Monday, February 24, 2014

Playing with Beautiful Kaffe Prints

Some blocks in progress, spread out on my ironing board ...

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out all the inspiration over there!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stash Report 2/23/14 - a big week!

This was a really big week for stash activity -

I pieced a quick little baby quilt to test a new panto, 1-3/4 yards out. Backing for it, 1-3/8 yards out. (You can see it in the post below.)

My guild had our annual fabric swap Tuesday. I did some serious destashing and I donated 26-3/4 yards. I wasn't planning on bringing anything home, but 1/4 yard of turquoise stripe and 3/8 yard of a cute little retro yellow floral came home with me, so 5/8 yard in.

Friday I delivered book quilt #3 and its backing to the long-armer.  6-1/4 yards for the top and 2 yards of wide backing out.

So far so good, over 38 yards out and less than one yard in.

Then late Friday afternoon the UPS man came; my Kaffe Fasset prints for book quilt #4 arrived. So, 12 yards in.  They're so pretty! I've already started cutting into them.
Kaffe Fasset prints

Overall, not a bad week, way more out than in. I'll add up the total ins and outs for the month and YTD next week. Meanwhile, I'll be sewing on these beautiful Kaffe prints!

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out how everyone else is doing with their stash management over there.

Monday, February 17, 2014

DWM 2/17/14: A blue baby quilt

Here's what 's on my design wall today:
Bumpity Blue, 36" x 44"

This is a little top, 36" by 44", all from stash. Sorry for such a lousy photo; it's gloomy here today and I had to use a flash.  And I was farther away than I should have been so you can't see the fabrics well.  This really came out much cuter than it looks in this photo!

I threw this together as a possible practice piece for a new panto.
I requested that my long-armer friend use a new-to-her panto called Bumpity for one of my book quilts. Thinking she might like to practice with Bumpity before jumping into the book quilt, I threw this quick little top together. I hope I can give her this top and its backing as well as the book quilt and its backing sometime this week.

This little top uses 10 fabrics. From stash, including waste from squaring up, this top used about 1-3/4 yards of fabric. Here's a quickie tutorial:

- From each of nine different fabrics, cut one 4-1/2" WOF strip and sub-cut it into nine 4-1/2" squares. You should have 81 squares for the center and outer border. You'll use 80 of them.

From the last fabric, the inner border & outer corners:
- Cut one 4-1/2" by 18" strip and sub-cut it into four 4-1/2" squares for the corners.
- Cut four 2-1/2" WOF strips for the inner border;
    - sub cut the two side border strips to 32-1/2"
    - sub cut the top & bottom border strips to 28-1/2"

Assemble the center, 6 squares wide by 8 squares long (48 squares).

Add the side inner borders, then the top & bottom inner borders.

Assemble the outer side borders of nine squares each and attach.

Assemble the top & bottom borders with the corner squares at the ends and 7 squares between them; attach.

Layer, baste, and quilt as desired.

I'm linking up today with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out what everyone else has on their design wall.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stash Report 2/16/14

Looking good this week...

No fabric came in this past week. YAY!

I finished two tops, at least one of which will go to the longarmer this week along with their backings, so I'll be able to count out some fabric this month. 

On Tuesday CSQ is having their annual fabric swap.  I've pulled a lot to donate, which will help the yardage out. I don't plan to bring home much from the swap, so I expect more will go out than will come in.

On the other hand, some yardage will be coming from Westminster Fibers for the last of my book quilts, so when that arrives I'll have a lot to count in.

I'll total up the ins and outs at the end of the month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out how everyone else is managing their stash over there.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Formula

In case you missed yesterday's post, you might want to scroll down and check it out before going any further.

I mentioned that I've developed a "formula" for selecting fabrics that work well together. I play in EQ a lot, so I'll demonstrate using EQ images.  Here's the EQ image for Big Print Beauty in the fabrics I actually used.

As noted in yesterday's post, I used five large scale prints. Three were from the same collection and the rest were from other sources.

Fabrics used in BPB

Here are the elements in my formula:

