Monday, February 28, 2011

Blogger's Pillow Party ~ February 2011 Winner

I was given the great pleasure of choosing a winner for this month's Blogger's Pillow Party going on over at Stitched in Color.  Remember this post? 


With more than 75 entries I am grateful that it was Rachel's job to narrow down all of the wonderful entries to just 9.  Still, it was not an easy decision to make.

Starting from top left:


1.  Bright and airy in Central Park by The Petting Zoo.
2.  "Petals" with words to live by from Suzanne Loves...
3.  The Eiffel Tower by Stolen Moments
4.  Purple stitches in reverse applique by Maureen Cracknell Handmade
5.  "Little Gems" in yoyos by Pickup Some Creativity
6.  Re-purposed Ruffles by a Stitch & a Prayer
7.  "Party Napkin" in Solids by you know what i love?
8.  A Rainbow Hexagon by Erica's Essential Suchness
9.  scrapy-happy log cabin by Jacey Craft

First I would like to thank all of the entrants for the beautifully handmade contributions.  I appreciate the time, effort and passion behind each and everyone of your projects.  I have enjoyed stopping by and checking out your blogs to read about the process and the stories behind the pillows.  Unfortunately there could be only one winner:

Congratulations to Arajane from You Know What I Love?

Arajane obviously knows what I love!  Half Square Triangles are my obsession, I love making these simple blocks without ever tiring of the process.  Arajane is also working on a baby quilt using the same fabrics and design; I look forward to seeing more of this quilt:


Arajane has won a bundle of fabric generously sponsored by Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics:
16FQs 9 (4 yards) from the Delilah range by Tanya Whelan
Congratulations Arajane - Rachel will contact you shortly.

//-----------------------------//

Rachel from Stitched in Color will be choosing the winner of the participation prize ~ the two patchwork pillows as previously posted on my blog ~ be sure to look out for Rachel's blog post.

Entry for the Blogger's Pillow Party for March is now open and the guest judge is the lovely Aneela from Comfort Stitching.  Good luck!

Rita

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Stash #87

My wordy word word!


I have been keeping my eye out for fabric with numbers, letters, words and newspaper print and they are around, you just need to know what to look for and where.


Some of these fabrics have been in my stash for a while and  I have recently re-stocked on a few of my favorites.

Panels by American Jane includes the full alphabet with common letters repeated several times

Fabrics seen here are from the following collections:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Color in Quilting

Earlier this month I was asked to write a guest post for Randi's Blog - i have to say - also known as the driving force behind the successful Etsy Store Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics.  Many of you will have read this post as it was promoted here on my blog and on my FACEBOOK page. For those of you who missed it here is again.

Randi suggested that I write a little something about how I go about working with color it really made me stop and think about how I use color and how I make my color choices for my quilts.


My initial thoughts were that I could go into depth here about the theory of color and how quilters can use the Color Wheel to help guide them in their choice of colors, and explain a little something about the relationship between colors.  However, my professional background is far removed from anything artistic or creative (certainly not color theory!) and to now write a knowledgeable article about  color theory I would have to go and do some serious research.   So, no I don't have a color wheel beside me as I set out to make quilts.

I was "awakened" to color several years ago when I attended a lecture in Melbourne by Kaffe Fassett on color.  The message that I took home from Kaffe's lecture is to look to the world around me for color and shape inspiration.

Train your eyes to see this never ending source of creativity.  Color (and shape) is everywhere, every day!  We just have to stop and really absorb the color in our surroundings.  Get excited about the brick walls,  flowers as they appear in nature, the fruit bowl, a box of buttons ~ I even become mesmerized by the colors of the products in the grocery store aisle. Make a concerted effort to notice color everyday, and it will become habitual ~ you'll soon find that once you start noticing color you'll also start to see shape.


If you are familiar with my work you already know that I love intense colors. Color preferences are highly individual and I have learned to appreciate those colors that challenge me ~ like purple and lilac and lavender ~ and embrace those that I love working with.  In addition to using a spectrum of colors in my quilts I bring contrast, clarity and sparkle by using white solid fabric.


Working with color should be fun and despite many misconception there aren't any rules about color.  Sure, there are theories and guidelines and accepted color combinations, and although color theory is important in understanding the relationship between colors, don't allow yourself to get too caught up in these concepts.  Instead, I hope you too will take from Kaffe's message to be open to the colors and shapes in your  every day surroundings.

 Noticing Color ~ Instore @ Antropologie NYC Dec 2010**

**Whist is NYC in December 2010 I snapped more than 2500 pictures.  Many of the pictures were taken because of their color/shape rather their tourist appeal; those were taken by my traveling companions who brought their own camera as apparently I hog the camera - who? me? 

