Monday, February 20, 2012


During our Voices in Cloth meeting this weekend, I sat next to a fellow quilter Marti who complemented me on my Inner City Kids quilt.  She said she saw it at PIQF 2011 and took some pictures so she could look at it in detail when she got home.  Looking at a close up shot she asked me if the pattern is a trapezoid?  A trapezoid?  Well yes I guess it is. Since the meeting started, I couldn't fully answer her question.  

So to Marti the full answer is the trapezoid is half of a hexagon.  To me this is another hexagon quilt.  The inner city block is 3 hexagons that form a Y.  To make the 3 hexagons, you choose 2 each of light medium and dark fabrics.  You sew 1 light to 1 medium, 1 medium to 1 dark, 1 dark to 1 light.  Then you take your hexagon template and position it in the middle of your sewn pieces and cut out your hexagon.  

This is a close up shot of the block.  Can you make out the Y with the light medium and dark forming the block?  It was easier to cut out 2 hexagons at a time, so there are 2 matching Y blocks.

I started off hand piecing the hexagons together.  The pieces were so small that it was hard to machine piece them.  But when my wrist started to hurt, I slowly machine pieced it.   Thank you Marti for the complement.  Your question is the very reason why I wanted to make this quilt.  I saw the block when I was looking at the pictures from the Yokohama quilt show and wondered how the block was constructed.  Just like you I figured there must be an easier way then cutting out all those trapezoids.  I hope you try your own Inner City block, but be warned it is challenging.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2 aprons

Midori asked me to look at 2 aprons that she had.  The first apron was bought recently and all she needed was to have the hem sewn up 5 inches.  That was easily done.  I cut off 4 inches from the bottom and hemmed it on the sewing machine with matching thread.

 The second apron was made by her mother about 30 years ago.   The cotton is very soft and thin, but she said it fits her perfectly and she wanted another one made.  The first thing I noticed was it was cut on the bias.
 The top of the apron had an extra piece of material sewn on the top to finish the top edge and give it more stability.
I bought 1 yard of fabric from JoAnn fabric store.  Using a taylors chalk, I traced the pink apron on the bias of the fabric and cut out the main piece.  Then I cut out the other pieces.   First, I hemmed the bottom, with a hand stitch.  Then I folded under the sides by 1/4 and 1/4 again and sewed up the sides and top.  I understand why it was cut on the bias when I got to the arm area.  The bias gave that area enough give to make a clean seam.  Lastly I tacked on the straps and the apron was done.
This is the cotton apron I made to replace the pink one.  I found a piece of coordinating fabric to make the pocket.  You always need a pocket.  I gave it to her today and she said "What a wonderful Valentines gift".
oh Yeah.  Happy Valentines Day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Laura Fogg workshop

Last week, I took a 2 day workshop given by Laura Fogg.  She asked us to choose a picture that inspired you and you wanted to recreate into a small wall quilt.  I chose a picture that we took from the balcony of the New Otani Hotel.  It overlooked the Natatorium and San Souci beach.  The picture had a lot of buildings all along the shoreline, but I decided to leave them out.  Hey, its my memory, and I just remember the sound of the wind in the coconut trees and the waves on the beach.  

The technique Laura showed allowed you to use fabric instead of paint.  You start with cotton backing and cotton batting cut to the size of the picture that you want to do.  With your picture as inspiration, you choose fabrics that will be your sky, your clouds, the beach, the waves, the concrete, the coconut tree.  Starting with the sky you can layer your fabric directly onto the batting.  Once you have all your pieces cut out and on the batting, you place a layer of tulle to keep all the pieces in place.  Use pins to hold all your pieces together.  Can you believe I finished cutting out the main picture in one day?  Well, I did have to change the picture, when Larry told me that I was missing San Souci beach in the foregroud.  How could I forget?  So on Sunday, I redid the left hand portion of the picture.

On the second day, we used the free motion foot to quilt the pieces in place and carefully took out the pins.  Once it was all quilted, I started on the border.  First you straighten out the sides.  Attach a backing border, cotton batting and an eyelash border to the sides.  My first mistake was choosing the Kaffe fasset wash fabric.  It was very flimsy and stretchy.  I should have fused some interfacing to strengthen the fabric. It makes for a beautiful border, but the stretchy fabric does not lay flat.  Laura did warn us about the grain of the fabric and now I understand what she meant.

I cut some green fabric into strips to make the coconut fronds.  My friend Deanna gave me the fabric that made up the coconut trunk.  Its perfect.  Laura showed me how to fold the fabric to give the trunk dimension.  Do you notice the coconuts?  I think that was Deannas idea.  In a workshop, Deanna and Toni and Rusty and I shared a working area and were able to help each other with ideas, fabric and inspiring words.  Good Job!  That looks Great!  Try this fabric.  It did help to have inspiring words and Laura was full of encouragement.

We mitered the borders, quilted a simple design on the border with the free motion quilt and then got to work on the foregrounds.  I chose a simple coconut tree.  Do you see the wool roving?  That softened the line of the waves that hit the beach.  I found a turtle button and stitched it on the beach.  Ta Da.  its done.