1)  Focus fabric or fabrics. Mine are the upper three, from the collection In My Room by Janean Morrison for Free Spirit.
  • The focus fabric establishes the color palette for your quilt. The other colors you choose don't have to match, but they should harmonize.  If you need help, use the dots on the selvage for guidance.
  • The focus fabric also sets the style for your quilt. Is it Modern? Traditional? Themed? Batik? You'll want to keep the style of your fabrics consistent so they'll play nicely together.
  • The focus fabric or fabrics are probably the largest scale print(s) in your quilt and you'll want the rest of your fabrics to contrast in scale with them.
2) Background. I chose Bone in Kona Cotton, a light solid to complement the background color in my focus prints.
  • The background can be the same value (lightness) as the ground color in your focus print,  or
  • The background can contrast in value with your focus print.
  • Note that the greater the value contrast with your focus print, the bolder and more graphic your overall quilt will look. The less value contrast, the more subtle your overall effect will be.
  • Background can be solid, mottled, or a very subtle print that complements your focus print but doesn't fight with it. Again, keep the style of your focus print in mind.
  • The background provides the eye with a place to rest in the overall composition.
3) Geometric. I love geometrics, especially dots. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a dot!
  • Choose a geometric that's smaller in scale than your focus print but not so tiny and subtle that it can't hold its own.
  • The bolder your focus print, the bolder your geometric needs to be. As you can see, my focus print, while large in scale, is drawn with a delicate hand so I chose a small taupe dot.
  • Make sure the color of your geometric coordinates with the rest of your colors, and that its value provides the degree of contrast you want.  Too dark and it will jump out too much; too light and your quilt might not have enough overall contrast in value.
4) Accent color.  I chose an orange blender.
  • Keep in mind, the more your accent color contrasts in brightness and value with the rest of your fabrics, the more sparingly you should use it, in any pattern, not just my BPB pattern.
  • The accent color will help the eye move around the quilt, lending movement.
  • The accent color adds pop and interest and dimension to what otherwise might be a somewhat flat palette.
  • The accent color doesn't have to be bright.
Here is another EQ illustration and the corresponding fabric selections using my formula. This version uses one focus print instead of five large scale prints. The focus print is McKenzie by Dena Designs for Free Spirit. (This print is ginormous, and the EQ rendering captures only one motif and tiles it in the illustration. There's actually a lot more of the black background in the print than shows in this illustration.) This design has bold, dramatic value contrast due to the use of white for the background against the black focus print and black polka dot.
BPB featuring McKenzie by Free Spirit
I hope my "formula" gives you a place to start when you're thinking about fabrics to combine in your next quilt. Above all, trust your instinct and your judgment, and don't be afraid to combine fabrics from various sources.
Linking up today with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and with Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Program at H&H

On Tuesday night I had the opportunity to speak at the Hearts & Hands Guild in O'Fallon IL.  My topic was working with large scale prints. I'm told the H&H members are super talented, and from their show & tell examples, they definitely are. And what an active guild they are - so many things going on!  So I was a little intimidated to be talking to such a large and experienced group, not sure that what I had to offer would be meaningful or interesting to them.

After the technical difficulties of setting up the PowerPoint presentation and the projector were resolved, it actually went very well. Both the guild's president and their program chair told me afterward that my program was very well received.

I spoke about large scale prints, showed examples of them, and talked about how they can be used in home decor, handbags & totes, and of course in quilts, as backings, borders, or in the pieced top. A big challenge of working with large prints is finding patterns to feature them. There are a lot of examples where the prints are all chopped up, but it's much harder to find patterns that actually feature large scale prints. So I designed Big Print Beauty to fill the void.
Big Print Beauty

In my program at H&H, I talked about scale and proportion, and about contrast in both scale and value. I showed examples (EQ illustrations) of how BPB would look in other colorways using other fabric collections. Then I told them about the "formula" I use to select fabrics that will work together. Come back tomorrow and I'll share my formula; it's too much for one post today.
BPB focus print

BPB fabrics used
The pattern for Big Print Beauty is available here. Fabric requirements and instructions are given for three sizes: 60 x 75 throw without borders; 75 x 90 twin as shown; and 96 x 96 queen. The cost is $9; e-mail me if you're interested.
Linking up today with Really Random Thursday over at Live a Colorful Life.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Nothing to show on my design wall today...

Last week I finished Big Print Beauty, which you can see in the post below. Tomorrow I'm speaking to H&H in O'Fallon IL about working with large scale prints.

Book progress is coming along adequately. Singing the Blues is in the piecing progress, and it will be ready to go to the longarmer later this week. 
Labyrinth is completely done except for the sleeve. Zen Garden is at the longarmer. After talking with my editor last month, I don't have to remake Positivity after all (AQS had suggested a fabric collection that's so not my taste) so Positivity is already done. That leaves Luminosity up next, and I'm working on collecting the fabrics for it.
All the book quilts require sleeves, so I bought muslin, which I am not counting for the stash report. I'll make one continuous length of sleeve according to AQS's specifications, and cut it to length as needed for each quilt.
This month I have to deal with the "About the Author" blurb and get a photograph taken. Ugh! My plan is to have everything for the book finished and written, double checked for accuracy, proofread, etc., before I go to Paducah in April. That leaves me two weeks after I get back from Paducah to deal with file management according to AQS's very specific requirements.
I'm satisfied with book progress so far but I still have a lot of work to do so I have to stay on track.

Unfortunately the blog is suffering from starvation while I work on the book. Hang in there with me and I'll have pretties to show on the blog sooner or later!

