13 March 2012

Shot cottons

I've been working with shot cottons today.

Michael at Oakshott Fabrics sent me a bit more than 2 yards of the stuff to try out (the California Poppy fat quarter bundle, plus yardage of Spirit Atlas and Sprit Mimosa). I mixed it with another quater yard of Oakshott Sargasso (purchased locally at A Verb For Keeping Warm), 4 shot cottons from my stash, and another 3 shot cottons that Hamish brought back from India last year to make 64 - 8.5" blocks.

After adding the other fabrics I decided not to use the light green, although there is still quite a range of colors. I love how the different thread colors in the shot cottons lend themselves to unlikely color combinations.

It was interesting to work with shot cottons from so many sources. I have to say the Oakshott fabrics were wonderful to work with, fine and silky but still substantial. The three Indian fabrics are light and gauzy and a bit tricky to work with in combination with quilting cottons. I'm a big fan of Kaufman Carolina Chambrays because they wash up thick and soft. But they aren't in the same league (or price point) as the rich colors and fine hand of the Oakshotts. Of the shot cottons in my stash, the two Kaffe Fassett fabrics (from another wonderful local shop, New Pieces) were most similar to the Oakshotts, but seemed to have a slightly looser weave.

All are fabrics that I will be happy to work with again, but the Oakshotts are certainly a special pleasure.

09 March 2012

The Traveling Quilts

I've jumped into a round-robin style quilting bee with 10 crazy-talented modern quilters from all over the country.

We all started a section of a quilt this month and sent it off to another quilter in the group who gets to add to the quilt any way they choose. This will go on for a year, with only the sneakiest sneak peeks to show the development of the individual quilts. In the final round, we'll each finish, quilt and bind a project, then send it on the the person who crafted the original blocks. Each month I'll be receiving a project from Monica, and sending a project to Penny.

These are my four seed blocks. My first idea was to do similar shapes, but with a light blue patchwork instead of the white and gray solids. But I quickly decided that would be a) too busy; and b) a lot like a color blindness test. 

I made the green patchwork by sew/cut/sew/cut/sewing width-of-fabric strips. There was a fair amount left over, and I packed it up with the first four blocks, in case anyone finds it useful as they add to the composition. I can't wait to see where this ends up.

07 March 2012

New York Beauty Pillow + Templates

The New York Beauty pillow is finished and stuffed with a 24" pillow form. It's going to be a gift, and I hope she loves it as much as I do.
The prints are from the Flock collection by Thomas Knauer for Andover Fabrics -- available in stores any minute now -- except the border pinwheels which are from his Pear Tree collection. The two collections work so well together.
I made a rookie foundation-piecing mistake and over-trimmed one of the seams. Thanks for all your advice on stabilizing the scant seam. I ended up fusing a narrow interfacing strip over the area. I'm confident that the interfacing, reinforced with quilting, will hold the seam together.
I backed the pillow with two of the larger scale prints -- I love the funky trees and the circus stripes.  The fabrics feel wonderful in the hand, and the colors are bright and cheerful without being overwhelming
I quilted with a double echo stitch around the inner and outer points, and a tight stipple in the central star.
 The back has a few straight lines and an envelope closure.
If you would like to give this pattern a try, I've posted foundation piecing templates for a 12" finished block, with an option for a wider outside border. I used the larger border to give me enough margin to finish the pillow edges.
You can download the templates here.
If you make something with the templates, I'd love for you to post photos to the Piece and Press Flickr group.