Friday, July 17, 2015

Sorting quilts

I've been busy pulling, sorting and refolding quilts for my trunk shows at Quilts at the Creek this weekend. It is a big job but as you can see I've got a "helper". Not much help if you ask me! Sorting quilts will just have to wait until he has finished his little nap.

The title of my talk is "English Paper Piecing and More". It is so hard to decide which quilts to take because they all have some feature that I think might be of interest to others. I will bring a few quilt tops one of which is Gardens of a King, a pattern I tested for Missie Carpenter of Traditional Primitives. The pattern is now available from her shop. You can see my quilt folded on top of the pile in the picture above.  The quilt was made using English paper piecing (EPP). I added my own personal touches such as the sun face in the upper left corner and a moon face in the lower right corner. It is a little detail that makes the quilt my own. I also added some butterflies and ladybugs in the floral applique b locks in the borders.

Gardens of a King by Karen H

I plan on taking Flora and Fauna, Parts of the Garden as part of the "more" portion of my talk. This quilt does not use EPP but it is one of my quilts that I love the most because of all of the little details. It was a challenge quilt. There were three fabrics that had to be used (all of which I detested and did my best to disguise) and I was able to add an additional six fabrics. I chose three greens, one brown, one blue and a very busy print on a butter colour background. I fussy cut last fabric to create all sorts of additional colours, plants and creatures. I also the wrong side of the blue fabric in the kit and that gave me two shades of the same fabric. You can't do this will all fabrics but in this case it worked!

Flora and Fauna, Parts of the Garden by Karen H

One of the reasons I like Flora and Fauna is because of all the little vignettes that I was able to create within the quilt. Here are a few examples.

I know this quilt appears as though it was difficult to make. I didn't have much of a plan for this quilt other than there would be a circle of blue in the middle for the sky. I would border it with a narrow bit of green for the grass and then a wide border of brown for the earth. The last border would be a pale green just because I like green! I used a fabric safe marker to draw the stems of the plants that would start at the green grass and reach up toward the sky. They were embroidered with two strands of floss. Once I had that framework completed I just started filling in the spaces with bits of this and that. I quilted tunnels for the ant colony in the brown border and then filled the tunnels with little brown ants. I worked on this quit top while sitting outside and as I saw bees, grasshoppers, butterflies, inchworms and other insects I would find a space where I could add them to the quilt. If I liked what I had done I would repeat it in other areas of the quilt! The more I added the more ideas I had. Before I knew it the whole thing was chock-a-block with creatures and plants. You don't have to make an entire quilt of detailed creations - you could just take one or two tiny details to a big quilt. Small details have big impact. That's what I did when I added bee details to the centre medallion of my quilt Mom's Flower Bed. The following pictures shows the centre medallion. On the blue-green batik hexagons that connect the green stars I added bees. The bee bodies were cut from yellow fabric. The stripes were added with my Sakura Pigma pens and then I appliqued the bodies to the hexagons. The wings were drawn on the fabric with my Sakura pens. Once this was done I cut my hexagons and continued English paper piecing in the usual way.

This is a close-up of the bees. Want to make your own bee? I did a little tutorial and you will find it here.

Bees not your thing? How about adding a grasshopper? I like to sneak a grasshopper into a quilt and tell the recipient it is there but not where it is. It is especially fun for children to search their quilt for the grasshopper! The tutorial is here.

I continue to work on my Green Parrot hexagon quilt but every time I put it on the floor to have a look this is what happens! There are plenty of places to wrestle but it seems that Green Parrot holds particular appeal for the boys, Jinx and Gump.

And when exhausted from wresting this is what happens. Jinx stretches out to have a nap on the quilt. Cute but not at all helpful!

I have managed to stitch the olive-brown border to the top section of Green Parrot. The final round will be a dusty pale green. I'm thinking I will fill in the "Vs" at the top with more pale green to finish the top edge but I'll make that decision when I get to that point.

There'll be little or no sewing for two days but it will be fun to share my quilts with others at Quilts at the Creek and I'm really looking forward to touring the outdoor show where 300 quilts will be on display. I'll try to take pictures and share them with you in an upcoming post. My talks will be at the Town Hall at 11:30 on Saturday and Sunday. If you are at the show and have time please pop in and say hello!

That's it for me until next week. Happy sewing!
Karen H


  1. Enjoy the show and your presentation!! Wish I lived closer!!

  2. Good luck this weekend I wish I was going but got company today and tomorrow.
    Keep cool I know everyone will be oozing and awing over your amazing work. Hugs Bunny

  3. Have a fun time! I wish I were there to see your quilts in person. Post photos so we can see it from this side. Thanks.

  4. Good luck with the trunk show! The people are going to be wowed by your quilts. Thanks for the "online" trunk show!! At least us peeps from "far away" got to enjoy some of it! I will be thinking of you my friend!!!!

  5. How I wish I could come to the show and see your quilts up close and meet you in person! I love what you make and have learned more and gained more inspiration from you than anyone else.
    I was thinking about what you said about needles. My favourite needles for EPP are James bead embroidery needles. As you say, use what suits you best!

  6. Great choices to bring to your talk Karen. Hope it all went well. I love how you combine so many techniques in your quilts. True artistry. (Jinx just kills me with his antics.)

  7. WoW, nice quilt. I'm in love, the flowergarden. Hope you have a nice weekend and that many people will visit your show. Good luck. Groetjes, Dientje

  8. quilts are just so absolutely works of art! How lucky many willl be to see you quilts in person! Have fun!

  9. Karen, just picked up my phone. Bymy time, you'll well into the thick of it. Just one thought, if you want a project tester, count me in. Good luck and just enjoy the moment.
    I am thankful at least to see your awesome ideas and quilts so far. We have many decades ahead of us. God speed.

  10. Jinx is a cutie!! He must have a quilt magnet in that little body. Two cats wrestling is better than 2 large sons wrestling through a living room. Oh well, who wanted heirloom stuff sitting around? Hope your talk goes well, and sure wish I could drop by to see them. It would be quite a trip, but worth it!!