Trudi the collage art reindeer – a lesson in getting started with the antlers!


Creating a collage art quilt is easier than you think. Just break the process down into little bites. If you need to review how to fuse, check out one of my previous blogs for new collage quilters on fusing. The link is provided here.

On this blog, I also have created several other blogs posts with lots of other tips, tricks and lessons on how to put together a collage art quilt.

With Trudi the Reindeer, I started with the most difficult area first … the antlers. All those little narrow areas and curves were going to take some time to cover properly with fused fabric. I already knew I wanted to use Philip Jacobs’ Orchid line of fabric in several different colorways. I previously used his fabric for Moo-Shu on the panda’s face and large body area. When figuring out the “look” for Trudi, I spent some time searching around the web just looking at fabric colors. I love the elegance of Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs’ fabrics. But I could have just as easily chosen batiks, novelty or even thrown in a plaid or two. I discovered two additional Philip Jacobs orchid colorways that have brown and orange tones. These colors made Trudi’s antlers appear more woodsy-looking. I also mixed in the lighter orchid colorways to create interest.

After cutting out lots of motifs, I like to lay them out near where I am working. Then I start pinning them onto my line drawing drawn on the Pattern Ease-covered foam core board. I move the motifs around and pin them on until I like how they look. I cut larger motifs into smaller pieces if I need to.

When I have the antlers covered with fabric, I take each motif off, remove the paper backing, and place the motif back on the Trudi’s line drawing pattern. The motifs are tacky on the back, with the paper removed, and adhere gently to the Pattern Ease. When the entire Trudi line drawing is covered with motifs, a final fuse with a hot iron is finally performed and they will now be permanently fused.

If you are interested in purchasing my Trudi the Reindeer pattern, head over to my Etsy shop. The pattern includes full-size line drawn pattern, supply list and step-by-step directions. Domestic shipping is still free for a limited time.

Next week … I will talk about the challenges I had with Trudi and how I solved them!

2018 Houston’s International Quilt Festival


Houston’s 2018 International Quilt Show is in full swing with exhibitions of hundreds of quilts and vendor booths. My little sister, Gretchen, and I made our trek to Houston’s convention center on Wednesday for Preview Night. We arrived around 4 pm and camped out on the second floor visiting with friends and eating a quick bite until the doors opened. Peering through the “porthole,” that overlooked the first floor vendor area, we looked down at all the colorful booths.

Each year I tell myself I will take lots of more photos and then, what happens, I wander down the aisles and just drool. I’m lucky to have taken any photos … the result … a small collection of the many vendors and a smattering of quilts on exhibit.

Subtle things I noticed this year … instead of selling fat quarters … many vendors opted for one-half yard cuts and fabric bundles. I counted only a few actually selling individual fat quarters. Interesting. I saw lots more collage quilting patterns and entire booths devoted to collage. I also saw lots more “quilt celebrities.” I only got the courage to ask one for a “together photo.” Emily from Collage Quilter is as lovely in person as she is in her videos. I also saw Kaffe Fassett and Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

The quilt festival lasts until this Sunday. Be there or be square … or a fat quarter … whatever.

New collage quilters – fusing fabric in 5 easy steps

I think fusing the fabric was my main issue with starting my collage quilt. Isn’t that silly? I had purchased a collage pattern the year before at Quilt Festival and then it just sat on the shelf. Every now and then I would pull it out and read all the directions. Then shove it into the plastic sleeve and move on to another project. Why was I letting the very first step in the process stand in my way of creating my first collage quilt? I had fused fabric before, but not very often … and there are different fusing products on the market. Also, I wasn’t familiar with the recommended Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible.

Supplies needed for fusing include: Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible, lots of fabric, Applique Pressing Sheet (my sheet is 13 inches by 17 inches), ironing surface and iron.

A few comments about Lite Steam-A-Seam 2. The fusible comes in a variety of widths and lengths and can be purchased online, in quilt and hobby shops. If purchased from a quilt/hobby shop you will find it on a bolt. I don’t recall the width but four or five yards is a nice amount for a large collage quilt. Since I intend to make lots of collage quilts, I purchased a 40-yard box. The fusible is 12-inches wide and comes in a large roll. This product has paper on both sides which works great for collage quilts. So lets start!

