Tempted by the Fruit of Another . . . Quilt Pattern Designer Carrie Payne + A Giveaway

Now how can I possibly connect the pirated lyrics of a 1980’s era British band* to a quilt-themed blog post? Where there is a will, most certainly there is a way. Check out these charming patterns from designer Carrie Payne and let me explain.

Patterns of Carrie Payne @ believemagic.com

Carrie Payne patterns displayed at Scottsdale Quilts in Scottsdale, AZ.

Just one look . . . yes, another stolen lyric . . . and I was seduced. I’m not typically drawn to figurative patterns, but there is something so charming about Carrie Payne’s style that I couldn’t resist. Luckily, my eldest son was about to throw a surprise engagement party, which gave me the perfect excuse to make a gift for his fiance. See that bride on the blue background above? That’s my launching point.

Scottsdale Quilts owner Evan Duke got me totally committed to the project when she told me how popular the little quilt has been as an engagement/bridal shower gift, especially when family and friends contribute charms for the bride’s tiered skirt. Perfect! What a cool way to bring together two families who’ve never met and celebrate the engagement. It also helped that Evan the shopkeeper has a weakness for vintage lace and pretty doodads to add to the project supplies–check out that lace snippet below.

Test 1 of Hannah's bride

First draft of my bride on a composed background from a digital print.

I took a look at Carrie Payne’s website Believe Magic before I started the project and was transported by the diversity and wealth of her ideas. She has an aesthetic that’s easy and fun to tweak. That design-on-the-fly approach is reflected in her pattern which comes with multiple hairstyles, bodices, and sizes. I opted for the side bun and the V-neck bodice as I knew my son’s fiance’s taste in hairstyles and I also knew she wasn’t one for strapless fashions.

Test Hannah's bride

Next draft: more festive with the batik floral, but my son asked me to reorder their initials to something less like a famous Swedish clothing outlet.

I didn’t get my son too involved in the project, but I did get feedback about the monogramming–he banned the H&M draft as ridiculous, even though I figured the bride should get top billing in this era of female empowerment. Oh well, M&H it would be.

Detail of Hannah's bride

Charms from my mother and sisters as well as local friends.

If you’ve followed my adventures on my past blog See How We Sew, you’ll know I’ve a fondness for bead shops and embellishments. I must admit, that’s probably another motivator for this engagement gift, but beyond the glitz and sparkle, it’s emotionally uplifting to collect charms from the women important to the bride-to-be. I even teared up as I stitched them in place!

The finished engagement quilt with embellished with charms from women on both sides of the family.

The finished engagement quilt with embellishments from family on both sides as well as friends.

One item to mention is that I followed Darra Williamson’s approach to making postcard quilts when I assembled my little quilt. Carrie uses the classic quilt sandwich and binds the edges, whereas in Darra’s scheme, the quilt top, batting and backing are fused together and the slightly longer/wider edges of the quilt top are folded over to the backing and stitched in place. It was quicker and easier for me to take that road and I like the end result.

Giveaway Details!

Carrie is generously donating several patterns for you to enjoy. I’ll be doing a coordinated post here and at See How We Sew to spread the word to crafters and sewists.

Leave your comment here at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects by Monday, November 14,  to be entered for the giveaway. Here’s your challenge:  Please give me quick Do or Don’t advice for my future as a mother-in-law. I suspect “Say nothing” will be the most common suggestion!

Narrowed signature*Tempted by the Fruit of Another by Squeeze.

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Mission Accomplished: 2 Baby Quilts + 1 Scrap Throw Quilt

Carrie Bloomston fabric line

Carrie Bloomston’s fabric line available at Modern Quilting, Paradise Valley, AZ

Just back from the post office where I mailed the last of my trio of quilt projects. I won’t make Father’s Day with the delivery, but my dad knows his is on the way. So, would you like to see what I’ve accomplished this month (with the help of the talented long-arm quilter Renee Miller and the creative input of Heather Ripley at Modern Quilting in Paradise Valley, AZ)?

Ta-da! Three Quilts Conquered & Delivered!

Boy Baby Quilt front

The blue version  is for my niece’s newborn son.

Boy Baby Quilt detail front, back, & faced binding

A two-fer photo: quilting detail, backing, and faced binding.

Girl Baby Quilt Front--Carrie Bloomston fabric + others

The white version is for my nephew’s baby who will make her debut in a month or so. Hey, I was able to get one of my original quilt holders involved in the photo shoot. You can see the battered legs of my youngest son who used to make himself scarce when I needed a quilt holder. Got him this time!