Linking up today with Judy at Patchwork Times, even though I don't have anything to show.  Thank you, Judy, for the opportunity to link up and benefit from visits by your readers!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Big Print Beauty

Big Print Beauty, 75" x 90"
With the weather we've been having lately, it was tough to get a photo!  Unfortunately the quilting doesn't show up at all.
The pattern for Big Print Beauty is now available for $11 including postage (North America only). Contact me by e-mail if you're interested at ochterbeckj (at) gmail (dot) com.
As shown, BPB will fit a twin size bed generously; it measures 75" x 90".  The pattern includes instructions for throw size, 60" x 75", without borders for a more modern effect. The pattern also includes instructions for a 96" x 96" queen size version.
Five large-scale prints are used. The pattern also includes instructions for using only one focus print.
Here are some EQ7 renderings of Big Print Beauty in other colorways, so you can see the versatility of this pattern.
Five prints version illustrated using
Acacia by Tula Pink
Five prints version illustrated using
Soho Chic from Moda
Five prints version illustrated using
Kaffe Fasset prints
One focus print version, illustrated using
Textures by Angela Waters
One focus print version, illustrated using 
Southwest by Michael Miller Fabrics
I hope you'll be inspired to try working with large prints! If you make your own Big Print Beauty, I'd love to see it -  Please send me a photo.
Linking up today with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and with Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, February 3, 2014

DWM 2/3/14: What a mess!

Nothing on my design wall today. Instead, here's my work table/cutting table:
Sewing room, 2/3/14

The sewing room is a mess. Everything is pushed toward the far end of the room because the sewing table (not in picture) is opened up into "aircraft carrier mode" for quilting Labyrinth. There's barely room for me to stand between the ironing board and the fabric closet, and the work table is pushed up against the ironing board.

Here's what this mess is all about, clockwise from iron:
  • Baskets of fabric in the fabric closet, the only non-messy part of this picture!
  • 12-1/2" ruler, pile of leftover fabrics and pattern notes from Big Print Beauty on the ironing board
  • Blue fabrics for Singing the Blues on the ironing board
  • Big black notebook on the cutting table: this is my quilt journal/lifetime quilt log, now Volume 1. I keep a photo or EQ drawing of each of my quilts in a page sleeve in this book. If there's a pattern, the pattern goes in the sleeve, too, along with swatches of the fabrics used and any supplemental stuff, like thank you notes from the recipient, etc. As you can see, this book is full.
  • Open black notebook and small white notebook: stuff related to the book I'm working on. The page that's open is the EQ drawing for Singing the Blues.
  • Red notebook: as of today, Volume 2 of my quilt journal, beginning with 2014. Labyrinth, Big Print Beauty, Singing the Blues, Zen Garden, and everything else from here on will go into this notebook, until it's full. It took 23 years to fill Volume 1; I wonder how long it will take to fill Volume 2?
  • Black stuff under the red book: Tote bags on top of the Rubbermaid drawer stacks.  Not pretty. I really do need to fine somewhere else for them so the room will look better.
  • Aqua print at far left: Leftover backing from Labyrinth, to be used for hanging sleeve.
  • Piles of stuff between there and the iron: fabrics, notes, and stuff leftover from other projects that need to be cleaned up, put away, trashed, or otherwise organized.
When my sewing room is this messy it makes me feel crowded and stressed. I like it better when it's cleaned up and calm, although the rest of my house is full of clutter all the time and that doesn't bother me at all.

Linking up today with Judy at Patchwork Times.  Go find something much more inspiring than my messy sewing room on someone else's design wall!  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January stash report and February Goals

Stash Report:

IN, January 2014: 34.25 yards
OUT, January: 16.75

Net Change: 17.5 yards into the stash

Most of the yardage in was for book projects and deadline projects.  Some will end up in the stash: 3 yards that I can 't use for the blue project and some FQs and sale fabrics from LQS sales and STLMQG FQ swap.

February may look better; CSQ is having a fabric exchange at the social meeting and I'll contribute some yardage I know I'll never use. I don't plan to bring much home, but you know how that goes.... I'll get the 3rd book quilt, "Singing the Blues" done and to the longarmer, so I'll be able to count out the top and backing, and maybe even the binding.  I will have to bring in some yardage of Kaffe Fasset prints for the 4th book quilt, "Luminosity", but maybe I'll get the top done so I can count that out.


1. Complete at lease one quilt and all written material related to it for book. "Zen Garden" is at the longarmer's and the pattern is written. "Labyrinth" is ready for binding and the pattern is written. Still need to write the "Labyrinth" block instructions.
2. Complete lecture presentation. Drafted in PowerPoint; may need editing, and I definitely need to practice. "Big Print Beauty" pattern drafted; needs editing.
3. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE. Forgot about meeting on Sat 2/1, so I'll have to pay for the Feb. block.
4. Continue progress on any projects that can be posted on the blog, including UFOs and/or tutorials for previously completed projects. "Big Print Beauty" quilt for lecture & workshop complete except for sleeve & label.

1. Complete "Singing the Blues" top and pattern for book. Start "Luminosity" top.
2. Complete pattern for "Big Print Beauty" and have 20 printed by Feb. 10.
3. Complete preparations for March workshop
4. Continue progress on any projects that can be posted on the blog, including UFOs and/or tutorials for previously completed projects.
5. Get author photo for book done, releases signed, etc. and write "about the author" blurb.

Linking up today with Judy at Patchwork Times. Check out everyone else's stash reports over there.