Friday, June 24, 2022

Skipping ahead to finish #16

I've been doing a lot of secret sewing lately and that means revealing finishes a bit out of order.   With three baby quilts yet to be gifted and not wanting any spoiler alert posts,  I decided to skip ahead and share the latest in a modern medallion series of original designs for my June challenge and the threads used from my 2022-2023 Aurifil Artisan welcome package.

Measuring 42" square with similarities and differences from the previous four modern medallions that came before, I am in love with the final layout.  To say that there was a lot of thought and decisions made in the making process is an understatement.  

The brand new cone of 50wt color #2600 was perfect for piecing on my domestic machine and with 6,452 yards it'll be serving me well for many quilts to come.  It isn't often that I hand appliqué and was glad to have been sent a spool of 80 wt color #5004 because my novice stitches sink into the fabric so well it makes me feel like a pro.

 Pulling from my tried and true stash of Aurifil,  I used Forty3 in Light Grey Green color #2843 for the matchstick quilting and color #5014 in a 40wt for the hand stitched binding.

You would think that working in a series would make for a quicker finish but there are so many options that even with having made multiple there's still too much that I'm trying to pack into one quilt. Editing is key and a skill that I continually work to improve. 

The fat quarter of fabric shown above is from our local quilt shop as part of an annual contest to "make something inspiring out of visually challenging fabric".  I really appreciate that despite the store changing hands, the new ownership has carried on the tradition.  

The original fabric pull shown above felt too literal and once I settled on the Tula Pink "Hare" as the center everything else fell into place.  Using the raspberry pink and tomato red with green risks reading as as a holiday palette which just makes the challenge more rewarding to pull off.  

I think that I counted 14 fabrics added to the FQ, all from stash.  I do know that there were piles and piles of auditioned pieces that did not make the cut and had to be sorted and put away - my least favorite step.  Having two “samples “ of the 4 made available for reference and pictures of the others that were gifted was helpful. 

Cohesive scrappy and symmetry for a modern traditional design occupies my creative space more so than improv lately.  I enjoy having a broad spectrum of what I make and what makes me happy. 

I'm especially excited that the corners lined up - four out of four!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Slice & Stitch: Handmade Barrettes

I’m so pleased to kick off the 2022 Slice & Stitch Summer Series, a collaboration with Aurifil threads and OLFA tools featuring small on-the-go projects.  You can read all about it on the Auribuzz post HERE.

I thought it would be nice to also post here on my blog a bit of the behind the scenes of making the barrettes and more pictures of the project. 

If you have an old not-so-pretty barrette laying around the house, it would work just as well the ones I bought at the dollar store. My fabric choice was a sample ombre linen that I had picked up at FabMo for a small donation and the scrap of bamboo batting was a strip trimmed off after quilting.

OLFA generously sent to me a 45 mm OLFA Quick-Change Rotary Cutter and 12” x 18” Mat in Aqua and I received the Stitching with Wool Aurifil Thread Collection by Jo Avery from Aurifil - lucky me :)

I had been eyeing Jo's new book ever since it came out and ordered myself a copy that arrived just in time. Of course I had to go on a walk to the beach for a photoshoot once I was done - but let's back up a minute so I can share how I made them in case you want to make your own.

It might have been smarter to use a temporary marker to roughly trace the rectangle shape onto the linen rather than just the circle motif.

Well you know me, I just started stitching a design somewhere in the hoop until it looked about the right size and then moved the hoop away from it and started stitching another.

When I got back home, I compared each of the them to the target size and expanded as needed to correctly position the hardware. I didn't want them all to be the same or fill the entire space, so there was some flexibility.

If you haven't tried Aurifil 12wt wool before, you really must. They come in such pretty colors and look at the visual depth of the fibers. I was pleasantly surprised how easy wool was to work with.

The first two were completely freeform so for the third and final one shown below, I marked a rectangle and had a specific inspiration for the abstract design - can you guess it?