1. Cut your fabric and fusible in manageable lengths – The fusible is very sticky (when one side of the paper is removed) and can be difficult to handle (all that stickiness can fold up on you in a heartbeat) if you work with too large piece a piece. The Quilter’s Cut ‘n Press surface I use to iron and fuse my fabric on has a 12-inch by 18-inch surface. It is the perfect size for pressing collage fabric. But also great for fusing the sticky fusible to my fabric. Just know you can also cut your fabric in lots of small chunks and place on the fusible!

2. Iron all the fabric pieces you are wanting to use in your collage quilt – After cutting your fabric in manageable lengths, iron a stack that you will be fusing and set aside. You can save lots of time by using the efficient assembly-line method.

3. Cut lengths of fusible in manageable lengths – Cut the number of your lengths of fusible to match your fabric lengths and set aside. You will notice the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 has paper on both sides. Don’t take your fusible apart yet!

4. Getting ready to fuse – Lay one sheet of fusible on your ironing surface. Peel off the top paper layer and discard this paper sheet. What you have left on your ironing surface is the sticky side of your fusible laying up … and the remaining paper layer down … against the ironing surface. Carefully lay one piece of your ironed fabric (right side up) on the sticky side of the fusible smoothing the fabric nice and flat.

5. Fusing your fabric – Take your Applique Pressing Sheet and cover the fabric/fusible. Slide your hot iron (cotton setting) quickly over the entire fabric/fusible. That is all it takes! The pressing sheet ensures the fusible will not get on your hot iron. Should a little fusible adhere to your pressing sheet it is easy to peel off and discard.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns! I am working on a Christmas version of Moo-Shu and another Christmas collage pattern … to be announced!

And isn’t my grandson, Jacob, adorable? It cost me a quarter to get him to model for his photo! Totally worth it!

Moo-Shu, my collage art quilt panda

Yesterday, figuratively speaking, I jumped off a cliff and released my first collage art quilt pattern. Yep … I have my own Etsy shop! Moo-Shu comes with her own full-size pattern, supply list and detailed instructions. The link is provided, or you can head over to my “Home” page, and click on the “Etsy” button.

Over the past forty year, I’ve done lots of different types of quilting. I love it all! It has always amazed me how fabric can be manipulated and turned on its head to create a personal story. Every quilt is so unique … and no two quilts are alike.

It wasn’t until I took a collage quilting class earlier this year, that I found my joy. Everyone in the class was making a different Laura Heine collage quilt. I was the only making Lulu, the elephant. It was so fun creating my own interpretation of the quilt. I think my husband thought I was a little nuts when I bolted through the door after the first class day. The emotion expressed was “excited” and it was an understatement. He encouraged me to create my own pattern and Moo-Shu is the result. It took me a couple of months to create a prototype quilt. I wanted it to be perfect.

The basic premise of collage art quilts is fusing small amounts (fat quarter size or smaller) of cotton fabric, cutting out the motifs you want to highlight in your quilt, and pinning them on a background (your line drawing). After you like the way your collage looks, the paper fusible backing is removed on each motif and placed back on the background. A final fuse with an iron and you are onto your next step. Next week I will write about that!

Notice the word “sewing machine” has not been mentioned. There is no sewing involved until you get to the machine quilting stage.

Let me know what you think about Moo-Shu! I am also pondering my next collage pattern. Any thoughts?

Quilter’s Patch – November fence and blocks together


The November fence block with heart-shaped garden gate is finished! OK … so I know it is December … but only by a few days. Did I mention December is my favorite month of the year from a blog perspective? It’s the snow falling across the blog. I love that WordPress adds the snow in December!

The fence was an easy and fast block to piece! November’s block-of-the-month assignment also included several butterfly blocks, but I am not using them in the quilt top. I had so much time on my hands after the fence was finished, I put all the flower blocks together. Just for fun, I switched the order on two of the flower blocks. I’ll post a completed quilt top once the border is on. Decided to use a plain narrow border as this quilt will be hung. I anticipate the dimensions will be around 65″ by 65″. Can’t wait for this one to be machine quilted!

International Quilt Festival in Houston this week!

The 2017 International Quilt Festival is in Houston this week! It is my favorite week of the year with so much eye candy, shopping, picking up on new trends in the quilting world and admiring the creativity of all the quilts on exhibit! This year I attended with my lovely sister, Gretchen.

