Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My working wall

I like to create my quilts on a wall, so that I can see the whole thing at once when I step back and also, my table is usually too small to spread the whole thing out. So, I use a "working wall".

Mine consists of three layers. The first layer is called Designer Tack. Bulletin boards made out of recycled paper. I bought mine at Menard's, which is a home improvement chain in the Midwest. They used to keep them in the cork bulletin board area, but lately I've found them in the wall panel section. Homosote is essentially the same thing, and comes in boards that are 4x8 feet. However, a full sheet is heavy, and doesn't fit in my Prius. But six of the Designer Tack boards fit in my car easily and individually, they aren't that heavy. I paid about $9 a few years ago, I saw them last week for about $13. They are 32x48 inches.

Here's a link to the website for the manufacturer:
American Pacific Designer Tack

I used white batting on top of the bulletin boards. My last working wall had black felt, but this time around, I wanted white. The batting makes the surface feel softer, and also creates a whiter surface. At the very left of the wall, you can see about five inches that is somewhat grey. This is the bulletin board without the batting on top of it. I need to add the last strip. The batting I used is 45" wide, I had wrapped it around the right edge, so I ran out before I got to the left edge, using two full widths. I used P&B prepared for dyeing fabric, that is 108" wide. I used quilt pins to hold everything onto the sides, but at the top, I used pins. I haven't yet gone back to trim the top edge of the batting.

This photo is of the wall before I pinned the fabric on the left side.

So, here are the layers, going from left to right:
1. Blue wall, newly painted by professional painters. It took me a week to be able to nail anything up on the perfect wall.

2. Grey designer tack bulletin boards. Nailed into wall on corners, and in the center of each edge, using panel nails.

3. White batting.

4. 108" white prepared for dyeing fabric. (The fabric doesn't have to be PFD, I just have it already. Sometimes it's very hard to find wide enough fabric.)

Here is the wall after I finished pinning, with a work in progress pinned up on it.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I've designed a die for Accuquilt. I'm very excited about it.  It will be available in Mid December, you can order it now on the Accuquilt site.

Here's what the die itself looks like:

And here's what you can do with it:

Here's a quilt that I made using my die, along with some strip cutting dies from Accuquilt. I used their palette, which is more Modern than my normal palette, but I like it! Hoffman of California supplied the fabric. When Accuquilt said I had to make a quilt, using my die, and working with a commercial fabric company, I said "I need batiks!" and they said "Use Hoffman!", I was very very very happy. I made enough flowers for two quilts, as I was going to Denver to tape a segment on The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. My segment was not about the dies, but I wanted to bring my new die along, because by the time it airs, my die will be out. I still have the stuff to put together for the second quilt, but I think I may redo the flowers to match the picture above, with eight petals instead of just six, and use the color arrangement that they did. 

I made another quilt and have the pattern for it, but I haven't quilted it yet. I'm going to be doing that in the next week or so. It in a more vivid palette, out of my own hand dyes. I will be posting that, and the pattern will be for sale, I'm aiming for January.

A few people have asked me how I got involved with dies. I've been using fusible, specifically Wonder-Under paper backed fusible webbing, to make my quilts for about thirteen years. My current series involves multiples of the same shape, arranged in a radial symmetrical design. 

Here is one of my quilts that required a good amount of cutting:

I designed this specific quilt for Pellon, the company that makes my beloved Wonder Under fusible. They have the quilt and the pattern is available for free on their website here: Steampunk Sublime

Personally, I love cutting out shapes, really, for me it's like hand appliqué, but with scissors. But sometimes, I want precise shapes, like those lime green circles. Or I want to do it faster, because those purple gears took a long time to cut. 

I was in Houston in November of 2010, for Quilt Festival, and I walked by the Accuquilt booth. I hadn't paid much attention to them, because I thought all the did was cut strips or shapes for people who piece. THEN I noticed they had dies for fusible appliqué. Lynda Pumphrey was there, a fellow quilter and I said "Lynda! I want dies of my shapes! Being able to die cut my shapes would be fabulous." So, I sent them a pattern I had designed and we went from there. And I'm hoping we'll keep going, I want to introduce more shapes in "my" vocabulary.

In the meantime, you can start with my die, and add some other appliqué dies, like the Feathers, or Ribbons, and come up with some even more exciting quilts. I'll post a picture of the second quilt I made with my dies and some others in the next few days. And I dyed the fabric.  And if you need it, I'll explain what I'm talking about with the dies and the dyes.