quilt

Today is the start of the Stash Books Legacy Blog Tour for Brave New Quilts by Whipup founder Kathreen Ricketson.

The first post on the tour is at olive and ollie, with a heartfelt post by Heather Jones.

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We will be following each post on the Legacy Tour as some of Kathreen’s friends and admirers share their thoughts over the next couple of weeks.
Wednesday 10/1 :: Kristin Link
Thursday 10/3 :: Maya Donenfeld
Friday 10/4 :: Alexandra Smith
Monday 10/7 : Sonya Philip
Tuesday 10/8 : Ellen Luckett Baker
Wednesday 10/9 : Andrea Jenkins
Thursday 10/10 : Shannon Cook
Friday 10/11 : Mimi Kirchner
Monday 10/14 : Cheryl Arkison

Whipup is also proud to be featuring some guest posts from crafters who knew and admired the work of Kathreen.

You can keep track of the Legacy Tour by following the hashtag #LegacyTour on social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Guest blogger: Kate from One Flew Over

According to my mother I have always been a ’5 minute wonder’. As a child I attempted every activity under the sun, none of which stuck. Three years ago and after the the birth of my second child, I went to an embroidery workshop at Prints Charming and never looked back. Embroidery quickly turned into a love affair with all things crafty.



Hi Whip Up readers, I’m thrilled Kathreen invited me to guest post today – thank you!

I love making quilts and I’m sure like many of you, my favourite part of the quilt making process is selecting fabrics. I rarely use an entire range of fabric when I make a quilt and am often asked how and why I choose certain fabrics? I have never given much thought to the ‘hows & whys’ but I have come to realise there are a few things I do when it comes to fabric and quilts.

First up is colour combinations, which can be the trickiest part. There are some fantastic sites dedicated to colour, one of my favourites is Color Collective. In fact, my cross quilt was largely inspired by the colours in this photograph, that was featured on Color Collection. Another place I love is Emma Lamb and on Mondays you can find Emma’s ‘all colours in’ selection.

These sites are a great first stop, they give you a great place to start when considering what colours and combinations appeal to you

Once I have a vague idea of what colours I want to use I head to my local patchwork store that just happens to have a fantastic selection of Liberty fabrics. As a rule, the first fabric I select is a Liberty and that is generally because one Liberty print can feature 2 or 3 different colours in it. I know it is more expensive than your standard quilting cotton but a little goes a long way and the beauty of patchwork is you don’t need much.

In each quilt, I try to use at least eight different prints and try to use a variety of small scale prints, large scale prints, a solid (or 2) and some co-ordinating stripes and spots. I have been known to spend quite a while deciding on the ‘right’ combination and the more you experiment, the sooner you discover what your like and dislike.

Most importantly though, have a bit of fun and trust your own judgement.

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You might remember last year (or was it the year before) I asked for some help in making rose blocks for a 65 roses community quilt I was helping put together for the Australian CF (Cystic Fibrosis) Foundation. This quilt will be auctioned at the upcoming Gala Event and the money raised goes towards CF research. You can read a little more about the background to the 65 roses concept for this quilt in issue 14 of the World Cystic Fibrosis Newsletter.

This truly unique quilt is the work of contributors from USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. Each rose represents the love and care and skill of 50 individuals who are named on the reverse side of the quilt. If you wish to make a quilt like this with your community group the basic block pattern and instructions and a couple of rose embroidery designs can be found here and the final quilt design is pictured below – as you can see the centre panel is made up of a large square with 5 roses appliqued in a wreath like design. More detailed instructions included embroidery and applique rose designs will be provided in my upcoming book (October 2011). You can see some close up details of some of the blocks here and here and here as you can see everyone had a different interpretation and put their love and skills to work in unique ways.

This quilt was a wonderful community effort. I collected the squares from makers around the world, sewed the squares together and quilted the quilt on my quilting machine using a squiggle design. My mother-in-law and her quilt friends made a lot of the squares and made the central panel roses from red velvet, embroidered the names on the back of the quilt and bound the quilt with red velvet. Thank you to everyone who was involved. This quilt will be auctioned at at Cystic Fibrosis Gala Ball and Auction event later this year.

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Sarah Fielke – one of my quilting heros has a new book out Quilting from little things published by Murdoch books. Sarah previously has coauthored two books with Kathy Doughty titled Material Obsession, these books are just beautiful and I reviewed the first one here. But now Sarah has taken the plunge and is going it alone. Her new book is based on the premise of ‘From little things big things grow’ and so she has designed 10 ‘Dolly’ / mini quilts using a technique or block design that allows you to practice your skills and then she takes these techniques and explores them further as 10 full sized quilts using the Dolly quilt as a jumping off point. Of course you could only make the Dolly quilts or only make the full sized quilts if you like too. They are all quite beautiful and inspirational.

