Friday, February 28, 2014

Block 3

This is my favorite block so far on Basket Case.  I love the curved shape of the center and the colors "worked" perfectly.  For each block I dig around in a big pile of scraps looking for just the right combination.  Unfortunately, the end result isn't always what I expected.

My blogging friend, Baukje, asked me if the paper piecing (sometimes called foundation piecing) is difficult. My answer is yes, no, sometimes.  This technique is just like any other - it depends on the block.  We all know that sewing squares together is easy and gets more complicated as you add in different shapes and sizes that all have to fit together.  I would never use paper piecing for a simple block but for any block with tiny shapes or these sharp points, paper piecing is my "go to" technique.

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't make a complicated block easy - just easier than traditional piecing.  Remember, I don't make a lot of pieced blocks so if I can do it so can you.  I will admit that I sometimes place the fabric wrong and have to unpick but I do that with whatever I'm sewing.  Copying the patterns onto Vellum paper makes it much easier.

I didn't get any blocks made yesterday as it was wool-dying day.  Some of you have asked for kits to make my Crazy For Embellishment stitching project.  I will have kits for the backgrounds in my Etsy shop later today.  The kits will include wool for the hexagons and the large teal background.  The silk raffia used to weave the bee skep in the center block will also be available.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Block 2 - Basket Case

My best guess is that this quilt will be like looking through a kaleidoscope full of shapes and colors.  Each background is a different color using the Akonye Kena fabrics which are hand-dyed in Uganda and have a wonderful mottling making each piece unique.  This is a "Fair Trade" product, helping local peoples learn skills to support their communities.  Learn more about Akonye Kena "Here".

I love dots........can you tell?  Each block will finish to 10" square.

Block 3 tomorrow - it might be my favorite.

15 Days Of Color

I came home from the Winter Quilt Retreat a few weeks ago with a severe case of sensory overload. 

My friend, Carrie, and I were going to start Chris Jurd's "Basket Case" together a few weeks from now when we attend American Quilting's retreat.  This is a complicated quilt so it seemed like a good idea to make one block so I would know exactly what to pack.  Well, I had to confess to Carrie that once started I couldn't stop and now 8 of them are finished.  I'm going to share 1 block each day to give you plenty of time to enjoy each one and think about what colors and fabrics you would use.

Here is a pic of Chris' quilt and if you would like to purchase a pattern from her Etsy shop click Here and take a few minutes to enjoy her other amazing patterns.

All of the blocks are pieced on paper which is a good technique for people like me that can't get those perfect points any other way.  Everything I need is set up right next to the sewing machine which makes it much easier. Well, actually it means I don't have to get up!

Just in case you are wondering if I gave up wool applique, the answer is "No", applique is my evening enjoyment.  I'm happy to admit that I abandoned my (silly) rule of finishing a project before starting another.  I now have 7 quilts in process and it makes me smile.

Check back tomorrow for Block 2.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Crazy for Embellishment - Update

Thank you so much for your response to Crazy for Embellishment.  Sometimes I think I'm working in a vacuum and it's so nice to hear from you and learn that someone is reading my blog!

Your response has caught me a bit unprepared as I sold every one of my Crazy for Embellishment guides and templates last week at retreat.  I've ordered more templates and should have them next week so if you would like to order a guide from my Etsy shop click Here

Many of you have asked if I can provide a kit and the answer is "yes".  The kit will contain the hand-dyed wool for the blocks and the teal background.  I will also include the Silk to weave the bee skep as I know you won't be able to find it anywhere.  I'm waiting for my wool order and then I'll get it dyed, figure out a price and let you know.

I don't list the threads in my Etsy Shop as there are just too many but you can always call me at 801-706-4671 and I will take your order.  Of course, you can call me anytime (well, daytime) with any questions.

I just listed kits on Etsy for the Berry Bloom purse and Flora coin purse.  The kits are complete with pattern, fabric and threads.

Thanks again!  Kerry

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crazy for Embellishment

 I am fortunate to receive invitations to teach at guilds, stores, private groups and retreats.  Whenever I speak to the workshop coordinator, we try to figure out what everyone would like to learn and most often the answer is "embellishment".

