Saturday, February 15, 2020

My New English Paper Pieced Basket, Roof Optional

Here's my new thing! It's English Paper Pieced canopied basket...

....which can keep the dust off your giant, color-coordinated thread cone...
...or help you find your measuring tape...
Or stuff with faux flowers....

With you inside, it's a bulky bangle bracelet!

...which doubles as a wee, insecure handbag (needs a zippered lining)....

The shape is a modified truncated cuboctahedron. Here's what it would have looked like if it were a complete polyhedron (closed up, without the handle):

Can you see the family resemblance to this stuffed and complete truncated cuboctahedron pincushion?
I made the pincushion for my book, Stitch-a-hedron; English Paper Pieced Polyhederon Gifts and Accessories to Sew.  A complete truncated cuboctahedron contains 6 octagons, 12 squares, and 8 hexagons. On the pincushion, I made each shape in a different color.

For the covered basket, I used a different luscious metallic Klimt-themed quilters' cotton for each outside shape. Inside, I used dupioni silks. The outer shapes are basted around stiff fusible interfacing; for the lining, the fabric is basted around flexible medium-weight interfacing. Here's how the outside (left) and lining (right) looked like before insertion:
Here's the handle, with one end attached to the body of the basket. The final step - stitching the square at the top to the dark hexagonal piece on front - was tricky. 
I'm also thinking that without the handle, I could have put a drawstring bag inside the form (with no handle) to make an evening purse. It would look something like this.

 I'm on a roll with English Paper Pieced polyhedron accessories, mainly because I've been working on a difficult large quilt that required many complicated decisions - polyhedrons, by contrast, are rapid gratification. Last week I made a Valentine's hexagon-and-pentagon EPP dish, here. And another one is coming up soon! More info about my approach and my polyhedron book is here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Impulse English Paper Pieced Heart Dish

I always get in a Valentine's Day mood at the last minutes. Here's the impulse project I made yesterday, an English Paper Pieced dish that can serve as a pincushion:
...or a thimble holder:
...or maybe an embroidery thread basket....

Or, pile it with chocolates for your sweetie. Here's how I constructed it. There's stiff fusible interfacing inside each piece; both sides are covered with fabric. 
The bowl takes shape when you sew up the side seams. 
Last, I did a bit of embellishment with the variegated embroidery thread in the ball above.
If you'd like to make this project, and you have any kind of hexagon and pentagon templates, you just need one hexagon and six pentagons, each with the same size edges - mine were 1". I redrew the top drawing below into the second drawing, altering the pentagons into soft heart shapes. Each piece is made up of two back-to-back EPPed forms, one with stiff fusible interfacing inside.

By the way, you can also cut this out of one piece of cardstock, for a fun paper project. Score and fold on the lines, instead of cutting the pieces apart.
My step-by-step method for English Paper piecing fabric bowls and other 3D forms - though not this exact project - is in my book, "Stitch-a-hedron, English Paper Piecing Polyhedron Gifts and Accessories to Sew," on etsy in digital form for instant download here; and on Amazon as a paperback, here. Wishing you a sweet holiday!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Road to California, 2020, Part 2: Shopping!

Last week, I showed off some of my favorite quilts from Road to California 2020 show. Now let's get to the fun stuff: Shopping! Disclaimer: If you click on these links, I don't make any money. But you might lose money, because this merchandise is (often) thrilling!

If there's one attribute that unites Road to California quilts - whether the top is pieced, appliqued, embroidered, fused, stapled, and/or mutilated - it's this: dazzling, immaculate, professional-grade quilting - the stuff that holds the three layers together.

That's why, every year, I walk out of juried show. and into the vendor area, thinking, "Gosh, I urgently need to buy a $46,000 computerized robotic laser-equipped longarm quilting machine, because otherwise I will never get another quilt juried into Road!"

And every year, the only thing that allows me to resist that urge - besides the price and the divorce - is that I would then have to learn how to use the damn thing.

Well, a girl can dream. There were longarms galore in the vendor area. Smallish longarms...

Medium longarms....

