Sunday, January 26, 2014

Adventures in Quilting

this morning...

I'm working on three pieces (well, actually 5) and wanted to share a little bit of my progress.  I have been experimenting.  This is a snapshop (taken with my phone) of what I'm working on. 

An aquaintance who weaves gave me a woven and dyed piece that she didn't want to keep.  She also gave me some leather scraps.  I'm patchworking them and will see what I come up with - it's pretty cool so far...

My love of hexagons continues.  That little batch in the corner has been appliqued and hand quilted.  A new tote bag is in the works.

Someone stopped by the booth and asked for placemats.  The set of 4 placements turned into a 50x70" quilt that I will finish quilting in the next day or so.  I get a lot of requests for home goods, but sometimes my creative muse pulls me into another direction.  Hang in there, I'm sure there will be placemats made in the near future.

By the way, anyone know how I can get my hot little hands on a longarm?  Buying one is not in my budget, but if you know of anyone who wants to get rid on one, let me know.  I'm into making larger quilts these days and the quilting on my home machine is becoming quite a challenge.  Just putting it out there into the quilting universe...

Have a great Sunday and check back soon to see the completed items!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Quilting Classes at CRAFTED at the Port of LA

This is my first blog post of 2014 and I am resolved to become a better blogger this year. 

In October I returned to CRAFTED at the Port of LA.  My new quilt booth is twice the size of the old one and I have space for a farm table and sewing machine.  I quilt while I'm there and generally make a new item for the booth each weekend.



I am teaching quilting classes at CRAFTED at the Port of LA.  For starters, I am offering one-on-one sessions, since those interested are at different sewing levels.  There are so many new and exciting things going on in the quilting world and this year I want to share them with as many people as possible.

So -  if you are interested in taking classes, email me at patsyjohnsonquiltsatgmaildotcom and we can schedule a date and time that works for you.
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

JULIANA HORNER


I use Anna Maria Horner fabric quite often.  Her designs are an interesting combination of old and new world.  Her use of color is brilliant and her designs have a global, old world feel which blends with my style.  I met her briefly at one of our LAMQG meetings and she is delightful.

While blog hopping one morning I happened upon her blog.  She mentioned that her daughter had her own fabric line.  Did a quick search and it's with JoAnn's - go figure!  So, one afternoon after teaching a class there, I wandered over to check it out and was very impressed.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!  It took over an hour to locate 10 of the 12 prints.  I purchased 1/2 yard of each.  This is the entire line.




A week later after teaching another class I decided to make a quick check for the remaining 2 prints.  It was a weekend afternoon and if you are familiar JoAnn stores, you know that the fabrics are not a pretty site.  Just as I decided to give up, I notice a customer with one of the missing prints in her hand. 





This one!  Her plan was to make kitchen curtains.  I was a little concerned because the bolt was almost empty.  She asked how much I needed and promised me she would leave me a 1/2 yard.  I located the other missing print and met her at cutting counter.  There was probably a yard left on the bolt when we finished!

This line was design by a young woman right out of design school - Juliana Horner.  She is talented and has great design genes - go millennials!  This line appeals to all ages.  Immediately I knew it would make a great quilt and when I showed it to one of the my co-workers and she wanted this print to make a skirt.  Quilts, curtains, skirts - so many possibilities! 




I'm not writing this to promote the store.  This line is good.  It's premium designer cotton and it's selling fast.  If you like it, suggest you get over to your local JoAnns store and pick it up at the 30% discount.

Friday, July 19, 2013

BLOSSOM REEL AND HSTS

 
Haven't blogged in a while. No excuses, just haven't.  I've been teaching quilting and sewing classes locally.  The following quilt is the result of teaching at the local Jo-Ann store.  Started collecting the DS Quilt fabric lines at the store since with the team member discount, they are practically free.  Purchased 1/2 yard of 10 of the 11 prints in the latest Blossom Reel line when it first appeared in the store.

The store doesn't provide many quilting class options, so I am also teaching at local studios.  I wanted to start with a simple quilt so I chose Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trip Around the World pattern.  It's everywhere and everyone loves it!  It's all strip piecing, so we can concentrate on the basics like rotary cutting, 1/4 inch seams, pressing, matching seams, etc.  It's a great, easy teaching pattern.




I used the Blossom Reel fabric to design my class plan and to calculate yardage.  The 5 yards of fabric created a 62" by 73" quilt.  Used black gingham for the backing and the result is a really cute and happy quilt.

 


When my classes complete, I will post it for sale in my Etsy store.




About a week ago, I received these.
 



And three of these.  I almost said "No!", but there is something about small (half square triangles) hsts...  Have always been fascinated with quilts made of small pieces and this looked both vintage and modern.  The fabrics are from the 1990s and the muslin is a bit yellowed. 




I sketched out the block and figured out what went wrong.  Trimmed all of the hst blocks to 2 1/2" square.
 



 
Love it!  Does anyone out there know the name of this block?
 
 



Put it on the wall and look how modern it appears.  Maybe this block in all solids?





So many possibilities...  Will see how many big blocks I can get out of the stack of
little blocks.  Can't stop making them, so I'll post the results soon.

Have you ever worked on some else's old blocks and/or quilts?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

AMAZING GRACE



Many of my quilts just happen.  Something or someone inspires me and I try to get out of the way and let it happen.  I pulled this Frida Kahlo print out one day and the look in her eyes drew me in.  I saw compassion and grace. 