Before attaching the linen to the barrette, I cut a piece of the bamboo batting and used tacky glue to stick it to the flat surface, flush to the sides. I suppose you could skip this step but having a cushion helps smooth the understitching.

Cutting the linen oversized so that I could wrap it around and whip stitch it by hand as shown in the picture above wasn't the perfect technique but did the job. If I knew where I put my glue gun I may have given that a try but I prefer to use thread anyway.

Be sure to head over to Auribuzz to read the full article and see a ton of pictures and the link to the OLFA expert's projects on their blog.

Playing tourist in my hometown was kind of a fun bonus. It was an honor to be featured and have the opportunity to expand my creativity beyond quilting.

Happy stitching - enjoy the summer, Karen

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Aurifil Artisan 2022-2023

What a thrill to be selected one of the 40 Aurifil Artisans for the 2022-2023 season. My welcome package arrived and I’ve already dipped into the cone of Forty3 Sandstone to quilt a secret sewing project. 

I’ve learned a lot and branched out to experiment with thread weight and type this last year and look forward to the new challenges and showcases ahead.  Hint hint, you won't have to wait long. 

Following the #aurifilartisan hashtag on instagram and signing up for the Auribuzz newsletter and both great ways to discover makers and be inspired by their projects.  

I especially love the wealth of information to be learned on the Thread Matters tab. 

Here's a peak inside the box - it's an amazing assortment.  

Be sure to check out the bios and creative style of the other 39 Aurifil Artisans on the announcement post.  To learn even more about each throughout the year, the Aurifil Instagram feed  "Take Over" weekend is fantastic.  I'm already gathering ideas of what to include when it's my turn. 

I used the same photo for my bio although I really do need to figure out how to take a selfie with my glasses on without glare. You might see some familiar faces but also find new friends like I have. 

Happy Stitching, Karen 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Contraption - a dozen done


At this rate, 2022 is providing to be a productive year with the finish of my 12th and new favorite quilt “Contraption”  54”x 67”

It doesn’t have a label and hasn’t been on a proper photoshoot but the quitting, facing and sleeve are done and it made a debut appearance at my recent in person lecture trunk show “Motivation and Method”. The irony is not lost on me that the topic spurred motivating me to get a bunch of tops turned into completed quilts  

After adding some breathing room to the sides with pieced neutrals and pink to tie in the center, the claustrophobic sense that I’d been feeling dissipated and I could get on with matchstick in a matching gray Aurifil 2620 Forty3  

There’s plenty in the design to occupy the eye so adding texture was the goal and a chance to finally use this modern technique on something larger than a mini seemed about time.  

There were many- many renditions of the layout as you can see here on the design wall during construction  Parts were sideways and upside down from where they ended which isn’t all that unusual in my process.  Because there's no hard right or wrong in my opinion when it comes to a composition it tends to feel unresolved when so many great choices were left behind in and that can lead to a future quilt making it a win win. 

Started in a zoom workshop with Maria Shell, I thought the top was completed June 2021 and even made my top-nine liked posts for the year.  There was more to just letting it percolate and I'm so thankful that I allowed myself time to identify what was nagging me and resolve it with the border.  The unfinished top that is pinned to the door in the picture is from an in person workshop with her in 2018 still feels narrow and awkward so it's going to keep brewing until I come up with a solution. 

Here’s a look at a couple layouts that I considered: 

On the topic of delays, my 10 year Blogiversary came and went March 16th without fanfare so I'm going to document it here and now, whoop whoop for double digits.  If you're wondering about the other finishes I'll be sharing the ones not already blogged about in no particular oder. 

Thanks for stopping by - Happy Stitching, Karen 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day - Earth Views

Earth Views - The One

Introducing “The One”  68” x 73” featuring Earth Views from Robert Kaufman by designer Karen Nyberg, a retired astronaut, conservationist, textile artist and quilter.  I was fascinated  to learn more about her and the unique fabric line in this  Auribuzz  interview and Textile Talks QSOS video

There is only one earth. It is unique and beautiful.  It is to be cherished, admired and protected. It takes a commitment to preserve something so special and rare that we are fortunate to have.   This description reminds me of love and wedding vows making “The One” a fitting gift for a newly married couple to cuddle under. 