On Wednesday night, first we shopped. It was a magical night because the Astros were also playing in Game 7 of the World Series. Texting hubby back and forth for game updates helped with the butterflies in our stomachs. We didn’t find out till our bus brought us to our cars at the end of the night that we had won!

But back to the quilt festival! Our first stop was the booth with the Fat Quarter Queen fat quarters! One of our goals was to look for teal fat quarters for a quilt we are planning to memorialize our sister, Mary, who lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer this year. MD Anderson has an Ovarian Quilt project where they auction off donated quilts. The funds raised are used to raise awareness and research funds for ovarian cancer. The auction is going on now through November 8. They also had a booth at the festival. Our perfect fat quarter for Mary’s quilt came with a teal background with black cats. It was purchased at KimonoMomo, who specializes in Japanese Textiles. She had fabric you don’t see in your local quilt shops.

“Mary could never have cats. She was allergic to them. But she rescued one once,” Gretchen said.

Perfect … then this fabric HAS to go into her quilt. We don’t have a quilt pattern yet. But colors could be black and white and teal … but that could change. Still we have a start!

Just a few of the many interesting quilt booths were Keri Designs, booth 605. This one has a special place in my heart. This designer is from Hawaii and has taken the artist, Charlie Harper’s artwork, which I LOVE, and turned them into quilt patterns. Another booth from Hawaii, was Quilt Passions, which hosts quilting retreats and classes for quilters. Now that is what I am talkin’ about! They are in their ninth year of hosting these retreats.

One of the huge trends we noticed was lots of wool. Check out booth 518, Carried Away Designs in Wool. Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design, booth 848, was giving demonstrations on reserve applique. It is one of skills that when you see it with your own eyeballs … you believe it can be done. Try to read about how to do it in a book and … Yuck. She had some very lovely patterns and quilt kits available. We lingered at a couple of booths from the Netherlands. Since our mother was born there we have a connection. Dutch Heritage had some lovely cotton reproductions of antique Dutch Chintzes. I purchased some in a large chunk, I think they measure in meters, in blue and cream. We also visited a booth on some fairly new technology called Cricut. My lovely friend, Michele, told us about this booth. This machine does some interesting custom things you have to see to believe. Yes … quilters will certainly benefit but also paper crafters and so many more areas of the craft world like 3D puzzle projects, cards, sewing patterns, iron-ons and so much more. These little machines come in several price points.

So this year I purchased a stack of fat quarters and only one pattern, a scrappy-looking house/tree quilt called “By the Numbers” by Debbie Wendt of Wendt Quilting. A real stash buster which was just what I was looking for.

With only 30 minutes to spare before the bus picked us up to take our group back to Kingwood, Gretchen and I headed over to the exhibit area to drool over the lovely quilts on exhibit. I snapped just a few photos for you to enjoy the diversity of what is out there in the quilt world. My favorite was the 15-foot long fish quilt. The artist is from Japan and when I watched the video of how he made it I was in awe. That is precisely why I also included some close-ups. My favorite was the turtle.

The International Quilt Festival in Houston ends Sunday … so get your walking shoes on and get on down to the George R. Brown Convention Center!

Quilter’s Patch – August block was tough!


The Hollyhock Block was the only block assigned for August. Thank you Edyta! It is also oversized at 12-1/2″ by 24-1/2″ length-wise … twice as large in length as the previous blocks for January through July. The tricky part about this block was making the three full circle blooms of the block meet at the seams. In a couple of spots, I was off. I have to admit one of the circles looked more like a blob than a circle. So it came to me in a dream on how to make the blooms appear to meet. After the block was pieced, I zigzagged with a generous zigzag around the block and managed to create the illusion of the seams meeting. At least my blooms don’t look like a monster from a horror movie.

September’s block arrived a few days after Hurricane Harvey departed our area. It is the Greenhouse Block. I’ve read the directions on how to piece the clamshell roof. Geez! If I can make it past September, I will be home free!

Thank you Edyta Sitar, designer of this beautiful quilt for challenging me.

P.S. – excuse the poor quality of some of my photographs. The “darkish” photos are taken with my Stone Age camera. I used hubby’s cell phone camera when I could catch him home. Our cell phones take the best photos. Unfortunately, mine won’t let me email them to myself. I know … it is probably something I am doing … or not doing! This morning I am off to the Genius Bar to see if they can sort it all out.