Thursday, January 27, 2011

Applique tip from Linda Roy

Wrapping up my chat with Linda Roy about Vintage Button Bouquet, I thought info about the idiosyncrasies of how Linda does things would be helpful.
      Jan: So, Linda, do you have any tips for us?
     Linda: Sure. I can tell you that I premake components for my quilt and do so whenever possible. I find it relaxing to sit and applique those already-made units. All the small circles you see on this quilt are premade on discs, with fabric cut twice the diameter of the disc so that they self-stuff. I padded the larger circles by inserting a layer of the wool batting underneath.
     If there are items to go on the quilt that don't lend themselves to premaking, I usually use the needle-turn method. On occasion I have even needle turned straight edges instead of turning on my sewing machine to accomplish the same look with a straight pieced seam. That includes appliqueing mitered borders! I've also found that it is easier to get smooth edges by having the smallest seam allowance you can handle.
     Jan: Thanks for sharing with us, Linda. I look forward to seeing your next masterpiece!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Which came first?

Jan: What a great idea to get applique design inspiration from vintage buttons! Now do you choose your bracelets based on how well they will translate into applique? Or do you just buy what appeals to you as jewelry?
Linda: I have so many ideas running around in my head that are inspired by antique buttons that I really don't need to purchase any more! It is difficult to define exactly why a bracelet appeals to me because I can't help but see things through the "filter" of design, which applies to jewelry and quiltmaking. Patterns and ideas are all around us and impossible to ignore once you are bitten by the quilting bug.
Jan: It's interesting that there are still so many antique buttons available.
Linda: Yes, there are enough that some vendors group the button jewelry pieces by "style," meaning bird motifs, picture buttons, florals, and some are very colorful, to mention just a few kinds.

Next time: tips for hand applique

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Surface treatments: buttons, ruching, swags

Jan: The vintage buttons shown here aren't actually from your collection, Linda, but I thought our readers would like to see them anyway because they are so lovely. There are 12 vintage buttons on the quilt. Could you tell us more about adding those and when you do that?
Linda: The buttons were sewn onto the background after the surface applique was completed. I found it much easier to handle by doing as much applique as possible in quarter sections, including the swags and the linear ruching, and then joining those. I only had one-yard pieces  of the background anyway so it made sense. Every quilter how sometimes you have to make do—make the construction match the materials and limitations you have!
Jan: And how about the embroidery?
Linda: That is done on top of the quilting so that it sits on top. But the upside-down stuffed yoyos were added to the top as the last thing.
Jan: You mentioned in the magazine that the bracelets you collect sometimes have "perfume buttons." I had never heard of those before and did a little investigating. These are charming buttons from the 1800s made with velvet and overlaid with an openwork metal design, perfect for dabbing a teensy bit of perfume on instead of dabbing it on the skin where it would be likely to stain the clothing. Now that I know what they are, I'll look for them wherever I find antique buttons for sale. Not to worry, Linda, I won't become your competition by collecting them! I just want to savor them because, as I mentioned last time, anything vintage is interesting to me.

Next time: vintage button inspiration

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More from Linda Roy about Vintage Button Bouquet

Have you reveled in the exquisite details of Vintage Button Bouquet that are shown in the February centerfold? There were numerous reasons for my love at first sight of this quilt: hand applique is my favorite quiltmaking process; Linda's workmanship!; orange in all its variations tops my favorite color list; and vintage anything catches my attention. I thought you would like to know more about the quilt's making and see more detail photos so this week, Linda will be here to tell us more. Today the topic is crosshatching.
    Jan: Straight, even crosshatch quilting is much harder than it looks. How do you keep it so even and consistent across such large areas?
Upper left quadrant with
 large crosshatched area.
    Linda: It works best for me if I can mark the entire top before quilting even begins, even before layering the quilt sandwich. I lay the quilt flat on the floor and lightly tack the edges to the boards I use for basting.
     J: There are different scales of crosshatching, wider in the wide open cheddar areas and tighter in the circles. This really adds a rhythm to the quilting.  Do you mark the smaller areas in the same way?
     L: If there are smaller blocks within the quilt, or in this case, they are circular "blocks," I carefully mark the edges all around with dots and then draw lines corner to corner. Then I can use a table for marking the individual blocks.
     J: What do you use to mark those lines?
     L: The blue Mark B Gone water soluble pen works well on lighter fabrics.
     J: Do all your quilts have some crosshatch quilting?
     L: Each quilt is different depending on the design, but I do use a great deal of crosshatching as it compliments the curved applique that I frequently use.

Next time: the "button" applique

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Missing Man Contest

A fun contest based on an article in the February issue, "Behind the scenes at the museum." The museum is the American Folk Art Museum and the man is "missing" from the Bird of Paradise quilt top made 1858-1863. Why are we saying there is a man missing from the quilt? Because the families that were guardians of this quilt before it entered the museum's collection were kind enough to keep the newspaper templates made for the applique along with the quilt. And though there are men depicted on this quilt top, not THIS man!

You can see the lady made from the template in the top "row" of the quilt, but you won't find her intended companion It's a mystery. 
     Tell us what you think happened to keep the man off the quilt in 100 words or less. Email your story to and put "Missing Man" in the subject line. Deadline is Feb. 14th. If your story is one of the three most interesting entries, you'll win a copy of the Museum's beautiful new book QUILTS: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum!
Quilt photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York; template photo by John Parnell, New York

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

White House Quilting Bee and TQL

It may not be for real, but we can wish it were! If you haven't seen the animated video of Larry King interviewing President Obama about the White House quilting bee, don't miss it. The "President" even mentions The Quilt Life and Alex and Ricky! You can view the video on the Black Threads blog. It was created (and so is Black Threads) by the very accomplished author and historian Krya Hicks. She was having fun with a new service that allows you to create a short animated "movie" just by providing a script. Now that sounds like fun! The President rights says that quilting is common ground, something that people of different political persuasions can all enjoy. Did you know that Larry is an accomplished applique artist? It's all great fun, take a look. While you're there, take in all the other marvelously interesting info on at Black Threads.