Dear Stella Designs has a beautiful new collection hitting shops this month- Luna. Sleepy crescents and shooting stars dot the twinkling night sky. I have two new quilt patterns written exclusively for Luna available as PDF instant downloads in my Craftsy shop. Paper patterns are available wholesale, please email me for more information and to order.
Phase Shift is a beginner friendly applique pattern, with full color illustrations and easy to follow instructions. Perfect for a beginner class. 50″ x 50″ finished.
North Star is an intermediate pieced quilt. It comes with full color illustrations and detailed instructions. 48″ x 56″ finished.
I ran out and bought myself a copy of The Modern Applique Workbook by Jenifer Dick as soon as I heard it was available. I tend to stalk the publishing websites for things I might be interested in, and this one was at the top of my list. I am the type of person who prefers hard copy books to digital (hurrah for full color pictures!) and I have to say that this is one of my favorites.
The Modern Applique Workbook
As most you know, I have been having a love affair with applique. My first quilts were applique, and it is a skill I am always pulling out in the course of my quilt making. I always seem to find myself using raw edge techniques, which are fine, but I have always wanted to brush up on my turned applique. There are some projects that a good crisp turned block would be much better than raw edge. Even the stitch and flip interfacing technique just doesn’t have the same look. Jenifer explains step by step her techniques for perfecting the turned edge applique and securing the pieces with the invisible zig zag method. A big reason I was drawn to the book was Jenifers introduction. Her journey into modern applique is very relatable, we have all had one of those ah-ha moments when a technique just works and becomes more than you ever thought it would.
So what is modern applique? Jenifer lays it all out for you in an easy to understand, straightforward manner. From tools to fabric selections (she includes batiks! AWESOME!), Jenifer is able to create a modern aesthetic while maintaining a balance with the traditional roots of the technique. Her instructions are easy to follow and the diagrams and pictures are clean and concise. She even includes a well rounded section about fabric prep-whether you pre wash or not, it has useful tips and tricks for fabric prep. The first 60 pages are so are all instructional and specific to the technique, which is fantastic because as far as I can tell it covers everything you could possibly need to know about Modern Applique.
The technique itself isn’t anything new, applique has been around for a very long time, but the process is broken down in an easy to follow, detailed step-by-step way that makes this book beginner friendly. I have other books outlining a similar process, but it seemed so daunting I never even tried. Jenifer’s writing style practically drags you by the arm and shoves you into a chair with the supplies, and holds your hand through each step, after which you look and say “Oh my gosh WHY did I not try this before?!” she comes across as upbeat and friendly, very easy to read! from sharp points to concave curves and ovals, you get everything you need to make the quilts in the book, including a well rounded and easy to understand section on reverse applique. Her bias tape and straight grain tape techniques are to die for as well. This is one I am adopting into my repertoire of techniques immediately!
OKay, onto the projects!
The Modern Applique Workbook includes a variety of projects in different sizes for you to try out your newly learned skills. Each project has a forward that includes tips on fabric choices and a list of the techniques used, as well as the page references for each, making going back to look stuff up super easy. The photography is wonderful, you get a full shot and a detail shot of each quilt, as well as specific quilting and binding tips and instructions for each quilt. That has to be one of my favorite details in the book, that each quilt is explained individually from start to finish, instead of the cookie cutter “Basic quilt making and finishing” chapters in most books. Don’t get me wrong, they are useful and probably industry standard, but the individualized attention to each quilt really makes THe Modern Applique Workbook stand out.
The written instructions are detailed, yet flexible, which I like but others may find daunting, because there are no traditional layout diagrams. Any piecing is illustrated, but the applique itself is visually placed. That is the nature of applique, you are usually going off a photo, but because the pieces nest together so well you don’t have to worry about lining up overlaps exactly or ruining your project. It definitely add a planned improv feel to your projects, but almost guarantees that no two projects will look the same.
My favorite quilt is the cover quilt, Star Bright. Such a fun retro shape with a ton of flexibility in fabric choice and layout! I can think of a few fabric pulls for this quilt, the hardest part will be narrowing it down.
The Modern Applique Workbook
I am also really drawn to Mod. Again, a fun retro vibe without feeling like your wading through the shag carpet in your grandparents living room. The quilting in each is spectacular, both done by Angela Walters.
Fall is adorable and its a good thing everyone I know is having babies. FYI, you all get this quilt!
For beginners, Birds is a easy one to start with. Cute and fun, would also make a great gift!
Overall I would recommend The Modern Applique Workbook to anyone. Beginners will love the step by step, detailed instructions, and experienced quilters will love making the more complex shapes and adopting Jenifers techniques for applique.
The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of sewing and ironing and quilting. Spare time has been practically non-existent. I have been so wrapped up in this challenge, its been mind boggling. To make matters even more exciting, I got a second job, and I thought the deadline for entry was next week. Turns out its Friday. Thankfully my quilt is winging its way to Colorado as we speak on the back of a UPS truck! Guaranteed to be there on time, hurray!
I could fill your ears with all the tales of trial and error, hard work and late nights, but I am so thankful that I was able to finish on time. I could not have done it without the support of my family and friends. My husband, who barely saw me, my mom for coming for a weekend so i could work 10 in a row, and my friend Naomi who babysits for me so I can work and sew.
