Millefiori Garden Bed Runner

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Having been busy recently with several intricate and time consuming projects, I have not posted anything for a few weeks.  I will be posting progress on these newer projects soon.  But, in the meantime, I thought I would post something I completed earlier this summer.

While going through photos of my quilts with a friend, I ran across a project that I had not posted pictures of.  This bed runner was inspired by a pack of fat quarters that I saw at a local fabric store.

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Kaffe Fassett “Paperweight” fabric

The fabric made me think about some fused glass supplies that I have in my glass room – millefiori beads.  The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers). These beads are created by first making pattern rods.  On the outside, these rods are a single color. But, when cut across, the pattern becomes visible.  This multi-step process requires skill and special glass furnaces.  The results of this labor-intensive process are gorgeous “beads” that can be incorporated into earrings, pendants, bowls – any variety of fused glass projects.  While I do not have the skill and equipment to make my own millefiori, I have purchased some and love the look of them.

So, when I saw this fabric, I thought I would use it in a bed runner to add a real pop of color to my bedroom.  The design for the runner was based off of a photo of a quilt posted on the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. While her project was made with patterned wool felt, I wanted to use my sewing machine’s decorative stitches to create the the pattern in the flowers.  Going through my scraps of fabrics, I appliqued my “flower garden” and then used the lovely “Paperweight” fabrics for the border.

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This was a really fun project to do.  And, as an added bonus, I used up a lot of small scraps that were piling up in my scrap basket and too small to use in most piecing projects.

Window on My World – applique.

It has been a while since I have posted.  But, after the holidays were over, I returned to working on the landscape quilt for my wall.

After piecing the backgrounds, the next step was to consider what to applique onto each seasonal panel.  Since this wall quilt is meant to be a memory of my backyard, I wanted to include things in my yard. Some shapes were cut by hand – trees mainly.  The rest of the shapes were cut using my Cameo.
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Winter / Midnight

A few evergreen trees
An apple tree
Animals – deer, rabbit, cardinal and bird

 

 

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Spring / Sunrise

Apple and lilac trees
Trellis with bench swing
Another Rabbit
Family Pets – two of our cats – Squigglez and Onyx

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Summer / Midday

A few more trees
Trellis, sun
Duke, our Yorkie, barking at Onyx
Comet, one of our former cats, climbing a tree

 

Autumn / Sunsetimg_1830

A few more trees in fall colors
Squirrel
Striker, our former German Shorthair Pointer

 

 

After taking the photos, I decided that I needed to add something in the foreground of the two center panels.  Since we actually have a fire pit in our backyard, I added one, split between the  two panels.  An Adirondack chair on either side of the fire pit completed the applique designs.

Next up, quilting and hand embroidery, should be finished soon.

Winter Wonderland

Our first significant snowfall of the season has come.  We now have about 5 inches of snow, making my yard look like a winter wonderland.

While I am not very fond of driving in the snow and I really don’t like the cold weather that comes with it, I do like how pretty the snow looks.  The beauty of the snow comes just as I finish a table runner for my kitchen to use at Christmas time. I saw a lovely bargello runner a few years ago and decided that was what I wanted to make.

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Bargello Quilting

Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery that consists of upright flat stitches made to create motifs that depict motion.  The name originates from  a series of chairs in the Bargello palace in Florence, Italy, which have a “flame stitch” pattern.  Traditional designs are very colorful and use many hues of the same color for a shading effects that creates the sense of movement.

A bargello quilt is one that is made of strips of fabric sewn together to create the movement similar to that seen in bargello embroidery. The technique looks difficult, but is actually quite easy. If you can sew a straight seam, you can do this! Even though there appears to be  smany curves and shapes featured on the quilt, there is no curved piecing whatsoever.

All ranges of color are used, from light to dark. When choosing colors, there are many choices. A common option is a variety of shades in a single color family for a monochromatic quilt. Another common option is two complementary colors. That is why I decided to use this technique for my table runner – red and green are complementary colors and would work well for a bargello quilt.

Strips are cut at a specific width and sewn together lengthwise – I used 2″ strips of fabric that, when sewn, would finish to 1 1/2″ wide . The first and last strips are sewn together lengthwise forming a tube of strips with  the seam allowances facing out.

The tube is then cut vertically (opposite of the direction that they were sewn) to make many narrow loops. For my table runner, the strips were cut in the following widths:

1/2″   3/4″   3/4″   1″   1 1/2″   2″

These loops are then opened at the seam between different pieces of fabric and then sewn together.

