Category Archives: Applique

Teal Mini Quilt Blog Hop: Ovarian Cancer Awareness

12107159_10207273810744087_3802108283043761333_nWelcome! I’m the last stop on this year’s teal mini quilt blog hop. Yay caboose! This swap, hosted by Beth of EvaPaige Quilt Designs, raised $2,000 and awareness for ovarian cancer. The quilts in this post were exchanged between me and my new friend Sarah. Here’s the quilt she made me. It’s double sided!

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Sarah lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer. She has a Pinterest Board dedicated to awareness for this specific disease. I encourage you to check it out. The biggest predictor of successful treatment is early detection and there’s no medical tool that catches it in the earliest stages. Pay attention to your body women of the world! If you feel like there’s something amiss get it checked out. My survivor friend Trisha’s here today in part because she was paying attention and became her own advocate.

Ready to see what I made? I had a back injury while I was making this quilt so it’s 100% hand sewn. I started with some teal yo-yo’s and a contrasting orange batik background fabric. It needed s’more circles but I wanted the teal to be the star so I chose brown. After playing with the placement for a bit I appliqued those yo-yo’s upside down onto the fabric. They’re dimensional and a bit poufy which is fun.

auditioning threads teal quilt

I wanted the thread to stand out a little so you could see the quilting but not too much. So I auditioned them like so. It’s helpful to unwind a bit of thread to see what the strand looks like against the piece. The red’s too bright on the spool but just perfect this way and it’s what I ended up choosing to quilt with.

glue basting teal quiltDouble-fold binding is my jam but it was going to be a pain to sew on entirely by hand so I decided to fold the back over onto the front instead. Usually I’d use a gazillion pins to hold it in place but I saw a cool new thing on Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop. It’s glue basting and it’s pretty amazing. I learned on the tutorial from purpledaisyquilting in minutes. All you need is Elmer’s glue and a hot iron. I found these cute fine-tipped ones at the dollar store. Score!

final press teal quiltfinished teal quiltHere’s a nice close-up I took while doing the final pressing and the finished quilt. There’s no right side up; It can be hung vertically or horizontally. Can you see the concentric circles quilting? No? How ’bout in this pic Sarah took upon receiving it? It got a little smushed in the mail but this is a much better angle to show off my handiwork. Pretty cool.

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Check out these links for the other artists in this blog hop and mark your calendars for August 2016 to participate in next year’s swap. Sign-up via Facebook.

October 12th Tweety Loves Quilting and One Quilting Circle

October 13th Susan Brehm and Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc

October 14th Teachpany and Bobbin’s Lullaby

October 15th Splitting Stitches and Purple Leaf Quilts

October 16th Blue Ribbon Sewing and quiltartbymegan <— you are here!

Chopping Up the Table-Runner

I cut up an incomplete table runner this week. I gave myself permission to wreck a project that wasn’t working and turn it into something new! Here’s what it used to look like.

ufo challenge beginning runner

What inspired such a bold move? It was last week’s Project Quilting Challenge on unfinished works. Several people took meh pieces and turned them into something amazing like this and this. Click on those links. You’ll be glad you did.

So here’s my work in progress. I started by cutting the four-patches out of the table-runner. I only seam-rip when it’s absolutely necessary. The blocks were framed in green fabric I was going to trim off anyway.

cut out four-patches

They’re all beautiful Asian prints. Why are fabrics like these called that? Asia’s a continent with a wide variety of cultures, styles, and looks. It’s a little weird that this category is so broad. There are Japanese prints out there, which is a little better, but these aren’t them.

ufo challenge four patches

Anyway, I cut each four-patch block in diagonal twice and sewed ’em back together.

ufo challenge disappearing four patch

Now they’re much cuter pinwheels.

ufo challenge block

 

I joined the pinwheel blocks for the center and added some borders.

asian fabrics quilt thus far

I like the skinny grey border near the edge and think there needs to be something similar between the pinwheels and first border. I’m not willing to rip three borders off to make it look right. Instead I’ll applique a skinny blue there. I’ll be sure to show you guys how it turns out in the end.

Project Quilting’s Voting is open through February 13th. My tiny heart is #44. Check out all of the awesome entries and choose your favorite six! The next challenge begins on Sunday the 15th.

