trip to the lovely country of Sweden.  The grays and blues were chosen to reflect Ms. Saito's impression of colors seen in northern Europe.  She used the diamond shape to depict the petals of the poinsettia flower.



Basket Tree by Yoko Saito (1998)


Made in 1998, Basket Tree features pastel pinks and greens, along with beige branches, fencing, and borders.  Ms. Saito says,  "Whenever I visited America, I would see many baskets.  I was fascinated by the variety that were available, such as the egg-gathering baskets, long vertical ones, baskets with lids, and so many more.  I was told that in the days of the pioneers, basket quilts were made in hopes of having a bountiful fall harvest.  I fell in love with baskets and so began to sketch out basket patterns that I would then use to create applique."


In addition to the baskets, she added mittens, honeycombs, bird houses and other things that made her think of the American Country.  In the photo below you can see a bird house, a spider and spiderweb, appliqued on a floral background.


Merrier and Happier by Yoko Saito (2005)


In this wonderful quilt, branches and ornaments evoke a Christmas tree, and whimsical blocks bring merriment to the scene. Ms. Saito says, "This was a fun quilt where I deconstructed sixteen different pieced patterns and re-interpreted them with applique.  In putting the shapes back together, I allowed myself to do so freelyy, so that they are expressed more casually; even to the point were they are put together as puzzle pieces."  The closeup photo below shows a deconstructed Double Wedding Ring block.


The Chatter of Houses by Yoko Saito (2004)


Some years ago, Ms. Saito was invited to demonstrate various quilting tools and notions at a department store shop.  Instead of demonstrating techniques on random pieces of fabric, she decided to make houses.  By the end of the festival, there were enough houses to make an entire quilt - thus, the Chatter of Houses was created!
The center is made up of seven rows of seven houses surrounded by two borders of appliqued houses and buildings. The dark fabric she used for the background reminded her of the winter sky, so she added embroidered colonial knots on the outer border.



The 2017 Yoko Saito exhibit was sponsored in part by Lecien Fabrics. Here are two free patterns from Yoko Saito's Centenary fabric collections at Lecien:


Centenary Stars, 62 x 82", free pattern by Lynne Goldsworthy (PDF download). Designed for the 2017 Centenary fabric collection by Yoko Saito for Lecien.


The Neighborhood, 50 x 50", free pattern by Joe Wood (PDF download).  Designed for the 2009 Centenary fabric collection by Yoko Saito for Lecien.



Image credits:  Photos of the Yoko Saito Through the Years exhibit were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.
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