To add the ornaments, I used my Bernina cutwork tool to cut and embroider different colors of fabric and thread. Some were simple circles, some slightly more complicated shapes with embroidery to depict decoration on the ornaments.

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This was a fun project to make!

Fall has arrived in Minnesota

After a couple rainy weeks, the weather has dried out and we are having a lovely weekend. Today, I spent a few hours outside adding bulbs to my flower gardens. I even put some in planter inserts that fit inside the copper planters at my front door.  It will be nice to see what sprouts in the spring.

In anticipation of the arrival of cooler weather, I have been working on a new bed runner. Since I really love flowers, sunflowers  runner would be nice.

Using my Bernina Cutwork Tool, I cut seventy-two oval from hand-dyed fabrics, 12 leaves and six center from green and brown scraps of fabric.

Since the sunflowers are mainly yellow, I decided to add color in a scrappy border for the runner.

And, a pillow with a scrap piping to add an accent!

Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair ended one week ago.  Finished up just in time, I entered my butterfly quilt this year.  A third place finish was a nice outcome considering that the Sweepstakes winner was the first place quilt in my category.

Butterfly Quilt on display at the MN State Fair
Quilt and Pillows on our guest room bed.
Pillow sham

After submitting the quilt, I did have some time to make a pillow sham and decorative pillow.  The sham was made with custom dyed fabric and thread painting similar to the quilt.

Decorative Pillow

For a decorative throw pillow, I did an on-line search for paper piecing butterflies and found a really nice site (https://lillyella.com/2015/09/02/butterfly-charm-block-paper-piecing-patterns/).  I really enjoyed using my dyed fabrics to make the butterflies for the pillow.

Butterfly Art Quilt – Quilting and Final Product

My butterfly quilt is complete!

From a distance, it is hard to see the details.  But, close up it’s really fun to look at.

I find inspiration for my quilting from a variety of sources – photos, coloring books, . Sometimes the quilt block “suggests” the quilting design.  Other times, it can be a bit illusive.

When planning this butterfly quilt, I knew I wanted the quilting along the edges to look like grass, but I also wanted to add some creativity to the border.  While at work, I found inspiration in a recent copy  of Martha Stewart “Living” magazine.  I liked the ferns and curly spikes in this photo and thought they would be a great addition to the quilting.
I also wanted to add some flowers and butterflies flying in the background.
Here are some close-up pictures:

The back is fun to look at as well!

 

 

Butterfly Art Quilt

As a pediatric dentist, I see lots of kids with interesting clothing selections.  Some have mismatched colors, some have their shirts on backwards (or their shoes), but some are absolutely adorable.  Last winter, one of my younger patients (she was a little over 3 years old) came in with a t-shirt on that had a large butterfly printed on it.
Now, I love butterflies – with their beautiful colors and graceful wings. This little girl was fearful of having me check her teeth, so I tried to help her relax by talking to her about her t-shirt.  Turned out that she liked butterflies too and gladly started showing me her t-shirt.  On closer inspection, this large butterfly was actually made up of smaller butterflies and was really cute.  After a successful dental checkup, she left cavity free and happy!
Since it was a busy day, I didn’t think more about the patient until my lunch break when my staff commented that they were happy she overcame her fears and was able to complete an exam and cleaning. One of my staff commented that the conversation about the butterflies may have been what helped her to relax. This conversation sparked an idea in my mind – to make a quilt with a butterfly made out of little butterflies.

http://www.missoulabutterflyhouse.org/store/

An on-line image search was unsuccessful in finding a picture of the t-shirt that matched what I remembered seeing earlier that day. I did, however, find a link to the Missoula Insectarium. In their store, they sell a t-shirt with butterflies  that I thought might be a good inspiration for my quilt.

Using a graphics program, I did a quick design to see how the idea might look. This, I thought, was going to be a fun quilt to make.

Creating the applique butterflies:
Using the graphics program, I cropped the butterfly image around each of individual butterflies.  In doing this, I found that several of the butterflies were about the same shape.  So, I actually only had 12 different butterflies to work with.  Using the Bernina DesignWorks software, I created a Cutwork and Applique file for each butterfly.

For my fabrics, I used the samples from my many trials of fabric dyeing – shibori, mandala, etc).  These fabrics had symmetrical colorings and patterns that worked well for butterfly wings.

More on this project in my next posting…