This years fabric was my favorite out of all the challenge fabrics to date. I knew from the moment I saw it that I would be making the Imperial Dragon Quilt. I had always wanted to make it again. There were many things I wanted to tweak, and new techniques I wanted to try. I was able to do them all.
I used Shiva Paintsticks to add highlights and shading to the dragons body. The mane is an eyelash yarn that I chain stitched with a 3mm crochet needle into a long rope, careful to keep the ‘eyelashes’ all to one side. It worked out very well because the eyelashes lay directional naturally.
I used a Hoffman 1985 Watercolors batik for the dragons body, and cut each scale out individually. Then I fused them all down. There are more than 500 scales in the whole dragon. I quilted his body with a meandering stipple in a matching color. The leg, head and tail feathers were layered and quilted using a variegated aqua to green, then a dark plum in the darkest parts of the tail and head.
Dragon tail detail
Dragon head detail
I quilted the background to mimic the tail, using the large leaves as the base for each.
For the white background I used the back side of a tone on tone white fabric, the motif was really overwhelming, but looks really good from the back, quilted with an orange peel motif.
I am so super duper happy with how this quilt turned out. I think it is my all time favorite ever!
Do you ever have those moments where you go, know why didn’t I think of that? That’s what happened to me the other day while reading Felicity’s blog. She posted about her Craft Buds month entry, and mentioned that she got her book from the local library.
“SAY WHAT? The library has modern quilting books? Well, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!” I said to myself.
Needless to say I promptly went online and searched around the Surrey Public Libraries website, and boy, do they ever have quilting books. Not just modern quilting, but any kind of crafting book. And new ones, modern ones! Tula Pink, Elizabeth Hartman, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, and not one but three Kaffe Fassett? My library card now holds a coveted spot in my purse, and I almost have the numbers memorized to log in online and reserve books, but because I am a new cardholder my limit is 10 books at a time. I laughed when she said that, 10 is more than enough to keep me occupied for 2 weeks. I maxed out my limit the first night (better on a library card than a credit card) and have 8 books on order. I have to bring the lot of them back this weeks and exchange them for the next batch (Quilts from the House of Tula Pink is in this batch, yippee!)
While digging through my little trove of quilty goodness, getting inspired and copying templates, I discovered something about myself. A couple of the modern quilting books were centered around minimalist quilting, or had projects that fall into that category. As much as I can appreciate the design and time that goes into them, I found myself thinking more and more that these were not things I would make for myself. Only one color and a plain white background…? I am not a minimalist!
I love to put as many colors as possible in my quilts.
Rich, vibrant prints and blenders with a tone-on-tone black background? Yes please!
Batiks? Let me at ’em!
Don’t get me wrong, I really like many of the modern quilts I see, and there are many that I would like to/will eventually make. I love anything Tula Pink, I think Pat Bravo makes some amazing fabric lines, and the use of solids is stellar, and I love the projects that come up in the blogs I follow that put a modern spin on the traditional quilts. Don’t even get me started on the amazing quilts of Kaffe Fassett! I just can’t make a quilt with only 3 fabrics in it when there are so many out there just calling my name. Use Me!!
Flights of Fancy, using Nest by Tula Pink for Moda
I am looking forward to this week’s mail, my order of Rock n Romance by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics will be arriving! Hurray! I ordered a fat quarter bundle from The Intrepid Thread. It has all the prints with an equal number of matching blenders. I am going to use these to make the Starburst Quilt.
I have been sewing and crafting since I was 6 years old. All my life I have been surrounded by talented, creative women like my mother Sue, my Grandma Shirley, and my Auntie Pat. Every holiday, celebration or special occasion a quilt was gifted or created, and I always loved how the colors flowed, and how you could convey an emotion using nothing but little pieces of fabric. Little did I know then, but I had been bitten by the quilt bug.
The first quilt I ever made on my own was one I had a dream about. My mom always tells the story best. “Why don’t you start with something small first, and see how it goes?” was her advice, but when it comes to quilting and art I have never really been one to test the waters before jumping right in. After a month of drawing up the design, picking the perfect colors, and some “Let’s see if this works…”, I showed my completed quilt to mom. After a minute of stunned silence, she gave me a hug and then introduced me to the website of Carol Bryer Fallert. I took one look at her quilt New Dawn and I was forever hooked.
To me, quilting is freedom. I have heard there are rules, but I would be hard pressed to tell you what they are. I love the smell of fabric, the feel and texture, and the stunning array of colors I can’t even put names to. My favorite fabrics are batiks, and often I am inspired by a single piece of fabric that sings to me in a tune I can only answer with a needle and thread. I create my own patterns, drawn from the inspiration I find in countless books, magazines and other quilters. I am greatly influenced by the work of Sharon Schamber, Jacqueline De Jonge, Judy Niemeyer, Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers. I have many of their patterns in my library, and look forward to someday completing them all at least once.
I wouldn’t be able to quilt the way I do without the love and support I find in my family. My wonderful husband has been known to make surprise stops at local quilt stores when we are on vacation, and doesn’t raise too much of a fuss when I spend a little bit more than I planned on a beautiful piece of fabric. He doesn’t like to admit it, but the man does have an eye for color!
The best part about quilting is the fellowship and commonality that quilters have. Quilting is a language all its own, and you can walk into any local quilt shop and find a friendly face and even friendlier advice. I am honored to be able to share my quilt story with everyone, and I look forward to meeting many fellow quilters!