Girl baby quilt back--Carrie Bloomston fabric

This Carrie Bloomston print was the inspiration for my fabric selection. Once I spotted this happy print, the notion of a quilt made of mini blocks of solid fabrics flew out the window.

Girl Baby Quilt front detail

Close-up of the quilting pattern. I selected the same design for all three quilts, although Renee kindly tightened up the gauge of the quilting design for my father’s quilt.

Dad's scrap throw quilt

I absolutely adore the simplicity of the design for my father’s quilt. I had a big pile of 3-inch squares left over from the baby quilts and opted to cut each in half in order to create a band of colorful slices. Love it!

Label for dad's scrap quilt

I made variant of this label for all three quilts. A little raw, a little handmade and referential to the fabrics used in the quilts.

What Happens After Conquering Three Quilts?

If you’ve read the news you’ll know that the Western U.S. is hot, hot, hot. So, what does a quilter do to avoid a furnace blast of heat? This quilt maker decided to tackle the leftover’s stash from the quilt trio in air-conditioned comfort. Yes, there was more fabric, but now there is much less. I’ve got to say this fourth quilt just might be my favorite so far. I got some interesting finishing details in the works . . . I’ll share soon!

Narrowed signatureQuilt #4 in the works

Stay tuned for further developments!

 

 

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Crazy Quilt-Making Ambition Goes Awry

3 quilts done!

She’s back at the sewing machine. She’s not too thrilled with the current sewing facilities, but she’s making do. Well, that’s my update. Imminent childbirth by two extended family members has me sewing baby quilts like a mad thing. I’m not complaining, it’s wonderful celebrating the arrival of a new baby with a colorful quilt. The madness comes from a naive notion of trying to use all the fabric I purchased. I think it’s locking me into a perpetual sewing cycle . . .

Perhaps that statement needs clarification. Two babies, two quilts: purchase one stash of fabric of sufficient yardage to make a pair of quilts and then make another from the leftover scraps. Three quilts from one fabric purchase. That was my goal.

Big Charming pattern by Denyse Schmidt

I started with a baby quilt model: Denyse Schmidt’s Big Charming quilt pattern. It’s pretty, modern, and super easy for someone who doesn’t actually have a dedicated sewing area for now. Also, my actual fabric stash lives in moving boxes and they are piled out of reach in the spare bedroom of our rental home. I whipped out the two quilts rather quickly, but choosing prints from Carrie Bloomston’s fabric line rather than solids took me down a divergent design path. (I will reveal the results after the tops are quilted.)

With the duo completed and the backing fabrics seamed and prepped, I turned to my leftover fabrics. Here’s the draft layout:

Test scrappy layout

I like it because it’s quick, informal, and casual. Although, I did have to purchase more fabric for backing . . . So here’s the thing I’ve come to realize about my thrifty-fabric-use goals:  I’m never going to be done once I add the backing leftovers from the long-arm quilter to the remnants from the first go-around. You know I’ll have to purchase more fabric to finish the projects . . . OMG!

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Beauty Amidst the Thorns

McDowell Mt/Sonoran Desert

This is my first experience of the Sonoran desert in bloom and, wow, am I astonished by the profuse flowering of the prickly plants that dot this arid landscape. It’s amazing that the Cholla cactus pictured below can make room for tender blossoms amidst its dense armament of needles.

Cholla in bloom

In Springtime, the desert’s neutral palette is painted in tender greens, bright yellows, and pinky-reds as the cactus flowers open to sunlight.

Cholla in bloom

My son recently gave me a Moment macro lens to attach to my iPhone. I’ve not quite mastered the focus, especially in strong sunlight, but I did manage to catch a few hyper-close images of a Cholla cactus’s flower in bloom. I’m certain there’s a reason why the cactus flower’s stigma rises to skyscraper heights above bright yellow stamens–undoubtedly a pollinator-appealing structure–but to me this close-up recalls a SciFi creature like Ridley Scott’s Alien.

Cholla in bloom

Cholla in bloom

Don’t ask me to name the cactus variety featured below–I was too entranced by the vibrant magenta flower that crowned its thorny top. Believe me, it’s hazardous enough taking a cactus close-up, but when the macro lens requires mere inches in distance for a focal length, those needles are nearly impossible to avoid as I can attest!Cactus flower

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Design + Fabric + 720 Days = A Finished Quilt

A ghost Union Jack in place and quiltedBefore I got distracted by prepping a house for sale and then moving, I was a quilter on a mission. Mind you, it took me over two years and a lot of head bashing, but I got a mega quilt done just in time to pack up my quilt room.