There was so much "stuff" dancing around in my head.  Mostly I was thinking about family and friends (old and new) and how they all generously contribute to me in the pursuit of this passion.  Grace...




I framed the portrait with a striped woven.  The flowers are cut from some of my favorite fabrics as a nod to my gardening friends.  The little hummingbird is for someone who just lost someone dear to her.  I fused them on to give props to two of my artist buddies who shared a few of their techniques with me.  This is my first attempt and it was fun - so many possibilities!  Many of the border fabrics were donated to me; others were fat quarters purchased from one of my favorite stores.




The print is a silky polyester.  Most of my quilts are 100% cotton, but I couldn't pass up the chance to experiment with this print.  The hand is like silk and it quilted beautifully. 




Here is a close up of the quilted panel.  I was worried about the skinny antennae and beak staying in place, so I free-motion quilted the edges of all of the applique - just in case...




I love this quilt which is lap size 60" by 70".  It represents the grace of my amazing community and I am honored and grateful to them all for their contributions. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

BATIKS

This week I'm finishing up a custom quilt order.  It has been quite an adventure and, once again, I have learned so many new things!

My client moved into a high rise apartment with an ocean view.  She is decorating, incorporating the work of some of the artisans at Crafted.  I agreed to make a whole cloth custom quilt for her master bedroom.  Another artist is hand painting an abstract coral reef wall mural over the bed, so we started there...

We began with aqua and coral colored fabrics.  I sourced some of my favorite fabric stores and selected a range of solid samples.  My favorites were the shot cottons.  The aqua had a green cross weave and I paired it with a coral shot cotton for the backing.  I loved them but they didn't speak to my client.  She suggested batiks, which completely threw me for a loop.  Batiks!!!




I sourced some of the batiks she had suggested and added a few that I thought might work.  We reviewed them at her office and chose two.  Both by the same manufacturer, so off I skipped (yes, I been known to skip) to place the order.  Oh, I forgot to mention that this quilt measures 116" wide by 136" long!  I needed 12 continuous yards of each fabric.  To make a long story short, the top fabric choice had been retired and the most that I could find anywhere was 9 yards.  I searched everywhere (physical and online) and 12 yards of the top fabric could not be found.  So back to square one...

Finally, we met on a Saturday morning at one of my favorite fabric warehouses.  My plan was not to leave without nailing the fabric choices down.  We did!  Found a beautiful sand washed grey-blue batik and it coordinated perfectly with a print batik from a different manufacturer.  They are the two on the right in the above photo.  I am now a batik expert and have a new found love and respect for them.  Amazing fabric!

How do you free motion quilt a 116" by 136" quilt on a home machine?  Reminds me of the riddle: How do two porcupines mate?  Answer: Very carefully.  So, I quilted it carefully using a pattern that reminds me of coral reef and ocean waves.




Beautiful.  I'll show you more later - after it's been delivered.  It took four large spools of thread to quilt it and it's ready for the binding. 




Look how nicely my new pillowcases work with it - gorgeous!

Also, I'm looking for sponsors.  There were many fabric stores, manufactures, and wholesalers involved in this project, so if you would like to be linked in future projects - sponsor me!

What project have you taken on lately that stretched you way, way, way outside of your comfort zone? 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

AFRICAN AMERICAN QUILTERS

I have quilting memories.

Memories of black women making quilts by hand from old clothing scraps.  Of sleeping under handmade quilts and quilt tops made by friends and relatives.  Of always having a quilt on my bed.  Memories... 

I quilt almost everyday - it's my obsession (I can think of worst!).  I am pleasantly surprised at the impact African American quilters have on this industry.  Everyday I learn more and more about quilters like Anna Williams, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Gees Bend, and so many others who contribute to this American art form.

Read an interesting book with a chapter entitled, "Creative DNA".  It sparked something and I ran upstairs to my studio and grabbed my scrap container, needle and thread.  Here is what I hand stitched:



My mama taught me to sew by hand when I was around 6 years old.  Hand stitching comforts me.  Before I was allowed to use her sewing machine, I hand sewed everything.  Made doll clothes and even a pink outfit for me with my first paper pattern - all hand stitched.  I'm pretty good at it!

Here is the completed top.  No plan, just random scraps of fabric.  The squares are extras from past quilt blocks, the strips from leftover binding, etc.  "You use what you got; waste not want not".  Memories... 



Initially, I started hand quilting the top but this piece wanted to be machine quilted.  I resisted and just stared at it for a few days.  Too many starts and stops.  "What you resist, persists" - so the piece won out and I machine quilted it.


Isn't that piece of shot cotton amazing?  It's grey and glows orange. 

 

 
Wanted to retain the puffiness of the small squares and couldn't bear to quilt them into submission.   Echoed their stitching on the larger center squares.  Here is the completed quilt.  It is entitled: "Creative DNA". 




I am an African American quilter with a long, proud ancestry.  I grew up surrounded by this rich, joyful quilting history and even though I was not directly taught to quilt, it is in my DNA.  I quilt because I can't help myself - and I love it!  



P.S. Here is a picture of it on my design wall with my Joni Mitchell quilt.  They play well together.

Thanks for stopping by,
-p