I encourage you experiment with color, trust your eyes and your instincts, but most of all enjoy working with color!

With thanks to Randi for asking me to write this guest post.  Be sure to go check out Randi's store:
Rita  

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kaffe Fassett ~ Shot Cottons Stash

Just in case you need a little color in your day:


What were you doing at 1am this morning? I was arranging and re-arranging these fabrics in color order  and was so absorbed in my own quiet little world that  I was shocked to see the time.  Someone please tell me how it is that those evening hours pass by in just a jiffy.


These pretty solids are Shot Cottons by Kaffe Fasset.  Shot cottons are not true solids, they are woven using cotton thread which is dyed in small batches. Variations in color and small imperfections in the weaving are a natural part of the process and creates soft and subtle shifts in color.  Tonal solids are less harsh/vivid than true solids.  There are more than 50 colors in the range.


I so wish I could tell you with color codes and names here (Kaffe, we really need a color card as images can, and some do, vary greatly in color, please ... it would make choosing and identifying colors so much easier).  


Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons are available from Hawthorne Threads.

Enough color infusion?
Rita

RELEVANT LINKS:
Chaos Quilt - A Shot Cotton Quilt
Flock of Flying Geese Quilt - A Shot Cotton Quilt
Kaffe Fassett - Stripes

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tiffany Quilt and a New Quilt Pattern

It's finished!  And I am ever so pleased with this quilt; it is calming and subtle, and also fresh and modern. 


I've enjoyed piecing this simple design ~ once you get your fabrics organized the blocks can be chain pieced and before you know it you've got yourself a finished quilt top.


The quilting has added another dimension to the quilt top.  It has given the quilt texture; turning layers of fabric and batting into a comforting blanket with beautiful drape.  Straight line quilting may well be more time consuming, but I think it is worth the effort for the effect that it creates.  The grids of intersection lines all add to the finished look and feel of this quilt.


The binding fabric is one of my favorite - there are many favorites! - fabrics that I like to use to frame a quilt.  This is Full Moon Polka Dot in Lime by Amy Butler.  Initially I had selected the same fabric in Cherry Red, but at the last minute decided that the contrast would be too harsh for this gently colored quilt.


It is usually at this point that I tell you that you can find this quilt listed in my Etsy Store, however it was snapped up moments after listing.  The good news is that I have written a pattern for the Tiffany Quilt and indeed the pattern is available for sale in my Etsy Store.


The listing for the Tiffany Quilt Pattern can be found here and is available for immediate download.


All Red Pepper Quilts Patterns (pdf files) are now also available here:


Happy Stitching!
Rita

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Sewing ~ Tiffany Quilt


For most of the weekend my sewing space looked just like this ~ although what you can't see is the fluff  and threads floating around on the floor which all goes to creating the largest dust bunnies ever seen!  Not much pre-planning goes into the quilting design and it does usually unfold on a "as I go" basis.  This is probably not as I would recommended but that's how it rolls here and so far without disappointment.


Straight line quilting cannot be rushed; it's time consuming and can be quite tedious.  Although there are times where I commit myself to finishing a certain set of lines/section and will sit and stitched for several hours, there are also times when I allot myself 15 minutes or 30 minutes of stitching and walk away from it for a while, returning when ready to do another short session of quilting.



I am pleased to tell you that the basting pins have all been removed.  It took four large bobbins of thread and I estimate about 7 hours of quilt wrangling to finish all that stitching.


So today the gloves are off!  (Just a quick word here about gloves ~ and I have written about them previously here ~ they are Ansell's HyFlex Multi-Purpose rubber palmed and finger tipped gloves. They make quilting much easier by providing the best non-slip grip and all the control you need to guide the quilt.  They are comfortable, cheap and readily available from your grocery store).   

Ready to trim back the batting and start auditioning some binding fabric. 

Enjoy creating your dust bunnies!
Rita

RELEVANT LINKS:
Tiffany Quilt and Quilt Pattern

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Stash #86 - Kaffe Fassett Stripes


A bundle of colorful stripes ~ these distinctive fabrics are immediately recognizable, right?  There are no other fabrics just like it.


These woven cotton fabrics are Kaffe's new stripes ~  from top left hand corner to bottom right:
  • Narrow Woven Stripe Set
  • Broad Woven Stripe Set
  • Alternating Woven Stripe Set

Available from Hawthorne Threads

Enjoy Sunday
Rita

RELEVANT LINKS:
Kaffe Fassett - Shot Cottons

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Family Tree ~ Raw Edge Applique

Today I stepped outside of my square, took a leap into the unknown and had a wonderful fun day!  Unfortunately raw edge applique has always escaped my enjoyment and when the opportunity arose to attend a class with the friendly Kellie Wufsohn (Don't Look Now!) ~ a master at her craft ~ I jumped right in and soaked up all of the wisdom on offer.