Several months ago I designed a project that includes wool and needle-turn applique, beautiful embroidery stitches, silk, cotton and metallic threads, beading, buttons and weaving.  I decided to use wool hexagons for my block backgrounds in a size easy to hold.  The blocks get stitched together on a large background and then each joining seam is covered with an embellishment stitch similar to crazy quilts.  Combine crazy quilts and embellishment and you get -

"Crazy for Embellishment"

The Guide to Stitches and Fibers includes large close-up color photos like those shown below plus a listing of the threads and stitches I used for each block.  Also included are patterns for the appliqued bee skep, flowers and leaves and directions for stitching the blocks together and finishing the project. The guide also includes a plastic template that makes it easy to rotary cut the hexie block backgrounds.

 The center block with weaving and stitches.

12 Leaves
6 Flowers

Now when I receive an invitation to teach embellishment, I have a sample of stitches along with a printed guide.  The finished project and guide are good resources when you just can't think of which stitch or thread to use on your projects.  This will be an all-day class with the focus on learning a variety of stitches in the first few hours and then each student will cut out a block and stitch up their own flower, leaf or bee skep in colors they choose. Better yet, plan a 2 day class where we can really enjoy the relaxing art of hand-stitching.

Of course, if you would like to use one of my patterns as a class project that is also an option.
If you have a group of friends, a quilt shop, guild or retreat that would like to plan a workshop please contact me by email at or phone 801-706-4671.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Back Home

Last week I was away at the Winter Quilt Retreat in Bryce Canyon.  It was great fun to see friends from last year and get an overdose of beautiful quilts.  My internal gauge hit the sensory overload mark on day one.  I taught an embellishment class and a Berry Bloom class.  True to form, I was so involved in stitching I forgot to take photos - again.

Just before leaving I finished this little bag which I used for all my "business" stuff, Square, pens, calculator, business cards, receipts and change.  This kit is smaller than the one I showed you before and it made up really quick.

This kit was a gift from a friend and was also purchased from Material Obsessions in Australia.  If you would like to buy your own kit or just take a closer look Click Here.  The kits come complete with the bag and felt for applique and covering the bag.  Kathy at Material Obsession told me that this is 100% wool felt that they import from Italy.  It is different from the felted wool I use most of the time which has a softer weave. Now, one is 100% felted wool and one is 100% wool felt - it is easy to get confused.  Just remember that the wool felt is stiffer and flatter and is perfect for this type of project.  Felted wool is a softer weave which means it is easier to stitch through and provides more dimension when layering.  Speaking of confusion..... this is much higher quality than the felt you find at a craft or hobby store.

I changed the pattern a bit from what was in the kit to highlight the bird and added the circles so it coordinates with my other bag.  I added a Back-Stitch around the bird and Fly Stitches on the tail and breast with Sea Grass, a little charm for the bird to carry in its beak and a hand-made bead for the eye.  There are Bullion Knots around the wing with Straight Stitches and French Knots around the circles.

When the applique was finished a simple whip stitch over the bag's edging completed it.  Other than the Sea Grass, all of the other stitches were Pearl Cotton size 8 in both Valdani and Painter's Threads.

Check back tomorrow to see my newest project 
"Crazy for Embellishment"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Don't forget

Take a minute to look at the fun retreat planned this June in Midway, Utah.  There is an amazing array of classes with many well known national teachers (and little old me).  Just click here for more information about the classes and events.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Leaving For Retreat

For the past few weeks I've been busy making kits and dying wool in preparation for the Winter Quilt Retreat at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah.  I will be traveling with my friend, Norma Whaley from Timeless Traditions Quilts and Leslie Ison.  Our plan was to take a leisurely drive tomorrow, stopping at quilt shops and favorite food places along the way.  But then....... Norma and I checked with each other to see how much stuff we were taking.  That's when we discovered the problem. We each have an SUV and even with driving 2 cars we are still concerned that there won't be enough room!  If you've ever gone to retreat with your friends I'm sure you understand.

Norma, Leslie and I are each teaching 2 classes with all the kits, patterns, more kits, more wool, threads, more patterns - well, you get the picture - plus our own sewing supplies for "quiet" time.

I will be available by phone and email during the week.  As soon as I get home I will be telling you about a new project.

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