"The One" photoshoot Capitola CA

I knew immediately that I wanted to make a quilt with an open and airy vibe - letting the Earth Views blues float as if suspended in zero gravity.  The quilt and design needed to evoke hope and optimism. 

Earth Views and Kona Solid Layer Cakes

HSTs paired with Kona solids 

Having recently finished a quilt using Half Square Triangles they were still on my mind and their diagonal design element has a vast quality that was inline with my vision. 

Unlike my previous HST quilt, sashing was added to give the blocks more space (pun intended).  In my head and on paper it was a simple change but the logistics of cutting and sewing the strips was a bit more effort than I had anticipated.  

Making sure that the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines were properly aligned was a lot to ask of this "perfectly imperfect" quilter but worth the extra attention to detail.    Did you notice the tiny HSTs in the sashing?  There are 22 of them to represent the year 2022.

Auditioning binding 

Once the top was pieced, I brought it with me to my LQS Hart's Fabric and got Kona Quicksilver as the border returning again after quilting was done to pick out Iron for the binding.  I’m lucky to have a well stocked wall of Robert Kauffman Kona solids conveniently available. 


Along with the four Earth Views fat quarters, I received  a spool of Aurifil 50 wt color 2715 from Karen Nyberg's coordinating Aurifil thread collection.   Robins Egg also comes in a Forty3 cone, my favorite to use for quilting on a longarm and also piecing on my domestic. 

Aurifil Robins Egg 
Forty/3 cone color 2620 Stainless Steel

The color value placement may seem random but it was very intentional.  With endless options, I distributed  them in a way that created secondary interest and encouraged the viewers eye to wander. 

Quilted free form with only a general concept in mind and taking inspiration from the movement in the prints resulted in lots of atmospheric swirls, crashing waves and cloud motifs. 

The sky was especially stunning during the photoshoot. 


Check out the details on the Robert Kaufman and Aurifil blog and see the other projects made with Earth Views   

Be kind to the earth and to one another.

Happy Stitching, Karen 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

New Baby + New Year = New Quilt

There’s no better way to start a New Year than with a new quilt, made in celebration of the birth of a precious baby.  A gorgeous day at the beach called for a photoshoot. Sorry, not sorry if it’s snowing where you are - I’m sure that’s pretty too. 

For the January 2022 Aurifil Artisan showcase I am sharing my original design inspired by two gifted quilts that came before it.  But before I reveal those- let’s take a moment to admire how beautifully blended the variegated 50wt color 4670 quilted up. 

I also used a neutral 50wt for the piecing, color 2000 even though there are lights and darks in the fabric. 

Here’s the completed quilt for our niece and her husband’s  newborn son.  I’m so pleased with how it turned out and that it was actually gifted on time.  They have sent us adorable pictures of it being well loved. 

When it comes to deciding on what to make, I try to personalize at every opportunity.  I made the quilt shown below for their wedding present.  Pattern Chain+Link by Elizabeth Dackson 

The palette and design influence is pretty obvious I think.  

When their daughter was born a few years ago, I made her this Lone Star in a Sharon Winters workshop. I combined the elements of the two to make the newest one feel related (pun intended). 

The 50 wt thread lays so nicely with opens seems that I just had to include an underbelly shot. 

And here’s a close up of the prints - there are nine in all and my stash served me well. A cohesive scrappy modern traditional design is my preference lately. 

For hand stitching the binding, I used color 2784 with my new favorite cut width of 3” instead of 2.25” so that it gives a substantial edge. 

The quilt measures right on target  48” square. Big enough for baby to lay on now and small enough for him to drag around when he’s grown and toddling about. 
Backed in flannel with bamboo silk batting, a cozy combination. 

Be sure to check out the other featured makers to see what projects they have shared and follow along on instagram #aurifilartisan @capitolaquilter 

Happy Stitching, Karen