Friday, July 10, 2015

Something Quaint and Quirky

It was bound to happen.
I had to do it. 
Marry punch needle with quilting.

This little punch needle embroidered horse needed a home, 
so I stitched him a tiny crazy quilt, just 11" high 
and stuck him in the middle 
where he can happily spend the rest of his life.

The horse started off as a simple traced shape 
from one of those vintage cookie cutters I posted about here.

The tiny quilt is made from assorted pieces of chambray shot cottons,
 all in various shades of grays, with tiny red zig-zag stitching.

This was a fun piece to make, a little quaint and a little quirky.
I might just do some more.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tobacco Road Quilt

"Tobacco Road" is the 3rd completed quilt in my "Lancaster County" series.

Just like the two before it, (see here and here) it takes its name from a local road, and it reflects my personal impressions of the shapes, colors and mood of this wonderful area.

Made from some cotton prints and assorted shot cottons, including some wonderful chambrays from Andover Fabrics, which are my currant favorite fabrics right now.

On all of the quilts in this series so far, I've included the exposed seams of some of the woven chambrays, as I think they are just too lovely to cover up.

I adore the subtle color changes, and the tiny flaws and imperfections, 
like that little area in the mid-upper right, along that blue selvedge shown in the photo below... 

I'm embracing these parts as they help reflect so tenderly the mood that I am trying to convey.

I bound the quilt with a pretty striped fabric.
It was an afterthought, once the quilt was completed, pulled from stash.
Much to my delight it reflects many of the colors used in the quilt's patchwork.

More details of my Tobacco Road quilt can be found here.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cookie Cutter Inspired

In a recent post on my new Lancaster County inspired quilt series, (third one is being quilted now!) 
I talked briefly about inspiration, (a favorite topic of mine) and asked for commenters to let me know what inspired them, as I am always fascinated by the creative process and what sparks it. 

Today's post continues the inspiration theme in a fun way, I think!

I've been soaking up a lot of inspiration from folk art lately, specifically vintage hooked rugs, 
which have always intrigued me and are proving to be very inspiring 
with the punch needle embroidery that I've been exploring. 
Love the colors and those shapes... 

Yes, those wonderful shapes!
One of the things that I have noticed in these old hooked rugs is how so many of them feature very naive style shapes, including various animals and birds, flowers and leafs 
along with hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. 

All of which remind me of...

Cookie cutter shapes!

So, that got me to thinking about how wonderful it would be to have an assortment of vintage cookie cutters to use as design inspiration. These shapes could be used for not only punch needle, but other types of embroidery as well, along with appliqué designs for some future folk art quilts.

And that realization led to some of my local vintage shops, 
(lucky me, I live minutes away from a 5 mile stretch of them!) 
for a fun scavenger hunt to find some awesome
cookie cutters...

The photo above and the photo below show about half of what I ultimately found.
Most cost between .50 cents to $2.00, with $1.00 dollar being the average.

And while I can't be guaranteed that they are all 100% vintage, I think the vast majority of them are.
(And does it really matter for the purpose I am using them for?)

(Photos are from my rather humble phone camera, 
thus quality isn't supreme, but the layout looks lovely, don't you think?)

 Look at all those fun shapes! 
Doesn't it just make your imagination take off flying in new directions?
(One is actually a jello mold, can you spot it?)

Below are two recent pieces begun with my new found cookie cutter inspiration...

On the left is "Chicken Pox" and on the right is "Owl and Moon". 
Below them is a ruler, so you can see how small the pieces actually are,
and above them are the cookie cutters I used to begin the design process.

Here's a close up of "Owl and Moon", so you can see all the tiny punched stitches. (I tend to punch a bit more densely then some of the tutorial examples I have seen, but I like the look, it works for me.)
I began with the shapes of the cookie cutters, then used my imagination to fill in the rest. I'm working with solid 8/2 cotton yarn and changed my colors frequently to achieve the look that I wanted.

Here's a close up of "Chicken Pox", (thought long and hard to come up with that clever name!)
Again, I used 8/2 cotton yarns, 
and simply echoed the lines of the shapes, over and over, 
frequently changing colors as I went along.

Both pieces are now available in my shop.
To see more of either piece simply click on the link below them

Hope this post inspires you all as well!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Brunners Grove Quilt

Here's the second quilt in my new "Lancaster County" series. I just finished this one yesterday and am very happy with it. As with the first one, I took the name from a local road. 
We've got some great road names around here that just seem so fitting.

More wonky shapes to reflect my love affair with all the misshapen old barns.
(I wish I could save them all... so many of my favorites have been lost over just the last few years.)

And letting the rolling hills and the plowed fields inspire my quilting has been great fun.

More details can be found here.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mohns Hill Quilt

Anyone who has been a reader of my blog for any length of time, or familiar with my work, knows that I keep coming back to my neck of the woods, Lancaster County, PA for inspiration. So, it dawned on me that I just needed to do a series of Lancaster County Quilts. 

Minimalistic, abstract quilts that try to capture 
the feelings and impressions that fill me as I travel around here, 
and the deep affection that I have for it.

"Mohns Hill" is the first of these quilts.

Named after a local road, (which I plan on doing for all quilts in this series) 
the appliquéd pieces draw on the off-kilter shapes of the old worn and weathered barns, 
and the quilting reflects the beautiful landscape of rolling hills and plowed farm fields.

Made with assorted shot cottons, (including the woven selvages of some, as they were just too lovely to cut off) along with some homespuns and a pretty flower print, it also has a faced binding. 
(Never done a faced binding? See my very easy tutorial here). 

Quilt is currently for sale in my Etsy Shop.

And speaking of inspiration, I'd love to hear what inspires you all...
Do you find yourself revisiting themes or sources of inspiration?
Do you gather your inspiration from a special place close to your heart or a favorite subject matter?
Or are you more inspired by technique, fabrics, colors?
tell me what inspires you in the comment section, and how do you stay connected to it.
It's an on going source of fascination for me and I'd love to hear your thoughts!