 

 

Bad Ass Quilt – It’s Not a Fish

I’m the guest blogger today over at Bad Ass Quilter’s Society. Don’t be alarmed by the title over there. The naked quilting series is about quilts, not bodies. I wrote about my quilt, “It’s Not A Fish,” which was made after a miscarriage. Check that article out and then head back here for some bonus information.

not a fish whole

 

 

Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up. My two answers, invariably, were an artist and a mommy. So, of course, this baby was wanted.

mom not fish

The two silhouettes in the last column were traced from family photographs. Mom is looking forward with hope and my cousin Jasmine is screaming.

jas not fish

The guild challenge was to make a row (or column) quilt. It had to use three floral fabrics and have at least five rows. Do you see the flowers? The fabric used for the fish is also floral.

fish flowers

This quilt told me that it needed to be mostly grey. (Does your art speak to you? This piece was very specific!) Since I only had one grey fabric in my stash, I reached out to friends who were generous with their scraps. Thanks guys.

I designed the paper-piece pattern for the hearts. They gradually go from mostly warm (browns) to mostly cold (greys) without completely becoming one temperature or the other.

pp hearts

 

On the day I lost my baby, I wanted absolute quiet. No activity or noise at all. Certainly no conversation. Later, talking would become important.

When I told my aunt what happened she suggested that I change my labels: a miscarriage, rather than my miscarriage. Words are important. It’s not my fault.

I started seeing a therapist a few weeks after miscarrying. It was one of the best things I could do, deciding actively focus on healing. Our sessions included dealing with the loss of my mom when I was 14.

What’s your experience with art? Creating is one of my healthiest ways to express loss. It’s also a delight to make things about connection and new beginnings.

 

 

 

25% off most items in my Etsy shop through the end of August. Enjoy!

 

Two Babies, Two Unique Quilts

Quilting-land at my house has been taken over by babies at my house. Just the way I like it. 🙂 The first baby quilt is for a little boy, newly arrived. I decided to do large disappearing nine-patch blocks. The first photo is what it looked like before the nine-patches were cut apart and rearranged.

big block 9 patches

Here it is, all together. It’s a little wrinkly, fresh from the dryer. I wash all of the baby quilts I make before mailing them out. Why? Because I spray baste, which leaves a bit of the glue residue inside the quilt until the first wash. I wouldn’t want a baby sucking on that.

Celeste front

Lastly, the fold-over shot. Isn’t this backing super cute? It’s a flannel, so it’s super-soft.

Celeste foldoverThe second quilt is for a baby who isn’t here yet. We don’t know if this baby is a he or a she, so my customer asked for a gender-neutral animal quilt. She pictured mom and baby looking at the quilt and talking about animal sounds.

I piled up the animal fabrics and started designing. I ended up going with my third or fourth idea for this quilt. See, I could piece all these animal fabrics together and come up with a big zoo for the kiddo to explore. But I kept coming back to the customer’s vision that included animal sounds. I had 34 animals which included rabbits, hedgehogs, penguins, and crocodiles. Pared down to the ones that make recognizable, kid-friendly noises, I was left with 17 blocks.

I decided to make this quilt have a lot of negative space between the blocks. A subtle fabric, lots of space to breathe, not too busy. Rather than piecing the top, I sandwiched and quilted it whole cloth. I marked the quilting lines with a Frixion pen, which comes right out in the wash along with the spray baste.

AnimalQuilt Marking

Then I added the animals to the quilt. First I framed each in black fabric, then I sewed each down to the quilt. So instead of being appliqued to the background fabric, they are actually quilted on top of everything.
AnimalQuilt AppliqueHere’s what the blocks look like all laid out and pinned in place. It’s a little bit like a photograph wall. 
AnimalQuiltPinnedI bound this one in the background fabric and sent it on its way… before getting the all-important fold-over shot. Luckily, my customer sent me this picture when the quilt arrived safely at her house. Red fabric with chicks on it for the backing!