Family Tree ~ pattern by Kellie Wufsohn (Don't Look Now!)

Family Tree is just one of Kellie's many colorful applique designs and is particularly suited to practising the free motion stitching technique.  I've learned so much today, including:  fusible web can be tricky stuff, the darning foot is used for more than just darning, the pros of polyester thread, and wait for it .... basting spray and how to use it!

In case you're wondering:  my little black birds are missing their legs - just temporarily.

The applique pieces have been fused onto the background fabric and the free motion stitching around the edge of the shapes has commenced. The concentration required is almost palpable and I certainly hope that practice makes perfect

Thank you to Kellie for making the class so enjoyable and sharing your knowledge without hesitation. Now ~ there is homework to be done.  At the next class we will be learning to fill in the background with free motion quilting.   Practice ... practice ...

Rita

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scr~happy!

I am a hoarder of scraps and almost no scrap of fabric is too small to keep.  My fabric scraps are all kept in one single plastic storage bin, they are not sorted by color or size.  No time  (or storage space) for such organizational endeavors.  But I do love my scrap bin and look upon it as a catalog of my fabric stash.   It is however OVER flowing. Again. 


And so the time has come to make a scrap quilt; which means spilling the entire contents of the scrap bin onto the floor and salvaging all those little bits.  It's messy work.


Many of the salvaged fabric scraps selected for this project (together with some recently stashed fabrics) are those prints with a white/light background,  as well as some larger scale graphic prints.  The fabrics are rather reminiscent and a direct result of this project :


I still need to make more blocks and none have yet been joined together.  The layout included here is just to give you a general idea of the design and feel of the quilt.


There is more scrap busting to be done today.

Happy Stitching!
Rita

RELEVANT LINKS:
Tiffany Quilt and Quilt Pattern 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Stash #85

Pure Elements by Pat Bravo


Pure Elements is Pat Bravo's new solid fabric collection.   The colors are so rich and vibrant that I couldn't resist adding these to my stash.


What's more these solids are of a truly fine quality with an ever so slight sheen which only enhances the depth of color.

Pure Elements fabric collection purchased and available from:

Enjoy Sunday!
Rita

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Empty Spool

IF you had asked my mother many many years ago which one of her daughters was going to one day craft up a storm ~ much like my mother has done (and still does) throughout her life ~ I can assure you that my name would not have been at the top of her "Most Likely to enjoy Crafting"  list.  


I wonder just what my mother would have predicted for my future; certainly the quiet achiever and perhaps most well-read although all of my siblings enjoy reading.  Regardless, I have enjoyed stitching my way through many a spool of thread and keep the empty spools as "proof" of my unexpected journey.


Today was a 'restock thread' day.  As you can see I, and my sewing machine, like using Gutermann thread for all of my piecing and quilting.  It is a 50wt 100% cotton general purpose sewing thread great for patchwork piecing and working with cotton fabrics.   The wt specifically refers to the length of  thread in kilometers required to weigh 1 kilogram (about 2.2 lbs), and as such the finer the thread the higher the number. 


The spools of thread pictured are my most freqently used neutral colors/numbers:  5709 ~ white, 618 ~ light grey and 919 cream in 800m spools.  What I particularly like about these threads is that not only do they come in an extensive range of neutrals and colors, but more importantly they don't mess with my sewing machine tension.  I am ready for more stitching ...

Rita

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Little Folks ~ Revisited

I've got an inordinate stash of the Little Folks fabric collection by Anna Maria Horner!  Even though I have previously made several quilts from these super soft voile fabrics (see here and here and here) the stash remains.  So it was time to revisit Little Folks ~ and not just for stash reductions reasons; these fabrics are a joy  to work with:


This really is a very simple design using the fabric's colors and prints to provide visual effect and interest.


Can you also see from the pictures that I have added an extra set of quilting lines ~ stitching two lines on either side of all seam lines?  Twice the amount of quilting to create a more detailed grid of intersecting lines. Well worth the extra effort.


There's nothing quite like 100% cotton goodness, especially when fabrics are oh so soft, I do wish you could feel this quilt ...   I have bound the quilt in my favorite Little Folks print:  Little Honey in Ink


As usual, my Etsy Store has been updated ~ you can find the listing for this Little Folks Quilt here.



Happy browsing,
Rita