And longarms so long that you can operate multiple machines on them.
It's always scary asking prices, but the Innova booth should be lauded for their transparency. The machines they refer to in the bottom poster really are robotic, computer-controlled, and laser-equipped! For less than $20,000!
If you can't afford a longarm, you probably can afford an old standby - a Flynn Quilt Frame. (This is not an endorsement, I haven't tried it.) The show price was a mere $150. (That's just a little more expensive at the Flynn Quilt Frame website.)
Here was my favorite sign from the show (in front of the Aloha Quilt Shop.)
And here's my favorite couple. They run Rochelle's Fine Fabric. Look very closely at their heads....
Wait, I'll make it easier for you by whiting out the background:

I told them they're not normal, and they heartily agreed. It will not come a surprise to you that Rochelle's specializes in conversational (aka novelty) and licensed prints, including the broadest collection of sports team fabrics that I've ever seen. They were also well-stocked with one of the newer fads in the quilt world - giant panels, that you quilt in one piece - great for beginners or quilters in a rush. Find Rochelle's fabrics (but not the headgear) at

The colors in many of the booths were intoxicating. Here's another of my favorites - from the shop 'Applique After Hours.' 

Some of these are wool quilts. Their equally thrilling web shop is here
Another huge trend at this show - maybe all shows - are backpacks, bags, totes, zippers, and purse hardware galore. 
Here's the 'Sew Many Creations' wall of patterns. 
For bag making, the cork fad rages on, as it has for several years. The cork keeps getting more interesting.
'Sassafras Lane' displayed a yummy rainbow of cork wallets. 
And there were a whole lot of bags made from Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. I think this booth was
Speaking of Kaffe - his fabric was carried only Kaffe collective fabric. 
Villa Rosa had some of the best prices for Kaffe fabric (the sign below says $10.96). But for the most part, fabric of all descriptions at this show ran $12.00 a yard and up - often, way up.
As an antidote to all those brilliant colors, there were more booths than I expected selling primitive/country style quilt stuff. It's not my thing, but clearly plenty of quilters love it. Here's the One Sister Designs booth. 
At The Cottage Rose/Debb Eggers booth, I saw this adorable game board. (I would make it in jewel tone batiks.)
Carriage Country Quilts showed off these embroidered creatures - the pattern is "Forest Friends" by Kathy Schmitz. 
The Primitive Gatherings booth had a different take - instead of browns, there were shades of black, grey, and navy blue.
The serene quilts in front of their booth drew admirers. 
And speaking of blues, there were several booths dedicated to Japanese arts, including fabrics, threads, and quilts. Here's a fabulous sashiko quilt on display at Kimonomomo LLC.
Shibori Dragon's wares included patterns for fascinating small Japanese bags. They sell a vast array of Japanese fiber art delights from their website. 
There were several booths selling African fabrics (and other stuff). This booth was They specialize in baskets as well as textiles.
And there were South American fabrics and wearables. Kuna Prints Mola Shoes sold shoes, boots, backpacks, and more, crafted from gorgeous molas that were created by the Kuna Indians of Panama and Columbia. More here.   
I forgot where I saw these. My kind of swimming pools. 
And for the quilter who thought she had everything, the shop 'Classy American' had something I don't - light sets that you push through holes in your quilt. These can be plugged into an outlet, or battery operated. The photo doesn't show that both these quilts are covered with twinkling lights. Snap your light sets up at their website, here. (This company primarily sells roll-up design walls.)
I learned that 'Quilt in a Day' is now working closely with Accuquilt.  From what I could see, 98% of the merchandise in the QIAD booth was Accuquilt Go appliques and supplies.   
When I got home I checked QIAD's website - thankfully, the company still sells books and patterns. (It was an Eleanor Burns' book - "An Amish Quilt in a Day" - that turned me into an enthusiastic quilter, in one day. Finishing the Amish quilt took a little longer than a day.) 

There were Singer Featherweights everywhere - that is, Featherweights belonging to people doing sewing demonstrations. There weren't a lot of them for sale, but one booth (whose sign I forgot to photograph) had stunning, custom-painted machines, including this glossy patriotic number.
 Continuing the red-white-and blue theme (plus black): 
The 'Spirit of the Artisan' booth sold this intricate applique tape, made in Thailand
Boxes of luscious silks:
Next, their "Chiffon Pintuck Ombre Polyester."
I don't know what you do with it, but it looks awesome! (I cannot find the Spirit of the Artisan website - if you know what it is, let me know.)

My second favorite place to shop is thrift shops. So it was not surprising that I was enthralled by 'Paganoonoo' - a pattern company that shows you how to cut up old shirts, jeans and such, and turn them into funky new wearables. I watched one show attendee look at their mannequins, shake her head and declare, "I don't get it!" For me, on the other hand, it was love at first sight. Find their offbeat eco-sensible patterns here.
Another unexpected booth, Chenille-It, focused completely on chenille quilts. I have always associated chenille with bathrobes, until I saw what they'd made. 
Especially this: 
So there you have it! A teeny fraction of the shopping sights at Road! Once again, my tour of some of my many favorite quilts is in the last installment, here