The quilt was a personal commission from my dear friend Tara for her husband Peter, who was my flatmate during my college junior year abroad in England and is one of my all-time favorite people. London-born and bred, Peter was one of my go-to sources for all things British. Thankfully, our sojourn predates the smart-phone-era so I know he doesn’t have a record of an embarrassing episode when he caught me singing off-key and dancing about his room like a crazy, gawky fan-girl. The less said, the better–I won’t even reveal what singer made me swoon back in those days.

Anyway, back to the point of this post:  commission to tackle, no boundaries, no time frame, no consensus on theme. Tara and I started with a flurry of idea exchanges through Pinterest with little result. Making a quilt for a grown man isn’t easy because they typically aren’t all that jazzed by something that will ultimately be a bedspread. Ultimately, I was left with a strong conviction that I should cut to the chase and make something personal to Peter and so I compiled a few guidelines to spark my creativity: a color scheme suitable to their bedroom and decor, a desire to celebrate Peter’s roots, and a yen to incorporate some quirky things I knew about him in the design.

Color Scheme:  honey gold and bordeaux red to fit with their decor

Theme: a tried and true emblem of Englishness, the Union Jack

Quirky Details:  visual references to some of Peter’s faves and to his oddball sense of humor

Building a Union Jack quiltTara was game to the Union Jack theme when I showed her a sketch, but it took me two years to get from concept to completion. Hey, I had to take a creative journey with twists, turns, and dead ends before I could get a clear idea of how to tackle the project. The initial idea was somewhat Amish in inspiration: a square-in-a-square format.

Beginning the quilt layout

The central square would be composed of a large Union Jack with three smaller ones lined up below in the non-regulation color scheme of gold, burgundy, and French blue–the flag has three colors after all. The borders that would compose the outside square would be made of neutral patchwork blocks partnered with “ghost” Union Jacks and images printed on fabric that would resonate with Peter.

Paper piecing a ghost Union JackIn theory the basic layout should have been reasonably easy to build, but a true Union Jack has specific proportions and layout. I figured paper-piecing the quilt would be key to accuracy. Ha! I build the mirror image of the Union Jack the first time around . . . yes, there was abundant thread sacrificed to the cause of making Peter’s quilt!

Paper piecing the main Union JackI made a design adjustment once I read about the origins of the Union Jack that flies today. The national flag is built from the three flags that constitute the United Kingdom: the crosses of St. George (England), St. Andrew (Scotland), and St. Patrick (Northern Ireland). Well, okay, substitute that trio for the three smaller Union Jacks planned for the middle square. That turned out to be an excellent idea that simplified the paper-pieced flag-building process, which was sufficiently complicated by my decision to use strip-pieced fabric swatches. I was about 50% successful with that–true alignment would have blasted through a lot more fabric.

Building the smaller central flagsOnce the center block was finished, I moved on to the details I thought would amuse Peter. I transferred sepia-toned images onto printable silk organza and then fused them to fabric. You can see some of the images below: the logo from Peter’s favorite soccer team;  the Royal Pavilion, a royal palace near the university where we met; the name of his favorite band; among others. I wanted all the ghost Union Jacks and the other images to blend into the background. Can you find all five ghost flags in the border? Even I can’t!

Final layout

Here’s the completed quilt top just before I passed it on to Kathy August to quilt in simple, straight lines. You can just about see one major tweak I made to the design. There is often a disconnect between a sketch (not to scale) and execution of the design. In order to make the arithmetic work I added pencil-thin linen borders between the flags as well as linen bands to represent the edging for mounting flags. Completed Union Jack quilt

I ended up embroidering sets of grommets on those edges for the sake of authenticity–you can see my grommet-in-the-making below.

Details of final Union Jack: quilting, rivets and label

The best part of the project was giving the quilt to Peter. He was nonplussed and that was fantastic. He hadn’t a clue that Tara and I had been in cahoots years. It was by no means easy to stay on task as I had a lot going in that interval, but finally finding the way to express my regard for him was wonderful.

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Quilt Envy at AQS Phoenix: Stellar Japanese Quilts on Display

Quilt: Flowering by Sachiko Yoshida

Detail of “Flowering” by Sachiko Yoshida at AQS Quilt Week 2016

Remember that punkish song I think I’m Turning Japanese by The Vapors? There are actually moments when I’d like to be a Japanese artist. Okay, yes, this is a strange ambition to share, but no weirder than my youngest son wanting to be a baby Doberman Pinscher when he grew up. Needless to say, he’s still human and I’m still an American. And, Japanese quilt makers are uncommonly wonderful craftswomen.