Animals Foldover

Now for a bit of hand-applique. This will be the final border on a round-robin piece for my quilt guild next week. I’m excited to show you guys what my quilt looks like! I haven’t seen it for a few months as other quilters have been passing it around and working on it.
RR Applique

 

Mini Trunk Show for Mother’s Day

MomandMeNursery

My mom (pictured above with baby Megan) was an artist. She loved doing arts and crafts projects with my sister and I. She got into candle-making, wreaths, cross-stitch, chocolate molds, and more. But her real passion became quilting. In the few years that she was a quilter, she made dozens of quilts. Most were given away to friends and family. I have a few. So in honor of mother’s day, here are some of her works of art.

MomManger

Along with being an artist, Mom was a lifelong learner. This was great for quilting because there are so many techniques available! The Christmas wall-hanging above was made with fusible webbing and tied. Years later, I hand-sewed the shapes down that were starting to peel away from the backing fabric.

MomManger Poem

I love the message of this poem. Sometimes what seems like a bad thing is really for the best. I also love that it’s in Mom’s handwriting. She kept her lines straight using a light-box. Lit from behind, a lined sheet of paper was placed underneath the white fabric she wrote on. Smart!

MomHearthHere’s another one that’s mostly fused. Mom machine quilted between the blocks and in the borders on the machine that I now use. It’s the one I learned on and inherited. This quilt hung above the fireplace in our last house. It’s a Christmas one so I intended to take it down in January the first year we were there. My husband and our housemate liked it so much they asked me to leave it up a bit longer, and that was its home spot for all the years we were there.

Another thing to point out about this piece is the skin tones. Can you see it? Mom put in different colored skin tones not only to be realistic, but also to honor her love of people from lots of different backgrounds. Even though we lived in a mostly-white Connecticut town, she her book-club, church, and quilting friends had all different skin tones. And stories. I felt so grown up when I was allowed to join their conversations.

MomSunbonnetSueI took a Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Andy quilt class with Mom. She ended up with this beautiful quilt. I ended up quitting halfway through because my applique skills were frustrating. This was machine appliqued using a zig-zag stitch and invisible thread. I wanted mine to look like the sample, which had perfect tiny black zig-zags. Yeah, black thread isn’t such a good idea for a thirteen-year-old.

I remember helping Mom decide what each character would be doing, and helping her find the embellishments. Sue’s running from bumblebee buttons. Andy’s pulling a wagon with yo-yo wheels.

Mom quilted this one by machine too. The kids are outlined and the rest is stitched-in-the-ditch. I remember the quilt shop where this class was held had limited parking. It had a sign out front that read, “Quilter’s Parking Only. Violators Will Be Stitched In The Ditch.”

MomTulipsBy the time Mom started churning out more quilt tops than she could finish, I my interest in quilting had dimmed. I’d rather be talking on the phone with my best friend for hours, waiting for the radio to play my favorite song ever, deciding which shirt would be best to wear tomorrow, and other teenage girly things.

I do remember picking up a few pieces from the long-armer and being amazed at her huge machine. It took up the whole room! I wish I knew that woman’s name now, so I could add her to the label. This tulip quilt was one of the first to be sent her way.
Mom9POkay now we’re into the baby quilts. My parents decided not to learn the gender of the baby, so there are a few quilts with both blue and pink as my Mom wondered. They picked out two names, one for a boy and one for a girl. James Patrick won out as my brother Jimmy was born. He’s shortened it to Jim and made his way to prom last weekend. Ho boy has he grown up!

MomCatsThere’s at least one more baby sized quilt I’m holding onto until my brother’s ready to have them at his own place. You know, when he’s old enough to have his own place. It’s a grandmother’s flower garden, paper-pieced and beautiful. 
MomAutumn

The last quilt I’m showing you today was made after Mom found out that her colors are Autumn inspired. (Remember this post? I’m an autumn, too!) She didn’t have a lot of fall colors in her stash or quilt collection so she challenged herself to make this one.

When she passed, it was only a top. So her friends in the local quilting group finished it… by hand. Look at this beautiful hand quilting in-between the stars. It’s dedicated to the baby. Such a work of love it takes my breath away just to look at.

MomAutumnQuilting

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and all the mothers out there. All of this information is recalled from memory. Just know that even when your teenage daughter is rolling her eyes at you and answering every question with “fine” that they’re probably still paying attention. I was.