I asked Sarah a few questions about the quilts and her design process and her love of fabric and quilting and this is what she said.

1. You describe your aesthetic as being traditional meets modern – with a mix of traditional designs and eclectic fabrics – can you explain your design process a little more?

I have a huge library of quilting and design books, all with little tags sticking out of things I find interesting, and I also keep a load of sketch books and notebooks. Often when I start a new quilt I don’t even look through those things, I have just an idea in my head and away I go. I don’t usually draw quilts up before I start, unless it’s something that I need precise measurements for. Usually I just cut and sew. I have process books too, where I write everything I do for a single quilt down as I go along – that way I know how much fabric I used, how many pieces I cut etc when I get to write the patterns.

If I am stumped about starting something in particular or need more inspiration, I sit down in my studio with my books and just leaf through things, and sketch as I go. Sometimes that’s enough just to get me thinking in another direction. And sometimes just a piece of fabric or a colour combination is enough.

The quilts frequently don’t end up where they started out going, but that’s one of the things I enjoy. I began making a Philedelphia Pavement recently for example, and it’s ended up with applique borders and white diagonal lines that I didn’t plan. Using a design wall is the best way to work for me, I leave things to percolate and move blocks and colourways around a lot until I’m happy with the result.

2. You have a lovely big fabric stash and talk a bit about it in the book – you obviously have a big love of colour and pattern – can you tell us what your all time favourite 3 fabrics are – ones that you keep coming back to over and over?

Oh my gosh, that’s like choosing one of my children. I love my stash and I cultivate it at every opportunity. I tell my husband that he wouldn’t stop a painter buying paints – but I dont think he’s buying it :) Favourite all time 3 fabrics. OK…

1. Cath Kidston little floral print thingy – have used this over and over and over. Nearly all gone but I hoard it like gold.
2. There’s a piece of this old fish fabric in so many of my favourite quilts. I used it first in a quilt called Ponds in Jane’s Garden which I adore, and because I loved making it so much the fabric stuck with me. I’m down to about a 6″ square.
3. Kaffe Fassett’s big florals. I can’t pick just one, I love them all. The current obsession is this one from his latest re-colouration range of old favourites. The pink and yellow is killing me.

3. Again on fabric – you say that dots are your go-to fabrics for backgrounds and fillers and that you rarely use solids – why do you love pattern so much – what is it that attracts you and what do you think that it gives the quilt that a solid background wouldn’t?

Awesome question. And for me it’s very simple, although some will undoubtedly argue! I like to use pattern because it moves. To me a solid is a dead spot. When you look at a quilt that engages your eye and makes it travel around the quilt, you know you have balance right. There’s a place for solids in my quilts – I do use a lot of white and plains for applique backgrounds, but even those usually have a tone on tone spot, a shot cotton or are a textured linen or something interesting. Of course, you can have too much pattern and have everythng be a mish mash, so it’s important to give the eye a place to rest as well. No matter how busy my quilts are there is always something consistent to hold everything together. Having said all that, there are two quilts in the book with a fair amount of solids in them!

4. I am a huge fan of your designs – I love the bright colours and crazy mix of fabrics – but I am especially attracted to the Dandelions quilt, one of the few quilts in the book that does indeed use solid fabrics. Can you explain your design process here and why you used solids in this quilt?

I started out making this quilt with a picture I saw of a beautiful sunny patch of grass covered in daisies, and a little girl running through it. The different colours in the grass and the innocence of the little girl got me thinking about a single bed quilt for a little girl’s room. I played around for a while with the Dandelions and a load of different backgrounds, but decided to get the fresh effect I wanted of the grass and the little flowers scattering, I needed solids. Thank heavens for the Kona Cotton colour card and a million shades of green to choose from :)

5. Another quilt in the book that I am drawn to is ‘A wing and a prayer’, I love the use of the text print in the background and the solid fabrics on the bird heads – and it looks like you might have used some vintage fabrics too?. Again how did you come to design this quilt, what design decisions did you make along the way?

This is my favourite quilt in the book. I don’t know why, I just loved making it. I have always loved the antique American Eagle quilts you see in US museums, but I didn’t feel Eagles were really relevant to me, so I came up with the fantasy birds. Their heads are bright Essex linens, and the other solids in the pieces borders are from Oakshott which are some of my favourite “solid” fabrics in the world. This is one of those quilts that just fell together. I happened to order the text print fabric and leave it on the bench with the Essex linen… I was sent a present of the Kaffe border print… I was doodling and the birds and the colours just jumped into my head fully formed. I would have quilted it forever but I had to stop to make the deadline :)

6. Many of the quilts in the book are hand quilted by you – and they are so beautiful. I am quite in awe of your skill and patience. Can you tell me when you get the time to hand quilt and how long it takes you to hand quilt a quilt? Any secrets tips you can share with the Whipup audience about your method?