That lesson was underscored with a super-thick black Sharpie last month at AQS Quilt Week in Phoenix, AZ. Among the touring exhibits was one called Symphony of Colors: An Exhibit of 24 Japanese Quilts. Beautiful! Fantastic! Superb! If AQS Quilt Week 2016 comes your way, go, go go!

I’ve got a few images to share, but really, they are inadequate when compared to the actual quilts. Curious about whether I could find better images online, I came across a blog by another show attendee, Debbie Moyes. Take a look at her review at A Daily Dose of Fiber where the photos are truer to the colors and a bit sharper.

Here’s a look at Sachiko Yoshida’s sublime Flowering. I’ve got a serious case of quilt envy going with this quilt–it probably sparked my fantasy of becoming a Japanese quilt maker. Wrap me up in this beauty and I will be happy forever! Genius color use, fabric choice, composition, fabrication, workmanship, and finishing. Q.E.D.

Quilt: Flowering by Sashiko Yoshida at AQS Quilt Week 2016

What is better than one Sachiko Yoshida quilt? Another one! I suspect this quilt, Dianthus: In Memory of My Mother, has a story of loss, but what a wonderful way to celebrate and remember a beloved parent.

Quilt: Dianthus: In Memory of My Mother by Shashiko Yoshida at AQS Quilt Week 2016

The beauty is also in the details:

Quilt: Detail Sashiko Yoshida

The blocks are lovely as well with the subtle play of colors across their surfaces:

Quilt: Detail Sashiko Yoshida

Sigh. Japanese quilt makers just get better and better. Years ago, my friend Cyndy Rymer and I co-edited a trio of compilations of quilt patterns from Quilts Japan magazine (click the Arts& Crafts tab for the titles) for C&T Publishing. The AQS show reminded me of that journey through the inventiveness and craftsmanship of some remarkable quilting women. My trip through Symphony of Colors reinforced the lesson that Japanese quilters are uniquely able to envision and create complete masterpieces–no one element is weaker than another. And, each complements the other. The finishing touch of the quilting is never an afterthought.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox. I just had to get it off my chest. Keep on creating–I will when I finally get to unpack my studio!

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Ticking Off a Bucket List Item: Bead-a-Palooza in Tucson!

Well, I just experienced an ultimate “bright, shiny objects” event: I took a stroll through the gem and mineral shows in Tucson, Arizona last week with my long-time friend Ginny.  This renowned event has been on my radar for years and, now that I’m an Arizona resident, I can indulge! And, I used my trusty smart phone camera to share the abundance of gems, minerals, beads, findings, and other beautiful objects on display. Believe me, just as our tour covered a slice of the whole, these photos capture a mere fragment of that slice. The mind boggles at the possibility of hitting every venue!

Here’s your head’s up: at the end of January and the beginning of February of each year, international and national vendors gather in Tucson, Arizona to sell their sparkling wares. It’s a wholesale event for the most part, but there are vendors who do sell to the public. It’s a combination of sales and exhibitions and the venues are spread throughout the city. The Tucson shows are part of a larger exhibition/sales universe, but they are the Big Kahuna of the gem & mineral events in the U.S.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

So, what do you think about trays filled with sparkling gems? Don’t you just want to pick them up and let them trickle through your fingers? I can’t say that it’s show etiquette, but it’s certainly a temptation. Did I purchase? Nope. I may have a modicum of jewelry-making talents, but setting gems is not one of them.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

There were yards and yards of bead strands in every conceivable type and color spread throughout the two venues I visited. The trend in matte-finished beads surprised me, but waxy, matte-like finishes are a rising trend in kitchen and bath design for natural and manufactured stone counter tops. Well, duh, makes sense then.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Here I offer you only a portion of the rainbow array of wire-linked bead strands. The greens and blues really spoke to me. I wish I’d had a good reason to buy yardage because the selection was stellar, but alas, I decided to stick to my buying plan/budget–a not fun, yet necessary strategy when visiting a bead mecca or even a quilt show!

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Here we have a bonanza of gold and silver findings which provide decorative elements to jewelry design. Love, love, love them!

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

I’ve got a soft spot for Swarovski crystal beads, especially this latest generation of crystal-bedecked beads. This vendor took those beads in a new direction for me:  multi-colored ones! She said some of her designs are directed specifically for collegiate use and thus the school colors and sports gear (i.e. those baseball/tennis ball beads) models.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Ah, my favorite photo. I could dive into this pile of colored-glass beads. I have a recurring fantasy of wearing all of them at one time stacked on my neck, running up my arms, and wrapping my ankles. Ludicrous and heavy, but fun! Thanks for the fun day Ginny!

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