That Crumb-y Pillow is Awesome!

I’m so blessed to have friends who will brainstorm craft ideas with me. This time it was the snowflake mini-group who helped me out. Soooooo… in addition to offering the super-cool letter pillows, state pillows are making an appearance in my etsy shop.

Founding snowflake, Trisha, ordered the first one so I could use it as a sample. She got a 16×16 inch square pillow cover. The crumb block is reverse-appliqued and in the shape of Wisconsin. Can you see the little heart? That’s over the city of her choice. I also hand-embroidered the word “Wisconsin” on it. Cool, huh?

Trisha's pillow cover

Here’s a close-up of that heart button. It’s sewn onto a yo-yo and is a little shiny so that it pops out and can be seen against those crumb fabrics.

city heart yoyo and buttonAnd here’s a close-up of the hand-embroidery.

one word hand embroidered

 

Trisha didn’t need it, but I also sell the pillow forms. Order from me and it’ll save you a trip to the craft store.

12 inch pillowform

You can have these be as simple or complex as you want. Just the state? Order that. The other options are add-ons for a few more dollars. What about getting a letter “J” pillow embroidered with Jaime’s name? I do custom orders! What’s your idea? Maybe a football with your team written on it, or a heart that says, “Will you marry me?”

Check out the pillow covers and more in my etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymegan

Follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/QuiltArtbymegan

Coming soon: an update on the turtles and turkey quilts for summer camp, a portrait quilt of a dog and her owner, some baby quilts, and giving new life to an old quilt. Stay tuned!

Prep Work

I painted my toenails just to stuff my feet into sneakers. I put lipstick on to sew in my pajamas. I do my hair up nicely to watch TV with my husband. I put a dirty fork on the counter so the sink can be empty. Aaand I cut up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together.

These things may be a little nutty but they make me feel good. What are little things that make you feel good? I challenge you to do one of those things today.

Speaking of cut up fabric that’s sewn back together, I showed a sample of my letter pillows in this post. Well, the time has come to reveal the etsy listing. Get ’em while the getting’s hot!

J Pillow

Here are the options on the pillow covers. I’ll be adding more sizes and colors as we go. They’re envelope-backed. And yes, as part of my prep work for launching these pillows, I made sure they actually fit into the pillow form. Who’da thunk?!

  • Four background colors to choose from: Black, Beige, Grey, and Teal.
  • Buy just the 12×12 inch pillow case, or add-on a pillow form to save you a trip to the store.
  • I can do any letter, uppercase or lowercase. For now, it’s one letter per pillow.

I used Sam Hunter’s time-tracking method to help determine pricing. These pillow covers are only $35 plus shipping! What a deal.

Prices increase on custom orders beginning tomorrow, February 1st. Everything that’s already listed as a completed item in my shop will stay the same price. New items and custom orders increase by 10% tomorrow.

Challenging Myself – For The Children

I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into improving my own head-space…. you know being very on-purpose about noticing my thoughts and behaviors. I want to become a better version of myself. Maybe even become more of myself than I’ve ever been. Clearly, this is a very personal journey…. though I’ve had lots of help along the way.

I had a bad day. I did. It didn’t undo all the progress I’ve made. I just had a bad day. By keeping things in perspective I’m able to continue moving forward. Thing is, this isn’t just for me. My mom once told me that with each generation we get better. I remember hoping that would be true but it doesn’t happen effortlessly. My reaching for higher health for myself may trickle down to future generations, especially if/when my husband and I decide to have children.

The Project Quilting Challenge for this week is up-cycling. Much of my art is very personal. You now know what I’ve been thinking about, so it’s probably no surprise that I knew the title of this piece before anything else. It’s called, “For The Children.” First, I tore photographs of children out of these Reader’s Digest Almanacs from the 70’s.

Reader's Digest

The tear-ings (not clippings) were raw-edge appliqued and bound with masking tape. In this case, raw-edge applique is code for sewn down. ‘Cause I used my sewing machine on paper. Yup.

For the Children Front

The backing for this piece is a sheet of cling-on snowflakes found as Christmas decorations. They add meaning because I made and donated snowflakes when the Sandy Hook Elementary School reopened after the shooting. Plus we’re each a unique and beautiful snowflake but collectively (and individually) we can change for the better.

