One of my goals this year is to expand my repertoire of crafty skills. First on my list? Needle turn applique. My guild is doing a mug rug swap this month, so this was a great opportunity to test my skills on an unsuspecting guild member. (They’re a pretty friendly bunch.) I used a very simple bull’s eye shape adapted from Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts book (hands down my favorite quilting book–it’s really great for beginners). It’s just three irregular circles stacked; aiming for imperfection is a great choice when you are learning a new skill (or improving a rusty one).
When I’ve tried needle-turn in the past, I’ve always cheated and turned the raw edge under with my hand, which can result in an uneven edge. I think I finally got the knack of needle turning by the third circle! You use the point of the needle to push under the next section of edge before you sew–which turns the edge evenly as you move along. If you are working on a precise shape, having a clear line for the seam would be very important. Because my circle did not need to be precise I just winged it. It was so nice to work on a small project by hand that I decided to hand quilt, too. At first I quilted around each circle–not good! The circles poofed up, totally negating all my careful applique. Here’s a picture, before I pulled out the hand quilting:
What else do I want to try this year? Embroidery, making a stuffed animal, and (maybe!) English paper piecing. Look for more Skillful Sunday posts in the coming months!
This quilt just came back from being in a modern quilt show here in Gainesville. The gallery manager at Santa Fe, Kyle Novak, did such a great job hanging the quilts–they looked gorgeous! I loved seeing all our guild members’ work together. I, however, was too busy chatting to take any decent pictures–sorry! It was great to see, even in this small show, how eclectic modern quilting can be. And as much as I love quilting blogs (and I do!)–there’s nothing like seeing quilts in person. I can only imagine what it is like to go to a massive quilt show like QuiltCon! 2015 is on my wish list for sure.
Even though I love this quilt–something about those colors–I’ve added it to my Etsy shop. I have big plans for quilts to make in the new year–can’t wait to get started!
I’ve been having fun making patchwork panels for some more linen placemats. I love working without a plan, and using up some of my scraps. Because I usually work with large blocks of color, I am creating a mountain of scraps. I will confess that sometimes I throw away small bits because the thought of that scrap heap gets a little overwhelming, not to mention messy. But, of course, I feel a little guilty about it. Then I read this post from Dinning Room Empire, Naptime Quilter about collecting scraps to give away to other quilty friends–such a great solution. How nice to feel generous instead of guilty!
Still, one of these days I’m going to make a scrappy quilt. While I love the idea of having a signature style–the kind where you can look at a quilt and tell who made it–I don’t want it to prevent me from trying something new. After all, half the fun of quilting is the endless variety. I am always inspired by Denyse Schmidt. She has one of the greatest signature styles out there–there is something about her fabric and color choices and compositions that makes her quilts instantly recognizable as hers even though they range from modern to more traditional. I’ve noticed that the quilters I most admire have a strong style but aren’t afraid to innovate. Katie Pedersen of Sew Katie Did is another great example: some of her quilts are made with tiny scraps and others with huge blocks of color, yet her signature style shines through in all her work. Just thinking about this makes me want to delve into my scrap heap!