I love hand quilting. I would rather hand quilt than do anything else. Even though I have a fantastic machine quilter who I love to bits (Kim Bradley), I am always disappointed when I have a quilt done on the machine. Only that when I’m piecing, my mind is already working to where I will quilt it. I press my seams in directions on purpose depending on where I want to quilt, on the up or the down side of the seam. I quilt for hours and hours when I’m working on a big quilt, I just put in a DVD and off I go. Working at the sewing machine for long hours gives me backache but hand quilting never does. I always get asked how long it takes me to hand quilt something and it’s such a hard thing to answer, because each one is so different. To give you an indication though, the quilt that took me the longest to quilt in the book was probablyThe Night Garden, and it took around 80 hours to quilt I think. Stopping and starting is always slower than straight lines.

Tips for hand quilting:
- DO use a hoop AND a thimble, no matter how much you think you don’t need them, you will get a better result. Take the time to get used to them. Don’t rush – it’s the journey, grasshopper!
- and don’t pick out every single stitch that you think isn’t perfect or you will just make yourself cranky and never get the quilt done.
- Quilting needs practise, and the more you practise they better you will get. You’re much better off quilting something all over and have it feel handmade, than trying to be perfect and it ending up in a bag in the cupboard.

Follow along on this Aussie Quilting Blog Tour -

Monday, April 11: Red Pepper Quilts
Tuesday, April 12: Patch Andi
Wednesday, April 13: Rosalie Quinlan
Thursday, April 14: Whip Up
Friday, April 15: Fat Quarterly blog
Saturday, April 16: Cinderberry Stitches
Sunday, April 17: One Flew Over

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Today I want to welcome back to Whipup for this guest blog series Weeks Ringle. Weeks is a full-time professional quiltmaker and co-founder of FunQuilts, a contemporary quilt design studio in Oak Park, Illinois, USA. FunQuilts’ work is widely seen in the press (O:The Oprah Magazine, Country Living, The New York Times, American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and Quilts & More magazine). In their appearance on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims they discussed how to find color inspiration for quilts. Weeks Ringle’s art quilt Tankini toured with Quilt National 2007. Weeks also writes a craft blog Craft Nectar, where you can get an insight into her life as a quilt and fabric designer. As well as running a quilt studio with her husband and business partner Bill Kerr, they have also written a couple of books: The Modern Quilt Workshop, The Quiltmaker’s Color Workshop and most recently Quilts Made Modern. In addition to designing home textiles and quilts for Crate & Barrel, Weeks and Bill have designed more than 130 quilting prints sold in 15 countries. Weeks and Bill also design and sell Many Hands Blankies, a line of blankies that provides job training opportunities to developmentally disabled adults in Chicago.

I have appointed myself a special ambassadorship. The UN has its hands busy with turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen so I thought I’d just solve this issue on my own. Here’s the problem: those beautiful large-scale prints that we all fall in love with are trouble-makers. You buy them thinking that they’ll get along because they have similar palettes but I’ve fallen for their deceptive ways too many times. They start fights with one another, blending into one another to create visual chaos. Bill Kerr (my husband and partner in FunQuilts) and I teach workshops in how to work successfully with large-scale prints but every now and then they fool us too – we included a special section in our new book Quilts Made Modern with guidelines for working with large-scale prints.

Window Shopping

Bill and I thought we’d whip up a quick free pattern for this post. I wanted to design something simple, deadline-friendly and a layout that uses large-scale prints that many people love but find hard to use. The quilt also needed to be easy enough for novice quilters to make without a hitch.

Download the PDF pattern for Window Shopping

I laid out the fabrics and thought that they’d keep to themselves enough to see the forms of the pieces. I had some doubts and considered placing long white strips between the rows but decided against it because I worried that it would look too rigid. But once I actually pieced it together I realized that visual chaos had broken out once again.

Determined to keep my diplomatic cool I ripped out all of the squares (sigh), cut them down 1/2 inch (1.5cm) and added a 1/2 inch (1.5cm) finished strip of white all the way around. The “fringe” at the top and bottom is optional. I added it because I liked the scale change and it used up the scraps leftover from the main quilt. It’s a bonus that the white binding of the quilt is kept away from the white squares so each of those elements would be clear visually. Détente at last!

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