For the Children Back

 

One more thing. I made the following quilt for a dear friend. It almost said, “You are loved.” This is much better. Now she can read it to herself as an affirmation… as a tool to help shift head-space from negative to positive. An opening up.

I am loved quilt

 

 

Sneaky Peeks

Here are a few of the treasures I’ve been working on. The first is a wedding quilt for a dear friend. Spoiler alert! It’s green.

Green Bag

I wasn’t able to go out and get this tracing for a portrait quilt of a dog enlarged today. So I pulled some fabrics for it instead! Here’s my method of keeping everything straight once I’ve made the decisions. FYI: I’ve put 90 minutes into this quilt already and haven’t yet started putting it together. That’s why I charge $25 per subject as a design fee!

prep for dog quilt I finished this quilt. Woo! It feel so good to have a project done done done. This is a signature quilt and is for sale in my etsy shop. You can sign this quilt in the beige fabric spots… which, as you can see, make up most of the quilt. It’s great for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebrations. Super-durable, it’ll hold up to washings. Just make sure to follow the directions on whatever fabric marker you buy. Some of them need to be set with a hot iron.

signature quilt 1I’ve also been working on this week’s Project Quilting Challenge, which is up-cycling.

I pulled some fabric for my new guild’s round robin. I’ll be adding a border and some embroidery. Unfortunately, this is all supposed to be secret until the big reveal in a few months so I cannot share photos of it until then.

What are you working on?

2014 will be a great year for QUILTArtbymegan

Here’s a bit of a preview of what’s coming this year. First of all, I’ll be doing a bunch of portrait quilts. You know, those are the ones inspired by a photograph and then rendered into fabric. Coming up are twins, a dog, a snowy landscape, and more. Here’s a tracing of one I’m working on now which has holding hands and wedding rings showing. It’s in pencil so it doesn’t photograph beautifully just yet.

hands tracing

Also, one of my sample quilts this year has to feature my niece Mary. ‘Cause I love her and she’s flipping adorable. So here’s a photo from Halloween that I’ll be using as inspiration.

Panda Mary

Alright, on to the second category of quilts you can expect from me in 2014. I’ll be making more things with crumbs! Here are two quilts-in-progress that use crumb blocks in their design. (One is a super-close up because the whole quilt hasn’t yet been revealed to the receiver.) Crumbs heart crumbs with black

I’m also working on making my crumbs customize-able. I think they’re in the top two cool things I do with my quilting and hadn’t figured out a way to make them in a cost-effective way. Worth my time to make the stuff and worth your money to buy them. Enter the letter pillows! Soon these will be available to order in my etsy store. You can buy them individually or as a group to spell out names, holidays, important dates (numbers will be available, too), and more. I’m also working on a way to stretch these across canvas for an on-the-wall look rather than the pillows’ on-the-shelf thing.

letter pillow sample

Another thing I’ll be playing around with (and hopefully making beautiful wear-ables out of) is old wool, cashmere, and silk items. I’m experimenting with up-cycling in the style of the artist Katwise.

What else? Tons, I’m sure! I’m learning new things all of the time. I think as an artist it’s important to explore new things and learn from other artists. Plus just play around and see what happens. That’s what I did with this doll quilt piece that was entered into the Project Quilting Challenge this week. It’s made of strings, which are skinny long strips. I’m not in love with the final quilt but it was fun to experiment and stretch myself. There are bunch of quilts finished in this challenge that are gorgeous! See and vote for your favorites here. 

pinked dolls

I took the “Twisted Sisters” class from Ami Simms on Saturday. It was so much fun! I initially wasn’t thrilled with the quilt design but learned how I can make it my own and am sure I’ll love the thing once it’s all put together. I also learned a bunch of tiny tips and tricks that make all the difference when you’re sewing. For example, if your selvage strips have been cut off the way you find the straight of grain (which is parallel to the selvage) is to stretch a tiny section of the fabric with your fingers. The direction that has the least stretch is the straight of grain. Twisted sister

I predict this’ll be a great year for me personally and QUILTArtbymegan as well. Stay tuned! You won’t want to miss any of it.